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To Make a Marriage

By:Carole Mortimer

To Make a Marriage
Carole Mortimer

       PROLOGUE




'TWICE a bridesmaid, never a bride,' he teased close to her scented earlobe.

The perfume of Andie, as he always thought of it. He had no idea what  the name of the perfume was that she always wore, he just knew that  whenever he smelt it, either on Andie or someone else, he was filled  with warm thoughts of her …

She turned to face him now, a welcoming smile on her peach-coloured  lips, green eyes glowing warmly as she reached up to kiss him in  greeting.

Perfection. There was no other way to describe Andrea Summer. And today,  in the frothy peach-coloured satin and lace of her bridesmaid's dress,  with her long blonde hair a profusion of silky curls down the length of  her spine, entwined with tiny peach-coloured tea-roses, she looked like a  fairy-tale princess.

She laughed softly, a throatily husky laugh that sent shivers of  pleasure down his spine. 'I think you'll find that it's "Three times a  bridesmaid",' she corrected softly.

'It is?' he drawled with pretended ignorance. 'But you have to admit,  your clock's ticking away, Andie; you're almost twenty-six now,' he  continued mockingly, 'and both your older sisters have married in the  last couple of months.'

She shrugged dismissively as she glanced over affectionately at those  two sisters with their new husbands; the eldest, Harrie, had been  married to Quinn McBride for several weeks now, and this was Danie's  wedding day to Jonas Noble.

'They have obviously found the right men for them,' Andie murmured fondly.

His own smile slipped for the fraction of a second, before he regained control. 'No "right man" for you yet, hmm, Andie?'

She laughed softly once again. 'I would have thought you, of all people  would have known there's actually no such thing as the right person;  it's all a case of taking pot luck!' she taunted contrarily.

Him, of all people … ? Yes, he had always given the impression he was a  confirmed bachelor; in fact, he had made a religion out of it! But this  young woman-lovely to look at, always elegantly dressed, with a  mischievously warm sense of humour-if she were only aware of it, could  have changed all that with one crook of her little finger … !

How long had he felt that way about her? For ever, it seemed to him. Oh,  there had been women in his life in the past, beautiful women,  accomplished women, brunettes and redheads, as well as blondes, but none  of them in any way had measured up to Andie.

'I hope you don't intend telling Harrie and Danie that!' He smiled.

Andie didn't return his smile. 'I don't happen to believe that's true  for them; I'm as sure as they are that Quinn and Jonas are the right men  for them.'

He was bored with the subject of Harrie and Danie; it was Andie he was  interested in. It always had been. 'It's really good to see you here  today,' he told her sincerely.

Andie frowned at the statement. 'I would hardly miss my own sister's wedding!'

'I can think of a couple of other family occasions you've missed this  summer,' he persisted. 'The summer fête,' he added as she looked at him  questioningly, referring to the fête held every June at Rome  Summer's-Andie father's-estate. 'A family weekend at the estate a week  later. Your father said that you had the flu.'

Andie shrugged, a smile playing about those peach-coloured lips. 'If  that's what Daddy said, then that's what I had,' she dismissed. 'No  mystery there.'

He took two glasses of champagne from a passing waiter; the wedding  reception was being held at one of London's leading hotels. He held one  of the glasses out to Andie, but was surprised when she shook her head  and reached for a glass of orange juice instead. 'Don't tell me you've  given up drinking champagne?' he exclaimed, knowing that in the past  champagne was the only alcohol Andie had ever drunk.

'It's a new diet I'm trying out,' she dismissed, taking a sip of the juice.

'Diet?' He scowled, looking down at her already more than slender frame. 'You're far too thin as it is-'

'You're starting to sound like Rome now,' Andie taunted, blonde brows  raised as she looked up at him from under thick dark lashes.

An irritated flush coloured the hardness of his cheeks. The last thing  he wanted was to sound like her father, damn it! It was the very last  thing he felt like whenever he was around her. Although, perhaps, to  Andie, fourteen years his junior, that was exactly what he seemed …

'It's being featured in Gloss next month,' Andie continued lightly,  referring to the monthly magazine of which she was senior editor. 'I  thought I would try it and see if it really works.'                       
       
