Marriage of Convenience by Katy Kaylee

Chapter 20

Sara

I was glad to have a moment to get my wits together. Seeing Glen totally threw me. I’d been right to be afraid of him before, but until now I didn’t know just how far he’d go. The rage I saw in his eyes and the menace radiating off of him suggested he was more dangerous than I’d initially given him credit for. I shivered at what he might have done had he been successful in grabbing me off the street. Thank goodness Hunter was there.

I took my time in the ladies’ room. I splashed water on my face, then fixed my makeup, and combed my hair. Then I gave myself a pep talk. I’d need to do a good job as Chase’s wife because it was quite possible, he’d think I was more trouble that I was worth. He could divorce me, and leave me back where he found me. I’d have no recourse, unless he was successful at impregnating me, but even that would be problematic. I didn’t want to use a child as a pawn between us.

Finally, feeling like my nerves were back to normal, I made my way back to his office. I stepped in to find not two, but four Raven brothers. Immediately, my adrenaline shot up again.

Chase’s gaze zeroed in on me from where he leaned against his desk like he was the king of the world.

“Are you okay?” He straightened and came toward me.

I nodded, taking a quick glance around the room. Hunter sat on the couch, while Ash was standing along the side of the room with his arms crossed. The other brother, Kade, stood by the bar.

“I told them about our marriage,” Chase said.

Again, I looked at each of them to try to gauge their thoughts about it.

“How did Chase manage to convince you to walk down the aisle and commit yourself to an asshole?” Kade asked.

Chase scowled at Kade.

“He’s not always an asshole.” It was true, but the brothers found my comment funny and they all laughed.

Kade lifted his glass in a toast to Chase. “I like her. She’s a keeper.”

“You know, Chase, this is the type of thing there should be a party for.”

“We don’t need a party,” Chase said, continuing to stand close to me. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to keep me calm or protect me from his brothers. Then again, his brothers weren’t turning out to be as scary as I’d been led to believe they were.

“It makes sense to have a party,” Hunter said. “Sara needs to be introduced to everyone and most importantly, to meet Dad. Maybe if we all get along, he’ll drop his ridiculous stipulations.”

“For everyone but Chase. As the prodigal son, your stability as a married man and producing the next heir is important,” Kade said. “Thanks for taking one for the team, although I can see that it’s not a big hardship.”

“Shut the fuck up, Kade,” Chase lashed out. “Do you ever take anything seriously? Jesus, she’s standing right here and you’re talking about her like she’s a piece of meat.”

Kade went still, and Hunter stood.

“This marriage might be a business deal, but I won’t have you disrespecting Sara, or anyone in this company for that matter. Grow up Kade and learn some manners.”

Kade’s eyes were lethal as he calmly set his glass down.

“Alright, Chase, he gets the point,” Hunter said.

Kade looked at me. “I apologize if I offended you, Sara.”

I nodded, not sure what to say.

“Back to this party,” Ash said. “Regardless of how Dad responds, he needs to meet her, and she needs to be officially introduced as a Raven.”

“I agree,” Hunter said, looking more relaxed but still keeping an eye on Kade and Chase.

“I never turn down a chance to party,” Kade said, pouring himself another drink.

Chase turned to me. “What about you? Would you like a party?”

My instinct was to say no. I didn’t have much experience with parties where I came from. Coupled with the super-rich people Chase hung around with, I knew I’d stand out like a sore thumb. However, this marriage was about helping Chase, and as such I needed to be a supportive wife.

“Whatever you think is best.”

“Don’t give up your power, Sara,” Kade said from the bar. “Or Chase will boss you around forever.”

“I know a guy that can pull off a party quickly,” Hunter said.

“You know a guy for everything,” Kade quipped, and I wondered if he was getting drunk.

“That’s right, Kade. I know a guy that can make annoying little prick brothers disappear too.”

“Oh my,” I said under my breath.

“Okay, enough,” Chase snapped.

“We can have it at the club,” Ash said. “Hunter you can send your guy over. We should plan for it to happen soon.”

“I agree. We need to get ahead of this before the press or some gossip rag gets a hold of the story. We don’t want them printing something we don’t like, especially in light of what happened today,” Hunter said.

I bit my lip as I worried Glen would do something to ruin the Raven family reputation.

“Yes, we don’t want them calling Sara a gold-digger even if she did marry for money,” Kade said.

He wasn’t wrong and yet in that moment I felt dirty.

“Get out,” Chase’s voice boomed.

“Jesus, Kade, what’s wrong with you?” Ash shook his head as if he didn’t know his little brother.

Kade held his hands up in surrender. “I’m out of here. Let me know about the party… if I’m still invited.”

“I’ll go take care of that other business,” Hunter said with a quick glance to me before nodding to Chase.

Two down, one to go, I thought as the brothers exited Chase’s office.

“I hope you know what you’re doing,” Ash said, although I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me or Chase. He didn’t wait for a response and instead left.

Chase turned me to him, his hands rubbing my arms. “You okay?”

I blew out a breath. “I feel like I was hit by a train.”

