Read Las Vegas Honeymoon Online
Authors: Francis Drake
Just before her nuptials, Mary Franks overhears a woman complaining about her boyfriend. The cheating bastard is having an affair with one of Mary's bridesmaids. Mary is shocked to find that "the cheating bastard" is Ralph Nugent, her fiancé. She declares the wedding off and moves into the honeymoon stage. Alone and miserable, she questions her decision while waiting for her bags at the
Dan Higgins, Mary's high school crush, is in
for the annual bash his family's company hosts. So far, he's had nothing but trouble—a long trip ends with his room being given away. Then he turns and looks into the eyes of a sexy woman. Imagine his surprise when the angel turns out to be sweet, studious Mary from high school.
When Mary offers him private quarters in her suite, he knows Lady Luck is sitting on his shoulder.
Erotic Contemporary Romance
Public Exhibition/Sex Toys
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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LAS VEGAS HONEYMOON
Copyright © 2008 by Francis Drake
First E-book Publication: January 2008
Cover design by Jinger Heaston
All cover art and logo copyright © 2008 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
Siren Publishing, Inc.
Copyright © 2008
“Damn it, I don’t care. It’s my honeymoon. I’ll go if I want to.” The words Mary Franks told her mother after she called off the wedding came back in the melody of the old Leslie Gore song. And here she was, in Las Vegas, all by herself.
“Good call,” she grumbled to herself.
Mary, Never-To-Be-Mrs.-Ralph-Nugent, stood at the airport luggage carousel with a tear in her eye. The first bags started down the shoot. Down the shoot, just like her would-be marriage.
The flight had given her plenty of time to consider what she was doing, and the seat beside her, which hadn’t held Ralph, emphasized how all of her plans for two of them wouldn’t be coming true. The empty seat had matched her empty feeling inside.
She was fighting back sniffles when she heard, “What do you mean you gave away my room and there aren’t any others?”
Looking around, she saw the back of a tall man with a cell phone to his ear. “All right,” he said, “see what you can do, and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
The man turned, a scowl marring his handsome face. A
handsome face. Oh, no. The last thing she wanted was to see someone she knew. Not when she was nearly crying. Not when she’d been cheated on, almost literally, at the altar.
He spoke first. “Hi.” His eyes crinkled as he studied her. “I know you, don’t I?”
The voice combined with bright blue eyes and cleft chin brought back memories of a time in her life she’d tried hard to forget. But she could never forget him, had never wanted to. Dan Higgins was both the last man she wanted to see and the man she most wanted to see. She hated seeing him when she was at such a low point, but then Dan had been her savior before. His presence now made her feel a bit better.
“It’s Mary Franks.” She watched the look of disbelief cross his face as his gaze traveled up and down her body in a quick inspection. This was the reaction she got from anyone she’d known in high school, where she’d weighed a good seventy pounds more than she did now.
His smiled. “Mary Franks! My God, you look fabulous.” He crushed her in a hug, then leaned back, hands on her shoulders, and examined her face. “It’s been a hell of a long time.”
“You’re right. And you look good, too.” He did. He’d always been the typical tall, dark and handsome. His looks had kept girls relentlessly trailing after him in school, and boosted his reputation as an unrepentant playboy before he’d reached the age of sixteen. Mary had dreamed about him, just as every other girl in Freeman High had, but her weight and insecurities had held her back from ever showing it. If their mothers hadn’t been good friends, she’d never have known Dan at all.
“Of course,” she continued, “you always did. Unlike me.”
“You were always pretty but you didn’t see it.”
Neither did anyone else. Dan’s words brought to mind all those evenings at home when her mother would pile mashed potatoes on her plate and assure her that she was beautiful no matter what her weight, because beauty came from the inside. Except no one ever got past the outside. She’d had lots of lonely, dateless Saturday nights to prove it. Days long past weren’t what she wanted to discuss with Dan in the middle of a Vegas airport. She changed the subject. “Why are you in Las Vegas?”
“My company has their annual conference here.” He grinned and to her chagrin, her heart flipped exactly as it had years ago. “It gives our clients an excuse to come to Las Vegas and write it off. How about you? Are you visiting or coming home? If you live here, I swear you could be a showgirl.”
