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The handsome stranger called himself a doctor, but he was talking crazy! Wealthy Texas surgeon Dominic Rodriguez had stormed into Sky Colton's small-town jewelry shop demanding she pose as his bride-to-be while his family visited from Spain. A hopeless romantic, the Native American beauty had advised Dominic's fiancée to follow her heart—and the woman had run off with the chauffeur! To get Dr. StoneHeart out of her shop—and her life—Sky agreed to the charade. Sky brought much-needed warmth to Dominic's life, ...
The handsome stranger called himself a doctor, but he was talking crazy! Wealthy Texas surgeon Dominic Rodriguez had stormed into Sky Colton's small-town jewelry shop demanding she pose as his bride-to-be while his family visited from Spain. A hopeless romantic, the Native American beauty had advised Dominic's fiancée to follow her heart—and the woman had run off with the chauffeur! To get Dr. StoneHeart out of her shop—and her life—Sky agreed to the charade. Sky brought much-needed warmth to Dominic's life, while his passionate "pretend" kisses set her on fire. But when danger puts Sky at death's door, will Dominic make her the one real promise that will save them both...?
The sound of the deep male voice turned Sky Colton quickly from the sales receipts she'd been totaling. She hadn't heard anyone enter the store. Since Christmas the previous month, her high-end jewelry business in Black Arrow, Oklahoma, had been slow. Facing the tall, dark, handsome stranger, she wondered if sales were about to pick up. Along with her heartbeat.
Then his words registered. She folded her hands and rested them on the locked glass case containing her exclusive, original jewelry designs. "Home wrecker? If you're not looking for a demolition company, I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Right. And mermaids can do the splits." Sky studied him more closely. His worn black leather bomber jacket was at odds with the powder-blue, buttondown collar shirt tucked into his jeans. She couldn't help noticing his abdomen was washboard firm. No beer belly or love handles. His dark brown hair was cut conservatively short. It was the dead of winter, yet his olive skin made him look tanned. And she expected his eyes to be warm brown, like hot chocolate. They weren't.
Instead they were dark blue and sizzling with anger. Why? What had she done to him? She'd never seen this man before. She was sure of it.
"I would remember you," she said, then winced. Nothing like nourishing the ego of the man who was looking at her as if he wanted to stake her out on the nearest anthill. "If we'd ever met," she added.
"It doesn't take a mental giant to see you're annoyed. Is there anything I can do for you?"
"Haven't you already done enough?" She straightened to her full five-feet-six-inch height, but that didn't do much for her intimidation quotient. He had the advantage of another six inches and pretty much towered over her. Quite an attractive tower, she couldn't help noticing. And if he weren't so crabby, she might have been tempted to flirt.
"Look, Mr.-" She waited for him to supply a name, but he didn't. She sighed. "The only thing I do is design and sell jewelry. I use Native American elements in my designs, which some people find mystical. But I'm not psychic. You're going to have to give me more information if you expect me to undo any injustice you think I've done you."
"I don't think it. I know it."
He reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out two black-velvet jewelry boxes, then set them on the glass counter. Curiouser and curiouser, she thought.
Sky picked one up and opened it, noting her business logo embossed on the lid's satin lining. The ring inside was definitely her own design and one of her favorites. It was a gold band that she'd created for Shelby Parker, a wealthy oilman's daughter from Midland, Texas. She'd become engaged during the holidays to a man she'd known a short time and her fiancé had wanted the wedding arranged quickly.
After hearing about Sky's designs from a friend, she'd had her chauffeur drive her from Houston to Black Arrow to personally commission wedding bands. Her fiancé hadn't had time to buy her an engagement ring or to accompany her to shop for this very important purchase. Shelby had returned several times, to make adjustments to the designs and talk about her ideas for bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts. Always, the chauffeur had driven her, making Sky wonder if she were as flaky as a soda cracker or just afraid to fly.
Sky remembered the young woman chattering away while she'd roughed out some ring sketches. Then again when they'd discussed changes to the designs, Shelby had wondered about using gold as opposed to silver or white gold, and possibly adding precious stones. Now Sky struggled to recall snippets of the conversations. Shelby had said her fiancé was a well-known Houston plastic surgeon. His name was -
She could only recall that Shelby had joked about calling him Dr. StoneHeart. Sky couldn't remember his real name and opened the other box, plucking the large men's ring from it. Subtly etched into the gold were the initials D.R. She had the most inane thought about the irony of his initials spelling out his profession. Then, she looked up from the ring in her hand to eyes growing angrier by the second if the darkening blue around his irises was anything to go by.
"Dr. Dominic Rodriguez," she said. She held out her hand. "It's nice to finally meet you. I'm Sky Colton."
"I know," he answered coolly. "Shelby told me a lot about you." Most of which she couldn't remember.
"Interesting you associate your clients by pieces of jewelry."
Sky didn't much care for his tone. "I've seen enough medical dramas on TV to know that doctors identify their patients by symptoms or diagnosis. Frankly, my way is far more pleasant. Wouldn't you agree?"
One corner of his mouth turned up, but that was her only indication that he was even the tiniest bit amused. "No."
"My sincere and heartfelt congratulations on your upcoming wedding. Obviously you're here because you'd like some changes on the rings. I can -"
"I'm here because there's not going to be a wedding."
Sky blinked up at him. "No wedding? But I don't understand. Have you and Shelby postponed -"
"I believe the words were quite clear. But let me rephrase. The wedding is off. Permanently," he added for emphasis. "I received a bill for wedding bands. And for groomsmen gifts in progress."
Sky stared at him, mortified that she couldn't stop herself from noticing how dangerously sexy he was. She sensed in him a leashed intensity that could change to passion in a heartbeat. If provoked. Or maybe she was overdue for an appointment with a shrink. For goodness' sake, the poor man had just been dumped. Or had he? Maybe he'd called it off.
Studying the tension in his jaw and the stiff set of his shoulders, added to the angry gaze and sarcastic tone, she decided she'd been right the first time. Definitely dumped. And he wasn't the least bit happy about it.
Excerpted from Sky Full Of Promise by Teresa Southwick
Copyright © 2002 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.