Book 3 in the Hawaiian Holidays Series
Maribelle has always been unlucky in love. Bad relationships, bad men, just nothing good. The latest guy is her fiancé, who she found cheating on her at the chapel with her cousin. After dumping him at the altar, Maribelle swears off love. To mend her broken heart she goes to Hawaii to visit her friends Eddie and Sophia. She never expected Damon Walters and Alex Santiago to follow her with seduction on their minds, and she never expected them to want forever.
Damon and Alex have been in love with Maribelle for years. When Damon’s stupid brother loses her because of his cheating ways, the best friends decide it’s time to let Maribelle know just how they feel. Seducing her is easy, but convincing her to stay with them is going to be a challenge—one thing neither man has ever backed down from.
Reader Interests in
Book 3 in the Hawaiian Holidays Series
Two-time, cheating, no-good bastard.
Maribelle Sawyer looked up at her groom. Aaron smiled down at her, that trademark smile of his, the one that had never failed to make her whole body light up like the National Mall on the Fourth of July. He turned back to the minister, and she continued to study him. He was gorgeous. Not just plain old good-looking-guy gorgeous but movie-star gorgeous. The type of man Brad Pitt would be jealous of. And she had been lucky enough to be picked by him to marry. She had always thought herself fortunate, until she found him screwing her skanky cousin Denise. In the church they were to be married in.
The minister kept droning on about love and commitment, and Maribelle’s head pounded. What the hell was she doing there? Why was she standing next to the bastard as if she wanted to marry him? She didn’t. Not now.
Maribelle glanced at her two friends, Eddie and Sophia. They looked fabulous, both in deep, dark-purple dresses, their perfect bodies showed off to the best advantage. Maribelle had always been jealous of the fact that both of them could eat anything and it didn’t mar their figures. They were watching her with concern, as if they knew something was wrong. No one else detected it. Not her mother or father. Not even her dumbass groom.
She peeked up at him again. He was watching the minister as if he really cared about the vows, about the whole ceremony. It was as if he hadn’t been getting it on with her cousin in the supply closet just thirty minutes ago.
She went to look back at the minister, but Damon caught her eye. He might be Aaron’s brother and best man, but he had always been one of her best friends growing up. They were the same age with just six months separating them. He had been her confidant when she had been teased at school. He’d stood up to her skanky cousin Denise whenever she had been mean to her. He was watching her with a solemn expression in his eyes.
She turned back to the minister. Why was she doing this? Why did she feel the need to marry a man who couldn’t even be faithful the day of the wedding? How pathetic. She was willing to marry a man who didn’t love her enough to keep his dick in his pants in the church. Why? Lord only knew. But when her father had shown up to walk her down the aisle, she’d still been in some sort of shock.
It was starting to wear off.
“If anyone has a reason these two people should not marry, speak now or forever hold your peace.”
She glanced up at the groom, his stupid smiling face, and her blood started to heat. How dare he stand there and pretend he hadn’t been fucking someone else, as if it was no big deal? As if he had the right to get his rocks off.
The minister started to say something, but before Maribelle could stop herself, she raised her hand.
The minister looked confused, his gaze looking between her and Aaron.
“Maribelle, is there something wrong?”
The entire congregation was looking at her. She could feel their gazes burning in her back.
“Maribelle?” Aaron’s concerned voice filtered through the air.
She thought she heard someone laugh, and she would bet money on Eddie. She had never liked Aaron.
“I object to this marriage.”
Aaron tugged on her hand until she looked at him. There was a flash of anger in the depth of his blue gaze, and she took a step back. His fingers bit into her wrist.
Apparently realizing she was backing away from him, he schooled his features and smiled at her. Leaning down he asked, “What’s the matter, sweet?”
She twisted her arm until he released her wrist. “I’m not marrying you.”
That was her mother. She had always been worried that Maribelle would mess something up, especially this wedding. It was being touted as one of the weddings of the DC wedding season. And she was messing it up. But she refused to feel guilty about it. Well, she did a little, but she would deal with that later.
“What do you mean you aren’t marrying me?”
“I mean, I refuse to marry you.”
