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The Best Man's Baby
By Darcy Maguire
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMEN in tuxes. Yum.
Skye Andrews paused at the doorway of Camelot's bridal-wear boutique, breathing deep and slow, drinking in the sight.
Five men milled around the room, all tall, and all in superbly tailored black tuxes with white shirts and metallic-blue silk ties and handkerchiefs.
The men looked so clean, so proper and so absolutely charming, as though they'd stepped out of a fairytale and into reality. She wouldn't see a sight like this at a bar or a club.
She crossed her arms over her chest.
This end of the boutique was a great asset to the family business. Her younger sister Riana's flair for creating original gowns for today's brides certainly gave the business a great reputation and a crucial boost.
Today, however, Riana was nowhere in sight - she knew she wouldn't be needed with Camelot's resident tailor on the job and the boutique's sales assistants in action, handling the groom's party with ease.
Charlie knelt on the floor, pinning the hems on a very tall, very well-built man. Charlie glanced towards her, his thick moustache quivering as he plucked a pin from his padded wristband. "What do you think, sweetie?"
Skye nibbled her bottom lip, trying to think professionally, but she couldn't help herself. She stood backand lazily perused the fine lines of Charlie's tailoring, and the man beneath the suit.
The black fabric sat on the man's square shoulders and swept down his arms, ending just before the cuff, making a striking contrast.
His hands were large. Skye closed her eyes - she could almost imagine the strength in them, roaming over her body. "Very nice."
She shook herself. It had obviously been too long since she'd had a man in her life. She straightened to her full height and smoothed back her hair where she had tied it at her nape. She had to get out more!
Charlie shuffled the pins. "I hear you're taking over for your mum on this one."
"That I am. Flu," Skye looked around the men in the groom's party, wishing she wasn't coming into the wedding plans at the tail-end. She preferred knowing who everyone was and the hierarchy within the families before the plans got to this stage, and these were all the faces of strangers.
She dragged in a deep breath and lifted her chin. She'd just have to cope until her mother was back on board. "Hello everyone."
Most of the men in the room turned towards her.
"I'll be your new wedding planner until Barbara is back from the flu," she said loudly, her cheeks heating at the awkwardness of the situation. "Will the groom please step forward?"
The man having his trousers hemmed turned his head slightly. "What's the problem?" he asked in a deep, velvet-smooth voice.
Skye's chest tightened. That voice? It couldn't be. "And you are?" she croaked.
Blood rushed through her ears. Not who she thought it was, and not the groom. Please, please, please, not the groom.
The man turned around.
Her heart lurched in her chest and thumped wildly, her vision blurring.
It couldn't be. Not him, not here, not like this!
SKYE thought of the door, of running, but she couldn't tear her eyes away, let alone the rest of her.
His hair was still light, now a short-back-and-sides cut, but with the hair on top standing on end rather than combed back. His jaw was angular - she used to trail kisses down it, and his brow was creased - she wanted to step forward and smooth it with her fingertips like she'd done once, a long time ago, but she was frozen to the spot.
His deep blue eyes widened. "Skye?"
"Nick," she gasped.
"I am trying to pin here," said Charlie from below.
"You look -" his gaze ran over her, over her simple grey skirt, white blouse and jacket "- wonderful."
"You too," She tore her attention from his brilliant blue eyes, looking directly at his chest, trying not to think about the man, in the flesh, finally being in front of her.
She opened her mouth but the words wouldn't come. What could she tell him anyway? Time had passed. It was way too late.
And he was getting married? She covered her mouth, trying to smother the wave of nausea racking her body. No. He couldn't be. Not after all she'd gone through, all the pain, the doubts and, ultimately, her sacrifice.
"What are you doing here?" he asked casually.
His deep voice washed over her like warm spring wind. "I work here," She swallowed, gripping the clipboard more tightly. "I'm co-ordinating your wedding."
"My wedding?" He lifted his eyebrows and laughed.
The sound rattled through her like a freight train. She glanced at the folder in front of her, the words a blur. Had she said something funny?
She shook her head. She was an idiot! Wouldn't she have noticed his name earlier if it were his wedding? "You're not the groom," she said tentatively, her mind still trying to grapple with his presence.
"Not a chance," he said, his voice deep and smooth.
Skye let out the breath she was holding, feeling her knees shake under her weight. She took a tentative step, grabbing the back of the nearest chair. She looked at him. "Then you are?"
"The best man."
Skye stared at him. How did he know he was the best man for her? She shifted the weight on her heels. How could he know that he was the only man who had pushed her buttons? The only man who she thought of when she went to bed at night, the man who invaded her dreams and haunted her memories.
He crossed his arms over his formidable chest. "I thought you worked in your family business?"
"I do," She bit her bottom lip. "I am."
His blue eyes probed hers. "You never said it was a wedding planning business."
Excerpted from The Best Man's Baby by Darcy Maguire Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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