Niki Hamilton had her hopes pinned on moving to Europe with her boyfriend. But then he dumped her. By text message. Just before her sister’s wedding. Left dateless in a flamingo-pink monstrosity of a bridesmaid dress, she decides to drown her sorrows in a glass of tall, dark, and handsome.
Firefighter Grant Powers has been burned by love, but when his best friend’s new sister-in-law falls into his arms—and stays there for one sexy night—he enjoys the experience a little too much. Then a rental snafu leaves Niki temporarily homeless. So, gentleman and masochist that he is, Grant offers his spare bedroom. Despite the smoldering sexual tension between them, starting anything would be playing with fire.
Now, they just have to survive living together for a few weeks…
Each book in the Hamilton Sisters series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 The Surrogate Husband
Book #2 The Best Man’s Proposal
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Niki Hamilton's head pounded with a fierce intensity. Her eyes felt glued shut. Oh, but from her neck down, she felt wonderful. Her muscles throbbed in such a delicious way that she could almost overlook the headache.
Great sex was great sex, and what she and the best man at her sister's wedding had done went beyond that. Like off-the-charts amazing.
She stretched languorously and rolled onto her side, prying her eyes open. And there he was, lying on his side, all six-foot-plus of the hottest best man she'd ever seen. The tangle of hotel sheets covered him from just below his waist down to his shins, leaving the rest of his incredibly hot form bare for her to feast her eyes upon. And feast she did.
Her appetizer was his handsome face — strong jaw line and cheekbones, and a cleft in his chin. She didn't usually go for that scruffy look, but the light dusting of whiskers only added to his appeal.
The main course had to be those linebacker shoulders, muscled chest, and six-pack abs. Dessert was under the sheets, but damn, it had satisfied her sweet tooth.
Too bad the one night with him was all she'd ever have, but that was definitely for the best.
Grant Powers — recently-divorced-and-probably-still-messed-up-from-it Grant — was a hundred percent wrong for her. She'd say it again: the man was divorced, for heaven's sake. She shuddered. No way, José. Her ideal man would have no baggage in the form of an ex-wife.
Not that she had any regrets about tapping that for a night.
Mere minutes before the wedding, her self-absorbed boyfriend had sent her a break-up text, magically transforming him into her self-absorbed ex-boyfriend. Despite the fact that he'd agreed to be her plus-one, and she had shelled out the extra money for an ocean-view suite in anticipation of a romantic weekend away. Which meant she was officially on the rebound.
Then along had come Grant. Gorgeous, in that outdoorsy Patagonia model kind of way. Sweet to a fault. And in the right place at the right time. Sure, she'd seen him hanging around her brother-in-law, Dex, before, but she'd either been so busy finishing up grad school or job hunting, she'd barely paid attention except to briefly admire the view. Last night ... she'd done more than admire. When they'd both realized neither one of them wanted anything but one no-strings night, they'd jumped at the chance — and at each other.
She'd been a bridesmaid in plenty of weddings, and her wedding party partners had generally fallen somewhere between wholly unavailable and single-king-of-the-troll-people. But Grant had been ... the perfect Mr. Right Now.
After carefully easing out of the bed, she looked around and found her dress neatly hung over a chair, rather than in a wad on the floor where she'd left it.
A memory from the night before — another way he was thoughtful — put a smile on her face. Yeah, that had to qualify as the best sex she'd ever had. At least she'd always have the memory.
She quickly dressed in the bathroom. Hopefully none of the other wedding party members would be out and about in the hotel yet, and she could take her walk of shame undetected. With one last glance at Grant, she tiptoed to the door and let herself out. Free and clear.
She hurried toward the elevator and turned on her cell. A reminder alarm dinged. She glanced at it as she stepped inside the elevator. Oh God. How could she have forgotten? The wedding breakfast was in fifteen minutes.
Oh, yeah. She'd been too busy telling Grant exactly how to find the back zipper of her taffeta monstrosity of a bridesmaid dress.
The entire wedding party would be at the breakfast, which meant she'd have to see Grant. Unless he didn't show. Maybe he'd sleep through it. Surely he would spare them both a morning-after encounter and skip it. He'd probably just check out of the hotel and head straight back to Miami.
Her headache all but faded, thanks to the adrenaline rush of waking up late and shirking her maid-of-honor duties, she hurried to her room and took the world's fastest shower. Twenty minutes later, she walked into the Palm Beach Room and scanned the room.
No Grant. Thank God. She drew a relieved breath.
The bride and groom — her sister Lucy and Lucy's spiffy new husband Dex-the-accountant — sat at one end of the long table, completely oblivious to anything except each other. As it should be the morning after their wedding. Dex twirled a strand of Lucy's hot-pink hair around his finger and said something to her that made her laugh out loud.
Niki spotted Aunt Bev and bent to give her a hug, breathing in her aunt's signature rose perfume mixed with eau de mothballs. "Good morning."
