Hitched (Imperfect Love Book 2)

 

 

Hitched

Volume 2

 

by Kendall Ryan

 

Hitched (Volume Two)

Copyright © 2016 Kendall Ryan

 

Developmental Editing by

Alexandra Fresch

 

Copy Editing and Formatting by

Pam Berehulke

 

Cover design by

Hang Le

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission of the author, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes only.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

About the Book

Arranged marriage? Check.

Cocky new husband? Check.

It's a marriage of convenience—one I’m determined to keep strictly professional. I can't be stupid enough to fall for this sexy playboy's charm or advances. I have to be strong, even if he is my husband.

Except he has a huge cock with an even bigger ego, and his main goal in life seems to be getting me to stroke both. The arrogant bastard is like sweet, sugary candy for my libido. I know he’s bad for me.

But I want to devour every wicked inch of him.

With his sexual prowess and experience, I know he’ll be explosive in the bedroom. And since we’re stuck together for the foreseeable future—keeping up this marriage charade long enough to turn the company profitable again—I deserve something to look forward to at the end of a long workday, right?

What could one little taste hurt?

Praise for
Hitched

“I’m literally in love with
Hitched
. The irreverent humor, fun storyline and intriguing characters enchanted me immediately and I was hooked. I mean really, when a book has a chapter with only the two words being “Game on” (right after the chapter where Noah pulls his big boy parts out in a swanky bar) you know this is going to be a fun and funny read! And Ms. Ryan didn’t disappoint . . . she kept me cracking up the entire read! I’m salivating for the next installment!”
—The Romance Reviews

“Fun, flirty and steamy,
Hitched
will have you addicted from the first word! Kendall Ryan delivered big time, I’m practically salivating for more!”
—Angie and Jessica’s Dreamy Reads

“Kendall Ryan strikes gold in her latest super star,
Hitched
, a romantic comedy spiked with steam, anchored by angst, and flooded with feelings.”
—Bookalicious Babes Blog

“Charming, swoony and playful, Kendall Ryan’s
Hitched
left me salivating for more. More Noah, more Olivia, more of this series which already has my heart all aflutter, my smile perma-pinned to my face, and my mind aching for answers.”
—Give Me Books


Hitched
was a perfect non-stop read! I read it in one sitting, and laughed so many times my belly ached. It’s a fun, romantic read with a light-hearted story that made me ache for more when I finished.”
—Jacqueline’s Reads


Hitched
will grab you hook, line, and sinker from the very first page. Olivia is a little bratty and Noah is a whole lot cocky but that dynamic makes for a sexual tension that I can tell is going to explode in the next two installments. And while this isn’t your typical friends-to-lovers type of story, the shared history between the two adds a surprising depth. The steam level is heating up and once you pick it up, you won’t want to put it down.” —
Love Between the Sheets

Chapter One

Noah

 

What a fucking public relations nightmare.

I’m at a charity event on behalf of Tate & Cane Enterprises. My new
wife
hasn’t been seen or heard from in two days; my best friend, Sterling, is in the bathroom fucking a waitress; and I’m standing here with a spatula in my hand, cursing them all a slow death under my breath.

We’re at a charity event at a soup kitchen. Supposedly, we’re doing good for the impoverished youths of our community, but it’s really just an excuse to empty the pockets of New York’s elite by serving them a very overpriced lunch. And considering I’m one of the cooks, I doubt it’ll taste like much. I enjoy cooking; I just rarely do it. I have one, maybe two recipes my mother used to make that I’ve mastered, and curried chicken salad isn’t one of them. The smell alone is nauseating. Though that could be because I have no appetite.

For the hundredth time, I wish I’d just hired Rosita and written her a blank check. If I had, they’d be eating like kings today. But the good cause isn’t the only reason I’m here. Hell, it’s not even my main reason.

As soon as I arrived at the soup kitchen this morning, the vultures of New York high society descended, peppering me with questions. How was the wedding? Why are you alone? Where’s your blushing goddamned bride?

Even if I had a clue how to answer, it was none of their fucking business. Olivia’s father, Fred Cane, stepped in and saved me, telling everyone the ceremony was intimate and beautiful, and that Olivia sends her regrets but was unable to make it. I volunteered for kitchen duty just to get a few hours of peace away from the public eye.

