My Darling Bride: Chapter 15

GRAHAM

Emmy and I are waiting for the check to arrive when she tells me she’s going to the ladies’ room. She rises gracefully as I brush my fingers down to her hand to give it a squeeze for the crowd at Borelli’s.

A few minutes later, I’ve paid the check, and she still hasn’t come back to the table. I walk to the back of the restaurant area where the restrooms are. Minutes tick by slowly. Finally, an older woman emerges, and I describe Emmy and ask if she’s inside. She shakes her head and tells me she was alone in the restroom.

Growling under my breath, I stalk back to the table, and the maître d’ is there.

He nods his head at me. “Mr. Harlan, your companion is out on the back deck, sir.”

Great. At least he’s keeping up. She must have slipped past me when I was checking my phone.

I thank him and head that way, weaving through the tables. I step out into the stone terrace and see her standing near the edge of the landscaping—next to Holden. My nose flares at the punch that hits my gut. Motherfucker. He’s probably been eye-stalking her ever since he saw her with me earlier. As soon as he walked into the restaurant, he saw us and sent me a haughty nod, which I ignored.

I study him while he’s not looking. He’s handsome, I suppose, in an oily kind of way, all full of bullshit charm. Tall and lean, he has brown hair and a square chin with a cleft.

Put us side by side, and we look nothing alike.

He’s vaping, the smoke curling around Emmy as she talks to him. He reaches over and offers her a drag. When he touches her arm, jealousy bites so hard I have to clench my fists to steady myself.

I stalk their way, and Emmy must sense me approaching because she turns and smiles at me with her whole heart, her eyes fake adoring me as she takes steps to meet me.

“Sweetie pie, I met your brother. What a coincidence that we happened to be at the same restaurant.”

“Careful with him, darling. He never plays nice,” I say under my breath.

“I’ve got this,” she whispers as she crooks her arm in mine, and we head back to Holden.

He watches us with eyes that drape over every inch of her, a smarmy leer on his face. He spreads his arms wide. “Graham! Well, look at this. The happy couple together on a date.” He drops his arms when I make no attempt to touch him. “Ah, no brotherly hug, then?”

“Not today,” I say coolly.

“Ah, whatever. I can wait for the holidays—or the wedding.” He laughs.

My body tenses. I went to his wedding, an elaborate affair with over three hundred guests. Fighting the anger and bitterness inside me, I sat in the back, unnoticed, and watched him and Divina exchange vows.

“It’s going to be a very private affair. Where’s your wife?”

“Oh, she’s around.” He smirks at me, then shifts his gaze to Emmy. “Graham knows I come to Borelli’s. What a coincidence that we’re both here on the same night. It must not be much of a surprise to see me.”

“It was actually my idea to come,” Emmy says. “I adore Italian, and this place is close to Wickham, where Graham lives.” She glances at me. “I hope you weren’t worried about me when I disappeared. Holden bumped into me on my way back to the table and insisted I see the back deck and fireplace. We were just talking about our engagement. Apparently, he saw the announcement.”

Holden raises his drink in a mock toast. “I’m so excited that I must insist the family throw a breakfast or a dinner for you after the nuptials. After all, I’m sure Dad will want to meet your gorgeous bride.”

“Dad and Brody are already planning something,” I say.

Holden curls his lips at me, a gleam of malice there. “About time you got married, and I promise to keep my hands off this one.” He smirks at Emmy, then looks back to me. “You’ll get your inheritance, of course. Not that you need it. I imagine Brody wants his, but that will never happen. Sadly, our grandmother made a will that doesn’t include him.”

Emmy narrows her eyes at him. “You don’t sound disappointed by it. It’s terribly unfair. Brody is married. He should get the same as the both of you when he turns thirty.” She glances at me. “Has Brody ever considered contesting it?”

Yes. But there’s no telling how long that would take. Or how expensive it might be.

Holden laughs. “Graham! She’s a little spitfire.”

“She is,” Emmy says.

Holden sucks his vape, letting the smoke curl around us as he exhales. “I’m a lawyer, Emmy. The will is ironclad. New York has tough laws about wills, and our grandmother’s was perfectly executed. I have no issue with who Brody is married to, but our grandmother would. The language is on purpose. She wasn’t incapacitated, or unduly influenced. Believe me, I’ve considered the different angles.”

Oh, I’m sure he has.

He continues. “It’s sad for Brody, especially since I hear he’s been shopping banks for a loan to open a gym.”

“Not much gets past you, huh?” I arch a brow.

“No.” He looks at Emmy. “Especially a hasty marriage to someone you hardly know.”

“We’re in love, Holden,” I murmur. “It makes a man do crazy things.”

“Right,” he scoffs. “We’ll see about that.”

“Holden, darling? Are you ready to go?” comes a dulcet voice from the doorway that leads back into the restaurant.

We turn as a pretty woman with long red hair approaches us in a pantsuit, probably Holden’s age. She moves to stand next to him, their arms grazing slightly. “Oh, I thought you were out here alone.”

Holden tucks his vape pen away and kisses her on the cheek. “Pia, meet Graham and his fiancée, Emmy. Guys, this is Pia, one of the partners at our firm.”

Emmy has stiffened next to me, and I sense her confusion about the fact that this isn’t Divina.

Pia nods. “Nice to meet you. We were just celebrating a new case tonight.”

A smirk rises on my face. “My brother is a creature of habit, I guess. He loves to do work at Borelli’s.”

Pia throws a glance at me, lingering. “I’ve heard of you, of course. Your dad talks about you. You’re quite famous.”

I take her hand and give her a smile. “Would you like an autograph?”

She blushes. “Oh yes! My nephew would go nuts over it. Let me grab something from my purse for you to sign.”

Holden grunts. “He’s barely famous.”

“Don’t be jealous. I get this all the time.” I sign a notepad Pia presents from her purse with a flourish, relishing the fury emanating from Holden. I hand her pen back, then thread my fingers through Emmy’s hand and kiss her fingers gently and gaze into her eyes as if she’s the only woman on the planet.

“We should go,” Emmy murmurs.

“Indeed.”

Without saying goodbye to the other couple, I turn and guide us away from the deck and back into the restaurant.

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