Overnight Wife

By: Penny Wylder

This guy who already knows something about annulments, to judge by his reaction every time I bring it up. It makes me wonder whether this is the first time he’s done something wild like this, running off and getting married to a stranger. For some insane reason, it makes me jealous to think about him with another woman, doing the things we did. Even though I know that’s crazy. I have no claim on him, and he has no claim on me. I don’t even want to be married to him. So why should it bug me that I’m probably not his first wife?

I shake my head as I head for the door. Wife. I’m nobody’s wife. That’s crazy talk.

“Is that a yes?” John calls after me, and I wave a hand back at him.

“No, it is not,” I snap over my shoulder.

“You know, I don’t remember you being this stubborn last night when you were begging for my cock,” he calls, loud enough that it makes me tense, wondering if anyone can hear—how thin are these walls if we got noise complaints last night?

Or how loud was I being, exactly? The latter seems more likely, and it makes me blush and makes me hot all over again to think about.

Maybe Lea is right. Maybe I should let loose a little more often.

But no. What am I saying? Look at how this turned out. With a ring on my finger and a wedding contract I need to wriggle out of.

It doesn’t help that my headache and the fog of my hangover have redoubled, making every step I take feel like a mountain to my tired limbs. “Fuck off,” I mumble over my shoulder, which just makes John laugh, the bastard. Then I manage to reach the elevator—the elevator that just opens straight up into his suite, damn, how rich is this guy? —and hit the button for my floor. I refuse to turn around, even when he calls after me.

“I’ll wait for you, darling,” he yells, teasing, I think. Probably.

My back tenses. “Don’t make me get a restraining order on you.”

“Be tricky to sign our annulment papers if you do that, won’t it?” he yells back.

It’s childish, I know, but the only reply I can think of is to offer him my middle fingers, just as the doors to the elevator slide shut. But that’s as much energy as I’m willing to expend fighting him any more on this right now. Because my head has started to pulse and I swear I’m going to be sick if I worry about anything one minute longer.

I reach my floor and stumble down the hall to my room, swiping the key and making it all the way inside before I remember that I’m sharing this room. And shockingly, in a move that feels patently unfair, Lea is sitting up in her bed already, on the other side of our double room, watching television with a spread of room service around her on the mattress.

She takes one look at me and smirks. “So, I see your wedding night went well.”



I slam the door behind me and flop face-first onto my bed with an angry groan that turns into a scream halfway down. “I can’t believe you let me do that,” I yell when I’m finally ready to turn back over again and glare at my ceiling. “What happened to sisters before misters and all that?”

“Hey, you seemed entirely into it. I mean, the number of times you swore to me you wanted this, honestly—”

“I was drunk!” I wail. “Why didn’t you stop me? You know I’m a lightweight.”

“Relax, Mara. This kind of thing happens all the time.” Lea smiles over at me. “You guys can just go say it was a goofy one-night mistake and get it all cleared up by morning.”

“It is morning,” I point out testily, with a glare at the curtains, as if the bright desert sunlight out there is personally responsible for the terrible decisions I made under the influence last night.

“By tomorrow morning, then.” She waves a hand, but the words send a stone ricocheting through my gut.

Tomorrow morning. When I’m supposed to be back in Los Angeles, ready to start my brand-new dream job at Pitfire Media. I cannot have this hanging over my head while I’m there. It will ruin any chance I have at concentrating on what I’m supposed to be doing. “That’s not going to work,” I groan. “I need to fix this today, Lea. Tomorrow I won’t have time; I need to have my head in the game. This is the worst possible moment for me to decide to go off the rails—”

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