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Shopping for a Billionaire's Wife (Shopping for a Billionaire #8) Page 74
Author: Julia Kent

Declan sits up, propping his back and neck up with pillows, and watches me as I talk. “You’re saying the structure of those institutions and systems is what’s in conflict, and not you and me?”


“That sounds like cultural economics.”


“You are so hot when you play the social science professor.” His smile goes impish.

“I’m trying to have a serious discussion about what’s happened to us this week.”

Declan’s head disappears under the covers. Seconds later, I learn where his tongue is.

“And so am I,” he says between my gasps. “So am I.”

Tap tap tap.

His palm splays against my belly, pinning me in place. “Don’t answer that,” he says, his voice muffled.

“Why? Is it a nine-foot koala bear that vomits dollar bills?”

“No.” Pause. “Why? Did Andrew give one of those to Amanda?”

Tap tap tap.

“Please,” Mom’s voice carries through the door. “Please, Shannon. Please be there. I’m trying to find your father.”

I sit up, Declan crawling out from under the covers and looking at me with concern.

“He’s disappeared,” she calls out. “I can’t find Jason anywhere.”

Chapter Nineteen

Oddly enough, it is James who figures out where Dad went.

After throwing on whatever mismatched designer clothes we could find, Dec and I race out the door with Mom, riding the elevators to the security office, where Declan and the head of security, a tall, gaunt man named Jed, scan video footage using facial recognition software to spot him.

“You spy on people when they stay here?” I say loudly, a bit outraged.

The head of security glares at me.

“Do you have legal permission to do that?”

Now Declan glares at me.

“Do you want to find your father or not?”

I sigh.

A fast scan shows nothing.

“When did you see him last?” the head of security asks Mom.

“Not since breakfast.”

His eyes grow angry. “He isn’t missing, then. That’s what? Eight hours?”

“He’s not answering his cell phone, and my husband doesn’t do this.”

Declan and Jed share a grimace.

“What?” I ask.

“When people gamble and lose, they tend to disappear.”


“No, no,” Declan backtracks. “More like they go and try to find enough money to hide their loss.”

“We don’t have enough money for Jason to gamble.”

I wince. “Actually, Mom, you do. My wedding fund.”

“He wouldn’t!”

Dec and Jed just look away.

“People behave in really aberrant ways when they have a big loss.”

“Wouldn’t he be on-camera if he did?”

“Maybe he gambled at a different resort.”

A numb fear grips me and I clench Declan’s forearm, hard. “Dad doesn’t disappear, Declan. If he lost a bunch of money, he’d come back shame-faced to Mom and just tell her. I’m worried.”

“Does he have any medical conditions?” Jed asks Mom.

“Nothing life-threatening,” she says with a head shake. “Just some acid reflux and an intolerance for red peppers. Don’t go anywhere near the man after he’s eaten them.”

Jed puts up his hand. “Got it.”

“Jason could use his ass as a bioterrorism weapon if a government provided him with enough red peppers.”


James strolls in, commanding and authoritative, his grey hair conferring immediate power. “What’s wrong?”

“Jason’s missing,” Mom sobs. “He’s not answering his phone and he never came back this morning from going out for coffee.”

“But I saw him downstairs earlier. Near the fountain, outside. A group of us were talking about the resort and investments. He started ranting about how fake Vegas is. I agreed heartily—and told him the fakery paid for Shannon and Declan’s wedding.”

“Oh, no,” I groan.

“I meant it as a joke, but he didn’t take it well. Turned red, muttered something and stormed off.” James shrugs with one shoulder.

“When was this?” Mom asks.

“Around ten this morning.”

“Oh, Jason,” she says with a long sigh. “Where are you?”

“Does he have any haunts?” Jed asks.

“A hot dog place and ice cream store across the street?” I offer.

“What about Louie’s Stiff One?”

“Is Louie a friend of yours with a penis problem?” Mom asks.

“That’s the name of a casino we own,” Declan explains. His phone buzzes in his pocket. His eyes cut to me, then to the phone, as he answers.

“Is it Dad?” I ask.

He shakes his head, covers the phone, and dips out of the small video security equipment room.

Jed, James and Mom huddle around, speculating where Dad might be. I hear Declan saying a string of numbers and talking about capital, leverage, private ownership, and a bunch of other business blah blah blah.

A tiny flutter begins in my chest, like a butterfly drowning in a rain puddle.

Where is Dad?

Jed’s suddenly on his phone, his voice tight. He’s all military, his voice flat like a Midwesterner, the tone of the general in a techno-thriller who takes command and fixes all the crap the wild cowboys mess up.

Mom gives me a helpless look.

Jed says, “Security confirmed he’s at Stiffy’s.”

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)