I did a really bad thing.
I’m not a bad person, I swear. I just made a few mistakes.
Mistake number one was agreeing to rent my hotel out to an insufferable a**hole, named Aden Smith.
Mistake number two was ignoring his threats to sue me when he handed over a list of items he deemed “unacceptable”.
Mistake number three was diving into the pool to save his life when he fell. It would have been less complicated to hide his body.
When the hospital refuses to let me know how he is, I panic.
Claiming to be his wife might be my biggest mistake yet—especially when he believes me!
He might have been the one drowning, but I’m sinking in a bed of lies, going down fast—and there’s not a rescue in sight.
“Is this the only hotel in Clancy?”
I look up in shock at the door. I could have sworn I locked that door. It’s like ten o’clock at night and my brain is going in circles. I’ve watched enough true crime television to know leaving my door unlocked in the middle of the night is a recipe for disaster.
“I believe so, yes.” I answer, looking around the counter for a weapon. He doesn’t look like an axe murderer, but then again, I’m not sure what one would look like. He’s got a beard, some crazy looking tattoos on his arm, and he’s tall and wide—kind of like my cousin White who plays football, only a little more dangerous and less good ole’ boy from Texas.
I see a box of paperclips. Can you kill someone with paperclips? They’re the large ones, maybe I could stab his eye out… God. I’m pathetic. What kind of idiot doesn’t have some kind of weapon in her desk?
“That’d be my luck,” he growls and his growl does sound dangerous. I frantically look one last time for a weapon and finally decide on the stapler. I know it’s pitiful, but it’s all I have.
“Is there a problem?” I ask, trying to nonchalantly pick up the stapler in my hand and grip it.
“I have a reservation,” he sighs out the words like they’re being ripped from his soul and steeped with regret—which kind of pisses me off. I mean the place doesn’t look great, but I’ve done a lot of work and it’s not open for another two weeks—thanks to the electrical inspector.
“I’m sorry I’m not open for two weeks. You must have the wrong place,” I tell him sweetly. My grip has eased on the stapler a little. He’s probably not an axe murderer, at least there’s that. He’s just someone who is afraid he’s here to stay in my hotel. Which is understandable. I’ve sunk every dime I have into the place and there’s times at night I cry because I’m here. Still, he’s kind of rude about it and that makes me want to hit him with my stapler.
“I’m early. It’s there if you look, Aden Mc—Aden Smith,” he says and I frown. Okay I realize there are reasons people check into hotels with the last name Smith. He doesn’t seem to have a woman with him however, so I doubt he’s hiding from jealous husbands. It’s not my problem though.
“I recognize the name, but it’s not until the twenty-sixth and as I said we’re not open yet,” I explain. I look down at the hotel registry as if there are a million bookings—which is laughable. There’s only this guy, and I doubt many people will be knocking down my doors to book this place in advance. Still, a girl has to have hope…the irony that my name is Hope, does not escape me. My mother had a twisted sense of humor when it came to naming her children.
“Well I’m early,” he replies.
“I see that. It’s just we’re not opening for—”
“For another two weeks, I heard you the first time. However, I’m early and I need a room. Since you’re the only hotel in the area, we’re stuck,” he answers, as if he is explaining things to a small child. I grip the stapler tight again. I wonder if it would hurt business if the owner gets arrested for hurling a stapler at the head of a would-be guest. I’m guessing it might…Damn it.
“I’m sorry. I can’t accept guests until after I pass inspection. That’s why when you called, I specifically informed you that I would not be open for—”
“Let’s cut the crap, shall we?” he says abruptly, walking towards me. He struts, long stealthy strides, that look angry and I have no doubt are meant to intimidate—because they do.
“Stop!” I tell him, without taking a minute to think about it. He does stop, however, mid-step.
“Listen, why don’t you quit angling here, and name your price,” he says, and immediately starts walking toward me again.
I hold up the stapler as if it was a weapon that was about to save the world from mass destruction.
“I think you better leave.”
“The nearest hotel I’ve passed besides this shit-hole is about three hours away and I’m too damn tired. How about you be a nice little girl and hand me a room key and let me crash.”
“I think maybe we have a language barrier, so I need you to listen and I’ll speak slowly so you understand. We. Aren’t. Open.”
“Name your price.”
“I said name your price, lady. Everybody has one and from the looks of this place you definitely do. So how much to rent this place a week earlier?”
“I can’t—” I begin, but my mouth snaps shut quickly when he lays out a roll of hundreds on the counter. I actually drop the stapler. It crashes onto the counter with loud clanging noise causing me to jump. I can’t make myself look away to see if it’s destroyed.
“That’s twelve hundred dollars for your crappy room for one week. I doubt you’ll find that anywhere else, do you?”
“But we’re not ready for business. I haven’t had my final inspection,” I tell him again, trying to ignore his insults. The rooms aren’t great, but they’re much better than what they were. He’s just an asshole.
“I won’t tell if you don’t. So, do we have a deal?” he asks and he says it in a manner that I know he fully expects me to agree. I wish I could tell him to stuff his money, but the new air conditioning and wiring I have to get done before the inspection is a reality. This money and the money for the following week would pay for that. I can’t afford to say no…No matter how much I really want to.
“Twelve hundred for this week and twelve hundred for next?” I question him and I hate the look of victory that comes over his face.
“Fine. The rooms aren’t completely ready, but I’ll give you our best one. It’s mostly finished and the air conditioning works good in there,” I tell him, and okay I’m kind of lying. The air conditioning does work, but sometimes the breakers blow if you use the receptacles in the bathroom. This guy looks haggard as hell though. I doubt he knows what a blow dryer is and that’s really the only thing you use in the bathroom…Right?
“I’m sure it’s beautiful,” he mocks, as I grab the key to room number seven. Seven is supposed to be a lucky number, but considering I’m contemplating picking my stapler back up and bludgeoning my new tenant with it…I have a feeling it’s not lucky at all for me.
USA Today Best Selling Author Jordan Marie, is just a simple small town country girl who is haunted by Alpha Men who talk in her head 24 hours a day.
She currently has 14 books out including 2 that she wrote under the pen name Baylee Rose.
She likes to create a book that takes you on an emotional journey whether tears, laughter (or both) or just steamy hot fun (or all 3). She loves to connect with readers and interacting with them through social media, signings or even old fashioned email.