Authors: Mia Caldwell
Alpha Billionaire’s Bride, Part 4
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© 2015 Mia Caldwell
All Rights Reserved. This book or any portion thereof may
not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express
permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons,
living or dead, or places, events or locations is purely coincidental. The
characters are all productions of the author’s imagination.
Please note that this work is intended only for adults over
the age of 18 and all characters represented as 18 or over.
Cover photos © 2015 aarrttuurr, elenathewise, lina_s,
iconogenic, nadiya under license from Depositphotos
Mia Caldwell has been fantasizing about stories of
“Happily-Ever-After” since she was a little girl, and now that she’s all grown
up her “Happily-Ever-After” stories have taken a steamier turn!
After graduating from college Mia still wasn't quite sure
what she wanted to do with her life. Bored with her day job as an
administrative assistant for a non-profit, she started writing stories on the
side and sharing them with her friends. They gave her the push she needed to
share them with you!
She lives in New York with two rascally cats named Link and
Zelda, eats too much chocolate and Chinese take-out, and goes on way too many
blind dates. She's still waiting for Mr. Right, but in the meantime she'll keep
dreaming up the perfect man!
Mia loves hearing from her fans and you can reach her at:
JADA’S WORLD HAD TILTED ON its axis. In a matter of minutes
she’d gone from thinking the marriage fiasco was resolved to finding herself
embroiled in a mess which made her previous problem seem like a hangnail
compared to an amputated arm.
It was no wonder she sat half-stupefied, hardly hearing
Agatha and Sasha arguing nearby, unable to respond to Marina who wouldn’t quit
patting her hand and asking if she was okay. Of course Jada wasn’t okay. What
kind of silly question was that?
It wasn’t every day you were falsely outed to millions of
people as a ... a ... she could hardly say it even to herself ... a bisexual
bigamist. Seriously? Who came up with that crap?
Even if this mess got cleared up somehow, as Ian had sternly
promised before stalking out of the room, did it really matter? Jada might only
be an accountant, but she understood that few people cared about getting the
story straight; they only remembered the scandal. And this scandal was
eye-popping enough not to be forgotten anytime soon.
She’d probably already lost her job. Even if she were
allowed to return to work eventually, she shuddered at how her coworkers would
treat her. She pictured walking into the office and everyone either avoiding
her and whispering behind her back, or making crude comments to her face,
vicious digs disguised as jokes.
Maybe it would be best, after all, if she lost her job. But
then she’d have to find a new one, and there weren’t many accounting firms in Springers
Glen, and none as successful as Talleyrand, Dilling, Stifferton and Associates.
It wouldn’t be any different wherever she went. Not for the Bisexual Bigamist.
It was ridiculous. The absurdity struck her and a laugh
forced its way out, sounding like a cross between a cough and a bleating goat.
Marina’s patting picked up pace. “Are you okay? Jada, talk
to me. You’re freaking me out. Are you having an attack? If you’re having an
attack, tell me, so I can call 911.”
Another bizarre laugh burbled out of Jada. She covered her
mouth and regarded the room, her surroundings slowly coming back into focus.
Agatha ranted to Sasha about how she expected booking
cancellations to start rolling in at any moment. Sasha had fallen silent and
pored over her cell phone with the focus of a brain surgeon. The tinny sound of
CGTV announcer Piper’s voice trickled from Sasha’s phone. Jada couldn’t hear it
well enough to discern the actual words, a small blessing. How Sasha could
stand to witness the ongoing witch hunt was beyond Jada’s comprehension.
Marina lightly smacked Jada’s cheek.
“What the—?” Jada whirled on her sister.
“Sorry. But you were unresponsive. I thought you were in
“Who died and made you Nurse Ratched? I can’t believe you
“It was only a pat. A tap. Hardly anything.”
Jada’s outrage faltered. She didn’t have the energy to
lecture her sister. She slumped. “Whatever. It doesn’t matter. I’m doomed.”
“You are not doomed,” Marina insisted in an overly-perky
voice. “Ian and Sullivan will take care of everything. You’ll see.”
“And Trey, too,” Agatha chimed in, cutting herself off in
mid-tirade about suing CGTV. “That boy always looks after Sasha. He always
does. He’s a powerful man, I tell you. Gets it done.”
