Home > Bad Engagement (Billionaire's Club #10)

Bad Engagement (Billionaire's Club #10)
Author: Elise Faber

One

 

 

Kate


Disgusted, she walked out of the bakery.

Mostly with herself for being jealous of the clearly happy couple.

Although, partly because they were so ridiculously happy. Come on. Who looked into each other’s eyes with such devotion and joy while getting married in a freaking bakery with mostly strangers looking on?

No white dress or cake—counterintuitive as that sounded, considering they were getting married in a freaking bakery.

No flowers, which would be Kate’s weakness because she loved gardening and arranging flowers, having spent most of her extra money on sprucing up her back yard.

The inside might be a bit of a disaster.

But the back yard was a lush, gorgeous retreat.

Not that it mattered because she didn’t have anyone to share it with. Least of all, a gorgeous hunk of a man who stared at her with love in his eyes and tenderness in his smile.

Yes, she was bitter.

So, it was the perfect time for her cell to ring, her mother on the line.

Deal with the torture now? Or wait until it frothed to full power later?

She was already cranky and jaded and in a bad mood, so she might as well deal with her loving, but very nosy and interfering mother now. No sense in wasting a good mood later.

Because there would be a later.

Her mother loved her, that was never in doubt. What could possibly be questioned was the amount of attention she gave to her grown children’s lives.

Attention that was now squarely focused on Kate.

On the fact that she was single when her two younger siblings were happily married, and her younger sister had recently popped out a kid.

Impressive. Beautiful—which she knew because she’d been in the delivery room.

But also . . . not her.

Hence, the increase in motherly calling.

Sighing, Kate swiped a finger across the screen and put her phone to her ear. “Hey, Mom.”

“I’ve got the perfect man for you to bring to the Christmas party. He’s a doctor and . . .”

Her mother continued talking, expounding on all of the wonderfulness that was this doctor. The trouble was that Kate was done with being set up. Her family was great at finding their own soul mates, their own happily ever afters . . . unfortunately, that same ability didn’t extend to her.

Either by her or for her.

It never failed to end in disaster. Both for her and for her date.

So, as much as she longed to have a man she could call her own, one who’d call her his in return . . . she was taking a break from dating, from men, and most definitely from being set up.

“Mom,” she began. “I’m not actually—”

“He’s a doctor, isn’t bald, and can have a conversation about something other than himself, Katie,” her mother said. “He is a catch.”

Who would turn into the world’s worst asshole when he was around her.

Because that was her superpower.

Transforming seemingly wonderful men into lying, cheating, arrogant, self-centered, mansplaining, assholes.

And being that lightning didn’t tend to strike the same place multiple times, Kate had decided on a hiatus from the opposite sex. Some time to sort out what was happening inside of her to make everyone she dated turn into a jerk.

This wasn’t about all men on the planet being the bad guys, or her always picking wrong, or even about her family trying to set her up with a bunch of douche canoes. There was something wrong inside of her, something intrinsically wrong with the way she interacted with the men in her life.

So, a break.

Time to figure her shit out.

It was just . . . Christmas.

All of her family in one place. The huge party with the whole neighborhood. Everyone paired off and happy and gathering under the mistletoe her mother hung in each and every doorway.

And her.

Alone.

The pitying gazes plentiful.

Or worse . . . the copious conversations where all the happy people constantly threw every single male with half a brain cell in Kate’s direction.

My cousin is in town and fresh out of a relationship . . .

I have a coworker who’s new to the area. He’s looking for someone . . .

My ex-husband would be perfect for you—no really, he’s actually a great guy . . .

And more.

Kate just couldn’t take it, couldn’t stand the idea of another Christmas party at her parents’ house matched with someone who didn’t fit her, or worse, spending the entire extravaganza alone and in the corner, playing wallflower.

She wanted excitement.

She wanted someone who could be unequivocally hers.

She wanted someone who saw inside her and didn’t run off in a panic.

“. . . and Katie, love, he’s going to be at dinner this Friday so that you two can get to know each other better—”

Fucking hell.

Family dinner and the Christmas Extravaganza?

Please. God. No.

“Um, Mom—”

“Remember he’s got all his hair—”

“Actually, Mom. I’m kind of seeing—”

“And his stomach doesn’t hang over his belt—”

“That’s not—I don’t really care about that—”

“And he’s got the loveliest blue—”

“I’m engaged!” she screamed, cutting off her mother’s soliloquy of all things doctor, and successfully drawing the attention of random strangers on the sidewalk. Which was a hard thing to do in San Francisco—because it was San Francisco, and these streets had seen a lot of shit—but also could only further confirm that she’d screamed it like a complete and total lunatic.

Shrieking I’m engaged on street corners.

What every man wanted.

It was a wonder she was single.

“Katie?” her mom asked. “Did you say you’re engaged?”

No. No, she wasn’t. Not even close. She was on a break from anyone with a Y chromosome, mostly to save them from herself.

But also . . . there was joy in her mom’s tone.

Absolute joy that she had never heard directed at her. She’d heard it leveled toward her siblings. To her brother, when he’d announced he was proposing to Steph, who was really fucking cool and way too good for her brother—something he’d be the first to admit . . . because he was really fucking cool. She’d heard it expounded lavishly again at his wedding this last summer (during which Kate had spent her time fending off the worst setup of all setups, The Can’t Take No For An Answer Setup). And obviously, it had rung with crystal clarity in her ears when her sister had announced she was pregnant, and again after her adorable niece had been born.

But her mom had never given it to Kate.

Which was probably the reason she let the crazy keep rolling along instead of stopping the joy in its tracks with the truth.

Why instead of saying, “No, Mom. You heard wrong,” she said, “Yes, I am, and you’ll get to meet him Friday at dinner.”

Horror flowed through her as intensely as her mother’s excitement poured through the airwaves, expressing her joy at meeting him, her joy at Kate having finally found a slice of her own happy.

“What’s his name, honey?”

Oh fuck.

“What’s that?” Kate asked, panic swarming to overtake horror. “You’re breaking up.”

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