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Looping my arms with both my men, I say, “We are going to have a good time tonight if it kills us.” Brance rolls his eyes again. I roll mine back at him.

When I look up at Reed, he chuckles. “Whatever you say. You are my queen. I’m just a lowly servant. Maybe if you’re lucky, I might take you to the gazebo where I might be able to service my lady properly.” He speaks with a thick but surprisingly good British accent.

“Christ! You two have more sex than anyone should.” Brance pouts.

“No such thing,” Reed answers still with his accent.

Laughing at him, I lightly punch his arm. “Stop it, Reed.”

He laughs too. “Do you think if I did it all night anyone would say anything?” His eyes twinkle.

“I’ll give you a hundred dollars if you do it all night,” Brance eggs him on.

“Hmm.” Reed looks at him. “How about we make a wager of two hundred dollars? Whoever stops speaking with an accent loses.”

Pulling my arms free, I say, “O-kay, first, this is not the place. Second, it’s rude. Third, you’re both millionaires and you’re only betting two hundred dollars?” I can barely say it with a straight face.

“My love, you can up the wager,” he challenges me.

“Come on, you honestly think no one is going to notice you and Brance are speaking like Henry Higgins? Someone is going to say something.”

Reed kisses my forehead. “I don’t think anyone has the balls,” he says absently then salutes a waiter. “Hello, old chap.”

Laughter bursts out of me. Even Brance can’t hold it in. “You’re crazy!”

“So, my friend, do we have a bet?”

Brance drapes a hand on Reed’s shoulder. “We jolly do.”

“Oh God.” I groan. Brance’s accent is awful. He sounds like Antonio Banderas trying to do Shakespeare.

“It looks like your grandpapa went all out.” Brance sweeps his hand indicating the setup.

“I don’t know either one of you.” Preparing to run away, I stop. Unfortunately, in five-inch heels, I have no choice but to stay right with them.

All three of us scan the massive grounds. The colorful dresses and tuxedos look like a giant bowl of jelly beans. The estate is impressive on a regular day. Tonight, it’s awe-inspiring. Massive amounts of glittering little lights are all over. Flowers are everywhere. I can’t even try to guess how long it took the florists.

Tuxedoed waiters and silver-laméd women carry appetizers and flutes filled with champagne.

“Reed… Tess.” Caroline is waving us over. She’s in a skintight emerald-green gown. The middle looks like a bow is wrapped around her. Reed’s mother always looks fabulous, but tonight she’s radiant. Snaking our way through the crowd, I notice some actors and models. Reed nods at a couple of tall guys. I’m assuming they are athletes.

Entering the elegant tent, I spot Caroline talking to a man who must be a Kennedy.

“Hello, Mother, smashing as always.” Reed smiles, still using his stupid accent. Caroline frowns, excusing herself from the Kennedy guy.

“Are you drunk?” she whispers as she guides us to a corner.


My face must show guilt because she puts her hands on her hips. “Reed and Brance made a bet with each other.” As if that explains everything. My eyes sweep the massive posh tent. I don’t dare look at her expression—I can sense her disapproval already. Instead, I take in the round tables with white tablecloths and gold cutlery and an enormous crystal chandelier in the middle.

“Reed Saddington, you will stop talking like that immediately. And no drinking. All of you are underage.” She straightens her diamond bracelets and smiles at me.

“Tess, you look stunning. Where’s Brance?”

“He’s right—” Turning, he’s gone.


“I’m sure he had to use the loo, Mother.” Reed can barely keep a straight face with that comment. Caroline’s eyes narrow. “Go wish your grandfather a happy birthday. And please, Reed, this is a stressful night. I’m sure you know that Claire is… not doing well, what with Robert showing up with his girlfriend.”

I cringe and take a breath. “How bad? Are they here?” I scan the area, but it’s so crowded, I can’t see anything.

“I think they left. God, I hope so. He introduced her in front of us all. Even to your mother. I know Robert is your father, but seriously, was this called for?” She’s looking at me like it’s my fault.

“Mother.” Reed’s voice holds a warning. “Tess has nothing to do with this.”

She sighs, taking my hand. “I know. I’m on edge.” She starts to fan herself. “Is it hot in here?”

“Poor Mom.” I can’t help but feel bad for her.

Reed rolls his eyes. “Drink some water, Mother. We’re going to find Jax.”

Clasping hands, we head toward the front door. Music fills the fragrant air. A full orchestra plays to the side of the entrance to the mansion.

“Jesus, Reed, my dad really did it. I’m so embarrassed.” Glancing at people as we pass, I’m sure they’re judging me.