           



       

He scowled. 'You need to diet like-'

'You need to earn any more money?' she finished with barbed sweetness.  'Have you never heard the phrase, "you can never be too rich or too  thin"?'

His gaze narrowed thoughtfully at that slight edge to her tone. They had  met briefly a couple of times during the last few months, never long  enough to have a real conversation, as they were doing now, but he had  been sure the flu excuse Rome had given him had been genuine and it  hadn't been because Andie had been deliberately avoiding him. Now he  wasn't so sure …

'I've heard it,' he grated. 'But I don't think you believe it any more than I do.'

'Really?' Her manner had definitely changed now, that hardness still  there in her voice. 'We've known each other a long time, granted-but I  don't think that gives you the right to tell me what I think!'

He reached out and grasped her arm. 'Andie-'

'I think you're going to have to excuse me,' she cut in firmly, having  glanced across the room to where the bride and groom were now taking  their seats at the top table in preparation for the start of the meal  that was about to be served. 'It looks as if I'm needed.'

She was needed, all right. By him! He had felt this way about her since  the day he'd looked at her, on her eighteenth birthday, and realised she  was no longer an impish child but a beautiful, desirable woman. Almost  eight years ago, he groaned inwardly.

His hold on her arm tightened. 'Andie, have dinner with me one evening next week,' he prompted forcefully.

She turned to look at him with cool green eyes. 'I don't think that's a good idea, do you?'

Good idea, be damned. This woman, it seemed, made him lose all sense of what was a good idea every time he came near her!

'I really do have to go,' she insisted, gently but firmly removing her  arm from his grasp before placing the half-drunk glass of juice in his  now free hand. 'I hope you enjoy the rest of the wedding,' she added  with banal politeness.

He had never enjoyed a wedding in his life, had determined long ago that  he would never marry. But as he watched Andie walk gracefully across  the room to take her place at the top table; he knew he would do  anything to make Andie his own. Anything …





CHAPTER ONE




'I'M REALLY sorry to interrupt, Miss Summer, but there's someone outside to see you!'

Andie looked up with a frown, having been poring over a fashion layout  that lay sprawled across the top of her desk. She had asked April not to  disturb her for an hour, desperately trying to meet today's deadline,  but as she looked at her secretary's expectantly flushed face her frown  deepened.

'And who might that someone be, April?' she prompted dryly, knowing it  had to be someone important-or April wouldn't have disturbed her at all.

April drew in a deep, excited breath. 'It's-'

'Adam Munroe,' the man himself announced with a smile as he strolled  into the office, dressed as impeccably as usual, his charcoal-grey suit  tailored across the width of his shoulders and the narrowness of his  waist and thighs, his pale blue shirt made of silk, only the bright blue  and yellow pattern of his tie giving any indication of the less than  conservative nature that lurked beneath his outward appearance.

The arrival of Adam Munroe in the office was reason enough for April to  have gone all aflutter, Andie allowed ruefully as she slowly put her  marker pen down on the desk-top.

A long-time friend of her father's, Adam was a well-known film producer,  but, with his tall, rugged good looks, and silver-blonde hair, he was  gorgeous enough to have starred in one of the films he'd financed.

'Thank you, April,' Andie told her secretary dismissively, a slightly  knowing smile playing about her lips as she watched April's slow retreat  out of the room, the girl's avid gaze fixed on Adam the whole time.

Not that Andie could exactly blame April for that, either; Adam had been  breaking female hearts with his charming elusiveness ever since she  could remember. Elusive, because Adam always made it plain to the women  he became involved with that the friendship would never lead to a  permanent relationship. Not very romantic, but it certainly didn't seem  to deter those women from becoming involved with him. In fact, the  opposite!

Andie stood up slowly. 'After totally captivating my secretary so that I  doubt I will get any more work out of her today-to what do I owe the  honour of this visit, Adam?' she teased as she moved forward to kiss him  lightly on the cheek.                       

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