Meeting Liam’s parents was the perfect definition of ‘awkward.’ However his father eventually took a great liking to me. His mother on the other hand seemed to hate me. We were sitting around in the spacious living room. To my horror, Liam had introduced me as his girlfriend.
“Liam, whatever happened to Gretchen?” his mother asked. I internally rolled my eyes and basically just pretended she hadn’t said anything. If she thought bringing up Gretchen was gonna piss me off, she had another thing coming. She wasn’t in the loop and didn’t know that me and her dear baby boy weren’t really together.
“You know I didn’t really date Gretchen, mom.” Liam looked extremely annoyed.
“Well, I always thought you should.” His mother shot a look at me and forced a smile. “So, Yvonne, darling, where did you say you worked again?”
“I work at Grover Inc. I’m a fashion expert.”
“Really? So you must work for Daniel Grover then, right.”
“Yes, I do.” It took every ounce of strength in my body to refrain from rolling my eyes.
“Well, I’ve heard that Daniel has affairs with his female employees. It makes me wonder how you got your job.”
“Mom!” Liam yelled, his face was livid as he stared at his mother.
“Carole, that’s enough,” Liam’s father–who preferred to be called William –intervened. He frowned as well, matching Liam’s frown. I stood up and looked at her.
“I got my job because I’m talented. I’m one of the best employees in my company. I don’t need to sleep with anyone to get anything. That includes your son. So if you think Liam and I have been humping like rabbits, you’re wrong. I don’t want anything from you, from Daniel, from your son or anyone else.” I walked away. I didn’t make it very far before a gentle hand stopped me. The hand was too small to be Liam’s. I turned and I came face to face with Carole.
“Congratulations!” she cried, hugging me. I blinked. I looked at Liam and William, they looked just as surprised as I felt.
“What?” I asked as she let me go.
“You passed my test.” She grinned like a madman. I stared at her with my mouth agape, clearly I hadn’t heard her correctly. Her grin grew wider and I now understood where Liam got his smile from. “The girls Liam brings home are normally so vast and empty in here.” She tapped her forehead. “I always test them, the same way I tested you. But usually they’re spineless and they actually let me intimidate them.” She laughed. “But not you. You stood up for yourself. And that’s the kind of woman I want my little Liam to be with. Someone strong and independent, someone who can challenge him. You’ll make him happy,” she said quieter so only I could hear. “Just take care of him.” She smiled softly. Before I could respond, she turned and left. She went to her husband and whispered something in his ear. He grinned at her and looked at us.
“Liam, why don’t you go take care of Yvonne? I’m gonna have a talk with your mother.” As they walked away, I saw William grab Carole’s butt. Liam shielded his eyes, looking like he wanted to throw up. I laughed. He looked at me and grinned.
“Sorry about my mom,” he apologized, shaking his head and looking very embarrassed. “I didn’t know she was gonna–”
“No, it’s okay,” I interrupted him. “She was looking out for her kid. Can’t really be mad at her for that.” Liam smiled and suddenly his expression changed. Uh oh, I knew that look. He walked closer to me slowly. I tried to back up, but my back just hit the wall. He placed his hands on either side of my head and leaned forward.
“Tell me something, Yvonne.” My heart was going crazy in my chest, flipping and dancing and jumping wildly. And where his breath caressed my skin, I burned.
“What?” I was pleased my voice didn’t tremble. He cocked his head and asked,
“How do you really feel about me?” How unexpected. I scanned my mind, searching for the answer.
“I feel grateful to you for being part in this plan to avenge my broken heart.” I chuckled nervously. He shook his head.
“I didn’t ask if you were grateful to me. I asked you how you felt about me.” I looked at him for a moment until finally I had my answer.
“I think you’re a flirt. I also think you want to have sex with me.” I frowned.
“True and true.” Liam smiled. “I suppose I do flirt a lot. But I have to make sure women are comfortable in my presence. And, yes, I guess it’s very obvious I want to have sex with you.” He smirked. “That’s no secret.”
“Well, I’m not one of your bimbos, Liam. I’m only here to finish the plan.” He looked straight at me. I felt like I was melting under his intense gaze. I couldn’t understand how eyes that were closer to ice than fire could leave my skin burning. I could understand why so many girls were so willing to jump into bed with Liam. Liam was literally sexiness personified. He was every girls’ fantasy. Everything you wanted to show off to everyone. But still, I couldn’t let myself fall for that. I wouldn’t let myself be another notch under his belt.
“I’m gonna go now,” I whispered, slipping by him. I fled as quickly as possible. Liam Hawke was gonna be the death of me.
I had just taken my shower and I was now wearing sweatpants and a crop top. I was just lying down on the edge of my bed, reading, when a soft knock sounded on my door. I got up and went to open it and met Carole. She grinned at me and squeezed her way inside. She looked at what I was wearing and shook her head.
“No, no, no. That simply won’t do.”
“What?” I looked down at my outfit and back at her.
“Liam and William are meeting with some important investors for Hawke Corp. And you and I are going with them.”
“What? Why?” I shrieked. She smiled.
“Oh, darling, I can tell my little Liam is in love with you. And perhaps one day, you will become Mrs. Liam Hawke.” Her face slowly turned serious as she spoke. “You have to learn how to conduct yourself at one of these events now, so that when my son does marry you you’ll be prepared for this.” It was actually pretty funny how she thought Liam was in love with me. I’m pretty sure Liam was incapable of feeling anything other than lust. Guys like him just wanted to stick it anywhere and everywhere. Carole was shoving a bag I hadn’t noticed she was carrying into my hands.
