A Wedding to Remember: Switched at Marriage Part 1

BOOK: A Wedding to Remember: Switched at Marriage Part 1
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A Wedding to Remember
Switched at Marriage Part 1
Gina Robinson

C
opyright
© 2015 by Gina Robinson

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Gina Robinson

http://www.ginarobinson.com

Publisher’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental.

A Wedding to Remember, Switched at Marriage Part 1,/Gina Robinson. — 1st ed.

GinaRobinson.com

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The Switched at Marriage Series

A Wedding to Remember

The Virgin Billionaire

To Have and To Hold

Gina Robinson’s Contemporary New Adult Romance Series

The Rushed Series

These standalone romances can be read in any order. But it’s more fun to read them all!

Book 1—
Rushed
, Zach and Alexis’ story

Book 2—
Crushed
, Dakota and Morgan’s story

Book 3—
Hushed
, Seth and Maddie’s story

The Reckless Series

Ellie and Logan’s love story begins one hot August night. This series should be read in order.

Book 1—
Reckless Longing
—FREE

Book 2—
Reckless Secrets

Book 3—
Reckless Together

Chapter One

K
ayla

I had a bad day. No, scrap that. I had a
hideous
weekend in Reno on business, followed by the crappiest rainy day Monday in the history of Seattle rainy day Mondays.
Ever
. And given our annual total of rainy days, that was saying something. A sad, sob in my double-shot espresso, drag myself to work after a weekend of trying to get over a bad breakup with Eric Monday. The kind of Monday that made me miss the comfort and stresses of college life. The ready availability of friends. And, most of all, easy access to rebound guys.

Because even though I worked as a buyer of men's tighty whities and moisture-wicking socks for a small online, and I might add, dying, accessories startup—yeah, men's foundations, exciting! Can you see me rolling my eyes?—men were a rare breed in my industry. Straight men, anyway.

My business degree with a double minor in fashion merchandising and communications was really being put to good use. So much for my dreams of being a buyer for a major Northwest brand.

Eric.
I blinked a tear away, or maybe it was a raindrop in my eye. Raindrop. Sure. Why not? But I was deluding myself. In the stages of relationship grief, I was way past shock and denial, and deep into furious-and-feeling-like-a-fool territory.

I dropped my guard, lowered my umbrella, and let myself into my apartment building. At that very moment, the wind kicked up, blowing the water streaming from the eaves directly onto my head and into my part. A cold splash of reality. As if I needed
more
rude awakenings.

Usually the warm familiar friendliness of my West Seattle apartment building perked me up. I loved the hip, energetic vibe of this part of the city. Today my apartment was just shelter from the rain.

Six years worth of off-and-on-again days with Eric since the first time I met him at an Up All Night event my freshman year in college. Back into the off-again stage.
Again
. Only this time felt different.
Permanent
. The douche had ditched me for someone else.

My friends had repeatedly warned me—a guy who can't commit after six years together, especially if the majority of it was in the broken-up phase, wasn't a good bet for the long term. Saying he had to have financial security before he settled down, along with a new motorcycle, a sixty-inch TV, a top-of-the-line snowboard and gear, a new gaming system… You get the idea.

In my defense, I had a lot invested in that relationship. Way too many years to simply give up on him. And hope, terrible, awful hope, clung to me like bad perfume, refusing to fade away.

I shook the rain off my umbrella, stepped inside, and took the elevator to the third floor. I let myself into my dark apartment, flipped the light on, and tossed my keys and soaked purse on the console table in the entryway. Home, sweet home. I was dripping all over it.

I should have known there was a reason Eric kept putting off moving in with me again. Sure, his arguments
seemed
reasonable. I mentally ticked them off like I was counting them on my fingers. One—he wanted to make sure we "stuck" this time before giving up his independence again. Like he'd made so many sacrifices by living with me in the past.

Two—living in my apartment would make his commute too long. Lame excuse, but true. Seattle commutes were killers. And finally, three—he couldn't bail on his roommates. They couldn't afford the house they were renting without him. Also true. And there was no way I was living with that bunch of lazy-ass guys.

But.
That hadn't stopped Eric from moving in with
her
. Over the weekend, the bastard. The thought of her gave me an instant case of relationship rage. I took a deep breath. Killing someone right now was not a good idea.

What was he thinking? He and I had a
history
together. We shared a college experience. If I cut him out of my college scrapbook, there would be nothing left but a few shredded ribbons and a picture of the powder puff football trophy my team had won during homecoming my senior year.

