Winter Wedding In Vegas
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We’ve all heard that old saying: ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.’ But it doesn’t always … Sometimes a girl marries the wrong man who might just end up being the right man!
Slade Sain is about as opposite to what Taylor Anderson wants in a man as he can possibly be. Except that he’s sexy as sin, makes her feel good about herself, and he’s a fantastic, compassionate oncologist. Now he’s her husband. So this year all she wants for Christmas is a quickie divorce and for what happened in Vegas truly to stay in Vegas.
Slade dedicated his life to breast cancer research at the tender age of twelve, when his mother died from the horrible disease. He knows the path his life is destined to take. Getting married is a bump on that road he never intended to travel over. Sure, Taylor has always fascinated him—but he’s a good-time guy, not a for ever kind of man. She’s vulnerable, a single mum, and still believes in Christmas. He should have known better. Only maybe his heart has been headed in the right direction all along …
I hope you enjoy their story, and that Santa stuffs your stockings with all the things you really want.
Winter Wedding in Vegas
To my favourite nurse, Joni Sain!
DR.TAYLOR ANDERSON woke from the craziest dream she’d ever had. Apparently sleeping in a glitzy Las Vegas hotel stretched one’s inner imagination beyond all reason.
Married. Her. To Dr. Slade Sain.
The man was such a player, she wouldn’t date him, much less consider a more serious relationship with the likes of him. Sure, he was gorgeous, invaded her deepest, darkest dreams from time to time, but the man’s little black book had more phone numbers than the Yellow Pages.
If and when she married, no way would she make the same relationship mistakes she had made during medical school. Never again was she walking down that painful path of inevitable unfaithfulness from a man she should have known better than to trust.
Yet her mind warned that last night hadn’t been a dream, that she had married Slade.
Last night she’d drowned her awkwardness around him. She rarely drank, but she’d felt so self-conscious surrounded by Slade and her colleagues in a social setting, that she had overimbibed. She didn’t think she’d been out and out drunk, but she hadn’t been herself.
These days, the real her was quiet and reserved, steady and stable. Responsible. Not the kind of woman to go to a tacky Sin City year-round Christmas-themed wedding chapel and marry a man she respected as a brilliant oncologist, had found unbelievably attractive from the moment she’d first laid eyes on him, but thought as cheesy as the Jolly Old Saint Nick who’d, apparently, also been an ordained minister. Who knew?
Mentally, she counted to ten, took a deep breath, and opened her eyes. She was in her hotel room queen-size bed and Sexy Slade Sain was nowhere in sight.
She glanced at the opposite side of the bed. The covers were so tangled, who knew if there had been anyone other than herself beneath the sheets? Just because she usually woke with the bedcovers almost as neat as when she’d crawled between them didn’t mean a thing. Really.
She wasn’t in denial. No way.
Neither did the fact she was in the middle of the bed, sort of diagonally, and sprawled out. Naked. What had she done with her clothes?
What had she done with her naked body?
A knock sounded on the door leading out of the room. Feeling like she was suffering a mini–heart attack, Taylor grabbed at the tangled sheets.
“Room service,” a male voice called through the door.
Room service? She pulled the covers tightly around her body. She hadn’t ordered room service.
The bathroom door opened and a damp, dark-haired pin-up calendar model wearing only a towel—dear sweet heaven, the man had a fine set of shoulders and six-pack!—undid the safety chain.
Slade was in her hotel room. Naked beneath the towel and he was buff. The towel riding low around his waist, covering his perfect butt, his perfect... She gulped back saliva pooling in her mouth.
Despite her desperate clinging to denial of the cold hard facts she’d been willfully repressing, she knew exactly what she’d done with her naked body. What she’d done with his naked body. Why her bedsheets were so tangled. The details of how she’d come to the conclusion that marrying Slade was a logical decision might be a little fuzzy, but she’d known exactly what she’d been doing when Slade’s mouth had taken hers. Hot, sweaty, blow-your-mind sex, that’s what she’d done. With Slade. As much as her brain was screaming No! her body shouted, Encore!
“That was quick,” Mr. Multiple Orgasms praised the hotel employee pushing a cart into the room. He stopped the man just inside the doorway. “I’ll take it from here.”
The pressure in Taylor’s head throbbed to where at any moment she was going to form and rupture an aneurysm. Slade’s wife. This had to be a nightmare. Or a joke. Or a mistake they could rectify with an annulment.
Could a couple get an annulment if they’d spent the night in bed, performing exotic yoga moves with energetic bursts of pleasurable cardio?
