by Brooke Cumberland
Coming February 2015
One night was all it took…
One night to ruin everything I thought I knew.
From the outside, I had the perfect lifestyle.
Wealthy fiancé, blossoming career, amazing friends.
I wasn’t looking to get married yet, but when William—“Manhattan’s royalty”—charmed his way into my life, I couldn’t deny the security and comfort that overcame me.
To society, I was the girl only after his money. I was the party-goer who managed to seduce a man twice my age to have the lifestyle some could only dream of. I was every magazine’s cliché of what a gold-digging whore was.
I wanted to prove them wrong—that our love was real and that I wasn’t that girl.
But then everything changed.
One wrong decision. One unfaithful night. One haunting reality.
Perhaps they were right.
The media didn’t see it coming…and neither did I.
*This is a stand alone romance suspense novel with no cliffhanger. HEA depends on who you ask.
My head was pounding. Or wait, was someone at the door?
There’s no way I was this hung over. Or was I? Shit, I didn’t know. It was pitch black but then I realized I hadn’t opened my eyes yet, but the pounding was definitely apparent.
I rolled over, feeling the weight shift around on the mattress. The light, fluffy comforter felt great on my hot skin. The rest of me felt like I’d been hit by a truck.
My body jerked. Something was wrong.
I don’t have a light, fluffy comforter.
I opened my eyes, blinking several times to get used to the bright light. The sun was shining in, and I silently cursed that damn window for not shielding the sunlight out.
I sucked in a breath as I tried to remember the events from last night.
I couldn’t. Not much after dinner anyway. I knew I went out for Brittainy’s bachelorette party. The girls and I took a limo all over the city, taking us to dinner at (restaurant name here) and then we ended up at Le Bain for dancing and drinks.
The rest was kind of fuzzy.
I squinted, arching my back to stretch out the kinks. Good lord it felt like my body had been folded in half and beaten all night long.
I roamed my hands down my body, feeling for any kind of evidence. I was naked, completely naked, and I never slept naked unless…
I brought my fingers down in between my legs. It ached, badly. I could tell I had a full body work out last night.
I felt sick, like I was going to throw up, but I continued lying straight, hoping it’d pass.
I breathed in and out, slowly. Once my stomach calmed down, I attempted to move. A firm hand grabbed around my waist, pulling me back before I had the chance to get up.
“Don’t move,” a low, deep gravelly voice growled. It was a voice of a man who’d just woken up. Next to me.
Once I let it sink it, it rang a bell, but I couldn’t quite place it. He pulled my body to his, my back to his chest as he gripped my hip with one of his hands. He dipped his chin onto my shoulder and whispered over my ear, “I still have the taste of you on my lips.” I could feel his hot breath on me, the scent of alcohol apparent as I inhaled against him.
I tried and racked my brain of any memory of last night. Who the hell was this guy? What was his name? Crap, I didn’t even know his name!
His hand squeezed my hip before trailing down my stomach, slowly going down in between my thighs.
“Stop,” I blurted out, sucking in another breath. His hand halted, but I still didn’t know who the hell this guy was. He could be into domination for all I know.
“Hung over?” he questioned, amusement laced in his tone. His breath tickled over my ear again, sending shivers down my spine unwillingly.
I cursed my traitorous body. It obviously remembered last night, yet nothing was coming to me.
“Yeah, I seem to have a case of the ‘I don’t remember what the hell happened last night,’” I said honestly. He removed his hand. I felt his body shift slightly as he put space in between us.
“Turn around,” he ordered. “Maybe you’ll remember my face.” I could hear the hopefulness in his tone, but I knew a visual wasn’t going to help any. I’d blacked out and nothing from last night was coming to me.
I didn’t hesitate though. I grabbed the sheet to conceal myself as I turned around to face him.
Well now at least I understood my body’s reaction. He was all messy hair with light stubble on his face. His eyes were dark, chocolate brown I’d say. He was looking at me intently, waiting for me to say I remembered him. But I didn’t.
I swallowed as I looked down the length of his body to see him completely naked, not at all covered up.
“Sorry,” I choked out, forcing my eyes to look back up at him. “I have no memory of you.” I blushed, seriously embarrassed. He looked good enough to eat and here I was not remembering any of it.
“That’s okay,” he finally said, his lips curving up slightly. “I’d be glad to help you remember…perhaps a fourth time would jolt your memory.”
My eyes widened in shocked. “A…fourth time?” I clenched the sheet tighter to my chest. No wonder my body felt bruised and broken.
“Wow…” He grinned playfully. “No memory even after three times is kind of an ego killer.” He brushed a hand through his messy locks, taking my attention away from his eyes. I imagined I was to blame for his hair looking like that—as if I had raked my hands through it over and over—squeezing, pulling.
Stay focused, Mac.
I blinked, seriously frustrated I couldn’t remember anything.
“I’m s-so sorry,” I rambled. “I can usually hold my liquor, but last night was a girl’s night…”
“I know,” he cut me off. “Bachelorette party if memory serves me correct. You were out with some girlfriends.”
“Right…oh god, did they see me leave with you? I need to get dressed. I should leave. Where are my clothes?” I started to sit up and quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen. “Shit.”
“Sit back, Mac.” It wasn’t a suggestion. He pulled me back lightly, dropping my head to the pillow. “I’ll grab you some juice and pills.”
“Okay. Thank you…” I lingered, still not knowing his name.
He sat up, searching the floor for his shorts. He pulled them on and spun around with a huge grin on his face. “Alex.”
Ho-ly panty dropper.
Which explains why I’m not wearing any.
Brooke Cumberland is a USA Today Bestselling author who's a stay-at-home mom and writes full-time. She lives in the frozen tundra of Packer Nation with her husband, 4 year old wild child, and two teenage stepsons. When she's not writing, you can find her reading love stories, listening to music that inspires her, and laughing with her family. Brooke is addicted to Starbucks coffee, leggings, and anything sweet. She found her passion for telling stories during winter break one year in grad school--and she hasn't stopped since.
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