Home > Half Empty (First Wives #2)(8)

Half Empty (First Wives #2)(8)
Author: Catherine Bybee

“Maybe she needs some time alone,” Shannon said.

“Or she needs her friends to step up and make sure she’s making good decisions. If she isn’t, we’re there to catch her when she’s dealing with the memories of last year.”

Lori glanced at Shannon. “She has a point.”

“Damn right I have a point. If my fake husband had splattered his brains all over the wall in the den, I would have run off to find God in India or some such place.”

Shannon winced. “Thanks for the visual.”

“Sorry, I’m just worried. You guys are the best thing, other than the money, of course, that my marriage to Bernie has given me. I don’t want Trina making a mistake that we can help her avoid. A cowboy singer handing her a bunch of country lines so she can bankroll his next indie project is not gonna happen so long as I have some say in the matter.”

“Maybe this guy and her are completely platonic.” Shannon was forever the optimist in the group.

Avery and Lori exchanged doubtful glances.

Avery turned her phone back onto the image of Wade Thomas. “Look at that ass and tell me you wouldn’t take a handful?”

A slight pull to Shannon’s lips in the form of a smile told Avery what she already knew.

Avery started to dial.

“Who are you calling?” Lori asked.

“Sam. She said if there was ever a need for her jet, to call. I think now is a good time.”

Chapter Six

Umbrellas proved useless when rain splattered horizontally across your body.

Dripping wet and laughing at the plight of it all, Wade opened the door to the hotel lobby and let Trina step in before him. Behind them, their driver dealt with their luggage.

Trina held both hands out in front of her and pulled her wet shirt from her chest. “That is nuts.”

Wade shook his head and rain splattered everywhere.

“Hey!” Trina laughed and stood back.

“What’s the matter . . . ?” He did it again. “Afraid of getting wet?”

Trina stepped close and twisted her ponytail over his frame.

“Oh, it’s on.” He snaked a hand around her waist and shook his head until she squirmed away.

“Uncle!”

When they stopped laughing, half the lobby was staring at them like they were nuts.

Trina tried to keep a straight face. “His fault,” she told anyone who listened.

Wade took the liberty of placing a hand on the small of her back as he pushed her through the lobby. “I’ll get ya for calling me out.”

“It was your fault,” she whispered.

They both stepped to the registration desk at the same time.

“Good afternoon,” the man behind the counter greeted them.

“Hello,” Trina said.

“Hi,” Wade said at the same time.

The clerk looked between the two of them. “We’re here to check in,” Wade told the man.

He turned to the computer. “What is the name on the reservation?”

“Oh, we don’t have a reservation. Our plane had to land here unexpectedly—”

The man stopped typing and the smile on his face fell. “I’m sorry, but we’re completely booked.”

Yeah, Wade had heard that before. “I’m sure you can find something.”

He shook his head. “Many of our guests were forced to stay an extra night because of the storm.”

Trina leaned forward. “What about your penthouse suite, or whatever your top floor has to offer? Money isn’t an issue.”

Trina pulled her wallet out of her purse.

Not to be outdone, Wade removed his wallet. “Exactly.”

The clerk typed on his computer again. “The only thing we have is the presidential suite—”

Wade put his credit card down before Trina could. “We’ll take it.”

Trina nudged his card away. “I’ll pay.”

Shaking his head, Wade picked up her card and pushed his forward. “Not this time, little lady. Use this, please.”

The clerk ping-ponged his gaze between them.

“I’m the reason we’re here. I pay for the room,” Trina insisted, grabbing at her credit card.

Wade held it out of her reach.

“I haven’t had a woman pay for my room since I was in diapers.” He turned to the clerk. “On my card.”

The clerk held up his card and hesitated. “You sure?”

“Yes.”

“No.”

Wade turned to Trina.

“I pay for half or I’m going to find another hotel,” Trina insisted.

“Seriously?” What was up with this woman?

She placed her hands on her hips and cocked her head to the side. “Don’t I look serious?”

“You look like something that fell into a pond.”

Trina rolled her eyes, grabbed her card from his fingertips, and turned as if she was walking away.

