The Millionaire's Unexpected Proposal

By: Jane Peden

After a sleepless night, she’d decided to tell Sam everything and ask for his advice. She had foolishly believed he might help her think of another solution. But before she’d been able to confide in him about her plans, plans she desperately wanted not to go through with, he’d cut her off, discarded her like a stray poker chip left on a table by a vacation gambler returning to his real life. So she’d married Danny, completing her end of what began as nothing more than a business proposition.

“As a matter of fact, I got married a week after you left,” she said, meeting his eye and lifting her chin. She was not going to feel guilty when he was the one who had walked away from her. And when the decision she’d made had been to put her sister, Olivia, above all else.

“Well. Then it seems you already have a husband.”

“Not anymore. That’s why I’m here.”

“I don’t handle divorces.”

This wasn’t going at all the way she’d planned. To be honest, she hadn’t really had a plan. She’d headed for his office and thought she’d just figure out the best approach once she got there. But the man sitting across the desk from her wasn’t the same man at all that she had known in Las Vegas. That Sam had had been cocky and sure of himself, but approachable. This Sam, measuring her with steely eyes, exuded power and control. It would be much harder than she’d expected to get him to understand and to agree with her proposal. “I don’t need a divorce lawyer, Sam.” She leaned forward. “What I need is for you—”

He cut her off. “To marry you. So you said.”

“For you to listen,” she finished.

“Camilla, it was…interesting…seeing you again, but unless you have a serious legal matter to consult me on, you need to leave. Now.”

He was looking at her like he thought she’d lost her mind, and she realized it probably seemed that way.

“Look,” he said, “if you had called and made an appointment—”

“I didn’t think you’d take my call. Why would it be any different than last time?”

He looked genuinely perplexed. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He didn’t even remember not returning her phone calls? It had been more than four years since she’d last tried to contact him. But Camilla remembered it very clearly.

She took a deep breath. “I’m here now. Just let me explain.”

He glanced at his watch. “You have two minutes. I’m finishing a trial tomorrow, and I don’t have time for games.”

“Meet me tomorrow then. After you get out of court.”

“Why should I do that?”

He was so formidable. She searched his face for a trace of the warmth she’d been drawn to five years ago, but couldn’t find it. She just saw someone who got what he wanted through ruthless determination. She felt herself shudder.

“I can’t—it’s too much to explain. Have dinner with me tomorrow night and I’ll explain everything.”

He seemed to consider for a few moments and she held her breath. In the sleepless nights she’d spent deciding whether or not to come see him, the one thing she’d never considered was that he might dismiss her without even hearing her out.

Finally, he nodded. “All right. Give me your number and I’ll call you when I get out of court. It may be late.”

She let her breath out slowly.

“That’s fine. I’m not going anywhere.”

If there was one thing Sam was good at, it was compartmentalizing his life, locking problems away to be dealt with later, so that he could focus clearly on the matter at hand. It had gotten him through a rocky childhood and served him well in his chosen career.

When he faced the jury, no other thought intruded on his impassioned plea for justice for his client—now a paraplegic thanks to a reckless driver who’d been too busy drinking coffee and texting at fifty miles per hour to notice the red light. Or the compact car coming through the intersection, and the promising high school basketball player in the passenger seat who was now never going to walk again. The driver herself didn’t have any money, but the insurance company was sure as hell going to pay every penny of the policy limits. His client’s mother sobbed quietly in the background as Sam wrapped up his closing argument.

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