Or at least, that was the idea.
I force myself to grin at the photographer who invaded the kitchen twenty minutes ago as his camera clicks away. If he asks me one more time where Olivia is, I’m going to shove his thousand-dollar camera up his ass.

“How’s it coming?” the lead cook asks, looking into the massive stainless steel mixing bowl of chopped chicken dripping in amber curry.

“All set.” I slide the bowl toward him just as another cook sets a tray of pre-sliced croissants on the industrial kitchen’s counter.

They thank me for coming today as I remove my stained apron and toss it in the laundry basket on my way out of the kitchen.

A few more hands to shake, a couple of photo ops, and then I’m out of here. Sterling is still nowhere to be found, but the prick can find his own ride home. It’s not as if New York City isn’t crawling with taxis. And I’m not in the mood for company anyway.

When Olivia stood me up at the altar, something inside me broke. I’d worked my ass off to try to show her that we could actually work as a couple, and I thought we were getting somewhere. Sharing an apartment, sleeping in the same bed, our sweet make-out sessions that were starting to turn into something more. And we were gelling at the office too . . . slowly turning the company around, one executive decision at a time.

I blow out a frustrated sigh. Never in my life have I worked this hard at winning over a woman. But Olivia’s not just any woman. I grew up with her, placed her on this untouchable pedestal for twenty years, and she was
this close
to being mine. Before she ran off. And I still don’t even understand why. Though I have a damn good idea—

The heir clause in our inheritance contract.

Sterling was right. I guess she didn’t want me putting a bun in her oven after all. But I never thought she’d react like this. Scream and swear and cut off my balls, yes. Vanish without a trace, no.

In the event hall, people are mingling, shaking hands, and munching on the crudité. I spot Olivia’s father at the far end of the room and start toward him. He’s a short, squat man with silver hair, a round belly, and a perpetual grin on his face. Basically, he’s like Santa’s brother. It’s hard not to love the guy, even when he won’t tell me what I need to know, and is being a royal pain in my ass.

“You ready to tell me where she is?” I ask, leaning in so only he can hear me.

He excuses himself from the man he was talking to and turns toward me. “Noah,” he starts, his tone jovial as if we’re discussing our upcoming yachting weekend on the Hudson.

“Cut the shit, old man.” I maintain a friendly grin in case anyone is watching. “Where is she?”

He lets out a heavy sigh, and for the first time, I can see that this is weighing on him almost as much as it’s weighing on me.

“She’s somewhere safe, that’s all that matters, and she’s mulling things over. She’ll be back when she’s ready. This is Olivia we’re talking about.”

I nod solemnly. She’s as stubborn as the day is long. And he’s right. She’ll be back when she’s good and ready. Probably with an iron-clad argument, ready to negotiate the terms of her uterus with gusto. I smirk at the thought. At first I figured she was staying with Camryn, but after ransacking her best friend’s apartment, my new guess is one of Manhattan’s five-star hotels.

“When you speak with her again, tell her to call me,” I hiss under my breath. Fred and I have always been on good terms—he was my father’s closest friend, after all—but my patience has run thin.

He nods. “Of course I will.”

Just then, Sterling approaches with that just-fucked look. You know the one. Mussed hair, wrinkled collar, shirt untucked, smug-ass grin on his face like he just got his nuts off.
The fucking bastard.

“Well, that was quick.” I check my watch. “If you need lessons in stamina, all you have to do is ask.”

An elbow in the ribs kills my smile. “Fuck off, Noah. We both know why you’re in a foul mood, and I don’t blame you.”

Fred excuses himself as Sterling and I trade jabs.

“So, was she fun?” I ask as we walk toward the exit.

“Of course,” he replies. But his eyes are on the door and there’s no conviction in his voice.

I’ve been there. Quick, unmemorable fucks with girls whose names I couldn’t even recall a mere twenty-four hours later. Which is all the more reason why Olivia’s disappearing act feels like something had been ripped out of me.

Sure, we had our ups and downs, but I miss the banter, miss the way I could rile her up with the slightest of provocations. I just missed her.

