She Dreamed of Finding Mr. Right
Margaret "Call me Meg" McKenzie Cooper will do anything to make her children's dreams for a daddy come true-even if it means accepting a stranger's outrageous marriage proposal. Only she hadn't counted on the man's brother being the dangerously sexy Parker Ponthier-or that making her children's dreams come true would mean risking her heart.
Could This Dream Come True?
Any woman between eight and eighty would kill to flaunt Parker's heirloom diamond engagement ring. The New Orleans millionaire doesn't want someone who's after his bank account-he's looking for a lifetime of love. Meg is warm, passionate, and sets his soul on fire. But while his instincts warn him that she's nothing but trouble with a capital "T," Parker decides that for once in his life he's going to follow his heart.
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About the Author
Hailey North is a USA Today bestselling author who began writing while employed as a “game show lawyer” for NBC Studios. Tired of hearing that lawyers aren’t creative, she quit her job and typed “Chapter One” (not the chapter, just the heading!).
Since that day, Hailey has authored eight romantic comedies set in her adopted hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, and in her favorite imaginary town, Doolittle, Arkansas.
Read an Excerpt
"D-dead?" Margaret "Call me Meg, please!" McKenzie Cooper Ponthier heard her voice rise. The wool suit she'd grabbed to cover her camisole dropped to her lap as she stared open-mouthed at the dark eyed stranger who had entered her hotel room, key in hand. "Jules is dead?"
The man nodded, a grim turn to his lips.
Meg fumbled for the hotel robe she'd dropped beside the bed when she'd started trying on the outfits Jules had insisted on having sent over from Saks. She knotted the sash firmly, then stepped from where she'd been sitting on the king-size bed in which she'd slept alone after Jules had settled her in the room the previous night, before he had disappeared.
"Tell me two things," she said, drawing herself up to her full five feet four inches. "Who are you and how do you know he's dead?"
A dark shadow passed over the man's face. He clenched his fists and Meg knew there was no sense in protesting. This man had seen the mask of death. She swallowed and tugged at the knot of her robe.
He stepped forward. His dark eyes had a storm brewing in them. He took in the rumpled covers of the bed, the dress boxes from Saks, then raked her with his gaze. The piercing survey began at her bare toes, ran her up calves, swept over the white terry robe, noted the curly jumble of her long brown hair and fastened on her mouth.
Meg felt as if he could see beneath her robe to the skimpy camisole and tap pants she'd tried on right before he'd opened the door. She opened her mouth to order him from her room, when he said, "Jules always did get his money's worth."
"And .just what do you mean by that?" Meg's reaction was morealarm than indignation. Had Jules told someone why he'd hired Meg? "I'm asking you again, who are you?"
"Why? You always get your customer's identification before you take their cash?"
The man shrugged and produced a smooth leather wallet. "Knowing Jules, he didn't pay you before he left. What's he owe you?" He fingered a hundred-dollar bill. "Two? Three?"
Meg stared at the cash. This man thought she was a hooker! She started to laugh at the preposterous notion, an urge that grew as she thought about what his reaction would be if she answered, "Twenty thousand dollars."
Instead of responding, she grabbed the phone. "If you don't leave this room in the next two seconds, I'm calling security."
"Look, honey, the jig's up. Money train's gone bye-bye." Several bills fluttered from his hand and landed on the bed. "Put your clothes on and get out. Take the new ones with you for all I care." The man's shoulders slumped and sorrow softened his expression. "Sugar daddy is never coming back."
Noting the sense of loss, Meg said once more but in a less demanding voice, "Who are you?"
He had crossed to the sofa on the other side of the large room. Over his shoulder, he said, "If you must know, I am Jules's brother."
His brother. Meg clasped a hand over her mouth to keep from responding. She wouldn't have reacted more strongly if he'd said the devil himself. Yet the resemblance was there. While Jules had been slimmer, almost effete, this man was solid, strength evident in his broad shoulders and a sense of purpose signaled by his bearing. Jules had worn polo shirts and slacks under his blazer; this man wore a white dress shirt and dark tie with his expensive suit.
A knock sounded at the door and both Meg and the man called, "Come in."
A uniformed hotel employee weighed down by a huge basket wrapped in purple and green cellophane walked in. "Excuse me, Miz Ponthier," the man said, "but the manager wanted to send these to you and Mr. Jules with his compliments."
Meg stared at the basket, admiring the magnum of champagne nestled among chocolates and beautifully polished fruits. Compliments? For a marriage for hire entered into out of desperation on her part, desperation born out of trying to hold her family together after her husband's untimely death a year ago and the resulting discovery that his legacy to her had been a financial quagmire that threatened to overwhelm the lives of her three children and herself.
He carried the basket in and settled it reverently on the low table in front of the sofa. As he lifted his head, he said, "Oh, Mr. Parker, sir, I didn't see you, what with the basket and all."
"Clinton, isn't it?"
The employee nodded.
"How's your mother?"
The man dropped his head and rubbed the raised seam along the outer leg of his uniform pants. "She's good some days, Mr. Parker, and not so good other days."