Her Accidental Husband(11)

By: Ashlee Mallory



“Not usually.”

She shook her head, smiling again. “That’s too bad.”

He wasn’t certain why she was looking at him with sympathy. He just knew human nature and had resigned himself long ago to not hold high expectations. “We better report our missing bags and get started on the paperwork. If they haven’t appeared by now, I don’t think they’re going to.”

“Hey, if we’re lucky, they’ll make it to Puerto Vallarta before we do.” Her eyes twinkled at this prospect just before her stomach made a very unladylike gurgle and she clutched it. “Do you think we can find a cab that will stop through a drive-thru for some burgers? I might start eating the leather on my handbag if I don’t get something soon.”

He was pretty hungry himself, although he couldn’t get his mind around the prospect of Payton Vaughn gripping anything so gauche and messy as an old fashioned burger with those soft, manicured fingers. Sushi, a large garden salad, lobster…maybe. But a fast-food burger?

Guess there was always room for some surprises.





Chapter Three

Payton licked the sauce from her hand that had dribbled off her burger, her attention on the activity outside the cab’s window. She’d never crossed the U.S. border before—at least via land. She’d traveled in and outside the U.S. tons of times, of course, but it’s not like there was a sign you could see to mark the event.

The sun had dipped a few minutes ago, but the dusk light was still bright enough to see the bustling activity at the border as masses of people crossed the bridge over the Rio Grande on foot, many with shopping bags and messenger bags, probably heading home from work or the malls. Fortunately, the long line of cars on the bridge was lined up heading in the opposite direction as them—coming into the states, so their crossing didn’t take nearly as long as she’d anticipated.

She sank her mouth into her hamburger. It was pretty good. Especially after having only eaten garden salads and broiled fish and chicken for the past few months. A necessity when her mother had thought Payton would look better in a dress one size smaller than her usual, and ordered the designer dress accordingly. She glanced over to find Cruz staring at her with something akin to shock. “What?”

“Nothing. How are you feeling? Seeing two of me still?”

“Very funny. I was not drunk. It was only two drinks and I was merely…tipsy.”

“Of course. And it wasn’t you who fell in the lap of that poor old man back at baggage claim.”

“I tripped. On his feet. I think he orchestrated the whole thing.”

“With his wife sitting right next to him?”

Yeah, well, she had apologized profusely and, once she found an open seat, finally dug out that PowerBar.

Best to change the subject. “I called Kate about the delay so she knows not to look for us until tomorrow. She said she’d talk to the hotel, to make sure there’s no problem with our reservations, but we’ll likely have to eat tonight’s room charge. No refunds.”

“I expected as much.”

She eyed his French fries, still untouched. If she’d known they were going to smell so tempting, she’d have ordered some herself, and seeing as how he wasn’t interested…

“You going to eat those?” she asked.

He shook his head and pushed them toward her. A ping from his cell phone drew his attention. “Looks like Budget rental has two cars left. A Chevy Matiz, whatever that is, or a passenger van. My vote is anything but a van.”

Famous last words, as half an hour later, they both stood in awed silence, staring at the little car, just one step up from a clown car. “If it helps, I’ve seen smaller,” she offered. “This one at least has a backseat…I think. Or I guess somewhere to put…my purse.”

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