A Convenient Marriage

Book Two of the Friends and Lovers series

Nadia Aidan

 

Chapter One

“You need to get your wife back.”

Adam Dumont glared at his best friend and campaign manager, Richard Ellis, as if he was searching for the second head that had grown out of his neck.

He shook his head. “That’s not an acceptable solution.”

“Listen to me. If you hope to win this seat in Congress you need to get your wife back—” Richard hesitated as if he was reluctant to continue, “—or you need to get another one.”

A look of glee crossed Adam’s face at the thought, before it disappeared with Richard’s next words. “But I don’t think the latter is the best idea.” He frowned at him. “The American public tends to judge candidates that are divorced very harshly, and you definitely can’t remain a bachelor. The tendency is to think that you’re either a player or gay, which would be fine if you weren’t running for office. Let’s not forget what happened to Harold Ford, Jr.”

He scowled. “So basically you’re telling me that I have little choice but to take Lisa back.”

Richard’s eyes were sympathetic as he stared down at him. “I know the situation is less than ideal, but the polls indicate that this is going to be a close race. You can’t give Gordon any edge in this and that’s exactly what you will do if you ignore my advice.”

He sulked in his leather chair as his mood grew darker with each passing second. Although he didn’t want to admit it, he knew Richard was right.

Adam’s gaze snapped to Richard when his friend let out a long sigh and shifted from his perch against his desk. “Look, I’ve got to go and take care of some things. I’ll be back in an hour.” He placed a reassuring hand on Adam’s shoulder and squeezed gently. “Just think about what I said.” Adam nodded as he watched Richard grab his coat and slip out of his office.

As soon as Richard disappeared, he leaned back in his chair, closed his eyes and massaged his fingers against his temple trying to stave off the impending headache.

“I need a drink,” he mumbled to himself, seriously tempted to call it a day and drive home where he could raid his well stocked bar. But he resisted the urge, knowing that getting drunk was not what he needed to do.

“No, what you need to do is find yourself a wife.”

Unfortunately, Richard’s suggestion was the only practical solution to his problem. He needed to keep the trifling, lying one that he already had.

At the thought of Lisa, the muscles in his jaw clenched tight as anger roared through his body.

He could barely stomach the thought of her. When they separated three months ago, he’d hoped he would never lay eyes on her ever again. But now it would seem he was going to have to do much more than just see her again. The thought of having to pretend to be her loving husband was so abhorrent that he was tempted to just drop out the race. But he knew he couldn’t do that.

He had sat by patiently waiting for the democratic Congressman to finally retire and he knew if he let another democrat take the Virginia House seat it could be many years before it opened up again. He had already solicited donors and established valuable networks. His chance to run was now. So if it meant taking back his scheming wife then so be it. Lisa had already ruined their marriage; he wasn’t going to allow her to ruin his political career as well.

* * * *

As the founder and CEO of one of the most successful modeling agencies on the East Coast, Lisa Davis-Dumont considered herself to be pretty savvy. Davis Modeling Agency, Inc. was one of the few agencies exclusively owned and operated by an African American female, and her reputation for being tenacious when it came to getting her clients the most professional models in the business was legendary. Not bad for thirty-five. A former runway model herself, she knew the ins and outs of the business but her MBA from Howard University also helped. With all the brains and savvy she supposedly possessed, Lisa could not comprehend why she was allowing Richard to talk some nonsense into her head.

“Richard, I can tell you right now that Adam is not going to agree to this, but I promise you that I will think about what you’ve said.”

“That’s all I want you to do, Lisa. Just think about it, alright?”

“Sure, Richard,” she muttered before disconnecting the call.

As soon as she hung up the phone, she dropped her face in her hands and let out a long, ragged breath. Richard may be optimistic, but she sure wasn’t. Adam may have just realized that he needed her to win the election, but that didn’t mean he would actually agree to Richard’s plan. She knew her husband would rather saw off his right arm than take her back.

She laughed bitterly. The image of Adam doing just that was comical, although she knew it wasn’t too far off from the truth. He would rather do himself bodily harm than have to see her, speak to her, touch her ever again.

Her heart squeezed in her chest and her throat choked with a sob at the thought of her husband. So many nights she’d cried herself to sleep over the mistakes she’d made with him. She’d loved him, still did, so much that her heart ached every time she thought of how she’d betrayed him.

He just didn’t understand that she had loved him with such a blinding passion that she’d thought if they just got married she could make him understand her position and come around to her way of thinking. But when the truth had finally come out, he didn’t see things quite that way. Naturally, he’d felt betrayed and saw her actions as manipulative, and she couldn’t blame him. She knew now that it had been a mistake to marry him in the first place. They were just too stubborn and strong willed to bend long enough to find a compromise.

“But here you are thinking of going back to him,” she chuckled dryly as she mulled over Richard’s words. She knew if she went back to Adam it could all erupt into a disaster. But she also knew if she didn’t, she would always regret not taking the one and only chance she would ever have to convince Adam that she still loved him, and that deep down he still loved her too.

* * * *

Lisa rolled her eyes at her best friend’s antics and lifted her teacup to her lips in order to hide her widening grin.

“Lacy Savoy, you’re crazy.”

“Seriously. I say you shank him in the middle of the night like that Lorena woman…”

“Yes. Because castrating the Mayor of Alexandria and a former District Attorney would be the wisest thing I’ve done in all my life.”

“No, but it would be wiser than marrying the prick in the first place.”

Lisa rolled her eyes again. Not this again. Lacy could not stop harping on the fact that she’d cautioned Lisa about marrying Adam from the very beginning.

“Gee thanks, Lacy. You used to like him.”

“Yeah and I used to be a virgin too, but that doesn’t mean I try to pretend that I still am. Besides I still do like him. I just think he has some issues that he needs to work out.”

Lisa released a long breath and turned her head to stare out the window of the Starbucks where she had agreed to meet Lacy for a quick coffee break.

“I know, Lacy. We both have a lot of issues. I just wish we had dealt with them before we got married. Truthfully, I never thought I would ever see him again and now that I may have to, I guess I’m just realizing that maybe we are being given a second chance. And if we are, then I don’t want to blow it twice, you know.”

Reaching across the table, Lacy offered her hand and squeezed it tightly. The look that flashed in Lacy’s eyes was clear. She was worried about her going back to Adam, but she would support her decision because she was her friend.

Lacy lifted her lips in a reassuring smile. “I can’t tell you if this is meant to be or not, but I do know that you two have a lot of unresolved issues and maybe it’s time that you worked on some of them so that you can finally move forward,” she said quietly.

Lisa squeezed Lacy’s hand as she returned her warm smile. Lacy was right. She would help Adam if only to help herself. They needed to finally work through some of their problems if they were to move forward. Now whether they moved forward together was another story.


 

 

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