Mr and Mrs (An Alexa Riley Promise #1)
by Alexa Riley
Welcome to Alexa Riley Promises. This series is dedicated to old romances. It’s tropes galore, with all of our usual over-the-top alphas and sweet cheesy goodness.
These short books will focus on traditional and classic tropes while sticking to the Alexa Riley code: no cheating and always with an HEA. That’s our Promise to you.
Phillip has been married to Molly for a year. He’s beyond obsessed with his new wife, to the point that he has to hold his true feelings back. If she knew how crazy he is for her, she might push him away.
Molly is feeling distance growing between them, and she’s worried she’s not enough. One night she walks in on Phillip, and it changes everything.
When Phillip discovers Molly was in an accident and now has amnesia, he’s going to do all he can to make her fall in love with him again. Holding nothing back this time.
Warning: It’s just as crazy as it sounds and just as over-the-top ridiculous. If you want to get silly with us and spend a little time away from reality, grab this one up!
Chapter 1 *Molly*
I look up from the tasteless salad I’m just pushing around on my plate, not feeling even the least bit hungry. But a dinner out seemed like a lot more fun than sitting in the penthouse condo alone all night for the fourth time this week. Phillip’s working late. Again. Something that’s becoming a little too normal for my liking.
It’s his place, even though the condo is ‘ours’. I still find it odd calling it home, though we’ve been married and living in it for a year. But I don’t think anything has ever felt like a real home before. Not like the ones I’ve dreamed of, anyway. It still feels like it’s his more than it’s mine. We still haven’t gotten around to finding a house. The house that will be the home I’ve always wanted. Longed for and dreamed about for most of my life. Phillip seems excited about it, but it keeps getting put on the back burner, and I’m starting to think I am, too.
Cindy places her hand on my arm, giving it a comforting squeeze. Everyone knows we’ve been trying to have a baby from the moment we said “I do.” I wasn’t great about hiding how excited I was about starting a family, and Phillip had encouraged me to be more vocal about it, to see it as a reality. He’d started to make these little dreams I had in my head come alive. It was all a part of the fairy-tale dream I’d fallen into the moment I’d met Phillip.
Young girl falls madly in love with her father’s new business partner, and he sweeps her off her feet in a whirlwind marriage. The press ate the story up. Millionaire Phillip Tanner finally tying the knot. Not only that, but with his new business partner Charles Moore’s daughter. Their partnership brought together two of the biggest hedge fund firms in the country, and it was believed they would be unstoppable together. They have been.
I smile at Cindy, giving her a reassuring look. “I know. When I’m supposed to get pregnant, I will.” I’m not even sure if having a baby right now is something I want anymore, which feels odd because having a family is all I’ve ever wanted.
I wanted all of it. The whole white picket fence, two-point-five kids, and a husband who adored me. I had the adoring husband—when he was around, anyway. I could deal with not being the center of his attention, but I didn’t want that for our children. I’d been a child with a father like that, and I wouldn’t do that to my children. I’d never bring them into a home that never really felt like a home at all. I can deal with it. I love my husband, and I know he loves me, but it’s been crazy lately, and I worry that maybe it isn’t just work that’s keeping him away. Maybe it’s me. What if I don’t hold the same appeal I once did?
What if the novelty has worn off in the same way it seemed to with my own parents? I grit my teeth, trying to push that insecurity back.
But that just doesn’t add up, not with the way Phillip touches me. He makes love to me every night when he crawls into bed, even after a long day at work. He can’t go to sleep without having me first.
Except last night. I don’t know when he got home, and that was a first. I fell asleep before he got home and woke with him kissing me goodbye early this morning. He said he had a big meeting to prep for and that he’d tell me about everything this weekend.
“Is there something else? You don’t seem your normal self.” Cindy releases the hand she had on my arm to study me. She’s very good at reading people. In fact, she told me the first time we met that we’d be good friends, and we have been.
And she’s right. There is something else. The very thing that’s started to plant little seeds of doubt in my mind. The thing that has me thinking a lot more about all those long work hours over the past month.
“He got a new secretary,” I finally spit out, knowing Cindy would get it out of me, so there was no use hiding it.
“Oh, I heard Debra retired.”
I nod. Yep, Debra left over a month ago and moved to Florida to enjoy her retirement with her husband. I loved that woman. She was always so sweet, and whenever I called or stopped by, she made it seem like the most important thing was my seeing my husband, no matter what he was doing. Everything else would be put on hold and meetings would be interrupted.
