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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Lovely Distraction by Author J.J. Dorn Excerpt Exclusive to Isalovesbooks

Lovely Distraction
By: J.J. Dorn

Prologue

“Are you totally excited or what BFF?” Olivia beamed at me from the window seat of our first class seats. 
“Yes! I can’t believe we are going to Vegas for my Bachelorette party!” I was very excited for a weekend getaway with my two best friends, Audrey and Olivia. In a few short months I was going to be getting married to my boyfriend of a year, Cain Stratford. We had met in law school during our third year and we had become study partners. It took Cain all of three study sessions before he asked me out with such confidence it stunned me at first. But I knew on that first date that Cain and I were perfectly matched. We had similar passions and goals in life. We made sense.   
“I for one can’t wait to get my party on.” Audrey announced from beside me, shifting my attention back to our ensuing trip. I was looking forward to this vacation. I needed it. I was exhausted between planning this wedding and working endlessly as a new associate attorney at large firm. I was hoping a three day vacation would be the perfect thing to reenergize me. 
“Oh shit.” I heard Olivia say as I was rummaging through my bag on the floor in front of me. 
“What did you forget?” I looked over at her but her eyes were wide and her face was locked on the front of the plane. 
I followed the direction in which Livy was looking and I gasped. I couldn’t help it. The mere sight of him sent my body and my mind into overdrive. It took just a half a second before his eyes locked onto mine and a hint of a grin spread wide across his lips. Fuck my life!
“Oh no, here we go.” I heard Audrey mumble from the seat next to mine but I couldn’t respond to her. I felt like I was having an out of body experience. What are the chances that the one that got away, or in my case the one that ran away, ends up crashing my Bachelorette party?
*  *  *
Five Years Earlier…

It was spring break and I was home in Huntsville, Alabama celebrating almost being done with my senior year at the University of Tennessee. I was with Audrey and Olivia of course. We were on our second round of mojitos when a particularly gangly looking guy approached us. 
“Hey ladies, what’s up?” He was obviously drunk. 
“Not much.” I jumped in before Liv got ahold of him. I love Livy but she isn’t the most patient person when it comes to drunken morons. 
“Well my friends and I were just wondering if you ladies wanted to share a drink with us.” He said swaying as he talked. 
“Oh, that’s nice but I think we are okay.” I told him politely. 
“Alright. Well if you all change your mind we will be over there.” He pointed to a table full of guys that we had been ogling over all night. The bar was pretty empty for a Thursday and the group of good looking guys had immediately grabbed our attention. We had chosen to go to our local hang out Havens. It was a hole in the wall kind of joint, but it always provided endless entertainment.
“Wait, those are your friends?” Livy asked him, her mouth totally hanging open in astonishment that this kid would even know the guys across the bar.
“Yup. Well, have a nice night.”  The drunken guy said and headed back toward his friends.
“Wait, we are coming with you.” Audrey piped up. She stood up and gave Livy and me a look indicating we were to stand up as well.
I followed behind Audrey and Liv as they proceeded to make their entrance. I was the shortest of the three of us. Being 5’8” isn’t really considered short but compared to my 5’10 friends; I’m the shorty spice in the group. I watched Audrey sashay her way toward the table. Audrey is a gorgeous girl. She has a supermodel frame that is all leg. She has soft brown hair that is medium in length. On this night she loosely curled it giving her a very southern belle look. 
Livs also struted her way over to the table with her signature flare. Livy is also all leg but she has subtle curves that drive men crazy. She is part Hawaiian with has jet black hair and the most amazing golden skin that I swear actually glows. She should be a freaking swimsuit model. It’s so not fair. 
Unfortunately, I’m not like my two best friends, I am not all leg. I am mostly long torso with some serious curves. Livy and Audrey are always telling me my curves are amazing and I suppose they are right. I know big butts are in thanks to Kim Kardashian, so I guess I have that going for me. I grabbed my stick straight long blonde hair and toss it over one of my shoulders. I don’t know why I was so nervous to talk to these guys but something in the back of my mind told me to be on edge. 
I caught up to the girls so we all reached the table at the same time. As I approach the table I came face to face with the most gorgeous navy blue eyes I had ever seen. I felt the air in the bar being sucked out and my mind raced like I was having a dizzy spell. I couldn't hear or see anything but him, it was like everyone around us disappeared and it was just us. He was freaking beautiful. He had the most delicious tan skin, it was flawless. I could see just a bit of his dirty blonde hair sticking out from underneath his white baseball hat and it intrigued me. I wanted immediately to pull it from his head and run my hands through it. The rest of him was just as delicious. His perfectly sculpted frame was tucked away behind a white button up shirt and khaki shorts, but I could still see the outline of hard muscle underneath his clothes. 
“Ladies…these are my friends.” The drunken guy said snapping me back to reality.
The guys all said hello in unison and I watched as they postured to see who would get to talk to which girl. 
Hot blue eyes stood up from the table and put his hand out to me. “I’m Jamieson Wellington.” He said in the deepest sexiest voice I think I had ever heard.
“Hi, I’m Jenna Middleton.” I extended my hand out to meet his. The second I touched his hand I felt a wave of heat run through my whole body and I felt flush. 
“Well Jenna Middleton can I buy you a drink?” He flashed me a smile that had trouble written all over it.
“Sure.” 
“What would you like?” 
“Oh, whisky sour please.” I told him.
Jamieson ordered my drink when the waitress had returned. He also found me a chair; conveniently it was right next to his. I looked around the table as I waited for my drink, trying to stamp out my nervousness. Audrey was talking to a very handsome looking guy with the most amazing chiseled cheek bones. Livy was talking to guy whom I think said his name was Julian. He was obviously South American of some sort and completely hot. His accent alone was utterly intoxicating. 