She closed her eyes and let images from the night before wash over her, of Slade unlocking her hotel room door, sweeping her off her feet, and carrying her to the bed and stripping off her clothes. She’d giggled and kissed his neck when he’d carried her across the threshold. Then he’d kissed her. Really, deeply kissed her. Even now she could recall the feel of his lips against hers, the feel of his body against hers, his spicy male scent. Heat rose, flushing her face, ears and much more feminine parts.
They so wouldn’t qualify for an annulment.
Wow at the moves the man had hidden inside that fabulous body. His hands were magic. Pure magic. His mouth? Magic. Just wow.
She cracked open an eyelid to steal a peek. He tipped the man from Room Service from his wallet on the dresser, closed the door, turned and caught her staring.
“Morning, Sleeping Beauty.” He gave a lopsided, almost self-deriding grin. “Some night, eh?”
She groaned and pulled a pillow over her head to where she just peered out from behind it. “Tell me that wasn’t real.”
He shrugged his magnificent shoulders. “That wasn’t real.”
Dropping the pillow but hanging on tightly to the sheet, she let out a surprised sigh of relief.
“But if by ‘that’ you’re referring to our wedding at the North Pole Christmas Bliss Wedding Chapel—” the words came out with a mixture of amusement and shock, as if he couldn’t quite believe what they’d done either “—well, according to our marriage certificate, that was very real.”
Keeping the covers tucked securely around her, Taylor sat up. A wave of nausea smacked her insides. He stood there looking sexy as sin and she was going to barf. Great. Just flipping great.
“One minute we were kissing in the limo surrounded by Christmas music and that crazy peppermint spray the driver kept showering us with, the next we’re getting married so we could have sex. Great sex, by the way. You blew me away.” His blue eyes sparkling with mischievous intent, he moved toward her and she shook her head in horrified denial.
“Get back,” she warned, covers clutched to her chest with one hand and the other outstretched as if warding off an evil spirit. Sure, there was a part of her that was thrilled that he’d enjoyed their night as much as she had, but it was morning. The morning after. And they’d gotten married. “That’s crazy. We didn’t have to get married to have sex.”
Pausing, he scratched his head as if confused. “Not that I don’t agree with you, but that’s not what you said last night in the limo.”
The movement of his arm flexed muscles along his chest and abdomen and sent a wave of tingles through her body, but that wasn’t why she gulped again. She was just...thirsty? Parched. Still fighting the urge to barf. Forcing her eyes to focus on his face and not the rest of him, she blinked. The flicker of awareness in his blue eyes warned he knew exactly what she had been looking at, what she’d been thinking, and he wasn’t immune to her thoughts.
“You told me you wouldn’t have sex with me unless we were married,” he reminded her.
She had said that. In the midst of his hot, lust-provoking kisses she’d thrown down her gauntlet, expecting him to run or laugh in her face. “So you married me?”
He glanced down at the cheap band on his left hand and shrugged. “Obviously.”
Not that he sounded any happier about it than she felt, but someone should shoot her now. She was wearing a ring, too. A simple golden band on the wedding finger of her left hand. Because she was married. To Slade.
Slade was not the man of her dreams, was not someone she’d carefully chosen to spend the rest of her life based upon well-thought-out criteria. He was exactly what she avoided even dating because men like Slade didn’t jibe with her life plans. How could she have had such a huge lapse of judgement?
The metal hugging her finger tightened to painful proportions. At any moment her finger was going to turn blue and drop off from lack of blood flow. Seriously.
She went to remove the ring, but couldn’t bring herself to do it. Why, she couldn’t exactly say. Probably the same insanity that had had her saying “I do” to a man she should have been screaming “I don’t” at. Besides, she’d probably have to buy a stick of butter before the thing would budge.
“We should talk about this.” He glanced at his watch. “But we have our presentation in just over an hour. You should eat.”
She glanced at the bedside table’s digital clock. Crap. She’d slept much later than normal. Then again, she’d stayed up much later than normal.
Nothing had been normal about the night before. It had been as if she’d been watching someone else do all the things she’d done, as if it had all been a fantasy, not real.
“You have to go to your room,” she told him, needing to be away from his watchful blue gaze.
“I’m in my room.” He shifted his weight and her attention dropped to where the towel was tucked in at his waist. His amazing, narrow waist that sported abs no doctor should boast. Abs like those belonged on sport stars and models, not white-collar professionals who saw cancer patients all day. “Last night we arranged for the hotel staff to move my things into your room while we’re in class today.”
