The Wedding Must Go On. Robyn Grady
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Her vision became tunnelled, the world tipped upside down, and Roxy forgot to breathe. When she did fill her lungs it was with a gulp. Then she coughed and had to cover her mouth with the napkin.
‘You must have a temperature,’ she said over the square of linen. ‘You’re delirious.’
‘You have everything to gain, nothing to lose.’
‘Except Maria’s friendship when she bans me from her life for deceiving her.’
‘I’m betting she’ll name their first girl child after you. If not …’ his smile softened ‘… she’ll understand. That’s what friends do.’
Slowly Roxy set her napkin down. ‘You’d really commit to walking me down the aisle in that dress?’
‘It’s for a good cause. Besides, there’s such a thing as annulment.’ His laugh was a little too quick. ‘We’re not talking for real here, Roxy, just a means to an end. We both agreed. Neither of us is after that kind of commitment.’
She blinked and felt her cheeks go warm. Well, of course that was what he’d meant. This proposition was another of his angles to get to where he—and in this case she—wanted to go.
‘Was that a yes?’ he asked.
She frowned. She hadn’t said that. She couldn’t agree. ‘That’s too wild an idea.’
‘Way I see it, for you it’s a safe bet.’
About the Author
One Christmas long ago, ROBYN GRADY received a book from her big sister and immediately fell in love with Cinderella. Sprinklings of magic, deepest wishes come true—she was hooked! Picture books with glass slippers later gave way to romance novels and, more recently, the real-life dream of writing for Mills & Boon.
After a fifteen-year career in television, Robyn met her own modern-day hero. They live on Australia’s Sunshine Coast with their three little princesses, two poodles, and a cat called Tinkie. She loves new shoes, worn jeans, lunches at Moffat Beach and hanging out with her friends on eHarlequin. Learn about her latest releases at www.robyngrady.com, and don’t forget to say hi. She’d love to hear from you!
Recent titles by the same author:
EVERY GIRL’S SECRET FANTASY
NAUGHTY NIGHTS IN THE MILLIONAIRE’S MANSION DEVIL IN A DARK BLUE SUIT FIRED WAITRESS, HIRED MISTRESS
Did you know these are also available as eBooks? Visit www.millsandboon.co.uk
The Wedding Must Go On
THE worst possible person at the worst possible time.
Peeking through a gap in her back-room door, Roxanne Trammel admitted that looks weren’t the problem. The guest waiting at her Sydney wedding salon’s point-of-sale counter was over six feet tall, delectably masculine in demeanour and build … those lidded ice-blue eyes and coal-black hair would set any woman’s heartbeat tripping a thousand to one, including her own.
Roxy wanted to shrivel up and die because she knew that man. Knew him and more. That she’d slipped into this wedding gown moments ago was only the icing. The not so funny punchline to a bad joke she’d sooner forget.
Out by the counter, a line creased between the dark slashes of Nate Sparks’s brows before he caught the time on his Omega then rubbed the back of his neck … the same strong neck Roxy had clung to with such fervour that fateful spring evening when they’d shared their first and only kiss. If she closed her eyes, she could still smell his woodsy scent … feel the graze of his sandpaper jaw along her cheek. The magic his touch stirred deep inside had transported her to another time. Another place. She could admit that she hadn’t wanted that kiss to end.
But it had, and in the most cringe-worthy way imaginable.
Angling those linebacker shoulders in their immaculate suit jacket, her visitor called out, then checked behind the counter, around a potted palm, while Roxy bit her lip and wished him gone. She had nothing to say to Nate Sparks and only a limited amount of time to solve the problem surrounding this gown she wore. Make that problems—plural. At least three people’s futures depended on some answers.
Outside, Nate found some Perfect Dress notepaper on the counter and extracted a thin gold pen from his jacket’s inside pocket. Gazing off into the middle distance, he tapped that pen against his strong cleft chin, then, with a swift sure hand, began to write. Roxy poked her nose closer and exquisite Duchess satin rustled against the white-gloss frame.
What could he possibly want to say? Forgive me for treating you so abysmally. Please come out to dinner. Not likely. His exit speed would’ve left a navy torpedo green with envy. Not that he hadn’t enjoyed their kiss as much as she had. No one could fake that kind of intensity, even a man who, by all accounts, wasn’t short on potential partners. There could be only one explanation for his behaviour that night.
Given they’d met at their respective friends’ engagement party and she’d spoken of her profession within the wedding industry in such passionate terms, he must have worried that she’d naturally want to take their amazing first kiss a whole lot further. Like straight down the aisle.
In reality, Roxy believed marriage was an institution not to be taken lightly. Experience said that sustaining a relationship took a whole lot more than the immediate sizzle of emotions and naïve wish for a fairy-tale life. Still, while she might not care to set Nate Sparks straight on her opinion, neither could she hide behind this door for ever. Her sense of dignity, for one, wouldn’t allow it.
Shucking back bare shoulders, Roxy filled her lungs, fanned open the door and entered the main room, a long satin stream swishing proudly behind. Nate’s attention snapped up and those ice-blue eyes near fell out of his head. Above the knot of his cinnamon-coloured silk tie, his Adam’s apple bobbed. A heartbeat later he remembered to smile.
‘You’re here. I was leaving a note.’ His gaze dropped and eyes widened before he pushed out a throaty, nervous laugh. ‘Uh, nice outfit. Do you always serve people wearing a wedding gown?’
She couldn’t help but bait him.
‘Only when I’m feeling lonely.’
When Nate’s eyes widened more, Roxy grunted. He didn’t know whether to relax and pretend to be a good sport or swap those Pitt Street lace-ups for runners, repeat history and get out while the getting was good. He needn’t worry. She’d sooner burn down her shop and play in the ashes than allow him anywhere near her lips again.
Head high, Roxy slipped off her twinkling tiara and set the veil down.
‘What can I do for you, Nate?’
‘Greg told me this morning. I guess Marla would’ve told you too.’
She unclipped both diamanté earrings, then weighed them in her palm. After a year-long courtship, ‘Their wedding is off.’
The person for whom Roxy had lovingly made this dress was no longer tying the knot. She felt gutted, for Marla’s sake mostly but, in truth, also for her own. This gown was the most beautiful she’d ever created … a dress guaranteed to garner interest within industry circles and at a time when she needed it most.
Nate’s deep voice lowered more as his gaze intensified. ‘Greg’s a good friend. My best friend.’
‘Ditto Marla and me.’