I’m not looking forward to going home alone. The apartment feels stale without her. She hadn't even been there long, and already the place felt empty and void without her. Like all the warmth and charm has been sucked out by a vacuum. Only her scent lingers, and it makes me ache for her even more. Just when I started to get used to a woman’s touch at home, it was all ripped away. And that damn teapot she got us as a housewarming gift sits unused on the kitchen counter, mocking me. Why give me a peace token if she was just going to run out on me?

Sinking down onto the vinyl backseat of a cab, I let out a sigh. I’ve been hounding Fred about where she is, but the truth is, I don’t care. Well, I do care—every time I turn around and see she’s not there, her absence hurts all over again. But what I really want is to know
why
she ran out on me. Left me standing on the beach like a fucking idiot, waiting for our ceremony to start.

My head is swimming with questions, with anger and confusion and loss, and there’s an unexplained ache in my chest. It’s eerily familiar. Almost like the relentless throbbing I felt when Mum died. The kind of pain that fades a fraction with each passing day, but never goes away completely.

“You okay, buddy?” the cab driver asks, peering at me in the rearview mirror.

“I’m fine. Sorry.” Shit, I spaced out. I’ve been just sitting here in the back of his cab.

“You have somewhere you need to be?” he asks.

“Yes, home.” I give him the address, bewildered about the fact that I’ve started thinking of our shared penthouse as
home
.

My phone rings. My heart rate kicks up—for a second, I wonder if it’s Olivia. But the name flashing on my screen for the third time today quickly informs me otherwise.

“Hello?” I mumble, deflated.

“How are you holding up?” Rosita asks.

She’s been calling every couple of hours, but this is the first time I’ve answered. Something about discussing it out loud—let alone with another person—might make this whole nightmare too real. But the sincerity in her tone is genuine and honest, and I suddenly feel like a dick for putting off her calls.

“I’m okay, I guess. Just confused.”

She sighs, and I can imagine her nodding her head, agreeing with me.

“When I learned you were getting married, I wasn’t sure what to think of this whole arrangement, but I figured if it was what your father wanted, it was for the best. He was a good man. And he loved both you and Olivia.”

“Yeah,” I say, agreeing with her. But in times like this, where everything seems so fucked, it makes it hard to figure out what Dad was thinking.

I hear a rush of static as Rosita takes a deep breath. “But the more I got to thinking about it all, I realized I liked the idea of you getting married. Someone to cook you breakfast in the morning, someone to make sure you’re okay. A wife getting after you to make sure you take your vitamins. I liked the idea.”

I chuckle at her. “I can take care of myself, you know?” Rosita’s always been such a mother hen.

“I know,
hijo
,” she replies without missing a beat. “I know you can. But I liked that you wouldn’t have to.”

“You do know I was left at the altar, right?” As sweet as her sentiment is, the timing is horrible. Besides, it’s not like Olivia is the doting, domestic type, bringing me slippers and serving me breakfast in bed.

“Of course I do. What I’m saying is that even though your ego is bruised, you need to take a deep breath and figure out why she left. See if there’s something you can do to fix this. Because I really think the two of you could work.”

I swallow the boulder in my throat. The only time Rosita has really seen Olivia and me together was at her daughter Maria’s birthday party. A rare smile graces my lips at the memory. It was a fun day. Navigating Rosita’s enthusiastic extended family with my timid Snowflake by my side.

“I will listen to every word she says, I promise you that.” Whenever Olivia gets around to coming back.
If
she comes back.

“Okay. Be good. Love you.”

“Love you too, Rosie.” I stuff my cell back in my pocket and hand a twenty to the cab driver as he rolls to a stop in front of our building.

Upstairs, I toss my keys in the wooden bowl by our penthouse door and wander inside. I’m really not looking forward to sleeping alone tonight. I consider heading back out, maybe to the bar down the street to drown my sorrows in a glass of fine whiskey. I flip on the light—and I freeze.

Olivia is sitting on the couch. Her hands are folded in her lap, and she looks tired. Her dark blond waves are disheveled and that glow in her cheeks is gone.

“I need your help,” she says.

Has she been waiting for me? How long? And is
that
all she has to say? Four simple words . . . when four thousand wouldn’t be enough. And she’s asking for a favor?

My jaw tightens as disbelief darkens into anger.

“First, I need some answers,” I demand.

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