Publisher: All Romance Books
(The publisher of this house has unfortunately passed away and the house has been shut down. Please email Elaine directly at email@example.com.)
Aleisha Kincaid has a terrible choice to make. Thanks to her miserable, controlling grandfather she must marry by Christmas Eve or lose the entire legacy which he bequeathed her, and the legacy isn’t a small one. She needs the money too. Without substantial capital her new business venture is doomed.
That’s where Bart Ridgeway comes in. Bart agrees to marry her for a share of the money, but the money isn’t his real motivation. He’s been in love with Aleisha for years, and he won”t miss this chance to make her fall in love with him.
Together they find happiness, but a terrible secret from Bart’s past emerges to threaten the life they’ve made together. Can any marriage survive such a shocking blow?
Aleisha shook her blonde hair angrily, and her eyes flashed blue fire. “How could Mother possibly suggest such a thing, Karen? No amount of money in the world is worth selling myself to a man that I don”t love!”
Aleisha”s friend and business partner, Karen Pell, soothingly replied, “Nobody wants you to sell yourself to him, Aleisha. All your mother was suggesting is that you and Bart form a type of partnership. You don”t have to be intimate with him, and you can get an annulment right after Christmas. Remember the terms of your grandfather”s will. If you aren”t married by Christmas Eve you lose your entire inheritance, and we need the money if we”re going to keep this business afloat.”
Aleisha dropped into the battered chair behind her desk and hid her face in her hands. “Why couldn”t Grandfather have just given me the money outright? Why did he have to put strings on it? I don”t know if I want it bad enough to spend even one hour as Bart Ridgeway”s wife.”
“Bart isn”t so bad. In fact, most women would jump at the chance to marry him in hopes that he”d fall in love with them. If you can find a sexier man, let me know because I want to see him. Bart”s tall, dark, and handsome as they say, and I don”t know about you, but I used to go to the basketball games just to look at his bare shoulders and legs.”
“That”s the trouble,” Aleisha spat. “Karen, he”s nothing but eye candy. There”s no substance to him. In high school he always thought that every girl in the school was hot for him, and he swaggered around like they were his own personal harem.”
Karen ignored Aleisha”s unflattering opinion of Bart Ridgeway. “Why did Bart agree to this pretence anyway?”
“Mother said he”d do it for a share of the money. He”s a counselor at the boys” home, and he said they could use the money.”
“That sounds like a worthy cause.”
Aleisha rudely snorted. “I don”t believe him for a minute. I”m sure that he has some ulterior motive in mind. I just don”t know what it is yet.”
“When do you have to give him an answer?”
Aleisha groaned and dropped her head onto the desk as she cried, “Today. I have to tell him today, and I could just die!”
They finished their coffee break and resumed unpacking their latest shipment of Christmas decorations, but Karen had a hard time concentrating on crocheted snowflakes or snowmen lit from within. She wished she could figure out why Aleisha hated Bart so much. The three of them had started kindergarten together, and until they were in high school Aleisha had liked Bart just fine.
In the course of one weekend her attitude had drastically changed, and no matter how Karen teased, Aleisha refused to tell her why. From that time on Aleisha had hated Bart. She avoided him like the plague, and if she did see him she went out of her way to be rude and abusive to him.
Karen thought that Bart would gladly have apologized for whatever it was that he had done, but Aleisha absolutely refused to allow it. Karen wondered if maybe Aleisha had told Bart that she liked him and been rejected. That might account for teenage angst, but it didn”t explain Aleisha”s behavior now. Surely it was time to forgive Bart.
Karen suppressed a sigh as she carried the empty boxes to the dumpster. If Aleisha couldn”t get over her dislike of Bart she wouldn”t get her grandfather”s money, and if that happened The Silver Unicorn would have to close the doors.
Copyright Elaine Cantrell