Saturday Night Special (2 page)

BOOK: Saturday Night Special
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He sighed heavily. One question was tormenting him. “What are you doing in Vegas, Riley?”

“Gambling.”

“Very funny.” He grimaced, not amused by her joke.

“I’m having fun, Aaron. You know, that thing you’ve never quite mastered?”

He sucked in a deep breath and counted to ten. Riley constantly teased him about being a stick in the mud. He knew it was said in good fun, but this time her words felt more like an insult than a joke. Sometimes it sucked being regarded as the boring, responsible one among their group of friends.

Need a ride home from the bar? Call Aaron. Got a flat tire? Aaron will have a jack…and a spare. Moving? Aaron will lug all your shit down three flights of stairs
and
supply the truck to haul it.

A growl rose up in his chest. He was pissed off at Riley for thinking him so dull he wouldn’t do anything as spontaneous as taking a weekend trip to Vegas.

“You seriously call hopping on a plane and flying to Vegas with Trevor Blankenship ‘fun’? I call it fucking dangerous.”

“Bullshit. I haven’t done anything even remotely dangerous…yet. I called Keira and told her where I was and I didn’t come alone. I came with a friend.” Riley threw another dollar in the machine.

“You didn’t call Keira until after you were already here.”

“And like the good sister she is, she called you to come save the day. Right?”

“She was worried about you, Riley.”

“I’m a big girl, sugar. A fact my family and you seem content to ignore.”

12

Saturday Night Special

“I’m not forgetting you’re an adult. I’m just not overlooking the fact you’re completely drunk in a strange town with Trevor and a hooker as your chaperones.”

Riley’s gaze traveled from the slot machine to Aaron. “I told Trev she was a hooker, but he wouldn’t believe me.” She took a long drink before setting the cup down and hitting the Spin button again.

“What are you drinking?” He picked up her glass and drained it. Alcohol suddenly seemed like a very good idea. He waved over the waitress and grabbed his own drink.

“Tasted like something with rum to me,” she said. “You better take it easy on that.

I’m already wasted. If you keep pounding those down, who’ll get us home?”

He shrugged and took another swig. Now that he was here, he wasn’t in any big hurry to leave. “It takes a lot to get me drunk.”

“Yeah, well, maybe you should consider taking up the hobby. Drunk seems to be the best way to live in dreary Baltimore nowadays.” Her tone was sullen, belligerent, and he wondered at her words.

“Since when is Baltimore dreary? You love the city.”

She sobered up a bit and he was struck by the hint of sadness in her eyes. When he thought back on it, he realized the same look had been there often the past few months.

Why hadn’t he noticed it sooner?

“So I guess now I
don’t
love the city. Dammit, I just can’t do it anymore, Aaron.”

“Do what?”

“My life. I can’t wake up in the same bedroom I’ve lived in since birth one more morning. I can’t cook meals in that damn pub day in and day out anymore and I’m sick to death of partying with the same losers every Saturday night.”

Her voice was filled with resentment, frustration, and he listened as the last detail—

and he suspected the most important one—fell from her lips.

“I’m the last Collins kid at home. I’m it. The spinster sister,” she added.

13

Mari Carr

He burst into laughter. He knew she was being serious, but her words were so insanely funny he couldn’t hold back his instinctive response.

Her eyes narrowed angrily. “What’s so funny?”

“You,” he said with a chuckle, “calling yourself a spinster. Two things I never thought I’d hear together in the same sentence. Riley Collins, the spinster.” Repeating the words caused him to laugh again and some of the irritation he’d been harboring since leaving BWI that morning dissipated. Actually, simply finding her safe and sound had dispelled most of it.

“It’s not funny. I’ve watched both my sisters find true love. They’re living their happily ever afters while I’m still stuck at home alone with Pop.”

“Happily ever afters? True love?” Aaron repeated. “Sounds pretty romantic for you, Riley. How much have you had to drink?”

“Ha ha. I’ve had too much and I’m gonna have more, but it doesn’t matter. I’ll still be fed up and lonely tomorrow.”

