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Honeymoon from Hell III, Page 1

R. L. Mathewson


  (Just in case you need a reminder of where we left off…)

  “I can’t believe we did it,” he said, pulling into a spot on the freshly paved parking lot of the newly refinished Strawberry Manor.

  “And one week ahead of schedule, too,” Rory said, beaming with excitement as she looked at the beautiful new hotel. He had to admit that it was beautiful, but that wasn’t what he’d meant.

  He chuckled as he threw the truck in park. “I meant, I can’t believe that we’re married.”

  “Well, I really wasn’t left with much of a choice,” Rory reminded him, smiling that pleased little smile that she’d been wearing since the nervous Justice of the Peace had announced them husband and wife about an hour ago.

  After the initial shock, the Justice of the Peace decided that they needed a little fatherly advice and explained that he believed that they were making a mistake and that perhaps they needed to take some time and come back on December 2nd. At first, Connor had been pissed that he was interfering, but by the time the JP mentioned December 2nd for the third time, it became clear that the man had placed a bet that they would get married on December 2nd. Once the J.P. resigned himself to losing two hundred dollars, he’d married them, scowling at them the entire time until the deed was done and he could storm off.

  “You didn’t have a choice, huh?” he mused, reaching for his wife as she unclipped her seatbelt and moved to straddle his lap.

  “No, not at all,” she readily agreed with an impish smile that had him wishing that they could skip the final inspection and start their wedding night early.

  “And how’s that?” he asked, wrapping his arms around her.

  “I had to do it for our deal of course,” she said solemnly, looking so damn serious that he couldn’t help but laugh.

  “For our deal, huh?” he asked with a chuckle, leaning in and stealing a kiss.

  “Mmmhmm,” she murmured, returning the kiss.

  Before he could deepen the kiss, Rory opened his door. She pulled away and climbed out of the truck, laughing and jumping back when he reached for her.

  “We need to clear the site so that we can start that insanely expensive honeymoon that you promised me,” she said, heading for the manor.

  “That wasn’t part of our deal,” he pointed out as he climbed out of the truck.

  “It is now,” she said, sounding happy.

  “Do I get a veto?” he asked, following after her.

  “Sorry. You’re a married man now, Connor. Your job is to fulfill each and every one of my needs,” she explained, throwing him a wink over her shoulder.

  “And you need an insanely expensive honeymoon?” he asked, chuckling as he veered off to the right towards her trailer.

  “I really do,” she said, sounding happy, really happy and for a moment he was content with just watching her as she made her way inside the manor.

  How had he gotten so lucky? he couldn’t help but wonder as he turned around, hoping to get this done quickly so that he could move onto the insanely expensive honeymoon that his beautiful wife was demanding when he realized that he had one last problem that he had to handle before it bit him in the ass.

  “I heard you tell Andrew that this was all a game,” Jacob, the surly assistant from hell, said numbly as he looked at Connor with what could only be described as disgust. “I kept my mouth shut, because I thought Rory could handle herself, but apparently I was wrong.”

  “It’s not what you think, Jacob,” Connor said, taking a step towards the man only to have him take two steps back.

  “Then you didn’t just marry Rory so that you could take over her company?” Jacob demanded.

  Connor opened his mouth to tell him that he had it all wrong, that it wasn’t like that anymore when he realized that this simple misunderstanding had just blown up into a huge fuck up in under sixty seconds.

  “Married?” Johnny repeated, sharing a confused look with his brothers as they quickened their pace as they headed towards him, looking pissed. As he watched the five large men make their way towards him, he realized that there was no way that he could explain any of this without landing in a body cast. They wouldn’t believe him, not that he really cared, but he did care if his wife believed him. As he watched them approach and listened as Jacob ratted his ass out, he realized something very important. He was out of options. So he did the only thing that he could think of.

  He made a run for it.

  “Get back here!” Johnny yelled as Connor shoved past several men and ran inside the manor and into the beautiful lobby.

  “Where’s Rory?” he asked Andrew when he spotted his friend sitting on the couch, going over paperwork and looking better than he had in months.

  “In the ballroom. Why?” Andrew asked, but Connor didn’t have time to answer him, not with five seriously pissed off James brothers after him.

  “You have some explaining to do!” Reese, one of the Bradford twins and a fucking cop, shouted, drawing his attention.

  Scratch that, he had five James brothers, a little prick bastard and two seriously pissed off looking Bradfords after him and he probably only had seconds to convince Rory that he loved her and wasn’t after her company before they beat the shit out of him. Not wanting to waste another minute, he made a run for the ballroom, shoving men aside as he ran down the long hallway. The entire way he heard the sounds from the very large men chasing after him, and he’d be lying if he said that he wasn’t a little wary of the ass whooping that he was about to receive, but he was more concerned about losing Rory.

