The Bejewelled Bride [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Lee Wilkinson
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Millionaire Joel McAlister doesn't love Bethany. But he *wants* her, and won't let anyone else have her. When he whisks her off to New York for a romantic wedding, showering her with diamonds and whispering words of love, Bethany thinks it's a match made in heaven. But Joel has a hidden agenda....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2006
18 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure eReader - What's this?]: SECURE EREADER (RECOMMENDED) FORMAT [141 KB]
All formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
Microsoft Reader ISBN: 9781552546949
Adobe Reader ISBN: 9781552546949
Mobipocket Reader ISBN: 1552546942
eReader ISBN: 9781552546949
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BETHANY glanced around her. The scenery on the high mountain pass was awesomely bleak and beautiful in the pearly grey light of an early February afternoon. For the first few miles, while the pass had run fairly straight and level between rock-strewn fells, she had seen a black Range Rover in the rear-view mirror. But over the last half mile or so it must have turned off into a side valley, because now she had the road to herself.
When she had set off to Bosthwaite earlier in the day to visit Mrs Deramack and look at some antiques, she had taken the main road but had taken this lonely route back especially to see more of the wild and rugged grandeur she remembered well from her one previous visit to the Lake District.
As she drove however, she thought back to that wonderful visit and remembered a lean, good-looking face with brilliant eyes and a mouth with the kind of male beauty that tied her insides in knots.
A face that had stayed fresh in her mind for the past six years.
Quiet and shy, she had been just seventeen at the time and on a family holiday with her parents. Returning from the west coast of Scotland, they had decided to spend one night in Cumbria on their way back to London.
They had been staying in Dundale End, and after dinner that evening, encouraged by their landlady, 'You must go, my dears, everyone will be there…' they had gone to a concert at the small village hall. In front of a makeshift stage, rows of chairs had been arranged in a semi-circle, and it had been there, sitting on an uncomfortable plastic chair in the centre of the second row, that she had fallen in love for the first time. Love at first sight. The hot, crazy kind of love that had turned her chest into a bell and her heart into a clapper.
She had watched him walk in, tall and broad across the shoulders, casually dressed, he had an air of quiet confidence. Somewhere in his early twenties, he was a man not a boy, with a strong-boned face, thick corn-coloured hair and light, brilliant eyes.
With him had been an elderly couple and a girl about his own age, who addressed him as Joel.
Joel…Bethany had hugged the name to her as though it was some precious gift.
He exchanged greetings with many of the people there, which suggested he was a local. Bethany had wished fervently that she and her parents were staying here instead of going back to London the next day.
Try as she would, her eyes had been drawn to him more often than to the stage. On one occasion she had found him staring back at her with a quiet intensity that made heat spread through her entire body. Feeling her cheeks flame, she had looked hastily away, her curtain of long dark hair swinging forward, hiding her embarrassment.
As the show came to an end, finishing with prolonged and hearty applause, she had kept her attention fixed firmly on the stage.
Perhaps when everyone was on their way out they might meet, might exchange a word. Lovely evening…Are you on holiday…? But when she'd glanced back, the little group had gone. She'd felt bitterly disappointed.
Although she had told herself it was ridiculous to long for something that only might have happened, she had thought and dreamt about him for months.
The memory of that past innocent adoration warmed her and for a few precious seconds took her mind off this which was turning out to be a disaster.
In more ways than one.
That morning, after a poor night's sleep and an uncomfortable half hour spent sitting opposite her silent, still-angry boss, Tony, while they ate breakfast at the Dundale Inn, she had taken the main road to the valley of Bosthwaite to see Mrs Deramack.
It was, she had discovered, a dead-end valley, and the tiny, isolated hamlet of Bosthwaite was made up of a few widely scattered houses and a farm.
Finding the road—which was little more than a track—ran through the farmyard, she had stopped to ask directions.
After warning her, 'Old Mrs Deramack's a bit…you know…' Apparently at a loss for words, the farmer had tapped his forehead with a gnarled finger, before pointing out Bosthwaite House.
Bethany soon realized what he'd meant when the old lady informed her that though Joseph, her husband, had passed away some five years ago, he was still with her and would need to agree on the price of anything she parted with.
The antiques she wanted to sell were stored in the freezing cold, badly lit attic, and while she hovered at the bottom of the attic stairs talking to her husband as though he was still alive and with them, Bethany had gone through what seemed endless boxes and cartons.
When, chilled to the bone and cramped from so much squatting, her throat dry, clogged with the dust of ages, she had finished the last box, she pushed back a loose strand of dark hair and admitted defeat.
In an attempt to soften the blow, she had told the old lady that though there was nothing amongst her treasures that Feldon Antiques would be prepared to buy, there were other local dealers who might be interested. She had written down the names of two of them before getting into her car and driving away.
When she reached an old white-walled pub called The Drunken Pig, she had stopped to wash her face and hands and re-coil her long dark hair before ordering a refreshing pot of tea and an omelette.
Copyright © 2006 by Lee Wilkinson.