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Shopping for a Billionaire's Wife (Shopping for a Billionaire #8) Page 69
Author: Julia Kent

Which we are.

“Excuse me,” says a man’s voice from behind me. He pulls at the metal-backed chair where Amanda was sitting a few minutes ago. “This seat taken?”

It’s Declan.

Mom raises her eyebrows and her eyes roll up to watch him.

“This is the famous Grind It Fresh!,” Declan says, eyes darting with a calculated approach, surveying and absorbing, letting no detail go unnoticed.


“Coffee’s really that good?”

Except when it feels like a thousand liquid needles in my stomach, like now.


“I suppose I should give this a try.” He walks away from me and Mom, my eyes eating up the long lines of his legs. He’s dressed casually, in dark jeans and a form-fitting dress shirt in a deep purple. This isn’t his normal look. Marcello has left his mark on Declan, and maybe Evie has, too.

I like it. I’d like it more if he didn’t feel so remote, so untouchable, right now.

While he’s at the counter, probably interrogating the poor barista on P&L sheets and marketing conversion rates, Mom leans toward my ear and says, “You have to make up.”

“Of course we’ll make up.”

“You said some harsh words to him, Shannon.”

“So did he!”

“Was he right?”

I drink more of my coffee and borrow a little time.

“Yes,” I admit grudgingly. “Only a teeny, tiny bit.”

“And do you think you were right?”

“Yes! More than him.”

“Uh uh. No, honey. Don’t play that game.”

“What game?”

“The ‘who’s more right’ game.”

“You and Dad invented that game, Mom!”

“Learn from my mistakes.”

“I would need three lifetimes.”

She gives me a long-suffering look that she has no right to give me. If we’re casting long-suffering anything, I’m the one who should hold that power. Not her.

“Let me play the role of the wise woman for a minute here, Shannon.”

“Goody. Pretend play.”

She lets out a long sigh. “Go ahead. Get in your digs. I deserve them.”

Mom does. She really does, so why am I starting to feel bad?

“Okay. I’ll stop. Go ahead. Give me your best wise woman advice.” I’m sure the next words out of her mouth will involve an order to go have sex with Declan, or to let him buy me fancy jewelry, or to get started on grandchildren.

To my surprise, she says: “Let yourself imagine he’s right.”


“I said ‘imagine.’ Let yourself imagine he’s right. That doesn’t mean he is right.”

Before I can lambaste her over this terrible idea, Declan’s back with a tray of three coffees, each the perfect order for us. He remembered my favorite and Mom’s as well.

We have so many cups of coffee in front of us, we should start a newspaper.

If you close your eyes and flatten your feet against the ground, with your spine straight and your hands splayed on a smooth, sturdy surface, you can take a deep breath and feel how connected you are to all the parts of the world. Think about it. Every item touches every item (unless you’re flying). It’s all about degrees of separation. As long as I’m in contact with the floor, which touches iron girders, which touch other structural pieces that reach the foundation and the dirt, which goes on to reach the ocean, which carries the current of that touch all the way across the vast seas to another piece of dirt—

You get the picture.

In the space of touching every part of the earth with your seeking heart, you can find yourself more readily.


His voice seeks, too.

“I’ll get going now,” Mom says primly, giving me a half-hug that feels like we’re in some weird Duggar cult. “I’m so glad we made up.” She gives Declan a weird smile. “I would hug you, but my hoo-haw is burning.” She walks slowly across the casino floor and disappears into a walkway to our resort.

“Was that code for something?” he asks me. “Her hoo-haw is her—”


“I don’t want to know.”

“No. You don’t.” Awkward topic aside, the fact that he’s talking to me is astounding. Steve and I had a few fights that were bad. Steve gave me the silent treatment for days afterward.

Having Declan talk to me an hour after I slammed a door in his face is surreal.

I feel like I’m in seventh grade again, except now I know what sex feels like and my acne’s gone. My skin buzzes with that kind of tension that comes from conflict with another person. You’re just not quite right with them, and it’s as if the air between you is charged with atoms that can’t figure out how to coexist without making you itchy and numb.

I suppose the best way to start is to say:

“I’m sorry.” His voice is so sincere it cracks a little.

He beat me to it. “I am, too,” I reply. “I shouldn’t have slammed the door, either.”

He gives me a shy smile. Shy isn’t a word I would ever use to describe him. In that little grin, I see his five-year-old self. It’s adorable and heartbreaking at the same time.

“At least I knew where to find you once I cooled down.”

“I came here to try to talk it out with Amanda, but Mom found us.”

He stands. “Should I leave you alone? I thought—”

“No. Please,” I beg. “Stay.” I don’t have the words to explain how his presence is the only way I feel rooted to the earth. Fully. It’s the difference between a plant that grows in a container and one that grows in a wildflower field.

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)