New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery returns with a classic story of destiny, desire and a little holiday magic!
In her youth, Molly Anderson couldn't help crushing on gorgeous bad boy Dylan Blackeven though he only had eyes for her older sister. When things didn't work out between them, he said goodbye to Molly as well, vowing they'd have a great adventure when she grew up. Years later, dumped by her fiancé just before Christmas, she's finally ready to take Dylan up on his promise.
A guarded Dylan always had a weakness for Molly, and when she waltzes back into his lifegrown-up and gorgeoushe's stunned. So why not whisk her away for some no-strings-attached fun?
Laughter-filled days and late-night kisses are changing Molly's life, for good. The only gift she truly wants now is Dylan's love, but when he discovers the secret she's been keeping, she may lose him again this time forever.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.30(h) x 1.30(d)|
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The Christmas Wedding Ring
By Susan Mallery
Harlequin Enterprises LimitedCopyright © 2014 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All rights reserved.
"It's easier in the movies," Molly said as she leaned against the door frame and surveyed the mess that was her bedroom. In the movies or on television, when a character decided to escape from her life by packing up and leaving everything behind, there was an upswell of music, then the scene changed and she was on the road, or the plane or whatever. In real life, someone had to do the packing.
"As no one else seems to be volunteering, I guess that someone is me," Molly murmured.
She looked at the open suitcase on her bed, at the piles of clothing scattered around. There was a notepad on her dresser that listed the things she had to do before she could go. Stop the paper and the mail, check that her bills were paid. At least she didn't have a pet to worry about.
There was also the small issue of deciding where she wanted to go. Running away would be easier if she had a destination in mind. But right now, all she wanted was to get away—to leave and never come back. Unfortunately, that wasn't an option.
She crossed to the bed and picked up a sweater. It was early December in Southern California, which meant warm, sunny days and cool nights. She tossed the sweater into the suitcase. Jeans were necessary, but did she need a dress? A dress or even a skirt and blouse meant uncomfortable shoes, which were more than she wanted to deal with. Then there was the whole issue of the right purse and—
Molly swore under her breath. "None of this is important," she told herself. "Just go." She could feel the tears forming, tears that she'd promised herself she wouldn't be crying again. It wasn't supposed to keep hurting, but it did. If only she could forget. If only there were something she could do to fall asleep for the next couple of weeks until everything had been resolved.
She shook her head. It was going to take more than two weeks, she reminded herself. It could take months. So a year from now she would be fine, right?
She didn't have the answer. No one did. She sucked in a deep breath. She was strong and tough and she wasn't going to let the situation get her down. After squaring her shoulders, she crossed to her dresser and tugged out her lingerie drawer. She then returned to the bed and dumped the entire contents into her suitcase. If she couldn't decide what to take, she would take everything. That made life simpler.
She dropped the empty drawer onto the carpet and began quickly sorting through panties and bras. As she picked up a plain cotton sports bra, one of several she'd purchased recently, something caught her eye. A glint of light ... a flash.
Molly fished around in the tangle of elastic and lace. As she pushed aside garments, the small object fell into a corner of the suitcase. She grabbed it and pulled it out.
For the first time in ten days, Molly smiled. She rubbed her thumb over the gold ring. Dylan's ring—the one he'd meant for her sister but had instead given her. It had been forever. Years. She sank onto the mattress. Whatever had happened to him? He'd ridden out of her life and disappeared, just like one of those western heroes she loved in the movies. Only instead of a trusty horse, Dylan had been astride his motorcycle.
That Christmas had been the loneliest of her life. Janet had been away on her honeymoon, leaving Molly alone with their parents, who had always been distant at best. She'd told Dylan that no one should be alone at Christmas, but she learned that year that you could be painfully lonely even when you weren't by yourself.
She wondered where he was today. Did he still possess the same magic? There was a time when being close to Dylan had been enough to make her world right. She'd thought he was the most handsome, perfect male on the planet. She remembered how unattractive she'd been then, with her bad skin and braces, and winced. But Dylan had always had time for her. He'd made her feel special, and she would never forget him.
