Anywhere With You

Novella | a Destination Love anthology

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You are cordially invited to... tick off the bride. 

Teegan Michaels has attended six weddings for her sorority sisters dateless and she refuses to go to the last one alone. Not when she has a perfectly respectable—not to mention hot—NFL player ready to save her from humiliation. Who cares that he’s the bride’s ex-fiancé and only wants to go for revenge?

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Reviews for Anywhere With You:

"Anywhere With You was hilarious and fun. . .This book has so many elements that make for great reading: A fun, light read with hilarious side characters and a tension and innuendo-filled build up to sexy times that are explosive." -Christi @ Amazon


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Chapter One:

Teegan Michaels sat at her usual booth by the window at the small New York City cafe, sipping black coffee.

The bell above the front door rang louder than normal, so Teegan glanced up, watching as her best friend, Misty Stevenson-Hue barreled in. “Sorry I’m late. Major meltdown in the Hue house today.”

Misty's chin length auburn hair frizzed about in every direction, but that was nothing new. Poor thing was habitually sleepless and rarely took the few seconds she did have in the morning to comb her hair.

"Are the girls okay?” Teegan asked with a frown.

Misty snorted as she slid into the booth, dropping her purse and unwrapping her plaid scarf. "The girls? Please. The meltdown came from Jim, who was afraid to be left home alone with them.”

Teegan laughed. Misty and Jim had two-year-old twin daughters. Lately, it had been Attack of the Hellions at their place.

“He called three times on my way here,” she said, pulling the extra coffee Teegan had ordered toward her like it was the Holy Grail. She reached for her bag, rooted inside, and pulled out a small silver container. Unscrewing the top, she poured a steady stream of amber liquid into the steaming cup.

So it was that kind of day.

Smiling, Teegan said, “You should’ve told me it was Bring Your Flask To Work day. I would’ve dressed up for the occasion.”

Misty blew out a breath, tipping the canister up to cut off the flow. “I’ve been counting down the minutes ’til I could have this. It’s been so crazy at home. Jim’s schedule has gotten worse. He’s gone nearly three weeks out of the month now. Anytime he’s back, I feel like all I do is toss the girls at him and run out the door for a few hours of sanity." She flipped an errant curl out of her eyes and went on. "Life between the sheets hasn’t been all that great lately, either. Foreplay now includes him asking if I want to watch Game of Thrones or Walking Dead. It’s pathetic. I can’t freaking wait to get away for a while. We need this time together.” Misty sipped her drink, then pulled it away and looked down at it in disgust. She picked up the flask and poured more liquor into her cup. After swallowing another dose, she licked her lips and nodded as if satisfied. "Speaking of which. How’s it going? You find a date for this wedding yet or what?”

Teegan groaned, knowing her response would be answer enough.

"Nothing worked? Not even that website Jessica told us about?”

“I don’t believe I’m going to find a date for a destination wedding on an app where you have to swipe left or right based on how hot someone looks in their profile picture.”

Shrugging, Misty said, “Time’s getting limited. Either you call Juliet and tell her to take out your plus one, or you suck it up and get flexible." She pointed out the window. "Oh, look. That guy looks nice."

Teegan followed her line of sight to a tall man in a khaki trench coat and dress pants, carrying a briefcase. He was cute. Dark hair. Put together. Looked sensible. She lowered her gaze, as she was accustomed to doing lately. “The thick gold band on his left hand looks really nice, too.”

Misty squinted. “Yeah. That sucks.”

“Mmm-hmm.” Story of her life. The men she typically found were married, players, or psychopaths. Well, one of the men she’d met seemed like he had psychopathic tendencies. That date had been a quick one.

She dropped her head forward, making it thud against the table. “Why did I tell Juliet I was bringing a date?”

“Because you’re tired of going to our sorority sisters’ weddings stag. How many has it been now? Four? Five?” Teegan lifted her head just high enough to watch Misty counting on her fingers. “There was Hillary, then Samara, then Katie…oh, and Saylor.” She seemed stuck on the last two, so Teegan helped her out.

“Jessica and Avery,” she said, sitting up and wrapping her hands around her mug. “Six, Misty. I’ve gone to six weddings dateless."

With large puppy eyes and a sympathetic smile, Misty offered her flask.

Teegan snatched it and poured enough to make her nearly empty coffee fill back up to the top of her cup. "That has to be some sort of record, right? I mean, whose luck is that bad? Or is it even luck? I think it might just be me. I'm doing something to literally repel men."

