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Her Accidental Husband

By:Ashlee Mallory

le.”

Which was true. Payton had known Brad since his family moved to Salt Lake when she was in junior high. At twelve, she’d had little interest in the flashy seventeen-year-old who thought he was a gift to all woman kind. He’d gone off to college, and she hadn’t given him a second thought until he’d returned two years ago for his parent’s anniversary. Still arrogant and certain of his appeal, Payton had been immune to his charms initially. But his perseverance eventually paid off and three months later she relented and went on a date with him, discovering that underneath that shiny surface was someone who could make her laugh with his insight and wit. Plus, there was the fact that he knew what it was like living with overbearing parents who had your future planned since conception. His proposal a year later made sense.

Even if the news became the source of her mother’s unbridled excitement, certain she’d been responsible for the union .

The announcement overhead gave her an out from any further lecture. “Mother, they’re boarding now,” Payton interrupted with a sense of relief. “My flight lands in Puerto Vallarta at six tonight. I’ll call you when I arrive.”

She felt a twinge of guilt as she disconnected and stared down at her phone. Brad had been working extra hard these past few months, true, but it was because he wanted to give her everything. How could she begrudge him that?

She thought of how angry and short she’d been with him when he called her last night from New York, telling her that he wouldn’t make it this weekend after all. The arrival of two dozen roses hadn’t softened her feelings, and she’d dumped them in the nearest garbage can as soon as they arrived.#p#分页标题#e#

Am I being unreasonable?

She’d heard about the dreaded Bridezillas who turn into egocentric tyrants and thought that everything revolved around them and their “big day.” She’d never considered herself one of them, almost as reluctant as Brad to participate in all the planning her mother started. But maybe she’d been unreasonable…

“We’ll now begin boarding all first class travelers to Puerto Vallarta.”

A glance over at Cruz showed him still furiously typing on his keyboard. Come on. No one typed that fast. He had to be showing off.

She only had a moment, so she’d have to be quick. Rising, she grabbed the handle of her carry-on, slung her purse over her wrist, and pushed her way against the crowd now heading toward the boarding gate—which left the space around the large pillar wide open. Perfect for some privacy.

She pressed the FaceTime button on her phone, wanting to see Brad and tell him she understood and was sorry.

It kept ringing. Three rings. Four.

She glanced at the time. It was four-forty Dallas time, putting New York at nearly six. He had to be finished with his meeting by now.

On the sixth ring, she was about to push cancel when the call was accepted.

It took her a moment to see what was on the screen in her hand. The picture was kind of dark and grainy, but the image of the long-haired brunette woman, lying back on a bed, naked—at least from the waist up—was hard to miss.

“Hello? Can I help you?” The woman asked in a sultry, albeit antagonistic tone.

“I’m—I’m—” Payton’s throat felt drier than the dry Texas air, and she couldn’t find words.

“Did I hear the phone?” It was a man’s voice, somewhere off screen.

Brad’s voice.

“I think someone’s trying to reach you?” The woman on the screen was saying and, as she sat up, it was hard to miss the massive breasts that spilled forward.

Who answers someone’s phone stark naked?

She really didn’t want to see anymore. But at the same time, she needed to see his face. To confirm that this wasn’t some mix-up. Confirm that Brad was the man in the room alone with this naked bimbo.

A hand on her arm tried to pull her attention up but she kept her eyes trained on the screen. Brad’s tousled blond hair and naked upper torso came into focus just as the screen went dark.

He’d disconnected.

“Is something wrong? I’m pretty sure they’re boarding your class.”

What?

She finally looked up from the phone to find Cruz Sorensen staring down at her from his ridiculously towering height, a hint of impatience in his tone. As usual.

Was something wrong? She snorted. Only if you think having your fiancé screw around on you weeks before your nuptials was a problem.

She looked up into those sharp brown eyes, the brows furrowed in what some people who didn’t know him better might call concern.

She bit her bottom lip. No. She would not cry. Not now. She couldn’t. She was a Vaughn, and crying in public places—short of a funeral—just did not happen.

Not to mention that she’d never let this overbearing Neanderthal see her that vulnerable.

She took a step forward, ready to push past the arm that was holding too tight to hers and deliver a sly, breezy comment. Maybe tell him where he could take his fake concern.

Only her foot was falling forward into an abyss and she couldn’t stop from falling into it.

The damn idiot was going to faint. Did people still do that?

Cruz reached out, half catching Payton as she spilled toward the floor. At least she hadn’t totally lost consciousness, only stumbled forward with her eyes half-closed trying to right herself.#p#分页标题#e#

He eased her into one of the recently vacated seats and knelt in front of her. Either she was prone to theatrics or she had received a bit of a shock from that phone call.

He’d been watching her for some time, not because she was easily the prettiest woman in the terminal—which she very well knew—but because he’d promised his brother and future sister-in-law that he’d keep an eye on her. See that she reached the hotel safe and sound. Kate had worried that since Payton’s fiancé had bailed, Payton’s usual friendly and exuberant behavior—not quite saying naive—would send some wrong signals and get her in trouble as she traveled in a

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