Trained(The Monroe Trilogy Book 2)

By: Cynthia Dane

“Your girlfriend.” Russell was a plaintive speaker when he wasn’t impressed. “I had hoped you had moved on from her already.”

Damon pretended he didn’t hear that tone in his father’s voice. Russell had only readily approved about three women in Damon’s dating life. Gale, the daughter of a Scandinavian shipping magnate; Patrice, a Georgian debutante whose family used to be one of the richest plantation owners in the Confederacy; Mika, a Japanese diplomat’s daughter with ties to the royal family and untold riches. That last one only got a pass because of the connections. Who cared if she wasn’t white if it meant the Monroes tangentially became Asian royalty? Russell had many business associates in Japan and South Korea. They were all in the business of making each other more money.

Alice was white, but she had some of the worst breeding possible. Damon had looked into it shortly after realizing he was falling for her.

Alice… Monroe had forgotten the fortune teller’s Tarot cards until that fateful night in which he met and seduced Alice Culver. She looked like that card. So many fortunate signs in such a short span of time.

“You remember what you once told me about meeting ‘the one?’” Damon attempted to keep his countenance chipper. “I haven’t stopped feeling that since the moment I met her.”

“Yes. At that club of yours.”

Damon shrugged before grabbing his wallet off the nearest table. “Does it matter where I met her when it comes to my instincts?”

“I’m happy for your current happiness. Truly.” Russell walked farther into the room. He nodded to Nigel Clayborn, who took the massive hint to get the hell out of there. As soon as the man had scurried from the room, Russell continued, “A father wants nothing more than to see his son succeed and be happy. Ensuring a good match for him is one of those keys to happiness.”

Damon knew exactly where this was going, but decided to play dumb. He was too content with his thoughts of Alice to do otherwise. “Then you’ll be even happier to know that things are going well with her. I’ve already had her background checked out. No criminal history and a scholar.”

“If you think I haven’t helped myself to her background too, then you might be a fool.” Russell sat in a white chair in front of the coffee table. “No one has ever heard of this Culver family. Her parents are a schoolteacher and a school nurse.” Russell scoffed. “I know I told you to follow your gut while you’re young, son, but you must realize that we have standards to adhere to. It’s one thing to have your fun with pretty but poor women. It’s another to make accusations that you think she might be the one. Come on, Damon, you’ve known her for what? A month?”

“Short of that.” Damon checked his stubble again. Was that stubble he was seeing? Damnit. He wanted to be perfectly smooth for once in his life. Yet his facial hair always had plans of its own. He would sprout a full beard within two days if he wasn’t careful. Alice doesn’t seem to mind. That made him smile at his reflection. As long as Alice was happy with his appearance. God knew he was more than happy with hers.

“When I was your age, I was falling in love with women and calling them ‘the one’ every other month.”

“When you were my age, you were already married to my mother.”

“It was an arranged match. You’re old enough for me to be candid about my feelings toward the woman. It was never love.”

I figured as much. “What is this really about, Father?”

“For your own good, Damon, break things off with this woman before you seriously cause some damage.”

Damon turned toward his father. The man sat with one leg over the other, eyeing a painting of a lily in water.

“What damage would I be causing?”

“Do you really need me to give you a lecture about what it means to be a Monroe? You’re lucky your mother and I didn’t betroth you from the moment you were born. Certainly wasn’t due to a lack of interest the moment you were announced male.”

“Because it went so well for you.”

“Your mother and I had extenuating circumstances that made us the first in a long line of arranged marriages to divorce. Trust me. I did not take any pleasure in it. You’ll also notice that I’ve never remarried.”

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