Only with You (The Best Mistake #1) - Page 1


If only the boots had come with some sort of warning label.

Perhaps a succinct sticker reading, HOOKER.

Or even a tasteful note card indicating, “These shoes will change your life.”

But the knee-high, rhinestone-covered boots said neither of these things, and so Sophie Claire Dalton made the most crucial decision of her life without having all the information.

Not that Sophie realized the magnitude of the choice she was about to make. If someone were to ask her about the important decision of her life, the feminine dilemma of shoe choice probably wouldn’t have been on her radar.

She might have thought it was the tearful junior prom date decision between Adam and Gary.

(Adam. Way cuter. Less acne.)

Or perhaps the melodramatic soul-searching about whether to pursue soccer or cheerleading.

(Cheerleading, totally. Boxy athletic shorts hadn’t stood a pubescent chance against a flippy little skirt.)

It could have been her long-deliberated college destination.

(Stanford. Yep, Sophie was one of those girls.)

Then there was the choice that had nearly ripped her heart out. Jon McHale had dropped to his knee their senior year of college with a diamond ring the size of her face and the promise of yuppie housewife security.

(Answer: No. Although that decision had been particularly rough. The ring had been Tiffany and the man had been sweet.)

Or perhaps most likely, Sophie might have guessed the proverbial fork was the debate over whether to finish her stint at Harvard Law or drop out and pursue a life of, well…aimlessness.

(Current occupation: cocktail waitress.)

And yet, none of these decisions would be as life-altering as the choice she was about to make.

Classic strappy black sandals, or…The Boots.

Clueless to the magnitude of what she was about to decide, Sophie teetered over to the full-length mirror of her Las Vegas hotel room, tugging at the hem of her black miniskirt. She extended the black sandal on her left foot for inspection and winced. Surely that white, flabby and unshaven stump wasn’t her leg.

Damn. The testicle-shaped birthmark above her left knee said the limb was definitely hers. And the pasty complexion looked just about right for a lazy Seattle native in the middle of January.

As for the shoes, the delicate high-heeled sandals had potential. Sexy but understated. Very Audrey Hepburn. Very Jackie Onassis.

But on the other hand…

Sophie pivoted awkwardly to extend her other leg and inspected the boot option. They’d been an impulse buy (okay fine, a slightly tipsy impulse buy) from the Lover’s Package sex shop for last year’s Halloween costume of Sexy Space Girl.

Alas, due to some unflattering Halloween-day bloating, the Sexy Space Girl had never made an appearance, and Sophie had tackled Halloween as the green M&M for the third year in a row.

The boots had sat abandoned and unworn in her closet, awaiting their destiny.

Sophie chewed on her lip and considered. The boots were certainly tacky, but wasn’t that kind of the point of a bachelorette party in Vegas? Particularly a bachelorette party for which the slightly unhinged bride had declared a theme of Totally Trashy? These boots were practically the poster children for trashy.

Not to mention they’d cover the glow-in-the-dark-white shade of her calves.

Decision made, Sophie flipped off her old standby black sandal. There’d be plenty of time to channel first ladies and iconic movie stars at job interviews and bridal showers.

The bride’s pouty voice echoed in Sophie’s ear. I want my bachelorette party to be hella skanky and memorable. If you’re going to be on your period that weekend, fix it.

Which was totally reasonable, since all women could totally just up and regulate their uteruses with a firm talking-to.

Sophie was a sucker for traditional wedding hoopla, bachelorette parties included. But she wasn’t looking forward to this one. Had the bride not been her cousin, and the maid of honor not been Sophie’s sister, she would have bailed. But family was family, so here she was in a hotel room she couldn’t afford, dressed like some sort of space-station call girl.

Grabbing her cosmetic bag, Sophie teetered into the bathroom and eyed the multiple mirrors. She pulled the magnifying mirror away from the wall and stared at herself in rapt horror. No pasty American female in her late twenties would have thought it a good idea to zoom in on skin that had been maybe just a tiny bit free with the gin and lax on the sunscreen.

