CHAPTER FIVE -
I pace my office looking at the clock constantly. Kate's plane would have just landed. The PI is going to take her to the hotel we booked her before bringing her here.
“Calm down man, you're stressing me out.” Ryder says from his seat on the couch in my office. I throw him a glare. It's not his life that's about to be thrown upside down. My fucking wife is here. In the states. And I have no fucking clue what she wants.
If she's a gold digging bitch, which is more than likely, I'm going to be stuck with her for the next 8 years. I doubt she'd go back to Australia when she sees the life she could have here. And if she's not a gold digging bitch then she's going to want an annulment which means, I'll have to find another desperate whore and pay her to be my wife for the next ten years. Either way I'm fucked. I head to the little well stocked bar my father has in his office for another hit of whiskey but Verity stops me.
“You've had enough. You don't want to be drunk when you meet your wife.” She tells me. I roll my eyes.
“I was drunk when I married her.” I say.
“Touché. Still, take a deep breath, you need your wits today.” She tells me. I stare down at her.
“Why are you being nice to me? It's weird.” I say. Not used to seeing Verity showing any type of kindness towards me. She shrugs her shoulders.
“I feel sorry for the poor girl who married you, just want her to be comfortable when she gets here.” She says. And there she is. The miserable hag I’ve come to know.
“Aww and here I thought you actually liked me.” I say with a smile. She screws her face up.
“Fuck no! You're an asshole.” She says. I chuckle as she goes and sits back down on the couch next to Ryder.
“Don't you have work to do?” I ask her, wondering what she is doing in my office.
“And miss the reunion with your wife? Hell no!” she says, getting comfortable on the couch. I roll my eyes and start pacing again. I have so much nervous energy I don't know what to do with it. “I'm excited that she's an Aussie too.” Verity says. I roll my eyes again.
Verity moved to the states when she was 12. She'd spent as much time here as she did in Australia. Her Australian accent is almost gone, making her sound like she's trying to be American and failing miserably. She absolutely hates when I pick on her accent, so I do it often. She's too easy to get a rise out of. The door opens before I get my chance to annoy Verity and the PI walks in, followed by, presumably, the wife.
“Mr Caldwell, this is Kate Collins.” Steve says when he stops in the office. I turn around as Ryder and Verity says their hellos and take in the shy blonde beauty standing just inside the door. My breath hitches when I see her, I won't lie to myself, she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. From her flowing blonde hair, sexy blue eyes and luscious plump pink lips, her perfectly toned body with subtle curves. The blue jeans she's wearing hug her hips and thighs showing her slender legs and I can't help but wonder how I get her to turn around so I can see what I can only imagine would be a perfectly smackable ass. Our eyes lock and she gives me a shy smile while wringing her hands together. She's nervous. I give her a simple nod as the PI takes his leave.
And this is where it gets interesting. This is where the wife starts throwing herself at me, no matter how much of an asshole I am, just for the check book in my top draw. Verity steps forward and offers her hand.
“Hi, I'm Verity.” She says. The wife gives a shy smile and relaxes slightly as she shakes Verity's hand.
“Kate. Nice to meet you.” Her voice is soft and sweet. Her accent sounding adorable coming from those plump lips. Ryder steps forward and introduces himself and she gives him a genuine smile. Ryder's always had the ability to put people at ease, I've never envied that, I enjoy making people uncomfortable, watching them squirm with irritation, seeing how far I need to push before they snap.
“We will leave you two to it.” Ryder says before he practically pushes Verity out of the door, I know she'd want to see the show, want to see the wife throw herself at me and see me squirm wondering how to get her away from me.
I lean against the desk, watching the wife as she wrings her hands with nerves. Certainly not what I'm used to. She doesn't have the confidence of the women I usually see, there's a shyness and innocence about her that has me curious. But I squash that down. It could easily be a ploy to catch me off guard.
“so…..” she says nervously. She looks up, her eyes catching mine and I arch one eyebrow, waiting for her to continue. I can tell my silence is making her uncomfortable, but eventually she continues. “Uh... how do you want to do this?” she asks. I furrow my brows, watching her in confusion.
“Do what?” I ask. She bites down on that plump lip causing my eyes to flick down and watch as her teeth release it from their hold.
“The annulment...” she says. My eyes shoot up to meet hers. I wasn't expecting that.
“Annulment?” I ask shocked. I'm not used to being caught off guard, my voice wavering slightly until I pull myself together. The wife nods then looks away.
“Considering we haven't seen each other since that night, and we were both drunk, a judge should grant us an annulment, instead of having to go down the divorce path.” She says. Annulment. Divorce. Not what I was expecting her to bring up. Neither of them seem to sit well with me. I'm not sure why. Of course, it would be because I need to be married in around 6 weeks. My eyes scan the wife, taking in her petite body, her tight fit jeans and sweater showing off the slight curves of her hips and breasts. There'd be worse people to have on my arm for the next 8 years.
“No.” I say, before I can think better of it. Her head shoots up to look at me, her brows raised and mouth in an O, my mind wonders at to what she'd look like under me, would her mouth form that same shape. I shift slightly against the desk, trying to stop the blood rush south.
“No?” she asks, looking at me in confusion. I shake my head.
“No annulment. No divorce.” I say. She looks at me confused, I can practically see her thoughts ticking over until the look of realization hits her.
“You… you want to stay married?!” She stammers and I know I've caught her off guard, thankful that the tides have turned back to me. I nod my head.
“Yes. For the next 8 years or so.” I say. I watch as she blinks, those long lashes lined with mascara kissing just below her eyes.
“What? Why?” she asks. I shrug my shoulders.
“You don't need to know that.” I say, waving her off. Her eyes narrow on me, fire in her eyes. Interesting...