“So tell me Jenna. Why haven’t our paths crossed until now? Are you from Huntsville?” Jamieson asked me looking intrigued.
“Yes I was born and raised in Huntsville, but I have been going to school in Knoxville. I’m a senior this year.” 
“How old are you, if you don’t mind me asking?” Okay, kind of odd but I’ll answer him.
“Twenty-three. How old are you?” I asked him in return.
“A bit older. That probably explains why we have not met until now.” He drawled in his southern accent.
“Probably.” 
“What is your major?” He asked and then took a sip of his drink. 
“Computer science.” I told him.
“Wow, I’m impressed. Stunning and smart. That is a lethal combination.” Flashing me a sly grin that sent my nerves back into overdrive. 
I was totally blushing and was sure twelve shades of red by this time. “Thanks.” 
Jamieson and I continued to chat back and forth for a long time. He asked me lots of questions but rarely gave me any hints into his life. I asked him questions like he was asking me but he artfully avoided really answering mine. I realized quite quickly that I was in over my head. Jamieson was completely skilled when it came to ladies, he was an expert. He was a lion and I was his prey. The sad part was I didn’t feel that bad about it. I was totally in awe of him. He was sexy as hell and funny too. He didn’t seem to have a problem making fun of himself or his friends for that matter. I thought that to be a bit odd considering I could tell this crowd was wealthy. Just from the way they conducted themselves, which was very intimidating. It wasn’t that my family was hard up or anything, we weren’t, but there was a difference between being comfortable and truly wealthy. I had a feeling Jamieson Wellington came from old southern money, the kind that I most definitely had no clue about. 
“Oh shit! Mitch just got hit in the face!” One of the guys at the table shouted out. I snapped my head around to see a large husky guy punch their drunken friend in the face.
Chairs instantly flew backwards as the four boys jumped up to the aid of their friend. I looked over at the girls and we watched as the guys stormed out front of the bar. 
“I got to see this.” Liv said standing up and quickly making her way toward the exit. Audrey and I glanced at each other and then jogged to catch up with everyone.
When we got out to the front of the bar there was a full on brawl taking place, it was hard to even understand what was happening.  I could see fists flying and I think I made out the back of Jamieson’s head in the middle of the crowd. We pushed past the small crowd forming and I saw the Julian guy had their friend Mitch up against the brick wall holding him back looking at his bloody nose. I felt bad for Mitch. He may have been kind of a drunken idiot but he seemed harmless. I could see why the guys were protective of him, he didn’t mean to offend anyone he was just clueless.
As I got closer to the center of what was happening I saw Jamieson and my heart stopped. He was fighting the husky guy from the bar. It’s was a fairly even match but the big guy was definitely getting some good hits in. 
I have no idea what possessed me but I took a step forward like I was going to intervene when a large arm stopped me. “Ladies I think it’s safer if we stand over here.” The dark haired guy Audrey was talking to ushered us off the sidewalk next to the parked cars. “Watch your step there is a curb there.” 
I could tell this guy was a pretty boy. It was obvious from the fact all of his friends were fighting but he remained completely scuff-free. I don’t know why that bothered me but it did. “Aren’t you going to stop them?” I asked him, my annoyance laced throughout my voice.
“Nah, they need a good fight every once in a while.” He said to me like it was no big deal.
I saw something fly through the air and land in a clatter across the pavement. I crouched down to look at what it was and I see it was a cell phone. I think its Jamieson’s. “Hey I think your friend’s cell phone just landed under that car.” I said to pretty boy.
“Yeah probably.” He clearly gave a shit less about the phone or any of the events transpiring before him.
“Uh, aren’t you going to get it?” I asked dumbfounded.  I looked at Liv and Audrey to see if they were paying attention but they were too concerned with the fight.
“Nah, I don’t want get dirt on my new shirt.” He said coolly.
That infuriated me. I stomped over next to the car and bent down to pick it up, not caring I was in a mini skirt.
“Jenna what the hell are you doing? Your butt is hanging out?” Livy asked freaking out.
“Well I think this is that guy’s cell phone and it flew off under this car. He may want it later.” I said as I got down on all fours to reach under the car. 
It took a minute but I grabbed the cell phone and climbed out from underneath the car. When I popped up there were three sets of eyes totally staring at me. 
“What?” I asked. “It’s not like he was going to get it.” I said motioning to the useless pretty boy. 
“You’re all dirty.” Audrey said as she helped me dust off my skirt.
“Ah, it’s alright. It’s just a little dirt.” I told her unconcerned.
I looked around to see what was happening with the fight now. Climbing under the car had only taken a few seconds but it felt like longer because the fight had moved down the sidewalk. 
“Alright, alright break it up you knuckle heads.” A huge grizzly looking man said as he crashed in between Jamieson and the husky guy.
I recognized the big guy as a bouncer from Havens. He stood in between Jamieson and the other guy forcing them to walk away in separate directions. The husky guy hurled some insults at Jamieson and then slowly began to walk away with his friends. Jamieson started walking back up the sidewalk towards us. He walked up to Mitch and Julian squinting at Mitch’s nose. He looked at it closely, clearly checking out the damage.
 “I don’t think its broke bud.” He said in an even tone.
“I’m sorry man. I swear I didn’t know she was married.” Mitch said looking a bit sheepish.
“It’s alright could've happen to anyone.” Jamieson said and pats Mitch on the shoulder.
