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Caitlyn March







Dax Bainbridge









via The Creative Workshop








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"The Rules of Engagement"





- ebook UNITED KINGDOM September 2012-

ePub  ::  Kindle  ::  M&B UK




For Better, For Worse, For Ever?


The first look, the first touch, the first kiss...Is there anything better than the beginning of a new relationship? Not for Caitlyn March - self-confessed relationship junkie. Now she's sworn off 'for ever' for good - three broken engagements make it clear that she - and her fickle heart - are not to be trusted...


Enter Dax Bainbridge - the most deliciously handsome man she has ever met! He's a man with enough oomph to make her forget her vows to steer clear of romance, but luckily his rules of engagement are simple: there's no ring on offer; all he's interested in is one unbelievably hot fling...

The Sand Bar, a cool little club in a tucked-away lane off Melbourne’s Chapel Street, was pumping that Saturday night. 

       ‘He’s cute!’ said Franny, shouting to be heard.

Caitlyn played with her sparkly chandelier earrings as she stared dreamily at the buff Cutey Patootey in the t-shirt and jeans at the other end of the bar.  ‘Isn’t he just?  And for an outdoorsy type guy he actually has really nice hands.  I’m sure he plays the piano.’

Franny laughed into her cocktail sending the flamingo swizzle-stick spinning.  ‘If he plays the piano then the doodles on the notepad beside my phone make me the next Picasso.’

Caitlyn dropped her hand to her drink and blinked at Franny.  ‘Meaning?’

‘Only you would see husband potential in a first date.’

‘I never!  I – ‘

‘You know you do!’ Franny said, cutting Caitlyn off.  ‘You see hearts and flowers, when what you actually need is a guy who can keep you in line.  Who doesn’t let you get away with the crap you usually do.  One who dances to the beat of his own drum, not yours.’

Caitlyn glanced back at Cutey Patootey just as he sucked in his washboard stomach as a pair of bouncy blondes swayed past.  Her mouth twitched.  ‘Believe me, I’m not hearing wedding bells this time.’

Franny gave her a nudge, then out of the corner of her mouth said, ‘But have you heard bedsprings creaking?’

Caitlyn smacked her hard on the upper arm.  ‘We met a week ago.’

Franny shook her head like that was no kind of answer, which in Frannyland it wasn’t.

Caitlyn, on the other hand, wasn't about to jump into bed with some random guy just because he gave her that sweet rush that came from meeting someone new.  That had never been her bag.  For her, the attraction was all about the delicious slow burn at the beginning of a relationship.  The shy glances, and first touches and stolen kisses, and that build of delicious tension til they could no longer keep their hands off one another --  What a thrill!  So much better than the realty that always came later.  So Cutey Patootey was going to have to wait.

He glanced back at the girls and grinned; big, brawny, honestly a little less erudite than she might have liked.  But Franny was right, with the dimples and spiky blonde hair he was ridiculously cute.

With a self-satisfied smile, Caitlyn motioned to Franny she was about to make a beeline for the ladies room for a freshen up.  She sucked in her stomach and ducked and weaved her way through the heaving Saturday night club crowd.

Once through she let out her stomach and craned her neck to see which direction the rest rooms had gone, when she turned and smacked face first into a wall.

At least it felt like a wall.  That was until she reached out and grabbed it and discovered it was warm, and slightly yielding, and wearing a suit.

She tried to push off it only to find the crowd pressing at her back.

‘Whoa,’ she said, half-laughing, half hanging on for dear life as she righted herself using the wall as her guide.

And then she looked up.  And up.  And up.

Dark hair, dark eyes, dark expression.  Hello Handsome.

She stood staring into those dark eyes for a long time.  Seconds?  Minutes?

‘So sorry,' she finally said, as breathless as though she’d had the air knocked from her lungs.

Then just when she decided he wasn’t going to answer her back, a deep dark velvet voice said, ‘Whatever for?’

She swallowed.  Tried to anyway.  Turned out her mouth had dried up.

Shaking her fringe from her eyes and feigning a confidence that was feeling a tad shaky right about then, she looked right into his eyes, and said, ‘I don’t make a habit of throwing myself into the arms of passing strangers.’

‘Yet you’re so good at it.’

She laughed, and her breasts pressed against him.  His hard warm chest.  She felt a weakening at the back of her knees.  She curled her hands tighter around his lapels.

She wished she could see his eyes better.  To see if he was smiling too.  The club wasn’t exactly dark, but he somehow seemed to swallow the light around him.