Sophie pushed the judgmental mirror away and gave it the bird. She didn’t need a crappy little mirror calling attention to her flaws. She had a mother and a sister for that.

Turning toward the normal, less

judgmental mirror, she began applying her makeup with a heavier hand than usual. And the last step in the transformation to tart?

Fake eyelashes.

They’d been deemed mandatory for all bridesmaids. A Totally Trashy uniform of sorts. Sophie squinted at the elaborate packaging. Not only were these things like an inch long, but they had little fake gemstones on them. She shrugged. At least they’d match her boots.

After twenty minutes and a good deal of cursing (Jackie O was long gone by this point), Sophie managed to attach something that looked akin to bedazzled pube clumps onto her normally pale, stubby lashes.

Lovely, she thought. Really lovely and classy.

Last, she wound her blonde hair around a curling iron to create a mass of showgirl curls. Stepping back, she surveyed the overall results in the mirror. Not bad, considering.

This was not the Sophie Dalton who’d been dumped over the phone yesterday afternoon while standing in the airport security line as the TSA agents were disassembling her carefully packed bag.

A bag that contained The Boots. And a purple vibrator. Which the judgmental little security man had sooooo not believed was a gag gift for Trish.

But that loser version of herself wasn’t here tonight.

No, the Sophie in the mirror had her shit together. Granted, it was trampy shit. And she would have to blame the slightly red, puffy eyes on the dry Las Vegas air. Still, she thought she was hiding the pathetic pretty damn well. At least she wasn’t wallowing at home with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Sophie yanked the curling iron plug from the wall and blinked back the tears that would probably send her fake eyelashes sliding down her cheeks. She wasn’t even sure why she was crying. It wasn’t as though Brian had been The One. He was the fun guy, not the husband potential you brought home to Mom. They’d only been dating for eight months and Brian had switched jobs no fewer than three times.

For once, Sophie had been the stable one in the relationship.

Which was why it stung when he’d told her yesterday that she simply didn’t have enough drive. That he needed a woman who knew what she wanted, whereas Sophie was just floating.

Floating, he’d said. Right before the Sea-Tac Airport TSA agents had loudly commanded her to hang up the phone and repack her “pleasure toys.”

Whatever. His loss.

Slopping on a glittery lip gloss that claimed to “plump” lips into a sexy pout with God only knew what kind of chemicals, Sophie took one final glance in the mirror.

Skirt the size of a Band-Aid? Check.

Scrappy halter top barely covering her nipples? Got it.

Pole dancer makeup? Definitely.

And the final touch: boots that belonged in a brothel.

Perfect. She looked like a girl looking for no-strings-attached sex.

Exactly what she needed.


As with most massive Vegas hotels, the trek from her room to the elevator was more exercise than Sophie got in the average month. Six wrong turns later, she found herself in the barely lit elevator lobby of the thirty-sixth floor.

Sophie had been secretly hoping for one of the themed Las Vegas hotels. A girl didn’t have to bother with faking class when surrounded by gaudy imitations of New York City or the Eiffel Tower.

But Brynn hadn’t asked Sophie for input, which meant they were staying at one of the newer, swanky resorts. Not a tacky fake pyramid in sight. It was all sleek furniture, mod décor, and shitty lighting.

On second thought, maybe the resort did have a theme: ostentatious. Perfect for Sophie’s sister and cousin.

She pulled out her cell and sent a text message to her sister.

On my way. Where should I meet you?

Her phone beeped almost immediately with a return message.

Sapphire in the lobby. I’ll let Trish know you’ll be late.

Sophie dropped the phone back into her clutch with an eye roll. Two minutes late. She hadn’t even made it to the bar yet, and already she was getting a lecture. The elevator arrived with a chime, and Sophie sighed. Naturally, out of the eight possible elevator doors, the one that opened was at the far end from where she was standing.

Sound the judgmental alarm, big sister, she thought. I might be a whole three minutes late.

Thanks to the painful boots, Sophie’s gait was more of a constipated shuffle than an actual walk. She was barely two-thirds of the way toward the open elevator when the doors started to close again.

“Oh, come on!”