“They won’t hurt you, Sara. Kade is an asshole and I’ll work to make him be more respectful—”

“He wasn’t wrong, Chase.”

“I don’t care. I suspect you’re now wondering what the hell you signed up for. My offer stands. If you don’t want to stay in the family, you can leave.”

I pulled away. “I told you, I won’t leave my baby. If I have to put up with all you guys acting like children, I’ll do it.”

Chase’s lips twitched upward in amusement. “It’s a lot to ask.”

“Yeah, well I’ve put up with more.”

His amused expression dropped. “I’ll take care of your ex as well.”

God, just what I needed. “Hunter scared him off, Chase. Let it go.” I had more important things to think about. Like how was I going to become a proper wife to a tycoon within a week so that I didn’t royally fuck up and embarrass the entire Raven family.

“I won’t let it go, Sara. I protect what’s mine.”

On the one hand, I liked that he considered me his. The problem was, I was his as a business investment, not out of love. The other side of that was that I was a person, not an object. I was my own person.

“That sounds like something Glen would say.”

Chase’s eyes went dark. “Don’t ever compare me to him.” His tone was lethal but it didn’t scare me, which was strange. “I don’t hit women or grab them, and I definitely won’t try to keep one around that doesn’t want to be with me. The door is there, Sara, as I’ve told you multiple times.”

“I don’t think you’re like him, but you don’t own me.”

“Ten million dollars says I do.” Then he swore and turned away as if he realized what he just said. He turned back. “I don’t own you. We have a deal. Part of that deal is keeping you safe and secure. It’s something I’d do for anyone I was working with. If Alex had a stalker, you bet we’d take care of it.”

How strange that he’d say the words that were more accepting to my feminist sensibilities, but at the same time reminded me I was simply a business deal.

“I just don’t think you need to do anything. Glen is all bark and no bite.”

“Grabbing you in the street doesn’t seem like just bark.”

He was right about that. “But now that he knows I’m working here, I think he’ll move on.”

“Just in case, I want you to keep in touch with me. Let me know when you leave the apartment.”

A feeling of dread filled me. “I won’t be controlled Chase,” I said in desperation. “I’m in New York to get away from that.”

He cocked his head to the side. “I don’t want to control you, Sara. I want to keep you safe. You’re free to do what you want, but someone needs to know about it in case you ex shows up again. I don’t think that’s unreasonable considering what happened today, do you?”

I couldn’t help but think that if I gave in on this, eventually, I’d have to give in on more. At the same time, he had a point. And it was possible I was carrying his child, which gave him even more right to want to know what I was up to.

“Fine. I’ll keep you informed when I leave.” Wanting to move onto a new topic I said, “I’m more concerned about this party.”

“Why?” He led me to the couch and motioned me to sit. He sat next to me.

“Because I’m new to this world. I don’t know about all the protocols. What if I use the wrong fork?”

He laughed, which I didn’t appreciate. “Sara, it’s at a club, not a sit-down meal. Surely you’ve been to a club.”

I stared at him. “Why would you say that? I’m nineteen for one, and too young. The only time I’ve been to a club was with you.”

He sighed. “I forget how young you are.”

“It’s the boobs and hips,” I quipped.

“You look lovely in that dress by the way. It makes you seem older.” He surprised me by taking my hand. “The rich are just people. Yes, some are conceited or pretentious but you’re as smart and interesting as any of them.”

“They’ll be like Kade, accusing me of being a gold-digger.” I looked down. “Which I suppose I am.”

“If I remember correctly, this deal was my idea. More than that, no one would dare accuse you of that in front of me.”

I looked at him. “Kade did.”

“Kade is a fucking asshole. He’s probably pissed he didn’t think of this plan with you for himself. He’s closer to your age. It would have been a better match.”

I shook my head. “I don’t think he likes me.”

“Kade doesn’t like anyone. I’m not quite sure where it comes from, but you can’t take it personally. I actually think he does like you. It’s me he doesn’t like.”

“What will your father think?”

Chase let go of my hand and stood, walking to his bar. The fact that he needed a drink didn’t bode well. “I think he’ll be suspicious of our marriage, and if so, will take it out on me. I think he’ll be fine with you.”

“But you’re not sure?” I asked.

“He’s changed the rules on us, so I can’t be sure of anything with him.” He looked at me after taking a sip of whatever he poured. “But like with Glen, I’ll protect you, Sara. You can count on that.”

I stood, ready to be done with all this for the day. “I came here to see if you want to have lunch with me, but all of a sudden I’m not hungry?”

“Do you feel ill? Could you be pregnant?”

“I feel exhausted from all the testosterone.”

Chase let out a hearty laugh. Like the last time, it felt like a true expression from a man who was normally guarded and in control. “I apologize for that. How about we go to the deli around the corner. Then James can take you home.”

I nodded. “I like deli food.”

He walked up to me and again put his hands on my arms and rubbed them. “It’s going to be okay. I promise.” Then he shocked me by leaning forward and giving me a quick kiss on the lips.

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