We are taking book requests on our companion website. You can request books here. Make sure, you are following the rules.

Black Ties and White Lies: Chapter 46


Even with his random appearance at the office this morning, I hadn’t expected Carter to show up to dinner tonight. Family dinners aren’t Carter’s thing. They aren’t typically mine either, I guess, but they’re even less his.

Carter looks straight past me, his eyes zeroing in on Margo behind me, on our clasped hands.

He jumps out of his seat, the chair flying to the ground behind him. “What the fuck?”

My mom’s eyes go wide with shock, or maybe it’s embarrassment. She looks around the restaurant, giving the innocent bystanders an apologetic smile.

Dad gives me an unreadable look before he reaches up and grabs Carter’s shoulder. He pulls on it. “Sit down, son.”

Carter’s eyes burn with fury as he picks his chair off the floor and follows our father’s direction.

“Mom, Dad.” I smile softly at my parents. I feel slightly guilty pulling them into the drama that’s about to ensue with Carter here. I really hadn’t expected him to show up tonight. It was supposed to be an enjoyable pre-Thanksgiving dinner with my parents as I introduced Margo as my fiancée.

Now it’s going to be drama filled. Carter was babied terribly. He’s not used to things being taken from him. Add in the fact that he’s been extremely competitive from the moment I established my own company, and there’s no way this will end well. He’s wanted to beat me at everything from the moment Dad off-handedly asked him at a dinner once when Carter was going to do something with his life like I had. I don’t think Dad had meant it to be offensive. But Carter took it that way. Since then, he’s been trying to win against me when I’d never been interested in even playing the game. When he finds out Margo and I are engaged, he’s bound to lose his shit. I’d hoped it would be over a phone call, not in a place that’s always packed and takes six months to get a reservation unless you have an in with someone.

“I presume you remember Margo?” I offer, turning my body so she can no longer hide behind me. She pinches my arm, clearly unamused by bringing her into the limelight.

I squeeze her hand, trying my best to reassure her. Neither of us had expected Carter to show up, but that may have been naive of us. She’d manage to hide from him all day at work. Leave it to Carter to never work hard for anything until now—until it came to winning her back.

My mom stands up with a warm smile on her face. She rounds the table and pulls Margo into an embrace before she’s even said hi to me.

“Margo,” she says lovingly, petting the back of Margo’s head. “It’s been so long, sweetie.”

Margo hugs her back. It’s only because I pay close attention to her every move that I notice how her back is tense and her hands are balled tight. “Yeah, it has,” Margo responds uneasily.

As soon as my mom pulls away, my dad is there to pull Margo into a hug. He always had a soft spot for her. Even after Margo called things off with Carter, my dad never stopped asking about how she was doing.

While he and Margo get reacquainted, my mom stops in front of me with a wide smile on her face. “My boy,” she says, her voice filled with love. Leaning down, I pull my mom in for an embrace, feeling comforted by the scent of the same perfume she’s worn my entire life.

“I missed you,” I say against her hair.

My dad reaches out to shake my hand and then we all look at each other, the vibe in the air a little uncomfortable after Carter’s outburst. Dad eases the tension by pointing to the table. “Let’s take a seat and catch up.” The look he aims my way tells me he’s full of questions.

I feel Carter’s hot glare on me as I pull Margo’s chair out from the table. Her smile seems more comfortable than she may seem as she mumbles a small thank you and takes a seat. I take the seat next to her, smiling at my brother, letting him know I’m completely unbothered by the seething glare he’s aimed at me.

Carter takes a drink of his bourbon. “I wasn’t aware we were bringing assistants to the family dinner.”

“I wasn’t aware you were invited.”

“Boys,” my mom hisses, the word coming out more pleading than she probably intended.

I look at her, my expression softening. “Sorry, mom. I’m just slightly confused why Carter has decided to grace us with his presence for once.” My eyes flash to Margo at my side. I have to hand it to her; you wouldn’t ever know how nervous she was just minutes ago. She holds her head high, not an ounce of nerves on her face. “I wonder if it has something to do with my assistant.” It’s probably cruel of me to draw out the news of our engagement, but I can’t help myself. I like that Carter is uncomfortable across from us, that he’s wracking his brain wondering what’s going on between Margo and me.

Carter’s dark hair gleams underneath the soft yellow lighting. He watches me closely. If he’s looking for answers on my face, he won’t find them. He leans back in his chair, risking a glance at Margo before looking back to me. “Am I not allowed to join my own family for dinner?”

“You know what?” I pick up the wine menu and pretend to look over it even though I know what to order. “You’re right. We’re so thrilled to have you join us tonight. Tell me, how’s your girlfriend? What was her name again?”

Carter glares at me before looking to Margo. “We broke up,” he explains, looking at Margo with want in his eyes.

Margo smiles widely at him. I don’t realize how jealous it made me to see them looking at one another until she reaches under the table and places her hand on my thigh. “It doesn’t matter to me if you have a girlfriend or not. I would love to meet her if you do.”

Fuck. Why am I relieved to hear her say those words?

“She wasn’t you,” Carter fires back.

Oh, hell no.

I dismissively wave the waiter away when he stops at our table. He scurries away, the jealousy surrounding me probably palpable enough to have him running for his life.

“I’ve actually got some great news,” I announce, jealousy getting the better of me. Underneath the table, I place my hand on top of Margo’s, intertwining our fingers.