Really? Of all the cities, Las Vegas hadn’t had high heels in mind when they’d set up the elevator timing? But the Vegas gods apparently heard her dismay, because, as if on command, the doors reopened just as she reached them.


something going her way. She shuffled into the dimly lit elevator and stumbled.

Oh wow. Okay, so two things were going her way. It wasn’t the Vegas gods who had held the elevator for her. It had been another type of god entirely.

The tall, handsome variety.

Sophie was vaguely aware that she was gaping, but some men were simply meant to be ogled.

The perfectly tailored suit was definitely designer, and the subtle cologne smelled like money. His body had broad shoulders and a lean torso—the hallmark of a well-used gym membership.

The short cut of his brown hair only emphasized the classic masculinity of the square jaw and straight nose.

The eyes were a startling pale gray. Scratch that. Silver. And cold.

Sophie stiffened as she realized the physical appreciation was all one-way. Far from being admiring, his gaze was downright icy, and the rest of his face was completely expressionless. She instinctively disliked men who couldn’t muster a simple, polite smile for strangers, especially when she was drooling like Cujo.

Still, his indifference was nothing a little flash of leg couldn’t fix.

Sophie slipped into one of her more appealing characters. The one that had elderly men calling her “little lady,” and the younger generation buying her martinis and jewelry.

Slowly, she slid her hand down her side and fiddled with the hem of her skirt in shy modesty, as if, Oops, she just now realized her tiny skirt barely covered her lady bits.

Knowing that his eyes would have drifted down to her thighs before gentlemanly manners insisted he look back at her face, she let her lips turn upward into a bashful smile and pulled at the tip of her hair self-consciously.

It was all done in a split second, the movements perfectly manufactured to imply that she had absolutely no idea how darling she looked.

Sophie eyed her prey to see how he was reacting to her routine.

Her smile slipped.

He hadn’t taken the bait. He wasn’t even looking at her. He was staring at the elevator doors with a pinched expression as though he couldn’t wait to be out of a small confined space with someone so unsavory.

She narrowed her eyes. Fine, then. So he wasn’t a seduction candidate. There’d be plenty of horndogs prowling around the Vegas Strip who would be interested in a little harmless rebound sex.

This guy’s idea of sex was probably the equivalent of a nap. Efficient missionary position. Bra on. Disdain for messy body fluids. Yawn.

He reminded her of Brynn. They had that same uptight Oh crap, I lost a tree trunk up my ass expression. Still, she couldn’t leave him alone. Not completely. The man’s rigid posture and sullen mouth just begged to be provoked. Sophie took a step closer, hiding a smile as he shifted farther away from her.

“Hi there!” she chirped, knowing that her chipper tone would irritate him.


She tried again. “Thanks so much for holding the elevator for me. As you can see, these boots here aren’t exactly made for walkin’—”

Sophie’s sentence broke off.

The elevator jolted sharply and everything went pitch-black before lurching downward in a faster-than-normal descent.

Ohmigod ohmigod.

The narrow platform soles of her boots were no match for Armageddon, and Sophie was thrown off-balance.

Directly into the arms of the Gray Suit.

She buried her face against his chest, her nails clutching at his neck like a terrified kitten. Please, God, if you make this death trap stop plummeting I swear I’ll stop pestering this grumpy man.

The elevator shuddered again and then stopped.

She remained attached to the stranger as he seemed the only secure thing in sight. She inhaled the reassuring scent of Rich Man and relished the way his breath ruffled her hair. Vaguely she became aware that her nails were still clenched around the back of his neck, but she couldn’t bring herself to move away from his warmth just yet.

He finally cleared his throat and pushed her upright with a rough grip on her shoulders. She whimpered slightly at the withdrawal of physical support, her mind still blank with terror.

“What the hell?” he muttered.

Sophie leaned her shaking body against the wall of the elevator, wishing the irritable stranger would hold her again. Just until the trembling stopped.

“Are we stuck?” she asked in an unsteady voice.

“Looks that way,” he said gruffly.

He pulled a phone out of his pocket and used its light to illuminate the elevator control panel.


“What’s wrong?” she asked.