The Billionaire's Marriage Contract

By: Avery James

Chapter 1

Amy Haven stared out the window of her office at the midday crowds below. From K Street to Capitol Hill, the young women of Washington, DC were participating in a shared rite, the first warm day of spring. In place of dress pants and pea coats, they wore hip-hugging pencil skirts and revealing dresses, showing off their bare legs for the first time in months. The dirty truth of DC was that the town was run by twentysomethings. For every Senator, Congressman or law firm partner, there were a hundred young and eager staffers and interns.

Now that spring had arrived, it was only a matter of time before one of those powerful men made a mistake with one of those alluring young women, only a matter of time before someone leaked an email or a picture. That’s when Amy’s phone would ring, and she’d set to work. It was a pattern she had grown to rely on. Spring brought scandals, and scandals paid the bills.

Amy caught a glimpse of her reflection in the window. Now in her early 30s, she was starting to have less and less in common with those young staffers who seemed to fuel so many desires. Amy’s skill at crisis communications had made her one of the most influential women in the city, but it had come at a cost. She was always working, always cultivating her public image. Sometimes she envied those young women, envied their naivety, the way they fell for men, the way those men fell for them.

“Amy, have you given it any more thought?” The words broke Amy’s reverie, and she turned to look at her younger sister, Callie, who stood just inside the door of her office. Callie looked just like those women Amy had just watched below. Her skirt showed off her skinny hips, and her stylish glasses only accentuated her girlish features. Amy stared at Callie for a moment as she tried to remember what she had even asked in the first place.

Two months earlier, Amy had poached Callie away from her job as a lawyer at a big name firm with the promise of more responsibility and more interesting work. In practice, that had meant acting as Amy’s shadow while she learned the business. Callie was good at keeping out of the way, good enough that Amy had forgotten she was even in the room.

Callie cleared her throat and said, “I’m ready for more responsibility. You know, I can’t just shadow you forever. And I didn’t leave my old job to become your secretary.”

Amy knew Callie was right, but it was hard for her to think of her younger sister as anything but a kid. Their mother had died when they were young, and their father worked around the clock to escape his grief. Out of necessity, Amy had practically raised her younger sister. “I just don’t know if you’re ready yet.”

“Amy I’m twenty eight, not twelve. I graduated at the top of my class in law school. I gave up a realistic path to a partnership at a major law firm, because you asked me to come work for you. Trust me, I understand your hesitation, but I’m ready. Besides, I’ve seen how much you work. You need to hand off some of your workload if you ever want to have a personal life. I know you say you’re married to your job, but if you were, it would qualify as an abusive relationship.”

“I have the same amount of work I’ve always had,” Amy said, “and, for your information, I have dinner plans tonight.”

“I do, too,” Callie said. “Our aunt’s 70th birthday doesn’t count as a night out. Come on. Learn to give up just a bit of control. Senator Whitman’s office is calling in ten minutes. Let me lead the call.”

“Just because you’re my little sister doesn’t mean I’m going to give you preferential treatment. If anything, it means I need to have higher standards for you. Everything you do reflects back on me, and I have worked too hard to hand a case over to you before you’re ready.”

“What do I need to do prove that I’m ready?” Callie asked.

“Pick a client.”

“Anyone?”

“Sure, I’m not saying you’ll get to work with that client, but give it a shot.”

“Ethan Cole.”

Amy laughed. “You’re not working with Ethan Cole.”

“Why not?”

“First, he makes up a third of our billable hours. Second, he has a thing for beautiful young women, and I’m not about to dangle my little sister in front of him. Plus with his blue eyes and strong jaw, I’m not sure you’d be able to resist. Third, I passed him off to Rich three years ago. I haven’t spoken to him since.”

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