From Fake to Forever(3)

By: Kat Cantrell

Of course, she’d cut up all her father’s credit cards, but Jason didn’t need to know that.

For God knew what reason, Jason grinned. The tension leeched away as he sat back in his chair. “I wish I could say I’d forgotten how sassy you are. If you’re not here for money, what are you here for?”

“Is this rocket science?” Airily, she motioned to him so it would seem like something other than the really big deal it actually was. Her family could not find out she hadn’t taken care of this problem. “It’s in both our interests to get a quiet divorce. So I’m here to get that done.”

“You already have papers drawn up? Great. Give me a copy and I’ll shoot them to my lawyer. As long as everything’s in order, I’ll sign and mail you a copy. Thanks for coming by. I’ll walk you out.”

He stood. She didn’t. “What guarantee do I have that you won’t spill all of this to the media?”

If her father found out how supremely rash his daughter had acted, he’d never agree to give her a loan to buy half of Cara’s design business. And Meredith wanted to prove once and for all she had what it took to make something of herself.

This loan was the key to the rest of Meredith’s life. Finally, she’d be able to call herself something other than a pageant winner. Finally, other people would have something to call her besides a former Miss Texas: a grown-up.

Jason’s laughter was harsh. “Why in the world would I want to advertise something so ridiculous as a spontaneous wedding in Las Vegas to a woman I’d just met who’s boneheaded enough to accidentally file the marriage license?”

“Well, don’t hold back, sweetie. Tell me how you really feel.” She eyed him. “We’re on the same page. I’d prefer no one found out I married someone boneheaded enough to have me. Here’s a copy of the papers.”

“I’ll have my lawyer check them out. Don’t go anywhere,” he advised. “I want to settle this before you leave town.”

“I’ll be around for a few days, but no longer, so make it snappy.”

With a flourish, she wrote the name of her hotel and her cell-phone number on a sticky note and pasted it to his lapel in a senseless effort to touch him one last time.

Shame about that fiancée. More was the shame that Jason Lynhurst was totally over Meredith.

But the biggest shame was that she couldn’t say the same.

* * *

Meredith. Of all the freaking people to waltz into Jason’s office on an otherwise unremarkable Friday.

She was the only woman who’d ever enticed him out from behind his all-business exterior, the only woman who could claim she’d slept in his bed, when normally, he kept women away from his personal space. Their brief relationship had been crazy, wild, the stuff of his hottest fantasies—and totally out of character.

Meredith was also the only woman he’d ever considered truly dangerous. For his well-being, his future, his state of mind. And definitely dangerous to his self-control. Because he couldn’t resist her back in Vegas and he had a feeling nothing had changed.

This was not the time, nor the place, to dwell on that.

He had a meeting with Avery in fifteen minutes and his sister was going to lord it over him for being late. And getting across town at this hour was more impossible than wishing himself invisible. Hefting his messenger bag to his other shoulder, Jason hailed a taxi instead of taking the company car because it would take too long to retrieve it from the garage.

Yet another disruption in his jam-packed day, thanks to that blast from the past.

Once Jason slid into the cab, his mind immediately flipped back to the bombshell Meredith had dropped on him. Apparently he couldn’t resist thinking about her any more than he could resist that come-hither look she’d used so effectively in Vegas to drive him just this side of insane.

Married. To Meredith.

Once, it had seemed like a fantastic plan, to bond himself—symbolically, of course, as part of the Grown-Up Pact—to a woman who seemed to effortlessly understand his misery and pain and then take it all away.

Their brief affair had its place. In the history books.

Vegas had been a spontaneous trip, born out of his confusion and frustration over his parents’ announcement. Not only were they divorcing after thirty years of marriage, but they were also splitting apart Lynhurst Enterprises, the company they’d founded. Lyn Couture to Bettina, Hurst House Fashion to Paul. Jason would stay at Lyn and Avery would go to Hurst House. Everyone seemed fine with it—except no one asked Jason’s opinion.

He hated it. The legacy he’d been born to, depended on, planned for, was gone. Fractured beyond repair. All at once, he couldn’t deal with it and jetted off to forget in Vegas.