The Virgin Billionaire: Switched at Marriage Part 2

By: Gina Robinson

Chapter One





Kayla

When staring into the eyes of a woman who is in love with your husband, you don't blink. You don't back down. And you absolutely do not let your shock show.

I was perched above Justin. In his lap, kissing him on the sofa. Trying not to let the tickle of his beard distract me. Facing her. He had his back to her. And she, the other woman, the assistant, was standing in the entryway to his penthouse. Holding a cleaner's bag. In a circle of sunshine from all those windows, as if she were an avenging angel come to rescue him. And deliver his dry cleaning. All light and goodness and righteous indignation. But whom was she saving him from? Me? I was the rescuer here. The good guy. Girl. Whatever.

And evidently I was doing a superb job of selling this marriage of convenience as the real deal. Because her eyes flashed daggers. Until that moment, I hadn't understood how eyes could do that. But right now, if she'd had a knife, I would have bet money she would have thrown it at me. Maybe not to kill me. Just to scare me off Justin's lap. But you never can tell how far a woman scorned will go.

I wanted to laugh. I wanted to tell her she shouldn't be jealous. That I wasn't in love with him. That I was just doing a friend a favor. If she could hold on for a year…

But under the terms of our marriage contract—wow, that sounded old-fashioned, like something from the Dark Ages—I couldn't disclose the terms of our marriage. As in how it wasn't for love. But, in the meantime, I would be damned if I shared him. It was a matter of pride. And it was a matter of me and authenticity. No one who knew me would buy me letting another girl in on my territory. Sorry, Ophelia. You'll have to wait your turn.

Justin had his hands on my hips. They froze in place. And went suddenly cold, like ice cubes gripping me. He had to crane backward to see her. "Ophie, what are you doing here?"

"You weren't answering your phone." Her words were heavy with accusation. She held up the dry cleaning. "Did you forget? You asked me to pick up your clothes for tonight. We have a function to attend together this evening. The EIEIO meeting. It's your big night, remember?"

EIEIO meeting? As far as I knew, Justin wasn't into farming or nursery rhymes. I wasn't getting the association. The Dead Nursery Rhymes Society? What was EIEIO?

And secondly, "function to attend together" was clearly code for "date." She thought she still had a date with my new bridegroom? On my supposed honeymoon? After our nuptials had been splashed all over the news? Oh, no way, honey. Not even. I had my pride. And my cool ten million to earn and protect. But at least that explained the dagger-shooting eyes.

Crap, I thought, as an almost frivolous afterthought. She did all that personal stuff for him, too. More like a personal assistant than an administrative assistant. She obviously let the lines blur into evening functions. And liked it. I wondered whether she would insist on picking out my anniversary present, too. Shudder. Oh, that's right—we weren't going to have an anniversary. But until then…

I slid off Justin's lap onto my feet and gave her my most innocent, sickeningly sweet smile. Yes, I really laid it on thick. Acting as naïve as a newborn Pomsky puppy as Data barked at my feet.

I scooped her up and took a step toward Ophie, extending my hand with that big smile plastered on. Acting like the ditzy blond that Ophie, in her tech girl way, looked down on and expected. "You must be Justin's assistant! Thanks so much for picking up his"—I stared at the cleaner's bag, trying to get a clue to the contents—"suit for tonight. I'm so excited to be making my public debut as his wife at the EIEIO meeting!"

Justin didn't have to be a secret agent to decode that one—I was going with him.

Somebody hand me my putty knife and my trowel, because I was laying it on and I wasn't done yet. "We haven't met. I'm Jus' new bride, Kayla." I giggled. Yes, giggled for effect as I took her limp hand and shook it. "You've probably seen me on the news."

Justin was on his feet now, trying to come between us, belatedly doing damage control. Poor Jus. I was pulling his chain as I stroked Data's soft fur and reached out for the dry cleaning. "I'll take that."

"Ophie, thanks." Justin shot between us. "I hadn't forgotten."

I waited, impatiently amused, to be honest, to see what he would do in his first official act as husband. Would he take back Ophie's plus-one for this big occasion? Or let her tag along as a fifth wheel? I intentionally hadn't cut dear Ophelia out of tonight's action. Giving him just enough wiggle room to hang himself if he wanted to keep her. Or needed her assistance for some reason. But it was clear I would be the girl hanging on his arm. That's what I was being paid for, after all.

