The Millionaire's Forever

By: Sonya Weiss

“Take a look at this.” Beth cleared a box of wedding tiaras from the top of the display case and put her tablet down. With a few swipes of her finger, she pulled up a news website.

In the middle of the screen was a video of a man proclaiming he was her boyfriend. Mr. Rich-Handsome-Thoughtful in the flesh. Olivia gaped. What nut would claim to be the boyfriend of a woman he didn’t know?

Except… She touched the screen. “That looks like…” She paused as her mind searched for the connection.

The door opened and as the bell sounded, Olivia turned, smoothing down the sides of the simple blue dress she wore as she also smoothed away her frown. She fixed a smile on her face, expecting to greet a customer.

Her smile quickly disappeared. The Boyfriend Proclaimer! He looked much hotter in person than he had on Beth’s small screen. He was tall, Olivia guessed about six foot two, and broad-shouldered with dark hair and thick lashes framing dark eyes. Eyes that stared into hers with a challenge she didn’t understand. He was so jump-his-bones, incredibly handsome. There was something familiar about him, but she couldn’t grasp it.

Beth scooped up her tablet, her eyes darting between them. “If you’re okay, I’ll be um…getting a coffee.” With a nod from Olivia, she quickly disappeared, leaving Olivia alone with the man. Her boyfriend, apparently.

Whoever he was, no matter how good he looked, she wasn’t about to let him screw up her life. She could do that on her own, thank you. “What in the hell do you think you’re doing pretending to be my boyfriend?” Olivia demanded.

His smile sizzled with a touch of mockery and a hint of sensuality that tugged at her only because her sex life had been in dry dock lately. No hands on deck, that was for sure.

“I’m helping you, Olivia,” he said in a voice rich with promise.

She stiffened at the familiarity. “I’m afraid I don’t understand, Mr.…?”

“Mason Parker.”

She gasped. This drop-dead gorgeous, make-her-think-wanton-thoughts man before her was the boy she’d never been able to forget? Why was he was telling people he was her boyfriend?

“Why are you using your middle name?” Her voice lost the ability to do anything other than to force the words out on a stunned breath. The last time she’d seen him, his eyes had seethed with anger and bitterness as the court deputies led him away.

He shrugged as if it didn’t matter, but she knew it did. His father had given him the name Cash after singing legend Johnny Cash. Olivia could still hear Mason’s father shouting that day in the courtroom that his son was dead to him now.

“I’ve gone by Mason since the day I was sentenced to the Butler Field Juvenile Correctional Facility.”

Though his hands clenched into fists, his cool tone didn’t give away any emotion. He’d always been like that. Never giving away his innermost thoughts, even at the sentencing when those who knew Mason, including her own father, angrily demanded justice for what he’d done.

She’d known Mason since freshman year of high school. They’d been distant friends, sharing a few classes together. They’d never had a lengthy conversation though she’d always wanted to. Wanted to get to know the boy who’d fascinated her. But the chance was lost because of that fateful night the fire had destroyed the police department. The fire everyone said Mason set. The fire had raged on to burn down two homes behind the police station, narrowly missing injuring one family before it was controlled. It had been the talk of the town.

Thanks to the one-too-many she’d had at a party hosted by some of the footfall players, she couldn’t recall much of anything about the night of the fire—just bits and pieces. Every time she tried to remember details of that night, something ominous hovered in the recesses of her mind that made her heart beat faster and caused her to feel uneasy.

“Why did you claim to be my boyfriend?” Olivia asked, more sharply than she intended. She found his presence unsettling and she didn’t like it. It reminded her too much of the days she’d spent caught between the hope her mother might get better and the fear she wouldn’t.

He leaned in closer, so close she caught a whiff of the mint on his breath, and this time, he didn’t bother with a smile. “You know exactly why.”

His nearness unleashed a barrage of desire in Olivia and she did her best to ignore it, but apparently not well enough, because her voice came out husky. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She crossed her arms to hide her traitorous body’s response to him.

Mason pulled a rolled-up magazine from his jacket pocket and dropped it onto the counter. He tapped the cover with the back of his knuckle. “Nice article about the beautiful, untouchable Olivia.” His lips curved slightly and Olivia shivered. When he was a teenager he’d had a reputation as the guy nobody wanted to cross. One hard look from him was enough to make any other boy back down.

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