Another flash of anger moved over his face, and this time he didn’t even try to hide it.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I won’t marry you. Don’t want to. Refuse to.” Her voice rose with each statement.
The irritation on his face dissolved into a look of concern. “I think your nerves might be overset.”
“You’re right, they are.”
He smiled, and she wanted to punch him. In fact, she curled her fingers into her palm, making a fist.
“See, so we can resume—”
“I don’t think so.”
She turned to Eddie and handed her the bouquet. She was smiling, as was Sophia, but Maribelle didn’t miss the concern in their gazes. Before she could say anything, a hand clamped down hard on her shoulder. She was turned around so fast she almost lost her footing. Several people shouted at that. She recognized the voices of her friends’ boyfriends as she tried to gain her balance.
“Just what the fuck, Maribelle?”
She shook her head, trying to clear it. “I think you should be careful what you say in church. You probably have some bad marks in that column today, with your behavior.”
“My behavior? I’m not the one making an ass out of herself in front of some of the biggest names in DC. You are.”
He shouted it, and it echoed throughout the cathedral.
“Really? I think I’m actually keeping myself from looking like more of an ass further down the line. So, I call off the wedding.”
She turned toward her parents. They were looking at her with mixed expressions. Her mother looked horrified. Well, that made sense. Her mother never expected her to marry, and well, her mother never raised her voice. Ever. Her father, though, looked…satisfied. Odd. She would worry about that later.
“I’m sorry. I can’t marry him.”
“I think you need to tell me why you picked this moment to tell me. I deserve that much.”
Lord, he sounded so putout. Like he was the offended party. She turned back to him.
“I don’t think you want to go into this right now.”
“Jesus, I should have known you would do this. What the hell is wrong with you? You should be happy to marry me.”
Well, hell. He wasn’t going to let it go. He was going to force her to say something.
She leaned closer. “I don’t want to go into it.”
“No. I want to know now. You have humiliated me enough.”
“Humiliated you? You? Because I am crying off, you think that’s humiliating? I’ll tell you what is humiliating. Finding the man I thought loved me, the one I was ready to spend the rest of my life with, fucking my cousin in the church just thirty minutes before we were going to take vows. That’s humiliating.”
Tears welled up in her eyes, and she couldn’t help it. They spilled over and ran down her cheeks. “Knowing that the only reason you were marrying me was my money, that’s humiliating. Being left at the altar by a woman you apparently don’t love pales in comparison.”
His face turned an ugly shade of red, his anger and embarrassment easy to see. “What did you expect? You’re so damned uptight about sex. I had to find some kind of relief.”
She heard her mother gasp. Lord, she was probably out cold. And knowing her father, he left her on the floor if she was, and was coming after Aaron. But she couldn’t have that. Instead, she walked up to Aaron, braced her hands on his shoulders, and raised her knee to his groin. He went down with a cry of pain, and she turned on her heel and marched down the aisle. When she reached her cousin, she stopped and looked at her. Denise had been considered prettier, with her blonde hair, breast implants, and starved-to-perfection body.
“Tell you what, cousin. You can have him. Sloppy seconds have always been your taste.” Denise rose to her feet but then looked over her shoulder. Maribelle knew without looking Eddie and Sophia were there, backing her up. “You might want to think about using those acrylics on my face. I’m pretty sure I can snap you in two.”
Without another word, she turned and marched out of the church and down the hall.
“Someone has a car? Right? Someone can get me out of here?” Even she heard the panic in her voice. She had to get out of there. Now.
Eddie slipped her arm over her shoulder. “Sure, honey. Our guys can figure out a way back. We’ll get you out of here.”
When they stepped out of the church, the stretch limo was sitting there, and Maribelle laughed. Even in her state, she knew that there was a hysterical edge to it.
“Never mind. We’ve got wheels.”
She picked up the skirts of her dress and walked to the limo. The driver looked a little alarmed but said nothing as Maribelle climbed in. Her friends joined her.
“I just told him to drive around,” Sophia said. Maribelle barely registered her comment as she pulled the champagne out of the ice.
“I think this calls for a celebration,” Maribelle said.
“Right on,” Eddie said as she grabbed a couple of glasses.
“Honey, you sure you’re all right?”
