Right Wedding Gown (Kimani Romance Series #144) [NOOK Book]


Samara Scott doesn't believe in happily ever after. So when she finds a vintage wedding gown in a beautiful antique trunk, she vows never to put it on. Even if tantalizing visions of sexy attorney Justin Beckett in tux and tails are tempting her to rethink that trip down the aisle.…

Justin not only believes in marriage—he knows Samara's the right woman for him. And with passion sizzling between them, he just has to get the wedding-wary ...
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Right Wedding Gown (Kimani Romance Series #144)

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Samara Scott doesn't believe in happily ever after. So when she finds a vintage wedding gown in a beautiful antique trunk, she vows never to put it on. Even if tantalizing visions of sexy attorney Justin Beckett in tux and tails are tempting her to rethink that trip down the aisle.…

Justin not only believes in marriage—he knows Samara's the right woman for him. And with passion sizzling between them, he just has to get the wedding-wary documentarian to say "I do." But walking her to the altar is no piece of cake. Unless he can convince Samara to trust in their love enough to take that leap of faith.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426834585
  • Publisher: Kimani Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Series: Harlequin Kimani Romance Series , #144
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 351,008
  • File size: 140 KB

Meet the Author

Shirley Hailstock likes to explore new worlds and visit exotic places. As an author, she can visit those places, and be the heroine of her own stories. The author of over thirty novels and novellas, Shirley has received numerous awards. Her books have appeared on BlackBoard, Essence and Library Journal bestseller lists. She is a past president of Romance Writers of America.


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Read an Excerpt

The entrance to Shadow Walk was like going through the gates of Manderley. There was a dreamlike quality about the place that always came to mind when Samara Scott compared it to the opening paragraphs of Rebecca. The place had once been a country club that went bankrupt. It was bought for a song by her good friend Geri Muir. Geri restored the place, making it more glorious than it ever was. Shadow Walk housed a restaurant and several connected ballrooms. There were pro shops to support the golf course, tennis courts and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. On the property were several other buildings that Geri hadn't decided how to use. Samara turned into the driveway. The road curved around, winding through manicured trees and rhododendrons. The last curve brought the main building into view. The architect intentionally set it far enough back so it would appear as a breathtaking surprise. A palatial structure, with a long front porch and heavy pillars, that could have been a Hollywood set. At night it was bathed in white light, making it even more dramatic.

The place had begun as a residence, then the property had been converted into the country club and Geri had added a wedding chapel and dining halls when she took it over five years ago.

Samara wasn't there for a wedding, instead, an antique auction was her reason. Handing her keys to the valet, she stepped out into the hot, July humidity and quickly entered the building. Carmen, one of her small circle of best friends, stood inside the door.

The two of them couldn't be more alike if they were sisters. If Carmen hadn't been born in Arizona and favored her parents, whom Samara had met, believing her friend was the product of Samara's philandering father wouldn't be a huge leap. They shared similar bone structure and facial shapes, but Carmen's eyes were a hazel brown while Samara's were dark brown. Samara stood a head taller than her friend. Carmen's hair was sandy-colored, reminding Samara of the deserts of the southwest, while her own was dark brown and flowed to her shoulders. Likewise, their skin colors complemented their hair, Carmen's light brown and Samara's a dark brandy shade.

"I thought you'd already be seated," Samara said as they hugged hello.

"I thought I'd better warn you first."

Samara stared at her. "Warn me about what?" Samara couldn't keep her body from stiffening.

"The person in the seat next to us."

Samara waited for her to go on. Finally, she asked. "Who is it?"

"Justin Beckett."

The name was like a whiplash cutting through her stomach. "Beckett?" Her voice rose a couple of notes. Then, realizing people were turning to stare at her, she spoke in a whisper. "What's he doing here?"

"I don't know."

"Can't we find different seats?"

Carmen spread her hands. "The place is packed. And these seats are assigned."

Samara knew that. Carmen loved antiques and since Samara worked with old documents, she was the one Carmen tapped to accompany her whenever there was a show she wanted to attend. Samara wanted to turn around and leave, but she knew Carmen lived for these types of shows and Samara wasn't about to let Justin Beckett drive her away.

"Let's go in," she said.

Carmen smiled with relief. "Atta girl."