  He was just about to run through the open doorway of the ballroom when Rory stepped out, looking down at the clipboard in her hands and unaware of all the men barreling down on her. She’d barely looked up when he grabbed her arm and gave it a pull towards the elevators. He didn’t have a plan, but he hoped like hell that this would at least buy him a few minutes.

  “What the hell are you doing?” Rory demanded as he yanked her into the elevator, pushing her behind him as he slammed his finger against the “Close Door” button just as her brothers and cousins abruptly turned and headed for them.

  “Come on, come on, come on!” he muttered, panicking as the door started to close, but not fast enough.

  Her brothers were getting closer and closer until all they had to do was put their arms out to stop the doors from closing, taking away his only chance to make this right. Just when he resigned himself to a trip to the hospital and losing Rory, something unexpected happened. The two Bradford twins reached out and grabbed Craig and Johnny just as they reached out to stop the elevator doors and yanked them back, allowing the doors to close.

  “What the hell is going on?” Rory demanded.

  “First things first,” he mumbled as he reached out and pulled the emergency elevator button. The elevator shook hard once as it came to a complete stop. When the alarm began to blare, he flicked it off, took a deep breath and turned around to face the woman that he loved.

  “I love you,” he said, needing her to know that. “I’ve always loved you and no matter what happens, I will always love you.”

  “You son of a bitch!” Bryce shouted, reminding Connor that it probably wouldn’t take the brothers long to crack those doors open and kill him.

  “I love you too, Connor, but what the hell is going on?” Rory asked, shooting a nervous look past him at the closed doors.

  “I need to tell you something,” he said, cringing when the banging behind him started.

  “Yeah, looks that way,” Rory mused, shifting her gaze right back on him.

  “Did I mention that I love you?” he asked, shooting her a nervous smile as he tried to figure out how exactly to explain the whole fucked up deal he’d com
e up without Rory going for his balls.

  “Start talking, Connor,” Rory said, arching an expectant brow as she folded her arms over her chest.

  Since time was a serious factor, he decided to get right to the point. “I fucked up.”


  “There was more to the deal than I let on,” he said in a rush. “I didn’t think it was worth mentioning, because once I realized that I was still in love with you, I didn’t want it any longer.”

  “What didn’t you want any longer?” she asked with a putout sigh, the same one she always used when he was telling her how he’d screwed her over. He felt himself relax, somewhat.

  “The plan,” he said, searching desperately for the right way to explain his original plan to her without making her hate him.

  “And why did Darrin and Reese attack my brothers?” she asked.

  “Because of me,” Mr. James suddenly announced from behind him, making him curse when he realized that at some point during their conversation the doors had been opened.

  At least the doors worked quietly and efficiently, he thought as several pairs of hands grabbed him and yanked him out of the elevator. As Craig pulled back his fist and let it fly, Connor hoped that they didn’t break his jaw so that he could beg Rory for a second chance. That’s if she came to visit him in intensive care.


  “Mother fucker!” Connor gasped as Craig punched him in the stomach, causing his legs to give out, but before he dropped to the ground, Bryce and Sean were there, picking him right back up for more.

  “Stop!” she cried, moving to help him, but her father stopped her by moving in front of her.

  He kept his eyes locked on her as he told the twins, “She doesn’t get past me until we’re done and you make damn sure that no one interrupts us.”

  “Sure thing, Uncle David,” Darrin said as he stepped in front of the elevator with Reese by his side, standing guard and blocking her view of Connor getting his ass kicked by her brothers.

  “Shit!” she heard Connor groan a few seconds later.

  “Dad, please tell them to stop!” she begged, panicking as she placed her hands on her face, struggling to keep it together.

  “I’m sorry, Rory, but he has this one coming.”

  “They’re going to kill him,” she said, trying to stay calm.

  “Probably,” her father agreed with a shrug.

  “Dad, please-”

  “Why didn’t you call me when you were hurt? For that matter, why don’t you call me when you need help? And why did you just get married without me there to give you away?”

  “What?” she asked, taken off-guard. “Why would I call you?” she blurted out before she could stop herself.

  “Because I am your goddamn father!” he shouted, losing his temper for the first time in her life. While her father could get pissed, really pissed, he never lost control, never shouted and never at her.

  “When you’re hurt or need someone, I should be the first person that you call! Do you have any idea how fucking scared I was when I found out that you’d been rushed to the hospital? I had to hear it from the fucking mailman that my daughter was seriously injured, because no one called me!”

  “Dad, I-”

  “Do you have any idea how it feels to have to sit outside your child’s house, scared to death that she’s in pain or worse that she might not make it through the night? Do you?” he snapped, looking angrier than she’d ever seen him before.

