Bought:One Bride

By: Miranda Lee

“I was,” he said truthfully enough. His unhappiness hadn’t begun till after she’d died. “I was mad about her. But she’s gone, and I’m here and I’m lonely, all right? I want a woman in my life. What I don’t want, however, is romance. I’ve been there, done that.”

Reece nodded. “Yes, I can understand where you’re coming from.”

“You should. I know how you felt about Kristine. Which is why you went to Wives Wanted in the first place. Because you were still in love with her.”

“The way you still are with Joanna.”

Richard didn’t deny it. If he had, he might have had to explain.

“Now that that’s all settled, I’m going back inside to have another look at my fabulous new penthouse,” he said, scraping back his chair and standing up. “Which reminds me. Can I move in before contracts are exchanged?”

“Move in today, if you like.”

Richard was not an impulsive man by nature but, today, things were a-changing. “You know what? I think I will.”


HOLLY glared for the umpteenth time at the FOR SALE sign that had been taped on the shop window less than half an hour earlier. Fury and indignation warred inside her swirling stomach and whirling head.

How dared her stepmother do this? How dared she?

A Flower A Day was at least half hers by rights. She should have been consulted. Should have been considered.

But any consideration for her feelings had clearly ended with her father’s death. Any hope of his beloved business one day being hers had died with him.

She’d been stupid to stay on. Especially stupid to work for such a pathetic salary, considering she managed the shop now, and did the books as well. Every Sunday, no less. Her day off!

Heck, Sara took home almost as much money as she did. And Sara only worked from Wednesday till Saturday as a casual. Sure, Sara was an excellent florist with loads of experience but Holly was every bit as experienced. She might only be twenty-six but she’d been working with flowers all her life. Her dad had started training her to be a florist when she’d been knee-high to a grasshopper. She’d joined him in the shop soon after her fifteenth birthday.

Holly’s heart twisted as she remembered how happy they’d been back then. Just her and her dad.

And then Connie had come along.

Holly hadn’t realised till after her dad had died two years back what kind of woman her stepmother was. Connie had been very clever during the eight years she’d been the second Mrs Greenaway.

But Holly had certainly known within weeks of her dad marrying the attractive divorcee that her stepsister was a nasty piece of work. Jealous, spiteful and devious. Unfortunately, Katie had been equally clever with her new stepfather as his new wife had.

Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth around him.

Holly bitterly resented the money Connie and Katie had wheedled out of her dad. Only the fact that he’d seemed happy had made her stay silent over the vicious things Katie had said to her in private.

Of course, after her dad had died, all gloves had been off. Connie had begun showing her true colours and Katie…well, Katie had gone from bad to worse.

Holly knew she should have moved out of their lives altogether right then and there, but she just couldn’t bear to part company with her dad’s flower shop. She still felt close to him there. So she’d moved into the flat above the shop and set about getting A Flower A Day back on track.

Business had fallen right off after her father’s stroke, Holly having been so upset that she’d had to close the shop for a while. It had taken over a year to get all his old clients back and to start making a profit. Not that A Flower A Day would ever be a great money-making concern. Strip shopping wasn’t very successful these days. The malls had taken over.

The shop and the flat, however, were still worth good money, despite being ancient and not in the best of condition. Probably over a million. More if someone bought it as a business, along with the goodwill.

Holly glowered at the FOR SALE sign one more time. She’d been crazy to work so hard for so little when she’d known, deep down, that the only ones who would reap the rewards were Connie and the obnoxious Katie. Unfortunately, her father had left his wife everything in his will, made soon after they’d been married when Holly had only been sixteen. He’d relied on Connie to look after his daughter. But the merry widow had had other plans.

So had her rotten daughter…

But Holly didn’t want to think about that. She’d thought about what had happened over Christmas far too much already.

If Dave had really loved her, Katie would not have been able to steal him. But she had. She was even going to marry him. That should have been the final straw for Holly but, strangely enough, it hadn’t been.

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