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This was it. Donovan had everything in place. It was time to lay it on the line.
He began to verbally run through his mental checklist. "I've been with the firm for six years, and I've generated more income for you than any other associate. I have a solid client base and -"
Donovan winced at the sound of his first name. Leland was one of the few people he permitted to use it. Elias sounded too soft, and Donovan wasn't the least bit soft. He'd spent years perfecting his rock-hard court persona, and the name Donovan suited it to a T.
"... we're all aware of what an asset you are to the firm. You're promising partner material and we all realize it."
"Promising?" Donovan asked.
He didn't like the sound of being promising. He carefully schooled his expression so his displeasure didn't show.
"You've accomplished everything you just mentioned and more. The only concern we have, Elias, is your lack of balance. You've got work and ...? What else is there in your life?" he asked.
As senior partner of Wagner, McDuffy and Chambers, Leland Wagner seemed to feel as if he had to play father to the entire firm. Or maybe it wasn't that he was senior partner, but that he had reached an age where he could have been father, or even grandfather, to all the associates and employees of the firm.
"Work is my life," Donovan said.
Work was his passion, and like any mistress, she was jealous of time he spent elsewhere. Donovan was happy to indulge her. He found his relationship with his practice was so much more straightforward than any relationship he'd ever had with a woman. The law he could understand, but he'd never totally figured out the female species. And he'd given up trying to figure them out at least for now. The day would come that he'd be ready to settle down, but it wasn't here yet.
"Work's not enough," Leland said. "I've been in this business for my entire adult life - over four decades - and it's not enough. It might not be politically correct to say, but you need someone to come home to. You need the balance of a life outside the firm and the courthouse. You need a wife. When we see that you've learned that there's more to life than your practice, then it will be time to talk about partnership."
"A wife?" Donovan echoed. He'd never even dated the same woman for more than a few months. Why would Leland think he was interested in tying his life to one?
"A wife," Leland repeated gently. "I know you think this is an archaic idea. But Dorothy and I are celebrating our fiftieth wedding anniversary next week. I married her right out of high school and she's been my balance all these years. She's my reason for going home at night. She's -"
Donovan interrupted. "How about a fiancée?"
He heard the words come out of his mouth, but couldn't believe he was saying them. A fiancée? He didn't have a fiancée. He didn't want a fiancée any more than he wanted a wife.
"A fiancée?" Leland echoed, as if he could hear Donovan's thoughts.
Thinking fast on his feet, Donovan said, "I know she's not quite a wife, at least not yet, but you're right, she's given my life balance. I can hardly remember a time without her."
Leland's eyes narrowed as he studied Donovan. "When did this happen?"
Feeling rather like a teenager lying about the dent in the car, he said, "Recently." That wasn't quite a lie. He'd acquired a fiancée about two seconds ago.
"Well," Leland said slowly. A smile suddenly blossomed on his life-lined face. "You certainly do keep things close to your chest, my boy. That's what makes you such a great lawyer."
The older man paused a moment and then repeated, "A fiancée? This puts an entirely different spin on the matter. I'll talk to the other partners, but in the meantime you had better bring her along to the party next week so we can all meet her. I'm sure everyone will want to meet the woman who finally melted the legendary Iceman. You're a private man, Elias. I can respect that, but Wagner, McDuffy and Chambers is a family. And if she's marrying you, she'll be part of that family. So you just bring her and introduce her around."
"I will," he found himself promising.
"Like I said, I'll talk to the other partners, and get back to you with our decision soon." Leland stood.
Donovan followed suit, and extended his hand. "Thank you, Leland."
Donovan walked out of the office with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He couldn't decide if he'd just made things better or worse. But either way, he had something to take care of and there was no time to waste.
Elias Donovan had to find a fiancée ... fast.
Excerpted from A Day Late And A Bride Short by Holly Jacobs Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Posted June 2, 2003
I read Do You Hear What I Hear when it first came out. I didn't know this one took place on Perrys Square like it did, and was pleased to be back there. Great story. Loved Sarah and Donovan.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.