Home > Going Down Fast (Billionaire Bad Boys #2)(17)

Going Down Fast (Billionaire Bad Boys #2)(17)
Author: Carly Phillips

He glanced back toward the bedrooms, where Maxie was no doubt making sure she didn’t look well-kissed and almost-fucked. He could not believe his parents’ bad timing.

Or that they were here at all.

“Be right there,” he called out, buying himself a minute to prepare.

Lucas hadn’t told his parents that their daughter-in-law was living with him. He wouldn’t say his parents favored Keith, but they had put him on a pedestal, and they didn’t want him to fall from grace. Explaining Maxie’s presence here would involve detailing even more of Keith’s indiscretions and lapses in judgment.

And both parents were having a hard enough time accepting that their golden child had done anything wrong. Early on, Lucas had tried to broach the subject, explaining Keith’s drinking and womanizing. His mother had cried and his father had cut him off, refusing to discuss the matter. Denial was a good way of describing how his parents were coping. Unless Maxie had told them, they didn’t know about the embezzling or gambling, and he doubted she had.

Drawing a deep breath, Lucas straightened his shoulders and opened the door. “Mom, Dad. What brings you by?”

“Your father took me for dinner in the city. How could we not surprise our boy?” Justine Monroe said, pulling him into a hug.

His father, Bryce, nodded. “What can I say? She wanted it to be a surprise,” he said, obviously more aware that they’d just dropped in unexpectedly.

Lucas shut the door behind them and led them into the area between the entry and the family room.

His mother had had a painful, difficult time since Keith passed away, becoming more reclusive at home, so he was glad she’d been willing to take a trip from Long Island for dinner.

He still wished they’d have called first, so he and Maxie could have prepared for the visit and discussed how to explain things. His parents knew about Lucas’ old feelings for his brother’s wife, and as a result, he didn’t think they were going to take the news that she was living here well. At all.

“You look great, Mom.”

“Thank you,” she said with a smile.

Although she had more defined lines since Keith’s death, especially around her eyes, she’d finally begun to have her hair colored red again. She was taking care of herself, and her full face of makeup attested to that fact, and it made Lucas happy.

“I’m glad you came in for a nice dinner,” Lucas said, speaking loudly, hoping to prepare Maxie for the shock. It was up to her whether to come out or remain hidden in the room, opting to tell them another time.

“We had a delicious meal in the theater district. I told your mother we should see a show one Saturday night,” his father said.

“A show sounds like a good idea,” Lucas said, noting that his father, too, had changed recently.

His hair had been jet-black like Lucas’ but was now grayer, his face also more lined. But they seemed to be slowly moving forward.

He hoped what they discovered today didn’t cause a setback or a family rift.

“Hello, Justine, Bryce.” Maxie walked out from the hallway where the bedrooms were and came up beside him.

She’d changed into a pair of jeans and a tee shirt and had washed her face and tied her hair back in a ponytail. There were no signs of the disheveled woman he’d kissed so thoroughly.

“Maxie?” his mother said, obviously stunned. “What are you doing here?” she asked, looking from her daughter-in-law back to Lucas.

“She lives downstairs. It’s obvious she’s here visiting,” Bryce said.

“But she’s coming from the bedrooms.” His mother’s forehead creased in confusion.

“Or the restroom. For God’s sake, Justine, stop looking for trouble or creating drama.”

“Mom, Dad—” Lucas began.

But Maxie stepped forward, taking control, and as he’d promised just a short while ago, he had no choice but to let her.

“The bank foreclosed on my apartment, and I had nowhere to go. Lucas was gracious enough to let me stay here until I get back on my feet,” she explained, glancing at Lucas from beneath her thick lashes.

His mother’s eyes opened wide. “But… but… I’m sure Keith had life insurance. He wouldn’t leave you with nothing—”

“Mom,” Lucas said, more forcefully than he’d have liked. “I tried to explain things about Keith to you a while ago, but you didn’t want to hear.” He drew a deep breath and dove in. “Keith lost everything. He died in debt. Maxie found out after he passed away, and she didn’t know about the apartment until it was already foreclosed on.”

“But… but…”

“Justine, come sit down,” Maxie said, shooting Lucas a pained look.

Which left him to handle his father, whose expression went from stoic to crumbling, his posture suddenly hunched over. “Dad, let’s go get a drink.” Lucas led him to the kitchen while the women settled in the family room.

He poured two shots of whiskey and handed one to his father before downing one himself. “Dad, I’m sorry.”

“About your brother? I am too. You’re right. I didn’t want to hear it. I still don’t, but I can’t ignore the fact that he left his wife destitute,” he said, his voice rising.

“Here. Have another drink.” He poured his father a final shot.

His father accepted it with shaking hands. “But as for Maxie, you can’t mean to live here with her, Lucas. You just can’t.”

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