Planning on Prince Charming(3)

By: Lizzie Shane


It had been a good gig, Marrying Mister Perfect, he thought with nostalgic fondness, even if he was the World’s Biggest Hypocrite for selling love on national television.

The hours could be insane—especially during the marathon Elimination Ceremonies that lasted past dawn—but the work was easy. And there was never a dull moment in the world of reality television. Every season had its own scandals and tears, but it was also awe inspiring, in a way, to see each new batch of romantic hopefuls arrive at the Suitorette Mansion, ready to throw themselves headlong onto the pyre of love, praying the fates and reality television gods would be in their favor.

Poor saps.

Most of them would go home heartbroken, sobbing their eyes out for the cameras, and even the winners didn’t have an impressive track record of making it all the way to the altar.

And even if they did, what chance did anyone have of going the distance these days?

Divorced.

Josh staggered to a stop, bracing his weight on the door in front of him and squinting blearily at the number. Had he been in 312? Or 321? Why did everything have to be so damn complicated?

He fumbled with his key. Down the hall, a door opened and closed. He swung toward the sound, and the world blurred, his vision taking a moment to catch up to the movement. He had only the vague impression of a blonde blur before something soft and warm slammed into him and he went down like a redwood, ice flying.

His arms closed instead around feminine curves as he landed on his back with a grunt—and those feminine curves landed on top of him in a tangle of limbs. A feminine yelp filled his ears as ice rained down around them.

“Holy crap. You’re Josh Pendleton. I flattened Josh Pendleton.”

His alcohol-blurred vision cleared and he found himself staring into the most striking eyes he’d ever seen. Teal. Her eyes were freaking teal.

She squirmed, wriggling off him, and the blood in his body made a detour away from his brain as her delectable curves rubbed everywhere. “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t looking. Are you all right?”

She touched his arm and he snapped out of his momentary stupor, muttering an apology and stumbling to his feet. It was only when they were both upright and he was relatively steady that he realized he still had a three-quarters full ice bucket tucked under one arm.

“The ice survived unscathed. I think I’ll live. How about you?”

“No injuries to report.”

Pink lips twitched in a smile and dim recognition flickered in the inebriated recesses of his mind. Something associated with the show. Makeup artist perhaps?

“I know you.”

Her grin broadened. “Well, we haven’t been properly introduced, but I am up on the auction block this season. Sidney. Sidney Dewitt.”

Distracted by the way the sheer, pale green fabric of her threadbare Tinkerbell T-shirt clung to her slight curves in a way that was surprisingly erotic for such a modest style, it took a moment for her words to register through his liquor-slogged thoughts.

This season.

A Suitorette. Crap. She was one of the Marrying Mister Perfect Suitorettes. One of the thirty extremely eligible young ladies who would be vying for Mister Perfect as he made the journey to true love, reality style.

She was here for Daniel. The lucky bastard. And therefore officially off limits.

She thrust out her hand and he took it automatically, shaking without conscious direction from his brain. “Josh Pendleton.”

She smiled and he felt his IQ drop ten points. Jesus, she was gorgeous when she smiled. “I know who you are. One of my best friends wants to move to Utah with you and become your second wife.”

I’d have to have a first wife for that. He dropped the hand he was still shaking, bitterness streaking through him at the thought. “You aren’t supposed to be out of your room,” he informed her, doing his best to sound stern, rather than drunk off his ever-loving ass. “You’re gonna get yourself kicked off the show.” Her gaze slid guiltily to the side and he frowned. “Are you trying to get kicked off?”

“I just wanted to see who Mister Perfect is,” she said, but she wouldn’t meet his eyes. “Would they really kick me off the show just for being in the hallway?”

“Yes.” Just like they would fire his ass for standing here talking to her. The producers loved their rules and they didn’t make exceptions. “Ever since Season Three when we were nearly two Suitorettes short thanks to food poisoning, they keep spare Suitorettes on hand just in case.” Hell, they probably had a spare host waiting in the wings. Miranda was nothing if not prepared.