Home > Faking Forever (First Wives #4)(14)

Faking Forever (First Wives #4)(14)
Author: Catherine Bybee

He’d liked that . . . once upon a time.

What happened?

He leaned over the railing of his balcony toward the party going on at the beach bar below.

People of all ages, families . . .

He heard laughter and found his eyes tracking the sound. Large-brimmed hats hid the features of two women sitting at the bar. They wore cover-ups over bathing suits. Long, tan legs peeped out from under the bar.

He liked long, tan legs.

What kind of asshole was he to think like that just days from when he was supposed to have gotten married?

He’d turned to walk away when he heard that laughter again.

A second look and Miss Tan Legs glanced around, exposing her face.

“What the . . . ?”

No way.

Chapter Nine

The bartender was cute, but not baby daddy cute, nor baby daddy tall. So since the man pouring the drinks was off the list, Shannon relaxed and enjoyed something fruity with coconut while Avery stuck to tequila.

After all, Avery had repeated several times, they were in Mexico.

It felt good to relax and have a friend close by who had no problem talking with complete strangers. Avery was all kinds of social diva. Where Shannon prided herself on the same task in the political, black-tie kind of events, Avery had the bar thing down.

Half-dressed and dripping in suntan lotion lowered all inhibitions. Or maybe that was the coconut thing Shannon was drinking.

The bartender was out, but the two men sitting next to them were both exceptionally good-looking and had all the right parts to give Shannon the baby she wanted. Except for the fact they were married . . . to each other.

Erasmo and Dylan were from Portugal. They were celebrating their two-year anniversary. Like most Europeans, they spoke English fluently.

“Who proposed to whom?” Shannon asked, her head more than a little buzzed from the sugar, rum, and heat.

Erasmo pointed a finger at his chest and Dylan softly smiled at his husband.

“He tries to be a hard-ass,” Dylan said, calling Erasmo out. “But inside he’s all mushy.”

Shannon had so many questions but kept her filter in place. She liked to think she had a diverse group of friends, but she didn’t know a happily married homosexual couple. Not personally, anyway.

Avery, on the other hand, had no filter. “How do you know which one of you is the one to ask?”

They turned to each other and laughed. “We get that question a lot,” Erasmo said. “I asked Dylan out after we met with a group of mutual friends, and we fell into that pattern.”

“Erasmo is more assertive than I am. It isn’t any different than any other relationship in this century.”

Shannon disagreed. “The hetero world still has the man asking the marriage question in the majority of relationships.”

“I would have asked if he hadn’t,” Dylan said. “Now we’re working on an adoption plan.”

Avery glanced at Shannon, paused, then smiled. “Adoption, huh?”

Shannon glared back. Adoption wasn’t an option . . . yet. She wanted the whole experience . . . and since she was a woman with a few fertile years left, she could get it. Or at least she thought she could. Not that she’d tried, and there was always a chance it didn’t happen.

“Oh, yeah. We love kids. What about you?” Dylan asked Avery.

“I can wait a little while. I just got married.”

“Liam doesn’t leave you alone,” Shannon reminded her friend.

“There are a lot of factors to getting pregnant. You should know that,” Avery teased.

“I’m aware.”

“Did you try with your ex?” Erasmo asked Shannon.

Shannon shook her head and sipped her drink. “Not at all. I could tell we weren’t going to last long.” Mainly because the contract she had with the man lasted two years, or less if he didn’t make the office. But that didn’t stop her from dreaming once their relationship became physical and she fell for the man.

“Ohhhh, something unpleasant just ran through your head,” Dylan said.

“You’re a mind reader?”

“Was he that bad?” he asked.

“Stop prying, Dylan.” Erasmo placed a hand on Dylan’s arm.

Shannon put her drink down. With a lack of information and facts, people made up their own minds about what the truth was. “He wasn’t bad, just not right for me. Coparenting would have made the breakup worse. So I’m glad it didn’t happen, even if I wanted kids.”

“You still have plenty of time. The right guy is out there,” Dylan offered.

