Surrogate and Wife

Surrogate and Wife by Emily McKay Read Free Book Online

Book: Surrogate and Wife by Emily McKay Read Free Book Online
Authors: Emily McKay
party?”
    â€œWhat about it?”
    â€œWe could say we ‘fell in love’ that night. We were both there, right?”
    â€œYes.” She went every year, even though she normally didn’t enjoy large parties. But on New Year’s Eve it just seemed wrong to stay home watching repeats of Law & Order . “But so were about fifty other people. All of whom would know we barely spoke to each other that evening.”
    â€œCome on, no one will remember that. It was a New Year’s Eve party. A lot of people were drinking.”
    â€œI wasn’t,” she pointed out.
    â€œWell, of course you weren’t.”
    â€œHey—”
    â€œI’m sure you never drink in public. Wouldn’t suit the image of the judge, would it?”
    Actually, she didn’t drink out of fear of turning into her mother. But that certainly wasn’t the kind of thing she wanted him to know.
    â€œBut even you,” he continued, “as sober as you were, do you remember what every other person at the party was doing?”
    Mostly she remembered the unending boredom of listening to Paul—Beth and Stew’s accountant—describe his two-week glacier cruise to Alaska. But other than Paul, she couldn’t remember how anyone else spent their evening. And despite how long it had felt, her conversation with Paul had lasted only twenty or so minutes.
    â€œOkay, then,” she conceded. “We ‘fell in love’ at the party. So we’re set with a story.”
    â€œWe need a few more details than that, don’t you think?”
    She let out a frustrated sigh. “What kind of details?”
    â€œWell, if I remember right, it was a pretty warm night for December. We could say we went into the backyard to sit by the chiminea.”
    â€œThat would explain why no one saw us together,” she pointed out. Beth and Stew’s house sat on more than half an acre of land. The long, narrow backyard was scattered with live oaks. For parties, Beth draped the limbs of the trees with lanterns. On a winter night, gathered around the warmth of the fire in the chiminea, it would be an undeniably romantic setting. The perfect place to fall in love.
    â€œIt does sound nice,” she murmured. As soon as she heard how dreamy her tone sounded, she sat up straighter. “For the purposes of the story, I mean.”
    â€œOh, of course. For the story.”
    He sounded amused. As if he sensed that she’d momentarily gotten caught up in the fake memory they were creating to pass off their fake marriage as real.
    Part of her wished she could adopt a similarly cavalier attitude about the situation. But then, it was her job that was at stake, not his.
    Which probably meant she should be more grateful that he’d come up with a story about how they’d fallen in love.His attitude might seem cavalier, but he was taking their arrangement as seriously as she was. Maybe even more so.
    â€œWhat about dating?” she asked, determined to do her part.
    â€œWhat about it?”
    â€œWe certainly didn’t go on any dates around town. Someone would have remembered that.”
    â€œGood point. I guess—” she heard a rustling of fabric in the background and for a second his voice was muffled “—we dated in Austin.”
    â€œWe kept our relationship secret, though. Why would we do that?” she asked.
    â€œI wanted to protect your reputation.”
    For some reason, that struck her as funny. So she was laughing as she replied, “That’s awfully noble of you.”
    â€œWhat?” Mock offense laced his tone. “You don’t think I’m noble?”
    â€œHey, you’re marrying me to protect my reputation. I don’t think it gets more noble than that.”
    â€œRight. Don’t forget it, either.”
    â€œDon’t worry. If you go through with this wedding, I’ll really owe you one.”
    â€œSpeaking of the

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