Jilted Groom(9)

By: Mia Carson

“I have most of the inn available,” she said bluntly and flipped open a ledger. “Would you like an upper floor? Front-facing or rear?”

“Main floor is fine, and front-facing.” He reached for his wallet, fascinated as the woman wrote down his information in the ledger, not a computer in sight.

She reached under the desk and handed him a large skeleton key with a numbered tag hanging from it. “Room four, then, should do you well. There’s a mini fridge and microwave in there, and the diner is two doors down. They don’t deliver.”

Edmund nodded as he handed over his card. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Good,” she said after swiping his card through a foursquare attached to her phone. “Stay as long as you need. Won’t charge your card until you check out.”

Edmund took his card from her gnarled hands. “Any place close to buy fresh clothes?”

“Head down to your right,” she instructed. “You might not find exactly what you’re looking for, but they sell jeans and t-shirts.” She eyed his dirty white dress shirt and tux pants, all the way down to his scuffed black shoes. “And boots, they sell those, too.”

“Thanks,” he said and turned quickly to find his room.

When the door swung open, he clicked on the light. A queen-sized bed was made up with white and red linens in a room that boasted a desk, mini-fridge, microwave, and a full bath. It wasn’t much, but it was enough, and he went straight for the phone on the desk. He called Tommy, and when he didn’t answer, Edmund left him a quick voicemail with the number to the room. He had a while before he’d hear from Kristen, so he left the inn, walking past the old woman standing at the front desk and outside. He reached the shop advertising jeans and boots, and ignoring the curious looks he received, quickly found his sizes in jeans, t-shirts, and boots. Edmund checked out as quickly as possible and rushed back to his room. For not wanting to be the center of attention or gossip, he sure as hell picked the wrong town to wind up in.

A message waited for him on the machine in his room. Tommy had called back, saying to keep him posted about his car and the town but said he might not want to call his mom just yet. ‘She’s headed to crazy town’ were his exact words.

“She can wait,” he agreed and tossed the bags of new clothes on his bed. “I’m not headed home anytime soon.”

A shower and a nap, in that order. That was what he needed. Maybe later, he’d check out the diner and see if there was a bar in town. A glass of whiskey would be a perfect ending to this shitty weekend.

Can’t say it was all bad, he told himself as he turned on the shower. You did meet one hot-ass mechanic. Maybe she’ll be your first lay since Jenny.

The woman didn’t seem interested in him, but he had some time. Shower first, and he’d worry about charming this woman into his bed for at least one incredible night smelling of honeysuckle and oil.

Chapter 4

Kris cursed the heat again and slipped her arms out of the sleeves of her jumpsuit, revealing her tight tank-top beneath. She tied the sleeves together behind her and went right back to work under the hood of the old Mustang. The car was in decent condition for the most part, but she had no idea what the hell he’d done to the poor thing to kill it like this. The battery was shot, but that wasn’t the worst of it. The engine had overheated, and she worried the time had come for a whole new one. This was the original, and nothing lasted forever.

The battery was an easy fix, but the engine for this car was extremely specific and expensive. Everything else looked alright, but any other repairs would be drops in the bucket compared to what she needed to fix if he wanted his car running again.

Wiping her face with a clean rag to clear away some of the sweat and grease, she sat down at her shop’s computer and searched for the engine she would need. The closest one was in Michigan, but it would take nearly a week to get to her and another few days after that to put it in. The price was close to ten grand, but since the guy wore tux pants like they were jeans, Kris wasn’t worried about his money. The clock on the wall said it’d been about an hour since she’d dropped him off—plenty of time to settle in.

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