Home > Escorting the Groom (The Escort Collection #4)

Escorting the Groom (The Escort Collection #4)
Author: Leigh James

The Escort Collection Series

Escorting the Billionaire (The Escort Collection #1) 
Escorting the Actress (The Escort Collection #2)
Escorting the Player (The Escort Collection #3)
Escorting the Groom (The Escort Collection #4)

Silicon Valley Billionaires Series

Lauren (Silicon Valley Billionaires #1)
GABE (Silicon Valley Billionaires #2)
HANNAH (Silicon Valley Billionaires #3)

 

Chapter One

 

Lucas

 

 

"Can you interrupt Mr. Preston, please? Tell him it's his cousin, Lucas. It's urgent." I stalked around my townhouse with my cell phone gripped in my hand. The midafternoon sun shone brightly into the living room. As soon as I got off the phone, I was going out for a punishing run in the Boston humidity.

As if I could outrun what I was about to do.

"Lucas," James said. "This is a surprise. When was the last time I saw you? My wedding?"

"Something like that." I looked out the window, wishing I didn't need to have this conversation. "It's been a long time. How are you? How're Audrey and the kids?" The question felt perfunctory on my lips.

"Great," James said. "Our youngest just started walking. So we're still living in a babyproofed house, but we're getting there."

I felt a headache coming on. "How many kids do you have, again?"

James exhaled, annoyed. "Three, Lucas. We have three."

"That's a lot of kids."

"So what do I owe the pleasure of this phone call to?" my cousin asked, cutting right to the chase. "I'm sure you didn't call to chat about my kids, seeing as you can't remember how many I have."

"Right." I cleared my throat. "It's about my trust…" I let my voice trail off.

"If I remember correctly, it had some pretty specific provisions."

I winced. "Yeah. It's like yours—it's a generation-skipping trust. But mine has some interesting contingencies."

"Such as?"

I gripped my cell phone harder. "Such as… I have to get married before I turn thirty-five. Otherwise, my sister gets everything."

James let out a low whistle. He had no love for my sister, Serena. "That would suck."

"I know. That's the point."

"How old are you?" James asked.

"Thirty-four. And I'm not dating anyone. That's why I'm calling you." I took a deep breath. "I need the name of that agency. The one Audrey used to… you know. Where she worked when you met her." I couldn't bring myself to elaborate any more than that. James's wife, Audrey, was an escort when they'd started dating. It had been the family scandal of the decade, right before the one I had somewhat recently starred in.

"You're hiring an escort to marry?" James asked.

"You married one," I said, a bit defensively.

"That's because I fell in love with her, asshole," he barked.

"I didn't get in touch so you could pass judgment." I tried to keep my voice even. "I just need the information."

"When's your birthday?" James sounded as though he'd calmed down. And as if he was laughing at me.

"In three weeks."

He stopped laughing. "Are you fucking kidding me?"

I stared out the window, taking in my penthouse view. The Boston Common stretched out, picturesque and green, in front of me. "No, I'm not."

"Jesus, Lucas. Nothing like the last minute." I pictured my handsome, rugged cousin pacing around his office in Southern California.

"I've been going back and forth about this." I took a deep breath. "But I can't let Serena inherit all the money in that trust. It's billions of dollars." I winced as I pictured my sister running off between fundraising luncheons to squeeze in another Botox injection. "And I've just run out of time to meet Miss Right."

"I think this is a bad idea," James said.

"It's obviously a bad idea."

He sighed. "The name of the agency is AccommoDating. They're in the South End of Boston. The madam's name is Elena. Tell her I sent you. She always liked me."

"Why do I doubt that?" I quipped.

"Because you're not as dumb as you're acting right now." James was quiet for a second. "You're not really going through with this, are you?"

I coughed. "I don't really think I have a choice. I don't want to ask a friend to do it—"

"Since when do you have friends?" My cousin knew me and my work-obsessed habits too well.

"Right. I'm calling Elena. Wish me luck."

"This is a wedding I don't want to miss. You better send out the invites soon. My kids are playing baseball, and I'm coaching. We're busy, but I'll fit you in."

I promised to keep him posted before I hung up, scratching my head. My cousin, James Preston, had been a bachelor billionaire for as long as I could remember. He was also a real-estate mogul and a total prick. The idea of him happily married, with three kids and a babyproofed house, was baffling.

And yet, the inscrutability of his situation paled in comparison to what I was about to do.

 

BLAKE

"I'd like it if you'd stay," Ethan said, trailing his fingers up my arm.

I fell back against his Egyptian cotton sheets. "Of course I'll stay." Ethan was one of my regular Johns. He was funny and kind, and his apartment in the Leather District next to downtown Boston was gorgeous. He always treated me with a high level of respect, more like a treasured girlfriend than a hired plaything.

"Blake, I've been thinking…" He waited until I turned to him expectantly. "What if I put you up somewhere? Bought you a nice apartment? I'd take care of you, baby. You wouldn't have to work for the service anymore. I'd pay all your bills."

I ran my finger along his jawline. "Ah, you're sweet." I smiled at him playfully, trying to lighten my sudden feeling of suffocation. In some ways, it would be lovely to be Ethan's kept woman, to be able to leave hooking behind. But I'd rather make my own money and then retire.

And be alone.

His eyes pierced mine. "I mean it. A nice girl like you? You're the total package. Beautiful. Smart." He tucked a lock of my long blond hair behind my ear. "You don't need to do this anymore. Let me give you a new life."

Ethan was handsome, and he had more money than God, but he hadn't been able to find the right woman to settle down with. "Ethan, that means a lot to me, but I can't."

His brow furrowed in disappointment, but he didn't look surprised. "Why not?"

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