Holiday Husband by Erin McCarthy

“You’re right. That’s a problem. Switch clothes with me.”

I couldn’t tell if she was serious or joking. In either case, I raised my eyebrows. I didn’t want to escape this party that bad. “Uh, no. Absolutely fucking not. I don’t look good in red.”

She laughed. “It was worth a shot.” Then she ran her eyes over me. “Though you might be a little broad in the shoulders anyway.”

Damn straight I was. I’d been a pro football player for nine years and I still worked out every day. Especially now that I was on the downslide to forty. “So what are you running away from?”

Her phone was buzzing repeatedly in her purse and she wasn’t making any move to retrieve it and see who was contacting her.

“Let’s just say that I ended a relationship and he is not thrilled with me.”

Interesting. “Why tonight? What was the final straw?”

“He bamboozled me.”

We stopped on the thirty-second floor. The doors opened and an elderly couple stepped on the elevator. I greeted them and shifted closer to Red Dress to give them room, trying to figure out what the fuck getting bamboozled entailed. “What does that mean?” I murmured to her.

“You know, getting duped, hoodwinked. Set-up, blindsided.” She gestured for me to come closer, tipping her head toward the elderly couple.

I bent down to get closer to her mouth and she cupped her hand in front of her lips. “Trick fuckery,” she murmured. “Isn’t that just the worst?”

Straightening back up, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or hit a button to get off the next floor. “I don’t really know what that means, to be totally honest.”

She pulled her phone out of her purse and glanced at it. She groaned in despair. Then she showed me her phone. She had multiple texts from “Sexy BF” on her screen. Scanning them, I was shocked with how he was addressing her. Telling her to get back upstairs or she’d be sorry. Calling her a psycho. Asking her if she was mental or just a loser.

“Oh, hell, no,” I said, shaking my head, getting more and more outraged with each word I read. “There is nothing you could have done to justify these texts. A real man would not talk to a woman like this.”

“I agree. He says it’s because he’s Greek but I feel like that’s just insulting to a whole country.”

“It’s not because he’s Greek. It’s because he’s an asshole.” I glanced at the elderly couple. “My apologies for the language.”

The doors to the elevator opened. I put my hand in front of it for the couple to exit and even though she was clearly in a hurry the blonde waited until they were safely off before she picked up the hem of her dress and started fast-walking toward the front of the lobby. I followed stride to stride with her, wondering what the hell her plan was. I didn’t trust Sexy BF as far as I could throw the limp-dick prick.

“What are you going to do?” I asked her.

“I don’t know. He’s seriously never talked to me like this before. Like, it’s unnerving. He’s never even raised his voice. He’s clearly pissed off and I don’t think I should go home because I feel like he’s going to show up there. Maybe I’ll go to a friend’s apartment.”

“That’s a great idea. Let me get you a cab.” I held open the front door to the hotel and cold air washed over us. I handed the doorman fifty bucks. “We need a cab right now.”

“Yes, sir.” He blew his taxi whistle and raised his hand.

Given that it was December in Manhattan he had a heavy long overcoat on and his doorman cap. The woman beside me was shivering in her revealing dress. I peeled my tux jacket off and put it over her shoulders.

She smiled at me. “Thanks. I’m freezing my tits off.”

I had not expected her to say that. Like a magnet, my eyes automatically dropped to her chest. Tits still intact. Very high, very full, very suckable tits, still there. “We certainly don’t want that.” I was suddenly very aware of how long it had been since I’d touched a naked woman. Way too long. Being a single dad put a serious damper on casual sex.

The woman glanced back at the door. “This is taking too long. I’m going to get caught. I need to just start walking and try to find a cab.” With those words, she did just that, my jacket still over her shoulders as she started moving away from the congestion of cars moving in and out of the lane in front of the hotel.