My One Week Husband by Lauren Blakely



“Precisely.”

“Then, yes. Yes, I am.”

We eat breakfast, grab our bags, and head to the train station, settling into a first-class car. His arm brushes against mine as he takes a seat, and my breath hitches from that random touch.

I do my best to hide my reaction, but when his eyes meet mine, I’m not sure my best is enough.

His are darker, hungrier.

And maybe he hasn’t forgotten that moment last night either.





4





Daniel





I met Scarlett for the first time three years ago. She was a legend in business, a whiz-bang financial advisor with the Midas touch when it came to investing, and a particular expertise in real estate and hospitality.

Her name was whispered in business circles, spoken with a hushed kind of adoration. With a wish and a fervent hope, you’d be lucky enough to simply score a meeting with her.

Scarlett Slade.

Why, you simply must know the London School of Economics wunderkind.

I picked up the phone, rang her office, and requested a meeting. She made me wait two whole weeks. She was that busy.

I waited patiently. I have stores of patience.

At the time, she worked in London, where I often was, running the business out of my Knightsbridge office.

We met for lunch at a vegan café she’d raved about. It was her favorite, she’d said.

When I arrived, I wasn’t shocked by how stunning she was. If I were shocked, that would have meant I hadn’t done my research, and I research everyone I work with.

I’d seen her photos, knew she had lush chestnut hair, dazzling green eyes, and a grin that seemed to contain multitudes of secrets. Secrets men would get down on their knees to beg to know.

But looks, while obviously nothing to turn my nose up at, have never been my downfall. My true penchant, my favorite thing, the trait that makes me want a woman, is wit.

Rhetoric.

Confidence.

Scarlett Slade has all that. She could bottle that triumvirate and make a mint.

At our lunch meeting, she confessed she’d only made me wait to see her because she’d been in Costa Rica learning how to surf.

“What inspired you to do that? Anything in particular?” I asked.

“A book. The heroine traveled to Central America, hoping to find herself, to discover her missing verve, if you will.”

“Had you misplaced your verve?”

She laughed, shaking her head. “Not at all. But the character made it seem so simple, learning to ride the waves. And I thought, Clearly, I can do that too.”

“Was it easy?”

“Not in the least. I raise a glass to all the amateur surfers of the world. They are magicians as far as I’m concerned.”

“Just as I suspected,” I said, then lifted my water glass to the wave riders. “But are you glad you learned?”

“I am. I’ve been trying to do the things I want lately,” she said, and those words signaled that perhaps something or someone had held her back from doing that in the past. I didn’t pry. The first lunch wasn’t the time. But I did share that desire—to try new things. Life is short. Fate can fuck you over.

“Good for you. Best to seize the day, isn’t it?” I asked.

“Indeed. We don’t know what tomorrow brings,” she said, and perhaps that was the start of our bond. That knowingness. That baseline understanding of the transience of, well, everything.

“In the end, how did you and surfing leave things? Will you go again?”

“Let’s just say this. I’m better at surfboard yoga than at actual surfing. But do you know what I’m quite fantastic at?”

“Tell me.”

She leaned forward. Set her chin in her hand. Spoke in a sensual whisper. “Making money. And then turning that money into more money. Now, how can I help you do that, Daniel?”

I don’t think I’ve ever been more turned on in my life than I was when she said those words.

Here I am, three years later, traveling by train with my financial advisor turned business partner. All to check out a tip from a waitress.

But you never know where your best tips will come from.

And here Scarlett is, as wildly attractive as she was back then. Her long legs, clad in designer jeans, are crossed. She’s wearing black flats with red soles, and kicking one back and forth. Her burgundy silk blouse is unbuttoned just enough to show a hint of her breasts, the barest tease of soft flesh. Her diamond earrings blaze from the sun shining through the window, and her carved cheekbones accentuate her gorgeous face.