I watched this whole exchange like I was watching a movie. It didn’t seem real somehow.  I was in awe watching Jamieson go from raging maniac to calm concerned friend in seconds. I know it shouldn’t excite me but somehow it did. 
Jamieson turned around and looked over at the group of us as if he could tell we were watching him. He slowly began striding over to us. I could see his white shirt was trashed. It had blood all over it, some of it was his and some of it was the other guys. He had a fairly large cut above his eyebrow which made my stomach turn a bit. I assumed he was coming to talk to his friends but instead he continued on until he was squarely in front of me.
“I’m sorry you had to see all that.” He said watching my face for a reaction.
“Oh, no worries.” I stammered. “Here, I think your cell phone fell out of your pocket.” I said and thrusted my hand out holding the phone forward towards him.
“Thanks.” He said quietly taking the phone from my hand. When his hand brushed mine electricity melted its way straight up my arm again.
“It was nothing.” I blushed a bit under his stare.
“Yeah right you totally climbed under the car to get it and ruined your skirt in the process!" Audrey exclaimed. Thanks Audrey!
“You did that for me?” His eyes went dark and intriguing. 
“I knew you would probably want it.” I had no idea what I should have said to him. My mind had suddenly gone blank. We just stared at each other sharing some sort of weird silent connection.
“Hey you ladies want to meet us at Hals in a bit?” Julian broke in from across the sidewalk putting an end to the weird connection between Jamieson and me. 
Hals was a famous local dinner. It was the original greasy spoon, but it hit the spot perfectly after a night of drinking.
“Sure.” Liv said a bit too eagerly.
“Cool, meet us there in a half hour?” Julian said as the guys started to walk toward their vehicle.
Jamieson however, didn’t move. He was still staring at me. 
“You’re going to come right?” He asked me.
“Yeah it sounds like it.” I tried to play it cool.
“Good, I’ll see you soon.” He said quietly. He hesitated as he turned to leave but finally found his momentum and jogged to catch up with his friends.
“Uh…earth to Jenna. Come in Jenna.” Liv waved her hand in front of my face waking me from my daze.
“Oh, hey.” I said groggily from my trance.
“What the heck was all that about?” Livy asked with her hands on her hips. Audrey stood behind her with the same question on her face.
“I really have no idea.” I told them truthfully.
“Well whatever it is, it looked like trouble.” Liv said smiling. “And you know trouble can be a very good thing, right?” Her grin said it all; she thinks Jamieson and I were going to hook up or something. Liv and Audrey always gave me a tough time about loosening up and living a little. It wasn’t that I was stuck-up or anything, it was just that I was focused.
I just shook my head at them and began walking toward our car. 
*  *  *
It had been almost an hour and a half. Audrey, Olivia and I sat in a corner booth at Hals all looking a bit forlorn. We finally gave up and had ordered food. We were now finished eating and the guys were still a no show.
“Maybe they had to take their friend to get checked out at the hospital? He did take a nasty hit to the face.” Audrey said.
“Or maybe we just were stood up.” Liv bit back.
“Well whatever, I’m tired. Let’s just head home.” I said faking my tiredness. I knew Audrey and Livy were upset because they were enjoying our time with the hot guys but I also knew they would get over it by tomorrow night. I however, felt a weird sense of loss. I couldn’t really describe why I felt that way but I did. It bothered me that I felt like that; I had no right to such feelings. After all we had just met and it wasn’t like I even really knew the guy. I just needed to go home and try to forget about ever meeting Jamieson Wellington. 







Chapter One
Let’s go Jenna! I’m ready to get my drink on so hurry up.” Livy hollered at me through the bathroom door of our luxury suite at the Venetian. I was finished getting ready, but all I could do was stand in front of the mirror looking at myself in shock. I knew Audrey and Olivia understood why seeing Jamieson was blowing my mind but I don’t think they totally got it, and how could they? Not even they knew the entire history between us. How on earth did I get myself in this situation and how in the hell am I going to get out of it unscathed? 
“Let’s do this.” After taking a steadying deep breath I opened the door to join my friends. 
“You look hot girl!” Audrey’s bright smile helped my nerves slightly. It had taken me over an hour to even pick an outfit out. I finally settled on my black lace dress. It was short, tight and it was backless. It showed off every one of my curves to the best of their abilities. 
“Yes you do girl. Now let’s go show Jamieson Wellington what he will be missing for the rest of his life.” I flashed a smile back at them and we preceded to find the elevator.
Livy had chose a black and gold bandage dress that was one shouldered. It showcased her long Hawaiian legs perfectly. Audrey had chosen to wear an equally jaw-dropping dress. It was bright red, tight and strapless. It hugged her dainty frame expertly. 
As we piled into the elevator to head to the club I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmingly nervous. I tried my best to choke down my anxiety but a tiny voice kept telling me nothing will be the same after tonight.
*  *  *
As the girls and I approached the line for the club we saw it was stretched down the hallway and all the way to the bank of elevators we had just emerged from. I instantly felt a bit relieved hoping we couldn’t get in and that finally destiny would work in my favor. 
“Ladies! Long time no see.” I knew that voice instantly. It was Derrick Bedlington, pretty boy extraordinaire. When I met Derrick I instantly disliked him. He had such obnoxious good looks and he knew it. He was cocky and perhaps rightfully so. Derrick was rich; his parents were real estate tycoons in Alabama owning everything from high-rises to farm land. Thus why his inner circle consisted of Jamieson Wellington heir to America’s largest whiskey distillery and Julian Vega sole heir to the Dominican Republic’s largest cocoa farm. 
