My One Week Husband by Lauren Blakely



Hard and sharp and fast.

As lust intensifies, coiling in me, I near the edge, when an image of her face taunts me.

Beautiful. Beckoning. Forbidden.

I deny it.

I will not finish off to my business partner. Teasing her is one thing, flirting is another, but imagining her when I’m shuttling my fist along my length, dangerously close to release, is something else entirely.

Even though the prospect of her moaning and groaning and writhing as she brings herself to orgasm is too much.

Too much to ignore.

As the torment of impending release takes over my body and mind, I stroke more roughly, doing my damnedest to focus solely on the pleasure and to ignore thoughts of what she’s doing in the room across from mine.

I hope she’s coming hard too.

Like I am right now, as pleasure blots out everything else.

After, my head is clear.

My body is relaxed.

I push all thoughts of her from my mind.

Until I see her the next morning at breakfast.

And is it just me, or does she look a little guilty too?





3





Scarlett





Soft rays of morning sun filter through the lobby windows. The clock above the desk ticks close to eight.

I’ve already gone for a run along the winding streets of Avignon and devised a budget for the new chandeliers.

The front desk manager is on top of the situation too, which makes Colin officially my new favorite person. That’s not a surprise — his knowledge of the area was one of the reasons we were so impressed with this property before we bought it. Though he speaks French, his accent tells me he’s from England.

He’s already lined up a chandelier restoration expert who goes by the name “Mr. Crystal” to come by at one o’clock.

“He wears wire-rimmed glasses that sit on the end of his nose and a brown cardigan even in the summer. A monocle always dangles around his neck. He can’t be anything but a chandelier restoration expert,” Colin details with a cheery demeanor from his post behind the front desk. He’s chatty too, and though I have lots to do, it’s important to spend time with those who are the public face of our new property.

Plus, the image Colin paints amuses me, so it’s no chore to gab with him. “Chandelier repair…It’s one of those jobs you don’t think anyone might have until you need precisely that person.”

“And then you’re so glad someone has that post.”

“Exactly.”

He taps his chin, his brow knitting like he’s having fun with this discussion. “I’ve often wondered though…do you think he knew from a young age that he wanted to be a chandelier restoration expert? Or was he torn for a while –chandeliers or grandfather clocks?”

“And chandeliers won out since there are many reasons to repair them. After all, how many chandeliers must need repair due to swinging from them?”

Colin laughs, lowers his voice. “Mr. Crystal surely knows, but as the saying goes — a good restoration expert never tells.”

“Discretion is the better part of chandelier repair. That’s a saying too, I’m sure.”

“I’d imagine it’d have to be. And perhaps, let’s be honest, with many of the repair people we often have to hire at hotels, it’s a vital skill – discretion.” He glances behind him, then speaks clandestinely. “We once had to track down someone to handle a canopy bed repair. You don’t want to know what that room looked like.”

I laugh. “Actually, I might.”

His voice dips again. “My wife loves to hear the tales from the front desk, as I call them. So I’ll say this much – knots. So many knots.”

“And you knew how to find a canopy repair person stat, I trust?”

“But of course. I called Mrs. Canopy straightaway.”

I smile. “Ah, I bet she and Mr. Crystal have so many stories to tell each other.”

“Stories are the secret to a happy marriage.”

Perhaps they are, but I wouldn’t know what makes for a happy marriage.

I do know what makes for happy employees and happy bosses though.

Kindness, respect and a good paycheck.

I focus on those details instead as I type a few notes in my tablet. “In any case, Colin, you said you expect new ones to be installed by the end of next week, and repairs to the existing ones by then too?”

“That’s the plan. We used Mr. Crystal in a hotel I worked at in Aix-en-Provence a while ago, and he was ahead of schedule by a week.”