The Millionaire's Unexpected Proposal

By: Jane Peden

“Trust me, Liv. This is the only answer. It’ll be fine.”

“He’ll hate you.”

“Probably. It’ll only be for a year at most. Then we really will be able to start over.”



Olivia didn’t look convinced.

“Listen,” Camilla said. “I better get downstairs. I’m supposed to meet him at the restaurant, and he’s probably on his way here now.”

There was a knock at the door and they both jumped guiltily.

“Do you think…”

Camilla shook her head. “He doesn’t know what room we’re in.” She peeked through the eyehole in the door, then looked at Olivia. “I guess he found out.”

Camilla opened the door and tried to slip out into the hallway, but Sam blocked the door from closing.

“Aren’t you going to invite me in, Camilla?”

“No, I’m ready to go down…” Even with heels on, she had to tilt her head up to look in his eyes. She’d forgotten how tall he was. His shoulders seem broader now that she was so close to him, and he had an air of confidence that bordered on arrogance. He exuded a kind of casual power that seemed just as intimidating standing in a hotel hallway as it had been sitting behind the desk in his opulent office.

“Who’s in the room with you?” He took hold of her elbow lightly. “Your lover? I want to know exactly what’s going on here, and I don’t think you want to have this conversation in the hallway.”

She stepped back and let him in the door.

Whatever he’d been expecting, it wasn’t to see a teenage girl sitting on the bed.

“This is my sister, Olivia. Livvy, this is Sam Flanagan.”


Sam felt a little foolish.

The girl was staring at him like he was some sort of fascinating other species. She looked over at Camilla. “Oh my God, Cam. You didn’t tell me he looked exactly like—”


“Sorry.” She silently studied Sam another ten seconds or so, then shrugged.

“Are you satisfied? Can we go to dinner now?” Camilla started toward the door.

Olivia looked back down at her book, something ghoulish with vampires on the cover from what Sam could see of it, and gave every appearance of tuning the adults out.

“Maybe it would be better to talk in the restaurant,” Sam allowed.

“Yes, let’s do that.”

They were almost out the door when another voice interrupted them.


Sam jerked his head around. The connecting door opened and a small boy walked out, rubbing his eyes and clutching a tattered teddy bear.

“I thought you were asleep, honey,” Camilla said, hurrying over and bending down to give him a hug. She brushed a wavy lock of black hair back from his forehead, and Sam felt something clench in his gut. The little boy looked up then, staring at him with Camilla’s brilliantly blue eyes.

“Who are you?”

“That’s Sam, honey. He’s an…old friend of Mommy’s.” She looked over at Sam. “Sam, this is my son, JD.”

Sam just stared. Was it possible? Of course it was. But for the eyes, he was staring at a mirror image of himself as a child.

“I’m sorry, just let me get JD settled back into bed.”

“Not quite yet,” Sam said, walking over and crouching down in front of the boy, who leaned back against his mother, but kept his eyes on Sam’s face.

“Where’s your daddy, JD?” Sam asked softly, then regretted the question when the little boy’s lower lip began to tremble.

“Daddy had to go away,” JD said.

“That’s enough,” Camilla said sharply, looking at Sam as she pulled the little boy toward the other room. “JD, let’s get you back into bed.”

The little boy rubbed his eyes and held Camilla’s hand, walking with her back toward the bedroom. He paused when he got to the door and turned back to look at Sam.

“Daddy can’t live with us anymore. God needs him up in heaven,” he said solemnly, and Sam heard Camilla catch her breath before she looked back over her shoulder and gave Sam a look that said she wished he was the one who was dead.

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