“Hey Derrick.” I heard Audrey coo from beside me. Those two had been playing a ridiculous cat-and-mouse game for the past five years and I for one couldn’t wait until they hooked up and got it over with. 
“Ladies, we have a table inside.” Derrick motioned for us to step aside of the line and past the bouncers and front door staff. “The table is courtesy of James… in honor of Jenna’s upcoming nuptials of course.” 
The mere mention of his name made me vigorously search Derricks face for any private knowledge he may be hiding. Derrick however revealed absolutely nothing.  
As we entered the long dark tunneled hallway I heard Habits by Tove Lo thumping through the speakers and I choked back the bile I felt rising in my throat. I knew he would be there waiting for me, I knew he would be looking gorgeous like always, and I knew there was no way I would be able to resist him, not this time. 
We turn a corner and follow Derrick past the private VIP tables. I should have known that Jamieson would have picked the most private table in the club. He wanted to talk and he wanted me secluded enough to accomplish that goal. He was sitting in the far corner of our private table. He stood as soon as he saw us approach. I met his gaze and it happenened. I had hoped after all this time that the potency of our connection had lessened but unfortunately I was wrong. If anything it was more, so much more. 
The music around us faded away, all the people surrounding us disappeared and it was just us.  His eyes scaned my body and I knew he was taking in my very tight lace dress. I could tell he appreciated it because the corners of his mouth tilted up slightly and I saw a flash of heat in his eyes. I continued to walk toward him slowly but deliberately as if he was pulling me toward him. It had been a long time since I saw him last. I could see a touch of age around his eyes but he still looked as handsome as ever. Jamieson Wellington had always been the most handsome man in my eyes and tonight was no different. He had dressed in dark jeans and dark blue and purple pinstriped button up shirt. I could tell the shirt was a luxury brand from the way the material shimmered ever so slightly in the dim club lights. His dirty blonde hair was perfectly styled showcasing his blue eyes that continued to bore holes into mine from across the table.
I knew Audrey and Olivia were behind me. I could hear them chatting with Derrick and greeting Julian. I was being rude ignoring everyone but I couldn’t break the connection with Jamieson, we were having our own silent discussion of sorts. I came to stand in front of him and I cast my eyes down toward the floor trying to shield myself from his intense scrutiny. 
“Hello Jenna. It’s been far too long, don’t you think?” 
His cold sexy voice gave me chills. I forced myself to look up at him again. “Yes it has Jamieson.” 
He motioned for me to sit and I did.
“Drink?” He asked.
“Sure.”
He leaned forward to grab an already-made drink from the table and handed it to me. “I hope you still drink whiskey sours. I took the liberty of making sure you have an endless supply tonight.” 
I took the drink and began sipping it. “Thank you.” 
Jamieson leaned forward and grabbed what I assumed was his drink, a whiskey on the rocks no doubt. It is the only thing I had ever seen him drink. 
“Well I guess congratulations are in order.” He said with a dark tone to his voice. “When is the wedding?” 
 “A few months.” I replied between sips of my drink.
“Are you happy?” 
His words hit me and I almost spit my drink all over my lap. Well I can see he is not going to beat around the bush.
“Yes we are.” I replied quickly hoping to end this line of questioning.
Jamieson leaned forward and set his drink down on the edge of the table. He then turned toward me and I saw his eyes were burning with anger. “Do not lie to me Jenna.” Excuse me!?!?
I allowed his anger to wash over me, soaking it up as fuel for my come back. I took a long sip of my drink for added courage. “Why are you here Jamieson? I know this isn’t a friendly coincidence, things with you never are.” 
 “I think you know why I’m here. I told you a long time ago but it seems you may have forgotten.” He tells me with a hint of a smile playing across his lips. 
“What are you talking about?” I was getting tired of his games already.
“So you have forgotten…interesting.” He clearly smiled at me now. 
“You know that whatever you’re talking about doesn’t matter now, right? I’m engaged, as in I’m getting married.” I was frustrated.
Anger flashed in his face. “You may be engaged Jenna but you most certainly aren’t married, not yet.”  
“Whatever.” I knew I could push harder and try to get him to confess why he was crashing my bachelorette party but I also knew I wasn’t prepared to find out, so I left it alone.
I continued to sip my whisky sour and stewed about Jamieson’s arrogant and angry behavior. I tried my best to ignore him and concentrate on the conversations around the table. Olivia was busily chatting to Julian about her recent trip to Milan. After graduating from Alabama State with a degree in advertising she landed her dream job working for a fashion magazine. Olivia now had the horribly daunting job of traveling around the world to the biggest fashion shows selling advertising spots. She clearly hated it. 
Derrick and Audrey were also easily bantering back and forth. Derrick was rousing Audrey about working for “the man.” Audrey had gone to law school with me at Vanderbilt. She was now working for the prosecuting attorney’s office in Huntsville. Audrey is brilliant at her job she has a passion for the law and it clearly showed as I listened to her correct Derrick. 
I couldn’t be prouder of my two best friends and all their accomplishments, but it made me sad thinking of my upcoming move. Cain had accepted a job at his family’s firm in Mobile so after the wedding were going to be moving. Cain comes from a long line of attorneys. Both of Cains parents were attorneys. In fact when his mother and father married their families’ firms merged creating a super firm of sorts. They had offices all over Alabama and his father was grooming him to take over the firm as he had accepted a judgeship in Montgomery. 
I’m drawn out of my thoughts when I feel a familiar hand on my wrist. I knew while I was ignoring him he was analyzing me. I could feel him staring at me. I was trying my best to be immune to his gaze, but his touch I never have been immune to. 
