When Stars Collide (Light in the Dark #2)

BOOK: When Stars Collide (Light in the Dark #2)
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WHEN STARS COLLIDE

© Copyright 2016 Micalea Smeltzer

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover design and photography by Regina Wamba at
Mae I Design

Edited and Formatted by Wendi Temporado of
Ready, Set, Edit

We were like two stars orbiting each other—dancing around the possibility that one day we might collide. When we finally did, we opened up a black hole, obliterating everything around us. No one would be the same.

Least of all, us.

Waking up in Vegas married to the guy of your dreams sounds like a good thing, right? Not when you’re Thea Montgomery and said guy is your brother’s best friend. 

Thea and Xander have always avoided the connection between them because her brother would never approve. Now, they’re married— the strongest bond you can have as a couple—and they’re not even a real couple…unless they want to be.

Thea wants an annulment immediately, but Xander’s waited too long to see her become his and he won’t let her go easily.

If she wants a divorce, fine, but he wants the summer to convince her that he’s the one. If at the end of the summer she still wants to end their marriage he’ll sign the papers, but until then…

All is
not
fair in love and war.

Holy mother of all hangovers.

I’d succumbed to the lure of Vegas and gotten completely wasted. Granted, that’s what everyone did in Las Vegas but I like to think I
usually
have more sense than the social norm.

I rub my eyes and blink them open. The hotel room comes into formation around me. The walls are a warm golden color and the flat screen on the wall plays some home improvement show. I can see the bathroom from the bed, the tiled walls and large soaking tub. 

I roll over onto my side, hoping I can sleep off the hangover, and reel back.

“Oh my
God
,” I cry, flailing in bed. 

My legs kick the sleeping guy beside me.

Not just
any
sleeping guy.

Oh no. 

Xander Kincaid, my brother’s
best friend
, lays in the bed beside me.

His dark hair tumbles over his forehead and his cheeks are covered with several days worth of scruff. His chest is bare and…holy shit. He’s naked.

I look down.

Oh God, I’m naked too
.

“What’s wrong?” He asks, reaching his left hand out to pull me closer to him. That’s when I see it.

“Is that a wedding band?” I scream shrilly.

His eyes narrow. “You don’t fucking remember?”

I shake my head and look at my own hand. A thin silver band rests on my finger. “What did we
do?

He sits up in bed and I try to ignore how adorably rumpled he looks with his hair sticking up.

Everything begins flooding back to me in quick bursts.

Drinks.

Kissing.

Laughter.

Confessions of love and desire.

A wedding chapel.

Vows.

Rings.

A contract.

“We’re married,” I whisper. “Holy shit.” It’s all I’ve ever wanted—to be with Xander, but not like this. Never like this. “My brother is going to kill us.”

Xander’s face contorts with…is that irritation? 

“Why does it matter what your brother thinks?”

I scoff. “Because he’s my brother and
your
best friend.” 

Xander clenches his jaw and looks away. 

I tumble from the bed and scour the floor for my clothes. I can feel his eyes on me but I don’t dare look at him for fear of turning into a tomato. I find my dress and slip it over my head. Fuck a bra, I just need some clothes on. 

I hold my hands out in front of me in a gesture of
I have this under control
when I definitely
don’t
have this under control. 

“I’m sure we can just go back to the chapel and undo this. I mean, this is Vegas. If you can get married in a drive-thru you can get divorced too, right?”


Divorced?”
He looks appalled that I’d suggest such a thing.

I laugh, but there’s no humor in the tone. “We can’t stay married.”

He shakes his head roughly and bunches the sheets in his hands. I nearly groan. His hands…his hands had felt like the best kind of sin when he touched me last night. 

“Why not?” He asks, and I know him well enough to see that he’s straining to stay calm.

“Because it would be wrong.”
Doesn’t he know that
? “My brother—”

“Dammit, Thea,” he snaps and anger pulses in his dark gaze. “Leave your brother out of it. I’m talking about you and me.” He flicks a finger between the two of us and his wedding band reflects the light pouring in from the open window. I can’t believe this is happening. This is the kind of thing you read about celebrities doing, not normal people like Xander and me, but shit happens. His voice softens and he looks at me tenderly. My stomach flips. It’s the same one he’s given me for years, the one that makes me yearn and ache for more, and now that I have it I’m trying to throw it away. “There’s always been something between us. Don’t deny it.”

