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Miranda inhaled the faint, fresh scent of bleach and rubbed her cheek against the smooth linen beneath her cheek. Awareness seeped in slowly, bringing with it a certain knowledge that she wasn’t supposed to be in bed. She inhaled and realized the room didn’t smell like her hotel room, which had a faint odor of used cat litter. She’d decided that morning she’d never again stay at that particular hotel.
Thus far, Las Vegas hadn’t impressed her. It was crowded, tawdry, and artificial. She longed for the quiet of her back yard where flowers bloomed, birds chirped, and occasionally the donkey down the road brayed.
No, she wasn’t in her hotel room. And the air didn’t have that antiseptic-and-vomit smell of a hospital.
Memory returned with a gasp of horror. She bolted upright, eyes wide open with terror. She launched herself toward the open door and never made it. A steely arm hooked around her middle and drew her against a newly familiar body.
“Let me go!” Miranda shouted.
“Shhh,” Sindre soothed and wrapped his other arm around her as she thrashed against his hold. She could not overpower his size and strength, yet he took care not to harm her.
“Shhh,” he repeated.
“Don’t shush me! Let me go!”
“I can’t,” he said.
“You mean you won’t,” she retorted in a bitter tone as her struggles subsided. She felt him move behind her, felt the press of his lips against her mussed hair.
“I can’t,” he reiterated. “You’re mine and I am yours.”
“Possibly,” he acknowledged in a mild tone. “If I release you, will you bolt?”
Miranda wanted to answer honestly, but wasn’t that stupid. She wanted to lie, but knew he wouldn’t believe her. Hell, she wouldn’t believe herself either. So, she pressed her lips together in a thin, firm line and said nothing.
“I suppose that wasn’t a very smart question,” he admitted with a small chuckle. “Now I know how Atlas felt when he saw his Chloe.”
“Who?” she blurted.
“And old acquaintance,” Sindre dismissed the question. “Of course you’ll run.”
He shifted his hold on her and scooped her up in his arms. She yelped and started struggling again with as little effect as before.
“Stop thrashing about or I won’t be responsible for how I subdue you,” he warned. She immediately went limp, though he felt the heat of her enraged glare. “Good girl.”
“This is illegal,” she snarled.
“What? Carrying you? You’re my wife. Tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people watched our wedding this morning.” He carried her from the bedroom to the sofa in the small suite.
“You coerced me.”
“A little.” He sat down and positioned his bride more comfortably on his lap, anchoring her against his body with the light, immovable pressure of one big hand. He reached over and plucked her glasses from a small table adjacent to the chair and held them in front of her. With a mutinous expression, she accepted the offering and settled her spectacles in place. Somehow it was better to see clearly, even when the vision offended her.
“A little?” she shrieked. He winced at the shrill tone piercing his ear drums. “I want an annulment now!”
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Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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