SOS: CONVENIENT HUSBAND REQUIRED                                            Harlequin Romance

 

 

 

 
 

May Coleridge must marry before she's thirty to inherit her family home and keep her new business afloat.

Adam Wavell comes from a long line of wastrels—but he's turned his life around. He's a corporate success story and a pillar of the community. Only, now his flaky sister has left him with her screaming baby!

A deal must be done. May will help Adam with his niece if he'll answer her SOS!

 

 

 

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What people are saying ...

 

"Fielding’s deft handling is a triumph.  The characters are fabulous, the relationship between them complex and nuanced…and keep a tissue handy at the end!”

 

Romantic Times, 4½ stars

 

"Liz Fielding has totally outdone herself with this book. My youngest pointed out that I say that about all her books and I really loved her last book, but this one had that something extra in it. This story is filled with poignant, heart wrenching moments."

 

Nancy, eHarlequin

 

"...Fielding does a marvelous spin on the marriage of convenience and reunions in this charming storyline."

 

Romance Junkies 4 stars

taste test...

It’s not high, May told herself as she set her foot firmly on the tree.  All she had to was haul herself up onto the branch and crawl along it.  No problem…

 

Easy enough to say when she was safely on the ground. 

Standing beneath the branch and looking up, it had seemed no distance at all.  The important thing, she reminded herself, was not to look down, but keep her eye on the goal.  

‘What on earth are you doing up there, Mouse?'

Sherbet dabs!

As her knee slipped, tearing her tights, she wondered how much worse this day could get.  The advantage that she didn’t have to look down to see who was beneath her – only one person had ever called her Mouse – was completely lost on her.

‘What do you think I’m doing?’ she asked, through gritted teeth.  ‘Checking the view?’

‘You should be able to see Melchester Castle from up there,’ he replied, as if she’d been serious.  ‘You’ll have to look a little further to your left, though.’

She was in enough trouble simply looking ahead.  She’d never been good with heights – something she only ever seemed to remember when she was too far off the ground to change her mind.

‘Why don’t you come up and point it out to me,’ she gasped.

‘I would be happy to,’ he replied, ‘but that branch doesn’t look as if it could support both us.’

He was right.  It was creaking ominously as she attempted to edge closer to the kitten which, despite her best efforts not to frighten it further, was backing off, a spitting, frightened orange ball of fur. 

It was far too late to wish she’d stuck to looking helpless at ground level.  She’d realised at a very early age that the pathetic “where’s a big strong man to help me” routine was never going to work for her – she wasn’t blonde enough, thin enough, pretty enough -- and had learned to get on and do it herself.   

It was plunging in without a thought for the consequences that had earned her the mocking nickname “Mouse”, short for “Danger Mouse”, bestowed on her by Adam Wavell when she was a chubby teen and he was a mocking, nerdy, glasses-wearing sixth former at the local high school.    

Her knee slipped a second time and a gasp from below warned her that Adam wasn’t the only one with a worm’s eye view of her underwear.  A quick blink confirmed that her antics were beginning to attract an audience of mid-morning dog walkers, older children on their autumn break and shoppers taking the scenic route into the town centre – just too late to be of help. 

Then a flash, followed by several more as the idea caught on, warned her that someone had taken a photograph using their mobile phone.  Terrific.  She was going to be in tomorrow’s edition of the Maybridge Observer for sure; worse, she’d be on YouTube by lunch time.

She had no one to blame but herself, she reminded herself, making a firm resolution that the next time she spotted an animal in distress she’d call the RSPCA and leave it to them.  That wasn’t going to help her now, though and the sooner she grabbed the kitten and returned to earth the better.

‘Here, puss,’ she coaxed, desperately, but its only response was to hiss at her and edge further along the branch.  Muttering under her breath, she went after it.  The kitten had the advantage.  Unlike her, it weighed nothing and, as the branch thinned and began to bend noticeably beneath her she made a desperate lunge earning herself a cheer from the crowd as she managed to finally grab it.  The kitten, ungratefully, sank its teeth into her thumb. 

‘Pass it down,’ Adam said, his arms raised to take it from her. 

Easier said than done.  In its terror it had dug its needle claws in, clinging to her hand as desperately as it had clung to the branch.

‘You’ll have to unhook me.  Don’t let it go!’ she warned as she lowered it towards him.  She was considerably higher now and she had to lean down a long way so that he could detach the little creature with the minimum of damage to her skin.

It was a mistake. 

While she’d been focussed on the kitten everything had been all right, but that last desperate lunge had sent everything spinning and before she could utter so much as a “fudge balls”, she lost her balance and slithered off the branch. 

Adam, standing directly beneath her had no time to avoid a direct hit.  They both went down in a heap, the fall driving the breath from her body, which was probably a good thing since there was no item in her hand-made confectionary range that came even close to matching her mortification.  But then embarrassment was her default reaction whenever she was within a hundred feet of the man.

‘You don’t change, Mouse,’ he said, as she struggled to catch her breath.  

Not much chance of that while she was lying on top of him, his breath warm against her cheek, his heart pounding beneath her hand, his arm, flung out in an attempt to catch her – or more likely defend himself — tight around her.  The stuff of her most private dreams, if she discounted the fact that it had been raining all week and they were sprawled in the muddy puddle she had taken such pains to avoid.   

‘You always did act first, think later,' he said.    ‘Rushing to the aid of some poor creature in distress and getting wet, muddy or both for your pains.’ 

‘While you,’ she gasped, ‘always turned up too late to do anything but stand on the sidelines, laughing at me,' she replied, furiously.  It was untrue and unfair, but all she wanted right at that moment was to vanish into thin air. 

'You have to admit you were always great entertainment value.’

‘If you like clowns,’ she muttered, remembering all too vividly the occasion when she’d scrambled onto the school roof in a thunder storm to rescue a bird trapped in the guttering and in danger of drowning, concern driving her chubby arms and legs as she shinned up the down pipe.

Up had never been a problem.   

He’d stood below her then, the water flattening his thick dark hair, rain pouring down his face, grinning even as he’d taken the bird from her.  But then, realising that she was too terrified to move, he’d taken off his glasses and climbed up to rescue her. 

Not that she’d thanked him. 

She’d been too busy yelling at him for letting the bird go before she could wrap it up and take it home to join the rest of her rescue family. 

It was only when she was back on terra firma that her breathing had gone to pot and he’d delivered her to the school nurse, convinced she was having an asthma attack.  And she had been too mortified – and breathless – to deny it. 

He was right.  Nothing had changed.  She might be less than a month away from her thirtieth birthday, a woman of substance, respected for her charity work, running her own business, but inside she was still the overweight and socially inept teen being noticed by a boy she had the most painful crush on.  Brilliant but geeky with the family from hell.  Another outsider. 

 

 

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From the book SOS: CONVENIENT HUSBAND REQUIRED by Liz Fielding
ISBN
978-0263876857

Text Copyright © 2010 by Liz Fielding

Cover Art Copyright © 2010 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by

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