  “But, you taught us to be self-reliant. I didn’t think that-”

  “That’s bullshit that your brothers shoved down your throat! You are my daughter and there will never be a time when I don’t worry about you or want to take care of you. You were stubborn and didn’t want to let your brothers think that you were weak so you tried to act tough. You were my little girl, my little princess and you used run into my arms crying my name every day when I got home from work until you turned five and your brothers decided to treat you like a little brother. From that moment on, you thought that you had to be as pigheaded as they were and you stopped being my baby girl,” he said, his voice softening, his expression turning sad.

  “You are my baby girl, Rory. I love you more than you will ever know, but you are so damn stubborn,” he said with a sigh. “You need to know that you can always call me,” he said, stepping aside only to pause and glare at her. “And the next time that you’re hurt, sick or you need help, you better call me, because if I have to hear it through the mailman again, you and I are going to have words, young lady,” he said, shooting her a wink to soften his words, making her relax as he stepped back.

  “I will, Dad,” she said, feeling close to crying. Her daddy loved her and she’d probably be rubbing it in her brothers’ faces if she wasn’t very much afraid at the moment that they were killing her husband.

  “Step aside, boys,” her father said, as he took her hand in his and led her off the elevator. The scene that met them had her heart skipping a beat and her stomach dropping.

  Johnny and Brian held back a struggling and still weak, Andrew while Craig and Sean held Connor up as Bryce pulled back his fist and let it fly, connecting with Connor’s face and splitting his lip.

  “Stop!” she screamed, releasing her father’s hand. She tried to help him, but Reese grabbed her and pulled her back. She went to elbow him, but the large bastard was fast, too fast and he had her arms behind her back and restrained before she could take her next breath with a simple hold, but a damn effective one.

  “Okay, let’s clear this up, shall we?” her father said, gesturing for Jacob, who looked like he wanted to take a swing at Connor, to come forward. He didn’t look like he was going to listen, but one hard look from her father had him swallowing and stepping forward.

  “Okay, tell her what you told my boys,” her father said, gesturing for him to get on with it. She was just thankful that Bryce had stopped punching Connor to listen.

  “Connor’s plan was to use you to get your brothers. He was using the relationship to look good in your brothers’ eyes to win them over. When the project was finished, he was going to get them to come work for him and run you out of business,” Jacob said, shooting Connor a murderous glare, which explained why he’d been acting like such a jerk for the past couple of months. He’d known about the plan and knowing Jacob, he wasn’t happy about it, but he’d obviously trusted her to handle it on her own.

  “Don’t fucking listen to him, Rory!” Connor yelled, but he was quickly silenced by a punch to the gut from Bryce.

  “And how exactly did you find out about that?” Darrin asked.

  “Because I overheard Connor explain it to Andrew,” Jacob said, gesturing to Andrew, who’d closed his eyes in resignation and cursed.

  “When?” Reese demanded.

  “In June I think,” Jacob said, looking thoughtful, “he was just using her. He wasn’t in love with her. As long as he didn’t hurt her, I stayed out of it. I didn’t know that marrying her was part of the plan. I thought he was just going to screw up and Rory was going to end their deal.”

  “That’s bullshit!” Andrew snapped, but thankfully no one hit him, probably because none of them were mean enough to strike a man recovering from a life threatening illness.

  “I heard every word!” Jacob said firmly, crossing his arms over his chest.

  “I love her!” Connor shouted.

  “Then why are you after her company?” Jacob demanded.

  “Okay, let’s get this over with, I have somewhere to be in an hour,” her father said, gesturing to her brothers to drag a bloody and panting Connor forward.

  “I’m a little confused about something,” Johnny said. “If he was trying to get on our good side, then why didn’t he try sucking up to us?”

  “He only kept telling us to fuck off,” Sean said, sounding confused.

  “He punched me,” Bryce bitched.

  “That’s because I didn’t want any of you!” Connor snapped.
br />   “What the hell do you mean that you didn’t want us?” Johnny demanded in outrage.

  “We’re a fucking catch!” Sean snapped.

  “You’d be lucky to get guys like us! Lucky!” Bryce said, sounding pissed and insulted.

  “I don’t want any of you!” Connor snapped.

  “You bastard!” Johnny gasped as her brothers glared at him.

  “Rory?” her father said, drawing her attention, but not enough to look away from Connor, who was looking up at her through one swollen eye.


  “Do you love him?”

  “Yes,” she said softly with a small nod that had Connor noticeably relaxing.

  “And what are you willing to do to prove to my daughter and my boys that you’re telling the truth and that you love her?” her father demanded, watching Connor intently as he waited.

  For a minute, Connor stood there, not saying anything as dread