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The Billionaire's Promise (An Heir At Any Price Book 3)

Holly Rayner
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Chapter One



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AIDEN





The day after Holly found out that I’d been talking to Cecile, I felt like an ass all day. I kept picking up the phone to call Holly and apologize, but she deserved better than that. If the tables had been turned, and I had found out she’d been seeing her ex behind my back…I doubt that I would have believed it was innocent. I would have been blinded by jealousy and I couldn’t honestly say that I would have been able to forgive her. Yet, I expected her to do all of that for me. I knew I was going about it all wrong when I did it, and yet I’d done it anyways. In my heart I thought about it as doing what was best for Mark. In my head, I knew that no matter how little Cecile meant to me, it was a betrayal to Holly for me to see her behind her back. It was an insult and a shock to have Cecile show up on the doorstep like that I’m sure. Like I said, if it were the other way around, I would have taken it like a slap in the face. Yet she still didn’t throw her out…she didn’t throw me out. Sometimes I wonder if she’s too nice for me. She always tries to look at the positive side of every situation and she somehow always saw the best in me even when I was acting like a world class ass and a phone call wasn’t going to fix that.



Instead, I got on the phone and called the florist. I ordered an arrangement for Holly with all of her favorite flowers in a giant red vase, her favorite color. Then I called my jeweler and told him what I needed. He promised me he would have someone bring samplings over before five. Then I called our favorite restaurant that normally doesn’t deliver and asked them for a favor. It was going to cost me, but I didn’t care and they were happy to oblige. Lastly, I called Rose. I knew with this one I was going to have to eat a lot of crow, but I felt better about admitting to her that I was an ass than I did admitting it to Holly’s mom who would have been my other choice to watch Eric for the night.



“Hi Rose, it’s Aiden,” I said when she picked up.



“Aiden? Is Holly okay? Is it Eric?” I laughed; Rose was a good friend to Holly. Sometimes I thought she was more a surrogate mother.



“Holly and Eric are fine,” I told her. “I’m the one with the problem.”



“Uh-oh, what’d you do?” she asked.



I had to laugh again. “What makes you think I did something? Maybe I’m just calling for friendly advice.”



“Honey, you don’t get to be my age without knowing about men. I can hear it in your voice and if you’re calling me for help…well, I don’t think that means all is well in paradise.”



“No, you’re right, all is not well. I’m an ass and I’ve hurt Holly. I’m going to go home pretty soon and try and make it up to her. I hope she can see her way to forgiving me.”



“You didn’t cheat on that beautiful girl, did you?”



“No Rose, I didn’t cheat on her. I would never do that, Holly is all I want and need.”



“Well, that’s good at least. Most other things can be forgiven, and I don’t have to kick your ass. What did you do?” she asked.



I told Rose then what I had done. She knew that I’d been married before and she also knew the woman had taken my child. I wasn’t trying to make excuses but I wanted her to know how afraid I was that this would be my one and only last chance to have any kind of contact with Mark. To her credit she listened in silence until I’d finished.



When I was done she said, “Wow, you are an ass and you’re kind of stupid too if you thought you were gonna get away with all of this.”



“And you Rose, know exactly how to pump up a guy’s self-esteem.”



“When you deserve pumping up, call me. I’m just a straight shooter, honey. I don’t see the point in lying. The truth always comes out anyways.”



“You’re right, I don’t deserve it. I hope that even though I don’t deserve it, Holly will forgive me. What I wanted to ask you Rose is if you might be available to watch Eric tonight so we have a chance to talk this out?”



“Of course,” she said, without hesitation. “I hate to say I’m happy about anything you did right now, but watching that little boy is a treat for me. I’m glad you asked.”



“Thanks,” I told her. “I also wanted to ask if you’ll call Holly and offer to keep him. She may say no if she’s still really angry. When Eric’s there, he’s a buffer for us both because we don’t argue in front of him. If that happens, I’ll think of something else.”

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