Aaron looked at her dark brown eyes and felt a hope he’d never experienced stir inside him. “You said you never wanted to get married. You said it would cut in to your fun time, your independence. You’ve sworn off the entire institution since we were three.”

“Yeah,” she said. “Well, I changed my mind.”

Aaron considered her words for a moment, and then gave in to the grin building in his chest. “Good.”

“Good?”

He nodded, grasping her by the waist to set her on her feet. “Very good. Come on.”

He took her hand and pulled her toward the foyer of the casino. She didn’t fight him and instead followed easily, if somewhat unsteadily.

14

Saturday Night Special

“Where are we going?” she asked as they stopped for a moment while Aaron got his bearings. It was early evening, but given the crowds in front of the hotel, it was clear Las Vegas was just getting started.

“You’ll see.”

“So long as you aren’t taking me home,” she said. “I don’t wanna go home yet.”

“You aren’t going home.”

“I don’t wanna go to the room either.”

“You aren’t.”

She giggled, muttering something about not believing he’d chased her all the way to Vegas.

Obviously she was more than tipsy. He grinned. Tipsy was just the way he wanted her for once. He pulled a map of the Las Vegas strip he’d bought at the airport out of his pocket and consulted it. When he found what he was looking for, he put his arm around her shoulders and urged her toward the taxi stand, where they were promptly ushered into a waiting vehicle.

“Aaron, where are we going?”

“You’ll see,” he repeated, giving the driver the address and fighting to ignore the grin that crossed the older man’s face as he glanced at Riley.

“Good for you,” the man said, turning and pulling on to the street. As the taxi driver fought the Saturday evening traffic, Aaron took in the sights of the strip, overwhelmed and amazed by the bright lights. Vegas was quite a city and he was suddenly thankful he’d come. This was going to be a weekend to remember.

The driver pulled up in front of their destination. Aaron paid the driver before bending to help Riley out of the cab.

“Courthouse?” She glanced up at the nondescript building.

“We’ll need a marriage license before we hit the Elvis Wedding Chapel.”

15

Mari Carr

“Elvis Wedding Chapel? What the hell are you talking about?” She stared at him and for a moment he thought she would balk at his suggestion, refuse him and storm away.

“We’re getting hitched.”

Riley laughed. “You and me?”

“Why not? We’ll just call it the ultimate Saturday Night Special.”

She paused for a moment, the alcohol fogging her mind nicely. She considered his proposal before shrugging playfully. Riley was the queen of Saturday Night Specials, the name she’d given to her evening off from work. It was the one night of the week when she usually got into a lot of trouble that he inevitably had to get her out of.

“Why not? We
are
in Vegas. Okay, come on! This story will be funny as shit when I tell everyone at home. Riley’s Saturday Night Special, Vegas-style!”

Riley was a born storyteller, one of the reasons he suspected she always attracted a crowd. She was entertaining and her stories were hilarious.

They bought the license, traveled to the chapel and said their “I dos” under the watchful eye of the Asian Elvis who married them. He serenaded them back out onto the street as Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Young to the tune of
Love Me Tender
while Riley giggled.

They returned to the hotel and scored a table at Fin, one of the Mirage’s trendy restaurants, despite their lack of reservations. While there, they consumed two bottles of champagne, toasting their long lives together and stuffing themselves on Chinese cuisine.

Finally, Aaron suggested they start the honeymoon. They staggered to Riley’s room, laughing the entire way, and he carried her over the threshold as Riley squealed with delight.

As he carried her to the bed, he was struck by the memory of carrying her to her bed the night of Teagan’s wedding. She’d had too much champagne that night too.

16

Saturday Night Special

“You’re crazy,” she said with a giggle. “I can’t believe we just got married. Do you know what a pain in the ass this will be to untangle tomorrow when we’re sober?”

“It’ll work out.” He placed her on her feet by the bed, gripping her shoulders to keep her steady. She reached up and he was stunned to feel her fingers unbuttoning his shirt. While he wasn’t completely drunk, he couldn’t say he wasn’t enjoying the effects of the alcohol. A quick glance at Riley’s face confirmed she was extremely intoxicated.

He stilled her hands as she reached for the last button.

“I can do that,” he said. “Let me help you.” He pulled her sweater over her head.

