Fiance by Friday(4)

By: Catherine Bybee


“Michael has no problem convincing the world he’s in love with every heroine he works with,” Karen said. “What makes you think he’s…?”

“He didn’t come right out and say it. Not yet anyway. He introduced himself and was completely taken aback that I didn’t know who he was.”

“He’s über famous, Gwen.”

“That may be. Anyway, he asked me how my brother’s marriage was going. Strange question. I asked him if he knew Blake to which he promptly said he did not. Michael went on to tell me that he and Blake shared a few acquaintances.”

“His subtle way of saying he knew about Alliance.”

“That’s what I assumed. I asked him if he’d like to meet some of my friends. He winked, said he’d love to, and then handed me his card.”

Karen lifted both hands facing up. “So what makes you think g—”

“Ahh, just how he presented himself. Sometimes you just know these things.” Michael had flirted with the women in the room and appreciated the men. Oh, he’d been subtle but if there was one skill Gwen had perfected in the past few months, it was reading men and their intentions.

A man searching for someone…anyone…had a certain energy about him. Eliza had schooled Gwen for months about how to approach these men to help them learn about Alliance. There had been social events in which no contacts had been met. And others where Gwen was able to recruit men, and women, into their database.

“Michael Wolfe?” Karen tapped a finger to her chin.

“If he’s looking for temporary, I think you’d be the perfect match.”

“Oh, why?”

“First, you’re both beautiful people. The cameras would eat you up. Second, Michael’s high profile would prove difficult for many women to maneuver without cracking, and you, my dear, never crack.”

“What do you mean, I never crack?”

“You have your eye on the entire picture and would never lose sight of that under pressure.” Gwen waved three fingers in the air. “Third, you have no illusions that a temporary marriage might mold into a loving relationship.”

“All of our clients say that.”

“Yet some keep. If Michael is, you know, then that won’t be possible.”

Karen shrugged and pushed off the couch. “I think I’ll turn in early, see if any of his flicks are on pay-per-view.”

Gwen wished Karen a good night and made her way into their kitchen. She placed a kettle on the stove and boiled water for tea. She took in the small space with its cozy cottage feel and sighed. When the day came that Alliance did find a groom for Karen, she’d move away and Gwen would be living alone.



Neil MacBain paused the audio feed, shook his head, rewound the damn thing, and listened to it again.

“You do know that no one wears those anymore.”

“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.”

“Men love frilly underwear.”

Neil slapped his hand on the mouse and turned off the sound before he tortured himself anymore.

Fuck! I need to get laid!

Listening to Gwen’s polished accent mentioning garters and stockings shot his brain straight to his cock.

The desire to click on the video monitor made his right eye twitch, but he refrained and forced himself away from his surveillance room.

Blake Samantha, their son Eddie, and even Samantha’s sister Jordan were in Europe with plans to stay for at least a month. Their absence meant fewer people to watch over and plenty of time to think.

He hated thinking.

Doing was such a better pastime.

Doing meant standing in the shadows of tall buildings and watching over the only Harrison stateside he could.

Not that watching Gwen was a chore. Tonight she wore a floor-length, gold beaded number that sparkled in the light given off by the flash of photographers’ cameras by the red carpet. Though she wasn’t the focus of their lenses, she was the center of his. She offered one look, and one smile, to the paparazzi before walking inside the venue. Her lithe frame moved with the sort of grace and elegance that most of the people around her tried to buy but never quite achieved.

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