Chris woke in a puddle of his own drool.
He jerked his head back, smacking his lips and grimacing at the foul taste in his mouth. His sour stomach lurched, and he swallowed hard against the urge to vomit.
Ugh, what did I do last night?
It was dark, with heavy curtains pulled across the windows. He blinked as his eyes adjusted, taking in the neutral surroundings of his hotel room.
That’s right; he was in Las Vegas.
Details from the night before began to filter in with the clarity of a video on fast-forward.
Casinos. Half-naked performers. Shots. More shots.
His fuzzy memories skipped around, with no discernible timeline. Then a sudden, vivid image flashed up on the big screen of his mind.
His lips fused to Ant’s lips. His hands squeezing Ant’s rock-hard ass. His tongue coming out to play with Ant’s hot mouth.
No! He sat up too fast, skin clammy and pulse racing, and groaned as the full force of his hangover hit him.
“You can say that again.”
Chris jolted and fell off the bed with a garbled shout. He took half the bedding with him, landing with a muffled thump on the thick carpeting.
Ant hung his head over the side of the bed, grinning down at him.
“I don’t usually get that reaction in bed.”
“What are you doing here?” Chris croaked. He kicked his foot, fighting to get free of the stubbornly twisted sheet.
“Same as you. Waking up hung over as fuck.”
Finally free, Chris scrambled to his feet. Sprawled on the floor, with Ant looming over him, was not a position he ever wanted to be in. Once standing, though, he became aware of his bare chest. Probably because Ant was checking him out thoroughly.
Chris crossed his arms, feeling marginally more comfortable until Ant’s gaze dropped to his crotch. He wore boxer briefs, so at least he wasn’t naked, but his morning wood was not fazed in the least by his hangover or the panic that set in when he realized Ant was in his bed.
Edging sideways, Chris put the bedside table between his body and Ant’s line of sight.
“Papa Jack and Mama Champagne,” Ant said. “That explains it.”
“What are you talking about?”
Ant pointed to the empty liquor bottles cluttering the nightstand, including the heinous champagne. Chris had avoided that wolf in sheep’s clothing since he was twenty-four, when he’d hurled all over his boss at an after-work function to celebrate a store merger. Sweet and bubbly, champagne lured you into a false sense of security, much like his Great-Aunt Bess, and then pounced when you let your guard down. To this day, Chris was still amazed he hadn’t been fired.
“Jack Daniels and champagne,” Ant clarified. “Mixing those two is like going to a family reunion with your divorced parents. Ain’t nobody gonna be happy.”
He grinned, looking impossibly handsome and well rested. Had Chris been drinking alone last night, or was Ant’s stomach made of cast iron? His balls certainly were, to show up here, in Chris’s bed of all places.
Chris tried to remember the night before more clearly. Just what had they gotten up to? His head throbbed in response, and he gave it up as a lost cause.
“I can’t do this right now.”
Chris stalked into the bathroom and shut the door. He needed to escape the reality of his ex-boyfriend — no, not boyfriend, that was too good a title for what he’d been — in his bed.
He and Ant had gone out a handful of times three months ago. But it had ended like all Chris’s attempts at romance did — tragically. Well, okay. Tragic was an exaggeration. It had ended badly, but no one died. Except their relationship.
Chris had a long history of failed romances, so he’d learned to recognize the red flags. When your date has a boyfriend? You get the hell out of Dodge. He’d heard enough flimsy excuses to last a lifetime, and Chris would never be that idiot who believed a cheater would change his ways.
But being an idiot who got drunk and slept with the absolute wrong man? Yeah, that would be par for the course in Chris’s fucked up love life.
Chris gulped two glasses of water, took a leak, and got in the shower. Before he could start the spray, Ant walked in.
“Don’t even think of joining me,” Chris warned. “Whatever happened last night will never happen again.”
“Oh, relax,” Ant said. “I’m here to piss.”
He proceeded to do just that. His bladder obviously wasn’t shy. Chris turned on the shower to block out the noise.
“We didn’t fuck,” Ant said, his voice carrying over the sound of the water. “You’d be feeling me if we did, and you don’t feel me. Do you?”
Chris clenched his jaw, annoyed by Ant’s ego. Then he clenched his ass. Ant was right. No one had been inside him in far too long; he’d feel it if he’d been fucked.
“Maybe I fucked you.”
He didn’t know why he said that. He felt contrary, waking up with a huge mistake in his bed. Didn’t help that all his friends had coupled up while he failed again and again to meet a nice — or even normal — guy.
Ant laughed. “Yeah, right. That’s a good one.”
Chris poked his head around the shower curtain, getting a nice view of Ant’s muscular back and ass as he stood at the toilet.
