Smash:A Stepbrother MMA Romance

By: B. B. Hamel

And yet when Dad called me to tell me about the nuptials, he sounded really happy. For the last few years, his life had been all about work and more work, with the occasional girlfriend of course. But that never seemed to make him happy, just more and more stressed. He needed something in his life to brighten up his days, and if Cindy was doing that for him, well, then I couldn’t get in the way of it.

Still, I didn’t have to be excited to meet another woman that was going to want to be my replacement mother. Or maybe this one was going to want to be my best friend instead. You could never tell until you met them which direction they’d take.

“You’ll be home this summer, right?” I asked her.

“Of course. What else would I do, pay rent?”

I laughed. “Solid point.”

“Between prostituting myself for cash and living with my parents for a few months, I choose parents.”

“Not an easy choice, though.”

“Not at all.” She paused, looking thoughtful. “You get to make your own hours as a hoe. On the flip side, free food is a big bonus.”

We both laughed, and I shook my head at her. I was pretty sure she was genuinely considering becoming a prostitute to avoid going home.

Lacey and I had been best friends all through high school. I moved around a lot when I was younger, because my dad got jobs all over the country. Eventually, though, he wound up at his company Blingo, and we stayed put in San Francisco. I met Lacey my second day of school, and we had been inseparable ever since.

“Well, you know where to find me if you ever need to escape the oppression,” I said.

“Please. You’ll come crawling to me first I bet.”

“How long before I’m knocking on your door? A day?”

“Four hours. Tops.”

The University of California at Berkeley’s campus was more or less empty by the end of the school year, and we didn’t have any trouble finding a prime spot to sit down and watch what few students were left walk by.

“You know,” Lacey said after a few minutes of relaxing silence, “you haven’t mentioned your little problem recently.”

I frowned, sipping my coffee. I hadn’t mentioned it because I was sick of thinking about him. Even though I hadn’t seen him since we’d gotten back from vacation, he hadn’t been too far from my mind at pretty much at all times. Cole the fighter, the cocky asshole, the gorgeous stranger.

And my husband, of course.

Technically, at least.

“Wish I had an update for you,” I said. “Just counting the days until I can legally pronounce him dead.”


“No. I wish. I can just push the divorce through without his consent at that point.”

“How long?”

“End of the summer.”

“Have you told your dad yet?”

I snorted. “Yeah, right. And disappoint him? No, thanks.”

“Still, he could probably help you. I bet he has contacts and stuff like that.”

“Maybe, but at this point, why bother? It’s almost over.”

Lacey nudged me, grinning. “You sure you want to divorce him? I mean, I remember what he looked like.”

I thought for a second. Flashes of Cole’s body as he walked from the ocean, dripping salt water, his eyes looking at me both playfully and intensely.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” I said, not sure at all.

“What a shame. Waste of prime real estate, if you ask me.”

“Who knows if it’s a waste? He’s gone and I’ll never see him again.”

Which was exactly how it was supposed to be. But one stupid night, half drunk on wine and half drunk on each other, we had stumbled into this Vegas-style marriage chapel. Normally, the marriages were just for fun, a kind of fake ceremony to make couples feel good about themselves.

But we ordered the “deluxe” package. Cole said that if we were getting married, then we were doing it right, and how could I argue with him?

What we didn’t know, of course, was that the Deluxe Package meant we were marrying legally. The staff probably did try to explain that at one point, but we were either too giddy to listen or just too stupid.

And so when I got home and tried to register to vote, I got a nice little surprise. In the field for “Marital Status” in the official records website I was browsing, I saw a nice big fat “M.” After a bunch of phone calls, and at least two total meltdowns, I found out that I had been legally married in Thailand to one Mister Cole Redson.

Of course, once I figured it out, I tried to track him down. I tried everything, but Cole Redson basically didn’t exist. I knew he was an MMA fighter, but there were no records of him fighting under that name. I found an old address, but he had moved away from that place a long time ago. I decided not to do too much research about him, because I could tell I was already starting to obsess. I decided I needed to just get the divorce pushed through, with or without him.

Cole Redson had just disappeared. He’d swept into my life during a stupid spring break to Thailand and then had disappeared again, leaving me a married woman and a wreck.

Fortunately, though, all I needed to do was prove that I had tried everything to find him, wait the required amount of time, publish a notice in the newspaper, and then I’d be rid of him. No more husband, no more problems.

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