One totally innocent photograph taken out of context and Nomi’s reputation goes up in flames.
Easy fix: marry the man from the picture. After all, he’s her best friend.
Malone makes it his job to look out for Nomi. So, of course, he can’t say no when she proposes a fake marriage to save her political campaign. But the betrayals they’ve suffered in the past make their marriage of convenience a risky move—especially when real feelings start to swirl between them. Will this favor cost them their friendship or turn into something greater than they’d ever imagined?

Nomi chatted at him the whole way as they drove from Uptown to the courthouse in the inner circle of downtown Dallas. Parking proved to be a bit of a challenge, as it always did in a city with limited public transportation, but soon she’d wedged into a spot half a block away. They found the right line to stand in, Nomi clutching the marriage license they’d applied for a few days ago.
That’s when his own nerves kicked back in. This was crazy. Nomi was chill, not the kind of woman to take advantage of this situation, and they’d hashed out a very short prenup that said she couldn’t touch his money. The benefits of marrying a lawyer. She hadn’t batted an eye at spelling out the legal reasons she could never be like Camille, who had stolen Malone’s designs without a shred of remorse.
That was the dirty secret that lay at the demise of DuMar Technologies. He’d let everyone believe he’d sold the company due to lack of interest. But it had been sheer self-preservation. Without the designs for the new products he’d been developing, the company couldn’t grow, and frankly, his desire to run it had withered as well. He refused to take the whole ship down because he’d trusted a woman who’d betrayed him.
Did he really want to give Nomi an opportunity, however small, to prove that she too had the capacity to screw him over? Marriage opened him up to all sorts of liabilities he had no protection against. Mostly because it was the unknown.
He hated the unknown. That’s why he liked inventing things, coming up with new ways to solve old problems, exploring the depths of technological mysteries. Or at least he used to. Camille had stolen that too. Pizza never changed and that was all he could handle right now.
“I’m so glad you said that earlier,” Nomi said as the clerk called the man and woman ahead of them in line. They vanished inside the magic box that would pop them out in a few minutes, transformed into a legally-bound couple.
“What did I say?”
“About how we’re a team. You’re going to be right here by my side. That was key,” she murmured near his ear, probably to avoid blasting the full waiting area with their private business, but her breath warmed the skin along his throat. “Who else could fit into this world but someone like you who has all the right experience?”
“What experience? I’ve never been in politics.” She smelled like something flowery, but it was so subtle, he couldn’t quite place it and he’d followed a trail along her hairline with his nose before realizing how close he was to diving in for a taste.
He could wrap his arms around her easily. Practice some of that PDA she’d discounted so quickly. In the off-white dress, she’d slipped into for the ceremony, her face had taken on this glow that he suddenly couldn’t look away from.
A distraction from the gravity of the event about to happen worked for him.

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