The Accidental Countess (The Aristocrat Diaries #3) by Emma Hart



CHAPTER ONE


EVA




I took my room card from the receptionist with a smile and gripped the handle of my suitcase. “Thank you so much,” I said to her before turning around and heading towards the lifts.

This place was nice.

Just the kind of place you’d expect a girl to hook up with an earl.

Actually, it wasn’t. It wasn’t even close to it—you’d probably expect somewhere in Kensington or Bath, somewhere expensive and exclusive.

All right, so the Hilton just outside Birmingham wasn’t that cheap as far as hotels went, but it wasn’t all that exclusive, either.

Hey, maybe it was the perfect place for a hook-up after all.

I got into the lift, pushed the button for the correct floor, and pulled my phone out of my bag.

ME: Room 1022.

There. I’d done my bit.

The response came swiftly, in the form of a voice message.

“Is there a key at reception? I’m about forty-five minutes away,” Matthew’s voice came through my phone.

I hit the record button to send one back. “Yes. Hold on,” I said as the lift shuddered to a stop and pinged to open the doors. I dragged my case out before the doors closed again and stepped to the side to resume my message. “Sorry, the lift was done. Yes, there’s a key at reception for you. Do I need to make dinner reservations, or do you just want to get room service?”

I wandered down the hall, checking the room numbers, holding both my phone and room key in my hand. After locating the room, I let myself in and dragged my little case into the middle of the room.

Holy crap.

He’d booked a suite.

Of course he had. I didn’t even know why I was surprised anymore.

Last summer, I’d had the privilege of meeting Matthew Bennett, The Earl of Anglesey, at a gala hosted by one of the people I disliked more than anything in this world.

Naturally, we’d hit it off—I was a very likable person, thank you very much—and since we were both vehemently opposed to any form of permanent commitment, an ongoing but temporary sexual arrangement fit both our needs.

It also got me out of the hotel my parents ran that we lived in… and into another hotel.

At least I could comfortably hook up with Matthew in this one. We’d tried it at The Fox and Hound once, and phew. There were way too many questions for that to become a regular thing.

The last thing I needed was my mother seeing wedding bells just because I was sleeping with a guy on the regular.

She could keep those wedding plans solely in my sister’s court, as far as I was concerned.

I wheeled my case through to the bedroom and walked back out into the living room. “You could have told me you got a suite,” I said into the phone. “I just got lost walking from the door to the bedroom.”

His response came as I kicked off my shoes, and the first voice message was just laughter. “I thought you’d know by now that I always book suites. That way I can sleep on the sofa when you snore.”

I took offense to that. “I do not snore.”

“If you say so. Hey, look, I’m in a bit of traffic, I’ll let you know when I’m nearly there.”

“Dinner, Matthew,” I sent back.

“Room service. I know how long it takes you to get ready and I don’t have the patience for that today.”

“That’s rude.”

“I’ll see you soon.”

“Whatever,” I muttered to myself, putting my phone on the coffee table.

Never mind that I agreed. I didn’t want to get dressed up and go for dinner, either. I was more than happy to eat room service in bed—or in the living room, since this suite was the size of a small flat.

Either way, I didn’t have to put heels on. That was always a win.

I turned on the TV and selected a show on Netflix, then went through to the bedroom to unpack my case. It didn’t take me long since we were only here for a night, but I’d still missed everything on the TV show, so I restarted the episode and rummaged in the mini fridge for a bottle of water when my phone buzzed on the table.

ADELAIDE: Are you at home tonight?

Ah, my beloved twin sister with the scintillating questions as always.

ME: Nope. Why?

ADELAIDE: Alex has to speak to Henry about an investment, so we thought we’d all come down this evening and stay the night. Where are you?

ME: I called Elon Musk and I’m on the next rocket to the Space Station. Where do you think I am?