Tangled Vows

By: Stella Hunter

“I bet you do. I bet there’s a lot of things you could show me.”

Bailey’s scowl deepened. “Let’s get something else straight while we’re at it. This relationship,” she used finger quotes as she said the last word, “is only for your sister’s wedding. It will not, under any circumstances, go beyond that. Do we have a deal?”

Everett took a step back and gave her a slight bow. “Whatever you need, princess. I’m all yours.”

Bailey turned on her heel and strode back towards the door.

“We need to leave in three hours,” his voice called out brightly from behind her. “Where should I pick you up?”

“Pick me up here. I’ll be ready.”


Bailey stalked from her closet to her bed and threw the clothes she had over her arm on top of the suitcase. One by one, she examined them before tossing them aside. What the heck was she supposed to wear for an undercover job like this? She was used to uniforms—it didn’t matter whether it was camo or black suit. She wasn’t even sure she would know what to wear on a date, much less a date with a movie star. And to a wedding at that. He said it would only be a few friends and family, but he failed to mention how formal it would be.

Sighing, bailey decided she better pack extra clothing to cover every contingency.

After stuffing two suitcases full, she looked around her apartment, wondering if she was forgetting anything. Just as she was about to walk out the door, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in a mirror near the entrance. As usual, her hair was pulled back into a plain ponytail. Faint shadows under her eyes told of her sleepless night. Her complexion looked pale and shallow with no makeup. Makeup. The realization hit her. Although she rarely wore any, she should probably take what little she had with her. She grabbed her small bag of makeup from her bathroom counter and tucked it into her purse before finally heading out.

She had just reached the parking level of her building and was struggling to get her largest suitcase out of the elevator when Mark came out of the stairwell. “I knew it! You are trying to avoid me.”

Bailey cursed at her luggage then couldn’t help but laugh at Mark. “Yes, you’ve ruined me for other men, so I’m running away to join the convent.”

Mark grabbed the handle of her bag, gave a lift and a tug, and set the suitcase beside her. “That seems the entirely wrong thing to do. How about I take you to dinner instead, and we can really get to know each other.”

Shock slithered through Bailey. Their liaisons had always been strictly kept to the bedroom. She would never have expected him to ask her out. Not in a million years. Well, maybe she would have if she wasn’t so damaged and she could have normal relationships. But here they were, and Mark was waiting for her answer.

“Um, sorry Mark, I can’t. I have to go out of town. On business.”

“How long will you be gone? Maybe I could plan you a welcome home dinner?”

“I’m sorry. I really don’t know. A week or so?” Should she accept his invitation when she returned? It would completely change how they dealt with one another. Mark was one of the few people she felt comfortable enough to let her guard down, just a little. If they actually started dating, would their comradery remain? She needed time to think, to figure things out. Maybe this trip with Everett Parker came at just the right time. “How ’bout I call you?”

Mark nodded. “Sure, sure. Have fun; be safe.” He waved as she walked to her car, but she had seen the disappointment in his eyes. He was smart enough to know a brush off when he saw one.

Maybe some time away from the city would clear her head and give her some perspective.

Chapter 5

Everett flashed his signature grin as she settled herself in the passenger seat of his sports car. “All set?” he asked her.

“I think so,” she replied. “I hope I packed appropriately. I have no idea what your family is like.”

Everett shifted into gear and sped along the road. “I’m sure anything you picked will be fine. This looks great.” He plucked at the fabric of her skirt right above her knee.

The heat from his hand above her leg seeped into her core, and she heaved an uneasy breath. The wind blowing through her hair did nothing to cool her overheated senses. She shifted her knee slightly to create the illusion of more space between them. Everett must have noticed her unease because he cleared his throat and moved his hand back to the gearshift.

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