The new one, not so much.
“Don’t even say it.” Cindy leans back in her chair, her auburn hair swaying around her face.
I can’t even say it. It’s so cliché, I can’t let the words pass my lips. She looks the cliché, too. Tall, thin, big blue eyes, and blonde hair that always seems to be utterly perfect. Just like everything about her. Every hair always in place, and she walks around in five-inch heels all day long. I’d break my neck. It’s like she doesn’t even have to try.
“In fact, I’m not even going to let you say it. I mean, this is Phillip, for Christ’s sake.” She laughs like I’ve lost my mind. “The man is in love with you. I know you don’t know the pre-Molly Phillip, but I do.”
Cindy is one of my only friends in New York, and I’d met her through Phillip. It’s really how I met everyone here. I went from living in a boarding school, straight to college and right into Phillip’s condo. All my family and friends were thousands of miles away in Seattle. “He was boring…well, he still kind of is.” She smirks like she just gave him a jab that he could really hear. “All work and no play. Until you. Why do you think the press went so wild? They’ve been trying to catch him with a woman for years, then he’s running all over town with one. Trust me, he’s not boinking the secretary. I’ve known him since college, and I’d never even seen him date until he met you.”
I know that’s true. I’d done my shameful Google search the first time I’d met him. It had come up with nothing. Never in a million years did I think he’d show interest in me. He is ten years older than me. I was barely twenty at the time we met. Some said he only did it to make his partnership with my father more solid. I never once thought that. He’d made me feel special, something no one had ever made me feel before. To be the center of someone's world was so foreign to me. I ate it up. Now that some of that center had shifted back to his work, things started to feel a little bit lonely again. Loneliness was a feeling he’d taken away from me the moment I’d met him. I don’t like it creeping back into the edges of my life again.
We’d dated for two months in secret, until my twenty-first birthday, then we’d come out as a couple and married one month later. He even made us wait until our wedding night before he took me fully. From the very start we both talked about wanting a family, and he said he never wanted anything between us, so we’d wait.
Well, we’d waited to go all the way at least. Phillip spent many nights with his mouth on me. Telling me all the things he’d do when I’d finally say “I do.” I can’t count how many nights he’d sneak into my room at my father’s house after they’d gotten done with some late-night meeting in my father's office. I’d go to bed alone and wake up to Phillip’s face between my legs. Some nights he’d go at me like he was starving. Other nights he’d make me promise over and over I was going to marry him before he’d finally give me what I need. He’d never let me return the favor. The closest I’d gotten to his cock before our wedding night was dry-humping, and his pants never came off or undone.
But do men really go months without sex? I push the thoughts away.
“I know. I’m being silly. I know he loves me. She’s just so freaking rude when I call or show up. I swear every time I see her she’s thrusting her giant boobs in his face or doing that stupid high-pitched laugh. Every time I call, she has some reason Phillip can’t take it. Every. Time.” I know all this, together with him working so much and me feeling alone in this giant city has morphed into this giant insecurity I’ve been feeling for the past few months.
“Say something,” Cindy snaps, leaning forward, her blue eyes narrowing like they always do when she’s squaring up for a fight. It’s what she often does in the courtroom. “I know I should. I’ll speak to him about it. Just sometimes I feel a little out of place. I’m so much younger than everyone, and I know he’s running a company and I don’t want to be the needy, clingy wife who’s insecure.” I sometimes feel a little lost in his world, and it would be a lie if I didn’t think back to times I’d interrupted some of my father’s meetings, only to get snapped at and made to feel unimportant. I have a degree in art history, and I’m proud of that, but sometimes I felt a little lacking. But I know that’s my own doing. Phillip has never talked down to me or tried to exclude me from anything, but old insecurities run deep sometimes.
“Fuck that,” she tosses back, making me smile. One of the reasons I’ve gotten so close to Cindy is she isn’t like a lot of the other women I’ve met in New York. Nor is she like the wives of some of Phillip’s business associates. She always says what she’s thinking, and I want that to rub off on me.
“That man will be pissed if he finds out that his secretary is treating you like shit. In fact, I bet he’d can her ass on the spot if he even got a hint she was doing something like that.”