I look up at his face through the darkness of the club but I could see he wasn’t looking at me but my hand, my left hand to be exact. 
“Is this it?” He said in a dark cold tone. 
“Yes.” I choked out. I knew he disapproved of my simple engagement ring, but I thought it was beautiful. Cain had picked it out and surprised me one night at dinner. I wasn’t shocked when he proposed. With Cain there were no surprises; things were just easy with him, predictable I guess. 
“I thought his family had money.” Holy freaking rude much!
I scoffed at his comment and snatched my hand away from his. “I think it is beautiful.” 
“It’s not right.” He continued. 
I had had enough. I quickly stood to escape to the bathroom, it was all too much. I couldn’t handle being close to him, him touching me, analyzing me and now clearly judging me. 
I tried to make my way past Olivia but my dreaded song came on. Olivia and Audrey have been my friends since middle school and for as long as I could remember, Sir Mix-A-Lots I like Big Butts had been our anthem. Shitballs there goes my exit plan.
Audrey and Olivia screamed in unison and stood up grabbing my arms dragging me to the dance floor. 
We got to the middle of the dance floor and Olivia spun around facing me. “Okay spill it. What in the hell is he doing here?” 
“I don’t know. I asked him but he wouldn’t tell me he just said I knew why he was here, but I have no idea.” 
“Well clearly he is here to see you.” Audrey stated the obvious.
“Okay well I guess there is only one way to find out.” Livy turned to storm back toward the table but I stopped her.
“Liv just leave it. He won’t tell you and I’d rather just ignore it.” I pleaded.
“Fine, but if he pisses me off I’m going to drag it out of him.” 
“Let’s just pretend he isn’t here, drink his booze and do what we came here to do… party!” Audrey exclaimed.
“Ladies follow me. I think we need shots.” Livy added.
Audrey and I followed behind Liv to the bar where she ordered our favorite shots, Washington red apples. 
I slammed down three and made a silent pledge to myself to have fun no matter what. Just don’t black out in the process, you have never been great at holding your liquor!

Chapter Two
June 2009…

Olivia, Audrey and I stood in line at Gossips a local gay bar in Huntsville. It was a Friday night and like most bars in town they all had their prime nights. Fridays were definitely Gossips. Regardless of whether it was a gay bar or not, everyone packed in to dance to the latest dance music and pop remixes. Tonight was no different, it being the first night of summer break the line was down the block and then some. 
“We better pray Barry is working the door tonight or that Jenna’s skirt is short enough to showcase that booty.” Livy chided. 
“Looks like your prayers have been answered.” Audrey said striding her way to the front of the line in her sky high stilettos. 
As we got closer I could see what my ubber tall friends could already see, our friend Barry was working the door. We had become friends with the bouncer over the years since we had turned twenty-one. Barry worked at Gossips as well as our favorite bar Havens. He was a huge burly guy with a bald head and lots of tattoos. If I had met him on the street in the middle of the night I would have probably run in the other direction screaming, but we had gotten to know him. He was a sweet guy and for whatever reason he loved us. 
“Ladies!” Barry greeted us with a big smile ushering us past the huge line and into the club.
“Thanks Barry.” We each said as we passed him, giving him a hug and kiss on the cheek. 
“Three paid!” He yelled to the cashier inside the club letting him know there would be no cover charge for us. 
As we entered the club a remix of Jamie Foxx & T-Pain’s Blame It pours out of the speakers. 
“Drinks?” Audrey asked from beside me.
“Sure.” I agreed.
“First rounds on me!” Liv shouted over the music.
We cut a path to the bar to order our drinks. I stood behind Liv as she flirted with the bartender. But something pulled my intention back toward the entrance.
The air got thick with electricity and the music turned to a low rumble in the back ground. There was only one other time in my life I had felt this way and that was the night I met Jamieson Wellington. As that realization dawned on me I began to search the crowd and to my total amazement I spotted him just entering the bar with his friends. 
I sucked in a sharp breath seeing him. I had only met him once but the intense attraction I felt for him was undeniable. Many nights I had laid awake thinking of him and the weird thing between us. I had convinced myself it was all in my head but seeing him again made it all so real. 
I continued to watch him from across the bar make his way toward me. He clearly hadn’t noticed us or maybe he didn’t remember me. Perhaps I was just another face in the crowd to him. I watched as he passed in front of me with his friends heading to the far end of the bar where a beautiful female bartender worked. As he got closer to me I scrutinized everything about him. I had hoped that maybe over the months I had just built him up in my head, that maybe I remembered him differently. Unfortunately for me that was not the case. Jamieson Wellington was still classically handsome with his dirty blonde hair and dark navy blue eyes. He still had the body of a Greek God and the obvious ability to draw all the female attention around him. 
I continued to appreciate his stunning good looks when his eyes caught mine. Immediately I casted my eyes downward and I felt a deep blush covering my cheeks. I waited a few painful seconds and then stole a glance back at him hoping he was far enough away from me now that he couldn’t see me watching him. When I looked back at him he had stopped dead in his tracks and was staring at me wide eyed. I again freaked out and looked down turning to face my friends. 
“Excuse me. It’s Jenna, right?” Shit, shit, shit. I’m busted!
I turned around to be met with the sharp and steely gaze of Jamieson Wellington, my stomach turned completely inside out. 
“Yes.” I said trying to seem unaffected. 
“Hi, do you remember me? We met a few months ago at Havens.” I felt his eyes roaming over my body and I couldn’t deny I liked it.
“Of course we remember you asshats. You guys stood us up.” Livy declared while handing me my drink.
