Authors: Hannah Murray
One Hit Wonderful
Being a bridesmaid is a dull job. But when the groom gets caught with his cummerbund around his ankles, dull isn’t in the cards.
Lily Michaels is happy to help her best friend cancel her wedding. But since the groom with the broken nose is also her landlord, it means she’s looking for a new apartment. Enter Nate MacIntyre—former boy-band member and current composer—his mostly St. Bernard dog Beau and the apartment over their garage. Nate is sexy, Beau is adorably charming and the apartment is gorgeous. Things are looking up!
But things get complicated when Max, the former groom, starts hassling Lily for the location of his jilted bride. Nate thinks Max is dangerous, Lily thinks Nate is silly, and while she’s enjoying where her attraction to him is going, her independent streak simply won’t let her lean on him too much. What do you get when you mix an overprotective man, an independent woman and the confusion that comes with falling in love? Whatever it is, it’s not dull.
Ellora’s Cave Publishing
One Hit Wonderful
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
One Hit Wonderful Copyright © 2011 Hannah Murray
Edited by Mary Moran
Cover design by Mina Carter
Electronic book publication December 2011
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One Hit Wonderful
Getting blood out of a wedding dress was going to be tougher than she’d thought.
Lily Michaels sat back on her heels with a sigh and eyed the dried stains on the custom Vera Wang. “Darling, it’s not coming out.”
Her best friend, the former bride, lounged in the bathroom doorway and sneered at the ruined fabric over her tea cup. “Who cares? It’s not like I paid for it. That son of a bitch Max paid for it.” The sneer intensified. “Let’s burn it.”
“Bridget!” It came out in a horrified gasp, Lily’s fashionista heart skipping a beat at the thought. She sat back on her heels and pointed a finger. “It’s a Vera Wang! We are
Bridget rolled her eyes and sighed. “Fine. But I don’t want it, so it’s going to Goodwill.”
“Oh no.” Lily shook her head and tossed the washrag she held into the sink. “If you don’t want it, I’ll take it and work out what to do about the stains. There has to be something that’ll get them out. But you’re not giving a ten-thousand-dollar dress to the bloody Goodwill.”
“Whatever.” Bridget rolled eyes the color of spring grass. “I’m hungry. I’m getting another piece of cake.
It was Lily’s turn to roll her eyes as she got to her feet. “That’s all you’ve been eating since yesterday,” she called as Bridget headed down the hallway. “Don’t you want something else?”
“No,” Bridget called back. “Besides, I paid eight hundred dollars for that cake, I’m going to eat every last bit of it.”
Lily gave the dress hanging on the shower rod one last glance before she followed Bridget into the kitchen.
“I thought Max paid for it,” she said. She went to the coffeepot and, finding it empty, snagged the milk from the fridge instead as Bridget sliced into the cake currently taking up almost the entire kitchen table.
“He did,” Bridget said, and lifted a wedge of cake the size of a shoe onto the waiting plate. “But I picked it out. Besides the dress, it’s the only thing the Wicked Witch let me have any say in, so I figure it’s mine.”
Lily grinned and poured a glass of milk. “I think my favorite part of yesterday was the look on that woman’s face when you punched her precious baby boy. Well, that and the blood, even if it did ruin that gorgeous dress. It just spurted out of his nose, like special effects in a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie.”
Bridget smiled around a mouthful of cake, a smear of pale pink icing on her chin. “The blood was definitely my favorite part. He probably bruised his head when he fell too. I wonder if the videographer got that on tape?”
“Do you think he’d give it to you if he did?”
Bridget shook her head, dark curls bouncing as she forked up another bite of cake. “I’m not the one who hired him, so I doubt it. But he could be bribable.”
Watching Bridget eat was making Lily hungry, so she dug out a plate and fork and joined her at the table. “Was he another one of Max’s mom’s ideas?”
“No.” Bridget picked up the knife and stabbed into the cake with just a little more force than necessary. “That cunt of a wedding planner, Marjorie, hired him.”
Lily winced, watching her best friend hack into the cake as though it were the cunt of a wedding planner instead of chocolate and butter cream. It was hard to blame her.
“I’m sorry, sweetie.”
Bridget slid a wedge of cake onto the plate and handed it to Lily without meeting her gaze. Then she raised her eyes, and the look of naked pain on her friend’s face had Lily reaching for her hand.