I swallow thickly, my pulse racing. “I know,” I sigh heavily. “But it’s not like you asked me on a date to see where things might go—we got
married
. Marriage is a big deal.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” He stands and I avert my gaze to the ceiling, even though I want nothing more than to check out his perfectly toned body from years of playing football. I can remember running my hands over his abs and grabbing his ass, crying out— “Thea?”

Suddenly he’s right in front of me and I can see every amber fleck in his brown eyes. 

He takes my face between his hands and I know I shouldn’t let him touch me—my brain turns to mush any time he does—but I’m frozen to the ground. His intense gaze alone is enough to hold me captive. 

“Why are you fighting this?” His breath is a tender caress against my face. He touches his lips tenderly to mine and my traitorous body curves into his. His chest is still bare and his skin is warm beneath my fingers. It’s soft like silk and I stroke my fingers against the dents in his stomach like I’m playing an instrument. He rests his forehead against mine and I fight to keep my composure. Xander’s kisses set my world afire and bring color to everything. “Why?” He asks again. 

“This is a big deal, how can you not see that?” I defend and shove him away slightly. I can’t think straight with him so close. All my brain can focus on is his slightly woodsy scent and the feel of his lips against mine. 

His dark brows knit together. “I know it’s a big deal—I don’t take marriage lightly, but…” He lifts his hands in a gesture of
I don’t know
. “You and I…there’s always been something between us. Some spark that we’ve both fought for so fucking long and Thea?” His shoulders sag. “I’m tired of fighting. Maybe this is fate’s way of finally bringing us together.”

“Fate?” I repeat in a whisper. “I didn’t know you believed in such a thing.”

He shrugs and lifts his hand to reach for me but lets it drop like he’s scared I’ll reject his touch. “I have to believe there’s some bigger reason for this,” he admits and looks down at the ring on his finger and then on mine. “Don’t you think?”

I look away. I can’t stand seeing the hope and yearning in his eyes. It’s killing me because I want him. I want this. I want an
us
. I’ve known Xander since I was in diapers. We grew up together and even though he’s my brother’s
best
friend, he’s always been my friend too. He stars in almost every memory of my childhood and as we’ve gotten older he’s always been there too. I’ve dated here and there and
always
compared the guy to him—which meant my relationships never lasted long because no one was ever as good as Xander. 

Before I can reply there’s a knock on the door and then the nob rattles. “Thea, get up. We have to get breakfast and leave. I can’t get Xander up. He probably found some hooker and is passed out in his bed. I’m going down to the lobby to see if they’ll give me a key to his room. You better be ready in thirty minutes,” my brother, Cade, says through the closed door.

My eyes, widened with horror, dart to Xander who stands there with an amused smile. I glare at him and mouth, “Hooker? Really?”

He knocks on the door again and says, “Are you up?”

“Yeah,” I call back with a shaky voice. “I’m up.”

Xander bites his lip to hold in his chuckle. I’m glad
someone
finds this amusing.

“Good,” he says through the door. “Thirty minutes.”

I hold my breath and listen to the sounds of his feet against the floor heading away. I sag in relief and Xander busts out laughing. My arm snaps out and I smack my hand against his stomach, which only makes him roar with more laughter.

“You better grab your clothes and get back to your room before my brother discovers you’re not in there.”

He shrugs. “Let him.”

I throw my hands up. “How can you be so blasé about this? I
know
my brother has threatened you numerous times about coming anywhere near me.”

He picks his shirt up off the floor and tugs it on. “I’m not going to let your brother keep me from what I want and I want you,” he says huskily, his eyes lingering on my lips. 

The way he stares at me makes me feel like a small frightened animal backed into a corner by the big bad wolf. 

“We have to ditch him on the way to the airport,” I say suddenly. “We have to find the church we got married in and see if they can undo this.” I wave my hands through the air like I can bibbidi-bobbidi-boo this away. 

Where’s my fairy godmother when I need her?

Xander’s jaw clenches and he looks away. I know I’ve made him mad because I’m not willing to accept this is our fate. I’m not going to lie, I’ve dreamed of marrying Xander on more than one occasion. It was all I hoped for as a little girl when he was the dark-haired boy across the street who shared his animal crackers with me and carried me home when I fell off my bike. But I
never
imagined it would be like this—that I would barely even remember it. 

BOOK: When Stars Collide (Light in the Dark #2)
2.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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