I heard the guy behind Jamieson chuckle, I was pretty sure his name was Julian.
“Yes about that, listen we are sorry. I went home so I could change my shirt and by the time we got to Hals you had left.” Jamieson was explaining everything to the group but he only looked at me. We had yet to break our eye contact since he approached me, it felt almost hypnotic. 
“See I told you they didn’t stand us up.” Audrey said.
“Can we buy you drinks to make up for our unexplained absence?” Jamieson offered.
“Sure.” I said barely above a whisper. 
“Whisky sour, right?” He asked.
“You remembered?” Crap that wasn’t supposed to come out.
“You’re hard to forget Jenna Middleton.” He said in very sexy deep tone with an equally sexy grin.
I knew it was crazy, but I couldn’t help but wonder if he too felt this strangeness between us and if so, what did it mean. 
*  *  *
The bright lights of the bar came on signaling it was now time to leave, I instantly felt disappointed. We had been talking for hours. It was odd having such an intimate conversation in the middle of a packed bar but Jamieson had a way of making me feel like I was the only person in the room. Our friends were also busily getting to know each other and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. 
“Your house JW?” I heard Derrick ask from behind me. 
“Ladies would you like to continue this back at my house?” Jamieson asked.
I looked at Audrey and Olivia for any hesitation. 
“Let’s do it.” Livy said boldly. 
Jamieson let out a light laugh. “Well after you.” 
He ushered me out of the bar with the rest of our friends never leaving my side. When we got to the parking lot he hesitated just for a moment before crossing the street to catch up with his friends who were waiting next to a black Cadillac Escalade. 
Livy had driven her charcoal Audi so we piled in to follow the guys to their house. 
It only took us a few minutes to get to Huntsville Mountain. We pulled off the main road and onto a long gated driveway. It was no secret Jamieson was wealthy and I should have guessed he would live in this neighborhood but still I was taken back as we passed mansion after mansion. We finally pulled up to a sprawling southern estate. As I watched the large house grow in size as we approached I felt my stomach dip low in my belly. I was clearly playing outside of my league. 
We pulled up next to the Escalade and we all proceeded to bail out of the car. Audrey and Livy excitedly chatted about the beautiful home we were entering. Jamieson stood on the front porch in front of a massive set of dark black wood doors. 
“Ladies.” He said to my friends as he guided them inside. I was close behind but taking my time. When I reached Jamieson he flashed me his sexy grin. “Welcome to my home Jenna.” I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled shyly in return. 
Jamieson followed close behind me as I made my way down the front hallway. I could hear Derrick and Julian entertaining the girls nearby. 
“Would you like a tour?”
“Yes, very much so.” I said eagerly.
Jamieson smiled and lead me through the house to a beautiful sprawling living room. It was gorgeous with its slate gray couches and dark wood flooring. There was a huge TV mounted inside a beautiful white wood built-in that showcased a cozy fireplace. In front of the couches there was a very inviting plush cream rug. I immediately pictured lying on the gorgeous rug snuggled in front of the roaring fireplace with Jamieson. I felt my cheeks flush from my fantasy.
“And through here?” I asked trying to distract myself from my overactive imagination.
I began walking toward the voices I heard earlier. I didn’t have to go far before I was in the middle of a massive ivory white kitchen filled with our friends. If there was a kitchen to end all kitchens this would have been it. All the appliances were commercial grade stainless steel. The cabinets were white with glass fronts. I was impressed at how organized all the dishes were aligned, especially since Jamieson was a bachelor. That was not something a boy would typically be concerned about, but then again Jamieson Wellington was surprising me at every turn. 
“You have a beautiful home Jamieson.” Audrey told him as he fixed a drink from the bar that ran along the far wall of the kitchen. 
“Thank you.” 
“How many rooms is it?” She quizzed him. Audrey had always been interested in architecture and interior design so I could only imagine what she was thinking. 
“Five, but one bedroom I made into a study so really six.” He said nonchalantly handing me a drink as well.
“Seems a bit big for a single guy.” Livy piped up from across the room. 
“Oh I don’t live here alone. Derrick, Julian and Mitch all live here with me.” He clarified.
“So like a mini frat.” Livy said clearly trying to get a reaction.
Julian let out a low chuckle. “Something like that.” 
“More like a mini playboy mansion.” Derrick chimed in.  
His statement sent a pang of jealousy shooting through me. I knew I had no right to feel that way considering this was only the second time I had spent time with Jamieson, but the idea of half-naked girls running through this house sent ice water coursing through my veins. 
“I think its GTA time!” Julian shouted.
“Let’s do it!” Derrick agreed as he grabbed a couple beers from the fridge. 
“What the fuck is GTA?” Liv asked the obvious question.
“Grand Theft Auto, baby.” Julian said excitedly. 
“You mean the video game?” I asked totally perplexed at the thought these full grown men would be this excited over a video game.
“Not just a video game the best video game ever made!” Julian replied. The guys must have finally understood that Audrey, Livy and I had no idea what they were talking about. I’m sure our faces gave us away.
“Looks like we have three virgins here.” Derrick sneered and made his way to the living room with his beers.
“Well come on ladies we are about to show you what the hype is all about.” Julian clamored. Audrey and Olivia followed behind him totally laughing at his boyish excitement.
I stole a look at Jamieson to see if he shared Derrick and Julian’s obvious video game obsession. He gave nothing away. He was softly looking at me with a light smile. I shuddered lightly under his gaze. 
“We haven’t finished our tour.” He said never breaking our connection.
“Sorry. I would love to see the rest of the house.” 