“I wasn’t joking!”
“Nothing happened,” Ant insisted. “We got drunk; we crashed. End of story.”
Ant was tan, a nice toasted brown, everywhere. Chris stared until Ant flushed the toilet, then jerked his head back into the shower, hissing as his water turned scalding hot.
Finally alone, Chris hurried to finish washing and dry off. After wrapping a towel around his waist, he returned to the bedroom, hoping Ant would be gone.
Ant stood next to the bed, distractingly naked. Pecs. Abs. Thighs. DICK. Chris’s gaze flitted over him. How could he not look with all that in front of his face? It took a minute for him to notice that Ant was tugging on his finger.
More precisely, tugging at a ring on his finger. His ring finger.
“What’s that?” Chris asked.
“A fucking ring, what’s it look like?”
“Is this some kind of joke?”
“Yeah, I love shackling myself in jewelry that doesn’t fit,” Ant muttered. Then he did a double-take and snatched Chris’s left hand, raising it between them. “Fuck, is that …”
Chris stared at the matching gold band.
“Oh my God. It’s a wedding ring.”
* * *
“A wedding ring?” Ant said with an uncomfortable laugh. “No way. Nope. We did not get drunk-ass in Vegas and get fucking married. I’d remember something like that.”
Chris waved his hand around in the air. “Then what’s this about?”
His horrified expression was a little insulting. Ant didn’t want a husband, much less the drunk-ass kind who didn’t remember or consent to be his lawfully wedded man, but it wasn’t a horror show. Despite the slogans, marriage wasn’t forever. He had the divorced parents to prove it.
If it happened, they’d undo it. If it happened. His memories of the night before were murky, but seriously? No one got married while they were too drunk to remember it.
He looked down at the ring on his finger, the little chip in his certainty. He remembered Chris sliding it onto his finger. Well, more like shoving it while Ant laughed because it wouldn’t go over his knuckle. Good thing he’d been too drunk to feel anything, because that sucker was tight.
He didn’t remember what happened before or after that moment, but Chris’s words came back to him.
“With this ring, I thee wed.”
Huh. That wasn’t exactly reassuring.
“Are you listening to me?” Chris asked now.
Ant blinked. “What?”
“I said, what are we going to do about this? I can’t be married to you of all people!”
“Ouch. Way to kick a man when he’s down.”
“Oh God, you know you’re the last man I’d choose to marry,” Chris carried on, apparently content to keep kicking Ant in the metaphorical nads. “I couldn’t expect you to keep your vows, even if you did remember them.”
Yeah, Chris thought Ant was a cheater and a player. He didn’t need the reminder.
“But this is … is…” — Chris continued, throwing his hands up in the air, as if they could catch the words to adequately describe the situation — “is a farce! My life is a fucking joke!”
“Calm down,” Ant said.
“Don’t tell me to calm down!”
“Okay, be hysterical. I’m sure it’ll help.”
“You are such a—”
Something trilled. Ant looked around, then spotted a phone on the floor. He picked it up.
“My phone!” Chris snatched it from his hand as if it was his lifeline out of a reality show. Ant watched him read a text, chewing his bottom lip.
Chris had nice lips. Pale pink, not super plump, but sculpted. Panic looked good on him, too. His skin had flushed pink, and there was a lot of skin on display because he was still in just a towel. He was one of those pale guys. The sort of blonde who didn’t tan easily, but who blushed often. Ant found it crazy sexy.
If he and Chris were virtually naked together in a hotel room at any other time, he’d be all over that. His gaze drifted back to the ring on his finger. Yeah, sex wasn’t happening.
“Brad sent a group text. He wants everyone to meet them for brunch. He says he doesn’t care how hungover we are.”
“So?” Ant shrugged. “We’ll go.”
Chris closed his eyes. “They’re never gonna let me live this down. God. I totally ruined their wedding. Every anniversary they’ll remember how I crashed their wedding weekend.”
“You didn’t crash anything—”
“You know what I mean!”
“Then don’t tell them.”
Ant snagged the phone and tapped out a reply. “Be down soon,” he read out as he typed. “Don’t expect me to be nice to Ant.”
Chris huffed. “Guess that sounds about right,” he admitted grudgingly.
“We’ll take off the rings. Problem solved.”
“No, problem not solved. We’re still married.” Chris’s breathing sped up. “We have to undo it!”
Ant guided him to the bed and pushed him down on the edge. Squeezing his shoulders, he met Chris’s eye.
“Come on now. Maybe this isn’t what it looks like.”
Chris laughed harshly. “I know that line is like your bread and butter as a player, but it’s always what it fucking looks like. Why the fuck else would we be wearing wedding rings?”
