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Mother Faker: Chapter 16

Liv

You want me to come to Paris with you?” I repeat, suddenly dizzy.

“It would be odd if my wife didn’t attend my sister’s premiere, wouldn’t it?

With my heart thumping against my ribcage, I worry my lip. I am so in over my head. Sienna is a fashion designer. Beautiful, petite, and running her own empire at twenty-eight. We are eons apart.

The women the Langfield men date can all wear her designs. They all fit. Not just in size—though that’s a detail I can’t ignore—but in lifestyle too. Why Beckett thought his family would believe he’d marry me is ridiculous.

I appreciate my curves, and I’m happy with who I am, but I’m not naïve. When news of our marriage breaks, the entire world is going to question what he sees in me.

My body isn’t just curvy; I have rolls and dimples and more than my fair share of stretch marks. Things that will never change, no matter how many smoothies I drink or how many hours I spend on Delia’s Peloton. My body is built differently. It took me a long time, but I’m finally in a place where I accept that.

But others aren’t as accepting, and I worry this is all going to blow up in Beckett’s face.

“I’ll have to talk to the girls about it.” That should buy me some time to figure this out. “Not sure if they can watch the kids for that long, but let me know the date.”

Beckett shrugs and leans against the elevator door. The view behind him is almost as gorgeous as the man in front of me. The elevator is all glass, and the sun setting over the harbor nearly steals my attention. The oranges and reds swirl together like sherbet, highlighting his navy-blue sweater and jeans perfectly. “We’ll bring the kids. Jay’s daughter is thirteen, and she’s great around the shows.”

I snort. Jay Hanson and his wife, Catherine, are Boston royalty. From two of the city’s wealthiest families, they could do nothing but produce a perfect, well-behaved child. I’m sure she’s never shot glitter all over the ceiling or started a food fight by flinging meat at one of their guest’s heads.

“I doubt your sister or the Hansons want three young kids around for that. Winnie would be in her glory, yes, but Finn would probably take out one of the models with a Nerf gun he smuggled in. And Adeline? Diapers, sticky fingers, and models don’t mix well. Besides,” I sigh, holding his gaze, “you don’t like kids. It’s best if we keep them out of our little sham of a marriage.”

He swallows audibly, his jaw locked tight, but he doesn’t respond. The tense silence is only broken when the elevator dings.

The door opens into the penthouse, taking me by surprise, and a moment later, Beckett’s family materializes before us.

A warm palm presses against my lower back and Beckett warns in a low, smooth whisper, “Try to keep your jaw from hitting the floor. You’re supposed to have been here before.”

Gavin saunters over with a beer in his hand and a smirk on his face. “Only she hasn’t, has she?” He kisses my cheek and grins. “You gonna call bullshit on this yet?”

I snap my mouth shut and put on my game face. Work Liv is back—the put-together, take-no-shit, confident woman—prepared to woo all my bosses, who just so happen to be my husband’s family.

“No idea what you’re talking about, Gavin,” I say with a big smile. “Happily married to this hottie.”

Beckett coughs and pats his chest as if he’s surprised. Doesn’t he know me well enough to understand that when it comes to protecting any of the Langfields, I’m a pro?

And apparently, I’m a Langfield now too. I swallow that insane tidbit down, concentrating on my surroundings.

Floor-to-ceiling windows leave the room bathed in a red hue from the sunset. The living room is furnished with rich, oversized mahogany couches. Behind them, the long dining table surrounded by twelve chairs is already set for dinner.

The kitchen is all dark wood and fancy appliances—a far cry from the green Formica countertop and ancient stove in the brownstone. The time is easy to read on this oven. It’s already seven o’clock. We’re right on time.

Beckett’s mother smiles widely and strides toward us. “Oh, Liv, we’re so happy for you both!”

Beckett’s palm hasn’t left my back. In fact, he slides closer and squeezes my hip gently as he settles it there. “Thanks, Mom. How’s the penthouse treating you?”

Monroe Langfield gathers me in for a hug, forcing me out of her son’s grip. When she pulls back, she holds my upper arms and takes me in.

She’s much smaller than me. Her brown hair—which is still dark and rich—falls in loose waves on her shoulders, coordinating perfectly with her camel-colored sweater. Her ears are adorned with what have to be three-carat diamond studs. The rock that glitters on her ring finger is only slightly larger than the one Beckett slipped back onto mine in the parking garage.