Jamieson lead me through the entire downstairs. There were three bedrooms on the first floor. Mitch, Derrick and Julian all lived on the downstairs floor. Each of their large rooms had their own on-suit bathrooms, which put most master bedrooms to shame. There was also an additional full bathroom downstairs and a home gym. 
“Wow, I can’t even imagine what you would need an upstairs for.” I said to him as we circled back toward the massive staircase in the front hallway.
“Let me show you.” A smirk spread wide across his lips as he ushered me upstairs.
At the top of the beautiful dark wood staircase I could see inside what I assumed to be Jamieson’s study. There was an enormous wood L-shaped dark wood desk that held multiple computer screens. 
“Your office?” I asked.
“Yes.” He led me inside. 
It was exactly how I pictured it to be, sophisticated and intimidating, much like Jamieson himself. I examined the many shelves and framed diplomas on the wall.
“You graduated from the University of Alabama?” 
“Rolltide.” He said grinning at me.
“That’s too bad and here I thought you were damn near perfect.” I kidded.
“That makes too of us. I’m not usually attracted to Big Orange fans.” His confession left me slightly breathless. He was attracted to me. There it was, the confession I could feel deep down in my bones, but the real question was what did he plan on doing about it?


Chapter Three

I squinted my heavy eye lids half open. I didn’t recognize my surroundings. I willed myself to try to sit up but the minute I tried to move I felt like I was going to puke. Maybe I had already puked, I felt like absolute hell. My head pounded incessantly and all my limbs felt like they were bruised. I knew I was in a bed but the real question was where? 
“Good morning baby.” That voice broke me out of whatever stupor I was in. I snapped my eyes open to see a very naked Jamieson Wellington coming out of the bathroom. I quickly scanned my surroundings. I was not in my hotel room with Audrey and Olivia. No, I was in massive suit which I assumed belonged to none other than Jamieson Fucking Wellington and much to my absolute horror I was stark naked in his damn bed.
I quickly began wrapping myself in the blankets to shield myself from him. I leaned over the bed looking for my dress but it was nowhere in sight. 
“Looking for your clothes?” He asked with a mischievous smile that made me want to jump up and slap his face. He strolled over to me lightly tossing me a robe from the bathroom. 
I ducked under the covers and tightened the robe around me. My mind was trying like crazy to remember what the hell happened last night but the last thing I can remember was dancing with Audrey and Olivia. What had I done? Did I just destroy my entire universe in one drunken night?
I snapped. “Jamieson, what in the fuck happened last night?”
“You don’t remember?” He said looking slightly amused which pissed me off even more. I was going to be sick any second and this dip shit wanted to just play games with me. 
“I wouldn’t ask if I remembered!” 
“Look at your left hand maybe it will remind you.” He barked. Why the hell was he getting pissed off? I was the one who just fucking cheated on their fiancé!
I glanced down at my left hand trying to solve the riddle but what I saw there only brought a flood of questions. My simple solitaire diamond ring from Cain had been replaced by three massive round diamonds that were clustered with diamonds all around them. But even more perplexing was there was a second ring that sat with the massive stunner it too dripping in perfectly sparkly diamonds. 
“Whose rings are these?” I asked my voice shaking in fear for the answer to come.
“Yours.” Jamieson said not looking at me. He was reading a newspaper and drinking coffee at a round table across the room. His nonchalant behavior pissed me off more. He could care less that my life was totally imploding right in front of him. 
“Who gave it to me?” I tried again to gain answers.
Jamieson neatly folded his paper and placed it on the table. He then turned and looked at me, examining me for a long while before he simply stated “I did.” 
“But why?” My voice pleaded for him to put me out of my misery and just tell me how bad I royally fucked up.
“Because you’re my wife Jenna.” He said coolly and without emotion. I peered down at the rings on my left hand once again. I had hoped they had disappeared and this was all just a figment of my imagination, but no such luck. I closed my eyes willing myself to get control but my body had other ideas. I shot straight out of bed and raced to the bathroom just in time to empty the contents of my stomach in the toilet. Oh God what the hell have I done? 
I don’t know how long I had been locked in the bathroom of Jamieson’s luxury suite. I’m guessing an hour, maybe two. I had nothing more to throw up. I had stopped dry heaving about twenty minutes ago. I drank a few sips of water from the faucet and have yet to puke that up so I’m hoping that means I was getting better. I started thinking about getting up and going out there but I didn't want to face him. I didn't know what to say. Apparently I got married to my ex last night but I have no memory of it. How did this all happen? Who has a bachelorette party and ends up getting married to their ex instead? What am I going to tell Cain? What am I going to tell my family? This could not possibly get any worse. 
As I laid on the cool tile floor having my silent freak out I heard knocking at the front door. I waited to hear Jamieson answer but the knocking just continued. I tried to ignore it but then I thought maybe it was Audrey and Olivia coming to find me so I got up.
I dizzily made my way out of the bathroom. I looked around for Jamieson but he wasn’t in the room. I opened the door and a young man in a black suit greeted me. “Hello Mrs. Wellington, I have come to deliver your dry cleaning.” 
The young man handed me a hanger covered in clear plastic which was obviously my dress from last night. “Uh… thank you.” Crap, where is my purse he needs a tip.
“Your wedding dress has also been cleaned. It is being boxed up and will be shipped to your home per Mr. Wellington’s request.” Dress? What wedding dress? My wedding dress is at home in Alabama waiting for me to do my final fitting. 
The young man continued to smile at me waiting for his tip. “I’m sorry I can’t find my purse —”
He immediately cut me off. “Oh your husband has already taken care of my tip Mam. Thank you for your kindness.” Of course Jamieson had tipped him in advance. The man has more money than he knows what to do with. 