“I’m here on my honeymoon,” she blurted out. Saying the words aloud brought tears to her eyes again. Damn! When would she be able to stop thinking of that scumbag without crying? She swiped at the moisture with her fingertips, hoping the crowd that had formed at the luggage carousel didn’t notice.
A frown crossed Dan’s face. Bags had started falling regularly, but he didn’t seem to notice. Instead, he raised her left hand, now bare. She’d dropped the diamond solitaire into the poor box before leaving the church, and of course, Ralph had never gotten the chance to slip the plain gold band they’d chosen onto her finger. How different things could have been if Ralph had remembered the “…cleave only unto Mary…” part of the vows before they were married.
“Aren’t you missing a few things? Like a husband, a ring, a smile? Or is all that coming down the baggage carousel with your luggage?”
“He wasn’t at the wedding and the creep better not show up now.”
“Aw, Mary, I’m sorry.” He studied her, and in moments his concern disappeared. His eyes took on a bright twinkle. “But on the ‘there’s always a silver lining’ side, that means you’ll be free to have dinner with me. Want to tell me what happened?”
Dan was trying to make her feel better, so just for him, Mary tried a smile. It took less effort than she’d thought it would. After all these years, Dan still had the touch to make her feel better.
“Only the short version. While I was pacing off my worry because he was late for the ceremony, I overheard two women talking. One of them was ticked because her boyfriend had cheated on her with my bridesmaid. Turns out, her boyfriend, the cheater, was my fiancée.”
Mary shook her head realizing how pitiful it sounded. “I can’t believe I thought this guy loved me.”
“Hey,” Dan said. He grasped her shoulders. His hands were warm and strong, and sent a feeling of security through her. Not the most romantic touch she’d ever had, but for where she was now, Mary reveled in it.
“Love makes us all blind,” he continued. “You definitely can’t blame yourself because he’s an idiot.”
“Well, thanks.” Taking a breath, she stepped back, suddenly shy. She turned to see her suitcase coming around the far side of the moving ramp. How many times had it gone round while she was wasting time crying over Ralph? She cast a sideways look at Dan, who reached for a black leather Pullman case. “I couldn’t help but overhear. Are you having room trouble?”
“Nothing big. My brother gave away my room at the
Her case finally reached her. She went for it, but Dan got there first. She hesitated a moment and then thought,
What the hell?
“If I wouldn’t be upsetting a wife or girlfriend at home, I may have a solution. We…I mean
have a suite. That means an efficiency apartment is attached to the main living space. It’s a step up from a regular hotel room and has its own entrance. You’re welcome to stay there if you want. There’s a door connecting the two apartments, but there’s no commitment…I mean I don’t expect you to…” An amused expression crossed Dan’s face.
“I understand what you mean.” He held up his cell phone. “But I’ll try my best to find somewhere else.”
She nodded, embarrassed. Her offer had sounded too much like she wanted him to spend time with
. Even Ralph, the man who’d professed to love her didn’t want to do that. She fought down old Mary thoughts, those of the fat girl with low self-esteem, but feared she was losing. “Well, sure, okay.”
He touched her shoulder again. His forehead puckered in a worried frown. “Hey, I just meant I didn’t want to put you out or add to your troubles if the idiotic, absent groom showed up. We can share a taxi to your hotel and I’ll check the room out, if you’re sure.”
It should disturb her, the extra beat her heart took at hearing his words. But it didn’t. “Great. I’m at the
He picked up both bags and turned toward the door for ground transportation. “How long are you staying?”
“I don’t know. I have the suite for a week. How long is your conference?” Hiking her carry-on to her shoulder, she fell into step. She looked up just in time to see his wide smile. The outside glare of the
“It ends on Wednesday.”
Darn. If only she could convince him to spend a few extra days, she wouldn’t feel so alone. She hadn’t given much thought to what she’d be doing in
* * * *
Dan took in the room with one sweeping appraisal. Queen size bed, wardrobe/entertainment center, bar, refrigerator, microwave, closet, bathroom, all in a sharp desert décor. “Great room,” he said. “It’ll work fine.” He turned to face Mary. “If you’re really sure you don’t mind.”