Samara led. She knew that Carmen would try to take the seat next to Justin to save her the tension she felt whenever she and Justin were in the same room. She recognized the back of Justin's head and identified the two empty seats next to him. The surprise on his face when he saw her was evident. He stood up as she approached, surprise turning into a large smile. She did not return it.

"Samara," he greeted her. "I didn't expect to see you here."

"Justin," she said, managing to convey both greeting and dismissal in her tone. Taking her seat, she proceeded to ignore him.

"I would have sat there," Carmen whispered.

"I will not be intimidated by him," Samara whispered back.

The auction began immediately, which included several estate sales and Carmen was excited about them. The auctioneer announced the first item, a set of antique glassware. With enthusiasm, the roomful of people jumped right into the action as if this was the prize of the show.

As each item was brought in, introduced and bought, Carmen wasn't very active in her participation, although Samara could feel the excitement in her friend whenever something came up she liked.

"Is there something in particular you want?" Samara whispered.

Carmen pointed to an item in the catalog. It was a desk.

"You're only here for one item?"

"One I really want, but I like to see the other stuff and I'll bid if something strikes me as interesting."

Samara had been to several of these auctions. She watched with interest as item by item was sold to the highest bidder. She noticed the bright look of happiness on the winners' faces each time the gavel dropped and the award was made to someone.

Then a trunk was brought to the stage. "This is a mystery item," the auctioneer said. "The trunk was found in…"

Samara leaned toward Carmen. "I want that," she whispered.

"Why? It could have nothing in it."

"I know, but it could have old letters, documents, books, anything."

"All right," Carmen said.

Samara worked with old documents, but she wasn't a person living in an apartment full of antiques. A document could make her excited enough to wonder about the person who wrote it, the reason behind it, even research the history of it, but sitting at a hundred-year-old desk did nothing more for her than sitting at a desk made the day before.

Carmen acknowledged the first bid. There were few challenges and on the third bid, the trunk was hers.

"Congratulations," Justin said next to her.

Samara turned to nod at him. Then her attention went back to the auction. When the desk came up, the bidding was lively but mainly between Carmen and the man sitting next to Justin. After a moment, the man nodded at Carmen indicating his concession. The desk was hers. She smiled broadly.

Justin hadn't bid. He wasn't even looking at the items or the auctioneer. Samara noticed that each time she glanced in his direction, Justin was staring at her.

Leaning toward him after enduring his scrutiny for twenty minutes, she whispered, "Justin, you can look somewhere else. I am not one of the pieces."

"I understand," he said. "You are no antique." His smile was more a smirk than anything else.

Samara cut her eyes at him and turned back to the auctioneer who pounded his hammer at the sale of a set of intricately carved ceramic tables. Why did she let Justin get under her skin? What had happened between them was years ago, when she first moved to the District. And before she knew what a jerk he could be.

When the program ended, Samara followed Carmen to collect the trunk.

"How are we going to get this to the van?" Samara asked, looking at her trunk. It had looked smaller on the stage, but now appeared gargantuan. She tested the weight by pulling on one of the handles. "It can't be empty. It weighs a ton."

Carmen had arranged for her desk to be shipped. The trunk would fit into her van so they agreed to take it with them. Samara knew both of them were anxious to find out the contents, even if Carmen had said it could be empty. From her test, Samara was sure there was something inside.

"Can we help you?" Justin said from behind her. Samara's back straightened at the sound of his voice. "I have a hand truck that opens to a flatbed."

"We don't need your help," Samara said quickly. "I'll get one of the guys to take it to the van."

They looked around. Everyone she saw was busy helping someone else.

"It's no bother," the man with Justin said. Samara noticed he was the man who'd been sitting next to Justin.

"This is my brother, Christian," Justin introduced him. "We call him Chris. He owns an antique shop."

"Thank you, Chris. I'm Carmen." She offered her hand and Chris shook it quickly, as did Justin.

"Let me get that for you," Chris said. He lifted the trunk and put it on the truck. In no time, he'd wheeled it to the van and slid it inside. Then the two women and two men stood awkwardly next to the vehicle.

"Since you obviously like antiques," Chris addressed Carmen, "I have a shop in Warrenton." He handed her a card. "If you're looking for something in particular, give me a call and I'll keep an eye out for it."

Carmen looked at the card and with a smile slipped it into her purse. "Thank you. I will."

