Tyler woke slowly, swimming up from unconsciousness, aware of sunlight from somewhere, playing against his closed eyelids. He never woke up well and he’d learned to let it happen in increments. As he surfaced against the heaviness pulling him back to sleep, he became conscious of a comfortable bed under him and the warm pressure of—
A soft shriek close to his left ear, swiftly followed by a gasp, snapped his eyes open. He was always blurry at this point, but he immediately recognized a few things. He was in a barely-familiar hotel room…in Las Vegas, he thought, for his brother Noah’s wedding to Natalie…and a very warm and sexy Amanda was in bed with him.
A very naked, sexy and agitated Amanda was in bed beside him, now holding a sheet clutched to her beautiful chest like a shield.
“Oh. My. God! Tyler, wake up!” Her brown eyes squinted against the light.
“I’m awake. I’m awake.” He struggled to pull himself upright against the pillow, blinking as his brain waves shifted.
“Tyler!” Amanda moved on the bed next to him, bouncing the mattress.
He stuck out a hand. “Can you just sit still for a moment and stop yelling, so I can wake up?”
“No!” She did say this in a more moderate tone, however, bending to cradle her tousled head in her hands, her shoulder-length brown hair sticking out in odd directions. “What are we doing here? Oh-my-god, oh-my-god. My head is killing me and I think I’m going to be sick.”
Looking around his side of the bed, Tyler found a waste basket. “Here. Use this.”
“Are you crazy?” she moaned, throwing her legs off the bed, the sheet still clutched to her chest. “I’m not throwing up right here in front of you. I need the bathroom.”
Coming more fully awake, Tyler couldn’t help grinning. “If you’re planning on taking that sheet with you, you should be aware that I think I’m naked under here. You might get to see my morning glory, if you get what I mean.”
Amanda shrieked again softly, throwing her hand up to blinker one side of her vision as she continued climbing out of the king-sized bed. “Don’t come over here!”
“I’m not going anywhere.” He tucked his hands behind his head. “Take the sheet if you want it.”
Suddenly, she stopped tugging at the sheet and stood next to the bed with her right hand shielding her eyes from seeing him and her left hand lifted in front of her. She seemed frozen.
In a jerky movement, she stuck her left hand out in front of him, turning to glare at Tyler. “Tell me what’s on this hand. There is—there is a ring on my finger! Look at this!”
“Yes.” He blinked, still trying to clear the sleep fog from his brain. “Yes, there is.”
Tyler couldn’t help grinning.
“Looks like a wedding ring to me, Honey.” Reaching out, he rolled forward on the bed to take her outstretched hand in his as much for the contact as anything else, he studied the rock on her third finger. “Nice one, too.”
“A ring with a huge rock!”
He looked down at the ring. “I don’t know. I don’t think it looks over-sized. It’s what? About two carats?”
“What!” She looked at him in shock, snatching back her left hand.
“Tyler! I. Am. Not. Married!” she shrieked and then cringed, holding her head, saying in a whisper, “At least I wasn’t yesterday.”
He shoved his hand behind the wrinkled sheets. If she’d noticed, he wore a matching band on his finger. “Looks like you are now.”
Tyler met her stricken gaze, his stomach plummeting at the look in her fine brown eyes as apparently the reality of their actions sunk in. In that moment, he knew Amanda didn’t feel as excited as he did about their marriage. Even the $15,000 ring didn’t brighten her eyes.
She clutched her midsection then and started dragging again at the sheet. With awkward moments that were hampered by her trying to pull the tucked-in sheet from under the cover on the bed, she lurched backwards. Finally, she wheeled around awkwardly, the sheet winding around her delicious body.
“Girl—“ He cleared his throat. “Girl, just go to the bathroom. You don’t have anything that I haven’t seen.” That one stricken look on her face told him the road was rocky ahead and he knew better than to say how recently he’d seen the gorgeous curves under her sheet.
Just then, Amanda moaned again, stumbling back a few steps as the sheet came free. Turning she ran to the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind her.
Trying to ignore her retching sounds like a gentleman, Tyler got off the bed and started searching for his clothes. He didn’t think she wanted to come out to find him sprawled naked on the bed. Despite her clear distress at the wedding ring on her finger, he grinned at the thought of it. Set up identical to the one he’d checked into two days ago, this was Amanda’s room. He hadn’t been wasted when they headed back here for fun time and her stuff was scattered around the room.
