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Chapter 8

“You’re married, you idiot!” He shouts, throwing his hands up in the air. “You can’t marry Hollie if you’re already married. Take Shayla to your grandfather, introduce her as your wife, problem solved.”

Oh. Why didn’t I think of this? I am married.

I frown. “You mean, we stay married?” Josh nods, widening his blue eyes. “She wouldn’t agree, why would she want to stay married?”

Josh throws a cushion at me. “Because you’re Tristan Cole Hoult, that’s why. You’re the most sought-after bachelor in the country—after me, of course.” He says in jest, and I throw the cushion back at him.

I roll my eyes exasperated. “Fuck you, arsehole.” Josh catches the cushion and rests his elbow on it, grinning. “She doesn’t care about any of that. She’s nothing like the rest; my fame and money didn’t deter her one bit.”

“Sound chick. Just tell her the truth, maybe you’ll appeal to her good nature, and she’ll pity you and agree to help. If that fails, offer her a pay-out, a couple of mill, like a bearding service.”

I rub my hands over my face with a heavy sigh. “That sounds rather crude.”

“Would you rather marry Hollie?” I shake my head and fall back against the sofa.

“Fuck no.” I curse looking at the beer bottle in my had. “Least Shayla’s fun to be around, I'd much rather be stuck married to her.”

“Just ask her.” He states taking a swig of his beer. “Worse case she’ll say no.”

“Oh, she will absolutely say no. She’s feisty and stubborn as hell.” I mutter tapping the neck of the bottle thoughtfully. Can’t hurt to ask. Like Josh said, maybe she will feel sorry for me and help me. Perhaps I could give her a raise? And I’d prefer to be married to Shayla than Hollie, at least she’s amusing to be around. She cracks me up throughout the day.

“Feisty, huh?” Josh intones, raising his brows with intrigue. “Good in the sack?”

I bite my bottom lip recalling our passionate night together. “Oh, definitely,” I murmur.

I sigh, feeling relieved. I hadn’t realized how much this marriage arrangement was weighing me down.

I leave Josh’s place and head home. I had a big day ahead of me the following day, and I needed to get my shit together before the presentation.

The next morning, I sat waiting for Shayla outside her apartment building. I’d been waiting fifteen minutes, and she’s yet to come down. Women. I will never understand why they take a year to get ready for everything. I honk my horn impatiently, just as she pushes the door open and walks toward the car. I let my eyes wander over as she approaches me. That tight, black, pencil skirt and red satin blouse she’s wearing are hugging her in all the right places. Her dark tresses cascading down her back in beach waves, just like the night we met.

“Jesus, keep your hair on. You’ll wake the neighbours.” She grumbles as she gets into the car. I’m not proud of this, but my eyes instantly drift to her skirt which rides up to her mid-thigh when she sits, and I find myself checking out her shapely legs. I have a sudden flashback of our night together in Vegas, those legs wrapped around me as she drew me into her deeper.

“Cole.”

I blink snapping out of my thoughts and look at her through my shades. “Hm?”

She looks at me with a frown, “Are we going or are we just going to sit here? You were just rushing me a moment ago?”

“Yes, we’re going,” I say, pulling away into traffic. “How are you? Did you manage to sort out tires?”

Shayla glances at me and shrugs, “Yes. Someone will be coming to fit new ones later this evening.” She explains, and I nod. “Thank you for offering to help. I was in a sour mood. I hope I didn’t come off rude.” She looks over at me, and I shake my head.

“Not at all,” I wave off her apology. “Honestly it would have been pissed me off too if someone stole all the tires off my car. Did you report it?” Shayla shakes her head, and I frown, “Why not?”

She sighs, looking out the window, “What’s the point? It’s hardly the crime of the year, is it? It’s inconvenient sure, but I think the police have much bigger cases that require their attention than my stolen tires.” I smile, shaking my head.

“That’s one way to look at it.”

Shayla sighs brushing her hair away from her pretty face, “Nothing seems to be going right for me at the moment, it truly is bizarre.”

I smile and glance at her before I look at the road again. “Oh, I’ve been there. But you should always try and stay positive because you never know when your luck might change.” Shayla looks at me briefly and nods. “Might be sooner than you think.”

“I doubt that.” She utters, her voice an octave over a whisper. The rest of the twenty-five-minute journey to the lawyer’s office, we spent reviewing my work schedule.

“Your two-thirty meeting got pushed back by fifteen minutes. Mr Cohen’s flight got delayed from Belgium; his driver dropped me an email earlier.” I nod as we walk into the office and Franc— our lawyer greets us.