They had stopped by the front desk and requested that. Wincing, her gaze shot to his.
“No.” She was going to throw up. Really she was. How was she going to explain this to Gracie? She grimaced. “I don’t want you in my room.”
“Understood.” He looked as if he really didn’t want to be there either. “But we’re married.”
“Married” had come out sounding much like a dirty word, like someone who’d just been given a deadly diagnosis.
Guilt hit Taylor. She had told him she wouldn’t have sex with him unless they were married. But wasn’t marriage a bit far for a man to go just to get laid? He had a busy revolving door to his bedroom so he couldn’t have been that desperate for sex. He must have been as inebriated as she had.
“How did we end up married?” she asked, pulling the bedcovers up to her neck. The less he could see of her the better. She already felt exposed.
“You told me you wanted to have sex with me, but that you wouldn’t unless we were married. Our elfish limo driver said he knew a place that could take care of a last-minute license and we happened to be right outside it. We got married and had sex. You know this. You were there.”
If she’d been into one-night stands, last night would have been amazing. But she wasn’t. She was a mature, professional doctor who had learned her life lessons the hard way and had a beautiful little girl she was raising by herself to prove it. She’d vowed she wouldn’t have sex again without being married first. Had she foolishly believed marriage would protect her from future heartbreak?
She’d wanted Slade so much. Had possibly wanted him for months, although she’d never admitted as much to herself. When their pointy-eared three-and-a-half-foot-tall limo driver had taken them to the chapel, she’d looked at Slade, expecting him to laugh at her condition.
When she’d seen him actually seriously considering marrying her just to have sex with her, a big chunk of the protective ice she’d frozen around her heart had melted, leaving her vulnerable and wanting what she’d seen in his eyes. Whether it had been the alcohol, the Christmas magic everywhere, or just Vegas madness, she’d wanted to marry Slade the night before. It made no logical sense, but she’d wanted him to want her enough to walk down the aisle to have her.
“We were drunk,” she offered as an out. “We can get an annulment because we were drunk.”
His expression pained, he narrowed his gaze. “Maybe.”
His hands went to his hips and, again, she had to force her eyes upward to keep them from wandering lower than his face. The man was beautiful, she’d give him that.
“I wasn’t sober,” she persisted, clinging to the fact that she hadn’t been in her right mind. She wasn’t in her right mind now either. Her head hurt and, crazy as it was, she wanted him, but she couldn’t tell him that. “Regardless, I want a divorce.”
* * *
Raking his fingers through his towel-dried hair, Slade eyed Taylor grasping the covers to her beautiful body as if she expected him to rip them off and demand she succumb to his marital rights whether she wanted him or not. Did she really think so poorly of him? Despite the fact he’d not been able to say “I do” fast enough the night before, he didn’t want to be married any more than she apparently did.
Sure, he’d been attracted from the moment he’d met her. But although he’d have sworn she felt a similar spark, she’d brushed off his attempts to further their relationship.
Until last night.
Last night she’d looked at him and he’d felt captivated, needy, as if under a spell he hadn’t been able to snap out of.
He took a deep breath. “A divorce works for me. A wife is not something I planned to bring back from Vegas.”
Or from anywhere. He had his future mapped out and a wife didn’t fit anywhere into those plans. He’d dedicated his life to breast-cancer research and nothing more.
Marrying Taylor had been rash—the effects of alcohol and Las Vegas craziness—and wasn’t at all like his normal self. Women were temporary in his life, not permanent figures. He preferred it that way.
A divorce sounded perfect. His marriage would be one of those “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” kind of things.
Thank goodness she didn’t harbor any delusions of happily-ever-after or sappy romance. They’d chalk last night up to alcohol and a major lapse of judgment.
Maybe there really was something about Vegas that made people throw caution to the wind and act outside their norm. Or maybe it had been the smiley little elfish limo driver, who’d kept puffing peppermint spray into the car, telling them they were at the wedding chapel that had made the idea seem feasible. Had the spray been some type of drug?
“Good.” Taylor’s chin lifted a couple of notches. “Then we’re agreed this was a mistake and we can get a divorce or an annulment or whatever one does in these circumstances.”
“I’ll call my lawyer first thing Monday morning.” Relieved that she was being sensible about calling a spade a spade and correcting their mistake, he pushed the room-service cart over next to the bed and stared down at a woman who’d taken him to sexual heights he’d never experienced before. Maybe that peppermint stuff really had been some kind of aphrodisiac.