"Sit here with me." Her aunt patted the empty chair between herself and Niki's mother, and Niki took it.
"Good news, everyone." Lucy wore a smile so big that Niki wondered what her sister was going to say. "I accepted an offer on my condo this morning."
Dex kissed her. "In a few days, we'll only own one home."
"Um, days?" Niki hoped to God Dex had misspoken. "Don't you usually get a month or two between accepting the offer and closing?"
Lucy's nose crinkled as she winced. "Niki, I'm sorry. I know this is going to inconvenience you, but a developer is buying the whole building and planning to turn it into office space. They said they'd pay anyone who can clear out in two weeks a ridiculous bonus. We had to accept. We're putting off our honeymoon so we can take care of the move. "
Two weeks? The thought nearly sent Niki searching for a paper bag to breathe into. She'd been staying rent-free in Lucy's condo since graduation, mainly marking time until Lucy's wedding, after which she'd planned to put all of her efforts into finding a job in Europe — a longtime dream of hers.
How the hell was she supposed to find somewhere to live on such short notice? Plus, after years of being a college student, with part-time jobs that barely covered books, tuition, and her on-campus apartment, she had almost no savings for things like security deposits. And how could she sign a lease when, if all went as she hoped with her new job, she'd be transferred to London in a few months?
Lucy came over and crouched down beside her. She was the only woman in the world who could wear a black lace camisole and leather miniskirt to a morning reception and still look appropriately dressed. "I know you're worried about your living situation, but please don't be. Dex and I have discussed it, and you're welcome to stay at our house for as long as you like."
"Thanks. I appreciate it." Niki gave her sister a hug but was already trying to think up other options. Living with newlyweds — invading their privacy — was the last thing she wanted after everything Lucy had done for her, like helping to pay for tuition when their mother had lost her job a few years ago.
Her mom's place was so far from work, and its spare room was the size of a closet. Niki's clothes wouldn't even fit in there. Moving in with Aunt Bev was out of the question, since she had a one-bedroom apartment in a retirement community.
"Did you hear the good news?" Dex asked.
Niki turned around to see who her brother-in-law was talking to and found Grant standing in the doorway. His brilliant green eyes locked with hers with the force of a freight train, and she looked away, blushing furiously at the thoughts that flooded her mind at the mere sight of him.
Damn her traitorous libido for sparking to life at the sight of the man. But could she blame it? He was pure perfection. Impossibly broad shoulders, glossy sun-streaked brown hair, and a crooked grin to die for. Even his one imperfection — a small chip on one of his front teeth — was adorably sexy.
"We sold the condo," Dex told him.
In her space. Her one-night stand was in her space, and she had no idea how to handle herself, given that one-night stands really weren't a thing she did on a regular basis. She'd tell herself to act natural, but that would practically be a guarantee that she'd spaz out and dump a pitcher of juice on herself, or something equally elegant and timeless.
When she ventured another glance at Grant, she noticed that his gaze kept shifting between her and Dex. Almost as if he, too, were a tad bit uncomfortable.
"That's great. Congratulations," he finally responded, the low timbre of his voice rumbling through her very bones.
Niki willed the images of her and Grant naked together, rolling around in the sheets, from her mind. Too late, though. All that liquid heat had already taken hold. She spun back around in her seat and used her spoon to transfer the ice from her water glass into her coffee cup. And then she reminded herself of their discussion about how neither one of them had wanted more than one night.
That, of course, had been before she knew he could do that thing with his tongue —
"Are you all right, dear?" Bev asked her.
Lifting her cup, she nodded. "I prefer it cold."
Grant, Dex, and Lucy moved to a corner and spoke quietly, as if they were exchanging some top secret information. Suddenly, Dex slapped his friend on the back, glanced over at Niki, and chuckled.
Dex, the buttoned-up accountant, never chuckled. This couldn't be good.
Niki couldn't stand not knowing what they were talking about. Grant wouldn't tell them about his tryst with her, would he?
Alarm bucked through her. She set her coffee aside and casually made her way toward them, pretending she was checking out the items on the buffet. When she was close enough, she pretended to be obsessed with centering the little paper doilies under the tea cups and tuned everything else out so she could hear their conversation.
"You've got to do me a solid here," Dex said. "My family comes over all the time. We spend every weekend with Lucy's."
"My house is for sale," Grant replied. "Not that I've had the luck Lucy obviously has, but I could get an offer at any time."
"The usual protocol on a sale takes a month or two. She'll be settled into her new job, and finding an apartment she can afford won't be a problem by then."
Oh God, they were speaking about her. But she couldn't for the life of her figure out exactly what kind of "solid" Grant was supposed to be doing for Dex or what that had to do with her impending homelessness, which was what they were obviously discussing.
Spazzing out and dumping a pitcher of juice on herself no longer sounded like such a bad idea. At least it would give her an excuse to leave the room.
