Page 15 of Stealing the Bride

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“Don’t you have court?”

“They settled. I thought I could come hang out and tell you about a new possible client. I’m sorry, I didn’t know you had company.” Lawson steps fully in front of me so I’m blocked from his brother's view.

Everything in me is telling me to run, but I’m a deer caught in headlights with the name Megan bouncing around inside my head.

“I do, so you can—”

“You’re not going to introduce me?” His brother cuts him off before Lawson can finish telling him he should go.

Lawson takes a breath, and I can feel the agitation directed at his brother before he puts an arm around me. He tucks me close to his side, and I want to push him back. Who the hell is this Megan?

“Vanna, this is my oldest brother.”

“Ari,” I say when I remember Lawson telling me about the responsible older brother. He said he could be too serious, but maybe that was a lie too.

“Vanna, interesting name.” Ari’s dark brows pull together. “Are you the same Vanna that’s engaged to Nick Chambers? I thought you looked familiar.” My stomach drops. How does this keep getting worse?

“She’s not engaged to him.” Lawson’s hold tightens. “Have you two met before?” I shake my head because my throat is too tight to talk. If we did, I don’t remember.

“Yeah, but it was at a charity, and I only saw you in the distance,” Ari says. “Nick pointed you out when he told me he got engaged.”

“You’re friends with that asshole?” Lawson barks.

From some of the things Lawson said, his family has money, but he didn’t know Nick. Obviously, that doesn’t mean someone else didn’t. The city is big, but social circles are small.

“No.” He holds his hands up in a mock surrender because he can see Lawson is getting worked up, and I can see that dark side of him making an appearance. “His family is well known, so they’re always at those events. I know them more in passing.”

“She is not engaged,” Lawson repeats, wanting to make it extra clear.

“Do they know that?” Ari asks, and I can feel the anger in Lawson building.

“Why do you give a fuck?”

Ari cocks his head to the side, studying Lawson for a long moment, then his eyes widen. “Fucking hell. You hit the bastard, didn’t you?”

How does Ari know about that?

“He had it coming.” Lawson shrugs like it’s no big deal.

“Is that so? Nick claims a man punched him before taking off with his fiancée.”

“Did he mention the part about when he put his hands on her?”

Ari’s face hardens, and that’s when I see the serious brother Lawson was telling me about. Lawson lets go of me and once again moves his body to shield mine. Does he think his brother is going to drag me out of here? Ari doesn’t have to because I’m leaving.

“No, but maybe that’s why he came to me and not the police. Plus, Vanna Noble hasn’t been missing 48 hours yet.”

“Wait, what do you mean ‘came to you’?” I ask and try to get past Lawson. He snags me around the waist before I can get even two feet from him.

“Is that the new client you came to tell me about?” Lawson asks.

“Yep.” Ari nods.

“Did you take the case?”

“I was going to, but I told him we needed to give it another twenty-four hours since he admitted his fiancée caught him with another woman.”

“Stop calling her that.”

This conversation is about me, but they both act like I’m not standing right here.

“It was two women,” I correct. “And I’m not missing, I’m going home. Right now, actually.”

Would Nick show up to my apartment again? Why is he pushing this so much? He went to a freaking private detective firm? This is nutty. From the sound of it, someone might think he cares, but I know it’s not about me. It’s an image thing or his weird virgin bride fetish. After last night, I’m not sure if I'm still a virgin. Lawson didn’t push his cock inside me, but I do think he came in me.

“Kidnapped,” Ari corrects. “He thinks you were kidnapped.”

“It’s none of his business what I am,” I snap. Nick doesn’t need to know anything about me anymore, but my anger isn’t about Nick. It’s with Lawson because he lied to me then tried to talk me into having a baby with him. That makes no sense unless he knows he can’t have kids and he’s trying to get laid. Does he have this virgin kink too?

“You’re not going home.” Lawson’s hold doesn’t move an inch as his eyes lock with mine.

“Are you sure you’re not kidnapped?” Ari chuckles.

“She’s mine,” Lawson responds, and he’s not finding any of this funny.

“Really? I think Megan…whatever her last name is…might feel differently.” I lean my head all the way back to glare up at Lawson. The man towers over me, so it’s hard to hold.

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