His Christmas Bride [Secure]
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by Helen Brooks
Description: The billionaire's bride--by Christmas! Blossom was not the type to attract eligible rich men and keep them--her marriage lasted six months before her husband dumped her--on Christmas Eve! So when Zak Hamilton--a billionaire businessman--demanded a date, she was determined not to get involved. But Zak found Blossom's modesty a challenge. In fact, he decided he would claim her as his bride--by Christmas!
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents,
eBookwise Release Date: December 2007
8 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [300 KB]
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HOW could the room be reduced to this state when she had only been gone for a minute? Blossom White surveyed the scene in front of her, and tried to make herself heard above the rampaging infants. There might be only four of them but they were making enough noise for a couple of dozen children. 'Harry! Simone! That's enough. Stop throwing cake at Rebecca and Ella this instant.'
The twins ignored her and continued to pelt two-year-olds Rebecca and Ella—who appeared to be screaming with delight and not distress—with lumps of chocolate gateau.
Jolly Aunty Blossom went out of the window as a good dollop of gooey cake landed splat on her forehead. Forgetting she had promised herself that with her sister, the children's mother, in hospital she would be patience itself with her nephew and nieces, Blossom sprang across the room and seized the elder children in a firm grip.
Her fingers itching to smack small bottoms, Blossom contented herself with hissing ferociously, 'Did you hear what I said? That's enough. No TV after tea for you, now. You're straight to bed after your bath.'
'We want to watch our programmes.' Harry's angelic face—which was all at odds with his volatile and difficult nature—frowned at her and he wriggled in her grasp.
'No deal, Harry. Not until you can do what you're told.'
'Mummy always lets us.'
Mummy no doubt lived in a state of perpetual exhaustion. 'I'm not your mummy, and I tell you what to do, not the other way round. Understand?'
This was clearly a new concept for her nephew, along with the other side to Aunty Blossom he was seeing, and he responded to it by erupting in a storm of tears, the three girls joining in after a startled moment or two.
How Melissa copes with two sets of twins under the age of five I just don't know, Blossom thought grimly. She had been in charge of them for one day and she felt like a wet rag. Glancing at the fragments of cake and cream splattered on Melissa's white walls, and the table swimming in spilt orange juice which was steadily dripping onto the varnished floorboards, Blossom contemplated the idea of joining in with the children and bawling her head off. Instead she said firmly, 'No more crying. We're going to clear this mess up together, Harry and Simone, OK? Who can clear up the most?'
'Me, me.' Harry's tears stopped like magic.
Sending the older two to fetch the kitchen cleaner and kitchen roll, Blossom stared at her younger nieces. They too had stopped crying and were engaged in licking their small hands clean of chocolate, giggling as bits continued to drop on the floor from their clothes and hair.
Whisking them up in her arms, Blossom carried the little girls into the sitting room where she popped them in their playpen until she could deal with them. She'd never agreed with the concept of playpens before Melissa had had the children, but now she was all for them. It might be a bit like putting a child in a cage, but she was now of the opinion it also kept hard-worked mothers sane.
Returning to the dining room, she found Harry and Simone busily clearing up. It took a while. Eventually, though, the room was restored to order, all four children had been bathed, read to and were asleep, and Blossom staggered downstairs for a cup of coffee. She had been trying to make one earlier while the children were occupied eating their tea—a big mistake.
Suddenly, after the mayhem of the day, she had a chance to sit and think, and she almost found herself wishing the children awake—almost. Ever since her brother-in-law Greg had called her that morning in a blind panic to say that Melissa had been rushed into hospital with terrible stomach pains, she had had her sister in the back of her mind whatever she'd done. Now all was quiet and still, fear for Melissa became paramount.
She had rushed to the house in a leafy suburb of Sevenoaks from her flat in London in record time early that morning, to find Greg tearing his hair out.
'She was all right last night,' he'd said desperately, meeting her at the front door with Rebecca and Ella in his arms, and Harry and Simone just behind him, a slice of buttered toast in each of their sticky hands. 'And then she woke about three, saying she felt sick, and half an hour later the pain kicked in. Within a short while she couldn't stand or move, she was so bad. The doctor thinks it might be her appendix. He says it can happen like that sometimes, with no warning whatsoever.'
'Well, I'm here now, and I'm staying until I'm not needed,' Blossom said firmly. 'You get off to the hospital and forget everything here.'
He'd gone like a shot but, Blossom reflected ruefully now, she hadn't meant he forget them so completely he didn't let her know what was happening. Reaching for the telephone at her elbow, she called the hospital, and after being transferred twice she eventually spoke to a Sister Pearson, who informed her very kindly that Melissa was at present in Theatre. 'Mr Robinson, the consultant in charge of your sister, thinks she may have suffered a severe attack of appendicitis, and that the appendix might possibly have ruptured. He felt an operation to find out what was what was the safest option.' The Sister paused. 'I'm afraid your brother-in-law is a little…tense at the moment. Shall I get him to ring you later, once your sister is out of Theatre, and he can give you some news?'
'That'd be great, thanks.' Blossom replaced the receiver and reached for her coffee. She could imagine Sister Pearson was mistress of the understatement. Greg would be climbing the walls, no doubt. He was a brilliant physicist with a top job in a major electronic firm in London, but on a practical, day-to-day level absolutely useless. Highly strung and mind-blowingly academic, he barely existed in the real world. But ever since he and her sister had set eyes on each other at university they had been inseparable. That Greg relied on Melissa utterly and completely was indisputable; he wouldn't know what day it was unless she told him. She was his sun, moon and stars.
Copyright © 2007 by Helen Brooks.