My One Week Husband by Lauren Blakely



“Fantastic. Thank you again for your quick work. And for making my job easier. Mr. Stewart and I are both incredibly grateful for that.” I close my tablet and drop it into my purse.

Normally, as one of the owners, this isn’t the level of attention I need to give to a property, but since this inn is the first in our plans to expand into smaller boutique hotels, I want to make sure Hotel de Garnier has my full attention.

“And I’m grateful you kept everyone on board when you bought this inn. Now, if you’ve got the time this morning, you and Mr. Stewart should visit our sister restaurant for breakfast. I’ll send word to the staff, and make sure they know it’s on the house.” With a smile, he tips his forehead toward the restaurant. “My wife works there and the restaurant has the most decadent berries in all of the South of France.”

With a smile, I hoist my purse strap higher. “If you were trying to impress the new owners, it worked.”

“Brilliant. That’s always the goal.”

I take a step toward the restaurant, since I’m meeting Daniel there shortly anyway.

Daniel, who I barely thought of last night when I returned to bed.

Daniel, whose bare chest and chiseled abs hardly featured in my late-night imaginings.

Daniel, who fried my brain so much that—

Shit. I can’t believe I forgot something so obvious.

I wheel around, nerves whipping through me. “Are there other chandeliers on other floors? Near guest rooms?” My God, if one fell on a guest . . . I shudder at the thought.

“Only a few. All of the guests who were staying in rooms that were adjacent to chandeliers were moved to other rooms in the middle of the night. So you don’t have to worry about that. And they’re all secure. Maintenance did a check.”

“That was excellent thinking on your part.”

“Oh, that wasn’t me. That was all Mr. Stewart. He came downstairs in the middle of the night and made sure we took care of it,” he says, as a bell rings above the front door.

He flashes a bright greeting to a man strolling through the front door, wheeling a suitcase behind him.

I hum, impressed with my colleague, annoyed with myself as I head to the adjoining café, ask the host for a table for two, and grab a spot by the window.

An auburn-haired waitress with a freckled nose brings a coffee pot over. I nod a yes, and she pours, asking how my morning is.

We make small talk, and when she leaves, I drink the coffee and cut myself some slack. It’s good that Daniel moved some guests last night. It’s good that he was here too. I don’t have to think of everything. It’s not my job to handle every single detail. This is why I have partners, managers, employees.

Others need to be sharp too.

And last night, others were.

A minute later, Daniel sweeps in, looking well-rested and ready to tackle the day in his slacks and crisp linen shirt, a glint in his eye.

Is that a glint that says we have a secret? But we don’t, of course. Knowing what he looks like in lounge pants is hardly worth exchanging flirty glances over.

“Don’t you look like you’re on a honeymoon,” I say, scanning his attire. After I was practically ogling him last night, it’s best if I act like it’s normal to comment on his appearance.

He sits across from me, proffering a sly smile. “It’s my honeymoon, love,” he says as the waitress arrives at our table.

“Congratulations to the newlyweds,” the friendly woman says.

I laugh, rolling my eyes as I spread a napkin across my lap. Daniel lifts his chin, greeting the freckled server. “Thank you so much. We’re having a wonderful honeymoon already.”

“That is fantastic to hear. This hotel is certainly known for that,” she says, like she has a little secret tucked in her back pocket.

“As it should be. I barely made it out of the room,” Daniel adds, playing it up. Such a ham.

The waitress smiles. “I remember what that was like a few years ago with my husband.”

She takes our order, brings Daniel a tea, then I launch right into business. “I want you to know I’ve already done an analysis and activated a plan to replace the chandeliers.”

“Of course you ‘activated a plan,’” he says in that teasing voice. “You probably didn’t even go back to sleep last night, did you?”

“I slept for a bit.”

He wags a finger at me. “I don’t believe you. I bet you were up for hours, running numbers. Admit it. That’s what you did, Scarlett. You are one of those people who can survive on two to three hours a night of shut-eye.”