I took off my gorgeous pink raincoat, the one that perked me up on dreary Seattle days like this one. My splurge purchase—the coat had cost over five hundred dollars. But it was worth
every
penny. And I mean every one. When I walked down the street wearing it, men looked. And women eyed me with the question
Where did you get that lovely thing?
shining in their eyes. I hung it in the closet and kicked off my soaked shoes.

I'd gone to Reno on Thursday on business to deal with issues at the distribution center for the small apparel firm I kind of worked for. Not exactly the stuff of my fashion merchandizing dreams. And I say "kind of" because my hours kept getting cut. It was just a matter of time before they faded to zero.

I came down with a major case of food poisoning on Friday afternoon, tossed my cookies on the plant manager's shoes, and had to spend an extra day in Reno. Mostly sleeping in the bathtub so I could be near the toilet. Now, on top of everything else, I had a stiff neck. And food still wasn't completely my friend again yet. But I lost three pounds during the adventure. So there was that.

My boss was royally angry about the extra expense. I was mortified by the whole experience. And to top it all off, because, you know, things weren't bad enough, someone had stolen my phone and wallet. They were eventually retrieved from a potted plant in the hotel lobby. Minus my cash, of course. Fortunately, I'd only had one of my two credit cards with me at the time. I'd had to cancel it. But by the time I did, the thief had taken it for a spin and maxed it out. It had been a total pain in the butt trying to pay my hotel bill and get home.

And then Monday hit with a vengeance and the office was no better than Reno. Apparently, the hours-fading-to-zero thing was suddenly on the fast track. They cut my hours.
Again
.

No boyfriend. Barely enough hours to register on the paycheck scale. My life sucked. I figured I was just about at rock bottom. In a weird way, I liked rock bottom. It meant things had to get better. There was just no other way for them to go.

If my life had been a plucky romantic comedy, this was my hero's cue to make his entrance in some totally adorable way.
Hero, where are you?

I stuck a cup of instant macaroni and cheese in the microwave—cooking for one sucked—and checked the balance of my remaining open credit card on my phone. I crossed my fingers, hoping I had enough credit left to charge my rent. Like everything else in my life, my bank account was pretty much running on empty. My credit card account numbers came up.

"What!" The balance swam before my eyes. "Credit limit exceeded!" I took another deep breath and bit my tongue to hold the curses in. "This can't be right." I blinked. Twice. But, not surprisingly, the numbers didn't change. No matter how hard I wished.

"You weren't even in Reno," I said as if the credit card could hear me, hoping my empty apartment might at least sympathize with the plight we were in. It owed me that much. I'd spent whole paychecks decorating it.

Hands shaking, I brought up my current list of charges.

"Crap!" There were dozens of purchases at shops and casinos in Reno. How had the thief gotten hold of this one, too? I needed one of those identity protection places. Fast. Would they take you after the fact? Why was I never prepared? Oh, yeah, because things like identity theft protection cost money. That I didn't have.

In a panic, I grabbed my purse and dug out my credit card. My hand shook as I held it in front of me and chastised it. "Baby, how could you go shopping without me?"

I sighed.
Rock bottom, where are you?

I called the credit card company's fraud alert number and explained the situation. Despite my fantastic storytelling, the woman on the other end was not sympathetic. Or even a big believer in my story.

"We'll close the account and investigate the charges. Once we verify they're fraudulent, we'll reverse them and issue you a new card." She paused. "But first, you're going to have to make a payment. You're at your credit limit."

"Wait! What?" I tried to digest the news. "You mean I'm not going to be able to use my card?"

"Correct. Make a payment and we'll do our part." Her voice had that threatening—yet professionally distant and nearly bored—edge to it. "You should have your new card in the mail in ten to fourteen business days. Thanks for using our card and have a nice day."

"But—"

The microwave pinged. The credit card customer service rep hung up. Before I could call her back, my phone buzzed in my hand.

Carl, my building manager. "Kayla, there's a guy down here with a delivery for you."

I frowned. I hadn't ordered anything and Eric was too cheap to mail any stuff I'd inadvertently left with him back.

"Okay." I hedged, trying to avoid direct contact with Carl. "Thanks for the notice. Take it for me, will you? I'll be down for it later."

Carl's next words stopped me as I was halfway to hanging up. "This isn't a courtesy call. The guy won't give it to me."

Carl sounded nervous. Carl never sounded nervous. Nothing bothered him, except people who were late with their rent. And it was looking like I was going to be
very
late this month.