“If you expect me to stay married to you, then yes, I do.” Her voice is firm, reminding me of a kindergarten teacher and I can't help but scan her body again, wondering if she'd show that little bit of fire in her in bed. I follow the line of her body back to those plump lips and bright blue eyes. I guess it wouldn't hurt to tell her, I need her for this after all.
“My grandfathers will. I need to be married before I'm 30. The marriage lasting at least ten years.” I say with a sigh. I leave out the part about the heir. She doesn't need to know that right now.
“And if you don't?” she asks. I watch her, wondering what she's thinking.
“My cousin gets half the business.” I say. My fists clench at the thought of my cousin. A spoilt little brat who has never taken responsibility for anything in his life. The wife gives me a small smile and I breathe a sigh of relief. She's going to do it.
“You're business is really not my problem. I'll get the papers in order for you to sign.” She says. She turns on her heel towards the door. I blink, not sure why she's so against this. The words are out of my mouth before she's half way across the office.
“I'll pay you.” I say, wondering where the hell that idea came from. She freezes and I can't help but smirk. She's money hungry, they all are. She spins to face me.
“What?” she asks. I stand and take a step towards her.
“One million a year. For the next 8 years.” I tell her. I see her fists clench and her words coming out through gritted teeth.
“I am not for sale.” She says. She turns back towards the door and I up the offer.
“Ten million. Per year. Back paid.” I say. She freezes again. I see her shoulders rise and fall as if taking deep breaths. When she turns around she gives me a sweet smile. That's got her. Though I can't help but feel disappointed. She's still a gold digger, just not going for the pennies.
She walks slowly towards me, her hips swaying seductively. Her bottom lip caught between her teeth as her eyes scan my body. I watch as she releases her lip then runs her tongue over it, the action forcing me to stare at her lips and lick my own as my mouth runs dry. The wife's a seductress, a siren that heats my body in ways it never has before. She stops in front of me, her fingers playing with my tie, I force myself not to grab her and throw her on my desk. Her fingers trace up my tie, sending impulses through my body heading south.
“And when is your 30th birthday?” she purrs. Her voice is low and husky. I swallow hard, trying to hide my obvious arousal.
“Around 6 weeks...” I say. My voice betrays me, coming out breathless. She tilts her head up to look at me, stepping closer so her bodies plush against mine. Her soft floral scent invading my nostrils making me breathe it in deep. She stands on her tip toes, her body against mine, and her breath on my neck. Her lips touch my ear lightly as she whispers into it.
“Plenty of time to get the annulment and buy another wife.” She steps back, the cold air hitting where she had warmed my body with hers. “I'm not for sale.” She says again. I watch as she storms out of the office and slams the door. What the fuck just happened? I look down at my southern gentleman, standing at attention. And why did her storming out turn me on even more?
I leave his office absolutely livid. How dare he think he can buy me? I won't lie, when he upped the offer to ten million a year I was tempted. Who wouldn't be? But I know what money does to people. My parents were all about the easy money. Never working an honest day in their lives. They played scam after scam, taking money from their unsuspecting victims to feed their drug habits. High functioning drug addicts, incredibly intelligent people who were selfish beyond belief. I wouldn't be like them. And taking the money would make me nothing more than an expensive prostitute. No. I'm better than that.
After slamming the door I walk out into the lavish reception area of their top floor offices. Everything is so opulent and extravagant, making me stand out in my Kmart clothes. I storm through as the woman who introduced herself as Verity stands, a worried look on her face.
“Kate? Are you ok?” she asks. Her accent is strange, a hint of American with possibly Australian or South African, I can't tell for sure. I grit my teeth as I look at her, my blood still boiling from my encounter with Chase Caldwell.
“I'm fine...” I force out. She gives me a knowing smile and shakes her head.
“Yeah... Chase has that effect on people.” She says. I'm guessing she's talking about the anger and frustration seeping through my pores and not the arousal I felt when I pushed my body up against his. I had the desired effect of his body, I could tell by the hard long length pressed against my stomach. I didn't know his close proximity would have my undies soaked too. But he didn't need to know that. I take a deep breath and release it slowly, trying to calm my racing heart.
“He said no to an annulment.” I tell her, unsure why I felt the need to divulge that information. Verity gave me a sad smile and nodded.
“The will...” she says. I nod my head.
“And then he tried to buy me.” I say through gritted teeth. Verity sucks in a breath, amusement in her eyes.
“And I'm guessing you said no?” she asks. I nod, causing her to laugh. “Oh, that would have confused the fuck out of Chase.” She says. I furrow my brows in confusion.
“Why?” I ask. She sighs, shaking her head.
“He believes all women are gold diggers. And you turned down money... he'd be completely lost right now.” Verity tells me. I purse my lips, taking in her statement. That just seems... sad. Believing that everyone you meet is after your money. Never trusting anyone. What a lonely existence that would be. Verity reaches out and touches my arm. “Don't feel bad for him. The mans an ass. I'm glad you aren't like the other women who throw themselves at him.” She says. The thought of other women all over him makes my stomach clench. I push away the feeling. I don't know the man, and going by our first sober meeting I'm not sure I want to. I smile at Verity.
“I'm not. I'm going to head back to the hotel, jet lags setting in.” I say. Verity nods and turns back to her desk, reaching for a card sitting in a holder at the front of her desk. She turns back around and hands it to me.
“If you need anything while you're here, even just a chat over drinks, give me a call.” She says. I give her an appreciative smile and take the card in my fingers. She nods with a smile and goes back to her desk. I walk towards the elevators, my mind wandering to the sexy jerk I just encountered. And I can't help but feel like I'm in for an adventure.