Misty tapped her finger against her cheek in thought. "I bet we could turn this into a positive. We should call Guinness Book and tell them about—“

Teegan cut off her friend's statement with a peeved look, then said, "I'm not doing it again. I have to find someone for this wedding. I'm so desperate, I've been considering paying a man to be my date."

Misty's cup slammed onto the table, spewing a big glob of black coffee onto the battered wood table. Her eyes were wide and excited. "What, like an escort? Oh my god. Can I help pick him? Please? Please? Please?"

"I didn't say I was going to hire someone. Just that I thought about it."

Things weren’t that bad. Yet.

Misty slumped on her side of the booth. After a few beats, she said, "There's another option, you know. Not sure if you’d go for it though.“

Thank goodness. Hopefully, it wasn't too pricey. "Let's hear it."

Misty's phone rang. She didn't glance at her purse where the loud tune was coming from. Instead, she kept her gaze on Teegan. "Part of me wants to let it go to voicemail. The other part is afraid the girls have tied Jim up, and they're calling for ransom."

Poor guy.

"You better get it.”

Digging through her bag, Misty pulled out her phone and looked at the screen. “Oh, it’s Wes.”

Misty’s older brother. Extra tall, broad, and muscular. Every girl in college had drooled over Wes. Teegan wasn’t going to lie and say that she hadn’t fantasized about him, too. Wes was hot with a capital H, but didn’t seem to know it. Or he didn’t care that he made panties melt just by walking by. Instead, he’d been the type to see a lonely girl on the perimeter of the dance floor, and asked her to dance simply because he was that nice. He’d come to Teegan’s rescue more than a few times at college formals or dateless weddings. He might’ve been with Juliet back then, but he still insisted on saving a dance for Teegan.

Yep—melting panties all over the place.

Misty swiped a finger across her phone’s screen. “Damn. I missed it.” She placed the device on the table beside her coffee. “I’ll call him back in the cab.”

“You sure?” Teegan asked. “I don’t mind.”

Waving the comment away, Misty said, “It’s fine. I know what he’s calling about anyway.”

“How’s Wes doing?” Teegan knew he was living in Texas after his pro football career ended due to injury. If she remembered correctly, his only partner in life now was his Bull Mastiff named Peanut.

She might've been keeping track.

Didn't matter though. Misty had made it clear that she wouldn't support any of her friends dating her brother ever again. Not after Juliet had broken his heart.

Misty lifted her mug and sipped again. “I haven't had a chance to tell you. He got some amazing news from the doc last week.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, he got released off the DL.”

Disabled list. Something Teegan had heard was impossible based on the severity of his injury.

“But I thought you said the ACL was completely torn. That it would take months and months of surgery and therapy before he’d even be able to jog.”

Misty’s eyes brightened as her smile disappeared behind her lifted mug. “You know Wes is a stubborn ass. If there’s something he wants, he’s single-minded about getting it.” She shrugged. “He wanted off the gimp squad—as he called it—and playing football again, so he did it.”

Wow. Teegan had to give him credit. There wasn’t much in her life she had to fight for. Not that things came easy. She worked hard to earn a decent living and pay for her one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, but she’d never been so down and out, craving something everyone told her would never happen.

“That’s amazing. I remember you telling me how impossible the doctors said it would be for him to make a comeback. Good for him.”

Misty's expression showed her elation for her brother's hard work. "I'm so proud of that big lump of a man. It's not public yet, so don't say anything to anyone. He wants it to be a surprise." A wide, delighted smirk spread across her face. "Juliet's going to be so freakin' shocked when she finds out. God, I hope I get to see her reaction."

Her phone rang again. She lowered her eyes to the screen then shook her head and grinned.

“Persistent as hell.” Misty pressed a button, making the cell go silent. Looking at Teegan, she said, “Him again.”

"You can answer it," Teegan said. "I don't mind. He's called twice. Something might be wrong. What if Jim is in trouble and he can't get a hold of you, so he called Wes to reach you?"

Still smiling, Misty dropped her chin and lifted her eyebrows.

“Okay, probably not,” Teegan said. “But obviously he needs you right now if he keeps calling.”

“It’s not me he needs," she said. "It’s you."

Her? What could Wes possibly need from Teegan?

Misty’s phone started ringing again. She pressed a button, then handed the device over to Teegan. She reached across the table and placed the phone to her ear, attempting to keep her racing heart in check. She’d known Wes for years, and he still made her nervous. He was always so put together and poised. Unlike Teegan, who felt like a bumbling idiot whenever she talked to him.

