The Villain

Page 33

I curved an eyebrow.

I didn’t tell Devon Andrew was back. I did not want anyone making the mistake of thinking I cared. Plus, I paid people enough to keep track of what was happening around me.

“He’s the new CEO of Green Living,” Devon filled me in. When he realized I wasn’t surprised, he frowned. “Bollocks. But you already knew that. When were you going to tell me?”

“I wasn’t. It’s your job to keep yourself informed. I’m not your secretary.”

“Could have fooled me. You’d look ravishing in a pencil skirt.” Hunter snapped his jaw in a biting motion, contributing absolutely nothing to the conversation, as per usual.

“Andrew spent the morning hopping from one morning show to the other,” Devon pointed out. “He’s cooking something up.”

“No doubt,” I agreed.

“Is Sam on the case?” Hunter asked. My baby brother had no idea who Arrowsmith was or what history we shared. But like all Fitzpatricks, he could smell trouble from miles away and had the natural-born killer instinct to squash it.

“Not yet.” I glanced at my watch. “I want him to make the first move. See what he’s got before I destroy him.”

My PA knocked on the door. She entered gingerly, wearing a hot pink blazer over what looked like a bra, her platinum hair reaching her calves.

“Mr. Fitzpatrick?”

“Ms. Brandt. Is it Halloween?”

She sloped her head in confusion. “No.”

“Then don’t dress like it. What do you want?” I laced my fingers together.

She blushed, clearing her throat. I had to admit Persephone had a point. Casey looked like a corporate secretary like I looked like a One Direction dropout.

“Sorry to interrupt, it’s just that you haven’t answered my last six emails regarding the engagement and wedding rings.”

The rings.

I had to choose wedding and engagement rings. Naturally, I had more pressing issues to deal with, such as Andrew Arrowsmith and finding a new edgeless pool for my Palm Spring property.

I speared my brother with a glare.

“What kind of diamonds does she like?”

“How the fuck should I know?” Hunter laughed. “I hang out with the chick. I don’t choose pantyhose and earrings with her at Bloomingdale’s.”

“Ask your wife.”

“Ask your fiancée,” he countered, kicking my shin under the desk.

“That would require me to talk to her.” I pressed my foot over his, applying enough force to hear his toes crack. “I have no desire to do that.”

Hunter stared at me like I was clinically insane.

“How am I supposed to answer something like that?” He turned to Devon, waving a hand in my direction. “I can’t believe he’s marrying my wife’s best friend. What’s gonna happen if I have to murder him? Will representing me be a conflict of interest for you?”

“Yes,” Devon said simply, smoothing his tie. “Regardless, I don’t practice criminal law. Don’t like to get my hands dirty. May I make a suggestion?”

“No,” I said, at the same time Hunter crowed, “For the love of God, please do.”

“Go with the most expensive option,” Devon instructed. “The answer to every question concerning a woman’s taste in jewelry is to go with the expensive option. Works like a charm every Christmas.” He snapped his fingers.

“Not with Persephone.” Hunter shook his head. “She’s picky and particular. Both Penrose sisters have strong personalities. That’s why they get along with my wife.”

He said that like it was a good thing. Christ.

Casey was shifting her weight from one impossible stiletto heel to the other, glancing among the three of us, waiting for an answer.

Deciding we’d spent enough time pondering the matter, I sealed the deal.

“Get all of them.”

“Sorry, sir?”

“The rings the jeweler has sent. Get her all of them. She can choose, alternate, gift some to her annoying friends, donate to charity, wipe her ass with them. I don’t care.”

“You mean buy her all eight rings the jeweler has flown here from Mumbai overnight?” She blinked, staring at me as though I grew an extra head and attempted to cover it with a decorative fruit bowl. “They cost half a million apiece.”

“And…?” I screwed my fingers into my eye sockets. Peopling was by far more exhausting than running a marathon.

“And nothing. It will be done, sir.”

With Stripper Barbie out of the way, I turned back to my brother and lawyer, ready to continue our conversation about Arrowsmith. They both glared at me with a look not much different than the one I saw on Ms. Brandt’s face.

“What now?” I barked.

“You could’ve just gone with any ring,” Devon muttered. “Yet you chose all of them.”

All and nothing were the same things. Essentially, I still didn’t make a choice.

“What’s your point?” I demanded.

“His point”—Hunter grinned, snatching his coffee from my desk and standing—“is that you, my dear brother, are about to get punched right in the feels. Bubble-wrap that black heart of yours because shit’s about to get real, and I’m going to grab a front-row seat when you finally realize you are not the soulless bastard you think you are.”

“Save me a place next to you.” Devon fist-bumped my brother.

I kicked them both out.


After a month of being ignored by the groom every time I called and texted him, I showed up to my wedding tucked in a black limo with Belle and Sailor in tow.

It was a surprisingly sunny day. Especially considering winter bled into spring, and the persistent rain refused to relent in what the local weathermen described as Boston’s longest and gloomiest winter to date.

Since I was the one doing all the planning, I made sure the wedding was tailored to my personality and preferences alone.

Despite the fact Aisling had told me Cillian hated fruit in his dessert, the cake was a six-tier chiffon sponge cake frosted with white chocolate and decorated with pomegranate. The venue was St. Luke’s, the Protestant church I’d attended since birth even though I knew Cillian was raised Irish Catholic.

I wore a sheath, pearl-hued gown and had enough hairspray to put a dent in the ozone layer. I felt ridiculously flammable and gave myself a mental memo not to get close to smokers and candles.

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