"We should be going," Samara said.

Carmen nodded.

"It was good to meet you, Chris," Carmen said.

"Yes," Samara echoed. She said nothing to Justin, but nodded her acknowledgment.

"You were rather cold," Carmen said after the two of them pulled in front of Samara's apartment and were now angling the trunk into her living room.


"To Justin and his brother. I know you and Justin don't get along, but you acted as if he didn't exist."

"He doesn't," Samara said. "Here's fine." She lowered her end of the trunk to the floor. Carmen did the same.

"He obviously wants to get to know you better, and you treat him as if he has the plague."

"As far as I'm concerned he does have it."

"How could anyone that gorgeous have the plague? Seriously, Samara, what's the history here? You never told any of us the full story." Carmen was looking at her with her lawyer-cross-examining-the-witness pose.

She was right. Samara hadn't ever told them the whole story about her and Justin. At the time she didn't know them that well. It had been a bad day and when she met the group for dinner, she didn't want to remember anything that had happened that day. They had a few drinks, she relaxed and Justin Beckett disappeared fromher thoughts.

Samara sat down on the sofa. "I'd just come to Washington," she began. "I met Justin almost immediately. During lunch at the Stafford Cafeteria."

Carmen took a seat across from her. She frowned. "The Stafford? What were you doing there?"

"I didn't know much about places to eat and I didn't have all that much money until I got my first check. The Stafford gives you a substantial amount of food and it was good. I still go there occasionally." And she still saw Justin there, too.

"Too many tourists for my taste," Carmen said.

"I like watching the tourists sometimes," Samara confessed. "Anyway, Justin asked to sit at my table one day. I was reading a book and craved having someone to talk to. And there he was, this gorgeous man asking to sit with me."

She could still remember that day, looking up and seeing him for the first time. He had the most beautiful eyes, soft brown and able to render her speechless. She could only nod that it was all right for him to sit.

"He asked me out a few days later. I was alone, lonely, new to town and naive. I was ripe for him. He took me to a very upscale restaurant in Georgetown. We had no sooner been seated at our table when people started dropping by, saying hello. I thought he was an important man."

Samara stopped to look at her friend. "I suddenly imagined being on his arm at embassy parties and official Washington functions. You know, all the fantasies young women dream about before they move here and find they are as far from an embassy party as they are from home."

"You were naive." Carmen laughed.

"Yeah," Samara agreed. "It's the picture of Washington you get if you don't live here. Many of my friends at home still think I live like that. And it doesn't help to have a famous brother-in-law who actually does get invited to those functions."

"So what happened at the restaurant?" Carmen prompted.

Samara sighed. "A woman came to our table. She was as beautiful as Justin is gorgeous. And Justin choked when she stopped in front of us. She extended her hand to me. Her smile was wide and genuine. I took her hand as I'd done more than once that night, expecting her to introduce herself. She did. She was Mrs. Justin Beckett."

"He's married?" Carmen's eyes opened wide. "I didn't see a wedding band on his finger, but I knew that was coming."

"He's divorced now, but at the time he was still married," Samara explained.

"They were still living together, not separated?" Carmen asked.

"I don't know. I left right after her pronouncement and I refused to see Justin again."

"Good for you."

Samara knew she had done the right thing, but she found it hard to forget Justin. It took a lot of willpower not to let her eyes follow him around whenever she saw him. And he appeared to be everywhere she looked. Several times, after his divorce, he'd asked her out and she had refused him for a long time. She'd been out with several men since him, but none of them caused the amount of excitement in her that Justin had.

"Did you go out with him again?" Carmen asked. "After the divorce, I mean."

Carmen knew Samara's prejudices. "I finally said yes to one of his invitations."

"What happened?"

"It was actually Cinnamon's fault."

"Your sister?"

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 19, 2011

    Lovely read

    You feel for the characters making this a lovely book to read.

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  • Posted October 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Page turner

    This book was awesome from the time I picked it up I couldnt put it down. I read Cinnamon's story and I had no idea that they were sisters. Just the way she was in the book.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Lost Dress

    when a young woman comes across a dress in a trunk she is struck with ahh as to how she has vowed never to marry buts ends up with a chess and inside the chest is an old 1800 wedding dress. she fights love and she loses with no regrets.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted December 2, 2011

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    Posted July 6, 2009

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