She slid the ring onto the third finger of her right hand. No doubt he was still breaking hearts at an alarming rate. Or maybe he'd grown up, like the rest of them, and was just some middle-aged guy with a wife, two kids and a mortgage. She tried to picture him driving a sensible sedan, but her imagination failed her. In her mind, Dylan would always be young and handsome, a dangerous rebel in black leather and boots.
Leaving the ring in place on her finger, she returned to her packing. She was folding a sensible long-sleeved cotton shirt when the phone rang. She knew who it was before she answered.
"I'm fine," she said as she picked up the receiver and cradled it between her shoulder and her neck.
"I could have been a salesperson," Janet said. "Then you would have felt really foolish."
"Nope, there was a definite 'Janet' sound to the ring. I knew it was you." She tossed the shirt into the suitcase, then sank onto the floor. "Seriously, I'm fine."
Janet sighed. The sound carried clearly down the length of the state. Janet and her husband, Thomas, lived in northern California, in Mill Valley, near San Francisco. "I don't believe you, Molly. And I'm worried. I know you tell me not to be, but I can't help it. You're my sister and I love you."
Molly pulled her knees to her chest. "I appreciate that and I love you, too. I couldn't have gotten through this without you. But you've gotta trust me. I'm doing okay." It was a small lie that shouldn't count at all.
"I considered coming down and spending a week or so with you. Until ... you know."
Molly thought about Janet staying in her small condo and fussing over her. Actually, the idea had merit. She and her sister hadn't gotten along while they were growing up—a situation, they'd come to realize, that had been encouraged by their mother. But once Janet had married and moved away, the sisters had discovered they had more in common than they'd first thought and over the past ten years or so they'd developed a close, loving bond.
"As appealing as that sounds," Molly said, "you've got three kids and I know my nieces would never forgive me if I took their mom away from them, especially over the holidays. And to be completely honest, you miss Thomas when you're not with him. By day three, you're a whining mass of helpless jelly. You'd get on my nerves."
Molly said it lightly, partially because it was true and partially because she was afraid she and Janet would do nothing but cry for the week. She needed a distraction more than she needed sympathy.
"Besides," she added, "I'm going away."
"You're right about the girls missing me, and how I get when I'm not with Thomas. Getting away is a good idea. Come see us. You know we'd love to have you. We missed you over Thanksgiving."
"I want to," Molly said slowly. Oh, how she wanted to. Her sister and brother-in-law would pamper her, and the girls would help her forget. Family was healing. But ... "I need a complete change of scene. I haven't decided where I'm going, but I'll let you know when I get there."
"I don't know whether I should push you into coming here or let you do what you want."
"You bossed me around enough when we were kids, so I think you should give me a break now. Besides, I'll be there for your anniversary and for Christmas, like always. I just need to get away for a couple weeks first."
Janet sighed again. "Fair enough. I'll trust you to know what's best. I'm just so frustrated. I want to do something."
"Tell me about it." Molly tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. As she brought her hand down, she noticed the ring on her finger. "Janet, do you remember Dylan Black?"
Her sister laughed. "There's a change in subject. Of course. He's the bad boy from my past. Dark and dangerous and so completely wrong for me. Thank goodness Thomas came along and rescued me from myself. I haven't thought of him in years. Why do you ask?"
"When I was packing, I found the ring he gave me. The wedding ring he bought you. I still have it, and finding it made me think of him."
"Let me see. He was at the ten-year high school reunion, although that was nearly five years ago. He has a custom motorcycle design firm in Riverside. Black something, I can't remember. The rumors were, he was doing well for himself."
"Interesting," Molly said, and changed the subject. They talked for a few more minutes, then Molly again promised she would think seriously about joining Janet and her family up north. If she didn't do that, she would at least let them know where she was going to be.
After the phone call, it took her another half hour to finish packing. Then Molly moved the suitcase into the living room, sat on her sofa and stared at the bag. Now what? Where did she go? She wanted to escape from her life for a week or two, to be in a place where she could forget what had happened, while trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her future.
A cruise? A train trip to New York? Maybe she could go to Acapulco and stay drunk for a week. Of course, one margarita made her silly, while two knocked her on her butt for the rest of the evening, so staying drunk would be virtually impossible. She needed a plan.