She had the same shy look she’d shown at the airport. “It’s no problem, really.”
“Well, then.” He pressed three buttons on his cell phone. “Clay, what’s the word on a room?”
“Hey, little brother. No joy. Sorry.”
Dan watched Mary disappear into her portion of the suite. He walked to the open connecting door and examined where she would be living for the next week. The same color scheme cloaked the walls and living room furnishings. The designer had tucked a full kitchen in the corner. Her bedroom was out of sight. A tightening of his gut told him he’d be better off not seeing it anyway. The jolt of electricity that struck when he turned and saw her standing beside him, had taken him by surprise. The bachelor in him recognized the surge as a danger sign, but here he was ready to tempt fate by living in close quarters with the girl he’d never quite forgotten. A
, he corrected himself, who was now every bit as gorgeous on the outside as she’d been on the inside when he’d known her many years ago.
“Dan? You there?”
“Yeah, Clay, I’m here. Pardon my French, but why the fuck did you give up my room?”
And put me in a position where my body is jumping with excitement but my brain is sending out warnings.
“We had to. Jeremy Wolf and his wife came in from
“Funny, bro. Real funny. So, there’s nothing for me?”
“No room. You could bunk with me but I don’t think the wife would appreciate it. How about Pete? You two used to share a room in years past.”
“No.” The single word sounded curter than Dan had intended, but sharing a room with Peter Saunders, one of their top-performing managers and Dan’s friend, wasn’t a good idea.
In the early years, after Dan graduated from college, he was welcomed into the firm because he was a Higgins, not because he was needed. As the baby in the family, he’d often been made to feel that way—cute, but unnecessary. Clay’s model planes always flew higher, his grades were always better, his ideas listened to by their father. So, he’d settled into the role of second son, letting Clay take first place. Dan amused himself instead with lots of girlfriends and raising hell. Which he’d continued to do after joining the company.
He and Pete had often shared a room—and more—at conferences. They’d redefined the meaning of the word
hitting every bar and strip joint in Vegas, often taking the fun back to their room. Sometimes they brought two girls, sometimes they shared one. Or more.
Then one day, like a sledgehammer to the side of the head, Dan woke to the fact that he was sick of being a screw-up. Since then, he’d put all his energy into work. Staying with Pete would be impossible.
Mary came back into view. She smiled. He stared, enjoying the view. Every single inch of the view. She looked great in a pair of tailored slacks and low-cut top she’d never have dared wear the last time he’d seen her. A sleeveless tee showed off well-toned arms without on ounce of extra fat. Some sort of band held her auburn hair back from her face, and it trailed down and over her shoulders. Her face was fresh and free of makeup. God, she was beautiful—not like the girl from high school at all, and yet just like her.
Staying with Pete might be easier after all. But he didn’t want four nights of different women. Only one woman, for as many nights as he could get. Part of him felt guilty even considering taking advantage of a vulnerable Mary. The other part, the part straining at the fly of his slacks, was thinking her fiancé was a sucker and Mary deserved a little late-night consoling.
“Okay, look, Clay. I think I might have found something then.”
Yeah, I think I might have found trouble, capital T.
“Good. Wherever you end up, don’t forget you have the registration table tonight from six to
He had forgotten. “You know I never shirk my duties during these shindigs. I’ll be there in plenty of time. See
then.” He hung up.
“Did you find someplace else?” Was it his imagination, or did Mary sound as though she hoped he hadn’t?
He shook his head. “So…” He waved toward the room behind him.
She smiled. “Consider it yours. I sure don’t need it.”
“Thanks. You’re a life saver.” They stood silently for a few moments. There was an undeniable attraction about her. He had to stop his feet from moving forward and his arms from reaching for her. He changed positions to try to hide a painful boner.
Was she experiencing the same? Did she feel the heat, the tension? If so, he’d never be able to keep his hands to himself for one night, much less days.
“I have to man the registration table tonight. Will you have dinner with me after? I’ll be finished around eight.”