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Fake Christmas Lexy Timms 2022/8/3 13:45:39

“I know—you’ve said many times before.” She set the snow globe onto the coffee table between them. “But he really is a nice guy.”

“After the year we’ve had, can you blame me for being paranoid?” he asked.

They had been betrayed more than once over the past several months, and Allyson had paid such a heavy price.

“I suppose not,” she replied. “It’s hard to trust. Especially when you live the kind of high-powered life we do.”

“The upper class can be a very lonely place,” he said tightly.

Over the past few weeks, he had relearned that lesson. Flying back and forth between Detroit, Snow Canyon, and New York left little time to spend with his wife. He’d been overseeing the opening of Prescott Global’s new office in Detroit, while Allyson had planned the Prescott-sponsored Snow Canyon Winter Sports Show. They hadn’t spent much time together lately. Sometimes they could go an entire week without seeing each other, and he missed her so much it was turning into a physical ache.

“Well, things will be less lonely when we head back to New York tomorrow,” she reminded him. “We’ll have the chance to spend time with our families.”

“Are you sure you’ll be able to take some time out for yourself?” he asked. “You’ve been working really hard on Christmas plans.” So hard in fact, that she had refused all of his offers to help. He suspected that Allyson was so obsessed with planning the perfect Christmas because she wanted to impress her family and his parents. Especially his mother. His mother might have finally accepted that Allyson was his wife, but she was still a demanding woman who expected perfection.

She waved her hand dismissively. “I can take time out for myself after Christmas. Right now, the most important thing is making sure our families enjoy the holiday. We can show them all the new house, and we’ll get to spend even more time with Holly’s new baby.”

Christmas with their families was just going to make spending time alone together even tougher. He knew it was probably nothing, but the fact that she had spent most of her time with Cameron over these past few weeks bothered him.

It was like they had fallen out of sync, which wasn’t like them. Usually they were on the same page, and if they weren’t they were at least on the same team. Now he had the sinking feeling that, before long, if they weren’t careful, they would end up being strangers to each other.

“Just promise me we’ll have some alone time together before the end of the year,” he said.

Her bright green eyes had suddenly glazed over, like she was a million miles away.

He cleared his throat. “Allyson?”

She blinked. “What? Oh. What were you saying?”

His jaw clenched in irritation. “I want us to spend some quality time alone together. Before New Year’s.”

“We’ll have plenty of time after New Year’s,” she murmured.

“I said before New Year’s,” he said with a frown. He knew that she had a lot on her plate right now, but it wasn’t like her to be this distracted. This distant. Her mind was clearly on something, and that something wasn’t him.

He hated to admit it, but Dane had the sneaking suspicion that his wife was keeping something from him. The sheepish expression on Cameron’s face earlier had been a clue. Whatever it was, Cameron seemed to know a hell of a lot more than he did.

“Is everything okay?” he continued. “You look worried.”

“Worried? What do I have to be worried about?” she asked, her voice a little too shrill. The blood drained from her face and she started toying with a lock of her shiny black hair.

His stomach knotted up. This was all wrong. What was she hiding from him? Why was she acting so strangely all of a sudden?

“You seem a little... distracted.” His brow furrowed as he realized he hadn’t even asked her about her day. He had been so irritated at finding Cameron in their room that he’d forgotten to ask. Now he felt like a heel. “I should have asked you... how was the final day of the sports show?”

Her lips curved up into a tiny smile. “It went well. All the snow boarders crashed out on the final slope except for Nadia. She saved the day.”