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Imperfect Love: One-Night Stand-In (Kindle Worlds Novella) by T Gephart (1)

Prologue

It was late.

Even though the room was pitch black, I had always had an innate sense of time, and it was definitely closer to noon than it was to morning.

I felt weirdly hungover despite barely touching any alcohol, a cloud of did-I-really-do-that making my body and brain foggier than anything I could have gotten from a bottle. No, this was from something entirely different, with the sweet ache in my muscles proof it hadn’t been some weird vivid dream.

“Mmmmmm.” His hand moved restlessly against my hip. His naked body nestled tight against mine while his impressive erection poked me not so discreetly. “How’s my darling wife this morning?” His fingers slowly traveled up toward my breast, cupping it before he moved his lips to my neck. “Actually, don’t tell me.” He chuckled against my skin. “I like it better when you show me.”

Shit.

What. Had. I. Done?

The question of course was rhetorical because, while the scenario was insanely out of character, there was no confusion as to what had transpired.

I’d gone to Vegas.

I’d met a ridiculously gorgeous man.

I’d “married” him.

I’d slept with him.

Sounds like every single Vegas story you’ve ever heard, right? Girl meets some good-looking guy at the bar and hauls ass to the Little White Chapel at three a.m. so drunk she can barely remember her own name. They say “I do” while a fat, satin-jumpsuit-wearing Elvis presides over the ceremony. Then they go back to their hotel room and have wild, unrestrained just-married sex until the hangover kicks in.

Except that wasn’t what happened.

Well, the wild, unrestrained just-married sex happened, but that was another story.

My situation was different in that I had completely engineered it, and worst of all, didn’t even have inebriation to blame.

Goddamn it, I was a dumbass.

No one plans a wedding in Vegas.

Well, certainly not smart people.

So when my boyfriend of two years suggested we hop a plane and get married in Vegas, I readily agreed on the condition we have a planned wedding. While I could accept getting hitched without sharing it with my friends and family, the idea of improvising a wedding made me want to dry heave.

Because I was a planner.

Call it a character flaw, a defect—whatever—but I didn’t possess the ability to be impulsive. At least I thought I didn’t.

And after three months of carefully coordinating our perfectly planned, non-spontaneous wedding, turns out my boyfriend/fiancé decided he didn’t really want to be married after all.

He probably could have told me he had cold feet before I’d racked up thousands of dollars in credit card debt on non-refundable airlines tickets and hotel accommodations. Would have really, really appreciated the heads up.

Instead, two days before we were scheduled to get on a plane and start our new adventure as husband and wife, he moved out of our shared Manhattan apartment and told me he wasn’t husband material.

What! What? What kind of half-assed, lame excuse was that? We’d known each other for five years, dating for two and lived together for thirteen months. What did he think was going to happen?

I was too mad to even be hurt, furious I’d invested so much time in a man who clearly was terrified of formalizing a commitment. And maybe the fact I wasn’t crying into my pillow was a huge wake-up call. That as much as I liked him, and believed we’d been wonderfully compatible—I wasn’t in love with him.

Well, wasn’t that a revelation, and had I not been the one to shell out all the money for the expensive lesson in self-discovery, I probably would have thanked him. Instead I was brainstorming ways to recover the cash.

Begging and pleading with vendors got me nowhere, with everyone giving me the same bullshit response. No refunds. So, rather than rampaging through the streets cursing his name, I instead did the first impulsive thing I’ve ever done.

Take the trip to Vegas myself and go through with the wedding without him.

Sure, I knew I wouldn’t come out of it with a husband and the start of a new life. But I was damn well going to enjoy the hotel room at the Bellagio and the wedding cake. And while the dress hadn’t been exactly traditional, it was white and stunning and deserved the chance to be worn. At least in the hope to attach some happy memories to it before I donated it to Goodwill.

And I would have totally been okay with sipping champagne in my wedding dress at the hotel bar by myself. No one needed to bear witness to my first failed attempt at matrimony. But it seemed fate decided that I wasn’t supposed to be alone after all.

“Ummm.” Yeah, oh wise one, words would be a good start. “Maybe we shouldn’t, Kyle.”

Or at least that’s what he’d told me his name was. I couldn’t be sure, much like I couldn’t be sure having sex again this morning wasn’t a good idea. I mean, damage had been done, right? Bad decisions had been made, what were another few more hours of being reckless?

“You don’t sound convinced, Sarah.” My new “husband” knew me so well; the soft kisses moving to my shoulder feeling just as delicious as they had last night. “I think we most definitely should.”

Ugh. He was probably right.

