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Shopping for a Billionaire's Wife (Shopping for a Billionaire #8) Page 55
Author: Julia Kent

He eats more ice cream.

“She talked it up to all the volunteer organizations she was part of. Whipped herself into a frenzy, and took your poor, puppy-dog mother along for the ride. By the day before the wedding, she’d convinced Marie to let old Kirby walk her down the aisle as her father.”

“And then?” I’m dreading what’s next.

“Celeste assured us she’d pay for everything. Put down bare-bones deposits on the estate, the caterers, the cake, the dress, the rings—everything. She wanted fancy. Keep in mind, I was a vet tech. Your mom had been an artist’s assistant, stripping canvas. She quit that job and started working at some health food store when we married, making a few bucks an hour. We were poor. Scratch poor. I had about five buddies from the neighborhood and my mom who were planning to come to the wedding. We didn’t need all this pomp and circumstance, but Celeste made it sound like she was going to create the Wedding of the Year.”

My ice cream sticks in my throat.

“Sound familiar?” His brown eyes, so much like mine, are filled with fury and sadness.

I nod.

“She bailed on us. The night before the wedding, she had a ‘heart event.” Finger quotes again. “Told all her friends and everyone in her circle—called them all from her hospital bed.”

Dad goes quiet, looking at me straight on, holding the gaze until that tingling over my body turns to ice.

“Oh, no.”

“She didn’t call Marie.”

“Oh, Dad.”

“All the wedding guests she’d invited showed up to her hospital room, including this guy she’d been dating on and off. In front of all of them, he proposed.”


“Right? So now she’s engaged.”

“I don’t understand.”

He holds up a palm. “You will.”

“The next morning, we showed up at the fancy estate knowing none of this. Me, Marie, my buddies, and my mom.”

“How awful Grandma had a heart attack the night before the wedding! Mom must have been so distraught!”

Dad just stares at me.

Layers of awareness wash over me, until all that’s left is abject horror. “She didn’t really have a heart attack?”

“A ‘heart event.’”

“Whatever—it didn’t happen?” I gasp.

“The weird part,” he says, ignoring my question, “is that when Marie went to pick up her dress that morning, it wasn’t there. They said her mother had come and gotten it for her.”


“We didn’t have cell phones then, so we just figured Celeste was being nice. Remember—we didn’t know about the heart event, or that Kirby had proposed to her. We thought we were getting married that day.”

“Oh, Daddy.” My heart hurts.

“We get to the estate, and there’s Celeste and Kirby, at the altar with the minister she’d hand-selected. Surrounded by all these people Marie barely knew from Celeste’s volunteer work, a few union buddies of Marie’s father’s from back in the day—and she’s wearing—”

“Mom’s wedding dress,” I choke out.

He nods.

“Celeste comes over, happy as can be, a blushing bride if ever there was one. In front of all those people, she tells Marie how happy she is that Kirby stood by her through her ‘heart event’ the night before, and that he’s her one true love, and the only person she can depend on.”

Dad closes his eyes. “Marie’s trying to understand what’s going on, and she can’t stop looking at her own mother in what was supposed to be Marie’s dress. By the time I put it all together and realized Celeste made it seem like Marie was a cold, callous daughter who hadn’t even bothered to go to the hospital the night before, Celeste was screaming at your mother. Kirby was bellowing, and all the guests looked at poor Marie like she was an ungrateful little witch.”

I can’t keep my mouth from dropping open.

“That’s so evil.”

“Funny you use that word. Evil.” His gaze is penetrating, transforming my dad into someone foreign. “Because that’s the word that comes into my mind whenever I think of her.”

“What did you do?”

“I stepped in between Celeste and Kirby and defended Marie, of course. I started with logic and reason. That didn’t work. Tried to calm them down. That didn’t work. Then I resorted to sheer volume.”

“You? Dad, you don’t really have a ‘sheer volume’ setting.”

“I do when it comes to watching someone I love get mindfucked by evil.”

In that moment I understand exactly what Mom meant by calling Dad a “beta-alpha.”

“So,” he adds. “I yelled, Kirby nearly punched me, and I carried a sobbing, hysterical Marie away from that damned estate, my mom and buddies in tow, all the guys shouting colorful words you kids find in rap songs today.” He gives me a twisted smile. “I think we invented a new vocabulary that day.”

My heart slams against my ribs like it’s trying to get out, teleport back thirty years, and beat the hell out of my own grandma.

“You eloped?”

“We did. Had the license and waited until that Monday.”

I let out a low whistle. “That’s insane.”

“Oh, that’s not the insane part. The truly insane part is that we were stuck with all the wedding debts. Celeste had paid only bare-bones deposits. Put everything in Marie’s name.”

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)