“Oh, the penthouse is fine.” She waves off his question. “I want to hear about the two of you. How this happened and how my Beckett proposed. Tell me about my new grandbabies. When can I meet them?”

Swallowing past the lump that’s suddenly lodged in my throat, I turn to Beckett. Shit, she’s really into this. Like we baited her, hook, line, and sinker. It dawns on me then: we’re flat out conning his family.

Beckett pulls me back from his mother’s grip. “Ma, let my wife get a drink before the inquisition.”

Monroe smiles. “You hear that, Preston? He called her his wife.” She turns back to me, beaming. “Never thought I’d see the day my baby got everything he’s ever wanted. We all should have known he was waiting for you. Man’s been smitten for years.”

I cough out an uncomfortable laugh, even as my stomach does a little flip. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, but it’s sweet for her to say.

Beckett presses a kiss to my forehead like he does it all the time. “She’s always been the one,” he says to his mother. “What do you want to drink?”

He looks at me, but I’ve been rendered speechless. His green eyes are bright as he watches, wearing a smirk like he knows exactly what he’s just done. Asshole.

“I’ll have whatever red wine is open.”

“The Jackson pinot noir. I’ll have the same,” he says, his voice light and full of joy.

“So specific,” his mother teases. “I’ve never had it. Any good?”

“It’s the best.” Beckett’s attention is still on me, and I can already feel he’s about to say something that will have my head swimming again. “It’s what Liv and I had the night we got married.”

“Oh, don’t waste it on me, then,” his mother says.

Beckett finally steps away and wanders toward the bar, but over his shoulder, he replies, “We’ve got plenty. I ordered six cases.”

What the…?

Even my mind is stuttering at this point. The man is giving me whiplash. The wine wasn’t anything special. His family typically drinks bottles that cost the equivalent of my daily salary. Why would he buy cases of the cheap one we had in Vegas?

“Hey, Liv.” Brooks ambles up to me and pulls me into a hug. He looks so much like his oldest brother, but with longer hair—each has an uncanny resemblance to Henry Cavill.

Yeah, I’m surrounded by beautiful people.

Brooks is thicker than Beckett. His muscles strain under his black T-shirt, and his jeans hug his strong thighs. When he lets go of me, Sara, my assistant, is standing behind him.

“Sara!” In my excitement to see her, I give her a too-loud greeting that echoes off the high ceiling.

“Hey, Liv. Congrats on the marriage.” She moves closer, her blond hair swaying, and wraps me in a hug.

Sara has been a great addition to the team since she moved to Boston a year ago, and since Beckett requires more of my attention than his brother or his father, I’ve given Sara more responsibility with the hockey team. Is she dating Brooks, though? I can’t talk, I suppose; I married one of the owners—stupid freaking alcohol and Vegas decisions—but this is surprising.

As if Brooks can read my thoughts, he explains, “Sara’s still finding her way around the City and making connections, but when she discovered my love for Lake Paige and she had no one to go to the concert with,” he says, leaning in close, his voice just above a whisper now, “we went together. Don’t tell the guys.”

Lake is probably the most popular pop star there is, and she married one of Beckett’s friends, Ford Hall. It was a bit scandalous when it happened, seeing as she was dating his son just this past Christmas. But Ford is happy, and Lake seems lovely, so to each their own, right?

Sara smirks. “Best friends ever since.” She puts her arm around him and squeezes.

What she misses, though, is the grimace on Brooks’s face at the word friends.

Hmm… seems like our goalie doesn’t like being in the friend zone. Interesting.

“Your secret is safe with me, Brooks.”

Aiden and Jill appear at my side next. “What secret? You keeping secrets from me now?” he grumbles. “I’m a great secret keeper.”

Jill nods in agreement and holds out a manicured hand. “It’s true. I told him the name of the color I wear on my nails, since everyone is always asking,” she says to Sara, as if they’re members of some secret society.

Maybe I’m as much of an ass as Beckett, but nail polish? Really?

Sara blinks at Jill’s nails and tilts her head. “Isn’t that bunny white?”

Jill’s face falls. “Um, no one has ever guessed it. How’d you do that?”

Sara shrugs. “My bestie wore that color in college.”

Beckett reappears at my side with my glass of wine in hand. As I murmur a thank-you, he lifts my chin and stares at me before he moves in close and brushes his lips against mine. “Anything for my bride.”

I melt. Into a puddle. On the floor. Call it now: Liv died from Beckett’s kind, sweet, swoony attitude. Dead.

