Home > Her Forever Hero (Unexpected Heroes #3)(6)

Her Forever Hero (Unexpected Heroes #3)(6)
Author: Melody Anne

“I don’t know what all of this attitude is about. I already told Olivia that you were free and would love to plan her daughter’s wedding. Do not disappoint me.”

“You think you can tell me what to do? Really, Mother. You had a lot more pull before I found you all hot and heavy, panting up a storm while riding the man who raped me.”

Victoria almost choked. Her eyes darted around, and her shoulders only loosened up the smallest amount when she felt assured that no one was paying attention. Before she could vent her outrage, the server interrupted to take their order.

Grace sat back and watched in irritation as her mother ordered for both of them. Normally, Grace would call her on this, but she wasn’t going to get in a public fight over food. Old grudges, maybe, but not food.

When they were alone again, Victoria looked at her with so much ice in her eyes, Grace waited to be frozen. Neither said anything for a few tense moments. Grace wasn’t about to break the silence.

“You worthless, ungrateful little brat. I ruined my perfect body to give birth to you, raised you with everything you could have ever asked for and then some, and you even got a generous trust fund from your grandparents. I will not sit here and have you throw the past in my face. You will do this wedding or I will destroy the reputation you’ve built in your event-planning business. There is no way I want Edwin and Olivia to guess that my daughter is a spiteful little bitch.”

She said all of that without her expression altering.

“When did you become this bitter, cruel woman?” Grace asked, sitting back, not offended in the least by her mother’s words. She would have to care about her mom for the words to actually hurt her.

“I became what I had to in order to survive. You’re doing the same thing, precious little Grace. You think you’re so much better than me. I see it in your eyes every time you look at me. But just remember that you won’t be young and beautiful forever. Pretty soon, the lines will start showing up around your eyes, and then—joy of all joys—you’ll discover that gravity is a real bitch. You aren’t any better than I am.”

“I won’t need to get a hundred surgeries trying to look twenty when I’m past forty,” Grace replied evenly. “I’m not vain like you. I don’t care if my body ages naturally. That just means that I’ve lived my life.”

“Whatever, Grace. It’s easy to say that now while you’re still young. But I won’t discuss that anymore. I came here for one reason and one reason only.”

“I’m not doing the party,” Grace said, determined.

“You will do this wedding, and you’ll do it because you actually care about your pitiful career,” Victoria said.

Grace sat there silently for a few moments while she counted to a hundred. Her mother was likewise silent, and once their meal had been set before them, Victoria began to eat as if nothing were wrong.

Her mother was correct. Grace did care about her career. She’d begun her own event-planning business, and as much as she despised her mother, she also knew the weight the woman pulled in the circles that could afford to hire an event planner.

Grace scooted her food around on her plate, unable to take even a single bite. Is this what her life had come down to? Ultimatums and sacrifice? It seemed that every which way she turned, someone wanted something from her—something she wasn’t able to give, or something that required her to give too much.

“Fine. I’ll plan Kitty’s wedding. But don’t for one moment think this is going to bond us,” Grace said, no emotion in her voice.

“Don’t worry, darling. I don’t want that, either. I’m done raising you. I will have Kitty call you right away.”

Victoria stood and walked away, leaving her daughter to pay the bill. Grace would bet her entire trust fund that her mother had never paid a check in her life. She actually believed her presence was worth paying for.

Before Grace had a chance to get up and abandon her lunch, which was now too cold to eat, someone plopped down on the opposite side of the table. How rude.

“What are you doing in Billings? Making a bank run?”

What in the world? Grace looked across the table at Cam, not knowing what to say.

“What in the world are you talking about, Cam? And what are you doing here? Did you follow me?” Without giving him a chance to answer, she continued, “You know what? Never mind. I didn’t invite you to join me, much less to have a conversation with me, so don’t answer, just leave.”

Cam said nothing for a few heartbeats, but she didn’t understand why he looked unhappy. He was the intruder, so if anyone should be in a snit, it should be her. And she wasn’t happy, either. So if a fight was what he was looking for, then a fight was what he would get.

“Why are you all the way over here in Billings?” Cam asked.

“What in the hell business is it of yours where I am, Cam? The last time I looked, I didn’t have to check in with anyone about where I go.”

“You’re right,” he said, immediately backing off a bit. “It’s just that your case has me flustered and I’ve been trying to get you to see the importance of it and talk to me.”

“And I’ve told you that it’s not my case. If I hire an attorney on the basis of this information, then it will look like I’m guilty. Is that what you want? Do you want me to spend time behind bars?”

“That’s not how the law works, Grace. They don’t excuse you if you play dumb and pretend to know nothing.”

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