About The Book
Nearly a decade ago, accountant Kari Parker shed 220 pounds of dead weight — her hulking, abusive college boyfriend. The last thing she wants in her life is another man — especially one as tall as a Windy City high rise. Yet when her best friend enters her in Romance TV’s “Get a Love Life” contest, another man is exactly what she gets. As much as she’d love to just say no, she can’t turn down the prize money that will allow her to help her parents save the restaurant they’ve run all her life. Sparks fly between Kari and her bogus groom, and as she and Damien share close quarters, intimate meals and — gulp — his bed, Kari doesn’t stand a chance of resisting his considerable charms. Even worse? She might not want to. But building a real future out of their sham marriage will be tougher than baking a wedding cake from scratch … with no flour … in a broken oven.
PURCHASE BLIND DATE BRIDE
“Since I wasn’t sure what you liked, I got plain and blueberry bagels and orange and apple juice. Take your pick.”
She raised her head to look at him and tucked her hair behind her left ear. “Blueberry, please,” she said with a hesitant smile, probably hoping he was going to ignore what he’d overheard. “They’re my favorite.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” He was willing to let the comment slide for now. It was enough to be certain he was on the right track where Kari was concerned. If she wanted him as much as he wanted her — and she obviously did, unless she was lying to What’s Her Name — they’d get physical soon enough. He could wait.
Damien watched Kari slice a blueberry bagel and pop it into the toaster, and then sighed. He really should find out what her friend’s name was. He couldn’t go around calling the redhead “What’s Her Name” for the next three months.
But he wanted to do it without Kari knowing that he didn’t already know the girl’s name, because he was sure she’d introduced them at the reception. He didn’t want his wife thinking he was absent-minded. He wasn’t. He actually had a great memory; he had to in his line of work. The animals’ charts only told him so much; it was up to him to remember that Mrs. Trumbull indulged her Persian by feeding it tuna once a week, or that little Timmy Hill tended to make his family’s chihuahua even more nervous. Being chased by a kid with scissors tended to do that to a dog.
Back to the issue at hand: How to learn What’s Her Name’s name.
“Your friend seems nice.”
Kari shrugged and retrieved her now-toasted bagel. “She has her moments.”
Strike one. Time for a new tactic. “I don’t think she likes me very much.”
“Like you? She doesn’t even know you,” Kari replied, looking up from the cream cheese she was smearing on her bagel. “Neither do I, for that matter.”
Damn. Strike two, and now Kari was back to denying what little they had going for them in this mock marriage of theirs: the attraction. Damien wasn’t about to let that slide. “You know me a heck of a lot better than she does, sweetheart.”
He actually heard her gulp before she replied. “I suppose so.”
“Oh, I know so,” Damien assured her, taking a step toward her. “And she’ll never know me the way you do.”
Kari countered his step forward with two steps of her own in the other direction. Then she grabbed the cream cheese-covered knife, holding it between them like a sword. “Good to know.”
Damien edged backward. It was no fun to try to get cozy with a woman who was threatening to impale him with a butter knife.
Arlene Hittle is a Midwestern transplant who now makes her home in northern Arizona. She suffers from the well-documented Hittle family curse of being a Cubs fan but will root for the Diamondbacks until they run up against the Cubs. Longtime friends are amazed she writes books with sports in them, since she’s about as coordinated as a newborn giraffe and used to say marching band required more exertion than golf.