Smart, intuitive and good-looking—no wonder I had found him so irresistible.

“That wasn’t the deal.” My body ignored my brain and my mouth as it twisted around to face him. “I only agreed to one night.”

Wow, was he handsome.

Green eyes were framed by dark lashes, his face perfectly angular with a strong jaw covered in just the right amount of stubble. And lips that looked too pretty to belong to a man—pillowy and pink—spectacular for kissing.

And while I found it difficult to tear my eyes away from his face, the rest of him was pretty outstanding too. His tall muscular frame had been initially hidden by a tailored suit, but now there was no hiding how insanely toned and hot he was. Men with a body like that were featured on billboards. Usually in their underwear looking smoldering. Not in bed with ordinary girls like me. I wasn’t even questioning the whys—surely he could have any girl he wanted—I was happy to live in ignorant bliss.

“What kind of man would I be if I left you here without at least giving you a morning orgasm? I very much like seeing my wife come.”

Which he had, repeatedly.

The man had given me so many toe-curling orgasms last night, I wasn’t sure where one ended and another began. It had never been like that, never. I wasn’t sure whether to celebrate or be sad that I would probably never come like that again.

“I’m not really your wife.” It didn’t need to be said and yet my mouth said it anyway. More to convince myself that this suspended state of reality would be crashing down at any moment.

“I really don’t care.” His lips moved to mine, his hands moving down my body with deliberate purpose. “I still want to make you come.”

WOW.

Maybe I hadn’t thought this whole leaving thing through.

See, a lot of things had transpired at the bar, hours before I said I do. Me—serially responsible and rarely spontaneous—spilled my guts out to the handsome stranger who probably was just looking for a quick lay. I figured we’d never see each other again, what did it matter. Besides, nothing turns a man off faster than crazy talk about marriage. Of course, turns out that while talking to Kyle—we exchanged first names only—that he didn’t think my idea of going through with my wedding was so crazy after all. And then he decided he would be my stand-in husband. Perhaps it had been him who’d been crazy. Either that or he was going to extraordinary lengths for that one-night stand, I couldn’t be sure which.

So, while it wasn’t legal—no marriage license present or a witness in sight—we said words to each other that should have been reserved for that one true love. And while it had the capacity to sound tragic and even sad, it was really quite nice that our first kiss be after fat, satin-wearing Elvis pronounced us husband and wife.

It was a sweet first kiss. One that would have definitely gotten him a second date if our sham wedding counted as our first. But that sweet kiss morphed into something a lot less sweet and a hell of a lot more steamy. And damn if I didn’t want to sleep with him. After all, it was my wedding night and we were in Vegas, surely this was the one time irresponsibility was acceptable, encouraged even. No one would even have to know.

So throwing caution to the wind—along with my inhibitions—I invited Kyle to my hotel room.

He did not disappoint.

If there was a prize for one-night stands, my fake husband was the jackpot. He was attentive, yet demanding. Aggressive, but knew when to back off. He didn’t ask what I wanted, he just intuitively knew. Like he had read some secret ancient text that mapped out women’s erogenous zones. He was the master of his domain and mine, and even though I knew this was a one-time deal, I couldn’t stop myself from enjoying every last second.

“Waiiiiiiiiitttt.” It slipped out of my mouth, just as his hand slipped between my legs.

I was embarrassingly aroused, my body totally fine with whatever he had in mind. It was the other parts of me that were being uncooperative, mainly my brain that told me I should cut my losses and hightail it out of there before my dream guy hacked me into tiny pieces, or gave me a venereal disease. Thank God we’d used condoms.

“Tell me no, Sarah. Tell me you don’t want this, and I’ll get up and leave.”

His hand in between my legs didn’t move, staying eerily still as his piercing green eyes focused on mine.

I couldn’t say it.

Couldn’t tell him to stop because I didn’t want him to.

I wanted this, him, everything that had happened in the beautiful reckless twenty-four hours since we’d met.

“I won’t say no.” I whispered it, the words easing out of my mouth on a long and labored breath.

“Because you want to? Or because of something else?” He had amazing self-control, not moving a muscle even though I could see from the impressive bulge under the sheet he wanted to.

“Make me come, Kyle.” I arched my back allowing my legs to open for him.

In another time and place I would never have behaved so shamelessly. But in the room, with him, miles away from my world and all my responsibility—I wanted it. I wanted to stop thinking so damn much and just experience it all.

“I will. I’m going to make you come so hard you won’t be able to see straight.” His lips spread into a grin. “Although, I pity your next husband. He’s going to have a hell of an act to follow.”