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Shopping for a Billionaire's Wife (Shopping for a Billionaire #8) Page 38
Author: Julia Kent

“Then why can’t you apply your own common-sense business practices to what I’m experiencing? Superior product means consumer dollars follow.”

He points at me with a crooked finger, eyes narrowed to moss-green triangles, face full of self-righteous fury. “Because you’re a traitor.”


He’s right.

“And you rejected my necklace.”

Oh, no.

I brace myself for what I know is coming. “Declan,” I say with a gentle, appreciative sound. “I loved the necklace. You were so sweet for thinking of me. And the emerald matched your eyes.”

I can tell it makes a difference that I noticed, even if his next words are cold. “But you returned it regardless.” Not just any cold—liquid-nitrogen cold.

“It’s not...me.”

“Why can’t it be you? Is the you that you think you are so inflexible?”

“What?” That sounds like a line from a Dr. Seuss book you give to college graduates when you can’t think of what else to gift.

“Why can’t you let yourself accept what I have to give, Shannon?”

“We’ve talked about this before.” My fingers on my right hand begin worrying the enormous stone on my left ring finger. My hand feels so weighed down by it. Not by the burden of what it represents—our commitment to spend the rest of our lives together—but by its physical presence. The ring is, literally, heavy.

A weight I hold that is both a physical and a metaphysical reminder that I am about to marry a billionaire and make his life mine.


For the rest of our lives, my existence will be defined by him. Sure, he’s going to compromise with me and my life choices, and our families—well, we’ll have to balance out the varying value systems, rituals, traditions, time obligations, and other issues that every couple experiences when they join and become each other’s family.

Billionaires are a whole different story.

“I know we’ve talked about this before,” he answers in a weary tone, shaking me out of my thoughts. “We’ve talked about it ad nauseum. That doesn’t mean we’ve resolved a damn thing.”

“What do you want me to do, Dec? Just say yes to everything you want to smother me with?” The words are out and I regret one of them instantly.

“Smother?” he says with a derisive huff.

Yeah, that would be the one.

“I’m sorry.” If I rush the apology out fast enough, can I save this conversation? “I really am. That’s not what I meant.”

“I think that’s exactly what you meant. Don’t back away from it. Own it.”

Is he right? I don’t know. I’m so used to acquiescing, because most of the time he is right on topics like this. One of the foundations of our relationship is the fact that Declan’s so secure, and has such faith that I can overcome my own overly-developed sense of helping others to strike a healthy balance. I’m still not sure I agree with his assessment, but I’ve gone along with his opinion because so far, every time I follow his viewpoint I feel better about myself.

But what if I’m just replacing my mother with Declan? Letting people tell me how I should feel gets harder and harder as time passes.

And maybe that intolerance includes Declan.

“Smother.” I square my shoulders as I say the word. “You’re smothering me.”

“With jewelry from Tiffany?”

“And tailored clothing from Italy. And a wedding that costs more than an expensive house in metrowest Boston. And limos and SUVs and helicopters and planes. Restaurant meals that cost more than my first car. You don’t live a life that even dips its toe in reality, Declan.”

“It’s my reality.”

“Your reality is most people’s fantasy.”

“But not yours, clearly.”

“You are my fantasy. You. You’re my fantasy man come to life, vibrant and breathing and breathtaking, Declan! I love you. Not your money.”

“Is that what this is about? You’re worried I think you’re after me for my wealth?” Relief washes over him, as if he’s figured it all out. “That’s it? God, no, Shannon, I know you’re not one of those types.”

“What types?”

“The Jessica Coffin type.”

“She comes from money!” I declare, completely blown away by this conversation. We’ve talked about this before, of course. James wanted me to sign a pre-nup, but Declan shot that down long before the wedding. You can’t be engaged to a man with Declan’s level of money and not have a long series of discussions, but we’re navigating a winding river we’ve never traveled before.

This isn’t about his money.

It’s about his lifestyle.

“Right. She comes from a family with connections and a long history of being the equivalent of aristocracy in Boston society, if such a status existed. And yet she’s a gold-digger, plain and simple.”

He said it. That damn word.

“How can she be a gold-digger when she’s already rich?”

“Her gold isn’t money. It’s status. Prestige. Unearned privilege that she wants to swallow whole, to hoard for herself by virtue of partnering with the perfect husband.”

“Sounds more like a merger and acquisition than a marriage.”

“That’s exactly right.”

“How cold.”

“How Jessica.”

I flash back to that first date, when we went out to dinner and ran into Jessica and my ex, Steve, on a date. The awkward dinner between the four of us, Jessica’s compulsive need to insult me through digs and jabs so obvious to me and Declan. Steve, a social climber himself, chose not to see it.

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)