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Shopping for a Billionaire's Wife (Shopping for a Billionaire #8) Page 26
Author: Julia Kent

Along the perimeter of the glass-covered room (“room” being an understatement, as it’s bigger than my childhood home) is a series of planter boxes, about a foot deep and three feet tall, filled with dirt.

And orchids.

It’s like being surrounded by flower labia.

What? It is. Try looking at an orchid without imagining an annual gynecological visit. Go ahead. Try.

The decor is Italian marble. Fountains pumping water 24/7, surrounded by sculptures of half-nude people who look just enough like Matt Bomer and Jennifer Lawrence to make me look twice.

Living with Declan has also taught me to look for subtle corporate influences. Product placement is more widespread than you’d ever imagine.

Like, you know, a coffee bean on top of a car, to advertise a fake coffee shop.

Or something like that.

I spot Amanda and Andrew at a table over by an orchid that would make my friend Josh faint. They are engaging in public displays of affection that result in stoning in a minimum of nine countries across Asia.

“Get a room,” Declan growls at them. His words make them break their faces apart, which is refreshing. They haven’t fused their flesh just yet, so there’s hope.

“We have a room. One we can’t use right now, because the cleaning crew is in there,” Andrew says with a fake frown, standing and giving his brother a huge hug.

“Only because decontamination takes so long,” Declan replies, his face split with a genuine grin.

Andrew just grunts, while I hug Amanda.

All the cross-hugging happens and we sit down. A waiter appears instantly with my favorite bottle of white wine. Declan gives Andrew an arched eyebrow.

“Nice touch,” Dec says.

Andrew just shoots him a grin that says, I win.

“You called Grace, didn’t you?”

The grin falters.

Declan lobs back the grin Andrew lost.

Amanda and I roll our eyes in unison. I didn’t know that was possible, but apparently, the collective ego of the two youngest McCormick brothers is so large it shoves everything in the room to the side and forces all objects into the gravitational pull of their orbit.

Including our eyeballs.

“How’s married life treating you, Dec?” Andrew asks, just as Declan can’t answer, his mouth full of wine.

Amanda shoots me a look that says everything and nothing.

“Oh,” Andrew adds. “That’s right. You’re not married yet. Wonder how that happened?”

“I see why he’s CEO. He’s direct, fearless, and a bit of a prick,” I whisper in Amanda’s ear.

She stiffens.


“Prick?” she hisses. “He’s not a prick! He’s a jerk,” she adds. “He’s been a jerk ever since James discovered how trendy your escape has been in the news, and how it’s boosting Anterdec’s profile.”

“Why would Andrew be upset by that?”

She shrugs. “I don’t know. Have you ever noticed how competitive they are?”

We look over at Dec and Andrew, who are arguing about whether Montrachet or Scharzhofberger is a better wine.

“Nope. Never noticed,” I say faintly. Grasping at anything but the wedding escape as a topic, I notice her earrings. “Oooo, look at those!” A combination of amber topaz, lapis lazuli, and sterling silver catch the sunlight and glitter. I reach over and let the dangling jewelry rest on my fingertips. “Gorgeous.”

“Andrew got them for me,” she says with a happy smile, reaching over to clasp his hand. “A surprise gift delivered from Tiffany when we woke up this morning. These and my breve latte were the second-best things I woke up to.” She squeezes his hand.

Andrew gives Declan the same smile, except on his face it looks smug. Self-satisfied.


“What did Declan get for you, Shannon?” he asks.

“Get for me?”

Declan’s tongue rolls in his cheek so hard it might as well be drilling for oil.

Andrew’s eyes light up. “He didn’t give you something this morning?”

“Oh, I gave her something this morning,” Declan murmurs in my ear.

I bat at him, giggling, reaching for my wine. “I got this outfit. And these shoes,” I say.

“Mmmmmm,” Andrew says, drinking the rest of his wine and giving Declan a look I don’t understand, and definitely don’t like.

“James tells us that the public relations department at Anterdec is over the moon about all the positive free press the wedding is getting for the company,” I assert.

Declan gives me an appreciative thigh squeeze. Andrew’s smile goes sour.

What the hell is going on between the two of them? Is Amanda right? I know Declan was crushed when James picked Andrew as his successor, but he never fought it. He could have created a fuss with the board of directors but chose not to create that kind of divisiveness when James was stepping down because of his prostate cancer diagnosis.

Competition is in Declan’s blood, but I’m getting a creepy vibe here, as if they’re vying for some title that Amanda and I aren’t aware of.

“It’s true,” Andrew says, clearly reluctant to admit whatever’s about to come out of his mouth. If Amanda weren’t here to soften him, I’d think he was angry. For brothers who are only two years apart and who work in the same business, the two are so different. Declan’s closed off and placid, like a calm sheet of mirror on a lake.

Andrew is all action, with laser focus, and an aloofness that I know masks a boyishness underneath that makes him and Declan spar.

He also has a freakish fear of wasps, generated entirely by his anaphylactic reaction. We both flout death on a regular basis when it comes to spinning the random dial for bee and wasp stings. Andrew takes risk assessment and prevention to a degree that I find intolerable.

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)