Although they dated for only a month, Harley O’Hannigan just agreed to be Vince Messina’s plus-one at a Harmony Valley wedding. Big mistake, given her deepening feelings for the tall, dark, unavailable bachelor. And what about Vince’s long-buried family history? Then there’s the growing secret that could transform this pretend relationship into the real thing…
Heat level: As with all Harlequin Heartwarming books, this story is sweet (has no overt sensuality, rated PG).
Marrying the Wedding Crasher
“Give the money back, Dan.” He’d won an international design award with her conceptual drawings of a playhouse with balconies that seemed to float in the sky. And then the city of Houston had agreed to pay Dan millions to build it.
“Give it back?” He choked on the words and then seemed angered to have done so. His face reddened. “I spent the advance on things like salaries and tuition reimbursement.” For her.
“And on cars and a new house.” An over the top place some other architect had designed. Dan had little talent of his own. He was drunk on new business and higher fees.
As usual, her arguments fell on deaf ears. Dan made a guttural hiss.
The fear in Harley’s throat plummeted to her legs, weakening them. He’d never confronted her alone in an isolated place before. Every instinct she had urged her to run, to get out of the house and away from Dan.
Before Harley had a chance to move, Dan did. He closed the distance between them and shoved her, hard.
She couldn’t catch her breath. She was from a good home, a stable family. People in her world didn’t get in physical fights.
Her legs gave out and she felt cold from her head to her toes.
She became aware of a scuffling noise. Someone might have shouted. Someone who sounded vaguely like Dan.
“Harley?” Definitely not Dan’s voice.
She was incredibly thankful for whoever Not-Dan was.
Warm hands engulfed hers, not the slightest bit vengeful.
“Harley?” A gentle voice, one she should be able to identify if her head didn’t feel like someone had stuffed it with thick insulation. “You’re safe. He’s gone.”
She opened her eyes on a shuddering breath. A familiar face greeted her.
. They both worked for Jerry, remodeling houses.
. Friendly black eyes, a sturdy nose and black hair. That black hair. It had required a second glance when they’d first met. He had fantastic hair. The kind of hair Disney gave its princes.
Her heart was racing for the exit and her hands had started to tremble in his.
Vince’s hands, not Dan’s.
. He drove an old truck, not a new Ferrari. He’d offered her carrots once when he’d heard she’d forgotten her lunch on a remote job site. He’d bought her a drink after work one day, which had led to him buying her dinner—more than once—and then the infamous weekend away where he’d learned she’d quit being an architect. Not that he’d understood Harley and her inability to pick herself up after one undisclosed setback. He may have been seven years older than her, but that didn’t mean he could be judgmental about her career choices.
The Story Behind the Story
This book features another Messina brother (the first was Marrying the Single Dad). I really liked the idea of a set of three brothers that were each perceived differently. I know that my 2nd and 3rd children went through life following their brother through school and sports and wanted their own identity. Vince is the brother who was always seen as a trouble-maker, but this book reveals that perception is very far from reality. Hope you fall for Vince the same way I did - hard!