MARRIAGE FOR ONE by Ella Maise
Release Date: May 9, 2019
Cover Designer: Ella Maise
Photographer: Rafa Gallar
Model: Jason Morgan
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Jack and I, we did everything backward. The day he lured me into his office-which was also the first day we met-he proposed. You’d think a guy who looked like him-a bit cold maybe, but still striking and very unattainable-would only ask the love of his life to marry him, right? You’d think he must be madly in love.
Nope. It was me he asked. A complete stranger who had never even heard of him. A stranger who had been dumped by her fiancé only weeks before. You’d think I’d laugh in his face, call him insane-and a few other names-then walk away as quickly as possible. Well…I did all those things except the walking away part.
It took him only minutes to talk me into a business deal…erm, I mean marriage, and only days for us to officially tie the knot. Happiest day of my life. Magical. Pop the champagne… Not. It was the worst day. Jack Hawthorne was nothing like what I’d imagined for myself.
I blamed him for my lapse in judgment. I blamed his eyes, the ocean blue eyes that looked straight into mine unapologetically, and that frown on his face I had no idea I would become so fascinated with in time.
It wasn’t long after he said I was the biggest mistake of his life that things started to change. No, he still didn’t talk much, but anyone can string a few words together. His actions spoke the loudest to me. And day after day my heart started to get a mind of its own.
One second he was no one. The next he became everything.
One second he was unattainable. The next he seemed to be completely mine.
One second I thought we were in love. The next it was still nothing but a lie.
After all, I was Rose and he was Jack. We were doomed from the very beginning with those names. Did you expect anything else?
“I need to leave,” I repeated. Then, thinking it would simply be a good distraction, a good show for her employee and even sort of a practice for the charity event we’d be attending, I slid my arm around her waist. Her eyes were slightly widened in alarm, her entire body stiff, but at least she wasn’t jumpy like she had been at our first outing. Slowly her body relaxed, and she arched her back so she could look up at me with those big eyes.
A simple and meaningless touch would have to be acted out more naturally at one point in our fake marriage, almost as if touching her or kissing her in front of other people would become second nature. Practice was good.
“Thank you for the coffee. It’s always the best,” I murmured, having trouble looking away. Then I leaned down and hesitated for a heartbeat before I pressed a lingering kiss on her forehead as she was still looking up at me in confusion. That spot felt like it was the most harmless one and I took my time, breathing in her sweet and fresh scent. When I pulled back, one of her hands was resting against my chest, the other one clutching my arm. Her chest rising and falling, she blinked up at me.
Taking her hand that had ended up on my chest, I opened her fingers, my fingertip catching on her wedding ring. Why did such a simple and, in our situation, meaningless thing give me so much pleasure to see? She wasn’t mine, but the idea of it…the possibility… I placed the money on her still red palm before gently closing her fingers around the bill. Surprisingly, she didn’t say a word, just kept staring up at me as if she was lost. Was she just as affected as Iwas by our pretending?
“Don’t take it off, okay? I like seeing it on your finger,” I whispered.
I had already forgotten about the people around us. This wasn’t so much for them but more for me, I thought, just so I could see that soft look on her face. I cupped her cheek and leaned down enough so I could whisper in her ear. “Was that the right amount of PDA for our fake marriage? A small intimate kiss, you said, right? Arm around the waist? Bodies close, but not touching?” I lifted my head up enough so I could meet her eyes and, in a louder voice, said, “Don’t stay on your feet for too long—you’re still limping.”
She didn’t look like she was going to say anything, so I pushed a little more.
“Can you at least say goodbye to your husband?”
“Uh…I should, shouldn’t I? Goodbye?”
After wishing a good day to everyone who didn’t have the decency to mind their own business, I left.
Yes, practice was good.
About the Author:
I love nothing more than to escape real life to find those very few magical moments in a book. I love how it has the power of stealing your worries away, putting a smile on your face even when smiling is the last thing on your mind. Crushing on fictional characters is also another bonus. Through my words, if I can manage to make even one person smile, it means I’ve done my job well.
Writing became my world and I can’t imagine myself doing anything other than creating new characters and telling their stories. You know how some things simply make your heart burst with happiness? A really good book, a puppy, hugging someone you’ve been missing like crazy? That’s what writing does to me. And all the hard work, all the sleepless nights, all the anxiety that comes with publishing…everything is worth it at the end.
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