Planning on Prince Charming(7)

By: Lizzie Shane


He’d need to wear it tomorrow. Another season of Marrying Mister Perfect started filming in the morning and he needed to still be Josh Pendleton, Happily Married Host, when the cameras started rolling, but tonight it had felt like the fucking thing was cutting off circulation to his finger and he would lose the digit if he didn’t get it off.

Now it hung on the end of her finger, an incriminating wide gold band.

Her teal eyes were somehow sympathetic without being pitying. He’d have to see if he could copy that look. It would come in handy in his line of work.

He took his ring, setting it on the coffee table, and met those eyes—seriously, who had teal eyes? For a moment the world around them seemed to fade out of focus. She was beautiful—not just pretty, but there was a quality about her, an openness and a sweetness. At least until the show corrupted it.

Suitorette. Off-limits, jackass.

She was about to go on a reality show looking for love on national television. His reality show. At least until they fired him.

He followed her gaze to the ring. And then he said it. Said the words out loud for the first time since he’d told his parents. “I’m getting divorced.”

Only there was no getting. He was. It was final. As of three o’clock this afternoon. Marissa was officially free to run into the arms of the man she’d been screwing behind his back for the last year and half.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured.

He shouldn’t have told her about the divorce, he realized belatedly. If she told his bosses he was screwed. But it wasn’t just the alcohol that had loosened his tongue. There was something about her. She was too easy to talk to, this long, leggy blonde with the impossible eyes.

“You can still believe in happily ever afters,” Sidney said softly.

“Yeah?” Josh tore his gaze off the ring, lifting his drink. “How does that work?”

She shrugged. “You just do. Every broken heart is another step in the road to your happily ever after.”

“Wow, you’re like a Hallmark card. No wonder the producers cast you.”

She laughed softly, hiding her mouth behind the tumbler as she took another sip.

“You didn’t say why you were coming on the show, but I’m guessing you’re one of the True Love girls. Did you watch last season? Is he your soul mate, only he doesn’t know it yet?”

“You don’t have to make fun of me. I know how ridiculous the show is,” she said, though there was a stubborn hope in her eyes. “I never really expected to get picked. I auditioned on a dare and then suddenly I’m here. Meeting him tomorrow. And I know the odds are ridiculous, so every time someone asked me why I was doing it I would say it was for the experience or because I wanted to launch Once Upon a Bride onto the national stage, but the truth is I want to be the princess for a change—and I can’t believe I’m admitting that to you.”

“I’m trustworthy.”

“You think I’m crazy. But I watched last season and you can’t tell me that Marcy and Craig didn’t find real love on the show.”

“You’re right. But they were the exceptions, not the rule.”

“But it’s possible. And even if it’s only a possibility, don’t you owe it to yourself to give your heart every chance at happiness? For a chance at something real?”

“Reality television might not be the best place to look for that.”

“Even if it’s Daniel?”

A startling gong of something that could have been jealousy echoed in his brain. “You’re so certain Daniel is perfect?”

“That is the name of the show. Marrying Mister Perfect. I’m not the one anointing him.”

Josh’s grip tightened on his glass. Daniel was a nice guy. A little cliché. The kind of guy who did things because he’d been told he should rather than because he had any personal desire to do them. He’d be perfect because he followed instructions well, but was he right for Sidney? Who shone with her belief in love?

“I wasn’t supposed to tell you it was him.”

“We’re hiding in your hotel room drinking the worst scotch on the planet. I think we’ve pretty much abandoned what we’re supposed to do.”

He smiled—and realized he was staring at her mouth.

He didn’t want her going on the show. He didn’t want it to spoil her. He wanted her.

Which sent a warning alarm echoing in his brain.

Josh rocked back into the far corner of the cushions, taking a deep breath of air that didn’t carry a light floral scent. What the fuck was wrong with him?

The glass of scotch was heavy in his hand.

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