Fiance by Friday(3)

By: Catherine Bybee


“He’s a very handsome, tall…lovely man.” Gwen sat on the edge of her bed and unclasped her garters one at a time.

“You do know that no one wears those anymore.” Karen pointed to her lingerie.

“If that were true, finding a place to buy garters and stockings would be impossible.”

“Yeah, but you need to go to those sexy bra stores in order to find them,” Karen teased.

“Men love frilly underwear.”

“Lotta good that’s doing you. Seems I’m the only one who sees it.”

Gwen laughed and continued with her news. “His name is Wolfe…Michael Wolfe. You might have heard of him.”

“The actor?” Karen asked.

“So you have heard of him.”

Karen shook her head. “There is no way Michael Wolfe’s looking for a temporary wife through an agency. He’s like the hottest thing on the big screen right now.”

“So he told me.”

“He told you? You mean you didn’t know?”

Gwen shrugged, removed her bra, and pulled her nightgown over her head. “When have you seen me go to the cinema? I’d enjoy a good book before watching a movie.”

“But Michael Wolfe. He’s a big name, Gwen.” Karen followed her into the bathroom where she ran hot water in the sink and proceeded to remove her makeup.

“I don’t know who he is. Perhaps if he played in a Bond film I’d know him.”

Karen leaned against the frame of the door, and watched Gwen through the mirror. “You’re serious. Michael Wolfe?”

“Lovely man. Very funny.”

“And sexy, and single, and rich…women fall all over him.”

And that, Gwen thought, was the problem.

Gwen turned toward the commode and flushed it to fill the room with noise. While the noise of the toilet filled the room, she leaned into Karen and whispered. “I think he likes men.”

Karen’s eyes rounded. “Seriously?”

Gwen shushed her. The Tarzana home had undergone an extensive security system installation, including twenty-four-hour audio and video monitoring. Eliza had lived in the house before she married Carter, who had insisted on the security measures for multiple reasons. Once Carter won the gubernatorial race, and they both moved to Sacramento, the security system stayed in place at the insistence of Gwen’s brother.

And Neil.

“You think he’s gay?”

Gwen hushed her again and pointed toward the hall. There weren’t any cameras in the bedrooms or bathrooms, but Gwen knew for a fact the hall was monitored. “Our clients deserve all the privacy they can get.”

Karen rolled her eyes. “Good Lord, Gwen, we parade around here half naked and you’re worried about our clients’ privacy? You know Neil; he wouldn’t allow just anyone to listen to what goes on around here.”

Just hearing Neil’s name brought warmth to the pit of Gwen’s stomach. The man was a force of nature with the ability to stand shoulder to shoulder with sixteenth-century Highland warriors. His hard lines and broad physique might threaten others, but for Gwen, all they’d ever done was invite her in.

Too bad Neil never opened the door.

“Privacy is paramount to our clients. Best we keep some details as hidden as possible, don’t you agree?”

Karen rolled her eyes and they both descended the stairs.

“So if Michael is…you know, why is he talking with you? How did you approach him, anyway?”

Gwen made herself comfortable on the couch, and settled in for a long talk. “He came to me. Seems the Alliance name has found its way into a few celebrity circles.”

“That’s good to know. Lotta deep pockets in Hollywood.”

“Actors make the perfect clients. Especially if they want temporary.” Alliance helped the elite and rich find life matches. Many of whom wanted a temporary bride or groom and were willing to pay heavily for it. Beautiful women like Karen had no problem finding men, but some women weren’t looking for love.

For reasons Gwen had yet to discover, Karen wanted a temporary match to set her up financially for years to come. When two people came together with the understanding that their relationship would end on an assigned date, everyone was happy.

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