Even with her haughty expression, she was pretty with her long blond hair tumbled over her milky shoulders and her lips swollen from his kisses. Until the night before he’d never seen her hair down. He liked it. A lot.
He liked her a lot. Always had. He’d wanted her from afar for way too long. Despite the whole marriage fiasco, he still wanted her. Even more than he had prior to having kissed her addictive mouth. She’d tasted of candy canes, joy and magic. Kissing her had made him feel like a kid on Christmas morning who’d gotten exactly what he’d always wanted.
Which was saying a lot for a man who hadn’t celebrated Christmas since he was twelve years old.
“Now that that’s settled, there’s no reason we can’t enjoy the rest of the weekend. Let’s eat up before this gets cold.”
The covers still clasped to her all the way up to her neck, she crossed her arms over her chest. Her eyes were narrow green slits of annoyance. “Don’t act as if we’re suddenly friends because we both want a divorce. We’re not and we won’t be enjoying the rest of the weekend. At least, not the way you mean.”
“Fine. We won’t enjoy the rest of the weekend.” He wasn’t going to argue with her. “But we’re not strangers.” Ignoring her I-can’t-stand-you glare and his irritation at how she was treating him as if he had mange, he lifted the lid off one of the dishes he’d ordered and began buttering a slice of toast. “I’ve been working with you for around a year.”
“You see me at work.” She watched what he did with great interest. “That doesn’t make us friends. Neither does last night.”
She had to be starved. While satisfying one hunger, they’d worked up another. He’d ordered a little of everything because he hadn’t known what she liked. Other than coffee. Often at the clinic, he saw her sipping on a mug of coffee as if the stuff were ambrosia. Funny how often he’d catch himself watching for her to take that first sip, how he’d smile at the pleasure on her face once she had. He’d put pleasure on her face the night before that had blown away anything he’d ever seen, anything he’d ever experienced.
“You make your point.” He sat down on the bed and waved a piece of buttered toast in front of her, liking how her gaze followed the offering. “But as we’re in agreement that we made a mistake, one we are rectifying, I don’t see why we can’t be friends and make the most out of a bad situation.”
Scowling, she shot her gaze back to his. “You and I will never be friends.”
She grabbed his toast and took a bite, closed her eyes and sighed a noise that made him want to push her back on the bed and, friends or not, taste her all over again.
Perhaps she’d prefer it if he told her how much he was enjoying how she’d just licked crumbs from her pretty pink lips? How much, now that he knew disentangling himself from their impromptu marriage wasn’t going to be a problem, he was anticipating making love to her again, because for all her blustering he wasn’t blind. She’d looked at him with more hunger than she had the toast. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, she was as affected by him as he was her. They had phenomenal chemistry.
She leaned toward the tray, got a knife and a packet of strawberry jam, then nodded while she spread the pink mixture on what was left of her toast. Not an easy task because she refused to let go of where she clutched the bed covers, which seemed a bit ridiculous to him since he’d seen every inch of her. Seen, touched, tasted.
Slade swallowed the lump forming in his throat and mentally ordered one not to form beneath his towel. “In case you need reminding, we had a good time last night.”
“Don’t lie.” He’d been there. She hadn’t faked that, couldn’t have faked her responses, and he wouldn’t let her pretend she had. “Yes, you did.”
“Okay,” she conceded with a great deal of sarcasm. “You’re good in bed. Anyone can be good if they get lots of practice and we both know you’ve had lots of practice.”
“Lots of practice?” He hadn’t lived the life of a monk, but he didn’t go around picking up random women every night either. Sure, he never committed, but the women he spent time with knew the score. He wasn’t the marrying kind and avoided women who were. “You want to discuss my past sex life?”
“Not really.” Her face squished, then paled. “Although I guess we should discuss diseases and such.”
He arched his brow. “You have a disease?”
“No.” She sounded horrified enough that he knew she was telling the truth. They should have discussed all this the night before. And birth control. Because for the first time in his life he hadn’t used a condom. Because for the first time in his life he’d been making love to his wife.
Slade’s throat tightened. He’d not only gotten married the night before but he’d had sex without a condom. How stupid could he have been?
Was that why the sex had been so good? Because they’d not had a rubber barrier between them? Because they’d been flesh to flesh? He didn’t think so. There had been something more, something special about kissing Taylor.
Besides, they’d used a condom the first time. It had been their subsequent trips to heaven that had been without one. He’d only had the one condom in his wallet and they’d still been high under the Las Vegas night air—or whatever foolishness had lowered their inhibitions.
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