Her gaze fell on the ring. She turned her hand to make the gold glimmer. Even after all this time, she could still remember the thrill of that moment, when Dylan had given her the ring. Of course, he hadn't meant it as a romantic gesture at all. It had been his way of letting her know that he hadn't forgotten his promise to her. That one day when she was grown up, the two of them would take off on an adventure. It seemed like a lifetime ago.
As Molly stared at the ring, an idea took hold. It was silly and foolish. She would be completely insane if she did it. After all, it had been years. He wouldn't even remember her, would he?
She rose to her feet. "It's a start," she whispered to herself. "A place to go in the morning." And she needed that more than anything. The rest of it didn't matter.
She would do this one crazy thing and visit Dylan Black, then she would go on from there. At least going to see him would give her journey a beginning. Maybe after that, she would head up north to stay with her sister. It didn't matter. All that she wanted was to run away so she could finally forget.
Dylan Black slammed down the phone and glared at it.
Evie, his assistant, raised her dark eyebrows.
"Destroying the office equipment doesn't seem overly productive to me, but then, I'm just the hired help."
Dylan leaned back in his chair. "Tell me about it." He looked at her. "They're making the deal too hard to resist. I can't decide if I'm moving forward or selling my soul to the devil."
"If they're the devil, his prices have gone up. Most people I know would sell their souls for a lot less than several million dollars."
Dylan had to agree. But then, many people put much too low a price on their souls. He wasn't stupid. He knew exactly why they were tempting him—they wanted what he had. For them, this was a win-win situation. But what was it for him?
Evie shook her head. "You've got that pensive look about you. I hate it when you get like that, so I'm going to head back to the front office. If you need anything, buzz me."
"I will, thanks."
She closed the door behind her.
Dylan turned his chair until he was staring out the window. The rugged, dry wilderness of the California desert stretched out behind the one-story complex. His critics said that establishing his custom motorcycle design firm, Black Lightning, out in the middle of Riverside had been a huge mistake. But the land had been cheap, there was a good labor pool and Dylan had wanted plenty of open space around him. It got hot as hell in the summer and he was nearly two hours from the Los Angeles International Airport, but all that was a small price to pay for autonomy. He'd poured everything he had into the company. In less than five years, he'd proved his critics wrong. Now he was touted as a visionary in the industry—the magician who set the trends. So why was he thinking of selling out?
Excerpted from The Christmas Wedding Ring by Susan Mallery. Copyright © 2014 Harlequin Enterprises Limited. Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
NUMBER OF HEARTS: 4 REVIEW: As a warning: this is a rei-issue of Ms. Mallery’s The Wedding Ring Promise. It even states that in the blurb so when I see that people are complaining about it being a re-issue it upsets me. But any ways. I loved this story. It was a quick and sweet read. You know what they say about bad things coming in three’s will Molly Anderson’s week from hell fits that bill perfectly. First, she gets downsized. Second, she finds out her now ex-fiance ran off to Mexico with his secretary. And lastly, could be a matter of life or death. So what is one to do when faced with the week from hell? You find an old gift from a friend with a promise of “Whenever, Wherever, I will be there for you and talk you on an adventure”. The last person Dylan Black ever expected to darken his door step was little Molly Anderson, who is not so little any more. When Molly comes to collect on a promise made 14 years ago he is ready. Ready to take a step away from his life and the decisions he needs to make. I really loved Dylan and Molly’s story. While this story line might have been told many many times (Bad boy and the girl who had a major crush on him) Ms. Mallery made it feel like the first time I read that story line. I loved the drama of Molly’s week and how well Dylan deals with her ups and downs. I really enjoyed watching these two fall in love. If you are a Susan Mallery fan and have not read this story yet I would suggest picking up a copy of The Christmas Wedding Ring and find out for yourself. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book from Edelweiss & Harlequin in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.