“I don’t know,” Ant growled.
“Do you remember last night?”
“Some,” he said grudgingly. “I remember hitting every casino we passed on the Strip and taking a few shots at each one. You were hell-bent on checking out wedding venues for Brad and Riley. Maybe we took that too far, huh?” Ant smiled wryly. “What about you?”
“Not much after you found me at the fountain,” Chris admitted. “You were playing the responsible sober guy card with me, trying to get me to go to dinner. So, how the hell did we end up here?”
“My guess? You were totally unreasonable,” Ant said.
Chris huffed. “Sure, it’s my fault. I made you follow me around like a muscled-up bodyguard.”
Ant rolled his eyes. They were getting off-track. “So, we both have a few memory gaps,” he said, massively understating the issue. “I’m sure I’ll remember eventually. Or you will.”
Chris sighed. “What now? Everyone’s waiting on us downstairs.”
Ant shook his head. “Brunch first. Try to act normal. No one has to know. Divorce can wait for dessert.”
“Annulment,” Chris corrected. “Annulment makes it like it never happened, right? I want that one.”
Nice. His new husband wanted to erase his existence. That wasn’t hard on the ego.
Chris slid off his ring, exhaling like a man freed from shackles. The flattery just didn’t stop with this guy.
“Now you,” Chris encouraged.
Ant tugged his ring, but it didn’t budge. “It’s too small. I’m stuck.”
“What?” Chris grabbed his hand and pulled on the ring, causing it to dig harder into his flesh.
“Ow, man, ease up!”
“We have to get it off!”
“Okay, I just need to get it slippery—”
Chris sucked Ant’s finger into his mouth, slathering his tongue around the metal of the ring. Ant’s words dried up on his tongue.
He stared, disbelieving, as Chris gave his finger a treatment that made his dick jealous. Ant pressed the heel of his right hand down on his hardening cock. Being naked made the effect Chris had on him glaringly obvious.
“Damn,” Ant said. “Maybe I should get a ring for my dick.”
Chris shoved Ant away. “I was just trying to get the ring loose. Try it now.”
Ant lifted an eyebrow, but obeyed, tugging the ring. It wiggled but still refused to come off.
“You do know I meant with water and soap, right? Or even lube?”
The blush that came to Chris’s cheeks made Ant laugh. It also did his bruised ego wonders. Whatever Chris pretended, he was still attracted to Ant.
“Damn, I think we’re gonna have to stay married,” Ant teased, in the hopes of provoking another reaction.
“Shut up and get dressed. You can just keep your hand in the pocket of that stupid hoodie you always wear.”
“You been watching me, sweetness?”
“Your clothes are ridiculous. It’s not a compliment that I’ve noticed.”
“What? It’s cold as fuck in the casinos. I’m just putting comfort over vanity. Something you wouldn’t know much about.”
“I like to look respectable; I’m not vain,” Chris said in a hurt tone that made Ant feel bad. “My profession is retail, for God’s sake, and … ugh, never mind.” Chris threw a pair of basketball shorts to Ant. “Just hurry, before they come looking and find us together.”
“Wouldn’t want that,” Ant grumbled, tugging on his clothes with a flash of embarrassment.
He’d fallen into a bad habit of wearing athletic wear on the regular. He spent most of his free time at the gym, even teaching weight-training classes on the weekend. He got more than enough of dress slacks and button-downs at his full-time job. Maybe he could stand to try harder, he thought, but not everyone cared about looking stylish all the time.
Not like Chris. He was tailored and gelled to perfection every day. Even now, when he was freaking the hell out, he took his time selecting his clothes — designer jeans, color-coordinated belt, and a fitted shirt that hugged his lean torso just right — before disappearing into the bathroom to style his hair. When he reappeared a few minutes later, you’d never guess he was hungover, much less that he got so drunk he couldn’t remember most of the night before.
While Chris made himself ridiculously gorgeous, Ant searched the room until he found his own phone — dead and silent — in the bedding.
Chris tossed Ant’s wallet at him. “Found this on the floor. Your condom is still in there, manwhore. Guess my ass really is secure.”
“How do you know I didn’t have two?”
Chris glared on his way out of the hotel room. “Not funny.”
Ant smirked. “No, you’re right. You’re too uptight.” He leaned in to whisper in Chris’s ear as he stepped past him into the hall. “I wouldn’t be able to squeeze inside because you never unclench.”
As Chris gasped, Ant walked ahead to the elevator and punched the button.
Score: Ant 1; Chris 0.
“Or maybe you’re so tiny, I just can’t tell you fucked me because you didn’t make much impression.”
The doors slid open, and Chris stepped in with a wide, spiteful grin.
Damn. Why was his snark so sexy?