Million Dollar Marriage
Million Dollar, Book 2
From New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans comes a hot romance about two strangers and their race to fall in love.
If someone had bet Nell a million dollars that she would be saying “I do” to a complete stranger on national television, she’d have called them crazy, but with her crushing student loan payments sending her deep into the red, she’s out of options. This should be nothing more than a business transaction—until she sets eyes on her groom, and everything changes.
The game is on the instant Luke spots Penelope “Nell” Carpenter. He’s out for the money, yes, but getting a little dirty with Nell doesn’t sound too bad either. Everyone knows he’s not the marrying kind, so it’s a good thing it’s just for show. God knows he’s the worst guy his pretty wife should pick for real.
They have nothing in common, but if they want the grand prize, they’ll have to beat out eight other couples. Proving that total opposites attract should be easy enough…as long as they don’t fall in love in the process.
The woman—Eloise Barker, the executive producer—is there. She’s scrutinizing each person. “Can you remove your shirt?” she says to one man. Then she shouts out, “For publicity purposes it would be really helpful if you wear as little as possible, since this is going on the billboards and we want to get people’s attention. So get naked, people! Within reason! Especially you, Luke!”
People start ripping off clothes, like it’s no big deal. All the men are shirtless. The women aren’t much better. The girl in the bikini top is rolling her boy shorts down to bare her flat tummy.
I cringe. I look down. I am already wearing tight capris and a big T-shirt over my workout bra. I don’t want to lose anything else, or my dignity will be next to go.
Thankfully, when Eloise’s eyes scrape over me, she doesn’t ask me to take the T-shirt off. I push my glasses up on my nose and wonder if I’m really that repellent that people would rather have me clothed.
The staff members start to line us up, alternating the men and women. As I climb to the second row of the bleachers by an Asian man, I realize who’s going to be on my other side.
Luke bounds up.
I can’t look.
Because holy chest.
He’s all smooth, tanned, rigid muscle. Tattoos galore. A massive six-pack. For someone I thought was so dirty, he smells really good.
And the thoughts he conjures up in my head? Beyond dirty. I can’t help it. He looks like something I’d want to eat with a spoon.
He snakes an arm around me. All that hardness ends up wrapped around me in a tight little package. “Fancy meeting you here, Penny.”
Every pore on my skin seems to rejoice from his touch, pricking with arousal.
I refuse to let that continue.
I scowl at him as the rest of the people line up. “Don’t call me that. No one ever calls me that.”
I try to nudge him away, but that’s impossible without actually touching him, which I’ve sworn not to do. The staff members seem intent on squeezing us together like sardines. They keep motioning us to squish closer. His arm drapes over me, and I press against his hard pectoral. I feel the heat of his bare chest, even through my T-shirt.
The photographer is looking through his viewfinder. “You know, all of you, kind of turn to the side a little so we all fit.”
We do. Now he’s behind me. The heat from his body is making me dizzy. “I’m Luke,” he whispers in my ear, and I do my best not to concentrate on every inch of hard, naked flesh . . .
Don’t care. Don’t care. Don’t . . . oh my god. I suddenly feel something twitch behind me.
Is that his cock, pressing against the small of my back?
I shove forward into the Asian dude in front of me and let out a gasp as I lose my balance and nearly tumble off the riser. Two massive hands grasp my arms, hauling me back onto steady ground before I can make the plunge and knock everyone else down like bowling pins.
“Steady.” I look up, and he’s giving me this cocky grin. Eyes almost feral and catlike, with thick, dark lashes. He has very white, straight teeth for a man so dirty. I wiggle my arm so he’ll release it, and he does, but slowly, his fingers lingering there.
My knees weaken. I feel this odd sensation, like he’s branded me. No man’s touch has ever done that to me.
But he’s him. And I’m me.
And never should the two of us come together. It’s insane. It’d totally upset the laws of the universe.
Finally, the photographer snaps the pictures he needs. I hold my breath almost the whole time.
“Now, I’m warning you all,” Eloise calls to everyone as we step down from the risers. “Don’t wear anything that doesn’t wash well. The first challenge is going to be a little dirty.”
Dirty? Ugh. I hate dirty.
But then I look at Luke, walking away from me. No, strutting away from me, like he knows he owns the whole damn room. With a spring in his step, he reaches down and picks up his shirt. I can’t stop staring at the way the tattoos dance across his perfect, tan, muscle-bound back.
And I think I might not hate dirty as much as I once did.