“Well thank you.” I said attempting to retreat back into the room. 
“You’re welcome and congratulations Mrs. Wellington.” He blurted out before I closed the door on him. Mrs. Wellington? I was supposed to be Mrs. Stratford. I need ed to get out of here and fast, so that maybe I could try to undo some of this colossal damage. 
*  *  *
As soon as I stopped throwing up for the second time that morning I pulled on my freshly cleaned dress from last night and made my way downstairs to the suite I shared with Audrey and Olivia. 
I still didn’t know where my purse was so I banged on the door praying that by some miracle someone was inside the room. 
“There you are! Where the fuck have you been?” Olivia fumed as she pulled open the door. 
I took a steadying breath before I continued through the door. “I was with Jamieson.” 
“Obviously.” Livy grumbled as she shut the door. 
“What the heck happened last night Jenna? We were worried sick. You left your purse with your phone in the club.” Audrey questioned me from the corner of the room. 
“I honestly don’t know what happened guys. I’m freaking out right now. All I know is I woke up naked in Jamieson’s bed.” I swallowed down another lump of bile as I relayed what bit of information I knew.
“Oh shit. You did what?” Livy screeched. 
“Oh no Jenna, you didn’t.” Audrey whispered sympathetically.
Watching their reactions to my confession was horrible. I knew they wouldn’t judge me for what mistakes I had made but I knew they would walk this painful journey with me because they were my friends and that’s what friends do for one another. This was supposed to be a happy time but I had single-handedly destroyed all of it and I couldn’t be more ashamed. 
“It gets worse.” I choked out. I knew I had to tell them. They would surely spot the giant ring on my left hand that wasn’t Cain’s. 
“WHAT IS THAT?” Olivia demanded yanking my hand up to her face to examine the shiny bling on my left hand. Busted.
“Apparently we also got married last night and he gave me this ring.” 
“You did what?” Audrey said jumping up from the bed to get a closer look. 
“I don’t remember any of it. I guess I blacked-out at some point. The last thing I can remember was dancing with you guys at the club.” 
“Do you remember dancing with Jamieson?” Olivia pressed. 
“No. When was I dancing with him?”
“You guys danced most of the night.” Audrey offered.
“Did you see me leave with him?” And why didn’t you try to stop me?!?
“No you guys sat down at some point and were talking for a very long time. Audrey and I didn’t want to interrupt because we thought maybe you two were finally getting some closure about the past. I’m so sorry Jenna we should have never left you alone with him.” Livy said looking distraught.
“It’s not your guys’ fault. Regardless of whether I was drunk or sober I made my bed.”
“I knew I shouldn’t have listened to Derrick.” Audrey muttered.
“What are you talking about Audrey?” I asked her quizzically.
“Well, when we all returned to the table after dancing and you were gone I wanted to try to find you but Derrick told me to not interfere with whatever was happening. He told me that Jamieson needed to tell you things before you got married and that likely you guys just went somewhere quiet to talk. He said Jamieson had specifically come to Vegas to see you. I should have never listened to him.” She looked up at me with regret woven throughout her face. 
“Audrey it’s not your fault at all. I did this.” I felt horrible seeing my friends attempting to shoulder this burden for me. 
“So what do you want to do Jenna?” Livy asked the million dollar question. 
“I need to go home so I can sort this all out.” I told them somberly. 
“I’ll call the airline and get us tickets.” Audrey said grabbing for her phone.
I stood there unmoving for a long time listening to Audrey hurriedly chat with a representative from the airline. Olivia began packing items up around the room. I listened to the orderly chaos unfolding in the room around me and I willed myself to not get sick again. 
“Jenna can I ask you something?” Olivia's voice dragged me back to reality.
“Yeah.” I didn’t look at her; I just kept staring out the window to the busy strip below.
“Where is Jamieson now?” 
“I don’t know Liv. When I woke up he was in the room. I was really confused and I asked him to tell me what happened but he didn’t, not really. He just told me to look at my left hand. I got sick after that and locked myself in the bathroom. He left while I was in there.” 
“Fucking prick.” Livy muttered as she tossed some clothes at me from my bag. “Go change, we are going to get you home.” 
*  *  *
It only took three hours and I was seated inbetween my two best friends on a flight back home to Huntsville. I had no idea what I was going to do once I returned home but at least I wouldn’t be stuck in Las Vegas with my horrible new husband.
“Okay here’s the way I see it.” Liv said looking at her phone. “We have exactly 87 days to get you unmarried as Mrs. Wellington so you can get remarried as Mrs. Stratford.” 
“Liv–” 
“No, wait here me out. We will get your marriage with Jamieson annulled and then you can get married to Cain. No one has to know Jenna. Audrey and I will take this to the grave for you.” 
“Of course we will and I have a few favors I could call in to get your annulment pushed forward.” Audrey offered enthusiastically. 
I knew they would take this with them to the grave if I asked it of them, but the problem was I would still have to live with it until I met my grave and that I couldn’t do. I may have my flaws but I am an honest person and I couldn’t live with myself deceiving Cain that way. I had made up my mind sitting in the airport waiting for our plane. I had to tell him and let the chips fall where they may. There was no going back now, there was only forward and forward was going to beyond suck.
“Thanks guys but I can’t do that. I need to be honest with Cain. It’s the right thing to do.” I said with determination.

“Well we will be right by your side the entire time.” Liv grabbed my hand and Audrey grabbed my other hand. I felt a tear slide down my cheek as our plane propelled us forward deeper into my worst nightmare. Dear Lord please see me through this.

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