Marina cocked an eyebrow. “If you say so, Ags.” She
whispered so only Jada could hear, “Maybe he can help, but only if he can tear
himself away from being a total tool.”
Jada brushed Agatha’s and Marina’s words aside with a wave.
“Yes, yes, the men will take care of everything.”
“That’s right,” Marina and Agatha said in unison.
Sasha snorted, glancing up from her phone. “You’re all
pathetic. Waiting around, weak and helpless while the big strong men are out
doing all the heavy lifting. What’s happened to women, anyway? Guess it’s left
to us lesbians to wave the woman-power banner. All you heteros have surrendered
your flags to a bunch of dudes who can’t even hit the toilet when they pee. So
Agatha sniffed and her nose went up in disdain. “You are
delusional if you think I’ve ever done that. The buck stops with Agatha. Isn’t
that always what I say? The buck stops with me. I’m in charge, I make the
She ranted on while Marina reacted to Sasha’s indictment.
“That’s not true, Sasha. I’d never do that,” Marina said.
“I’m always arguing with the guys at work who think I should only write human
interest stories and social news. And anyway, I don’t see you hopping up to fix
any of this mess.”
Already bored with conversation, Sasha shrugged and returned
to her phone.
Jada’s cheeks and neck burned from Sasha’s accusation, but
she kept her mouth shut and thought about what Sasha had said. Is that what
Jada was doing? And was that why it was so difficult to have faith that the
situation would be solved? Jada was used to helping herself, not relying on
someone else to do it for her.
Her inner fire burned brighter and the top of her head
tingled. What had she been thinking? What had she been doing?
She popped up, out of her chair, drawing everyone’s
attention. She looked at each one in turn, stopping on Sasha.
She pointed at the disinterested supermodel. “You’re right.
It’s time for me to step up to the plate. This is my ten-yard line and I’m
going to make the winning shot.”
Sasha nodded once, firmly. “Good for you. I’m behind you all
the way ... enjoying the view.” She waggled an eyebrow.
Marina stood up beside Jada. “I’m with you, too. Except, I
have to tell you that was a crazy string of mixed metaphors you put together
there ... baseball then football then basketball, or maybe that last one was
golf? Billiards? What were you going for with—”
“Whatever,” Agatha broke in. “I’m old and wise enough to
know when to let the best person for the job handle it. And don’t take this
personally, Mrs. Buckley, but you can’t even properly manage one sneaky feline,
so ... I’m just saying.”
Sasha looked much like a sneaky feline herself. “You know,
Ags, Jada is Mrs. Buckley-Brimgore to you now.”
Agatha’s features broke into a hundred pieces, shattered by
horror. She sputtered, but nothing intelligible came out.
Marina bit back a laugh while Jada ignored them all. She had
work to do, and she couldn’t stand around all day debating metaphors and what
her married names were today.
It was time to get to work.
“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU mean you don’t know what happened?”
Ian held the phone in a vice-like grip. “It’s your job to know what happened.
It was your job to make sure we weren’t taken by surprise again.”
Sullivan sat across from his desk and nodded approval. Trey
paced the office, his hand on his chin, deep in contemplation.
“I’m sorry, Sir,” came the response from the other end of
the phone line, a young man named Zeke. “I-I did what I was told to do. I-I was
at the courthouse not long after it opened. I asked them to search for your
name in the marriage licenses that had been filed in the last week. The clerk
said she c-couldn’t find anything. I called in to the office and told M-Ms.
Johnson what I learned. That’s it. That’s all I know.”
Ian wanted to strangle ... something. Not the kid, though.
That would be unfair. Too bad. “Fine. That’s all.” He ended the call before he
terrified Zeke into a stroke.
Sullivan started to speak, but Ian held up a finger so he’d
Ian called Cathy Johnson, his assistant.
She answered immediately. “Yes, Sir. Was Zeke any help?”
“He was not,” Ian said. “I don’t see how this got screwed
up. What particularly disturbs me is that he wasn’t at the courthouse when the
doors opened this morning. Why was that, exactly? I told you I wanted someone
waiting there when the courthouse opened.”
“I’m sorry. He got caught in morning traffic on the way out
“So how late was he?”
“Less than thirty minutes. Not much.”
“It doesn’t take much,” Ian said, “as we’ve seen this
“I’m sorry, Sir. We feel terrible and—”
“Yes, well, work up the dossiers on top level CGTV employees
and call me when you’re finished.”
