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Shopping for a Billionaire's Wife (Shopping for a Billionaire #8) Page 70
Author: Julia Kent

I’m that different when he’s with me, in spirit or in form. With him, I’m connected to every part of the world.

The chair legs scrape against the tiled floor as he resumes his seat, next to me, our knees touching.

We’re okay.

It’s going to be okay.

“I don’t know how to fight with you,” he says in a hushed voice. “I’m not good at this.”

“And I am?”

“We’re both really, really bad at this, aren’t we?”

“Of all the things we could be bad at, I’d pick this over any other.”

“Can you imagine if we were really bad at sex?” he says in a conspirator’s voice, a light joking tone that is meant to knit back the loose threads of the tapestry of our romance.

I close my eyes and giggle. I try to imagine it. “No. I literally can’t imagine it.”

“Me either.”

“You know what else I can’t imagine being bad at?”


“Making up.”

His shoulders relax.

“But I don’t take back anything I said.” My words make him nod slowly, his hands on his knees, eyes cast down as he thinks.

“Me either.”

“We’re at an impasse, then.”

“At least you didn’t use the word standoff.”

I start to shake, my cup of coffee a slight blur as I say, “What are we going to do about this? I can’t keep arguing about this. You have your ideas about money. I have mine.”

“This has nothing to do with money.”

“It doesn’t?”

His head shake is imperceptible, but I see it. “No.”

“Then what?”


“Money is power.”

“Yes, but power is power, too. And I think we’re both trying to figure out how to exercise it.” His hair brushes over a wrinkled brow, the lines creased from tension. “Our relationship is an incubator. A hothouse. A petri dish.”

“You’re so romantic.”

“We’re complete beginners at this, Shannon. Both of us. We’re trying to figure out the very early stages of how you weave two disparate people together into a single entity that shares a life.”

“We’ve been together for more than two years. I live with you.”

“Not the same. The stakes are higher now that we’re marrying. We aren’t fighting over which toaster to keep, or whether you’ll do my laundry. This is about whose emotional reality takes precedence. Whose emotional reactions dictate behaviors. And we’re just realizing—both of us,” he adds in a rush—“that the relationship we thought we had is more layered than we ever expected.”

A chill runs through me. A timbre, a rattle in his throat, the way the words come out so full of sadness—it makes me feel connected to all the emptiness in the world.

This is not a happy feeling.

“What are you saying?” The words come out of my mouth like I’m talking around a mouthful of molasses. The depth of emotion in his voice could go one of two ways.

His eyes move with precision, from left to right in a parabola, finally settling on my hands, which he grabs, both of mine in both of his.

“I’m saying that you take me places I didn’t know a heart could go. You feel so well.”

“I feel well? You’re using ‘feel’ as an action verb? You say that like it’s an accomplishment. It’s not. It’s a curse.”

“It’s a superpower.”


“It is,” he insists. “And I forget that you feel differently than I do.”

“I am a separate human being,” I say with a small smile.

“Not what I mean. You open me up to emotional experiences—an inner life—that I don’t realize is there.”

I frown.

He looks around. “Like this place. I’ll bet you can look at the clerk at the coffee shop for three minutes and tell me her emotional state.”

He’s right.

“Don’t you feel people when you walk into a room?”

“That’s illegal, Shannon.”

“That’s not what I meant! I’m talking about walking into a meeting and picking up on the emotional inner worlds of all the faces sitting around the table. Their cues about what they’re really thinking and experiencing on the inside.”

“That sounds like a form of psychological torture.”

“Welcome to my world.”

“That’s what I mean.” His hands are dry and hot, smooth and patient, ready to hold mine for as long as it takes to make me feel fully rooted.

“Declan, I can feel you pull away from me when we’re at odds. It’s a physical sensation that sends me into a state of being that really is a form of psychological torture. It’s brutal and distressing and leaves me feeling like I am clawing for air. Like I’m suffocating from the inside out.” I can’t stop crying, my breath coming in little spurts, a sudden torrent of emotion piling on, taking over.

He’s horrified.

“Jesus, Shannon, I had no idea.” His sigh comes out like staccato notes being played against his ribs. “I would never cause you that kind of pain if I knew.”

“N-n-now you do.”

Those bright green eyes disappear beneath his eyelids, his long black lashes kissing the hollowed space above bone. He reaches for me, then moves his chair over, arm around my shoulders, hand soothing me by rubbing up and down the length of my arm.

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)