"It's been a hell of a day," Justin said to her. "You deserve a night off. Take it. Kayla can handle the official meet-and-greet duties tonight." He put just the right amount of appreciation for her in his tone.

Impressive, I thought as I set Data down. And looked away before my smirk got out of hand. Which sounded heartless of me, but wasn't really. I had a heart that had recently been broken, too. I didn't want to see her crestfallen look. And I was afraid I would lose it by laughing at the absurdity of everything. And of course she wouldn't understand.

"If that's what you want," she said, sounding as if it was the last thing she wanted. "I'll have my hands full dealing with the media circus, anyway. We need to make an official announcement to the press before the stockholders and investors get nervous. Riggins will be on our case. Any idea what you'd like me to say?"

I was pulling the plastic bag up on Justin's suit to get a better look at it. And was being unpleasantly surprised in the process. This was definitely a case of less was best. It was…awful. The bag actually enhanced the suit's appearance. I inwardly sighed. And might have made some silent oaths about fashion-blind billionaires.

"It's already done," I said without looking at Ophelia. "I wrote a release and sent it to the communications team just before you arrived. It should be posted on Jus' social media and as an official statement, already released to the press as we speak. Who picked this out?"

"Ophie did," Justin said.

Damn, damn, damn! And she works for Flashionista, too? Unbelievable. Why doesn't he let one of his merch buyers dress him?

"Oh." I looked at her. When our eyes met, those daggers were back in hers. In addition to acing her out of a fabulous evening at an exciting EIEIO meeting and stealing her man, I'd just done her job. And she must have sensed I was flirting with bashing her sense of taste, style, and fashion. I smiled like we were besties, true blue, deep blue friends. Killing people with kindness was my particular specialty. "It's nice."

A smug look of satisfaction crossed her face. Like she was saying, Yes, I buy his clothes. I know him better than you do. He belongs with me.

"Everything's under control," Justin said. "Take the night off and relax for once." He laughed as if relaxing was a rare occurrence.

"Your speech?" she said.

"Written. Short and to the point." He paused. "Is there anything else that's urgent? If not, we'll catch up at the office tomorrow." He put his hand on her shoulder. Beneath all that fur on his face, he looked genuinely sympathetic. That's the thing about Justin. He was a considerate guy.

Which meant he was totally not my type. As a husband, anyway.

He showed her to the door. They paused, talking in low voices for a moment while I pretended to ignore them and be absolutely enthralled by that hideous suit. Just when I'd memorized nearly every horrible thread of that rag, she left. I tossed it carelessly over the nearest chair, eager to be rid of it.

"You're going to have to take away her key or code or whatever gets her in here. We can't afford to have her walk in on us and overhear something she shouldn't." I turned to face him. "I'll need my own key."

"Yes, you're right." He looked miserable, like he didn't relish telling her.

"Jus." I felt bad for him. I hugged him. Just slid into his arms. Without my shoes on, my head tucked nicely beneath his chin. It would have fit better if not for those long, tickling beard hairs hanging down. I pressed my head to his chest and listened to the wild beating of his heart. "You can give it back to her in a year. If you want to. Until then it's safer for us if she doesn't have such easy access."

The hammering of his heart became a full-out battering.

I looked up at him and had to blow the beard out of my face and take a step back. "Is something going on between you and her?"

He shook his head. "No. Why?"

He was too nonchalant to be completely believable. I studied him. I was usually pretty good at reading faces and sniffing out liars. I was going to have to learn his tell. Everyone had one. In the meantime, I thought he was fooling himself.

"That's not what she thinks. She's madly in love with you."

He looked startled and froze. As if he either didn't believe me or I'd found him out.

"EIEIO?" I was still in his arms, looking up at him.

"And on his farm he had a cow." Justin's eyes danced as he looked down at me.

I still wasn't used to him being so tall. And towering over me.

"I know. We get teased all the time. It stands for the Entrepreneurs, Inventors, and Engineers International Organization." His arms were locked around my waist as if he didn't want to let me go.

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