I know what she’s saying is true. I once told Phillip in passing I didn't think the doorman at the building we lived at liked me very much. Anytime I’d try and ask him a question about something, he’d get short with me and tell me that I shouldn’t be out without my husband. He would make constant digs about my age, like I didn’t belong in this world. He’d amped up the disrespect when he hit on me one morning after Phillip had left early for the office. I’d shot him down quickly. Needless to say, after I told Phillip what had happened, I never saw the man again.
“You’re right. I’m making this all out to be bigger than it is and I just keep throwing dirt on it.” I grab my purse from the chair, making Cindy smile. “You mind?” I ask. We hadn’t even gotten our main entrée yet.
I stand and lean down to kiss her on the cheek.
“Call me. I want to know all the details.”
With that, I head out of the restaurant and onto the busy New York sidewalk. Glancing down at my watch, I see it’s already eight. I make my way down to his building, which is only four blocks away.
Red, the security guard, swipes me right in as I make my way into the practically empty building. I hit the elevator button for the top floor and tap my foot as it moves up. When I exit, the hallway is completely clear. I walk to his office, bypassing the empty secretary desk, and pull open the heavy door.
The sight that greets me almost brings me to my knees, and it would have if I hadn’t had my hand still on the door to brace me.
There, in the middle of Phillip’s office, completely naked, is Cary. The secretary. Phillip is on the sofa, his face turned away, but I can see his tie is undone and his shoes are off. His suit looks worn and wrinkled. Cary just stares at me in shock.
“You can have him.” I’m not even sure how I get the words out. I turn, fleeing the office. I hit the elevator button and luckily it slides open immediately. I take it all the way down in a trance, trying to hold myself together. You will not break like this. I suck in a deep breath, trying to calm myself.
“Mrs. Tanner,” Red calls after me, seeing the tears running down my face. I grab the first taxi I see and head straight for our condo. I don’t stop to think about what I’m doing. It feels like I’m in shock.
I pack a bag in record time, scribble a note, and shoot a quick text to Cindy before I drop my phone and ring on the kitchen counter.
Maybe Cindy doesn’t know Phillip as well as she thinks. Maybe everyone thinks he’s boring because he’s good at hiding his true nature. My father’s good at hiding his dirty little secrets, too, but like most things, you just need to look a little closer. That’s when everything becomes clear. “God, you’re so naïve,” I whisper to myself.
I take the subway to the train station, where I buy a ticket on my credit card, then pull out as much cash as my cards will allow. I then grab a cab to the bus station. I want to get away for a little while and get my head on straight before I face him. I know he’ll track me down and find me if I don’t cover my tracks well enough.
I look up at the list of destinations and pick a place I hope he’ll never think of.
Okay, I'm not gonna lie... That excerpt up there?! Yeah, in anything other than an Alexa Riley read that probably would have had me running for the hills. If there's one thing I can't stand in my romance novels it's cheating. And that right there?! Has cheater written all over it. Luckily, I know that I can count on Alexa Riley to give me a possessive hero that wouldn't even consider touching another woman so I read on... And I'm so glad that I did!
I can't honestly say that this was my favorite Alexa Riley read but I can tell this new series is going to be something that I really enjoy. The storylines and tropes aren't unique but when you add a modern day spin on it it gives it a unique feel... Add in AR's cheesiness and I'm all in!
Phillip and Molly have a lot of obstacles to overcome in this one, and they actually spend quite a bit of time apart before they find their way back to each other, and this wouldn't normally be something I would enjoy but it was necessary given the circumstances. A lot of readers might hate Molly for doing what she did but if I were in her situation and I had walked in on what she did I would have took off too. Sometimes women just need time to get their head on straight and kudos to her for striking out on her own.
Luckily, Phillip is one of AR's OTT possessive heroes that we know will do anything it takes for his woman and he did not give up on her. And even after all the time they spent apart, as soon as she was back in his arms he did everything he could do to keep her there.
Of course we have a super cute epilogue to go with the super sweet read and I couldn't be happier with the way things ended. Definitely a must read for Alexa Riley fans and if you like a little bit of angst to go along with your cheese then this one's perfect!
They specialize in insta-love, over-the-top, sweet, and cheesy love stories that don’t take all year to read. If you want something SAFE, short, and always with a happily ever after, then Alexa Riley is for you!
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Disclosure: I was provided with an ARC of Mr and Mrs in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.