“Why wouldn’t I be? I dumped the bastard. What would have been horrible would have been marrying him and finding out.”
Sophia reached over and laid her palm over the top of the champagne bottle that Maribelle was struggling with.
The concern in her voice had Maribelle glancing up. She looked from one friend to the other. They were an odd group, always had been. Sophia was the business-woman-of-the-year type, with her suits and schedules. Red hair, green eyes, and a complexion Mari would kill for. Eddie was the polar opposite. Short black hair, quick blue eyes, and a loud Texas accent she took pride in. And there was Maribelle, the mess.
Fear, pain, and anger clogged her throat. Dammit, she was not a mess. She was not the one who needed to be saved. She had taken control of the situation. Hell, she kneed her fiancé at the altar, in front of some of the most influential people in the United States.
She brushed Sophia’s hand away. “Thanks, I’m fine.”
She started struggling with the bottle as tears started to burn the back of her eyes again.
“I know you’re better off without him, but, honey, you don’t have to pretend with us,” Sophia said.
“Yeah. Sweetie, he’s a swine, but we know.”
She looked from one to another. They knew. They always did. She’d thought herself lucky to catch Aaron. Good-looking, nice, romantic, he’d barely noticed her as they grew up. Until last year. Until he needed money.
She dropped the unopened bottle on the floor of the limo. The churning emotions rushed forward, past that lump on her throat. She couldn’t stop the sob that escaped and didn’t even try. She collapsed in Sophia’s arms and cried. Eddie rubbed her back as they allowed her to sob.
It took several minutes before she could calm herself.
“Tell you what,” Eddie said. “Use that ticket to Hawaii and come back with us. We can spend some time together.”
She heard the tone in Eddie’s voice. Mari and Aaron had been slated to spend their honeymoon in Hawaii.
“I–I don’t know.” Being around all the happiness her friends had found with their men might be a little too much for her.
Sophia pulled back and looked at her. “Come on. We’ll have fun, and besides, you should at least do something with those two weeks.”
“Yeah, it’ll be fun. The three musketeers take Hawaii!” Eddie joked.
She looked from one friend to the other and realized that they weren’t going to let it go. Sophia had that determined glint in her eye that she got when going after a business deal, and Eddie looked ready to hog-tie her and throw her on the plane if she disagreed.
“Sure. Why not?”
Damon Walters looked at his brother and barely held on to his temper. He should have known the bastard was cheating on Mari. He’d never been faithful, not once, and especially to a woman he didn’t really care for. He’d played the part of bemused suitor, but there had been something calculating behind his eyes, his actions. There always was.
“What the fuck are you looking at?” His brother still hadn’t recovered from the knee to the groin, so the words came out a lot less strong than he probably wanted them to.
“One hell of a stupid man.”
“Get off my back.”
There was a knock at the door. Damon cracked the door, worried Mr. Sawyer had gone for his hunting rifle. There was no doubt in his mind that Mari’s father was ready to kill Aaron. Well, he had to get in line.
Instead, he found skanky Denise.
“Is he okay?”
He hated this woman. He had never actively hated another human being until he met her. As a paramedic, he didn’t have it in him to hate. It went against the nature of his life’s work. But this woman was mean to the core. She did everything in her power to hurt Mari.
Her expression soured, her lips pursing. He knew that look. It was always on her face when she struck out at someone. Usually Mari.
“I’d like to see him.”
“I think you’ve done enough damage for the day.”
“Let her in.” This came from his stupid-ass brother.
She pushed her way in. “Oh, my poor baby.” She rushed to his brother with all the sympathy of a reality star losing on a show. He knew better. Denise wasn’t any better than his brother.
She cooed and kissed him, and Damon tried his best not to vomit. The woman was disgusting, always had been. Come to think it, the things he hated about the plastic Barbie were the same things he could never accept about his brother. They were both calculating, mean-spirited, nasty, and plain evil.
“Poor baby? You mean you think Mari did something wrong? Hell, he’s lucky all she did was whack him in the gonads. It could have been worse.”
“Worse? How could it be worse?”
“Well, I would be careful of Mr. Sawyer. He hunts. And from the expression on his face, you are his next quarry.”
What little color there had been in his brother’s face faded. “Shit.”
