Her Accidental Husband(9)

By: Ashlee Mallory

The ticket agent pinned on a fake smile. “Yes, ma’am. I’m well aware where Mexico is. But your best option if you plan on flying to your destination is getting a flight into a bigger airport with several outgoing flights.

Payton settled her hands, palms down, on the ticket counter and took in a long measured breath. Then exhaled. “Would you mind terribly seeing—once I get to Dallas tomorrow—what flights you could book me on that would get me to Puerto Vallarta by five o’clock?” At least she’d managed to sound reasonable.

The woman smiled again and ducked her head, clearly not buying the suddenly sweet act of the crazy lady in front of her. She turned her attention to her screen, her fingers clacking away for another minute.

Cruz thought about interrupting the exchange, but knowing Payton, she wouldn’t believe it unless she heard it for herself.

A moment later, the woman’s mouth pursed tighter, and she glanced uneasily at him then Payton. “There seems to be a little difficulty getting you on an available flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Puerto Vallarta tomorrow. All three of our flights are at capacity. As you’re probably aware, March is a pretty busy time of year for any beachside destination. I can place you on standby, but the earliest confirmed seat I have would be…Saturday.”

“Saturday?” Payton shook her head. “No. No. That’s not going to work. I have to be there by tomorrow. I have to give my best friend the last night of her life as a single woman. We’ve been planning this since we were twelve. I’m her maid of honor. I have to be there by tomorrow. Friday.” He could hear the edge of hysteria in her voice, as could the woman who was glancing around her, as if for support.

This was probably where he should try and intervene. Cautiously, he tapped Payton’s arm. “Hey. I think I have a solution for us.”

She turned around, her eyes widened when she saw him, then narrowed in suspicion. “Unless you’re about to confide that you’re wearing tights and a cape under your clothes and can fly us both out of here, pronto, then maybe you can wait. I’m not giving up this place in line, buddy.”

He smiled at the ticket agent. “Perhaps you can indulge us for a moment, but is there any chance you can guarantee us a seat on any U.S. or Mexican airline that will arrive in Puerto Vallarta by tomorrow night?”

This time the woman delivered a wide smile at him. “I’m afraid not.”

Satisfied, he looked back down at Payton. “So are you ready to hear me out now?”

She looked disgruntled but gave a terse nod. She threw an annoyed glance over her shoulder at the ticket woman before he dragged her away.

“Look, Payton, I’m as invested as you are in getting to Puerto Vallarta in time to see my brother get married. But unless we want to spend the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours sitting in airports hoping to snag a seat on an already oversold flight, then we need to come up with another plan.”

She folded her arms in front of her, looking as stubborn as a mule.

Damn his brother. It was his fault Cruz was on babysitting patrol. If not for his promise, he’d be enjoying a cocktail on the beach right now, having arrived the day before. Or at the very least, be making his way to the nearest bus terminal, not giving a second thought to the beautiful but aggravating blonde terrorizing the airline staff.

But he had promised.

And to be honest, helping Payton, Dick Eastman’s future daughter-in-law, might give him the boost he needed to settle his business deal in time for breaking ground in early June.

“You can release my arm now. I’m quite capable of holding myself upright.”

He raised his brow at that comment, deciding not to mention her near fall earlier today, and released her arm. She tottered for a moment but stayed on her feet. “We have two options. One would be to cross the border, rent a car, and drive ourselves to Puerto Vallarta. It’s almost nine hundred miles and, driving straight through, should take us around fifteen hours. Second option. We could buy two tickets at the bus station in Nuevo Laredo that would take us to Puerto Vallarta. Even with the added four or so hours, my choice would be to take the bus. We could just relax and do some reading without any of the stress of driving.”

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