The Honeymoon Trap

By: Christina Hovland
Dear Reader,

Thank you for supporting a small publisher! Entangled prides itself on bringing you the highest quality romance you’ve come to expect, and we couldn’t do it without your continued support. We love romance, and we hope this book leaves you with a smile on your face and joy in your heart.

xoxo

Liz Pelletier, Publisher





For L.A. Mitchell, writing coach extraordinaire.

Because she believed in me.





Chapter One

William Covington desperately needed a beer and a place to crash. Most of all, he needed a damn rooster to speak. Sweat beaded along his hairline from the sweltering July heat. Dust particles swirled through the air of the dirt parking lot where the KDVX live truck was stationed. The muffled sounds of a banjo from the bluegrass band on the main stage played in the distance.

He urged the man in the bulky costume to look into the camera and say something. Anything.

“What does Magic Mike mean to the people of Confluence?” William stepped closer and nudged the guy with his elbow, his arm sinking into the mass of feathers.

The director’s monotone voice buzzed in his earpiece. “Miracle Mike, not Magic Mike. The rooster’s not a stripper.”

“Miracle Mike,” William corrected.

And he was interviewing a chicken. Rooster. Whatever. He held the mic closer to his guest’s glossy orange beak.

Although the oversize mascot had chatted like a pro before the interview, he now remained silent. Rooster Man apparently took his performance art seriously because he pecked at the air and shuffled silently in place. Festival onlookers shifted backward as the costumed man bobbed his head in the hypnotic way of a chicken.

A fluff piece about the annual Miracle Mike Headless Chicken Festival was fast becoming William’s journalistic downfall. Years of working his way up through larger and more exclusive news markets should have prepared him for a situation like this. He had investigated Wall Street scandals, extracted information from whistleblowers, and mastered the man-on-the-street interview. Now, in his debut appearance in the smallest television market he had ever worked, he couldn’t get a man in a rooster suit to cough up a sentence. Not even a word. Low-level reporting at the station was meant to introduce him to operations at his family’s television station, not humiliate him in front of the whole damn town.

In the years he’d been gone, not much had changed in Confluence. The citizens still thrived on all things nutty—especially the legendary bird. A headless Miracle Mike costume, the mayor had decided, might chase off tourists and didn’t leave much breathing room for a full-size man. So the people of Confluence chose to celebrate the Mike of his youth with his head firmly attached. The tourists ate it up.

The roving rooster made a show of pecking his way through the crowd and flapping his wings. Clearly the bird had his own agenda.

William scrambled after him, the cameraman following.

The director buzzed again in his ear. “Get him to talk, Cronkite.”

Yeah.

“Will you be running the marathon tomorrow?” William flashed a grin at the camera. He refused to be broken by an oversize cock.

The rooster paused his movement and stood stiff. Unresponsive.

William held his permanent smile while jockeying to get a response. “I saw you crossing the road earlier. I’m sure our viewers are curious to know why?”

“Bwaak,” screeched the rooster.

William’s hands itched to choke the chicken.

“Keep it serious,” the director said, low and full of threat.

William tossed his best what-do-you-want-me-to-do glare at the camera.

Rooster man inexplicably burst into a rendition of the funky chicken dance.

William moved out of the way, but the bird bobbed left when his oversize costume feet stepped right, and without even a cluck, he fell face-first onto William.

Feathers, wings, red chicken feet, and William blended into one dusty jumble. He grunted as he reached for a wing, only to get a handful of feathers. They tumbled to the ground where the rooster lay sprawled—the top half of a William chicken sandwich.

“There’s the money shot.” The director chuckled. “Cut back to the studio so these two can have some privacy.”

William stifled his groan. He’d never live this down.

The man finally rolled off and sat up to brush the dirt from his feathers. He yanked his costume head free. Perspiration soaked his red face. “Didn’t expect that to happen.”

“Makes two of us.” William stood and helped him to his huge feet. “What was that all about, anyway?”

Rooster dude wobbled as he stood, tugging the costume head back on. “Method acting, man. Chickens don’t talk.”

“Gotcha.” The guy had dedication. Couldn’t deny that.

William picked up his microphone and shook the dust off the KDVX station flag wrapped around it. He seriously needed that drink. Just like that, he had added one more tick-mark to his father’s list of Things William Managed to Screw Up. If he couldn’t handle a simple interview, how the hell would he prove he had the grit to run the family company? His father still hadn’t forgiven the debacle William’s foray into reality television caused, and that was a decade ago.

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