***For readers 18 and up***
WEDDING NIGHT STAND
Andrea Crisostomo is no longer your Ms. Right Now, thank you very much. She’s had enough of guys who like her “free spirit” but then break up with her before things get serious. One guy in particular screwed her over so much that she now hates weddings, but she has to suck it up to attend her sister Julie’s big day.
Damon Esquibel enjoys the slow and steady chase, and it looks like his two-year pursuit of Geraldine is about to pay off. He’s at his friend Anton’s destination wedding only because of her. But then he meets the sister of the bride, who doesn’t seem to want to be there, and it’s enough to question his plans for the evening – and the rest of the weekend.
As luck would have it, she was also a sucker for guys who rocked a suit. So much that she watched hours and hours of crappy video on the internet of guys in formal wear, to desensitize and prepare her hormones for this day. She watched wedding videos, awards-night speeches, government press conferences. After that parade of unfit men, wearing ill-fitting outfits, sporting yucky facial hair, Andrea thought she would be ready for her sister’s beach wedding where a good percentage of the guests would be reasonably attractive, not related to her, and probably in that item of clothing.
It helped. She got through the ceremony fine, without being attracted to anyone. (Maybe being in a church helped with that.) But then the reception at the beach happened, and he took the seat beside hers.
Perfection! said her head, heart, and hormones. Her hormones especially. This was the longest stretch so far in her twenties that she’d been single, and the little buggers were pleading to be given something to do.
So to speak.
He had eyes that…she just needed to look at them. She had to find an odd angle so it wouldn’t seem like she was checking him out, but their eyes met anyway, and even more awkwardly.
“Excuse me?” he said.
She coughed. “Sorry. I have a throat thing.” And then she looked away, toward the orchid and tulip centerpieces.
Long lashes. Five o’clock shadow. Hair that was a day or two overdue for a haircut. Straight, broad shoulders, leading into what had to be toned arms, the way his suit draped respectfully on him like it was just happy to be there.
Andrea had never seen him before, and had to clear something up, before this got any weirder.
“Groom’s side?” she asked.
“Anton’s officemate,” he answered, a beat late, and like he wasn’t completely there. And then as his backside slid across the chair and made itself comfortable, he said, “My name is Damon.”
Of course it is. “Andrea,” she replied.
His eyes fixed on her and tracked up to the band of small orchids atop her head, and then to her neck exposed by the ponytail that snaked down one shoulder, and further down still to the section of her lower back that peeked out from the criss-cross back straps of her lavender dress. She knew it, felt it all, even as her eyes swept back to the centerpiece.
“You’re a bridesmaid,” she heard him say. His voice had a wonderful rumble to it, already calling up thoughts of being under soft linens. Or against hard surfaces.
Maybe it’s not him. Maybe I just haven’t been properly had. In ages.
When she braved another glance at him, he had turned somewhere else—Table 10, and that distracted look was on his face again.
That was refreshing. Maybe it was safe to look at him after all. Maybe he wouldn’t notice how hungry her hormones were.
“Yes I am. Sister of the bride.” There was a bit of movement over at that table, and someone stood up. Cute, regal-looking, gorgeous in navy blue. His eyes followed her too, almost intently.
“And she is?” Andrea said.
He knew what she meant, and the smile that came to his face was an unexpected softening of all those sharp edges. “Geraldine. You don’t know her?”
“Probably a friend of the groom. I don’t know the people on his side.”
Damon leaned closer, his voice dropping to a whisper. It wasn’t necessary, really; there was music, and the white noise of two hundred people finding their seats. But it gave her the excuse to tilt slightly toward him and expose more of her neck.
“She is someone I’ve been trying to ask out. For a while now,” he admitted.
A small, light stab at her heart. That the rest of her ignored, because she was close enough to see his straight teeth and observe him lightly chew on the inside of his lip.
“She’s straight?” Andrea asked.
A smile, again. “Yes.”
“So what’s wrong with you?”
“Why won’t she bite? What’s wrong with you?”
He laughed a little. “She just doesn’t know me that well.”
Oh come on. She had eyes. And blood, and a working reproductive system. The way just being within arm’s length of Damon had woken up her ovaries, this Geraldine had to have a reason for not wanting a piece of that.
Those eyes shot toward Geraldine’s direction, before coming back to Andrea.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe it’s something you can enlighten me about. Female perspective and all.”
Damon didn’t know it, but he just wandered into her turf. She was the queen of the female perspective.
Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance, young adult, and new adult novellas. Her young adult/fantasy trilogy Interim Goddess of Love is a college love story featuring gods from Philippine mythology. Her contemporary romance novella Fairy Tale Fail won the 2012 Filipino Readers’ Choice award for Chick Lit. Through her blog Publishing in Pajamas (minavesguerra.com), she documents her experiments in e-publishing.
When not writing romance, she is president of communications firm Bronze Age Media, development communication consultant, indie publisher, professional editor, wife, and mother. She created the workshop series “Author at Once” and #romanceclass for writers and publishers.
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