Marrying Mary

Marrying Mary

4.2 13
by Betty Neels

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A beautiful costume designer has the best intentions when she tries to break up the engagement between her best friend and a gorgeous tycoon in Always a Hero. Her plan backfires, however, when she ends up marrying him in Las Vegas. Can he convince her that they really belong together before they end up getting divorced in Mexico?  See more details below


A beautiful costume designer has the best intentions when she tries to break up the engagement between her best friend and a gorgeous tycoon in Always a Hero. Her plan backfires, however, when she ends up marrying him in Las Vegas. Can he convince her that they really belong together before they end up getting divorced in Mexico?

Editorial Reviews

Shannon Short
Kate Hoffman starts off the new millennium with a bang as she creates two powerhouse characters for her energetic, passionate story.
Romantic Times

Product Details

Publication date:
Harlequin Romance Series, #3492
Product dimensions:
4.22(w) x 6.61(h) x 0.55(d)

Read an Excerpt

Always a Hero

By Kate, Hoffmann

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-51301-1

Chapter One

MARY PAGETT, stripping a bed with energy, was singing at the top of her voice. Not because she was happy, but to quell the frustration within. For her father - that charming but absent-minded man - to invite Great Aunt Thirza to spend her convalescence at his home had been a misplaced kindness, bringing with it a string of inconveniences which would have to be overcome.

For a start Mrs Blackett, who came daily to oblige and suffered from a persistent ill temper, was going to object to peeling more potatoes and scraping more carrots, not to mention the extra work vacuuming the guest bedroom. And Mr Archer, the village butcher, was going to express hurt feelings at the lack of orders for sausages and braising steak, since Great Aunt Thirza was a vegetarian, and for reasons of economy the rest of the household would have to be vegetarian too.

There was her mother too - Mary's voice rose a few decibels - a lovable, whimsical lady, whose talent for designing Christmas cards had earned her a hut in the garden to which she retired after breakfast each day, only appearing at meals. Lastly there was Polly, her young sister, who was a keen and not very accurate player of the recorder; her loving family bore with the noise but Great Aunt Thirza was going to object ...

Mary finished making the bed, cast an eye over the rather heavy furniture in the high-ceilinged room, with its old-fashioned wallpaper and wooden floor, sparsely covered by elderly rugs, and hoped that the draughts from the big sash windows opposite wouldn't be too much for her elderly relation.

The house - a mid-Victorian rectory built for an incumbent with a large family - wasn't all that old. After standing empty for some years it had been bought by her father, since it had been a bargain at its low price. But he, an unworldly man, had not taken notice of the size of its rooms, which made heating the place almost hopeless, or the lack of maids, or the fact that coal for the enormous grates was a constant drain on the household purse - nor had he considered the amount of gas and electricity which was needed.

He had his study, where he worked on his book, and Mary's pleas for someone to clear the drains, paint the doors and put tiles back on the elaborate roof fell on deaf ears.

Her father was a dear man, she reflected, but un-worldly. He was devoted to his wife and children, but that had never prevented him from delegating the mundane responsibilities of a married man to someone else and, since Mary was so conveniently there, they had fallen to her.

It had happened very gradually; she had left school with hopes of going on to university, but her mother had been ill and her two brothers had been home, and someone had had to feed and look after them - be-sides which Polly had still been a little girl. Her mother had got better, the boys had gone to Cambridge, but no one had suggested that Mary might like to do anything but stay home and look after them all. She had stayed quite willingly since, despite its drawbacks, she loved the shabby old house, she liked cooking, and she even liked a certain amount of housework.

So the years had slipped quietly by, and here she was, twenty-four years old, a tall, splendidly built girl with a lovely face, enormous brown eyes and an abundance of chestnut hair, her face rendered even more interesting by reason of her nose, which was short and tip-tilted. It went without saying that the men of her acquaintance liked her, admired her and in two cases had wished to marry her. She had refused them kindly and remained firm friends, acting as bridesmaid at their weddings and godmother to their children.

There was Arthur, of course, whom she had known for years - a worthy young man who rather took it for granted that one day she would marry him, and indeed from time to time she had considered that possibility. He would be a splendid husband - faithful and kind even if a bit bossy. He was also a shade pompous and she had doubts as to what he would be like in ten years' time.

Besides, she had no intention of marrying anyone at the moment; the boys were away from home but Polly was thirteen - too young to be left to the care of a fond but unworldly mother and a forgetful father. Right at the back of her head was the half-formed wish that something exciting would happen - some-thing so exciting and urgent that her prosaic plans would be dashed to pieces ...

The only thing that was going to happen was Great Aunt Thirza, who was neither of these things, but a cantankerous old lady who liked her own way.

Mary went down to the kitchen and broke the news to Mrs Blackett, who paused long enough in her cleaning of the kitchen floor with far too wet a mop to scowl at her and grumble with such venom that her dentures got dislodged.

"As though we 'aven't got enough on our 'ands. And it's no good you expecting me to do more for you than what I do now." She gave a snort of ill humour and sloshed more water over the floor.

Mary, side-stepping the puddles, made soothing noises. "When you've finished the floor," she said cheerfully, "we'll have a cup of tea. I wouldn't expect you to do more than you do already, Mrs Blackett, and I dare say that Great Aunt Thirza will spend a good deal of time resting."

Knowing that lady, she thought it unlikely, but Mrs Blackett wasn't to know that, and the latter, calmed with a strong cup of tea and a large slice of cake, relating the latest misdemeanour of Horace, her youngest, became sufficiently mollified to suggest doing a bit extra around the house. "I'd stay for me dinner and do a couple of hours in an afternoon - it'd 'ave to be a Tuesday or a Wednesday, mind."

Mary accepted her offer gratefully. "It will only be for a week or two, Mrs Blackett."

"Where's she coming from, then?"

"She's in St Justin's. Her housekeeper will take whatever clothes she needs to the hospital and an ambulance will bring her here." Mary gave a very small sigh. "Tomorrow."

"You'll want more spuds," said Mrs Blackett. "Going ter get a nice bit of 'am?"

"Well, I'm afraid that Mrs Winton is a vegetarian ..."

"I don't 'old with them," said Mrs Blackett darkly.

Nor did Mary, although she sympathised with their views.


Excerpted from Always a Hero by Kate, Hoffmann Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Romance readers around the world were sad to note the passing of Betty Neels in June 2001.Her career spanned thirty years, and she continued to write into her ninetieth year.To her millions of fans, Betty epitomized the romance writer.Betty’s first book, Sister Peters in Amsterdam,was published in 1969, and she eventually completed 134 books.Her novels offer a reassuring warmth that was very much a part of her own personality.Her spirit and genuine talent live on in all her stories.

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Marrying Mary 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All of Betty Neels books are worth reading. Set in England, Scotland, and the surrounding areas, Betty Neels writes books that are clean, romantic, and will make you want to read every book she has ever wrote.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anything by Betty Neels is a nice feel good romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not barely put this book down for a brief intermission. I enjoy ready Betty Noels novels. "Marrying Mary" was an enjoyable read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love betty neels books, she wrote my kind of romances!
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Woke up
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