Read The Wedding Date Online

Authors: Ally Blake

The Wedding Date

Praise for Ally Blake

“Fast-paced and sexy, graced with great characters and funny dialogue, this one’s a standout from start to finish.’

—RT Book Reviews on
Dating the Rebel Tycoon

‘Ally Blake’s
The Magnate’s Indecent Proposal
starts with an amusing premise and quickly moves into an entertaining love-at-first-sight tale. It’s full of humor, witty dialogue, a hero to die for and a heroine that’s his match in every way.’

—RT Book Reviews

‘Flirty and totally funny,
The Magnate’s Indecent Proposal
will leave readers smiling and thoroughly entertained by its characters. Ms Blake has penned an extraordinary story.’

—www.cataromance.com

‘Ms Blake’s prose is a revelation. She lets the characters speak for themselves—no telling here, thank you very much—and their dialogue zips along in a demonstrable meeting of true minds. It’s funny. It’s zingy. It’s touching. It is, in other words, just plain good.’

—www.likesbooks.com on
The Magnate’s Indecent Proposal

About the Author

About Ally Blake

When
A
LLY BLAKE
was a little girl she made a wish that when she turned twenty-six she would marry an Italian two years older than her. After it actually came true she realised she was onto something with these wish things. So, next she wished that she could make a living spending her days in her pyjamas, eating M&Ms and drinking scads of coffee while turning her formative experiences of wallowing in teenage crushes and romantic movies into creating love stories of her own. The fact that she is now able to spend her spare time searching the internet for pictures of handsome guys for research purposes is merely a bonus!

Come along and visit her website at
www.allyblake.com

Also by Ally Blake

Getting Red-Hot with the Rogue
Dating the Rebel Tycoon
A Night with the Society Playboy
The Magnate’s Indecent Proposal

Did you know these are also available as eBooks?
Visit www.millsandboon.co.uk

The Wedding Date

Ally Blake

www.millsandboon.co.uk

This one’s for white chocolate raspberry muffins and macadamia choc chip cookies. Or, more specifically, the fab staff at my fave local cafés who let me write this book in their welcoming warmth and know my order by heart.

CHAPTER ONE

‘Y
OU’RE
him! Aren’t you?’

The gorgeous specimen of manhood in the dark sunglasses, at the pointy end of a squat pale pink fingernail, sat stock still. To the eclectic, late-afternoon Brunswick Street crowd rushing past the sidewalk café he would have appeared simply cool. Collected. Quietly attentive behind a half-smile so effortlessly sexy it could stop traffic. Literally.

Hannah knew better.

Hannah, who worked harder and with longer hours than anyone else she knew, would have bet her precious life savings on the fact that, behind those ubiquitous dark sunglasses he was hoping, almost desperately, that the older woman on the other end of the finger might quickly realise she had mistaken him for someone else.

No such luck.

‘You are!’ the woman continued, flat feet planted determinedly on the uneven cobbled
ground. ‘I know you are! You’re the guy who makes that
Voyagers
TV show. I’ve seen you in magazines. And on the telly. My daughter just
loooves
you. She even considered going into training once, so she could be one of those regular-type people you send off into the wild and up mountains with nothing but a toothbrush and a packet of Tim-Tams. Or however it goes. And that’s saying something! It’s all but impossible to get that girl off the couch. You know what? I should give you her number. She’s quite pretty in her way, and unquestionably single …’

Sitting—with apparently Ninja-like invisibility—on the other side of the rickety table that served as Knight Productions’ office those times when the boss felt the need to get out of the confines of their manic headquarters, Hannah had to cover her mouth to smother the laugh threatening to bubble to the surface.

Any other time of day or night her boss was like the mountains he had so famously conquered before turning his attentions to encouraging others to do the same on TV. He was colossal, tough, unyielding, indomitable, enigmatic. Which was why seeing him wriggle and squirm and practically lose the power of speech under the attentions of an overtly loving fan was always a moment to relish.

It had taken Hannah less than half a day of the year she’d worked for Bradley Knight
to realise that overt adoration was her boss’s Achilles’ heel. Awards, industry accolades, gushing peers, bowing and scraping minions—all turned him to stone.

And then there were the fans. The many, many,
many
fans who knew a good thing when they saw it. And there was no denying that Bradley Knight was six feet four inches of very good thing.

Just like that, the laughter tickling Hannah’s throat turned into a small, uncomfortable lump.

She frowned deeply, cleared her throat, and shifted on her wrought-iron seat, redistributing the balance of her buttocks. And more importantly her train of thought.

The very last thing her boss needed was even the smallest clue that in moments of overworked, overtired weakness he’d even given
her
the occasional tummy-flutter. And sweaty palms. And hot flushes. And raging fantasies the likes of which she wouldn’t dare share with even her best friend, whose good-natured ribbing about Hannah’s constant proximity to their gorgeous boss had come all too close to hitting the mark on a number of occasions.

The beep of a car horn split the air, and Hannah flinched out of her heady daydream to find herself breathing a little too heavily and staring moonily at her boss.

Hannah frowned so hard she pulled a muscle in her neck.

She’d worked her backside off to get there, to take any job she could get in order to gain experience before finally finding the one she loved. The one she was really good at. The one she was meant to do. And she wasn’t going to do anything to risk that career path now.

