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I twist and turn to see the dress from all angles. It’s a little red lace number—very little—and it hugs every curve I have, like it was custom made for me. Two straps hold up the plunging neckline that forms a deep vee in the front. The skirt, with intermittent crystals throughout the lace, is sheer in spots and hits mid-thigh.

“Come out and let us see,” Brittany says.

I’m afraid to open the door. I’ve never worn anything this revealing before in my entire life. “Ok.” I gather my nerve and step out.

“Wow, and I’m not just saying that because I have to. You look sinful,” Janet says, pulling at the dress just a bit to make sure it fits right.

“Is it too sexy?” I ask, not wanting to look like an escort Gabriel hired for the night.

“No, not at all. This dress was made for you,” Brittany says, stepping back to get a better view of me from the side. “It’s daring, but still classy. Gabriel Prince won’t know what hit him.”

“Good.” Because that’s what I want. Maybe Gabriel will make a move on me, so I can sue him for breach of contract and get out of this whole wedding thing.

“We have a Jimmy Choo heel that would be perfect with it.” Brittany points toward the front of the store, and my mouth almost salivates at the mention of new shoes.

The last time I went shopping for fancy things was probably for my high school prom. I didn’t even have a date, so I begged my sister to go with me. She finally conceded when I told her I’d bake her cupcakes whenever she wanted for life.

I try the shoes on while still wearing the dress, and Janet picks out jewelry she says will ‘complete’ the look.

The price of everything causes a mild panic attack, but I hand over the credit card Gabriel gave me, telling myself it’s a small price to pay for being forced into this arrangement.

As a matter of fact… “Can I get the shoes in black, too? Size eight?”

Tennyson is having a sleepover at Erin’s tonight, so she needs to be compensated as well.

After Janet hands me my purchases, I leave the store feeling much better than when I entered.

“Would you like to get your hair done?” Mayer asks as he opens the car door for me, taking the bags from my arms and heading off toward the trunk.

I glance at my phone, checking the time. “I have a few hours before I need to get Tennyson.”

Mayer shuts my door and heads to the front, sliding in the driver seat. “Anywhere in particular you want to go?”

I shrug, leaning back against the cool leather seat. “I don’t really have an appointment anywhere.”

Mayer smiles at me through the rearview. “That won’t be a problem. I’ll put in a call to Sonya’s Salon. She’ll make time for you.”

“Is that rude to just make someone move things around?”

“Not when she can tell people Gabriel Prince’s fiancee is a client.”

“Oh,” I don’t really say much more than that. I’m not used to people doing things for me at the drop of a hat. “Honestly, I can style my own hair,” I tell him.

But, Mayer doesn’t respond because he’s already speaking to someone in his bluetooth earpiece.

He pulls away, and I watch the scenery roll past my window as he drives me toward Sonya’s Salon.

“Wait,” I say, at a red light, pointing to a quaint shop on the side of the road. “Can we go there?”

Mayer looks over at the blue, cottage-style building. “A kite shop?”

“Yeah, just to check it out,” I say.

Mayer makes the right into the near empty lot, and parks.

“Be right back,” I tell him. I hop out before he can get my door, because waiting for someone to open it for me is just too strange.

The door chimes when I enter, and a burly man looks up from stocking a shelf near the cash register.

“Hi.” I wave to him.

“Hi. Need help finding anything?” he asks.

“I’m not sure yet.”

He smiles. “There’s a lot to choose from.”

I’ll say. I know Gabriel loves his drones, so I wanted to grab Tennyson a kite to fly in the yard. I thought it would be simple, step in here and buy a kite, but there’s just so many different types.

“What would I get for a four-year-old just starting out?” I ask.

He smiles and the crow’s feet adorning each eye deepen. He moves closer to me and grabs a kite from a wall display. “This here is a good starter kite.”

“Perfect. I’ll take it.”

He leads me back to the cash register. “It’s a lot of fun,” he says as he rings me up, extolling the virtues of kite flying.

I nod. And then I try to imagine what Gabriel finds so fun about flying his drones around. Is it the control? Is it the feeling of freedom watching it soar? If I had to guess, I would think it’s the control. Gabriel likes it. Well, I’ll be the one thing he won’t be able to bend to his will.


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