What A Girl Wants (Harlequin Blaze)(6)

By: Jamie Sobrato

Heather’s eyes turned to blue saucers. She believed in signs, horoscopes, tarot cards and fortune cookies. “Janie, that’s a sign! You were meant to get Luke’s help.”

“What do you know about this guy?”

“I know he’s really cute, and that he and Mikey were childhood playmates, but that’s about it. They’re not close anymore, but they were such good friends growing up that Mikey had to have him as a groomsman.”

“Hmm, a cute cousin of Michael’s. Guess that’s all I need to know to hire him.”

“Of course you should talk to him first, but I really think the universe is trying to tell you something here.”

“Jane? Heather?” Their mother tapped on the door. “Aren’t you going to let me see?” Instead of waiting for an answer, she opened the door and walked in, catching Jane in the middle of bending over to untangle a dress from her ankles.

“Dear, that is not your best angle,” Livvy said.

Jane swung around for privacy, then remembered that the walls were mirrored. “Do you mind? We’ll call you in when we’ve found the right dress.”

“Someone’s wearing cheap perfume out there. It’s upsetting my allergies.” She produced a dainty little sneeze.

Her mother used the old allergy excuse whenever she got the chance. It was her way of making sure no conversation took place too far from her ears.

Jane took the next dress from Heather and stepped into it. A navy-blue princess-style gown with a subtle flare at the hips and low-cut décolletage. She hoped before it was even zipped up that it would be Heather’s choice. It had the distinct advantage of complementing Jane’s overly curvy hips, and dark colors were, after all, slimming.

Not that Jane thought she needed any slimming down, but next to all Heather’s toothpick friends, she was bound to look like a Clydesdale among thoroughbreds no matter what she wore.

Heather zipped it up, took a step back, and clapped her hands together. “It’s perfect,” she said, as if on command.

“Yeah, not bad.” Jane surveyed herself in the mirror. She could imagine walking down the aisle arm-in-arm with Bradley Stone in this dress.

Their mother frowned. “But I thought we’d agreed upon rose petal as the color for the dresses.”

“You agreed on rose petal, and I wanted seashell. But I think I like midnight blue even better. This is the dress I want—it’s settled.”

Jane breathed a sigh of relief. She’d narrowly escaped wearing a pink bridesmaid dress. Maybe this day wasn’t turning out so badly after all.

Livvy gave them her best put-upon look and disappeared from the room to find the saleslady.

Heather leaned in close and whispered to Jane, “What I said about Bradley—just forget it. I’m sorry I brought him up.”

“You didn’t say anything about him.”

“Right. Well, I think I know why you didn’t want to talk about him, and I’m sorry I even mentioned him. Just forget I ever said anything.”

It was completely out of Heather’s character to behave so sensitively, but Jane wasn’t in the mood to question it. “No problem.”

Their mother came back with the saleslady, who pinned the dress in all the right spots for the seamstress.

By the time Jane had dressed and said goodbye to her mother and sister, it was already close to ten, and that meant half of her usual writing day was over. She’d have to write in the afternoon now, which was not her most creative time—definitely not after such a stressful morning.

She was working on a proposal for a follow-up book to The Sex Factor, but in the midst of so much controversy, she was beginning to think she ought to give up writing and pursue a career in dental hygiene or library science.

Mostly she just longed for her old, boring life, her pre-Sex Factor life, when her biggest worry was how to avoid Sunday-night dinner at her parents’ house and when she never needed bodyguard recommendations from her sister. Jane hadn’t realized how comfortable she’d been in her happy little rut, writing and jogging and searching for the perfect latte, until the controversy surrounding her new book had completely knocked her out of her comfort zone.

She stood at the corner looking for a cab, and managed to wave one down after a few minutes. Having two appointments downtown that morning, she’d opted not to deal with traffic and parking hell, and had left her own car at home.

She climbed into the cab and gave him her home address, then sat back and sighed as he pulled away from the curb. On the radio was none other than Jax Reed, wrapping up his show as he did every morning at ten.

The driver glanced at her in his rearview mirror that sported a dangling Texas state flag air freshener. “You listen to The Jax Reed Show?”

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