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Mother Faker: Chapter 7

Liv

Where is my black shoe?” I whine, sweeping an arm under the bed in a fruitless search. It’s no wonder I got on the plane with mismatched shoes last weekend; not a single one I’ve found this morning matches another.

Could be the twins. They love pulling tricks, then acting innocent. Though it’s just as likely I’m losing my mind.

“Collette, Phoebe,” Delia calls, her voice stern. “If you took Liv’s shoes, now is the time to fess up.”

In unison, with matching sugary-sweet voices, they reply, “We swear we didn’t.”

Dylan crawls up next to me, smiling as usual. “Don’t worry, I’ll slip a little whiskey into their apple juice tonight; we’ll get the truth out of ’em.”

“Dylan,” I gasp, my stomach plummeting, but I follow it up with a laugh, because obviously, she’s joking.

When I look at her, though, her face is completely serious.

“No whiskey.” I point at her in warning.

She shrugs. “I added a little to Finn’s and Liam’s ice cream last night. They were out before Real Housewives started.”

I giggle and shake my head. She’s a nut. “What about Kai?”

She cranes her neck and shoots me a look. “Even I’m not crazy enough to dose Shay’s kid with whiskey.”

Flopping over, I fall back against the bed and pull my knees to my chest. “We’re a disaster.”

She scoots up beside me and rests her head on my shoulder. “But a beautiful one.”

My stomach twists for what has to be the twentieth time today. “Do you think I’m making a mistake?”

Sitting back, Dylan eyes me, her head tilted to one side. “How?”

“By agreeing to this fake marriage nonsense. Am I setting a bad example for the kids? They’re going to have to go along with it too.”

She sighs and gives me a sympathetic smile. “Finn can’t keep a secret to save his life, and Winnie? Well… I think it’s okay to tell a white lie when it’s in the best interest of your kids. And this is, Liv. You’re doing this for them.”

“And for us.” I drop my head back and inspect the water marks on the ceiling. One more good rain, and they’ll be dripping down on us. “We have to get the roof fixed.”

“Maybe he’ll give you half the money now,” she suggests.

I bite my lip and ignore the now regular ache in the pit of my stomach. We haven’t discussed the length of this sham or the timeline for getting paid. I suppose Delia is right; we need a detailed contract.


This is the Monday-est Monday I’ve had in a long, long time. I was forced to wear flats to the office because I couldn’t find a single pair of matching heels, then Winnie had a meltdown. Apparently, it’s red shirt day at school, and her red shirt was nowhere to be found this morning. To top it all off, Drake called while I was on my way to work, ranting about how one of his friends called to tell him that he saw Finn wearing a dress that matched Adeline’s when we were out a few days ago. I hung up on him.

As I slide my feet into the black heels I hide under my desk, I feel a modicum of my usual sanity. A sip of coffee is the next step in slipping into my professional persona—Liv Maxwell, PR extraordinaire.

That sends me into a fit of giggles. God, I’m ready for some semblance of peace around here.

“Good morning, Liv,” Gavin says as he breezes into my office wearing a big smile. Unlike his brother, Gavin is always smiling and always joking around. It’s like they aren’t actually related. Come to think of it, all of his brothers sport grins regularly. Maybe it’s hockey? They do get all that aggression out on the ice.

“Morning, boss. How was your weekend?”

Gavin slides into the chair on the other side of my desk, his leg bouncing and his eyes dancing with mischief. Damn, he’s even more chipper than usual. “It was great. Though not as good as the weekend before was for you, from what I hear.”

Confused, I frown at him. “Hmm?”

“Olivia, I’ve never been so happy,” Preston Langfield practically chirps as he enters my office.

Two Langfields at once? Now this is a surprise.

I rise to greet him, smoothing down my black skirt. “Hi, Preston. I’m glad you’re so happy, but I’m not quite sure why.”

Behind him, Beckett appears, and surprise, surprise, he is not smiling. He nods and cocks a brow like he’s trying to send a silent message, only I have no idea what it is.

“Well, because I heard you’ve joined our family! I don’t know how the two of you hid your relationship so well, but Monroe and I couldn’t be happier.”

My lungs constrict so tightly I can’t breathe for several seconds, but I garner all the strength and patience I have and rein in the desire to murder the man standing in the doorway, before plastering a smile on my face. “Well, yes. Thank you. Um, I didn’t realize we were telling people so soon.” I peer at Beckett, hoping he can feel the daggers I wish I could shoot his way right now.

He drops his chin, and his shoulders slump. At least he has the decency to look remorseful. “Figured I’d share the news at dinner last night. It was late by the time I got home, so I didn’t have the opportunity to tell you. Didn’t want to wake you or the kids,” he says, as if we speak nightly. Which would be normal if we were actually married.

“I’m just shocked you got my brother to agree to move in with you,” Gavin interjects, his smile too gleeful for this early in the morning. “Never thought I’d see the day Beckett would give up his penthouse.”

Heart lurching, I drag my attention back to Beckett, whose shoulders are sagging so much he’ll be one with the floor soon.

