Home > A Very Merry Bromance

A Very Merry Bromance
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams

 

To Meika

   Thanks for talking me out of that tattoo of mashed potatoes

 

 

THE BACKSTORY


   Last December

   Now this was how Colton Wheeler liked to wake up.

   Naked, warm, and pressed against a woman who’d blown his fucking mind.

   His groomsman’s tuxedo was a mound of black-and-white fabric on the floor of his hotel suite, tangled up with a silky green dress that had been discarded in a flurry of frantic kisses, heated whispers, and desperate pleas to hurry.

   He’d always heard about people who met the one at a wedding, but that was for, like, other people. He was Colton Wheeler, after all. Multi-platinum country star. But last night, after standing up along with his best buddies to watch their friend Braden Mack marry the love of his life, he’d fallen under the spell of the most unlikely woman.

   The groom’s ex. It made no sense. They made zero sense. But she’d kissed him, and even though he’d been kissed by a lot of women before—often without warning—this one had been different.

   No doubt about it.

   Colton Wheeler was smitten with Gretchen Winthrop, esquire.

   It would be complicated, of course. She was Mack’s sort-of ex-girlfriend. They’d dated for three months before he met his now-wife. There was always a risk when you dated someone in your own social circle. But here he was, watching her sleep and writing songs in his head, his mind afire with the promise of This could be something good.

   Sometime in the wee hours of the morning after they’d finally fallen into an exhausted sleep, the sheet had slipped from her torso, leaving her bare to his gaze. Colton pressed his lips to her shoulder. The deep breath she took brought the soft curve of her stomach more fully against his hand. He still couldn’t believe what she’d been hiding beneath that sensible dress she’d had on last night.

   She inhaled deeply again, but this time it was followed by a long stretch of her legs against his. She was waking up. Colton slid his knee between both of hers, and she made space for him. The toes of her right foot caressed a path up and down his shin.

   Colton nuzzled her jaw with the tip of his nose. “Good morning.”

   Gretchen let out a little sigh and snuggled into his chest. But then she froze. Her eyes flew open. “What time is it?”

   “Time to wake you up properly.”

   He leaned in to kiss her but met blank air instead. She rolled away from him like a rabbit evading a predator. “Oh my God . . . it’s light outside.”

   Colton chuckled and rose on one elbow. “Do you turn into a pumpkin soon?”

   “I—I can’t believe I slept all night there. I didn’t mean to.”

   “Well, I sure didn’t mind.” He sat up fully and reached out his hand. “In fact, I’d love it if you came back to bed for a few hours more.”

   “I can’t. I have to go.”

   He reclined on the bed and folded his arms behind his head, satisfied for the moment to just watch her naked body as she skittered about the room. Until he realized what she was doing.

   Looking for her clothes.

   “Are you actually leaving?”

   Her head swiveled until she spotted her dress. She threw it on, covering her nudity. Colton kicked away the blankets and rose from bed. “Come on,” he said, holding out his hand for her. “Slow down. We have plenty of time before brunch, and—”

   She jumped as if he’d just suggested they leave the room naked. “I—I’m not invited to that. That’s just for the wedding party.”

   “And I’m the wedding party, which means I can bring anyone I want.” He finally succeeded in getting his hands on her again. His hands lightly stroked her hips over the green silk. “And I want to bring you.”

   “No, I—I can’t. I have a lot of work to catch up on today.”

   Well, that was a relief. For a moment, he was starting to worry that she might be evading him because she didn’t actually like him. “Then let me take you somewhere.”

   Her head swiveled again in search of God only knew what. “You don’t have to drive me. I drove my own car here.”

   He chuckled, reaching again for her. “No, I mean away. Let’s go somewhere. Spend a week just talking and getting to know each other and—”

   She laughed quietly, but whether it was with him or at him remained to be seen. “Sure. Where should we go?”

   “Belize.”

   She finally met his gaze. “Belize?”

   “Ever been?”

   She laughed again. This time definitely at him. “No.”

   “Well, believe me when I say you’re going to love it.” He watched as she located her bra. He remembered the precise moment when he’d taken it off her and flung it across the room. “I’m serious, Gretchen. Come away with me. I’ll tell my pilot to get my plane ready, and we can just get away—”

   Her mouth dropped open. “You’re serious, aren’t you?”

   “Hell, yes.”

   “I can’t go to Belize with you.” She found her purse and shoved both her bra and panties into it.

   Colton stepped in front of her and gripped her shoulders. “Hold up. What’s going on here?”

   “I’m leaving. I have a lot to do today.”

   “When can I see you again?”

   She blinked.

   Well, this was a first. “I—I can see you again, right?”

   She chewed on her lip. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” She stepped around him, searching the floor again. She let out an ah at the sight of her shoes. She bent to pick them up, one finger hooked through the sexy black slingbacks that had damn near given him cardiac arrest last night.

   “Wait. Just wait. Can we start this over, please? I feel like I’ve screwed something up, but I have no idea what.”

   “You didn’t screw anything up. It’s me. I shouldn’t have done this. I’m sorry.”

   “Shouldn’t have done what?”

   “I started this. I shouldn’t have kissed you.”

   “I was a willing participant. More than willing.” He set his hands on his hips and was instantly, painfully aware of his own nudity. And not in a good way.

   She stopped her frantic searching and hugged her things to her chest. “Look, I know everyone felt sorry for me last night. Even though I never had anything serious with Mack, and I mean, I was actually at the wedding for Liv because she and I have become friends, but still, I felt everyone looking at me as if I was about to break or something, and I know you only approached me to dance because of that—”

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