Oil Kings, Book 5
Publication Date: August 16, 2021
When Aiden King asked me out four years ago, I went from mousy librarian to wife of the most wanted bachelor in Montana in four months flat. No longer the nerdy girl from the wrong side of the tracks, I was a CEO’s wife in a mansion by the river—and my husband was the man of my dreams. I almost couldn’t believe my good fortune.
Turns out, I shouldn’t have believed it. After years of rattling around that mansion alone while Aiden put in long hours at the office, I learned his secret: he’d needed to marry someone, anyone, to fulfill his trust requirements, and the nerdy girl from the wrong side of the tracks had been an easy target.
I never thought I’d be the girl asking a handsome millionaire for a divorce. Now, my pride and I just want to limp back to my family and start over. But to do that, I’ll have to swallow one question. If the trust only required him to be married for a year, why has it been four years since we said I do?
Work has become my identity. I went into the family business and the responsibility is staggering. One mess up and people can die. I know that all too well and I’ve dedicated myself to doing better. I’m exceptional at my job. Meticulous. Dedicated.
But for a guy who’s such a perfectionist, I really messed up my marriage. It took Kate walking out to get me to wake up and realize what an empty existence I’ve built.
So, what does a workaholic do when he realizes his work, and especially the money, means nothing to him? That there’s only one obsession he’s ever had, and she’s staying with her rowdy, overprotective family? Kate’s always been the only one for me. It’s time for this King to loosen his tie and win back his queen.
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08T6PZY8X Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/kings-queen/id1550125074 Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kings-queen-marie-johnston/1138661932 Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/king-s-queen-1 GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Marie_Johnston_King_s_Queen?id=2II6EAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US
Can I get a room for the next three nights?” Preferably as close to Kate as possible? I glanced up. Seven levels. What were the odds I’d land on the same floor?
“I’m so sorry, sir. We don’t have any vacancies.”
None? It was December. A slow month for conferences and sporting events. Ah. “Construction?”
Her smile was sympathetic. “I’m sorry. I can help you find a room in a hotel nearby.”
I hadn’t expected to spend a lot of time with Kate while she was at her convention, but I’d at least hoped to be under the same roof. The roof might house a few hundred rooms, but I’d remained optimistic.
Kate’s attention was on us. “No opening?”
I tucked my wallet back into my slacks. “No problem. I’ll talk with Luna about the bedroom.” Could I use it when the plane wasn’t in use? I didn’t care to sit in another hotel.
“On the plane?” Kate glanced at the young man helping her, then at the woman assisting me. Her gaze landed on me, full of resolve. “Just stay with me.”
“This is your conference.” I could fist pump right now, but I hadn’t meant to intrude this much on her weekend. She was technically working, after all.
“It’s all right, Aiden.”
I thanked Cynthia for her time, gathered my suitcase and Kate’s, and shouldered my tech bag while she finished up.
On the way to the elevator, she handed me a key, hesitant. “There’s two beds. Two queens.”
Damn. “All right.”
Still. Progress was progress. We were talking. She hadn’t asked when we were going to sign the divorce papers. I was making progress whether I was back in her bed or not.
Had I ever thought of going anywhere by myself since I’d been married? When I was single, I’d traveled as much as my pocketbook would allow. A week in Cozumel. A weekend in Regina, Canada. Going alone didn’t bother me.
Going alone when I was married did.
I rose with an armful of blue tulle and caught Aiden staring at me.
He was doing that thing with the office chair. His body was hitched to the side, an arm draped over the back. A move that was devastating in his dress shirt and suit jacket. But with a T-shirt that left nothing to the imagination—well, I didn’t have to imagine.
Concern welled in his dark eyes. “What’s wrong? Why wouldn’t you visit Bisa?”
Sometimes he surprised me with how astute he was—about me. Not about anything else. “It just never worked out.”
“You enjoy traveling. I would’ve gone with.”
How did I explain? “When I was single, I made sure it didn’t limit me. I wasn’t going to be one of those spinster women who sat home with a bunch of cats and read books. After I was married…I didn’t want to travel with someone who didn’t want to be with me.”
He unhooked his arm and rose, towering over me. “I want to be with you, Kate.”
And I wanted him to understand. When we were together, he was rarely with me. The few minutes on the plane before we’d taken off was what I wanted. I didn’t demand his entire day. I knew work was important to him. I just wanted to be important too. “We’re working on it, Aiden. That’s enough for now.”
His expression remained pensive until his gaze dropped to the bundle in my arms. His brows drew together. “Are you going to wear that?” He peered closer. “Is that a blue wig?”
“It’s, um, dress-as-a-book-character night, and Bisa and I have this thing. She’s a children’s librarian, and…” I blew out a breath and looked at the getup I held. “We go as Thing One and Thing Two. Yeah, so, we do the costume with blue tulle and red-and-white-striped leggings. More comfortable than red footie pajamas, and…” I stopped before I started describing how I hated using a public restroom when I had to unzip the red pajama-style costume and strip down just to pee.
The corner of his mouth hooked upward first, then the rest as I was rewarded with a breathtaking grin. “She’s coming to grab you, right? So, I can see the both of you together?”
I scowled. “No. I was going to meet her.”
“Then I want a picture.”
“Kate.” He crowded into me, and God, did I love when he did that. “I’d really love to see a photo of you two together having fun.”
Sincerity filled his words. He wasn’t doing it to laugh at me. He’d never done that. I might’ve pointed out some of Aiden’s faults on this trip, but he had a lot of good qualities. A lot of reasons why I’d fallen in love with him. “All right. I’ll message her and ask if she can come up.”
“I just need to know one more thing.” He dipped his head down by my ear until his hot breath whispered over my ear. “Are you Thing One or Thing Two?”
Marie Johnston is a RITA® Finalist, and a best-selling and award-winning writer of paranormal and contemporary romance – and an avid reader of them both.
Several years ago, when kids started outnumbering adults in the house, Marie Johnston left her job as a public health microbiologist to stay at home. Settling into working part-time and shuttling kids around gave Marie the opportunity to think about what she wanted to be when she grew up. A die-hard science geek, she explored her previously thought to be non-existent creative side after much time spent making snowman crafts and coloring princesses. Having entertained thoughts of writing a book one day then subsequently deciding it would be too hard, she finally put the figurative pen to paper and began to type – and fell in love with storytelling.
The Sigma Menace is the first series by Marie with Fever Claim being her first book EVER. She is humbled by the fact that people are willing to read to her books and looks forward to keeping readers entertained for many years.
Marie lives with her husband and four kids in the Upper Midwest where the summers are gorgeous, the winters are brutal, and spring and fall are luxuries.
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