Alpha Billionaire's Bride, Part ThreeBy: Mia Caldwell
“I’M SO SORRY,” MARINA SAID, looking at Jada with big dark eyes begging for forgiveness.
Jada knew the difference between Marina’s exaggerated remorse and when she was being sincere. This was Marina at her most sincere.
Jada stood up. “Whatever it is, I don’t want to know. Tell me Tuesday.”
Marina’s mouth fell open, then snapped shut again. “You can’t be serious.”
“I am. I want to have a great time for the rest of this weekend. I’ll face whatever terrible thing you’ve done on Tuesday, when the courthouse opens, and everyone finds out everything anyway.” Jada marched out of the dressing room and flung open the double doors to the balcony.
She stood in the doorway and inhaled a deep breath of fresh, country air. It was sweet with the afternoon-heated scents of forest, wild grasses, and earthy lake. “I’m going to enjoy this while I can. You know what?”
Marina looked at her askance and shook her head.
Jada raised her chin. “I’m going to sleep with Ian, that’s what.”
“Uh, okay. I wouldn’t—”
“Don’t tell me what you wouldn’t do. Clearly, there’s nothing you wouldn’t do.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You know. And you’re not going to tell me what you actually have done until Tuesday, after I’ve lived the good life, after I’ve slept with the sexiest billionaire on the planet at least once (preferably several times), and after I’ve eaten every pastry Mrs. Best can bake. I’m going to do that because, hey, it’s all over on Tuesday, isn’t it? All of this. And all of my old life where I had a career and a future. All over.”
“I understand that you’re mad, but you’re exaggerating.”
Jada glared at her sister. “Oh, forgive me. I’m a little stressed. Perhaps you could back off and give me a break!”
Marina flinched. “This won’t work. You can’t pretend I didn’t say anything. However, you should definitely sleep with Ian no matter what. That’s actually a good plan. The pastries too. I’ll help—with the pastries, not Ian.”
“Don’t try to be funny. I’m in no mood.” Jada stomped toward the huge walk-in closet, her hand closing on the doorknob and pulling it slightly open. “You can leave now. I’m going to be busy picking out the perfect lingerie to seduce Ian tonight.”
Marina stared at her, hard. “You’ve left me no choice. I’m saying it.”
“Don’t you say it! Don’t!”
“I have to.” In a rush, Marina blurted, “I’m the one who leaked the story about you and Ian to CGTV.”
The words skewered through Jada’s chest. She held onto the doorknob with a vice-like grip, using it to anchor her in place. It couldn’t be true. Marina hadn’t ... wouldn’t—
“Did you hear me?” Marina asked. “I said I’m the one who leaked the story about your marriage to CGTV.”
Jada swiveled on her. “I heard, dammit. And now you’ve ruined everything.”
Marina’s eyes filled with unshed tears. “I know. I’m so sorry, Jada. I didn’t know—”
Jada cut her off with a chopping motion, and hardly felt her feet hitting the plush carpet as she stalked to the bedroom door and locked it with unnecessary force. “The last thing I need right now is someone overhearing you.” She headed to her favorite wingback chair and dropped into its cushy depths with the regret that comes from knowing she’d probably never sit in it again.
“Jada?” Marina asked. “Are you okay?”
“Sure. I’m just wondering how long it will take us to walk back to Springers Glen. I’m pretty sure Ian won’t be offering us his helicopter, or even a lift in a car, not after he hears what you’ve done.”
Marina rushed over and sat across from Jada. “You can’t tell him! Oh God, Jada. You seriously cannot tell Ian about this. Promise me you won’t.”
“If I don’t tell him now, then I’m a liar, Marina. I think one liar in this family is enough, don’t you?”