Home > Billionaire Unbound ~ Chloe (The Billionaire's Obsession #8)(7)

Billionaire Unbound ~ Chloe (The Billionaire's Obsession #8)(7)
Author: J.S. Scott

“Thank God,” Aileen whispered, relief evident in her voice.

Chloe sighed as she blew on the hot beverage and eyed her mother over the rim of her cup. “You, too? I thought you wanted me married.”

Aileen looked at her only daughter with a loving gaze. “I do. But your happiness is more important than me wanting grandchildren. I don’t think you’d be happy with James.”

“Why?” Chloe questioned curiously. Her mother knew very little about her relationship with her fiancé.

Aileen gave Chloe a knowing look. “A mother knows,” she answered vaguely. “Things have never been right with him. He’s the only man you’ve ever dated. I think you were willing to accept much less than you deserve, Chloe.”

Baffled, she answered, “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“There comes a time when a mother needs to let go. Do you think I liked seeing you torture yourself when you didn’t need to? Do you think I wasn’t terrified when Tate was in Special Forces? Do you think I don’t worry now because I know that Marcus does some dangerous things?” Aileen paused to sip her coffee before continuing. “All of you are adults, and you need to make your own decisions regardless of whether I like it or not. I raised remarkable children, and I have faith that they are going to do what they have to do to be happy. But that doesn’t mean I always like it,” she finished in an unhappy voice.

“So you think I’m doing the right thing?” Chloe asked anxiously.

Aileen nodded. “Definitely, baby girl. You need a man who really loves you. James isn’t that man. You just never had a chance to find one who does.”

Chloe’s heart squeezed with love for her only parent. Her mother had obviously been confident that she’d eventually make the right choice. “Would you have said something if I actually was going to marry him?”

“I might have,” Aileen replied thoughtfully. “But I was pretty sure I wouldn’t need to. I knew you’d figure everything out eventually. You’re a smart woman. But you were making me a little nervous.”

Her mother knew nothing about James’s temper, but Chloe had inklings that she knew more than she let on. Maybe it was motherly instinct, but Chloe wondered how her mom just seemed to know most everything that was going on with her kids, even when they hadn’t told her.

“We’re having dinner tomorrow. I’ll tell him then,” Chloe reassured her softly.

“Be strong,” Aileen said tenderly. “Just remember he isn’t the right guy for you. Someday you’ll know you made the right choice.”

Chloe already knew she was, had known for a very long time. She’d just needed the courage to tell James. “Thank you,” she answered simply.

Those simple words of gratitude to her mom encompassed so many things:

Thank you for loving all of your children so much.

Thank you for always being there for all of us.

Thank you for always having faith in our judgment.

And so much more.

Her mother had always been Chloe’s rock, and not being able to tell her everything about James had nearly killed her. But she’d known that her mom would have shared the info with her brothers because Chloe’s safety was at risk, and James was a problem Chloe needed to work out on her own. He was the only man she’d ever known intimately, and it had taken a lot of time for her to figure out the truth. Their relationship wasn’t normal or healthy, and it was time for her to bail out.

“I’ll tell you about how it went when I get home tomorrow night,” Chloe said, taking another sip of her coffee as she saw the gentle look on her mother’s face.

“I’ll wait up,” Aileen said quickly.

Chloe laughed. “You haven’t waited up for me since high school.”

“I haven’t,” Aileen agreed. “But not because I didn’t want to,” she added, sounding disgruntled.

Chloe reached across the table and grasped her mother’s hand. “I love you, Mom.” Her voice was cracking with emotion. She didn’t really remember much about her father, but her mother had always been her greatest champion without being overbearing. Nobody had been prouder of her than her mother when Chloe had graduated from vet school.

“I love you, too, baby girl.” Aileen squeezed Chloe’s hand. “Will you tell me everything after it’s over?” she questioned hesitantly.

She knows. Somehow my mother knows that James is an abusive jerk.

“I will,” Chloe agreed, knowing she was close enough to her mother to share everything after the engagement was broken off. Since the relationship would be over, she could swear her mom to secrecy. There were so many questions about relationships she wanted to ask, but she couldn’t without revealing her past with James.

Aileen nodded, and Chloe stood up and grabbed her purse, releasing her mother’s hand reluctantly.

“Be careful,” she warned her daughter. “Scorned men can be dangerous.”

Chloe took a deep breath, not wanting her mother to know how nervous she was about breaking her engagement.

“I’m all grown up, Mom. I can handle it.” Her voice radiated with a confidence she wasn’t really feeling.

“I know you can,” Aileen said as she rose.

Chloe gave her parent a spontaneous hug, holding onto Aileen just a little longer than usual before she said good-bye and headed toward the door of the resort.

It was time to break the cycle; time for her to finally take control of her personal life, no matter what the fallout from her decision. James might be angry now, but both of them would be happier in the future.

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