“Fine! Half.”

With a smug smile, she handed her card to the clerk without words.

“Presidential suite for one night—”

“Two,” Wade interrupted the clerk. He glanced at Trina. “I’m not getting back on that plane until my liver settles to where God meant it to sit.”

She sighed. “Fine.”

“You take the master,” Trina suggested when the bellhop left them.

“Why? Are you going to argue about that, too?”

He had this pouty look that stretched from his eyes to his lower lip. Trina wondered if he used that look to get his way with all the women.

“I won’t argue. But my guess is the bed in there is a king, and you’re taller than me. It’s the practical choice.” She picked up her suitcase and started toward the master. “But if you insist.” Blowing right past him, Trina passed into the larger bedroom and tossed her case on the footstool by the bed. “Oh, this is nice.”

“Now you’re just teasing,” Wade said from the other room.

Trina laughed to herself.

“I’m going to shower and change,” she told him.

Wade moaned.

She turned around and bit her lips.

“You’re loving this,” he said.

Trina shrugged. “Could be worse.”

“I can’t figure you out, lady.”

“Good.” With that, she stepped back from the door and closed it.

Wade chuckled as he walked away.

Once she kicked off her shoes, she found her half-broken phone in her purse and attempted to access her messages.

The screen had cracked to the point that bright globes followed the shattered glass and distorted the information. She tapped her messages but nothing happened. Instead of fighting it, she tossed it back in her purse and told herself to call her house phone later that night.

It might be nice to live without the distraction of a cell phone for a couple of days.

Shedding her clothes as she went, she made her way into her private bathroom and smiled at the size of the space. How many times had she stayed in hotels on layovers all over the world? None of which had rooms like this.

But this was how she lived now.

Penthouse suites and bathrooms you could throw a party in if you chose to.

She still packed light, even when going to Italy for an extended period of time. She had bought a few things along the way and simply shipped them home instead of dealing with the luggage. A luxury she never would have used in the past.

Her reflection in the mirror looked back. Her long black hair had stopped dripping down her back somewhere between checking in and taking the elevator to the top floor. Through her beige shirt, she saw the outline of her bra. Hardly wet T-shirt contest worthy, but it was close. To give Wade credit, he hadn’t noticed. Or if he did, he didn’t stare.

He seemed like a nice guy—therefore, she wondered what was wrong with him. If there was one thing Trina knew about herself, it was that she trusted them all way too soon. She thought they all said what they meant and meant what they said. She couldn’t read them before her fake marriage to Fedor, and she’d certainly failed with her husband in their brief time together.

Unable to stop her head from going there, she thought about the last time she saw Fedor alive. It was the night before he shot himself. Alice, his mother, had slipped into a coma, and he spent most of his time in the hospital, by her bedside.

Trina had found him in his den. In his hand were two metal balls that he often fiddled with when he was thinking. She wondered, briefly, what had happened to those balls. They were real silver. The only reason she knew that fact was she’d asked him shortly after she moved into his Hamptons home.

Trina closed her eyes and forced the image, and the memory, away.

It had been a year. Why was she thinking about it all again now?

She flipped off her thoughts and turned on the water in the shower.

“We could always find a swimming pool until it’s time for dinner,” Wade propositioned Trina, who was watching the rain fall in heavy sheets outside the windows of their room.

“First, I just took a shower, and second, the pools here are outside.”

“What about a hot tub?”

Trina glanced over her shoulder and sent him a look that women had perfected for centuries. It said, Are you kidding, Give me a break, and Stop, all at once. “You just want to see me in a bikini.”

As hard as he tried, Wade couldn’t stop his head from going there and his eyes from traveling down her one-hundred-percent-clothed body. “Yes, ma’am, there is that.”

“Do women ever say no to you?”

He paused and tried to remember the last time he’d been rejected for a drink, a date . . . or anything that might follow. He’d been on tour for six months, and there were plenty of opportunities, and perhaps more than just a couple of women along the way.

He shifted on his feet, tried to bring up the months before the tour.

“Oh my God.”

“What? I’m trying to think.”

“You’re a womanizer.” She called him out.

   
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