What A Girl Wants (Harlequin Blaze)(4)

By: Jamie Sobrato


She just needed to get past her fear, put the crazies out of her head and get on with her life. But the words of that last caller chilled her. Had the creep been lying, or was he really watching her? She’d always used a post-office box for her mail, but she supposed it wouldn’t be very difficult for someone to find out where she lived.

Jane tried to focus on more pressing worries as she traveled down the elevator and out of the building. She was supposed to meet with her sister in fifteen minutes, a few blocks away. She’d purposely arranged the meeting today right after The Jax Reed Show since the bridal shop where they were meeting was downtown, close to the radio station.

Jane steeled herself for the torture to come. She could think of few things she’d rather do less than try on bridesmaid dresses in front of her sister. But Heather was getting married in two months and, in what she probably considered an act of great benevolence, she’d asked Jane to be one of the bridesmaids.

Heather was one of a set of triplets, two years younger than Jane. The triplets were her opposite in just about every conceivable way. From their Nordic blond beauty to their shared pride in never having read a book since graduating from college, there was almost nothing Jane had in common with her sisters besides blood.

Jane hurried down the busy street, dodging business people as she went, trying not to think about the psycho caller. At least by comparison to taking callers on The Jax Reed Show, she decided, trying on bridesmaid dresses sounded almost fun.

She stepped inside the cool silence of Here Comes The Bride, Dallas’s premier retailer of tacky satin dresses, and found herself in a wonderland of pastel colors. The entire store was decorated in shades of pink, from the pink striped walls to the thickly padded pink carpet, and a saleslady in a lavender suit hovered nearby.

Jane spotted her sister and mother sitting together on a sofa, thumbing through a catalog of fabric swatches.

Her mother. Wonderful—just freaking wonderful. Perhaps the only person who understood Jane less than her triplet sisters was their mother, Olivia Langston—known to the world as Livvy—former Miss Southeastern Texas. She was endlessly puzzled about how one of her daughters could waste away her life in front of a computer writing boring old books, when she could be out trying to bag a husband.

“I’m with them,” Jane said to the saleslady, who was busy sizing her up and probably already had her pegged as a bridesmaid and not a bride.

“Of course,” she said through a thin smile.

“Jane, dear,” her mother drawled in her carefully preserved Texas accent, “please tell your sister she absolutely cannot have the bridesmaids wear hats.”

“Heather, I’m not wearing a hat.”

Livvy nodded triumphantly. “You have to remember Jane looks odd in hats, anyway. They draw attention to the size of her head.”

Not the head issue again. According to Livvy, Jane’s head had caused unimaginable pain during childbirth, and she hadn’t forgiven her yet. As far as Jane could tell, her head was not abnormally large—her mother’s hips, however, were abnormally small—yet she couldn’t resist glancing in the mirror to see if her head was casting a shadow over the entire store.

Heather frowned at Jane’s head. “Maybe we could just get an extralarge one for you.”

“No, it’s bad enough that I have to stand in front of a church in a bridesmaid dress. I’m not wearing a hat, too.”

The saleslady intervened. “If you’d like, I can show you to a dressing room now.”

“That would be splendid,” Livvy said, eager to divert attention while she’d still won the battle.

“We’ve picked out a few styles we think might be flattering on you, Jane.” Heather followed behind with their mother, just as Jane had feared. They were both going to be there, critiquing her as she tried on the dresses.

The dressing room was, literally, a well-appointed room, complete with two walls of adjustable mirrors, a carpeted platform to stand on for fittings and a velvet sofa. In one corner stood a rack of dresses.

Apparently Jane was the test female for the dress all the bridesmaids would wear. Since Heather’s friends and the other two triplets would look fabulous in whatever she picked out, they needed only to find a dress that Jane could wear without looking like the “before” picture in a makeover article, standing next to a bunch of former and current Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders—the perfect legion of “after” photos.

The saleslady selected a pink satin sheath from the rack. “Since this is your sister’s favorite, why don’t you start with it? These are all size tens, so they should fit.”

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