I love Christmas stories and well this hit the definite feel good spot with an accurate aim. Dylan Black is a bad boy who dated Molly Anderson's sister. On Molly's sisters wedding day Dylan shows up to see her get married trying to cut his feelings for her, Molly sees him leaving the church and follows him outside, where is motorcycle is waiting. Molly has had a crush on Dylan for ages and at fourteen it can be a pretty major thing so when Dylan gives her the ring that he had bought for her sister Janet and tells her to look him up when she is older and needs an adventure, she thinks she has been given everything. Fourteen years later, a crisis in Molly's life sends her in a tailspin and she decides to go away for a bit. While packing her underwear she comes across the ring and remembers what Dylan said. Now the seed had been planted Molly asked her sister did she ever hear of Dylan, when she told her he had a motorcycle shop and where - then the destination was now know. All Molly had to do was approach him and ask for her adventure. This is a beautiful story of teenage crushes, deception, attraction and an important bit of something else. This has a very well written story line with an important message and I could not put it down from page 1 till THE END. If you want a book that pulls at your heart strings then this is it. I am not going to spoil the story but very well done Susan Mallery. This is a DEFINITE MUST READ.
What a complex and captivating novel. Mallery had me hooked throughout. Her easy flowing writing takes you through this intense tale that touches on so many aspects of life. Although this story is very realistic and extremely plausible, Mallery’s imagination and gift as a storyteller had me hooked. The premise behind this story is not only unique but extremely brave and intriguing. I was completely invested in this story by the end. At times this novel is physically and emotionally frightening – it could happen to any of us – yet it is also emotionally fulfilling. This story is very focussed on the two main characters, but it works exceedingly well for the story at hand. They are both very well developed individuals that you meet not only in the present, but also in the past. Seeing the female lead battle against her own sense of self-worth was quite empowering. There are so many of us who see ourselves in that light that it makes it very easy to identify with her. Her strength of character is quite admirable, and tempered with her doubts and fears. The multifaceted male lead is the perfect counter point for this story. He is equally well developed and very easy to fall in love with, providing an all too real rock for the female lead to lean on. This novel is big on adventure, romance, emotion, and self-discovery. It’s a fantastic, must have for those of us who love a romance over the holidays. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
Dyan and Molly were just wonderful. They both had their own insecurities to deal with . Loved Dylan's attitude all the way through the book and Molly was so wonderful and brave. It was a book I wanted to find out what happened but one I didn't want to end because I didn't want to leave the characters. Loved it.
Extremely disappointed in this book. Not worth the money.
Nice Christmas love story
The Christmas Wedding Ring is a cute, feel good, holiday read. A childhood crush and promise turn a really bad week into an adventure to last a lifetime. Molly has lost her job, her fiancé and found a lump in her breast. She is overwhelmed and feels like escaping her life for a little while. She remembers a promise that Dylan made and decides to see if it is still available. Dylan grew up in a trailer and rides a motorcycle. No one thought he would amount to anything but he now owns his own company. When Molly shows up he decides that he needs a little escape too and they spend the next 2 weeks having an adventure that leads to love.
Wonerful book! Great story. Always enjoy her books!