I couldn't ask my parents for the money. I was proving a point that, and damned if I was going to admit defeat. I could be independent and manage a budget just fine, thank you very much. I was not a ditzy, fashion-crazed blond, as they liked to think. Even graduating top in my class at the university didn't dispel their misperceptions. Because, you know, business degrees with double minors were easy to get. In four years. With no extra semesters. Why couldn't I get a real major? Say, engineering. Something scientific. Like my cousin Dex.

Carl's next words snapped me out of my thoughts. "He says he has to give it to you
directly
."

I looked at the microwave. "My dinner's getting cold." Congealed instant mac was the worst. "You can't talk him into just leaving it with you?"

"He doesn't look like the kind of guy you just talk into anything."

Crap.
I sighed. "All right. I'm coming. I'll be down in a minute."

I took the elevator to the lobby. Carl and this big guy in a suit were waiting for me. I saw immediately what Carl was talking about. The guy looked like an off-duty bouncer. Not the kind of guy you messed with.

Everything about him was bulging. He was even carrying a bulging legal-size envelope. He turned to Carl. "That her?"

Carl flashed me a look that said he was sorry and gave me up without a fight. "That's her. Kayla Lucas."

I froze. The big guy thrust the envelope into my hands before I could protest. "Kayla Lucas, you've been served."

As I opened my mouth to reply, the big guy turned and strode out the doors at what would have been a sprint for most people, but looked almost leisurely on him.

Now that the threat had walked out the door, Carl went suddenly protective on me. "What's this about?"

I frowned and my heart did a dive for my stomach. "I have no idea."

Carl nodded, looking like he didn't believe me. "If it's about money, I'll cover for you about the rent, Kayla. I can stall the owners for a couple of days. You get paid in a few, right?"

I nodded. I wasn't lying about getting paid, but the reality was my next paycheck was so small it came nowhere near covering what I owed.

"Okay, then." Carl patted me awkwardly on the shoulder. "Let me know if I can help." That was as effusive as Carl got. He was a nice guy, protective of the building's occupants, but mostly unemotional. He cleared his throat and went back to his office.

I took the legal-looking envelope back to my apartment. Why would anyone be serving me for anything? I was basically your law-abiding good girl. I hadn't even had a parking ticket since college. I was totally stumped. I plopped onto my couch.

What if that credit card identity thief in Reno had swindled a casino or something in my name? My fingers shook as I tore the envelope open and read the official-looking documents.

Divorce
papers. What—? Was this some cosmic joke?

"Very funny, fate!" I shook the papers, trying to make my point—this was ridiculous. "I'm off men and you know it. I don't even have a boyfriend. And wouldn't take one if you offered me one on a platinum platter." Despite my earlier, ill-timed mention of a hero. "Not even if he was a millionaire boy toy."

I was lying. A millionaire boy toy sounded pretty good right now. I took a deep breath.

"I have a husband.
Riiiight
. And of course, he's a nasty, dumbass, douchebag husband who's divorcing me sight unseen. Probably left me for some airhead. Like Eric did." I was ranting. But it's not like my apartment cared. It was as insensitive as Eric.

This had to be a mistake. Or a crazy joke. Some other Kayla Lucas should probably be receiving this "bad" news. If it really was bad news. Who knew? Maybe this made her happy. Maybe this was what she wanted. But then wouldn't she be the one serving
him
?

I sighed. As far as men went, this really was a crappy day for all the Kayla Lucases of the world. We were being universally dumped. Was there such a thing as a name horoscope? Because it seemed like we were all suffering the same fate at the same time. There had to be some reason to it.
From now through the summer solstice, Kayla Lucases worldwide will be dumped by boyfriends, husbands, and lovers. If none of these exist, a casual flirtation will give you the cold shoulder.

I raced to my window. Big paper-serving guy was opening the door to a black SUV.

As I opened the window, the rain pelted in. I called out to the server guy over the swoosh of passing traffic kicking up road mist. "You have the wrong Kayla Lucas. I've never even been engaged. My dumbass ex-boyfriend never got the hint he was supposed to propose. This
can't
be me."

He glanced at my building numbers and then up at me. "Right address. Right name. Not my problem." He slid one leg into the SUV.

"Double-check. Please?" I tried batting my eyes at him. But the rain just got in them and gave me an unsightly wink. And my mascara started running just at the wrong time, totally killing my sexy flirt. "You have the
wrong
girl."

BOOK: A Wedding to Remember: Switched at Marriage Part 1
12.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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