In a far corner, he found his boxers, while his jeans had ended up straddling a chair by the table.
After pulling on his jeans, he went over to the closed bathroom door. Leaning in, he thought he heard her sniffling. “Amanda, honey. Are you okay?”
The bathroom door opened rapidly and he straightened, unable to stop the smile that spread across his face. Even like this, hungover with her hair messy, he loved waking up to Amanda.
“No,” she snapped, her brown eyes bloodshot and damp. “I feel like hell. Is there some water out there? My mouth is dry and my head is pounding.”
“Sure. Let me get you some.” He went over to the mini-fridge, pulling out a bottle of water.
Having staggered out of the bathroom with the sheet still wrapped around her like a toga, Amanda sank down on the foot of the bed. She took the bottle he handed her, cracking it open and taking a swallow.
Tyler stood watching her, not sure what came next.
Heaving a shuddering breath, she met his gaze like a woman facing up to her mistakes. “Did we, uh, spend the night together? I remember–”
Knowing the road ahead would probably be rocky, he squatted down next to her. “Yes. Yes, we did.”
Amanda closed her eyes as if to gather herself. “I don’t remember…everything, but…this wasn’t a platonic sleepover, was it?”
“No. It wasn’t.” It didn’t do much for a man’s ego that she seemed so shattered by the fact.
Opening her eyes, she started slowly shaking her head. “I wasted my college years. I spent all my time studying and working.”
He couldn’t help smiling at this. “What? Why?”
“If I’d partied more, I would have built up more of a tolerance to handle alcohol.” Amanda stared ahead of her, her face locked in self-recrimination.
He lifted his head to her accusing glare, volunteering, “There’s a marriage license over on the table.”
Her head snapped in the direction of the table and she gulped in air. “No. Oh, no.”
Leaning forward, Tyler looked at her in concern. “Amanda?”
“Who’s…? Who does it say I married?”
Standing up, he went over to the table, lifting the stiff legal document decorated with elaborate printed flowers. Tyler turned back to her, knowing his disappointment and hurt probably showed on his face. “You really don’t remember?”
“Just tell me!” She wailed softly, her hand bracing her head as if she thought it might fall off.
“You know who. Me, Amanda. You married me. We are…married.” It had been pretty much one of the best nights of his life, but he clearly couldn’t say that to her at this moment.
Jumping up, she clutched at her stomach again, wailing, “This can’t be happening! I can’t—we can’t— I need to—“
Watching in concern, he saw her lunge again toward the rest room in her makeshift toga, pausing only to snag her purse from the low chest that held a television.
Tyler watched her. “Honey, are you hyper-ventilating? Do you need a paper bag to breathe into?”
Slamming the bathroom door behind her, Amanda reached over to turn on the sink faucet, letting the water rush out to cover any noise before she knelt on the cold tile floor in front of the toilet and retched into the ceramic bowl, fumbling in a frenzy to raise the seat. In a few moments, she lay back on the hard floor, promising heaven she’d never over-drink again. When she could think again—her stomach no longer wrenching inside her for the moment—she groped for her abandoned purse and gingerly fished out her phone.
She’d never done such a stupid, insane thing in her life. Married! And to a sexy, hot, man-whore like Tyler?! What was wrong with her? Why did she keep getting with men who couldn’t be faithful to one woman? After the last debacle, she’d promised herself she’d pick a better man next time. A man who knew not to drop his pants for every woman he met. Not a guy like Tyler.
Fumbling to find the phone icon, she scrolled past her brother’s number and those of her parents, shuddering at the thought of confessing this to her family—God, she’d not only gotten blind drunk, but when in that condition, she’d apparently married a sexed up, hotter-than-a-man-should-be, outright dog.
Tyler. Random snatches of memory floated into her brain then—the two of them lost in panting, straining…terrific sex. Amanda closed her eyes in shame, the memories spilling through her head. She’d ridden him like the stallion he resembled. And she’d really, really…really enjoyed doing it.
After years of giving him hell for sleeping with everyone from a college professor to a woman he’d met at a convenience store, she’d let herself get into the condition where she’d actually married him. Not just had sex with him, which would have been more acceptable considering the sex dreams she’d had about him before.
And he’d certainly lived up to those…