Aunt Bev approached her and handed her a plate and bowl. "Would you mind holding these for me while I go through the line, Niki?"
She wiped her sweaty palms on her shirt. "Um, sure." With a backward glance at the threesome on whom she'd been eavesdropping, she frowned. She tried to hear what was being said, but with her aunt pointing to this and that food item and making comments on everything from the draperies in the room to the difficulty she'd had putting on her pantyhose yesterday, it was impossible to catch a single word of their conversation.
With a sigh, Niki gave in to Aunt Bev's tidal wave of chatter and helped her to her seat.
As Bev waxed on about the virtues of "lacy thigh highs" over control-top pantyhose — the former providing an interesting and somehow empowering visual, given her aunt's age — Niki wondered if Grant liked lacy thigh highs. She pictured his big hands sliding leisurely up her legs. A thrill rushed through her.
Stop it. Stopitstopitstopitstopit.
She gritted her teeth but couldn't stop herself from involuntarily glancing his way again. Lucy was grinning at him, obviously excited about something, but he didn't seem to share her enthusiasm. He shook his head, shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot. Finally, he nodded, then suddenly darted his gaze to hone in on Niki.
She'd been staring.
He threw her a halfhearted smile.
Niki had a sudden urge to slide under the table and wrap herself around one of the legs like she used to when she was a kid. Back then, half the time no one noticed when she'd disappear because usually, all eyes were on her sister, the star of the family.
But since the floor refused to open up, all she could do was wait as Lucy took Grant's arm and marched him in Niki's direction, smiling her I'm-the- big-sister-and-I'm-going-to-fix-it smile. Which had never, in all of her twenty-three years, led to anything good.
"Guess what?" Lucy chirped as she approached.
Niki shifted her gaze to Grant, but he merely stared over her head as if confronting a firing squad, his expression giving her no clue as to what was going on. "What?"
"This is so perfect," Lucy said. "Grant's house is for sale, so this would be short term, of course. You know Dex's office is being remodeled, and we need a place to store some files, only for the next three months."
"Okay." Niki wondered what this had to do with her.
"So instead of renting a storage unit, Dex will store the cabinets at Grant's, and pay him rent."
"And?" Why had Lucy emphasized the pay him rent?
"Grant has two extra bedrooms, but Dex only needs one for his stuff. So, you can live in the other one for a couple months rent-free."
Gulping, Niki shook her head. "That's very generous, but —"
Lucy stopped her with a hand on Niki's wrist. "Wait, listen. He lives two blocks from your new job." She looked so excited to have found a place for Niki.
Of course. Why would Lucy want her living with them? One look at Dex standing at the bar, watching them with an accomplished grin on his face, his chest all puffed out like the proverbial proud rooster, confirmed that he felt the same way. When he noticed Niki staring at him, he pretended to be looking at something behind her.
They weren't making this easy for her. Free and within walking distance to her job — and owned by the commitment-phobic divorced guy she'd just had a one-night stand with.
"You're welcome to come take a look at the place," Grant said. "Decide then."
Bless him for giving her an out. "Yes, I'll do that," she said offhandedly to his elbow, unwilling to make eye contact again when he was so close.
"When?" Lucy asked almost before Niki had her last word out of her mouth. "So I can tell my real estate agent when you'll be out for a couple of hours for the buyers to do their home inspection."
"I'll be home this evening if you want to come by." Grant folded his arms over his chest, and a memory of skimming her fingers over those bulging biceps the night before materialized in her mind. Liquid heat pooled between her legs.
Her sister practically squealed her delight. "Fantastic!"
Niki used her napkin to wipe away the sweat on the back of her neck. "I guess I can do that." Fine. She'd go through the motions, jump through their hoops, then say no.
"It's like kismet." Lucy set a hand on her chest. "Grant was saying a couple days ago that he'd love to find a short-term roommate because his neighbor — who was looking in on his cat when he works overnight shifts at the firehouse — moved out last week. Isn't that right?"
The perfectly masculine Cupid's bow of his lips flattened into a thin line. "I suppose it is."
A firefighter. Her commitment-phobic, divorced one-night stand who was tied to the city she was hell-bent on leaving was a firefighter. Because he obviously needed to add "heroic profession" to his list of attributes so he could be even hotter. Pun intended.
God, she could so not live with this guy. She had goals. She was on the rebound. She needed to make good choices.
"Niki could walk to work and save for her own place. It's perfect all the way around. Like it was meant to be." Lucy rubbed her hands together, looking so delighted with herself that Niki couldn't bear to disappoint her. Especially not on her first day of wedded bliss.
"Right," Niki said, offering what she knew had to be a hideously limp smile. "Perfect." She raised her eyebrows at Grant. "Guess I'll come by tonight."
So much for the guy she'd planned to never see again.
Excerpted from "The Best Man's Proposal"
Copyright © 2017 Wynter Daniels.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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