One Night with a Millionaire (Daring Divorcees)By: Shannyn Schroeder
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Tess shimmied into her silk navy dress, knowing it wasn’t quite as fancy or formal as some women would wear, but it would do. It was either this or the little black dress she’d had for almost a decade. Her life rarely called for formal wear. She checked the time and realized Nina would be arriving any minute. Trevor said he’d stop by to help as well. When William, her ex, bailed on taking the kids for the weekend, her friends that she’d made in divorce support group had stepped up.
The night was important to the hospital because it raised so much money every year, but for Tess, it was the only night of the year when she wasn’t taking care of anyone. She wasn’t a nurse or a mom. She was just a woman out for a good time. And with the kids home for the summer, she needed a real night off.
The doorbell chimed just as she slipped on her heels.
Opening her bedroom door, she heard the cacophony of her home. The boys fought over something in their room, and Zoe yelled from her position on the couch.
“Someone’s at the door!” Zoe called for the second time.
Walking past, she tapped her daughter’s head. “You could’ve answered it.”
“You always taught me not to open the door for strangers.”
Tess rolled her eyes. “Nina and Trevor aren’t strangers.”
“But they’re babysitters. As if I need one.”
She ignored Zoe and opened the door to see Nina standing on the porch with a huge smile.
“You look hot!” Nina told her.
“Eww,” Zoe called from the couch.
“You should be thrilled your mom can pull this off. This is your future,” Nina said and gave Tess a quick hug. She swept a hand down the length of Tess’s body. “This is amazing. Don’t listen to the cranky teenager.”
Nina narrowed her eyes. “But it needs something…” She pointed a finger at Tess’s neck and then rummaged in her overnight bag. A moment later, she held a sparkly necklace in her hand. “I know you don’t do much jewelry, so I brought this. It’ll look fabulous.”
“That’s so thoughtful, but I can’t wear that.”
“Yes, you can. Turn around.” She twirled her finger. “It looks incredible for an expensive fake.”
She had no idea when Nina had become so bossy. They’d been friends for years, but it had taken Nina months of coffee dates with the group of divorcees before she’d engaged in conversation. Now she was telling Tess what to do.
Tess lifted her hair to let Nina clasp the necklace. As it dropped into place in the deep V neckline of her dress, Tess touched the cool stones. Adding glitter made her feel a little like a princess.
As if reading her mind, Nina said, “Okay, Cinderella, let me see.”
The doorbell sounded again, and Billy and Andrew tore into the room screaming, “Trevor!”
It was like they had radar for finding a guy who was fun. They both ran to the door and fought over who would answer it. When they finally yanked it open, they launched themselves at Trevor.
“Hey, guys. Way to make me feel welcome,” Nina said.
The boys pulled Trevor into the living room. He looked like the Jolly Green Giant being tugged by munchkins.
“Wow,” Trevor said when he saw Tess.
She smiled. “I know that’s a compliment, but I can’t help but wonder what you think of me every other time I see you.”
“Aww, you’re always beautiful. But this…this is wow.”
“Gross,” Billy said. “That’s my mom.”
“I know. And she’s my friend. Don’t you know any girls at school who are pretty?”
“Yeah, but…” He looked at Tess with his whole face scrunched. “She’s Mom.”
“Yeah, I love you, too, buddy. Go to the kitchen and wash up. Pizza should be here soon.”