Her Accidental Husband(5)

By: Ashlee Mallory

A female flight attendant approached them. “I’m sorry, but we’re completely full. We’re going to have to store your bags below in holding.”

Payton clung a little tighter to the handle on her carry-on. “I’m sure I can find some space under my seat for this, let me just—”

“I’m afraid not,” the flight attendant said firmly and reached for Payton’s luggage. He watched as Payton held on another second before finally releasing her grip and handed it off to the stern brown-haired attendant who took his as well and disappeared.

“I’ll see you in Puerto Vallarta, Payton. You sure you’re okay?” He didn’t like the panicked look on her face.

She beamed her brightest smile. “Just peachy,” she said and squeezed past the aisle seat to slip into the seat at the window.

Whatever news she’d received Payton clearly needed some time to process. And at least for the next couple of hours, she couldn’t get into too much trouble. Right?

Cruz continued down the narrow aisle, keeping his laptop bag in front of him until he reached his own seat, several more rows back. The bag held some basic necessities as well as his laptop and phone charger, so it took a little effort to squeeze it under the seat in front of him. He managed, even if it made the already sparse legroom even tighter.

He clasped the seat belt and angled his head to get a better view of his charge. But other than the top of her head, he couldn’t see anything. No surprise since standing, even in those modest heels, she barely grazed his chin. She was on board the plane, though. His babysitting duties were nearly over.

He closed his eyes, ready to relax.

But the image of that bright smile and those laughing eyes still burned in his mind. Once again.

Dimples were just the tip of the iceberg with Payton Vaughn. With that reddish-golden hair that could best be described as strawberry blonde, a pert nose, and wide, welcoming lips that tipped into a smile without the slightest provocation, she was hard to tear one’s gaze from. And that was from the neck up. Because even with her petite frame, she was still slim but curvy in just the right way.

Fortunately for them both, Payton was not his type. He preferred his women tall and leggy, to match his own towering height, and without the regular vivacious commentary that Payton couldn’t help but share with everyone, which, when she was around him, was usually about him.

Then there was that effervescent personality that, combined with her beauty, drew attention wherever she went. Something he usually tried to avoid. Before she’d made her phone call, half the men in the terminal were slobbering after her. Even the kid at Starbucks had grinned like an idiot when he saw those dimples, and Cruz was almost certain he had thrown in the bottled water for free. Something that was particularly ironic considering Payton Vaughn could probably supply the population of a small third-world country with bottled water for a year with her hefty trust fund.

It was disgusting really.

And when she married the golden boy next month, who also, coincidentally, was the son of Dick Eastman of Eastman Motors and a former classmate of Cruz’s, between the two of them, they’d want for nothing. Have to work for nothing.

Completely the opposite of his own life. Not that he was complaining. He loved his family, and the hard work and long hours he’d put in at Sorensen Construction while attending business school had helped him appreciate his success all the more. It just irked him when he saw people get everything without so much as breaking a sweat.

And now he was stuck babysitting the little princess who couldn’t even see her way to board the plane alone. But he’d promised Dominic, and his little brother didn’t need anything to draw away from this weekend.

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