Ainslie Paton romance author

A Good Girl Never Got Ruined So Bad: A chapter from The Bliss King

Dear God I was thirsty. I licked my lips to find them dry and painfully cracked. My eyelids were heavy, swollen and stuck together. Holy Mother I felt terrible. What on earth made me decide to drink so much? Lord, what time was it? Please, please make it be after the meeting with Universal Publishing. Please, please make this bed be in a nice five star hotel in LA and the man, was there a man? I reached a hand out and felt beside me, make him handsome and very married and on his way out or already gone.

There was no one beside me, but the sheet was gorgeous soft Egyptian cotton. Maybe he was in the bathroom. I could hear birds? That couldn’t be. You couldn’t even open a window in most hotels, unless they were resort style. No man, no water running sounds, birds and the bedclothes were strangling me. I got an eye open and sat up so fast my head spun.

Whose pyjamas were these? Silk, quite lovely really, but so not mine. I took in the room, feeling seasick. This had to be a six star hotel. Did they make seven star ones? I should know that. Did I pay for this room, or did he? I really should know that. This room was huge. Technically it had to be a suite. It was a rock star famous kind of room, right out of a Vogue Living Magazine layout. And that was just what I could see. Mercy, this would be costing a fortune, unless I’d picked up the manager of a hotel. A hotel that piped in birdsong.

I got my feet over the side of the bed, which was bigger than king size—what came after king? Nation, empire—and discovered carpet so incredibly thick I wanted to lie on it. Maybe I should lie on it. I certainly wasn’t any good at standing up.

What day was this? If I was back in New York, I’d have to sell my car to pay for this room if the man hadn’t already. Especially if this wasn’t Tuesday morning, the day after my trip to LA. Even if it was, I was late. I’d allowed for the possibility the meeting with Universal would go well and I might decide to arrange a little sleepover fun. I had carry-on luggage with enough for two nights away from home, but no more than that, and if this was any time after Tuesday 10am and I wasn’t back in New York, I was so very screwed.

Ironic really, given how I’d gotten that way, though if we’d done the deed, what was with the pyjamas? They must be complimentary, like a towelling robe. I’d like to keep them, bet they weren’t complimentary once you packed them in your case.

Why the hell wasn’t there a clock anywhere and where was my phone? Had I really gone to bed without setting it up on a charger somewhere? It would be out of battery by now.

I had absolutely no memory of arriving here or of who I’d arrived with. I sat back on the bed. My face was hot from the shame of that. What happened at the meeting? I never got much beyond tipsy. I certainly never had memory blackouts and that’s what was happening to me now.


There was definitely no water running. And other than the birds, the suite was deathly quiet. There was no clothing draped over furniture or the floor either. I hadn’t charged my phone but I’d hung my clothes up, stowed my bag? That made no sense. Less sense that the man had hung his up. They never did that. They left it all handy so they could exit stage right as quickly as possible, on the mistaken assumption I might want to cling. I didn’t have cling qualities. Not a clinger. No siree, the joke’s on you, random men who court carpet burn with the speed you use to get away from me, post-coital.

Oh Mother of God I’m not usually this hung-over either.

I had to be alone, and that was a relief. Now I just had to figure out where I was so I could get where I needed to be and apologise to whoever I’d let down. I’d never let my wicked, slutty little escapades interfere with work before; what was wrong with me, it was so unprofessional.

I took a few wobbly steps. There had to be the usual hotel room desk with the branded stationery somewhere. But first I opened the wardrobe. Interesting. It was full of clothing, expensive stuff, oh and look at the shoes, my size but not mine.

Oh Jesus. Was this a private home?

I’d come home with someone to their real life. I never did that. I spun around looking for the door. It was miles away, across acres of room that included a lounge setting, a cocktail bar, and was that a piano? I guess the good thing was I wouldn’t have to pay for this, but I still had no idea where I was, who he was. And oh fuck, was this his bedroom, his wife’s clothing and shoes?

I was going to be sick.

I tottered back the way I’d come and made it to the bathroom in time to throw up in the toilet. I washed my face and gargled water. Maybe I’d frightened the man off. I looked like I’d been asleep for a month, the kind of sleep that added ten years to your life. There was a single toothbrush and paste, neither were mine. This was definitely a private home, because there were no little bottles of complimentary gunk, but a cupboard of full size stuff. All brands I loved. None of it looked used.

The shower was gorgeous. A big walk-in number with multiple jets. But I didn’t dare sample it until I got some control over where I was, who I was likely to run in to. There was a bath as well, as big as a small kiddie pool. I went back to the bedroom and through the lounge room, past the piano. In front of me, beyond sheer curtains, was a balcony. It was bright out there. No wonder I could hear birds. Can’t face that. I went the other way, still no sign of my briefcase or carry-on. They must be elsewhere in the house, the kitchen maybe.

Why couldn’t I remember any of this? My head was thumping. My eyes didn’t want to stay open. I put my hand on the door latch and paused. I had no idea what or who I’d find on the other side of it. Unless, unless…

The man in the airport cafe, the man who’d put his hand on my knee, who’d stroked his thumb across my thigh. I flushed all over. I’d never made it to LA. This was New York, his house. Oh my God. I’d blown off the meeting with Universal to go to bed with a man who’s name I didn’t remember, but the very thought of was making me breathless.

And I’d been idiot enough to drink so much I had no memory of what we’d done in bed. I ran my hands over my body. Maybe he just looked good and was worth a mint, and didn’t know how to fuck. That would be an international disaster. I wasn’t sore anywhere. I didn’t feel used at all. Oh Mother, did I pass out before we could do anything? That would seem more likely because that man with his rum and raisin eyes, with his cruel lips and do what I say jaw, that man couldn’t possibly be a dud in bed. I’d almost melted when he said my name.

Did he strip me and put me in his wife’s PJs and leave me in his monstrous bed? That would account for why the sheets were only untucked on one side. Oh. I leant against the door. I was sweating. Humiliation burned in my chest and I might cry. What a mess. I’d blown my reputation with Universal and my chance with the most beautiful, most captivating man I’d ever met.

I needed to get out of here. I needed my bag, my phone, my laptop, my clothes. I needed to start this day over, grovel to Universal, and anyone else I’d pissed off, check in with my mom. I needed my life back. But my stuff was nowhere I could find.

I went back to the door and prepared myself to tough out the embarrassment. I finger combed my hair, tidied it the best I could without a brush. I put my hand on the latch and pulled down and nothing happened. The handle didn’t depress. The door stayed firmly shut.

I tried again. Nothing. How frustrating, there had to be a trick to it. I pushed, I pulled. I leant my weight against the door. I might as well have been an ant trying to move a tree. I appeared to be locked in. I sank to the floor as a wave of fear hit me.

I’d done a very stupid thing, and now I was in very big trouble.

The Bliss King – Captive is out on April 27

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