I feign another smile. “Our house is certainly cozy. Not quite as glamorous as the penthouse, though.”

Preston nods. “We appreciate it. Monroe is thrilled that we won’t have to stay in a hotel during our home renovations.”

My stomach drops. What now?

“Anyway, we wanted to congratulate you. You’ll come to family dinner this week, right? Bring the kids. Monroe is excited to meet her new grandbabies, though she wasn’t thrilled to find out the two of you eloped. First family wedding and all.” He shrugs. “But with it being so soon after your divorce was finalized, we understand why you’d want to keep it under wraps. Let’s plan a big party and really celebrate it in a couple of months, okay?”

Oh God.

Beckett rounds the desk and stands beside me. “Let’s let Liv get back to work. I’ll talk to you and Mom about dinner later in the week, and we’ll see what we can do about a party.”

I swallow and nod, too stunned to do anything but ensure my legs don’t give out on me.

“Of course. I’ll see you two later.” With that, Preston disappears.

I turn to my new husband, eyes wide, waiting for an explanation, but it’s Gavin who speaks first. “You two ready to admit that this is fake?”

Beckett bristles beside me, his eyes narrowing on his brother. “Don’t you have a hockey team to run?”

Gavin chuckles and stands. “Fine. Have fun with the move. Let me know if you need help.” He winks at his brother, then turns to me with a grin. “Can’t wait to hear how his first night goes.”

As soon as he’s out of earshot, I turn to Beckett and hiss, “You said nothing changes!”

Cringing, he takes a step back. “I know. Things got a little out of hand at family dinner.”

“You think?” Pinching the bridge of my nose, I squeeze my eyes shut and will the rage bubbling inside me to calm. “You can’t move in with me.”

“It’s not the end of the world.” The jackass shrugs like he really believes the bullshit he’s spewing. “I make an excellent roommate.”

A bark of a laugh escapes me. “When was the last time you lived with someone?”

When he doesn’t answer, I let out a loud ha. “That’s what I thought.”

“You’re right. I’ve lived alone for a long time, but I can be a good roommate. Don’t you have a spare bedroom I could crash in until we figure this out?”

“Beckett,” I whine, clenching my fists at my sides.

His only response is a smile. Bastard. The man who only ever frowns chooses now to smile?

Crossing my arms over my chest, I grit my teeth. “Why are you smiling?”

“You finally called me by my first name.”

I groan. He’s seriously insane.

Beckett grasps my wrist and tugs until I drop my arms. “Listen,” he says, capturing one hand and squeezing, “I know this is more than you bargained for, but I’ll make it up to you. I’ll increase the payout. How much do you want?”

I drop my chin and focus on our hands. His are warm and soft, and I’m momentarily struck stupid by the way his thumb smooths across the back of mine. This might be the first time he’s purposefully touched me—that I can remember, at least. I really need to get my memories back, because there’s a damn good chance I had sex with this man.

I pull my hand from his grasp. “We need rules.”

A tiny smile forms on his lips. “Rules?”

“Yes. No touching. It’s in the contract.”

With a laugh, he pulls himself up straighter. “Contract?”

“Yes, my attorney drew up a contract for us.”

Tilting his head and frowning, he assesses me for a long moment, like he’s trying to figure me out. Yeah, me too buddy.

“Okay, that’s a good idea. Why don’t I have my attorney look over it, and we can iron out any other important details?”

Right. His attorney. My attorney. See? This is a business relationship. No room for silly feelings or thoughts of how those warm hands would feel on other parts of my body.

“Great. But you can’t seriously want to move in with me while we do this.”

Beckett drags one of those warm hands along his chin and contemplates the skyline on the other side of the window. Finally, he sighs and turns back to me. “I don’t see any way around it. There’s no way my family will buy this unless we really sell it to them. I know it’s not ideal, but I swear, I’ll be a perfect gentleman. With all the travel I do, I’ll barely be around as it is.”

“I need one more thing,” I counter, fighting back a smile. This will have him changing his tune in a heartbeat.

Beckett nods. “Anything.”

“You agree to babysit all the kids once a week.” I press my lips together, knowing this will have him running for the hills. There’s no way he’ll go through with the sham of a marriage if he has to babysit.

Beckett may say he likes kids, but that’s a damn lie. He never wanted them, like he said before. That’s why he’s not married to the woman he was clearly destined for.

He picks up the photograph on my desk, the one he was holding when I found him here last week, and inspects it.

Silently, I count in my head, waiting for the refusal I can guarantee is coming.

When he turns back to me, his green eyes light up. “You drive a hard bargain, Liv.”

“I understand.” I smile, holding back a snarky aha! “We’ll find another wife for you.”

Beckett frowns. “You think I can’t handle taking care of a few kids one night a week?”

My stomach knots. Dammit. “Seriously?”

Squaring his shoulders, he looks me in the eye. “I can do this, Liv.”

I shrug. “Fine. It’s your funeral.” He has no idea what he’s in for. “I’ll email you the address. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”


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