Her Accidental Husband(7)

By: Ashlee Mallory

See? The earth didn’t stop spinning. It’s going to be fine.

“You may want to start notifying everyone as soon as possible so other arrangements can be made. If you happen to have a moment, you might share this news with my mother? Oh, look. I’m being told to turn off my phone. Well, thanks for all your help. You’ve been great, and I’ll be sure to recommend you to everyone. Take care.”

There. She wasn’t going to sit around and be made a fool of. She certainly wasn’t going to be another Emily Vaughn, brushing affairs under the rug because she valued her social standing more than her dignity.

Things were looking infinitely better already.

She had chewed and swallowed the last ice cube in her cup just as the plane reached the proper altitude. Perfect timing. She raised her hand to the attendant, signaling for another drink. She ignored the wariness that crossed the woman’s face.

She had the second one down in less time than the first.

Hmm. She’d better pace herself, even if she still had two hours to work the alcohol out of her system by the time they landed. Last thing she needed was to be sick when she arrived. She could see Cruz’s disapproving face now. No way. She wouldn’t do anything as disgraceful as barf in front of him.

Maybe she should find that PowerBar. She leaned forward and tried to grab her handbag tucked under the seat in front of her.

Suddenly, the plane lunged, and she smacked her head on the tray.

What the—

She tried to sit up as the plane dived again more violently.

Holy hell.

She was going to die.

Chapter Two

The blinding light of the Texan sun broke into the cabin as the doors were thrown open. They hadn’t even reached Mexico before the plane, thanks to some sort of mechanical failure, had been diverted to the nearest airport in Laredo.

Payton’s head was throbbing now, and she breathed in deep gulps of the dry air, trying to stop the wooziness. She’d stared at death, and somehow, for some reason, the fates decided to hand her another chance.

It was like they’d known she needed a redo.

Even if in those long, agonizing moments as the plane careened around in the sky, she hadn’t been sure what prospect was more terrifying. The possibility of meeting her maker, or living and facing her mother’s wrath when she learned that the modest four-hundred-guest wedding she’d been planning was being called off.

Everyone around her leaped to their feet, digging out their luggage from the overhead bins, eager to get off this death ship. She started to get up, too, only to realize that she didn’t have her luggage, as it was stored in the belly of the plane. Instead, she scooped up her handbag and waited for the handful of passengers in front of her to leave.

At least she’d have a head start to the ticket desk before the rest of the herd stuck in coach. She glanced back, expecting to see Cruz’s smug face staring at her but the crush of passengers was too thick.

A few minutes later, she stepped out into the sunlight, grateful to feel its warmth on her face again. It was a little after five in the evening and eighty-two degrees—if the pilot could be believed.

He had almost killed them, after all.

She took a step out on the metal contraption they’d brought out to the tarmac, her feet unsteady as they tried to hold her up. Crap. Two Bloody Marys?

Payton gripped the railing even tighter and climbed down the steep stairway. Last thing she needed was to take a swan dive from the top step while Cruz Sorensen watched. With her luck, she wouldn’t die and would have to live with the knowledge that he’d witnessed one more humiliation.

And to think, once, for the briefest moment, she had actually kind of liked the guy.

Immediately on landing, when everyone else was throwing themselves around the cabin, trying to get off the plane, Cruz remained in his seat. Turning his phone on, he was relieved to see he still had cell service and dialed his assistant.

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