4.3 76
by Jude Deveraux, Jude Deveraux

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Her wedding fast approaching, celebrated chef Kady Long knew she was the luckiest woman alive...until she slipped into a delicate satin wedding dress she found in and antique flour tin, and was overcome by an odd dizzy spell.See more details below


Her wedding fast approaching, celebrated chef Kady Long knew she was the luckiest woman alive...until she slipped into a delicate satin wedding dress she found in and antique flour tin, and was overcome by an odd dizzy spell.

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From the Publisher
The Lake Worth Herald One of the world's top romance novelists.

Product Details

Pocket Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.30(d)

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From Chapter 1

"So!" Jane said. "I feel a little guilty, having arrived days earlier, so why don't you tell Debbie all about your fiance? In fact, I forgot all about the love part of all this."

At that Kady rolled her eyes. Jane was an accountant and for the last two days the finances of the restaurant and Kady's bank account had been Jane's number one concern.

"Yes, do tell me," Debbie encouraged. "Tell me all about Gregory. Kady, he really is the most beautiful of men. Is he a model?"

"More important," Jane said with a secretive look, "how does he look with his face veiled?"

"What?" Debbie asked, leaning forward, looking puzzled.

"Since she was a child, Kady has..." Halting, Jane looked at her friend. "Stop sitting there looking like the cat that ate the canary and tell us all. Was it love at first sight?"

"More like 'love at first bite,'" Kady said, smiling, her eyes dreamy as they always were when she thought of the man she loved. "As you know, Gregory is Mrs. Norman's only child, but he lives in Los Angeles, where he's a highpowered real estate agent. He buys and sells those five-million-dollar houses for the movie stars, so he's pretty busy. He's only been back to Virginia once in the five years I've been here." After she said this, she glanced at Jane to make sure she'd heard. Financial solvency was what Jane considered a man's most important feature. "The one time he was here was the week I was in Ohio visiting my parents, so I missed meeting him."

Kady smiled in memory. "But six months ago, early one Sunday morning, I was at the restaurant with my knives and — "

At this Jane gave a snort of laughter, and Debbie tittered. Kady never, never allowed anyone to touch her precious knives. She kept them sharp enough to split an eyelash, lengthwise, and heaven help anyone who picked up one of her knives and used it to do something like, say, scrape a cutting board.

"Okay," Kady said, smiling, then turned to Debbie. "My dear friend here has for years been trying to make me believe that there is life outside a kitchen. But I have told her that, due to something called hunger, life comes to the kitchen." She looked back at Jane. "And it did. It came in the form of one Gregory Norman."

"Some great form," Debbie said under her breath, making Kady smile.

"Anyway, as I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted, I was in the kitchen at the restaurant, and in walked Gregory. Right away I knew who he was, since Mrs. Norman has shown me at least three point one million photos of him and has told me everything about him from the time he was born. But I don't think he knew who I was."

"Thought you were the scullery maid, did he?" Jane asked. "And what did you have on? Torn jeans and one of those shapeless coats of yours?"

"Of course. But Gregory didn't notice. He'd arrived from LA late the night before and he'd been out jogging, so he was sweaty and very hungry. He asked if I knew if there was any cereal or something he could eat for breakfast. So l told him to sit down and I'd make him something."

After that, Kady took a big bite of her sandwich and looked as though she were planning to say no more.

Debbie broke the silence. "Your pancakes?"

"Actually, crepes. With strawberries."

"Poor man," Jane said seriously. "He didn't have a chance." She leaned forward. "Kady, dear, I can fully understand that he fell in love with you, but are you in love with him? You aren't marrying him because he gushes over your food, are you?"

"I haven't agreed to marry the other men who have eaten my food, then asked me to marry them, now have 1?"

Debbie laughed. "Have there been many?"

Jane answered. "According to Mrs. Norman, there's one a night, men from all over the world. What was it that sultan offered you?"

"Rubies. Mrs. Norman said she was glad he didn't offer me an herb farm or she feared I might go with him."

"What did Gregory offer you?"

"Just himself," Kady said. "Jane, please stop worrying. I love Gregory very much." For a moment, Kady closed her eyes. "The last six months have been the best of my life. Gregory has courted me like something out of a novel, with flowers and candy and attention. He listens to all my ideas about Onions, and he has told his mother that I'm to have carte blanche when it comes to buying ingredients. I didn't tell anyone, but in the months before Gregory returned, I was thinking about leaving Onions and opening my own restaurant."

