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BURNING DOWN THE SPOUSE
by Dakota Cassidy

Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

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This was ridiculous, and she was doing nothing but wasting his time. So if she frigged up the interview, she could go back home to her aunt’s dark guest bedroom and get back into her nice warm bed. Let the frigging begin. “Can we be frank with one another?”

He sat back in his chair, running a hand over the dark stubble on his chin. “I want you to be whoever you want to be.”

Frankie ignored the joke in favor of her purpose, a warm bed and nothingness. “You can’t possibly expect me to believe you don’t know who I am.”

“Should I know who you are, Frankie?” When he said her name, slow and easy, a chill of unadulterated pleasure swept along her arms.

Her laughter was filled with bitter irony. “Maxine told you to pretend you didn’t know, right? So I wouldn’t be humiliated on my first official public outing.”

His face remained placid, his smoldering black eyes perfectly blank. “Have you been in jail?”

“Jail?” If she had any gumption, she’d be affronted. But she didn’t. So no affronting from her side of the desk.

“You said this was your first ‘official public outing.’ ”

“It is. And, no. No jail.” Though, she’d come precariously close after the judge viewed the tapes of her outburst. Destruction of property, blah, blah, blah.

“Hospitalized?”

Frankie’s return gaze was filled with cynicism. “What you really mean is institutionalized, don’t you?”

Nikos waggled a finger in admonishment and gave her a playful grin as a chaser. “Uh-uh-uh. You went there. I didn’t.”

“No. I haven’t been institutionalized. Though, after my display, I’m pretty sure some would say I should be.” In fact, Mitch had. On Hollywood Scoop. With his best sad-sympathetic face. Oscar statues had wept from near and far at his performance.

“Display? I have no idea what you mean.”

Who on the planet, and probably twelve other alternate dimensions, didn’t know who she was? She’d been on every rag mag and television gossip show for months, speculation about her mental well being the primary focus as they’d replayed in every speed imaginable, her infamous symphonic wooden spoon debut.

Quite frankly, on that night, she admittedly had looked like someone who’d escaped a full-body butterfly net and gone off her prescription pharmaceuticals. Hair wild, eyes wide and glazed, spittle forming at the corner of her mouth—all in perfect focus thanks to close-up genius, cameraman number two, Andy Jeffers. Add in the spoon she’d wielded like a sledgehammer, and she made one terror-raising lunatic.

Mitch and his PR crew had put some spin on her outburst, too, making him look like the poor, suffering husband of a woman whose mental state was challenged by the voices in her head.

“You really don’t know who I am?”

Nikos shook his dark head back and forth, the light catching the deep gleam of his thick hair. “Nope. Not a clue. You wanna tell me who you’re supposed to be so I can behave accordingly? If you’re royalty or something, I want to be sure I bow appropriately,” he said with a teasing tone.

“I’m Mitch in the Kitchen’s wi . . . um, ex-wife.” There. The elephant could leave the room.

“Mitch in the where?”

Wow. Not only super-fantastical looking, but gracious and kind. “Kitchen.”