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Mother Faker: Chapter 11

Liv

Once Beckett arrived, we left the kids with him and convened in Shayla’s office with a couple of bottles of wine to discuss this week’s selection for book club. I tried to focus on the conversation, but my mind wasn’t there. Leaving him in charge of our kids made me nervous—for him and for them.

And for me.

My kids can be a challenge, and I really need this job. Beckett is known for hating kids—it’s literally how we got into this mess—and I can’t afford to lose my job if he can’t handle them.

All evening, Dylan tried to distract me by making ridiculous comments to every one of Delia’s book questions. Delia was annoyed—what’s new?—and told her that if she wanted to be difficult, then she could pick the next book.

The grin that spread across Dylan’s face when she pulled four identical books out of her tote finally perked me up a little.

“What are those?” Delia asked, scrutinizing the bright covers that gave off major romance vibes. By the way her face was scrunched up, she was already regretting her words.

Dylan smirked and picked up her glass of wine. “You said I could pick the book.”

Shayla sighed. “I really prefer to read on my Kindle. Purchasing four copies of a book is wasteful.”

Dylan rolled her eyes. “It’s a book trophy. Live a little, Shay. Take a walk on the wild side and give it a good sniff.”

“A good sniff?” I teased.

Dylan brought the book close to her nose and ran the edge back and forth like she was sniffing a good cigar. “Nothing better than the smell of a new book.”

Delia then lauded her and told us the benefits of going to a library once a week, but at that point, I’d totally tuned her out because the book title had finally caught my attention. Marrying Mr. Wrong.

I turned it over to read what it was about. When I got to the last sentence, I gasped. “You want us to read a book about a woman who accidentally marries a man in Vegas?”

Dylan wiggled a little in her seat, her auburn curls bouncing around her face. “It was between that and Faking Ms. Right, where she gets fake engaged to her billionaire boss. Claire Kingsley can do no wrong. Normally, I’d suggest starting with book one, but this book felt so on the nose, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”

“I’m not reading out of order,” Delia said, pulling out her phone and tapping the screen. “There, four copies of the first book will be here tomorrow.”

Shayla gasped. “What? How?”

“Amazon Prime is a beautiful thing, ladies,” Delia said, forgetting her opposition to corporate greed for the moment.

Though the comment was shocking, it wasn’t the biggest surprise of the night. After we’d polished off two bottles of wine and wrapped up our conversation—the kind of book club conversation that veers off course at least twenty times—I headed upstairs, expecting to step into utter chaos.

But all I found was a clean kitchen, a basket full of folded laundry, and my son tucked into a sleeping Beckett’s side.

Then he called me his wife again. And gave me a credit card. And asked me on a date.

A fake date, I remind myself. Yes, he watched the kids without complaint and apparently cleaned my house, but everything else we’re doing is fake.

“Did someone Lysol in here?” Shay asks, inspecting the windows that line one wall like she’ll find a cleaning elf has broken into our home.

“I think it was Beckett. He likes things a certain way.” In the office, he ensures his coffee cup is sitting in a precise spot on his desk and angled just right. And he’s grumpy if anyone so much as slides a paper into the wrong spot.

“Oh,” Delia sneers. “I suppose we didn’t have the house to his standards.”

“I like it.” Dylan smiles. “A man who cleans. Now we’re talking.”

My stomach does a little flip-flop, and my heart flutters in rhythm with it. I bite my bottom lip. “He asked me to go to dinner tomorrow night.”

Delia throws herself onto the couch. “You can’t go to dinner with him.”

Dylan waves a hand at her. “Oh, shush you. She absolutely can, and she will.”

My phone buzzes in my hand.

Mr. Langfield: Take the day off tomorrow and go shopping. Bring the girls. You deserve a break.

Without thinking, I blurt out, “He just told me to take the day off and go shopping. And to bring you along.”

Dylan’s gold eyes sparkle in the dim light. “Oh, this’ll be so fun. Let me see if I can get the neighbor to watch Finn and Addie for a few hours. Liam can handle homeschool with Kai.”

Delia folds her arms across her chest. “We can’t do that.”

Dylan won’t take no for an answer, though. “Why? Because you can’t take a day off work? Isn’t this why you left the big firm? So you could take more time for yourself?”

Shayla worries her bottom lip. “I don’t know how Kai will handle being here with just Liam. He’s never been home without one of us moms.”

I shrug. “Kids are resilient, Shay. He’s settling in so well here, and he was fine with Beckett tonight.”

Dylan grins. “It’s settled. We all need this. Let’s go shopping, get lunch, and help Liv get hot for her ‘husband.’”

Delia rolls her eyes. “Fine. But we’re all getting new clothes, and lunch is on Beckett.”

An hour later, I’m staring at the water spots on the ceiling above my bed, still anxious about tomorrow night. I haven’t replied to Beckett’s text yet, so I type out a quick one and hit send.

Delia says if she’s going shopping then lunch is on you.

The phone lights up almost immediately.

Mr. Langfield: The credit card is yours, Liv, and there is no limit. Take the girls to the spa, pamper the hell out of yourselves. You all deserve it. And buy something that will make you smile.

In a move at complete odds with the buttoned-up person I’ve become over the years, I type out a flirtatious response.

You mean something that will make you smile.

Mr. Langfield: You make me smile, Liv. Doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. Enjoy your day tomorrow.

I blink at the phone, dumbfounded. Who is this man, and how the hell did he become my husband?


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