Can perfect strangers turn an accidental marriage into a love that will last forever?
Series: One Night in South Beach
Author: Andie J. Christopher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Word Count: 60,000
Ballerina Laura Delgado is just one solo away from a dream job with the New York City Ballet. Then a drunken pas de deux at her cousin’s wedding results in the one thing she never wanted—a husband. TV producer Charlie Laughlin may be deliciously kissable, but she needs him offstage now, and out of her life.
Charlie’s ready for marriage and kids, and on the lookout for just the right woman. Laura doesn’t fit the bill at all—but Charlie can’t stop thinking about the sultry way they moved together. And he can’t help but wonder if he can change the gorgeous dancer’s mind about leaving Miami with heated kisses that promise as much as they demand . . .
Annulling their sham marriage is all Laura wants—until she gets to New York and realizes that leaving Charlie behind is easier said than done. Can a relationship that began as a hot mistake become the kind of love that will last forever?
Excerpt:Stock still, Laura Delgado stared at her Grandpa Rogelio with her mouth open. All the oxygen and all good sense in the universe had been sucked out of the room. Her dressing room had turned into the upside-down. Then, her knees gave out, and she dropped to the couch without meaning to.
Married!? My what!? The word husband echoed over and over in Laura’s head. The two syllables sounded foreign and hostile. The disjointed—and altogether frightening—sounds reminded her of a Russian ballet master she’d once studied with. He’d thwacked her with a violin bow when she missed a step. The bow was less painful than the idea that she was actually married.
In her mind, marriage had always equaled death—a slow, painful, wasting disease suffered while handcuffed to the cause of death. And she’d just found out that she was terminal.
“Unless we get his signature, I can’t file your taxes.” Two days from the deadline. Her grandfather had the audacity to smirk at her as though he found this situation funny. He thought the fact that she was married and only found out about it...funny. If she didn’t love her Grandpa Rogelio so much, she would be tempted to punch him in his still-handsome face. But, given that he was her favorite relative and he’d done her taxes without incident since she got her first paycheck from the company at eighteen, she just clenched her jaw.
And to make things even worse than the mere fact that she was married was the guy she was married to. Charlie Fucking Laughlin. With his artfully scruffy beard, his too-long hair, and naughty-looking mouth. He was smooth-talking and smug. Everyone loved him because he was so nice, but no one was that nice. Laura didn’t like nice. Didn’t trust nice. And now, nice-Charlie Laughlin was allegedly her husband.
She’d never intended to get married, and she certainly didn’t picture ever ending up with someone like Charlie. He was too much everything—too handsome, too tall, and too sexy. By the time she was fourteen, right before she’d left home to join the ballet, she’d decided that she wanted nothing to do with marriage. Her parents had screwed it up enough to put her off the institution entirely.
There was no way she was going to end up tethered to someone like her father. Unlike her father, Charlie had a sense of humor, but he had the same charisma that her father used to try to control everyone around him. No way she was about to give herself no escape but the bottom of a pill bottle. Even though Charlie wasn’t an emotionally abusive dick bag, he would end up trying to control her—he would want more of her than she could give.
How many Mai Tais—and how much tequila—had she had to drink? The only way she would have gotten married was if she’d been bombed out of her mind—or if he’d tied her up and dragged her down the aisle. But that would have left a mark.
If she had been on her guard, acting like herself, this never would have happened.
Images of a pink beach and matching pink drinks flooded her consciousness. The soft caress of the Indonesian breeze, the fuzzy joy at seeing her cousin, Carla, joyfully happy on her wedding day, and her disquiet at how much she didn’t miss dancing during the three months she was out of commission from a groin injury slammed into her mind from the recesses of her memory. Since returning to the ballet, she’d stuffed thoughts of that night down so far that they exploded back like matter packed too densely in space.
But, every so often, her mind drifted to kissing Charlie at sunset, away from the crowd. It was the craziest thing she’d ever done—kissing a stranger. She couldn’t get the feeling of his lips on hers out of her head. It was as though he’d stamped an impression on her, an invisible tattoo of his effect on her. Her entire life up until that point had been about discipline, training, dieting, and taking in criticism. She’d been a changeling at the behest of everyone in her life, and she knew that she could never let anyone know what was underneath her exterior. But there was something about the way he’d looked at her that had penetrated the wall she’d built around herself to avoid the pain of feeling she was never quite good enough, never quite the best. The feeling of his gaze on her skin—the feeling of him really looking at her—lingered along with the imprint of his mouth.
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More from One Night in South Beach
Stroke of Midnight
Dusk Until Dawn
Break of Day
USA Today Bestselling author Andie J. Christopher writes edgy, funny, sexy contemporary romance. She grew up in a family of voracious readers and picked up her first Harlequin Romance novel at age twelve when she’d finished reading everything else in her grandmother’s house. It was love at first read. It wasn’t too long before she started writing her own stories — her first heroine drank Campari and wore a lot of Esprit.
Although she set aside writing fiction for a while, her love of romance novels stayed with her through college, law school, and multiple cross-country moves. During one long East Coast winter, she decided writing a book would be a good excuse to avoid braving the elements. It was love at first write. Her heroes are dirty-talking alphas, and her heroines traded Esprit for Free People. (None of them would turn down a Campari, though.)