Modesty had never been an issue for Riley. She didn’t possess any and she laughed again.

“What’s so funny?” he asked.

“How many times have you tucked me in?”

“A million,” he answered seriously.

“Yeah, a million.”

He helped her pull her jeans down. He’d seen her in her bra and panties many, many times before but this time it was different.
She
may not know it, but
he
did.

He drew back the sheets and she climbed in. This time, unlike the million times in the past, he didn’t leave. He tugged off his shirt and pants and crawled in beside her.

His actions sent her into peals of laughter again.

“This is weird.”

“Not really.” He pressed a light kiss on her forehead. “Good night, Mrs. Young.”

She grinned, her eyes drooping. The alcohol was claiming her quickly. “Kiss me good night.”

“I just did.”

“No, really kiss me. You never have.”

She was right. A lifetime of friendship and he’d never kissed Riley Collins. He’d dreamed of it since puberty, but he’d never done it.

17

Mari Carr

He leaned forward and brushed her lips lightly with his. It was enough for now.

When he kissed her for real, she’d be sober, awake and aware.

She was asleep before he moved away and he grinned. The woman could fall asleep within seconds of putting her head on a pillow.

“Good night, wife,” he whispered, wrapping his arm around her and pulling her close.

18

Saturday Night Special

Chapter Two

“What the fuck?” Riley woke up disoriented and thirsty, and her head was pounding. All of that was pretty common for a Sunday morning. What was
not
common was a nearly naked Aaron spooning her in bed.

“Good morning, Riley,” he said, as if he didn’t have a concern in the world. As if there was no reason she should be freaking out. She wiggled a little, hoping to break free of his embrace, but stopped immediately when something hard brushed against her ass.

“What is that?” she asked when he chuckled. It was obvious he didn’t give a shit his cock was fully erect and nudging her lower regions through the thin cotton layer provided by his boxers.

“Somebody else’s way of saying good morning.”

She lifted the sheets an inch or two and glanced down, only mildly relieved to discover she was in her bra and panties. If they’d fooled around, she would have been naked, right? He wouldn’t have his boxers on.
Right?
Holy shit, please let that be right.

He pulled her back closer to his bare chest and she stiffened at the idea of being cuddled, in bed, by Aaron. That they’d hugged thousands of times in the past twenty years was inconsequential, especially considering that during those platonic embraces they’d always been dressed…and standing up.

“This is Las Vegas,” she mumbled, glancing around the hotel room.

“It sure is.”

“I thought I came to Vegas with Trevor.” She closed her eyes and tried to force her mushy brain to remember the previous evening. Hell, she’d be happy to remember the night
before
last.

19

Mari Carr

That’s it. I’m never drinking again.

“You did come with Trev. I followed you.” Aaron’s grip on her waist tightened briefly before his hand moved, his fingers roaming suggestively on her stomach.

Oh shit.
Aaron stroking her skin should not feel so good. Had he always been this muscular? This built? This sexy? His typically short black hair had gotten longer in the last few months, and she wondered what it would feel like to run her fingers through it.

She was suddenly having very impure thoughts about her best friend. She forced herself to ignore his touches as she tried to remember what he’d said.

“Why did you follow me?”

“I was worried about you, Riley. You took off with Trevor. He’s not exactly known for his intellect or sobriety.”

“Where
is
Trev?” She prayed he wasn’t in the room as well.

“Last time I saw him, he was heading for a hotel room with some hooker named Bella.”

“Riiiiight.” She dragged out the word, trying to recall if she’d actually met this Bella chick.

“You don’t remember that?” His hand paused an inch above her panty line and she was two seconds away from suggesting he move it just a bit farther south. She loved morning sex.

Fuck! This is Aaron. Stop it, Riley.

“I don’t remember the hooker,” she admitted.

“What do you remember?”

She took a deep breath and forced herself to roll to her back. She needed to see his face, wanted to read his expressions in some vain hope of figuring out what the hell was going on. He allowed her to turn but his hand never left her body. She tried to calm her racing heart at the feeling of his palm resting against her bare skin.

BOOK: Saturday Night Special
8.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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