Annie on the Lam: A Christmas Caper [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Jennifer Archer
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: SOMETIMES IT TAKES A NEW YORK BLIZZARD TO TEST A SOUTHERN WOMAN'S METTLE... Determined to prove she's no wilting magnolia blossom, jilted heiress Annie Macy strikes out for New York City to make it on her own. Annie's plan just never involved having a money launderer for a boss ... or stealing "evidence" during the company Christmas party. Now with an angry Santa in hot pursuit, Annie jumps into the nearest cab, only to discover her "driver" is P.I. Joe Brady--hired by Annie's meddling family to keep an eye on her. Stuck in a rusty old taxi in the middle of one of New York's worst blizzards, Annie and Joe are dodging the bad guys and heating up the backseat at every stop. And while they are waist-deep in snow and clues and lust for each other, Annie is about to discover the woman she's hidden inside herself for too many years...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Next
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2007
Annie Macy studied her reflection in the full-length mirror and wondered what in the hell she was thinking when she let Aunt Tawney plan her wedding. Crisp white taffeta gowns and delicate lace veils were for twenty-something brides. Even a thirty-year-old would be pushing it to go to this extreme. But forty? Good gawd. She looked ridiculous. She looked desperate. Annie met her own gaze in the mirror. She looked miserable.
"Would you tilt your head a little to the left, Sugar?" her aunt asked in a tremulous voice.
Annie complied while trying to generate some enthusiasm for the event ahead. In forty minutes, she would be Mrs. Lance Holcomb and she wasn't sure how she felt about that.
Not anymore. Not after yesterday. Before that, if she were honest with herself.
Couldn't Tawney and everyone else buzzing about the dressing room see that she was only going through the motions, too confused to do anything else? Or were they all so caught up in the idea of happily-ever-after that they didn't notice?
Maybe they simply chose to ignore anything that might cause a hitch in The Plan—as in, get Annie married off before it's too late. She couldn't count the number of times over the last few years that Aunt Tawney had said a woman over forty had a better chance of getting struck by lightning than snagging a man. Tawney refused to hear Annie's reminders that Time or Newsweek or whichever publication had written that statement reneged on it later. Tawney believed it. Period.
Deep down, Annie had continued to buy into the dismal declaration, too. In her twenties, if someone had asked how she imagined her life would be at the age of forty, she would've said she'd have it all—a position of responsibility and power at her father's bank, a husband who was her equal, children.
She had none of those things.
Two years ago her biological clock had progressed from ticking to hammering away like a nervous woodpecker as the possibility of a husband and children slipped further and further out of her reach. Then her father hired Lance, introduced them to one another, and they hit it off. When Lance proposed one month before her fortieth birthday, the woodpecker took a breather and Annie shared its relief. She cared for Lance, they enjoyed each other's company. He was charming and funny, ambitious and interesting and smart. They were good together.
In addition to possibly making a beautiful baby, Annie knew they would make a great business team, too. She spent a lot of time frustrated with her father for not giving her more responsibility at work, more free rein. Annie tried to be patient, to humor him. Milford Macy was from the old school, and though he exasperated her, she respected his dedication to the business he'd built. She might be his daughter, but she would have to work her way up, learn the ropes the hard way before stepping into his shoes. Annie had been doing just that since dropping out of college twenty years earlier, convinced she could learn more from her father than a textbook.
Luckily, Lance shared her vision for the bank. He listened to her ideas, offered opinions, insights and suggestions. Lance had never voiced any objections to being the man behind the woman some day when she inherited the controlling share of First Bank of Savannah. Not that she wanted that; she would be happy to have him as her equal partner.
"This veil…" Aunt Tawney sighed. "It's not quite right." She stood on tiptoe, her stubby plump fingers smoothing and adjusting as they had for the past half hour.
Again Annie shifted her attention to the mirror, to the blur of rustling pale-pink behind her. At the vanity that stretched across the back wall, her University of Georgia sorority sisters from twenty years prior fussed with their makeup and hair. Two of them, anyway. Charlene Willoby Blackthorn and Reece Osborne Calhoun giggled, whispered and cooed like teenaged girls, their voices unnaturally giddy in the stuffy room. Only the maid of honor, Sara Buckhorn Miles, seemed unfazed by all the froufrou feminine folderol. Sara paced and smoked and shot Annie pointed glances every five seconds.
They look like perimenopausal poodles, Annie thought, feeling removed from the scene, as if she were watching her life play out on a television screen, a low-budget, groan-inducing movie of the week on the "horror" channel. In addition to Annie's dress, Aunt Tawney had chosen the frilly, silly, pastel bridesmaid gowns. The society page would have a heyday with this. By tomorrow morning, Annie figured she would be the laughingstock of Savannah, but she was too numb to care.
The door squeaked open. Annie's aunt Tess, the youngest of her father's sisters, stepped into the chaos. Sixty and long-divorced, Tess was as tall and svelte and bold as Tawney was short and plump and timid. "I just saw Lance." Grinning, she fanned her face, sending her own tobacco-laced scent adrift in the room. "My, oh my. You're one lucky girl, Annie-fo-fannie. That man is mouthwatering gorgeous in holey jeans. You'll drool like the village idiot when you see him in his tux."
Annie heard a swish of taffeta as Charlene stepped closer. Misty-eyed and gushing, she took Annie's hand and gave it a squeeze. "Mr. and Mrs. Lance T. Holcomb." She sighed. "I'm so happy for you, honey. It's finally happening. After all these years."
"Happy for her? I'm proud of her," Reece huffed. "Unlike some of us, Annie held out for a bona fide catch."
Sara came up alongside Annie and in a quiet voice said, "Hey." Motioning with her head toward the door, she added, "You want to go for a walk?"
Copyright © 2007 by Jennifer Archer.