Shannon tried not to smile at Avery, feeling as if by doing so she’d give away their ultimate goal for staying in Tulum.

Shannon felt an itch on the back of her head and turned to look behind her.

With purposeful strides, Victor Brooks walked straight toward her. “What is he doing here?”

“Who is that?” Avery asked, following her gaze.


“The asshole groom?” Avery smirked.

“What groom?” Dylan asked.

Victor moved closer.

Shannon waved off the question. “Tell you later.” Giving Victor a long look up and down, she determined the man truly hadn’t packed for the beach. Black pants, a short-sleeve dress shirt—unbuttoned—and loafers. “What are you doing here?” she asked when he was close enough to hear her.

“I wanted to ask you the same thing. You said you were leaving.”

“I did leave . . . the other hotel. What are you doing here?”

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m on my honeymoon.”

Dylan leaned forward. “Congratulations.”

Victor glanced up briefly. “I’m not married.”

“But you just said—”

“She left him at the altar,” Avery informed their new friends.

Victor glared at Avery. “Do I know you?”

She extended her hand. “Avery Holt.”

“I don’t know you.” Victor shook her hand, his eyes hard.

“I’m Shannon’s friend. She told me about the marriage mishap. Sorry ’bout that.”

“Right.” He released her hand, focused on Shannon. “So you go around telling everyone about my personal life?”

It was Shannon’s turn to squirm. She always prided herself on being professional, and being caught talking about a client smacked of indecency. There really were no words to excuse herself. But that didn’t stop her from trying. “I never thought I’d see you again. Or that Avery would put a face to my explanation of my weekend.”

Victor placed his hands behind his back, rocked on the heels of his loafers.

“I’m sorry.”

Avery shoved Shannon’s shoulder. “Oh my God, Shannon. What are you sorry about?” She turned her attention toward Victor. “I knew she was coming here to shoot a wedding. What would you expect her to say when I arrived and asked how it went? Lie?”

“You were really left at the altar?” Erasmo asked. “That’s rough.”

Victor continued to stare at Shannon.

Her eyes didn’t leave his . . . much as she wanted to crawl into a corner somewhere. The thought of people knowing her personal life, without her telling it, had her feeling sorry for him.

“Ease up.” Avery turned in her chair, almost blocking Shannon’s view of Victor’s quiet anger.

And the man wasn’t happy.

“What are you drinking?” Dylan asked in an obvious attempt to break the ice.

“I’m not.”

“That might be your problem,” Erasmo surmised.

Right before Shannon felt a second apology on her lips, Victor released a sigh. “Anything but mezcal. Seems I don’t tolerate that particular liquor very well.”

Shannon tried hard not to grin and failed.

“Don’t take this personally . . . but we need to take you shopping tomorrow. This office on the beach look thing isn’t working for you.”

Victor was pretty sure he was being insulted by a gay man he’d just met.

“I’m glad you said it,” Avery jumped in.

Shannon shrugged.

“Tell me you packed something appropriate for the sand.”

Victor blinked.

Dylan wouldn’t have it. “Okay. First thing tomorrow, we shop. Lucky for you, I know what I’m doing. Even for hetero men. So don’t worry.”

“I, ah . . .”

Shannon finally spoke, after nearly an entire drink and a shot. “If you hate the clothes, you can always burn them when you’re back in LA.”

Victor glanced at his pants . . . pants that were sticking to him with the heat and humidity smoldering in the air. Unlike any other hotel he’d stayed at in the past, this one didn’t have a dry cleaning service.


“Good call.” Avery lifted her glass and ordered another round.

Seemed the five of them were taking up residency at the bar while most of the crowd found lounge chairs on the beach. Victor couldn’t remember the last time he’d met complete strangers and drunk with them at a bar just for fun. Anytime he was in a social situation with people he didn’t know, he had an ulterior motive. Finding new contacts, learning more about his competitors, finding clients on both the buying and selling ends of the recyclable goods . . . these were his top reasons for drinking in bars. He would meet with his brother every once in a while, or his buddies, but never complete strangers with no connection to his working life.

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