‘Okay,’ she said, ‘so it’s a move.  Not an original one.  A classic, really.  And I’m sticking by it.’

‘Mmm.  There’s a reason why classics become classics,’ he drawled, his rich velvety voice making her shoulders roll as though someone was running a slow finger right down her spine.

‘Why’s that?’

‘They work.’

She could feel the beat of the music in her stomach.  Or perhaps it was her pulse, thumping hard and fast through her centre.  Unless it was his pulse.  His thumping.  They were pressed close enough for it to possible.

‘Caitlyn March,’ she said, figuring it impolite to be quite so plastered against the man and not at least introduce herself.  She unpeeled a hand to shake his. 

‘Dax Bainbridge.’

‘Nice to meet you.’


The house lights flashed at that moment - on off on off - in time with an eighties dance hit and she finally saw his face.  Gorgeous didn’t even begin to cut it.  It was the kind of face she’d have immediately looked away from if caught staring for fear of public drooling.

And then he smiled.

It wasn’t a grin by any stretch of the imagination.  But the serious cheek creased in the kind of way that set a girl’s heart to racing, and the dark eyes gleamed, but it was plenty enough to make Caitlyn feel like she’d just been clubbed over the back of the head.

Her brain became a fog.  She could see the wave and sway of dancing clubbers out of the corner of her eye, and it felt as though they were moving in slow motion.  The steady thump of the music continued to pulse in her stomach.  Lower.  Boom, boom, boom.

Were the two of them swaying in time with the music now?  If not, it felt like they sure as heck should be.

‘Are you a dancer?’ she asked.  But when she felt him take a breath to answer, she got in first.  ‘I meant do you get your dance moves on at places like this?  Not professionally, of course.  I didn’t mean you look like a ballerina or anything.  And I’m not sure it would be physically possible to achieve head-spins in that suit.’

No response, not that she blamed him.  Though his chest rumbled deliciously against hers.  Was he laughing?  God, she was literally having to stop herself from breathing the guy in he smelled so delicious, and he was laughing.

She knew she ought to just let him be, to back away slowly and go...wherever it was she’d been planning to go when she stumbled upon him.  Where was that again?  But he smelled so good, felt so solid, gave her such an array of the most delicious goose bumps she couldn’t.


She realised then that his arms were around her.  Not inappropriately in any way shape or form.  The song playing was the kind that always had half the nightclub trying to squeeze onto a dance floor three sizes too small and he was merely keeping her from smacking into any other night clubbers.  Or walls for that matter.  It was a gentlemanly thing.

She was bumped, jostled, nudged closer.  His arms tightened.  The crowd moved away.  His arm did not.  And suddenly it didn’t feel so gentlemanly after all.

He shifted his weight.  Or maybe she’d shifted hers.  Either way when the shifting stopped they were closer again.  Her thighs were introduced to the hardness of his.  His belt buckle got to know the dent of her belly button.  Her blood rushed so hard and fast through her, her head had begun to spin.

She felt like the floor had dropped out from under her and she was balancing on the edge of a wedge.  Like if the guy moved the wrong way -  or more specifically the right way – she might leap into his arms, wrap her legs around him and never let go.  He was so strong, so warm, he had her wondering if there was a back alley to the place.  A hard, private wall up against which he and she could –

And then she remembered the guy at the bar.  The guy with whom she was on a date.  Whatshisname?  Seriously, what was his name?



Harlequin Presents Extra - December 2012

ISBN:  978-0-263-22756-7


Text Copyright: © 2011 Ally Blake
Cover Art Copyright © 2012 Harlequin Enterprises Limited.

Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.  Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.  All rights reserved.  ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.


This one's for fairy dust.  May it sparkle for you too.




















































The Dance Off  |  Faking It to Making It  |  When Honey Got Married...  |  The Secret Wedding Dress

50 Days With Rose  |  The Rules of Engagement  |  The Wedding Date  |  Millionaire Dad's SOS  |  Getting Red-Hot with the Rogue

Dating the Rebel Tycoon  |  A Night with the Society Playboy  |  Hired: The Boss's Bride  |  The Magnate's Indecent Proposal

Falling for the Rebel Heir  |   Steamy Surrender  |  Millionaire to the Rescue  |  Billionaire on Her Doorstep

Getting Down to Business  |  Meant-To-Be Mother  |  Wanted: Outback Wife  |  A Father in the Making  |  The Shock Engagement  

A Mother For His Daughter  |  How to Marry a Billionaire  |  Marriage Make-Over  |  Marriage Material  |  The Wedding Wish



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