“I’m okay, really,” Bridget said, but the sheen of tears in her eyes belied her words.
“Should I not have told you?” Lily asked quietly.
Bridget’s head snapped up. “Of course you should have told me!” she exclaimed, the sheen of tears gone as her green eyes blazed.
Lily let out the breath she hadn’t been aware she was holding. “Thank God.”
Bridget turned her hand so her fingers gripped Lily’s. “I’m glad you told me. Really, I am. I’m sad and I’m mad, but at least I’m not married to the jerk.”
Lily squeezed her friend’s hand. “Me too. I mean, if you’d wanted to marry him anyway, I’d have stood by you. But I’m glad you didn’t.”
Bridget made a derisive sound and released Lily’s hand to pick up her fork again. “No chance I’d marry him after he cheated on me. No chance in
I’d marry him when he cheated on me five minutes before the ceremony. And no way in
flaming, fucking hell
I’d marry him after he banged that cunt of a wedding planner!”
Lilly chuckled and loaded up her fork with cake. “She was a skank, wasn’t she? The breast implants should have tipped us off.”
“The breast implants, the press-on nails.” Bridget held up a finger. “But the kicker was the suntan pantyhose with the reinforced toe, worn with the open-toed sandals.”
Lily’s jaw dropped. “She did not.”
“Oh, but she did,” Bridget said, and curled her lip. “And Max says he’s in love with her.”
“That’s going to kill his mother,” Lily said, and they grinned at each other over chocolate cake at the thought of Max’s prim and proper old-fashioned mama having to accept a woman who wore press-on nails in her family.
A sudden knock at the front door had Lily frowning. “Who could that be? Were your parents supposed to come over this morning?”
Bridget shook her head. “No, they’re flying back to Chicago this morning. My father’s golf group meets this afternoon, so they’d booked an early flight. Even before my mother suffered, and I quote, ‘the greatest humiliation a mother can suffer’.” She shook her head. “You’d think it’d happened to her.”
“She probably thinks it did,” Lily said absently. “Did Charles go home last night?”
“No, he’s crashed out in my bed,” Bridget said. “He drank almost two bottles of champagne all by himself, so I took his keys away.”
Lily opened her mouth to speak when another knock sounded, followed in quick succession by several others. Less of a knock and more of a rhythmic pounding. “What the hell?” she muttered, and got up to make her way to the front door.
“Be careful, it could be Max,” Bridget called. “And he’s probably pretty pissed about me calling off the wedding.”
“He’s probably not thrilled about the broken nose either,” Lily muttered, and began picking her way through the maze of packing boxes and soon-to-be-returned wedding presents to the front door.
“We gotta get some of this stuff out of here,” she called back to Bridget. “At least put as much as we can in your room until you figure out what to do with it all. Someone’s going to get hurt just going for the mail.”
Lily cursed under her breath as she stubbed her toe on a silver tea set, flipped the locks and swung the door open.
She didn’t see it at first. She was looking up and out, squinting through the sunlight for a glimpse of whoever had been banging on the door. When she didn’t see anyone, she looked down at the
mat. There was nothing there either, and it wasn’t until she started to swing the door shut that she noticed the paper nailed to the door.
And the word
printed across the top.
Lily’s short, crystal-shattering scream brought Bridget running.
“What is it?” she asked, breathless from the dash from the living. She shouldered Lily aside to peer out the open door, looking around for the cause of the scream.
“It was Max,” Lily ground out, and held up the paper for Bridget to see. “He’s kicking us out.”
“What?” Bridget snatched the paper out of Lily’s hands, nearly tearing it in her haste. “That
“Nicely put,” Lily said dryly. She shut the front door and walked back to the kitchen, heading directly to the empty coffeepot.
“I can’t believe he’d do this,” Bridget muttered as she trailed after Lily into the kitchen. She dragged a chair away from the table and dropped into it heavily. “He must think I’m going live here with you again.”
Lily was measuring coffee, scooping it into the coffeemaker with more care than it required as she tried to hold on to her temper. She concentrated on breathing slowly and evenly as she turned to the sink to fill the coffeepot with water.
“Well, I’ll just call him and tell him I’m not staying here, and that’ll be that.”
Lily rolled her eyes as she poured water into the machine and switched it on. “Somehow, darling, I doubt it.” She turned away from the counter to find Bridget on her feet, pulling the receiver off the phone on the wall and punching in numbers.