My mother’s eyes light up. She exchanges a look with my father, who looks somewhat relieved for the change of conversation. That face may be wiped right off with my next words.

I look to Margo, my eyes softening as I take in her beauty. She squeezes my hand, prompting me to continue. Looking back to my parents, I take a deep breath. “Margo and I have fallen in love.”

“You’re fucking lying,” Carter spits immediately.

Margo looks at him, not showing a hint of emotion on her face. “Things happen when you work closely together.”

I could kiss her in front of all of them for her statement. I hadn’t expected her to say much. In fact, I’d expected her to stay quiet as I explained the change in our relationship. When I saw Carter seated at the table, a small part of me became nervous she wouldn’t be able to follow through with him here. She’d been up front of how he hurt her. I didn’t know how much of it still lingered, if a part of her still wanted him.

The confident set of her features as she stares into his rage-filled eyes tells me everything I need to know. She won’t be leaving me for him. He no longer has her—I do.

The entire table is tense as Margo and Carter stare at one another. She’s the first to break eye contact, looking away from him to focus me. Lifting her hand, she brushes my cheek lovingly. “Neither one of us expected it,” she lies graciously.

“You whore,” Carter snaps, slamming his hand down on the table. The glasses on the table rattle with his sudden movement.

“Carter!” My mom gasps.

“Son,” my father growls.

I hold my hand up, stopping my parents from saying anything else. Anger brews in my chest as I fumingly focus on that pathetic excuse of a man I have to call my blood. I can feel Margo watching me carefully from my side. My body is coiled tight with rage. I lean forward, smoothing a wrinkle in the tablecloth.

Every fiber of my being wants to come across the table and hit my brother square in the face for having the nerve to call Margo that. My hand flexes underneath the table as I try to keep my composure. The last thing my family needs is to make the headlines for Carter and I getting into a brawl during dinner.

“Carter,” I seethe, looking up to look him dead in the eye. I hope he sees the fury raging in my eyes. “Call my fiancée that again and I will fucking ruin your life as you know it. The blood we share be damned.”

He rears back, his eyes widening. “Fiancée?”

“Yes, fiancée. Apologize for speaking to her like that.”

“No,” he answers aggressively.

“Carter,” our mom pleads. This wasn’t how I envisioned sharing the news of our engagement, but then again, I hadn’t expected Carter to be here.

Carter looks away from me, to look at Margo. “Just hopping from one brother’s cock to another, aren’t we?”

I fly out of my chair, rounding the table in an instant. Dishes clatter to the ground as I shove his face into the tablecloth. My mother shrieks. Margo says something, but I don’t catch it as I dig Carter’s cheek into the stark white tablecloth. Anger courses through my veins as I lean forward, tightening my grip on the back of his neck.

The pleas from my family and musings from other diners go completely unnoticed. All I can focus is on my brother. The piece of shit doesn’t deserve to be in Margo’s presence, let alone have the right to have ever called her his. My fingertips dig into his neck as I lean close to his ear.

My teeth grind, threatening to shave down from the pressure of the angry set of my jaw. “You’re lucky we’re in public, brother. If we were in private your face would already be black and blue.”

“You wouldn’t,” he spits.

My fingers thread through his hair, yanking his head up, I turn his head to look at Margo. He tries to push me off him, but his pathetic attempts are useless. My eyes flick to the people around us, all of them gawking at the spectacle we’re putting on. I hate the attention, but I despise the words he’d used against Margo more.

When he tries to turn his head, I use my free hand to clutch his jaw, forcing him to look at Margo. “Apologize to my fiancée, Carter.”

He tries to jerk free from my grip but fails. I’m too angry, too filled with rage to let him out of this. He’s going to apologize to her. I’ll do whatever it takes.

“Fuck no.” He yelps like a child when my grip tightens on his jaw.

“Try that again,” I demand, moments away from beating his head into the table.

“I’m sorry,” Carter mutters, staring at her lap.

“Be a fucking man and apologize to her face.”

“I’m sorry!” he shouts. “Ow,” he groans as my fingers dig so hard into his neck that his face begins to turn blue.

“While you’re at it, tell her how sorry you are for cheating on her. For being stupid and pathetic and walking out on your relationship.”

A large hand lands on my bicep. I look back to find my father giving me a warning stare. I ignore it. He’s going to have to rip me off Carter if he wants me to stop before Carter does as I ask.

“What the fuck.” Carter manages to get out through gasps of air.

Margo is the only one who can pull me from my rage. Her voice breaks through the anger, pulling me out of it. “Beck,” she murmurs, “it doesn’t matter. I don’t care what he thinks of me. It doesn’t matter.”

I look to her, my fingers applying slightly less pressure to where he can get a deep breath in.

“He doesn’t matter,” she repeats, giving me a hesitant smile. “All that matters is you.”

Relief washes over me as I let go of him. The sudden movement has him lurching forward. He groans, rubbing at the handprint I’d left on his neck.

Walking up to my mother, I give her a kiss on the top of the head. “I love you, mom. We’ll catch up when he’s not around. Sorry to ruin our dinner.”

My dad and I share a knowing look. He doesn’t argue with me or try to convince me to stay. Words aren’t needed for us to come to an understanding. We’ll talk later. But I can’t be in the presence of Carter for another second and keep my temper at bay.

Before going, I stop in front of him and look at him down my nose. “Don’t fucking speak to my future wife again. In fact, don’t even breathe in her god damn direction unless it’s to utter an apology.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


not work with dark mode