Borrowing the Bride by @KyAnnWaters is a Salute Military pick #romance #memorialday #giveaway
Title: Borrowing the Bride
Author: KyAnn Waters
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Money never bought him what he really wanted…and money only ever bought her trouble.
Ben Larsen needs a deterrent. His family wants to see him married. Maybe it’s time to give them what they want. His best friend, Amber Croft is engaged, but not to him. If he borrows her for the week, he’ll make his mother happy, and it would finally show his ex that he’s moved on.
Amber needs perspective. She’s engaged but she’s beginning to wonder if she’s marrying the wrong man. She’s pretending to be Ben’s fiancé, although the kissing and touching are real.
The ruse is working perfectly, but lies, betrayal and a billion dollars carry a high price. Will it cost them their friendship and destroy their relationship?
Half-way through their run, Ben’s phone chirped again. He jogged in place, then rejected the call.
“We can stop and do crunches if you need to take the call.”
“I’ll call her when I get home.”
“That was your mom again?”
Amber stopped and braced her hands on her hips. “Take the call, Ben. It could be important. What if it’s an emergency?”
“It is, according to my mother, but trust me. It’s not.” He kept running.
Amber rushed to catch up. “I’ll decide. What’s up?”
Ben groaned. “You know how I’m due for some personal leave?”
“But you just got back.”
His brows furrowed. “Germany wasn’t personal time. I was working.” He laughed.
“I’m sure you and Pete did a lot of work. It’s hard work drinking beer and eating brats.”
“Guilty. The beer was good.”
“So, what does your mom want you to do?”
Ben stopped running. He bent at the waist and drew in a deep breath. Lifting his head, his gaze met hers. “She wants me to come home.”
For six weeks, his mother had been hounding him. A major milestone was approaching for his grandparents. How many couples stay together, or even lived long enough, to celebrate fifty years of marriage? “I haven’t answered her calls, because I haven’t been able to come up with a good enough excuse not to go to my grandparent’s fiftieth wedding anniversary party.”
Amber twisted her torso, then stretched back to open her chest and drew in a deep inhale. “Why wouldn’t you want to go? With everything you’ve told me about your family, I want to go. I wish they were my family.”
“Oh no, you don’t.” Not the way his mom worried. Always had. And her solution was always the same. He’d be happier married. Specifically married to Natalie Bachman.
“My dad is serving fifteen years for investment fraud,” she said, “and my mom has no idea how to live within a budget, so I’m sure she’ll be joining him soon. Believe me, your family is next to perfect.”
“I guess considering yours, I shouldn’t complain. Ready?”
She nodded, and they started running again.
“I imagine it’s going to be a big party. You’ll probably be the only one not to show up.”
“Guilt won’t work. I’m not religious.”
“Well, maybe they won’t notice you’re not there,” she said. Fifty years married, I’m sure they’ve forgotten a few things.”
He turned his gaze in her direction. “Are you insinuating my grandparents could forget their only grandson?”
“Oh, you’re probably right. Plus, I’m sure your mother keeps pictures around. They can put that at your place at the table.”
“Okay, you’ve made your point. My grandmother would assume I’m out saving the country. My mother is another matter.”
“Then answer your phone and tell her you’ll be there.”
They rounded the corner and headed for home. “I’d rather be a terrible son, than a—” His gaze snapped to her. He’d nearly said groom.
They slowed as they approached the townhouse. “My mother is on a mission, and it has nothing to do with the military. Her name is Natalie Bachman.”
“Ah.” They stopped in front of the house and sat on the porch.
“It may be an anniversary party, but like every other event with the Larsen clan, my mother will endeavor to make it an engagement party.”
“And you’re not interested in getting married?”
“No…at least not to Natalie. But so far, my efforts to discourage her haven’t been successful.”
“Just tell her.”
“Why didn’t I think of that? Oh, because I have told her.” He pushed on Amber’s shoulder, sending her off balance. “Between her and my mother, they think I’m just not ready, but that when I am, Natalie will be the perfect wife.” He leaned back against the brick building and closed his eyes. “I don’t want to be mean to her. You’d think after being gone for a couple years, she’d have moved on, found a nice rancher, or gone to the coast and hooked a successful fisherman to settle down with and popped out a few babies.”
“Maybe because you haven’t moved on, she thinks there is still a chance.”
He’d moved on, as in joined the military, moved to another state, and never called, wrote, or texted her. His mother sent him constant updates on Natalie. He figured his mother was giving Natalie updates, too, but only as if the information had come from him. Hence his lack of enthusiasm in speaking to his mom.
“If it weren’t for Natalie, would you want to go?”
Ben shrugged. For his mother, if it wasn’t Natalie, it would be another woman. His mom wanted to see him married. Marriage equaled happiness. Ben hadn’t ever had real feelings for Natalie. Hormones, a truck, and teenage desires had been their foundation.
“You would really disappoint your family and not go?”
“Of course not, but since Natalie will be there and it would take an act of God to discourage my mother, the argument is moot.”
“What you need is a deterrent. If they want to see you married, give them what they want. Take home a fiancé and make your mother happy, and it will finally show Natalie that you’ve moved on.”
He chuckled. “Right. I’m not even dating anyone.”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“Suppose I do take home a future wife. Where do I find this bride?”
“Easy. You borrow her.”
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KyAnn Waters is a multi-published, award-winning author of romance. She lives in Utah with her husband. Her two boys are grown and out in the world making mischief of their own. Never believing she was a pet lover, she still has made a home for a menagerie of animals. She enjoys sporting events on the television, thrillers on the big screen, and hot scenes between the pages of her books.
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