“H-hello?” she said.

“Hey, Teegan. It’s Wes.”

“Oh, Wes,” she said, like she didn’t already know it was him. “How are you?”

“Great, thanks. How about you?”

She swallowed past her dry throat. “G-good.”

There was a long, awkward pause. Then he cleared his throat on the other end. "I’m calling because I need a favor."

"Favor? From me?" Teegan was trying to be cool, she really was. But she was shaking all the way down to her bones.

"Actually, it's more than just a favor. I need a date."

What?” All the oxygen in her lungs emptied in half a second.

This was a man who was swarmed by hundreds of women simply walking to the grocery store. He hardly needed Teegan's help in the dating department.

“I want you to take me as your date to Juliet’s wedding,” he went on.

She choked on her tongue. “You want me to do what?”

Looking across the table, Misty was still grinning behind her spiked coffee.

“Take me with you to Juliet's wedding," Will said. "It's not a big deal. You need a date, right? I'll do it."

“But...but Juliet is your ex. You guys lived together. You-you slept together.“ Wildly and passionately, according to Juliet.

There was a grunt on the other end, then, “Yeah. And you remember what happened after.”

She did. Juliet had left him while he was trying to learn how to walk again. They were engaged, and she just up and left him. Wes. The best guy out there.

"If you were already going with someone, I wouldn't ask," he said. "But Misty mentioned that you were still dateless, so I thought…I figured…"

She propped an elbow on the table and rubbed her forehead. “That I’d be desperate?”

“Yes. No. I mean, I just assumed you’d want to go with someone. Anyone.”

God, had it gotten so bad that even Misty’s hot older brother—who lived thousands of miles away, mind you—knew she was pathetically single?

“I don’t know, Wes,” she said, garnering a confused look from her friend.

Why? Misty mouthed. What’s wrong?

“I just…” she went on. “I’m afraid what people would say.” She’d never been fully accepted by her Delta Gamma sisters. Sure, she was one of them. But she always felt like she was on the outside looking in. That was never more apparent when they all were happy in love, and she was…not.

What would they think of her if she took the bride's ex to the wedding? It screamed of desperation, didn't it?

A frustrated sigh came from the other end. “Look, Teegan. I know you won’t understand, but I need this. I need to be at that wedding.”

His voice was fierce and unrelenting. The passion behind his words was unmistakable.

“Why?” she asked. “So you can ruin her wedding? Toss her fiancé into to ocean to be eaten by sharks?”

"Actually, that's a great plan."

“Uh…” she said.

"I’m joking," he said. "I have no idea what I’m going to do. I haven’t gotten that far. I just need Juliet to see me one last time, getting around like I was never hurt. I want to see her surprise when she realizes she made a mistake by leaving me.”

As far as anyone else was concerned, Juliet had made an enormous mistake. Wes was an amazing man. Sweet, caring, talented and giving. He was damn near perfect. Someone Teegan would love the hell out of if ever given a chance. Not that she would get it.

Then the thought occurred to her that by bringing him as her date, she would technically get the chance. Partially, at least.

Something stirred inside her. Something…hopeful.

Sure, he was Juliet’s ex. But he was still Wes. He was a good guy. He would just be her date for the long weekend in Mexico. And the best part, she wouldn’t have to go to her seventh Delta Gam wedding alone. She wouldn’t have to be the poor, pitiful sorority sister who was hopeless when it came to men.

Plus, she didn’t have anyone else banging down her door, so…

As if reading her thoughts, he said, “Do you have any other prospects right now?”

She traced the rim of her coffee cup with a finger. “No.”

“Perfect, so there’s no one to stand in my way. I can have you all to myself.”

Her hand froze. A zing raced up her spine at that statement, which was ridiculous because he definitely didn’t mean it in the context she took it. But hell, she wasn’t going to worry about semantics right now.

“So, I take you with me to the Caribbean, and that’s it?”

“That’s as far as I’ve thought this through, yeah,” he said. A pause, then, “So, will you do it?”

She glanced up and watched Misty tip her silver flask up to take a long swig of the liquor inside, then she made a gesture at Teegan, urging her on.

“I have one condition,” Teegan said.

“Name it,” Wes said.

“While we’re at the wedding, you’re there with me. You can have the rest of the weekend to do whatever. But any wedding events and the ceremony itself are mine. You stand by my side and act like a proper date, deal?”

Another moment of silence, then, with satisfaction in his tone, he said, “Deal.”