Her Accidental Husband(12)

By: Ashlee Mallory

Cruz didn’t say anything, probably trying to envision how he was going to twist that tall and surprisingly muscular build into the tiny door opening.

This should be interesting.

They had to be joking.

Cruz shook his head, not finding words to express his disbelief, and headed over to the driver’s side.

As he stood outside the car, he’d swear the door was barely tall enough to admit a small child, let alone his six-foot-three-inch frame. He pulled the door open, slid his laptop bag behind the seat, and bent his head to try and fit through the tiny opening.

His head cracked against a corner.

Dammit. That hurt.

The ringing of laughter didn’t improve his mood, and he glared back. Her mirth seemed to increase as he found his legs pressed against the steering column. Whoever had driven this last had definitely been a kid. His hand groped for the latch to release the seat and he just managed to reach a position of minimal discomfort when Payton slid into the passenger side with ease.

She was still smiling. Those damn dimples were almost taunting him. Before she had even slipped the seat belt into the latch, he’d put the car in drive and pulled out of the spot.

Having studied the map in the cab as they crossed the border, he was familiar with the route they needed to take. But Payton had insisted on buying her own map and was spreading it out on her lap, using a pen to draw a line down, highlighting their route. She paused and bit the tip of her pen.

“We have a couple of choices once we hit Guadalajara. The southern path looks a little more direct, but it’s not a toll road like the northern route.”

“We’re taking the northern route. I know from experience that the toll will end up taking less time. And it’s safer.”

“Really? You’ve done this before?”

He shrugged. “My mom’s from Morelia. That’s just a little further southeast of Guadalajara,” he offered when he saw her scanning the map. He turned on his blinker as they made a right hand turn onto the main street. “Growing up, my parents took us down to visit her family. We spent a lot of time exploring the area. If we had more time, the other way is definitely more scenic, but we don’t have that luxury. Not if we’re going to make it for the rehearsal tomorrow.”

She remained quiet and he glanced over to see her staring sadly at an invisible spot on the dash. “What is it?”

She turned her attention outside the window, away from him. “Nothing. Just remembering my last trip with my fia—with Brad. We went to Cabo in January.”

The silence went on, and he sensed that whatever was going on with her earlier today had something to do with Brad Eastman. A subject he had no interest in hearing about. “Music?”

She nodded and he flipped it on. After a search through various stations, he settled on one that was playing a soft, contemporary Spanish song. Payton seemed to need time to reflect, and he could stand to focus on getting out of the city and onto the highway, all limbs intact.

The silence was unusual. His and Payton’s short relationship usually involved her making some ridiculous comment that cemented her image as a silly, self-centered rich girl, followed by his stoic but judging silence, with maybe the occasional grunt or eye roll.

Even before meeting her, Cruz had a good idea who Payton Vaughan was, due to her engagement to Brad Eastman, son to one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Utah—and the guy who showed up Cruz’s senior year of high school and easily won over every girl at school with his fancy car and smarmy smile. Including Cruz’s girlfriend, Angelina, who Brad quickly dumped just one week later for a girl who was rumored to be related to Dutch royalty. And the guy had only been a junior.

So Cruz had a good idea of what Brad Eastman’s fiancée would be like even before Dominic relayed the news that she had a trust fund that rivaled Midas’s.

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