The Honeymoon Arrangement. Joss Wood

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Название The Honeymoon Arrangement
Автор произведения Joss Wood
Жанр Современные любовные романы
Издательство Современные любовные романы
Год выпуска 0
isbn 9781474007610

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      And he was still dealing with the death of the only father he’d ever known. Finn pushed his fingers to his right eye to stop the burning. Would he ever get shot of this ache in his heart?

      Callie placed the tips of her fingers, the nails shiny and edged in white, on the bare skin of his forearm. ‘Sorry—I’m being an absolute downer. I’m just naturally sceptical about love, marriage and relationships. It’s a crap shoot and I’m not much of a gambler.’ Callie bit her bottom lip. ‘I admit that I’m a little too outspoken and opinionated—’

      He couldn’t help his sarcasm. ‘A little?’

      ‘Okay, a lot—but I do wish you happiness and success.’ She tucked her foot up and under her backside again, and sighed theatrically. ‘Both my brother and father—neither of whom I thought would ever get hitched—are getting married within the next couple of months, so I’m going to have to learn to keep my cynical mouth shut.’

      Despite having only known her for twenty minutes, Finn knew that was impossible.

      ‘Thank goodness that Rowan—my best friend, who is about to marry my brother—is an event planner and she’s organising both their weddings. I just have to show up and look pretty.’

      Pretty? She could don a black rubbish bag and still look stunning, Finn thought. Those eyes, those cheekbones, that pink tongue peeking out from between those plump lips … He wondered what she would taste like, how those breasts would fit into his hands, about the baby softness on the inside of those slim thighs …


      What the hell …? Rein it in, bud, before you humiliate yourself. You’re engaged, remember? An almost father, an about-to-be husband.

      Knowing that she’d said something of importance that he hadn’t picked up because in his head he’d been tasting her skin, he mentally rewound. ‘Wait … you say your best friend is a wedding planner?’

      ‘Mmm. Actually, she does all sorts of events, but she’s great at weddings.’

      ‘My partner—fiancée—is going nuts. Apparently there isn’t a wedding planner in the city who’ll take on organising a wedding at the last moment.’

      ‘When are you getting married … tomorrow?’

      ‘As I said, we’d like to get it done in three months or so.’

      Liz wanted the wedding done and dusted before she started to show as she wasn’t comfortable displaying her baby bump to her conservative relatives.

      ‘And finding a wedding planner is something I have to do in the next couple of days.’

      ‘Why isn’t the bride-to-be looking?’ Callie asked. ‘Shouldn’t that be her thing?’

      ‘Liz is in Nigeria for the next six weeks, so finding a wedding planner has become my job.’

      ‘What’s she doing in Nigeria?’

      God—more questions. He didn’t think he’d met anyone more inquisitive and so unreservedly blatant about it. So, Sherlock, why haven’t you shut her down yet?

      ‘Liz is a consulting engineer working on an oil rig.’ He saw her open her mouth and held up a hand to stop the next barrage of questions. ‘This friend of yours … the wedding planner? Is she any good?’

      Callie nodded. ‘She really is. She started off by doing kids’ birthday parties and then she did a Moroccan-themed wedding which was amazing. In eighteen months she’s done more than a few weddings.’

      ‘Can I get her number?’

      ‘Sure.’ Callie nodded. ‘If you allow me one last word on marriage.’

      ‘Can I stop you?’ Finn raised a dark eyebrow. ‘And just one word? How amazing.’

      Callie ignored his quiet sarcasm. ‘It’s not from me but from Nietzsche …’

      Good looks and good brains too? Callie was quite a deep little package.

      ‘Nietzsche, huh? Do enlighten me.’

      ‘He said something about love being many brief follies and that marriage puts an end to said follies with a single long stupidity.’

      Huh. Some German philosophers and some navy-eyed blondes were far too smart for their own good.

      ‘I need a drink.’

      Callie grinned. ‘People frequently say that when they’re around me.’

      Finn didn’t find that hard to believe. At all.


       Three months later …

      CALLIE, ABOUT TO pull the door open to their favourite watering hole, the Laughing Queen, frowned as Rowan held the door closed and stopped her from walking inside.


      Rowan narrowed her eyes at her. ‘Can you try and remember that this is a business meeting? That my client and his fiancée have called their wedding off two weeks before they were supposed to say I do. Do not flirt with him!’

      Callie, purely to wind Rowan up, flashed her naughtiest smile. ‘Why not? Maybe me flirting with him will cheer him up.’

      ‘Don’t you dare! I swear, Cal, just behave—okay?’

      ‘I always behave!’ Callie protested. Okay, that wasn’t true, so she quickly crossed her fingers behind her back. For most of her adult life, whenever she’d found herself back in Cape Town, she had normally ended up in this bar, getting up to some mischief or other. Jim and Ali, the owners, loved her because she always got the party started and they ended up selling much more liquor than normal.

      ‘Just no dancing on the bar or impromptu line-dancing, okay? Or, if you have to, pretend that you don’t know me.’

      ‘Hey! I’m not so bad!’

      Rowan was thinking of Callie’s early twenties self, or maybe her mid-twenties self … maybe her six-months-ago self. The truth was that it had been a while since she’d caused havoc in a pub. Or anywhere else.

      Normally, whenever she was feeling low or lonely, needing to feel outside of herself, she headed for the nearest bar or club. It wasn’t about the alcohol—she’d launched many a party and walked out at dawn stone-cold sober—it was the people and the vibe she fed off … the attention.

      So why, after a decade, was she now boycotting that scene? Had she totally lost every connection to the wild child she had been? That funny, crazy, gap-toothed seven-year-old who’d loved everyone and everything. That awesome girl she’d been before everything had changed and her world had fallen apart.

      Sadness made her throat constrict. She rather liked the fact that at one point in her life she’d been totally without fear. That was how she usually felt in the middle of a party she’d created: strong, in control, fearless.

      Maybe she should just start a party tonight to remind herself that she could still have fun.

      When she repeated the thought to Rowan, her mouth pursed in horror.

      ‘You are hell on wheels,’ Rowan grumbled, letting go of the door handle and gesturing her inside.

      ‘And you were a lot more fun before you got engaged to my brother,’ Callie complained, stepping into the restaurant. She waved at Jim, who was standing behind the long bar at the back of the large harbour-facing restaurant. ‘What happened to my wild, backpacking, crazy BFF?’

      ‘I’m working.’ Rowan said through gritted teeth. ‘This is my business.’

      Seeing that Rowan looked as if she