“The only reason I prefer you to Minka is because if you die, the women in my life would be upset, and the one thing I dislike more than humans are distressed humans.”
“I don’t care what excuse you give yourself for marrying me,” she said plainly. “If we get married, we’ll be equal. At least, you’ll pretend we are.”
I popped my knuckles in succession.
She was pissing me off. That was a feeling, and I didn’t do those.
“Let me put this plainly.” I smiled politely. “I’m not going to stay celibate for months or even weeks.”
“You won’t have to. You’ll have a wife.”
She was so red at this point, I wondered if she was going to combust in my back seat. That would be a hassle to clean from the brand-new Escalade. Not to mention tricky to explain.
“No.” I felt my muscles tightening under my suit.
“I won’t sleep with you.”
“Because I don’t want to.”
“Because you don’t attract me,” I deadpanned.
I was no longer pissed off. I was sweating now, too. Why couldn’t I stick to my Minka plan? Persephone was my idea of hell. I couldn’t treat her with the same brashness I handled Sailor and Emmabelle because she was an innocent little thing like my sister, yet I had to remind her who was calling all the shots.
“How, pray tell, do you mean to impregnate me, if you don’t want to have sex with me?” She scowled, looking frustratingly adorable while doing so. “You are familiar with how babies come to be, right? Because none of the versions include a cabbage.”
I began scrolling through my phone, answering emails.
“I know how babies are made, Persephone. That’s why I bought a stork,” I said gravely.
She looked shocked for a second, before letting out a giggle. It was a cute giggle, too. Soft and throaty. If I had a heart—it would squeeze.
“I didn’t know you had a sense of humor, Kill.”
“I didn’t know you were so hard-pressed to get laid,” I volleyed back, still typing an email to Keith, aka Lord of the Sleep. “To answer your question, we’ll use IVF. You’ll be knocked up in no time, and we won’t have to know each other biblically.”
“What’s wrong with the Bible?” She eyed me.
“False advertisement.” I smirked sardonically. “God doesn’t exist.”
Physically wounded from my last comment, Persephone coiled in her side of the back seat. Apparently, she drew the line at God.
“I really ought to hate you.”
“Don’t bother. Hate is just love with fear and jealousy thrown into the mix.”
“Why me? Why not my sister?” She squared her shoulders, clutching onto the remainder of her defiance with bleeding fingernails.
Because she’s probably seen more dick than a train station urinal.
I’d broken many people in my life to know what they looked like a second before submitting.
Persephone was fully bent and on the verge of snapping.
Once broken, she’d be easy to reassemble to fit my lifestyle and needs.
“Because she possesses virtually all of the traits I despise in a person—from being eccentric, entitled, bigmouthed, and opinionated to simply being alive.”
“Yet you always ogle her.” The quietness in her voice left no room for doubt. Persephone didn’t like it when I looked at her sister.
“I looked at her because I didn’t want to look at you,” I grumbled.
“Why didn’t you want to look at me?”
Because you make my pulse beat faster, and that could ruin everything I’ve ever worked for.
I tossed my phone aside. What was I thinking, marrying this woman?
What was I thinking, putting my silly, unexplainable weakness in my path?
“Does it matter why I couldn’t look at you? I’m looking at you now, and I’ve come to terms with what I see. Speaking of your sister, she would have taken no longer than five minutes of negotiations and a quickie to convince. Yet you’re the one I chose.”
Flower Girl’s face twisted in abhorrence because she knew I was right. Emmabelle displayed the moral compass of a fortune cookie. On paper, she was a better match for my brash personality. In practice, however, Persephone was the one who kept my mind reeling.
“We’re done here. Email me your ring measurements.” I pressed the button to roll down the partition.
She held up a palm. “Two more conditions before I accept.”
My knee-jerk reaction was to advise her to take these conditions and shove them inside her pert little ass. But even I acknowledged that she was about to sign off her entire life to one of America’s most hated men. If she wanted a nice Hermès bag and new pair of tits as a wedding gift, I could accommodate that.
“One—I want us to conceive our children the old-fashioned way. I know you think it’s pitiful and pathetic of me, but I don’t care. I don’t want to go through IVF treatments. I don’t want to take someone else’s place in my quest for a baby before I tried the natural way. I know I’m not your taste, but if I come this far for you, it is only fair that you will…”
“Come inside you,” I finished for her. “Got it.”
I loathed the idea of sleeping with Persephone. The very concept of touching her made my skin crawl. Not because I didn’t find her attractive. The opposite was true. Ultimately, though, between impregnating her and having her killed, I preferred the former. Marginally.
“Your funeral,” I drawled. “I’m a notoriously selfish man, in bed and out of it. What’s the other condition?”
“No escorts until I conceive. You can’t hop in and out of my bed and still visit your European girlfriends.”
“Yes,” she mimicked my dry, indifferent tone. “When you need satisfaction, you will come to me. We’ll service each other until I fall pregnant.”
Her pink cheeks implied she was mortified by the situation, but she said those things anyway, which I couldn’t help but appreciate.
We were still driving around. I looked down at my Rolex and realized we’d been going back and forth for two and a half hours.