He pulls back, and that damn cocky smile resuscitates me.

“Now that Liv has a drink in her hand, tell us everything,” Monroe demands, taking the glass Beckett offers her.

He wanders back to the bar to grab his drink. “I’ll let Liv tell it. She’s a much better storyteller.”

Shit. What story does he want me to tell? I can’t go with the truth. Oh, your son and I got so drunk I don’t remember a thing but waking up naked next to him with a ring on my finger.

That reminds me: I really need to find out whether we had sex.

“Yeah, Liv, tell us everything,” Gavin teases.

With a huff, I smack his chest with the back of my hand.

“Not sure what you want to know.” My lungs are constricting, making it difficult to get the words out.

Beckett swaggers back, wine in hand and a smirk on his face. “They want to know when everything changed between us. You know, the moment you stopped calling me Mr. Langfield.”

I bite my lip and go with something resembling the truth. “Well, everything really changed when he forced me to accompany him to his home in the Keys rather than going to San Fran with friends like I’d planned.”

“Your annual girls’ trip?” Gavin cocks a brow and turns from me to my husband. “Dude, you interrupted her annual girls’ trip?”

Beckett frowns. “I was working on the Emerson trade. I needed Liv there.”

Gavin scoffs. “We don’t pay you enough.”

“Boys,” Monroe chides. “Tell us, Liv, what happened on the trip?”

“Well, my friend Dylan is a ventriloquist.”

“An annoyingly good one.” Beckett’s studying me, like he’s not sure where I’m going with this. He walked right into it, though, giving me control of the narrative.

“She was having fun screwing with Beckett since he usurped our trip.”

“Ass,” Gavin grumbles.

Brooks chuckles, and Sara leans into him, and when their eyes meet, I can feel the electricity spark between them.

“Anyway.” I shake off the image and the tiniest hit of envy that strikes at the sight of such pure adoration. “She would walk through the house pretending to be Beckett’s dead grandmother.” I mimic Dylan’s voice. “Beckettttt, you need to be nicer to Liv. Beckettttt, don’t be so grumpy. Beckettttt…”

The man himself groans. “We get it.”

Monroe frowns. “Both of our mothers are alive.”

“Dylan doesn’t concern herself with facts,” my fake husband grumbles.

I can’t hold back my giggle at his expense. “It only made it funnier.”

Beckett’s eyes dance as he watches me, clearly saying, Where the hell are you going with this?

The smile that splits my face makes my cheeks ache. “She kept doing it at night, and it really did freak the big guy out.”

His lips twitch, his full attention locked on me. “She was stupidly good at it.”

I hold his gaze, pulled into the depths of his emerald irises. “He came into my room. He was terrified, and he asked if he could sleep there.”

Gavin nudges Beckett. “Bro, that’s hysterical.”

I lick my lips. I’m on a roll now.

“Said he couldn’t sleep when his grandmother wouldn’t stop talking to him, and since he’d forgotten his favorite stuffed animal⁠—”

With a sound somewhere between a laugh and a curse, Gavin claps. “You still sleep with Blue?”

I snort. Definitely didn’t see that one coming. “Oh yes, he can’t sleep without it.”

Beckett’s jaw flexes as he stares me down. “I can now that I have you.”

I roll my eyes, but the intensity he’s directing at me makes my skin prickle and my heart rate pick up. “He just brings it into bed at night.”

“That thing must be falling apart,” Monroe says. “I had to stitch it up more times than I can count when he was a boy. He never let it go.”

I nod. “We’ve had to perform surgery on it a few times too. The arms don’t want to stay attached. Must be from how tightly he squeezes it. Or because of the way he runs it against his lip to soothe himself to sleep.”

Beckett shakes his head, but a hint of a smile slips through his stoic exterior.

Brooks, Aiden, and Sara are laughing so hard they’re shaking.

Jill just gapes. “Wait, so you were afraid of someone who obviously wasn’t there, and you seriously asked to sleep in your assistant’s room? She could have sued you.”

Feeling lighter than I have in days, I smirk. “Nah, he looked so scared and weak and he was missing his stuffie…”

“And you were in those blue pajamas,” Beckett teases.

I shrug. “Meant to be.”

He shakes his head and turns away quickly, but not before I catch sight of a full-fledged smile. He peeks over at me again, but quickly averts his attention so I can’t make out his expression. For some reason, I get the feeling he has to look away, like if he doesn’t, he might just walk up and kiss me again.

The scariest thing? I really wish he would.


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