My One Week Husband by Lauren Blakely



“Do you want to go back to the hotel so you can change?”

He checks his wristwatch. “Not enough time before our meeting.” He squints, peering along the street. “Looks like there’s a men’s clothing shop up ahead.”

“Ah, is that your strategy for tackling the spot?” I ask, imitating him in his crisp London accent.

He grins. “I never said strategies were bad.”

“I beg to differ.”

“You just assumed I was giving you a hard time,” he tosses back at me.

“As you do,” I say.

Of course, it’s not a bad thing to get along swimmingly with a business partner. We’re like gin and tonic, and it’s a good thing. We don’t always see eye to eye, but we complement each other. That’s how we’ve been able to make magic happen with our hotels—with our different approaches and the way we’ve been able to mesh them to grow our business.

He reaches the door to the shop and holds it open with a flourish. “After you.”

“Show me how quick you can be,” I say.

His eyes narrow, flickering with naughty intent. “I don’t think you really want me to be quick.”

Heat flares across my skin at his sexy subtext, but I do my best to ignore it. “Is everything innuendo with you?”

“Life is innuendo. Of course everything is too. Now, let’s make sure I look the part of the impeccable hotelier wooing the town historical society with our plans to renovate the inn on the corner.”

In the store, the man is the model of efficiency. He’s incredibly fast, but that doesn’t surprise me. He’s a determined guy who makes quick decisions, and usually the right ones.

He finds a white shirt with thin blue checks, then tips his forehead to the back of the shop. “I’ll go try on this one.”

“Great. I’ll wait outside and answer some messages.”

He jerks his head back. “You’ll do nothing of the sort. You’ll wait outside the dressing room and tell me how the shirt looks.”

I arch a brow, laughing. “Like we’re a married couple?”

“Yes. Pretend, Scarlett,” he says in that husky tone again as we weave our way to the dressing rooms. “Pretend you care deeply what your husband is wearing to the dinner meeting.”

“Fine. If you insist,” I say with a huff.

“I do insist.”

“Don’t you just love giving orders?”

He wiggles his brow as he opens the dressing room door, tossing me a wry look. “Yes. Yes, I do,” he says in a voice that drips with sex.

Daniel Stewart is the living, breathing manifestation of sex appeal. I’ve learned to live with his hotness. What else can I do? I work with him. I’d be a fool to entertain thoughts of him sexually.

We run a billion-dollar hotel empire together.

I heave a sigh, an absolutely aggrieved one, as if a make-believe marriage is the worst thing in the world, then I flop onto a leather chair outside the dressing rooms. “If I must check out your clothes, I will.”

He ducks into the room, his voice drifting out. “Thanks so much, my darling bride.”

I laugh, shaking my head at his antics, then reach for my phone. But as I tap out replies to emails, my brain wanders into the dressing room, opens the door, and tries to get a look at Daniel trying on the shirt.

I squeeze my eyes shut, doing my very best to banish those thoughts. To put them in an airtight container, close it up tight, and tuck it away.

Never to open it again.

The door creaks open.

I glance up as he steps out of the dressing room, showing off the new shirt, and I hum low in my throat, admiring the hell out of the view.

He’s a little over six feet tall. His brown hair is tinged with gold, sun-kissed, and his jawline could grace magazine covers. A rigorous commitment to cycling through the Alps and the streets of London and Paris has made him toned. The gym has made him muscular.

The job has made him filthy rich.

He’s the kind of man designers make clothes for. Clothes that should be so lucky to snuggle up against his skin.

Everything he wears looks devilishly handsome because he is devilishly handsome.

That’s a thought best kept in the container with the rest. I wrestle the errant idea, intent on securing it away with the others. But as I do, Daniel lifts his hands to the shirt’s buttons, and the thought wriggles free and shoves itself front and center in my head.