Confusion and hope warred within her. ”But whats in it for you? ” He was a powerful, handsome man.

Why would he want to tie himself to a nobody like her?

”I want a wife – Ive always known the value of family and loyalty, and I know you, too, understand those things. I need a hostess who I know will be exemplary. If Simon is still basically the same boy I met, well get along fine. ” He paused and then added, ”Because of your love for Simon, I also don have to worry about word of our arrangement ever being splashed across the tabloids, should we part ways. ”

And what about me? Grace wanted to ask, despite the selfishness of such a question.Jacobs proposal seemed so cold and calculated, disregarding the emotional links already tying them together.

Before she could answer, he said, ”Youd have the security and stability you want for Simon. I promise you that whatever it takes, Lance won touch him. I can tie this up legally for years, if thats what it takes. ” The hardness in his tone underlined each word.

”But dragging Simon through that type of case… ”

He put down his coffee cup before answering. ”Thats a worst-case scenario. My gut says it won happen. Kennys reputation is built on professionalism and discretion. He won want his dirty laundry aired in public. ”

”But hes already filed a lawsuit against me. ” She squeezed her cup, trying to warm suddenly cold hands.

”He saw you as powerless. Family court operates a lot behind closed doors and he was probably counting on that. But once I get involved, hell know that the media will sniff out every single detail, including the way he left Simon. ” His conviction made her want to believe.

”What happens if we marry? ” Being married to Jacob Wolfe was almost impossible for her mind to comprehend. Shed barely been able to handle a kiss and now this?

”No judge is going to pick Dereks side over mine, no matter how deep they are in each others pockets. ” There was a harsh edge to his voice that reminded her of some old-world mobster, at once terrifying and magnificent. ”At worst, wed get a fair hearing. Im not going to lie to you, if thats what happens, its likely kenny will be granted partial custody at least. ”

She respected him for not sugarcoating the truth. The worst-case scenario was still better than the certain failure that shed been facing until now. ”And at best? ”

”At best ,Derek will withdraw. In fact, Im betting on it. He doesn sound like a man who picks on those strong enough to fight back. ” His lip curled in disgust.

”Id do anything for Simon. ” She found her way with those words. ”Are you sure itll work? ” For Simon, shed even chance marrying the one man who threatened to batter down the painstakingly wrought walls around her heart.

”Yes. I protect those who belong to me. ” The statement was without compromise. ”Simon would have every advantage. ”

”So long as we
e together, ” she blurted out. ”Your familys track record isn so good. ” She wouldn put Simon through the pain of gaining a father, only to have that father walk away. Her own experience at Kennys hands had taught her that sometimes it was better to never have a father at all. ”And what if we divorce before hes eighteen? Kenny might try again. ”

He nodded, those dark eyes going even more opaque. ”Im willing to make a commitment to a certain number of years together.. ”

”Are you sure you will be happy? ” Despite her concern for Simon, she remembered the deep sorrow shed sometimes glimpsed in Jaobs eyes. That hidden pain had only deepened since their last meeting.Something terrible had happend. Whatever it was, it had wounded him terribly. She couldn bear to cause him more pain.

Worry for Simon andJacob collided. How could she buy ones joy with the others unhappiness? She couldn . Both her men deserved better.

And so did she .

”I hardly think youll take up drugs and spiral into depression. You care too much for Simon. ” He spoke of their marriage as if it were only a business arrangement. As if the tender kiss last night had never happened. Perhaps that powerful moment of trust had meant nothing to him, used as he must be to far wilder displays of passion.

”As for Nick having every advantage, Ill set up a trust fund for him, to be his whether we
e together or not. ” He walked over to stand at the foot of the stairs, looking down at her from his considerable height.

She narrowed her eyes, worry about his reasons for the proposal, and confusion over her own feelings, momentarily overridden by irritation. Hed better not offer her money as well or shed scratch out his eyes. She had no pride where Simon was concerned but for herself, she had plenty.

”Id make sure you were taken care of, ” he began, his hand on the banister.

”Stop right there. ” Putting down her cup, she stood up on the second step, level with his face. ”The only reason Im considering this crazy idea is because it will help me keep my brother. I don want your money! ” In her anger, she didn stop to consider why hed offer to sweeten the deal, when she was the one without options.

”Id be asking you not to work while you were my wife, even though Id lose the best secretary I ever had. ”

”Why not? ” She put her hands on her hips. This reasonable man was not the passionate, wild creature she knew. Where was her Jacob?

”If we separated, it would be difficult for you to get back into the workforce. Its only fair that I give you something to tide you over. Youd never use Simons trust fund and it would hurt him if you were without resources. ”

”You really know how to hit the jugular don you? ” Her tone was sharp.

”Its a skill. ” His voice was uninflected but she knew that shed hurt him.

Why had she done that? Was it because she was afraid of what he made her feel? Shed vowed to never love a man as much as her mother had, because she knew that in some ways, she was the same as Helena

. They both loved with a passion that could be destructive if it wasn returned.

Her mother had loved the man shed had an affair with, and shed ended up loving Kenny, too. Her suffering when theyd both thrown her aside like used tissues had been fatal.Grace never intended to be in that position – never would she allow herself to be that vulnerable. Except sometimes, Jacob made that ultimate weakness seem tempting.

Unable to bear his hurt, she reached out to touch his cheek, rough with five oclock shadow. ”Im sorry. ”

”Theres nothing to be sorry for. ” He didn move away from her touch, but neither did he show any reaction.

She pushed her hand into his thick hair while he stood there, letting her do whatever she wanted. ”Don you ever get angry,Jacob? ”

”No. ” He looked into her eyes, completely cold.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like