“Here, put this on.” I stripped down and put on the clothes Carole had selected. It was a thigh length business style black dress. But it wasn’t boring, this dress was a knockout. The way it clung to me was loose enough to show I was a lady, but tight enough to show my womanly curves. The neckline was neither too low or too high. The heels I wore weren’t skyscraping heels, but they were more businesslike.I coughed and Carole turned away from the book she was reading. She looked at me in approval.
“Mmm hmm.” She nodded to herself. “Perfect. You look great.” She grinned. She dragged me out of the room before I could even go to the vanity to put on my makeup.
Liam kept sneaking glances at me as the limo drove steadily down the road. His mother sat beside me, smiling like a Cheshire cat. Liam sat beside his father who was engrossed in the newspaper article he was reading. He would occasionally catch his wife’s eye and wink at her which caused her to giggle like a schoolgirl. When the car stopped and we got out, Liam rushed to my side. He held his arm out for me and I took it.
As we walked inside the fancy restaurant, I began to feel nervous. I was out of my element. Decked out in Chanel and Versace with a Valentino coat slung over my shoulders. Liam looked at me and smiled.
“You look beautiful,” he said to me. “Don’t be nervous.” I nodded. Liam always seemed to know when I was uncomfortable. It was like he could see right into my soul sometimes. I let out a breath I didn’t even realize I was holding. The hostess led us to a table full of businessmen who were talking comfortably amongst themselves. I noticed Liam’s friend, Lucas, sitting with them. He wasn’t talking though, he just sat there looking bored.
“Well, look who it is,” a short, fat man with a slight French accent greeted us. “William, Carole, Liam and…” he trailed off, looking at me.
“This is my girlfriend. The beautiful Yvonne,” Liam introduced me. I gave a little wave at them. They all chuckled.
“Enchanté, Yvonne, my name is Jacques.” Jacques shook my hand, smiling warmly. Liam pulled out my chair. I was seated next to Lucas. I found it weird how Lucas had the same name as my brother, who I hadn’t seen since my falling out with Simon. He also–strangely enough–acted like my brother: silent and brooding.
After we ordered and our food was in front of us, the businessmen jumped straight into conversation. Surprisingly, Liam had all the best ideas. All the men– who were obviously way older than him– seemed to respect him and trust his judgement. Midway during our lunch, I felt a tap on my hand. I turned and met Lucas’s eyes. He jerked his chin in the direction of the bathrooms. He got up swiftly and left. He wanted me to follow him?
“I’ll be back,” I whispered to Liam. He nodded and turned back to the conversation about investments. I went in the direction of the bathroom and looked around. Did he go to the men’s bathroom or the women’s? I crinkled my nose. I really hoped he didn’t go into the men’s— My thought was cut off when the door to the side of the building opened and a gust of wind nearly knocked me down. A hand shot out and caught my wrist, pulling me outside. I couldn’t gasp or scream. I could only think the worst. What if Lucas was some creepy pervert who had pulled me out here so he could have his way with me?
I was suddenly standing before Lucas who just looked at me. It was only 11 something and the early morning breeze was sweet and calm. So maybe I had exaggerated the gust of wind just a little. But in my defense I thought I was gonna get raped. Lucas had a cigarette burning between his lips. I wrinkled my nose and backed away. His mouth curled up in what– I think– was supposed to be a smile.
“Why did you want to see me?” I asked him, shifting nervously. Something about him was intimidating. He wasn’t warm and friendly like Liam. Lucas was quiet for a moment, just staring at me.
“I wanted to warn you,” he finally murmured.
“Warn me?” My mind automatically shifted to Liam s——g someone. I really hoped he didn’t think I cared.
“Yeah, about Gretchen.” Gretchen? Liam’s secretary?
“What about her?” Lucas blew out a puff of smoke and threw his cancer stick to the ground, stepping on it.
“Yesterday Gretchen stopped by the café to pick up her usual like she always does. She always asks for me to be her waiter because she thinks the rest of my father’s staff is incompetent. So I went to take her order like always. She asked me if Liam was free or not and I told her he was with you. I honestly didn’t expect for her to get so pissed. She stood up and left. She didn’t even order.” I blinked at him.
“And? So what she got pissy and left? What’s so scary about that?” He looked down at his shoes, furrowing his eyebrows. He seemed to be fighting himself. He finally looked back up at me.
“Look, I know you and Liam aren’t really together. I’ve been his best friend since we were kids, he tells me everything. Including his sexual rendezvous with Gretchen.” He shook his head. “I warned him about her, but he didn’t listen. And now Gretchen thinks you two are really together. Gretchen has a history of rubbing off people she thinks stand between her and what she wants.” Rub off? Did he mean Gretchen had people killed?
“I’ve known Gretchen for a long time. Way longer than I’ve even known Liam. And I know if she thinks a woman is trying to take the man she wants, it doesn’t end well,” Lucas said slowly. “If I were you, I’d stop with this plan. Gretchen’s dangerous. I’d hate to see something terrible happen to you.” Then he opened the side door and left.
“So you want me to kill her?” the man asked, looking at the picture in his hand. The woman nodded vehemently, her brunette curls bouncing. “May I ask the reason?” the man half smirked.
“She took what was mine,” she hissed, her pretty face contorted in rage. He nodded, he’d heard that one before.
“You have the money?” The woman handed him the envelope. He opened it and counted the money inside. He nodded in satisfaction and placed the envelope in his coat pocket. “I’ll take care of your little problem.” He looked at her. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Oh, yes, kill the b—h.” The woman’s lips pulled up in a cruel grin. “And make sure you tell her who sent you.”