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Catch of the Day

"Will do anything legal for $50,000." When a beautiful young heiress answers his ad for emergency funds to repair his boat, it's practically a dream come true for Nantucket native Kevin Dunbar. Unfortunately, it's the worst nightmare imaginable for the spoiled and self-absorbed Rachel McCarrick. Intent on temporarily passing Kevin off as her fiancé in order to orchestrate a marriage to the real love of her life, the last thing Rachel ever expected was that both her mother and her cynical grandfather would actually warm up to this guy. Her father, of course, plays true to form, enlisting the aid of one of Rachel's former beaus to expose Kevin as nothing more than a fortune hunter. Unbeknownst to all save Rachel's grandfather, however, the only fortune Kevin has his sights on right now has absolutely nothing-and everything- to do with the girl whose heart was his from the very first night they met.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

Christina Hamlett

     Former actress and director Christina Hamlett is an award winning author and professional screenplay consultant whose credits include 25 books, 120 plays and musicals, 4 optioned feature films, and columns/interviews that appear in publications throughout the world. She and her husband reside in Pasadena, California.


4 1/2 beacons

"This is not your typical Wedding of Convenience plot. It becomes a witty farce of errors when heiress Rachel McCarrick goes to great lengths to keep from marrying her old boy friend, which includes hiring a stand-in- bridegroom...Once Kevin is introduced to Rachel's family, there are plenty of comical twists and situations to keep you laughing."

JoEllen -- Lighthouse Literary Reviews

5 Angels

"This book was one that I had to read in an entire weekend as I could not wait to see what unfolded on the next page. I was immediately drawn to Kevin's passionate personality to jump in and save Rachel each time she was over her head. Rachel's family provided a wonderful backdrop for Rachel to realize what it is really is in life that she desperately wants. Catch of the Day provides readers with enough humor to keep you laughing along with the kind of romance you only dream about. Christina Hamlett has done an outstanding job at creating a story that can turn any reader into a hopeless romantic and earned both 5 Angels and a Recommended Read."

Jessica -- Fallen Angel Reviews

5 hearts

"There is some great dialogue in this story and some really hilarious thoughts too. This story is filled with zany characters and that zaniness is exactly what makes this a super tale, fitting so well to Kevin's comical sense of humor, and making him so right for the entire family. Wonderful!"

Glenda K. Bauerle -- The Romance Studio

Chapter One

FROM THE VERY first moment she had stepped aboard the Heathrow flight bound for New York, there had been no room in Rachel McCarrick's head for any thought that didn't begin and end with her beloved José.

Was he still standing there at the window, she wondered, wistfully imagining his aquiline nose pressed against the cool glass, his luscious lips mouthing tender words of endearment in his native tongue. And those magnificent, penetrating eyes of his! Rachel gulped back another pained breath of longing, desperate to imagine how she was ever going to get through the next few weeks of wretched separation.

"You should come with me," she had begged him as recently as that morning while their friends Lonnie and Fonnie were driving them to the airport. Even if he had surprised her, of course, and said "Si," it wouldn't have dismissed the obstacles that lay waiting for her when she got back home to Santa Barbara. Specifically, her family.

"They'll really love you once they get to know you," she had assured him, surprised at how blithely a lie could dance off her tongue when she knew for a fact that truth lay in the opposite direction.

Her parents and her grandfather would absolutely hate José.

Maybe that was part of the attraction, her girlfriend in Paris had suggested—the wickedness of snaring a man so completely Bohemian, unwashed and unsuitable that no one would know what to do about it. In the end, Rachel confidently predicted, her family would finally let her live her own life and do exactly what she wanted. And what she wanted right now, more than anything, was to marry José Madrone and live contentedly ever after in a village unmarked on any modern map.

If José was less than enthusiastic about the idea of matrimony, Rachel had been too deliriously happy the past few months to notice. They made a beautiful couple, she thought—the slender, sun-kissed California girl with shoulder-length, light brown hair and her artist beau, a taller version of Kenny G with dreadlocks.

She could already imagine the kind of snit-fit remarks her mother would make about his free-spirited appearance and avant-garde clothing. "Does he bathe regularly, dear? Does he know how to use a comb? I thought I saw something moving in his hair…"

Conservative as they were, her parents would be far too stubborn to look beyond his statement of nonconformity and see how much talent he had…talent Rachel had taken special pride in discovering. He plays the guitar and the flute, she'd explain. He can make things out of leather. He can harvest vegetables and herd goats. And, oh yes, she'd casually add, he's also the village midwife.

Okay, so maybe she'd leave off that last one. They'd already be in enough cardiac arrest over the issue that the love of her life didn't own a single suit or have any employment they'd categorize as particularly gainful. Until she had a ring on her finger, there'd be no sense stressing them out that José would personally deliver the next generation of McCarricks.

Impatient to give her anxiety a rest, she leaned forward to pluck one of several fashion magazines from the side pocket of her canvas tote bag. Fashion. It was the reason she had gone to Europe in the first place, a glamorous arena in which to enhance the knowledge she had picked up in four years of college. Her mother had been especially hopeful that one of the major houses would come forth with a prestigious job, through which she could enjoy her own vicarious fantasy of being the center of everyone's attention.

Poor Mom, she thought, averse to repeat the role of marrying Mr. Right and becoming Mrs. Nobody. Granted, Luella McCarrick still had the looks and the figure to carry off her duties as a proper society hostess. For as long as Rachel could remember, though, her mother's eyes looked as if whoever lived behind them had turned out all the lights and moved away without anyone even noticing.

She'd never let her own eyes look that way, Rachel had long ago decided. Long-lashed and celadon green, they sparkled in a state of perpetual mischief and curiosity. It was José, though, who had added that missing, magical element of changing the way she viewed the world.

"Love makes any difficult dream possible," he had told her.

At least she assumed that was a close enough approximation, given his grasp of English and her struggle with Castilian were pretty much equal. The fact of the matter was he could be commenting on the weather or talking about mealy bugs on the tomatoes and he could make it sound totally intoxicating and sexy.

Back in the lonely present, she absently flipped the pages and found herself looking at a full color ad for the next Antonio Banderas movie. His swarthy complexion and dark, bedroom eyes reminded her of José. And that roguish way he was standing, daring his enemies to come hither…

Stop that, her conscience chided. You can't keep seeing José everyplace you look.

Easier said than done. For the next ten pages, there was something in every picture to remind Rachel of her swashbuckling Spaniard. Was he still standing there at the terminal, too bereft to go back to London with their friends? Was he missing her as much as she was missing him? With every agonizing tick of the clock, she was moving closer to home and farther away from where she really wanted to be.

She turned to the next page and, somewhat to her relief, came upon a vintage-looking ad in sepia that held absolutely nothing reminiscent of the man she had just left.

Old Spice.

The ad was a picture of a grinning young man, a sailor from an earlier time excitedly clutching the familiar white container of aftershave in one hand and his duffel bag in the other. The departing captain—with a beautiful woman on either arm—was winking the affirmation that Old Spice was responsible for his popularity.