Even if that wasn’t reason enough, pining after the guy was a complete a waste of time. He was a rock. He’d never let her in. He never let
anyone
in. And when it came to relationships Hannah wasn’t prepared to accept anything less than
wonderful.

Don’t. Ever. Forget it.

She glanced at her watch. It was nearly four. Phew. The long weekend looming ahead of her—four days away from her all-consuming job and her all-consuming boss—clearly could not have come at a better time.

Still on the clock, she turned her concentration back to the woman who might as well have had her boss at knife-point he was sitting so eerily still.

She scraped her chair back and intervened, before Bradley managed to perform the first ever case of human osmosis and disappeared through the holes in his wrought-iron chair.

The woman only noticed her existence when
Hannah slung an arm around her shoulders and none too gently eased her to the kerb.

‘Do you know him?’ the woman asked, breathless.

Glancing back at Bradley, Hannah felt her inner imp take over. Leaning in, she murmured, ‘I’ve seen the inside of his fridge. It’s frighteningly clean.’

The woman’s still glittering eyes widened, and she finally focussed fully on Hannah. She was very thorough in her perusal of the kinks that always managed to appear in Hannah’s straightened hair by that time of the afternoon. The countless creases in her designer dress. The chunky man’s diving watch hanging loosely around her thin wrist. The cowboy boots poking out from beneath it all.

Then the woman smiled.

With a none too comfortable flash of realisation it hit Hannah that she was being compared unfavourably to the daughter who never got off the couch. Her inner imp limped back into hiding.

Eight hours earlier she’d looked the epitome of personal assistant to Australia’s most successful television producer—even despite the little odes to her tomboy roots. You could take the girl out of small-town Tasmania, but …

But she didn’t say any of that. With a shrug she admitted, ‘I’m Mr Knight’s personal assistant.’

‘Oh.’ The woman nodded, as if that made so much more sense than a man like him
choosing
to spend time with her—because when he said jump, she knew how high without even having to ask.

After a little more chat, Hannah turned the woman in the opposite direction, gave her a little push and waved goodbye as, like a zombie, she trudged away down the street.

She brushed off her hands. Another job well done. Then she turned, hands on hips, to find Bradley running long fingers beneath his eyes, sliding his sunglasses almost high enough to offer a teasing glimpse of the arresting silvery-grey eyes beneath. But not quite.

Then slowly, achingly slowly, his rigid body began to unclench. Muscle by hard-earned muscle, limb by long, strong limb, down his considerable length until his legs slid under the table and his large shoes poked lazily out at the other side.

The apparent languor was all an act. The effort of a private man to restrain whatever it was that drew people to him like moths to a flame. Unfortunately for him it only made the restrained power seething inside him more obvious. More compelling. A familiar sweep of sensation skipped blithely across her skin again—a soft, melty, pulsing feeling.

Even the fact that she knew
she
was about to
bear the brunt of the dark mood he’d be in after the one-way love-in didn’t make her immune.

At least it hadn’t yet.

Time was what she needed. Time and space, so that the boundaries of her life weren’t defined by the monstrous number of hours she spent deep inside Bradley’s overwhelming creative vision. Thanks heavens for the long weekend!

Actually, time, space
and
meeting a guy would do it for sure. A guy who might actually stand a chance in hell of feeling that way about her.

He was out there. Somewhere. She was sure of it. He had to be. Because she absolutely wasn’t going to settle for anything less than everything. She’d seen first-hand what ‘settling’ looked like in the first of the three marriages her mother had leapt into after her father passed away. It wasn’t pretty. In fact it was downright sordid. That wasn’t going to be her life.

She blinked as her boss’s beautifully chiselled face came into such sharp focus her breath caught in her throat. He was something. But any woman who hoped in Bradley Knight’s direction was asking for heartache. Many had tried. Many more yet would. But nobody on earth would topple that mountain.

She grabbed the wayward swathe of hair flickering across her face and tucked it behind her ear, plastered a smile across her face, and
bounded back to the table. Bradley didn’t look up. Didn’t even flicker a lash. He probably hadn’t even realised she’d left.

‘Wasn’t she a lovely lady?’ Hannah sing-songed. ‘We’re sending her daughter a signed copy of last season’s
Voyagers.’

‘Why me?’ Bradley asked, still looking into the distance.

She knew he wasn’t talking about posting a DVD. ‘You were just born lucky,’ she said wryly.

‘You think I’m lucky?’ he asked.

‘Ooh, yeah. Fairies sprinkled fortune dust on your cradle as you slept. Why else do you think you’ve been so ridiculously successful at everything you’ve ever set your heart on?’

His head swung her way. Even with the dark sunglasses between them, the force of his undivided attention was like a thunderclap. Her heart-rate quadrupled in response.

His voice was a touch deeper when he said, ‘So, in your eyes, my life has nothing to do with hard work, persistence, and knowing just enough about man’s primal need to prove himself as a man?’

Hannah tapped a finger on her chin and took a few seconds to damp down her own latent needs as she looked up at the cloudy blue sky. Then she said, ‘Nah.’

The appreciative rumble of his laughter
danced across her nerves, creating a whole new wave of warmth cascading through her. Enjoying him from the other side of the mile-high walls he wore like a second skin was imprudent enough. Enduring the bombardment of his personal attention was a whole other battle.

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