‘I’m getting married,’
Holly announced as she slammed her briefcase on the desk in her office at
Cloud Nine Event Management, fifteen minutes later than her usual start
‘You’re doing what?’ Beth’s voice rang metallic and loud from
Holly sat down, crossed her legs, noticed a run in her stockings, and her
mood went from bad to worse. She grabbed a new pair of stockings
from the neat pile stocked in her bottom desk drawer, before moving into
her private bathroom to change from frayed to fresh. She had to
raise her voice for it to reach the speakerphone, but in her current
temper, that was not a problem.
said I’m getting married.’
‘But I can’t remember you dating any man more than once in the last six
months, much less becoming familiar enough to want to marry one of them.’
Holly’s assistant Lydia chose that moment to enter the office. She
stopped in her tracks, the coffee she carried all but sloshing over the
sides, and stared at the speakerphone as though it had produced an
offensive noise. Holly came back into the room, new stockings in
place, and waved a “hurry up” hand at Lydia who placed the cup down
without spilling a drop.
With no apology, Lydia joined the private conversation. ‘Did I hear
you guys right? In the time it took for me to make Holly a cuppa,
she hooked herself a fiancé? That’s saying something for instant
that you, Lydia?’ Beth asked.
Lydia leaned towards the speakerphone, articulating her words, as though
speaking to someone hard of hearing. ‘How are you, Beth? When
is the baby due?’
‘I’m fantastic. Baby Jeffries should be here in a month or so - ’
‘Ah, guys,’ Holly interrupted, ‘major life decision being made here.’
Lydia mimed buttoning her lips shut tight.
‘Sorry, sweetie,’ Beth said. ‘Blame Lydia. You know if anyone asks
about the bubby, I gush. Do go on.’
‘Thank-you.’ Holly took a deep breath and launched into her story.
‘This morning, as I walked the last block along Lonsdale Street, this ...
man all but barrelled me over. Everything I was carrying went
flying. My briefcase ended up in the gutter, pens rolled down the
road and all my precious papers scattered across the footpath. And
as I was on my hands and knees crawling around collecting my materials, he
had the nerve to tell me to watch where I was going.’
‘Was he cute?’ was Lydia’s instant response.
cute, Holly remembered. She pictured early morning sunlight glinting
off light flecks in hazel eyes. Tired dark smudges underneath those
eyes. Sympathy she had felt at his exhausted expression. His
scowl as he had realised she had dropped everything she was carrying.
The same scowl that had extinguished her sympathy. The rich, deep
voice with a hint of a foreign accent as he had said his piece.
cute was not the word.
‘Tall,’ Holly eventually established, ‘dark mussed hair. Matching
dimples. Smelled nice. But that’s irrelevant.’
‘Irrelevant?’ Beth said. ‘He sounds perfect.’
reckon,’ Lydia agreed.
‘Just when you stop looking where you are going, he finds you. It’s
Holly rolled her eyes, picturing Beth reaching for one of her New Age
books to justify the incident.
did not find me, Beth, he berated and bruised me. See.’ Holly
pointed out a light scrape on her knee to Lydia who pouted in
‘And this is the guy you’re going to marry?’ Lydia asked.
‘No! You’ve both missed the point.’
‘The point is, the whole horrible episode brought about an epiphany. My
social life consists exclusively of attending parties we co-ordinate.
But instead of meeting men, I meet men’s party personalities. They
mislead me with an attractive, charming, confident disguise but there is
never anything more going on behind the eye-catching masks they wear.
The gentleman this morning was very attractive, uncompromising, and
uncaring and was therefore the embodiment of all that is wrong with the
men I meet. It’s a foolproof theory.’
‘I’m confused,’ Lydia said. ‘If not this guy, who on earth are you
‘That’s the thing, I’ve decided Ben is going to find him for me.’
Ben?’ Beth asked after a couple of seconds of bewildered silence.
course. Can’t you see it’s the only way? Ben works in a big
company, he’s got plenty of staff under him, mostly young men he has
hand-picked, and he knows me better than anyone apart from you guys.
He’s the perfect objective observer and if he can find me someone he likes
then we can all be friends forever. You know, live next door to one
another, have neighbourhood BBQs, go on camping trips...’
‘You hate camping - ‘
‘I’m not joking, Beth. Come on, you have to see how flawless a plan
‘And all of this came from banging into some very attractive, dimpled,
nice smelling guy on the street?’ Beth asked.
was like when we collided he smacked some sense into me.’
you concussion more like it,’ Lydia muttered.
Holly shot Lydia an unimpressed look.
‘This guy must have been something to get you of all people talking
marriage,’ Beth said.
‘Why me of all people?’
‘Come on Holly. You are the most controlled, independent woman I
know. You keep a colour range of spare pairs of stockings in your
office drawer, for goodness’ sake.’
Catching sight of those very packets, Holly casually closed the drawer
shut with her foot.
‘And here you are,’ Beth continued, ‘wanting to put your future happiness
in someone else’s hands.’
‘Ben is not just someone else and you know that. I trust him to make
a good choice.’
can’t believe you are making some sort of sense,’ Beth admitted.
‘all right, come over for dinner tonight so that we can ambush my poor
‘Thanks Beth. You are the best friend in the whole wide world.’
‘And don’t you forget it.’
After Beth rang off Lydia peeled her lanky form from the chair and loped
to Holly’s office door where she turned back to
ask, ‘Did he help pick the stuff up?’
Holly dragged her attention away from the beckoning projects on her desk.
‘Mmm, he dropped his bags and bent down to help almost instantly.
But he was telling me off at the time so that’s irrelevant too.’
‘And you were walking with your head down, immersed in thoughts of what
you had to do today, not looking where you were going, weren’t you?’
‘But that’s irrelevant, right?’
Holly narrowed her eyes, willing Lydia not to continue, but her mocking
look was to no avail.
tall, dark, handsome stranger bowls you over and then gets down on his
hands and knees to help. And you have decided this is a bad thing.
I on the other hand would spend the rest of the day looking dreamily out
the window if that happened to me. But no such luck. My
morning consisted of being rubbed up against by a schoolboy on the train.’
Lydia sighed spectacularly and Holly could not help but grin at her
‘You do realise that since I am your boss your job is to ooh and aah and
say, ‘poor Holly’, don’t you?’
thought my job was to get you coffee and stand on chairs so that you can
drape fabrics over me and hold all incoming calls from any men you may
have had uninspiring dates with the night before.’
‘Sure,’ Holly agreed after a moment’s thought, ‘that too.’
Lydia left the room and headed back to her desk to prepare herself for a
day of imagining walking up Lonsdale Street and banging into tall, dark,
From "The Wedding Wish" by Ally Blake
Mills and Boon Tender Romance December
ISBN: 0-263-83414 -X
Copyright: © 2003 Ally Blake
® and ™ are trademarks of the
publisher. The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
For more romance information surf to:
This book is dedicated to
Mark, my angel, who looked after me, brought me M&Ms and made me feel like
I had it in me all the time.