Ian ended the call and looked to Sullivan. “Yes? You wanted
to say something?”
“I was going to ask if Zeke saw anyone else at the Springers
Glen Courthouse when he was there. Any reporter-looking types wandering the
“Unless they were wearing ‘Press’ signs on their hats the
way they do in old movies, I don’t see how the kid could have picked out a
“Point taken,” Sullivan said. “Too bad. Do you think CGTV beat
us to the courthouse this morning and actually found the license they claim to
have, or do you think they made up a new scandal?”
“Of course they invented it,” Trey said, glaring at Sullivan
as if the question made him a traitor. “There’s no other explanation. So help
me, I’m going to ruin that network. My legal team will burn CGTV to the ground
and salt the earth where they sunk their slimy roots so no one there can ever
befoul the airwaves again.”
“I’m not so sure it’s that simple,” Sullivan said, ever the
moderate. “This latest turn is interesting and—”
“Interesting!” Trey interjected. “That’s the last thing it
is. It’s hideous, immoral, could potentially ruin Sasha’s livelihood. It’s
certainly devastating to her all the way around. This can’t be fixed.”
Ian grimaced. He refused to believe that. “I understand your
concern about Sasha, but this won’t ruin her. The fashion world doesn’t much
care about this kind of thing. It might make her more popular with some
designers. I’m worried most about Jada. She works in a conservative field, has
a regular family and a small-town life with neighbors who aren’t used to this
kind of salacious gossip.”
“You act like the place is Mayberry,” Trey said. “Mayberry
“Be that as it may,” Ian said, tamping down his irritation,
“Jada stands to lose the most of everyone involved, followed closely by the
rest of her family. It’s not right.” He experienced a stab of guilt at the
memory of promising Jada’s father that everything would be fixed today.
“Is no one able to see the humor in this?” Sullivan asked.
“I mean, the bisexual bigamist? When you think about how upright Jada is, it’s
“Too soon!” Ian and Trey barked at the same time.
Sullivan held up his hands. “Sorry. I was trying to lighten
the mood. Carry on with the gloom and doom.”
Trey resumed pacing. “We need a plan of action. What’s
“I’ve got our team on it” Sullivan said. “They’re contacting
CGTV and demanding a copy of the new license they claim to have.”
“Which they’ll never turn over because they don’t actually
have one,” Trey said. “That’s nothing but a waste of time. I’m getting my own
team to start preparing a civil suit. I’d also like to look into the
possibility of criminal charges, perhaps get an injunction.”
Sullivan eyed Trey with a skeptical expression, but said
“I think,” Ian said, “that we should consider for a moment—”
A sharp rapping on the door interrupted him. He called out,
“We’re busy. Text me if it’s important and I’ll get to it when I can.”
The door flew open and Jada walked inside. No, Ian thought
with some surprise, she charged into the room.
She stopped in front of Ian’s desk, hands on her hips, eyes
flashing brilliantly. “I don’t have time to text you. I came to ask if I can
borrow a car or get a lift to a train or something. I need to get on the road
Ian was taken aback. He knew he had let her down, but
obviously he hadn’t properly gauged how much. He signaled to Sullivan and Trey.
“If you wouldn’t mind leaving us for a few minutes ...”
Wordlessly, Sullivan and Trey slipped out, quietly closing
the door behind them.
Ian kept his voice calm and steady. “Of course I’ll provide
you with any transportation you want. I’ll call in the helicopter, if you’d
prefer. But before you go, sit for a moment and tell me what’s going on. You’re
upset and have every right to be. I let you down.”
“It’s not that,” she said. “You haven’t let me down.”
Ian exhaled a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.
“Then why are you in such a hurry to get away from me?”
She sat on the edge of the chair Sullivan had vacated. “Ian,
you don’t really know me, and it’s not your fault. I haven’t been myself since
we met and I guess my father was right when he said I’ve been holding things
back. Not on purpose, of course, but there it is, anyway.”
“It’s been stressful.”
“Yeah, but more than that, I was swept away in all this,”
Jada gestured in the air. “You, the house, the lake, the stuff you bought me,
the money. All of it. I let myself pretend this was real, and so I relied on it,
on you, in ways that aren’t true to who I am. I shouldn’t have done that.”