“Morning, Mr Hoult, Mrs Hoult,” I observe Shayla’s reaction when Franc called her by her married name. She smiles tightly and takes his offered hand and sits at the table. “Okay, Mr Hoult I have drawn up the papers for the divorce. All I need are your signatures, and I can get it processed.” Shayla nods and picks up her pen and signs the papers. She holds the pen out to me, and I take it and stare at the paperwork in front of me.

“Cole?” I lift my gaze and look at Shayla. “Sign the papers.”

“Franc, will you leave us a moment, please?” Shayla watches as he stands up and leaves the room before she looks at me again.

“What’s wrong?” She questions eyeing me warily.

“Shayla. I have a proposition for you.”

Her frown deepens, “A proposition?”

I nod slowly and hold her gaze, “Yes, a proposition.”

“Okay…”

“What if we don’t get a divorce?” I suggest, and she stares at me blankly and then laughs suddenly.

“Hilarious, Cole. Stop screwing around and sign the papers so we can get out of here.” When I make no move to sign the papers, her smile fades slowly. “You’re not—wait, are you serious?!”

“Very.”

“Very? Very what, Cole? We agreed to get a divorce. What are you talking about?” She exclaims, rising from her seat.

I sigh and put the pen down and watch her as she glares daggers at me. “I’m only suggesting we stay married for a little while longer.”

Shayla stops pacing and looks down at me angrily, “And I’m suggesting we get a divorce—right now.”

“Shayla, just listen to me for a second. I’m stuck in an impossible situation, and I need your help.” I explain, and her gaze softens a little. “My Dad, he’s forcing me to marry someone I don’t love in exchange for his and my grandfather’s shares to the company.” I sigh and stand up. “My grandfather has a terminal illness and doesn’t have long to live. His dying wish is to see his firstborn grandchild married before he dies. If I don’t, he will give his shares to my cousin Harry who is an absolute goon and will fuck up everything I’ve worked so hard to achieve at the company.”

Shayla shakes her head. “Cole, have you lost your mind? You’re talking about lying to your family. To a dying man. Absolutely not.”

“I can’t marry Hollie. She’s just not the type of girl I see myself settling down with. She’s not for me.” I explain, and she shrugs indifferently.

“How is that any different to what we did? We don’t exactly get along either. Just marry her, get your shares then divorce her.” I sigh and shake my head, frustrated.

“Shayla, you don’t get it. This girl has been obsessed with me since we were ten years old, do you think she’s going to divorce me after waiting years to tie me down. No fucking chance,”

“Cole, listen to what you’re asking of me? You’re asking me to stay married to you, to lie and scheme. I don’t even know you.” She declares pacing again. I grab hold of her arm and draw her toward me.

“I’ll pay you.” I blurt out.

Shayla’s green eyes grow wide, and if looks could kill, I’d be buried six feet under right about now. “You’ll what?” She grits annoyance evident in her tone. “If you think just because I slept with you, I now owe you something; you’re sorely mistaken. Screw you and your job, you arrogant pig.” She hisses vehemently and rips her arm from my hold.

“No! Christ, Shayla, it's not like that. Think of it as a business arrangement. Name your price; money is no object.” Shayla steps back with an appalled look on her face. A glimpse of hurt flickers in her eyes before its replaced with anger again.

“Who the hell do you think you are?! I’m sorry to disappoint you, Mr Hoult, but I am not for sale! Your money can get you a lot of things but not me.” She tries to sidestep me, but I block her path. “Get out of my way.” She spits furiously.

“Jesus, Shayla, please just to listen to me. I’m not trying to buy you, and the last thing I’d ever want to do is insult you.” I explain and sigh dejectedly. “I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t desperate. You’re my only hope out of this arranged marriage.” I say pleadingly, and she licks her lips and brushes her fingers through her hair, still fuming. “I know you need the money. You’ve got outstanding debts on your student loans.” She spins and glares at me. “It came up in your background check. You can pay those off and finish your degree. Let me help you.”

“I don’t want your help! There are a million girls out there who would marry you without a second thought, go pick one of them.” She says snatching up her blazer and purse.

“I don’t want them.” Shayla rolls her eyes and tries to push past me to leave, but I stop her. “I want you.” She lifts her gaze slowly, and our eyes meet.

“Tristan?” We both jump apart when I hear my name. I turn and see my Dad standing there. Fuck.

“Dad?”

“What is going on here?” He asks looking between Shayla and me sceptically. “What's with the shouting?” Shayla looks at me and straightens her skirt. “What are you both doing here?” I look over at Shayla, and I’m not sure what came over me, but I wrap an arm around her waist and pull her up against me.

“Dad, I’d like you to officially meet my wife…Shayla.”

Comments (87)
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Carmen Moambing
Wow, just great
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Norhanie Naga
Good but it keeps me hanging why not make it free ...
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ps23k
loving each chapter! good read so far!
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