"But now you're staying. So does that mean Gregory is going to leave LA and live here with you?" Jane asked.

"Yes. We're buying a town house in Alexandria, one of those beautiful three-story places with a garden, and Gregory is going to get into real estate here in Virginia. He won't make as much money as he did in LA, but..."

"It's love," Debbie said. "Any babies planned?"

"As soon as possible," Kady said softly, then blushed and looked down at her coleslaw, which had too much fennel in it.

"But how does he look in a face veil?" Jane asked again.

"You must tell me," Debbie said, when Kady didn't answer right away. "What is this about a face veil?"

"May I?" Jane asked, then when Kady nodded, she continued. "Kady's widowed mother worked a couple of jobs, so Kady stayed with us most of the day and she was like part of our family. She used to have — " She looked at Kady, one eyebrow raised. "Still does?" Kady nodded. "Anyway, all her life Kady has had a dream about an Arabian prince."

"I don't know who he is," Kady interrupted, looking at Debbie. "It's just a dream I have. It's nothing."

"Nothing, ha! You know what she did all the years she was growing up? She drew veils across the lower half of every man's photo she saw. My father used to threaten her within an inch of her life, because he'd open Time magazine or Fortune and, if Kady had seen it first, she'd have blacked out the bottom half of each man's face. She carried black markers with her wherever she went." Jane leaned toward Debbie. "When she grew up, she put the markers in the case with her knives."

"She still does," Debbie said. "At school we all wondered what her black markers were for. Darryl once said — " She gave a look at Kady, then broke off.

"Go on," Kady said. "I can bear it. Ever since he heard me say that he couldn't even fry a chicken, Darryl has not exactly been my friend. What did he say about my markers?"

"That you used them to write letters to the devil because that's the only way you could cook the way you do."

Both Kady and Jane laughed.

"So tell me about the man with the veiled face," Debbie encouraged, and this time Jane nodded for Kady to tell her own story.

"It's nothing really. When I was growing up, I was obsessed with finding this man." She looked at Jane. "And now I think I have. Gregory looks very much like him."

"Him who?" Debbie said, frustrated. "Either tell me or I'll make you eat processed cheese!"

"I never knew you had such a streak of cruelty," Kady said dryly, then, "Okay, okay. I have a recurring dream, and it's always the same. I'm standing in a desert and there is a man sitting on a white horse, one of those beautiful Arabian horses. The man is wearing a robe of black wool. He's looking at me, but I can only see his eyes because the lower half of his face is covered with a black cloth."

For a moment, Kady's voice became soft as she thought of the dream man who had been such a compelling part of her life. "He has unusual, almond-shaped eyes. The outer lids dip down just slightly, so they give him a look of sadness, as though he has seen more pain than a person should have seen."

Abruptly, Kady came back to the present and smiled at Debbie. "He never says anything, but I can tell that he wants something from me and he's waiting for me to do something. Every time it frustrates me that I don't know what he wants. After a moment he holds out his hand to me. It's a beautiful, strong hand, with long fingers and tanned skin."

In spite of herself, Kady felt the power of the dream even as she told the story. If she'd had the dream only once or twice, she would have been able to forget about it, but there had never been a week since she was nine years old that she hadn't had the dream. It was always exactly the same, with not the tiniest variation.

Her voice grew so quiet that both Jane and Debbie had to lean forward to hear her. "Always, I try to take his hand. More than anything in the world I want to jump on that horse and ride away with him. I want to go wherever he is going, to be with him forever, but I can't. I can't reach his hand. I try to, but there is too much distance between us. After a while his eyes show infinite sadness, and he withdraws his hand, then rides away. He rides as though he is part of the horse. After a long moment he halts his horse, then turns back for just a second and looks at me as though he hopes I will change my mind and go with him. Each time I call out to him not to leave me, but he never seems to hear. He looks even sadder, then turns and rides away."

Kady leaned back in her chair. "And that's the end of the dream."

"Oh, Kady," Debbie said, "that gives me goose bumps. And you think Gregory is your Arabian prince in real life?"

"He is dark like him, and from the first moment, we were attracted to each other, and since he proposed marriage, I have been having the dream every other night. I think that's a sign, don't you?"

Copyright © 1996 by Deveraux, Inc.

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