“We’ll see,” she muttered, putting the phone to her ear and drumming her fingers on the table as she listened to the rings. “We’ll just see. Max! You scum-sucking bastard, what the fuck is this eviction notice?”
Lily sighed and turned back to watch the coffee drip into the pot. Bridget’s temper exploded behind her, shouts and curses ricocheting off the walls. She imagined Max was doing the same. They’d always been compatible that way, she mused. Good fighters, good lovers. They must not have been good talkers though, or Max might have known that schtupping the wedding planner would be a bad idea, especially when they were minutes from the “I do’s”.
“You lousy, limp-dicked fuckhead, I already told you I’m not moving back in here! Don’t give me that bullshit about back rent, we had an agreement and you know it!”
Lily shook her head and pulled a mug from the cupboard. The insults continued to roll fast and bitter as she dug out a box of sugar cubes and the half-and-half from the fridge. She was just putting the finishing touches on her coffee when she heard a thin scream from behind her. Resigned and unsurprised, she raised her coffee cup to her lips, blowing on the hot liquid as she turned around.
“Motherfucking cocksucker!” Bridget screamed, holding the phone so tight Lily wondered the plastic didn’t crack. “I hope your balls shrivel up and fall off!” She slammed the phone down, panting, and turned to face Lily.
“He’s not changing his mind,” she stated, her calm voice a stark contrast to the shriek of a moment ago.
“Really,” Lily said dryly, and sipped coffee.
Bridget winced. “I guess my temper got the better of me. Look, maybe if you call him—”
Lily shook her head. “I’m the girl who ratted him out to his fiancée and got his wedding called off, remember?” She sipped her coffee again, taking what pleasure she could in the flavorful brew. “I gather he’s using the rent reduction to justify the eviction?”
Bridget’s lip curled. “He says because we’ve only been paying half the rent, he has the legal grounds to evict,” Bridget ground out, and shoved the kitchen chair into the table so hard the tower of cake wobbled dangerously. “He says it doesn’t matter that it was his idea, or that it was agreed upon because we never signed any sort of agreement to that effect, and as far as he’s concerned, we have ten days to vacate or he’ll have the sherriff’s department throw us out.”
Lily said nothing, just continued to sip her coffee. She was afraid if she loosened her lip she’d let her temper out along with the words. She’d known it was a bad idea not to get the rental arrangement in writing, but with Bridget and Max about to be married it’d seemed petty and childish to insist on it. Well, lesson learned, she told herself, and wondered where the hell she was going to live.
“What the hell is going on?”
Lily turned toward the doorway, and despite her impending homelessness, a huge grin split her face.
Charles stood in the doorway, his blond hair held off his forehead with one of her cloth hairbands, his face covered in the mint-green paste of a skin mask. His blue eyes were bloodshot and bleary, and he was cradling a bottle of champagne as though it were a long-lost lover.
Her eyes dropped to his clothes, and she blinked. “Are those my stretch pants?” she asked, choking back laughter at the sight of a six-foot-tall man in a pair of pale pink Lycra workout pants. Designed as they were for a woman’s body, they were leaving very little to the imagination.
“Holy shit, Charles!” Bridget’s eyes were big as saucers, but the shock reflected there didn’t appear to have any effect on her mouth. “Those pants are so tight I can see the veins in your dick!”
“Why the hell are you wearing that?” Lilly gasped, her shoulders shaking with laughter.
“Because I puked on my tux last night, so it was this or nothing.”
“You should’ve gone with nothing,” Lily gasped, and wiped her streaming eyes. “But thank God you didn’t. Oh, I really needed that laugh.”
“So glad to be of service,” Charles muttered, and frowned at both of them. “Is someone going to tell me what all the screaming was about? I was having the most delish little dream about Brad Pitt, and y’all ruined it.”
Bridget rolled her eyes. “Brad’s straight, Charlie. Get over yourself.”
“Don’t call me Charlie,” he said automatically. “And you don’t know he’s straight.”
“Please,” Bridget scoffed. “He’s done how many movies with Matt Damon and George Clooney? If he hasn’t turned by now, he’s not going to.”
“Why don’t you two shut up?” Lily said mildly, and handed them each a mug when they swung her way. “Have some coffee.”
Charles pulled the chair back out from the table and sat as he sipped his coffee. “So is someone going to tell me why Brad and I were so rudely interrupted?”