Shopping for a CEO (Page 64)

Jason frowns. “What do you mean? I took Carol’s wedding fund and split it between you and Amy and—”

“Anterdec is footing the bill, Dad.”

“Anterdec is what?”

Shannon and Marie share a look. “Right after Declan proposed, we had a meeting with James, who asked that this be a thousand-guest wedding.”

“A thousand?” Jason’s been involved in some of the details, but for the most part has been happy to let all the women in his life do their thing.

“Yes. And most of those are business associates. He said this will be great, free publicity for Anterdec and if we invite enough business colleagues it becomes a corporate write off.”

“The bastard coopted my own daughter’s wedding,” Jason fumes.

This, I know, is exactly why Marie and Shannon have kept things quiet, though at some point didn’t Jason question some of the arrangements, like the forty-one piece bagpipe band and the ice sculptor from Finland?

“We didn’t want to hurt your feelings, Daddy,” Shannon says, reaching for his hand. I turn away. It’s moments like that that make it hard to be around Jason. What’s it like to reach out and just touch your dad like that, with a father-daughter bond that has been forged by decades of love?

“Why would you hurt my feelings? It’s obvious James McCormick has a bigger…wallet…than I do.” He sighs and swallows, hard.

“That’s not what this is about,” Shannon pleads.

“I know it’s not, sweetie. I do. I just worry that the love between you and Declan is getting lost in all the tartans and cake frosting flavors and elephant discussions.”

Shannon turns sharply to Marie. “Elephants?”

Marie shrugs one shoulder. “We thought about it. Bring you and Declan to the ceremony on an elephant, but mahouts are notoriously difficult and the dung is big and messy, and it turns out elephants don’t like to wear diapers.”

“No elephants!” Shannon shrieks.

“Plus, they don’t make tartan-pattern elephant diapers, so—”

“What’s a mahout?” Jason asks.


Marie and Carol look at their phones. “Gotta go! Our mystery shop reports are due by six p.m. and our boss is a real bitch.”

“Hey!” I protest. “I’m in charge of that account!”

Carol just laughs as they sprint out the door, leaving a puzzled, slightly hurt Jason.

“Cowards,” Shannon mutters. She looks around Command Central and shuffles through some papers. Frowns.

“What?” I ask, afraid to do so, but…

“Mom has a deposit for that place. The one you went to,” Shannon tells me.

“O? The stripper spa?” I’m surprised. Not shocked, though.


“Oh, boy.”

“No. Just O.”

Shannon makes a sound like Declan makes when he’s displeased with Marie.

“She’s sniping the bachelorette party.” I am stunned. I can’t say I’m truly surprised, because this is Marie, after all. The woman who is turning a cat into a flower girl and making the cat wear a kilt.

“Oh, no, she isn’t.” Shannon’s expression is smugger than smug. “We’re outwitting her.”

“We are?”

“Let’s find a way around her. Swear Amy and Carol and everyone to secrecy.”

“Yeah,” I say. “About that. The, um, party list.”

“What about it?”

“Josh asked if he could go.”

“Why would we include Josh?”

“Because he likes male strippers, too? Plus he’s technically part of the wedding.”

“He is?”

“Marie made him web developer for your live streaming video channel.”

“My what? My wedding is being broadcast live over the Internet?”

“Yes. You even have corporate sponsors.”

“WHAT? Why would we need corporate sponsors when Anterdec is paying for everything?”

“Marie’s trying to get them to sponsor her live yoga channel after the wedding is over.”

“And no one told me any of this? I feel like Dad!”

“Ouch.” We share twin looks of horror because being left out of the loop is one of the most insulting actions you can take against a Jacoby woman.

A soon-to-be McCormick woman.

“You’re telling me,” she says slowly, a sound of cunning permeating her voice as the gears turn, “that Mom already booked O for my bachelorette party.” She repeats what she knows as if chewing her way through the harsh reality.


“And Josh thinks he’s coming, too?”

“Mmmm hmmm.”

She blinks a few times, chewing on her lower lip. Then her mouth curls in victory.

“I know exactly what we need to do next.”

And when she tells me, I execute the plan to perfection.


Because this problem I can fix.

* * *

My final DoggieDate before Andrew gets home is an eight p.m. dinner date. My date was supposed to be an outdoor lunch on a marina in the Seaport district, but the guy canceled at the last minute. “Eagle” said he forgot a parole officer appointment and sent his apologies, and that Killer would meet Spritzy some other day.

Um, yeah.

Like never.

The new DoggieDate dude wants a dinner appointment, so here I am, waiting at a table in a rather elegant waterfront restaurant behind a glass wall. The night lights from the city and various boats along the wharf cast more bobbing orbs my way. I’ve been asked to bring Spritzy, who is resting comfortably in his little purse. Mom acquiesced when I explained it was a work issue.