My One Week Husband by Lauren Blakely



“Excellent. You’re always prepared. And when the chandelier refuses to talk, just give him the cold shoulder and drop your sleep mask on.”

“And what may I ask is wrong with a sleep mask?”

“Nothing. It’s just so very you.”

“Why is it so very me, Daniel?”

“Because you love all your creature comforts. I bet you had them all lined up so neatly on the bedside table.”

She huffs. “Why do you think giving me a hard time about how I like to sleep is a good idea?”

I deal her a wry grin. “I’m not truly sure it’s a good idea. It’s probably actually a bad idea, but it’s entertaining.”

Also, it distracts me from how incredibly short that negligee is. Short as in thigh-grazing. Short as in just a few more inches and I’d know whether she sleeps in her knickers or bare.

My money is on knickers.

My dirty brain, and all its filthy wishes, is on bare.

But neither image is helping the “insanely turned-on” dilemma.

I am undeterred on my mission though. I must know more about her sleep habits. “Did you have both phones on, and were you using them in the middle of the night?”

Her lovely green eyes narrow. “And what were you doing before the chandelier fell? Did you have all your devices turned off?”

“Yes. I actually sleep with my phone off. Because, wait for it, I enjoy sleeping. In fact, if memory serves, I was having a rather good dream.”

Her lips go pouty, and her voice is all kinds of saucy as she says, “Were you now?”

My eyes drift down my frame. Hmm. The evidence is damning. “Oh, it seems obvious I was, doesn’t it?”

She presses her thumb and forefinger together to show a sliver of space. “Just a little.”

I scoff, gesturing at my crotch. “Oh, there’s nothing little about that, love.”

She tosses her head back, exasperated, clearly. “Oh my God, Daniel. Can we just deal with the chandelier?” She finishes her question with a laugh. A laugh she’s trying her best to swallow down.

I don’t let up though. She’s too much fun. We have too much fun. Always have, ever since she first advised me to invest in a hedge fund that turned into a money tree—she has the Midas touch. “Don’t you want to ask me what the dream was about?”

“No. I don’t think I do.”

I act all haughty. “Fine. I wasn’t going to tell you anyway.” I drop my voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “I was dreaming about unicorns,” I say under my breath. “If you must know.”

She fights off another laugh, shaking her head. “Yes. I’m sure the magical creatures were prancing amidst rainbows. Now, the chandelier. Can we please deal with it?”

I slide into all-business mode. “We’ll deal with it by disposing of it and purchasing a new one.” After all, a broken chandelier is merely a . . . broken chandelier.

It’s not a shattered heart, not a broken body, and not a crushed dream.

“Don’t you think it’s a sign that maybe we shouldn’t have bought this place?” she asks as the sound of footsteps on the staircase drifts up to us. The maintenance crew must be heading our way.

I straighten my shoulders, giving her a curious look. She’s always been superstitious, as long as I’ve known her. But not like this. More like doesn’t-open-umbrellas-indoors and wears-her-favorite-scarf-for-good-luck superstitious. “Do you truly think it’s a sign, Scarlett?”

She holds her hands out wide, what gives style. “It’s just that . . . I don’t know, it fell in the middle of the night.”

The footsteps grow closer. “And we’re going to clean it up. I hear maintenance coming now. I’ll sort it all out. I promise. We’ll move on.” Moving on is what I do. It’s my specialty.

She worries her bottom lip with her teeth. “What does it say about the quality of things in this hotel?” she whispers. “Did we make a bad purchase? We need to look more closely at all of these details. We need to analyze everything. I’m going to make a note to study this tomorrow. If a chandelier can fall in the middle of the night, we may need to do more research on all our electricals or our fixtures to be sure we’re making the best choices for all of our hotels.”

I step closer, setting a hand on her arm. Her skin is soft and warm. “It needs a little bit of renovation, but so it goes. Like I said, I’ll handle all this. Go back to sleep.”