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Shopping for a Billionaire's Wife (Shopping for a Billionaire #8) Page 18
Author: Julia Kent

Breakfast of Champions. Wheaties can suck it.

Declan grabs a bowl of berries and the little pitcher that is stuffed with whipped cream. Using his fork to scoop the cream, he spears a combo of strawberries and blueberries and digs in. We eat in silence, both of us starving. Ten minutes later, I’ve eaten four pieces of maple-smoked bacon, half a bowl of berries, an entire dish of whipped cream, two cups of coffee, and just as I think maybe—just maybe—I can relax and we can figure out our next step, we hear:

Tap tap tap.

I laugh at Declan, who frowns slightly, and jump up to answer it. “Must be my shoes, right?” I ask, sated by the lovely breakfast, comforted by the rack of clothes. I have the basics. And we successfully escaped. “Did you order me the four-inch heels or the five-inch heels?” I joke as I open the door.

And come face to face with Satan.

Only this time, I don’t have Chuckles to throw at her.

But I do slam the door.

“It’s her,” I hiss, heart racing and flailing at the same time.

“Khaleesi?” he jokes.

“Worse. Mom.”

“Same thing.” He arches one eyebrow. “I’ll handle this.” Declan doesn’t give me a choice, pointing to the bed where I walk over and sit obediently, waiting for his next move.

He sits down at the room service tray and grabs a fork, digging in to the final bowl of berries.

There might as well be a Muzak soundtrack behind him.

“What are you doing?” If my hiss goes any higher it will initiate first contact with alien life.

“Performing psychological torture.”

“On who? Mom, or me?”

Tap tap tap.

Her knock is surprisingly moderate, neither timid nor demanding. Maybe I was mistaken when I opened the door. Perhaps that’s not actually my mother out there, but is just a fashion assistant who looks like my mother. I close my eyes and bring forth the image.

Nope. Fashion assistants don’t have red, glowing eyes.

Hmmm. Maybe that was actually Chuckles out there.

Tap tap tap.

“I know you’re in there, Shannon and Declan.”

I look at Declan, who might as well be humming “The Girl from Ipanema” and putting on sandals over his black calf socks—he’s moving that slowly.

“Why aren’t you doing anything?” I beg him.

“I am.”

“Eating your daily allotment of fiber and vitamin C does not count as doing something about the massive crisis with my mother!”

“Ah, but it does. This is the fine art of negotiation, Shannon.”

“What the hell do organic blueberries in New Zealand fresh cream have to do with negotiation?”

“Is she in our suite?”

I frown. “No.”

“Is Geraldo Rivera covering this on national television from the hallway?”


“Have I been arrested by a federal agency for kidnapping you?”


“Then we’re winning.” He takes a bite of black raspberry and munches, peacefully, as if Mom isn’t tapping again on the door.

“You’re killing me.”

“You’re making yourself suffer. I am eating a lovely, healthy breakfast.”

“Great. You’re loaded up with anti-oxidants and I have enough cortisol floating through my bloodstream to kill a pig.”

“And that’s the difference between us, honey. As far as I’m concerned, emotion has nothing to do with your mother being on the other side of that door. This is all about tactics and strategy. We have a conflict. She thinks she’s going to get us to do what she wants. She will fail. It’s that simple.”

I’m about to marry a cyborg. Or the billionaire version of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory.

“How can you divorce emotion from, from—” Mom is knocking again on the door—“this?!?”

“How can you not? All my emotion is saved for you.” With that, he wipes his mouth on his cloth napkin, plants a kiss on the top of my head, and in only his boxer briefs—which are molded to his body like a latex suit—strides across the room and opens the door with a gesture of magnanimity and welcome that makes me shatter.

Mom is standing in the hall, eyes crazy, hair a combed-out half-mess. She’s wearing her mother-of-the-bride dress, the tartan sash crooked and filthy, and she’s alone.

“Marie! So good to see you!” Declan leans forward and gives her a peck on the cheek, as if there’s nothing bizarre about her having chased us down from Massachusetts, and as if he always stands on the threshold of a Las Vegas luxury hotel suite in his underwear and gives her a kiss.

“What?” Mom’s gasp makes all the tiny pieces of myself that are sprinkled around the edges of the known universe start to quiver.

“Have you had breakfast? Would you like to join us? The chef’s crop of wild Maine blueberries is particularly fine this morning.”

“What?” Mom bleats. Declan steps back and sweeps his arm aside, welcoming her in like he’s showing her a prize on Wheel of Fortune and she could win it.

If she gets the answer just right.

“How’s Jason? He enjoying Vegas?” Declan’s words are so calm and casual that I begin to shake, the dissonance too much. I know what he’s doing. I’ve seen him do it before, and worse—I’ve been at the receiving end of this. It’s brilliant, really. Disarm your opponent with a neutrality, a banality that makes their own crazy come to a halt, like they’ve slammed into a stone wall and are coming to in a daze.

Julia Kent's Novels
» Shopping for an Heir (Shopping for a Billionaire #10)
» Shopping for a CEO's Fiancée (Shopping for a Billionaire #9)
» Shopping for a Billionaire's Wife (Shopping for a Billionaire #8)
» Shopping for a CEO (Shopping for a Billionaire #7)
» Shopping for a Billionaire's Fiancee (Shopping for a Billionaire #6)
» Christmas Shopping for a Billionaire (Shopping for a Billionaire #5)
» Complete Harmony (Her Billionaires #5.2)
» Complete Abandon (Her Billionaires #5.1)
» Shopping for a Billionaire 2
» Shopping for a Billionaire 1
» Complete Bliss (Her Billionaires #5.3)
» It's Complicated (Her Billionaires #5)
» Shopping for a Billionaire 4
» Shopping for a Billionaire 3
» Random Acts of Crazy (Random #1)
» Random Acts of Trust (Random #2)
» Her First Billionaire (BBW Menage #1)
» Her Second Billionaire (BBW Menage #2)
» Her Two Billionaires (BBW Menage #3)
» Her Two Billionaires and a Baby (BBW Menage #4)