“Don’t listen to him. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s just jealous because he’s had a crush on Mari his entire life.”
He tried to hide it, had done a damned good job with everyone, except Denise. The bitch had picked up on his feelings for Mari when they were teenagers.
“Don’t be an idiot. Damon’s gay.”
Another idiotic statement from an idiotic brother. Just because he and his roommate, Alex, shared women, his brother thought they were both gay.
Denise opened her mouth to correct him, but Damon didn’t need another argument, another target for his brother’s anger.
“You’re screwed, big brother. And I, for one, wash my hands of you.”
He turned to leave.
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“You had a good woman, one who wanted you, would have loved you until the end of your days. But you weren’t happy with that.”
“What I said out there was right. She was damned frigid.”
Anger swelled, along with a healthy dose of jealousy. He didn’t even want to think about his brother and his best friend having sex. Not when he had wanted her for too long.
“It’s your fault, as the man, if she’s not enjoying herself.”
“Yeah, well fucking her was like fucking a cold fish.”
Denise snickered, and before Damon could stop himself, he took two steps in Aaron’s direction, grabbed the jackass by the front of his shirt, yanked him up, and punched him in the nose. Bone cracked, and blood spurted all over the front of his shirt. Damon threw him back into the chair as a squealing Denise rushed toward Aaron.
It took him several minutes to calm himself after leaving the room. He was prepared to tear the bastard limb from limb. He noticed Alex Santiago, his roommate, and headed toward him.
“Hey, how’s your brother?” his best friend asked.
“His balls are fine. Now he has to worry about the broken nose I just gave him.”
Alex’s brows shot up. “Really? You lost your temper? What the hell did he do?
“He didn’t do anything. He said horrible things about Mari.”
“What kind of things?”
He could see the anger lighting in his best friend’s eyes and started to worry. Damon had a temper he usually kept under control. But Alex’s Hispanic temper sometimes got the better of him. They’d both had a crush on Mari for a long time. Since he’d been in the third grade, Damon had been halfway in love with her. From the moment Damon had introduced Alex to Mari, he’d been infatuated. Knowing she would never go for their need to share a woman, they had both opted to be friends.
“It was something about sex, wasn’t it?”
Damon nodded once.
Alex growled, but Damon’s cell phone ringing stopped him. It was Mari.
“Hey, sweetie, how you doing?”
“Fine, baby,” Eddie said, amusement threading her voice.
There was a beat of silence as he realized how territorial he sounded.
“She’s fine. We have her. I wanted to let you know because I knew you would worry. We convinced her to come back to Hawaii with us.”
“She doesn’t need to go there. Tell me where you are. I’ll come.”
Another beat of silence sounded over the phone as Alex frowned at him.
“No. We’re taking her. You know how crazy it will be here. She’ll be on every news program, they’ll tear her apart.”
The pain he heard in Eddie’s voice calmed him somewhat. Eddie and Sophia truly loved her, and now he knew they were only trying to protect their friend.
He sighed. “Okay. Tell her to call me. Anytime.”
“Sure. Could you talk to her father? She called him, but he talked of shooting off appendages she had damaged.”
He chuckled. “Nothing less than my brother deserves. We’ll calm him down.”
“Alex and me.”
“Hmm. Okay.” She said nothing for a moment. “You know, if I didn’t think the media would be all over this, I would leave her in your care, yours and Alex’s. I know you both would take excellent care of her.”
Before he could respond, she clicked off the phone and left Aaron staring at his.
He looked at Alex. “Eddie. She said they’re going to Hawaii.”
Alex frowned. “I don’t like that. But I can understand. There’s press, but it is easier to disappear in Hawaii than here in DC.”
His mind barely registered his friend’s comments. He kept going over the tone of Eddie’s voice when she had said they would take care of Mari. Both her friends had shown up with their new loves, two men for each woman. Was Eddie saying what he thought she was saying?
“We were going to go on vacation, right?”
Alex nodded. They had been thinking of trying to run away after the wedding, trying their best to ignore the fact that the woman they both loved had married someone else.
“Well, if Mari isn’t back in a few days, get ready because we’re going to Hawaii to get her.”
End of Excerpt
All of Melissa's Series
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