Stealing the Groom

By: Sonya Weiss



She couldn’t argue that.

“Number two, I could have called Claire as well. I’ll bet she’s freaking out right now.”

“Yeah, freaking out over losing your fat bank account,” Amelia muttered, frustrated a man as intelligent as Chad couldn’t see past the tall blonde’s face and figure.

She jerked her gaze back to the interstate, lowered the sun visor to keep the afternoon sun out of her face, and managed to say firmly, “She’s not the right woman for you.”

“I suppose you know the right woman for me?” A trace of irritation colored his voice. “Please tell me you don’t have a bride waiting at the end of this ride. That would be a little much, even for you. Watch out a second.” He maneuvered his body into the front seat, his long legs bumping against her as he settled.

“No one is waiting at the end of the ride.”

“That’s one positive note at least,” Chad fastened his seat belt and bent forward to search the glove box.

“What are you doing?”

“Looking for something to write with. I need to draft a plan.”

“A plan for what?”

“To make this groomnapping go as smoothly as possible.”

“You’re helping me?” Amelia blinked at him. Up close and personal, his nearness played havoc on her nerves.

He just stared at her as if…

As if he was almost grateful for this whole scheme of hers. She couldn’t deny he was being pretty darned calm about the whole thing. Very un-Chad-like considering he had a plan for everything, lists about lists on getting tasks done.

“Sure I’m helping, if nothing else, for the sake of my own sanity. Because point number three, you could never pull this off unless I wanted you to. And right now, as bad as this sounds, I do.”

“You don’t want to marry Claire,” Amelia said triumphantly, the boulder of worry rolling off her shoulders.

“Like you, I don’t want to get married at all but I have to, and Claire is a logical choice. She’s available, interested, and willing to be my wife within the terms I’ve stipulated. And everything was going as it was supposed to and then you left your apartment in New York and breezed back into town…”

“I wasn’t at my apartment, I was on an assignment, but after you left a message on my voice mail telling me you were getting married did you expect me not to show up and try to talk some sense into you? Sense that you completely ignored.” She glanced over at him to gauge his reaction, but his expression remained closed.

“What I expected was for you to accept that unlike you, I have responsibilities.”

“If you’re so responsible, why are you determined to go along with me?”

“Because I’d hate to see your obviously well-thought-out plan crash and burn,” he said, still searching the glove box. “And I confess, the idea of another night of bachelorhood, hanging out with my best friend, holds some appeal, even if there’s going to be hell to pay when we get back to Sweet Creek.”

Amelia glared at his lowered head. Save a guy from himself and this was the thanks she got? Throwing an impromptu bachelor party?

She jabbed his shoulder with her index finger. “Knowing how Claire runs through men and money, I’ll bet I just saved you millions in a divorce settlement.”

“Ouch.” Chad rubbed the spot. “For your information, Claire and I have already worked out the logistics for the divorce. You think I was actually going into this without a prenup?”

Amelia was so astonished she nearly stopped the car in the middle of the road. “What?”

Chad shrugged. “According to my grandfather’s stipulations, as long as we’ve been married six months, I get my full shares in the company, which gives me control. I can finally start turning around the disaster my father left. After I get the shares, Claire can have a divorce along with the remainder of a healthy financial settlement.”

“It all sounds so cold. Why would your grandfather do something like that?” Amelia pressed the gas pedal and shivered despite the warmth of the sun filling the front of the car. “There are no benefits to marrying someone like her.”

The amused look he gave Amelia caused her to clench her teeth. “Other than that,” she said, not liking the mental image of Chad and Claire together—or even him standing within fifty feet of Claire without being in a shark cage.

Amusement still evident in his voice, Chad said, “I told you right after you got back to town, I gain a marriage with no heartache and no messy emotions involved.”

“I can’t believe you’d sacrifice yourself just to get controlling interest.”

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