One of Molly Anderson’s few good memories is of Dylan Black, so when she loses everything she decides to throw away that careful life she’s been living and live each day to it’s fullest. That’s going to start with taking Dylan up on the adventure he promised her fourteen years ago. Dylan is shocked when Molly shows up at the door asking him to take her on an adventure he doesn’t remember promising. Dylan knows that Molly wants something from him – everyone does – but he does need a break, and there’s something about that haunted look in her eyes that he can’t turn away. Hott Review: What I liked: ‘The Christmas Wedding Ring’ is an amazing book! Not only did I love both Molly and Dylan but they were both so real that I cried when the book ended. This was a very Christmassy book that dealt with several life impacting events. Ms. Mallery was able to give full impact to those events while still writing a light and fun novel. What I didn’t like: This book is a 1998 reissue and I felt it. I’m not sure what it was precisely – I think it was the clothing references – but it was obvious that it it’s an older book. More… Author: Susan Mallery Source: Harlequin via Netgalley Grade: A Steam: Adult + | Descriptive and Sexy Setting: California Series: Triple Trouble
When Molly was 14, her sister's ex-boyfriend Dylan was going to leave town. When he said goodbye to Molly, he put a gold band in her hand and told her that when she grows up and she wants an adventure, find him and they'll go wherever she wants to go. Then he left. Now, 14 years later, her life is falling apart. She needs an adventure and when she's packing she finds the ring and decides to find Dylan. He's a successful business man who owns his own custom motorcycle company. It just so happens that he's in need of his own adventure. For the next three weeks before Christmas they set off on his motorcycle for destination unknown. Friends to lovers is a beautiful story line. It was amazing watching these two get re-acquainted and fall in love. Even after their adventure was over and they went back to their lives it felt true and real. Molly's issues were real scary and seeing how Dylan helped her deal with them was amazing. The choices they made were very informed and well thought out. Dylan is certainly one-of-a-kind and she's truly a lucky woman to have found him all these years later. Susan Mallery is a fabulous author and I can't wait to read more. Received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Ick ick ick ick ick
3 STARS This is a reissue from 1998. I had not read it before so was glad to see it. I don't know anything about the series Triple Trouble. I liked most of the story. Towards the end their was a lot of love scenes. I like the character Molly Anderson. She has had a really bad week. So she wants to runaway but not sure where. Molly has just been dumped by her fiancé right be for Christmas. She also has some other bad things happen to her. While packing she finds a wedding ring that was given her by her sister's old boyfriend Dylan Black. Dylan promised her a adventure when she grew up. Molly had a big crush on him then. Dylan Black has some tough decisions about his company. He keeps going in circles about what to do. So when he sees Molly again he decides to take off and together have an adventure. No physical, no regrets time to help them both make some decisions and have a break they need too. Of course while they are together they start getting closer and opening up about their problems and grow close to each other but they don't share their feelings. There laughter is helping Molly cope with the stresses in her life. Molly was never close to any of her family growing up. When her sister left the house they started to rely on each other better. The setting is California I liked there journey together. I really like what they chose in the end to do. I was given this ebook of the Christmas Wedding Ring by Net Galley and Harlequin. In return I agreed to give a honest review.
This book was very slow going for me ... not my favorite Susan Mallery book.
The Christmas Wedding Ring really didn't have quite a lot to do with Christmas - other than it happens to be that time of year, and there are some deadlines for the couple that are coming up at the end of the year. That doesn't mean it doesn't take advantage of the season and throws some Christmas cheer and holiday magic. There are a lot of things that are not apparent at the beginning of the story. Molly has a lot of bad things going on - but she doesn't spill all of them right away. I really liked that. I liked how we found out about her problems as Dylan did - it allowed me to react with him instead of trying to anticipate what he was going to do. He does a great job of reacting, too. He is an interesting mixture of tough guy and sweetheart. They are both looking to get away, and take advantage of the opportunity for no-strings-attached vacation. They are each trying to cope with their own problems and end up helping each other in ways that surprise everyone. I loved how they fell in love with each other - it was a very accepting love. A love that didn't expect anything in return - so when they both have it, it's a little magical. I would have liked to see a little more outside influence - there is a nasty ex, but we really don't see a lot of him. I think seeing more about the people in their lives would have really made the whole things a bit more rounded. While a great romance, I like to have a little bit more running through the background as well. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
When first reading the story you know there will be a surprise. It's a lovely story of two friends getting to know each other again. It made me smile and feel warm and fuzzy once the secret is revealed. Since I just went through what our leading lady went through it gives hope.
I am so happy to have stumbled on to this author! I anxiously await each book she writes! This book did not disappoint! I bought it on my Nook and, as usual, had it read within 24 hours! Truly a great example of reading for pleasure!
When you want a feel good, happy read, all you have to do is read one of Susan Mallery's books. This one is just that...a great get away Christmas story with a HEA that will touch your heart!
As usual, a SM book climbs to the top of the other (47) books in the library when it arrives... Loved the story of Molly and Dylan... Had a lot of elements to keep it interesting... Molly a family "misfit".. Dylan a too good looking biker... A lost job... A jilted fiance... A possible medical crisis... and a lonely cabin on a California beach... What else does it take to make another story worth the read??? This author is a wonderful "story teller" and I have read everything she has written and will continue to do so... One of my top three authors... Every book is great...