Some people get jilted at the altar. But not Sheena Douglas. She gets jilted the morning after her wedding, when her new husband mysteriously checks out of their honeymoon suite and disappears. Sheena has always been different. She sees her future in the tea leaves, studies astrology, and can read someone's aura from twenty feet away, and it's her firm belief that anyone can learn these things--even the free-spending, misguided skeptic, Kane Ramsey, she's married after having known him for all of three hours. Even though he's the junk-food addicted owner and CEO of an ice cream company. So what if he likes fast cars, fast women, and fast food; Sheena is equal to any challenge. When her one-night marriage leaves her pregnant with Kane's child, Sheena gets on with her life as if nothing out-of-the-way has happened. Until, five months later, Kane rushes back into her life again, with the force of a tornado. He has suffered from bouts of amnesia, brought on originally from a head injury occasioned by a car crash while racing. An accidental bump on the head in the honeymoon suite had knocked him out and left him with no recollection of his marriage. But now he's remembered he's married--with a vengeance. He will stop at nothing to get his wife back...
A Hard Shell Word Factory Release
Catherine Sneyd lives on the beachfront in New Zealand. When she isn't writing historical romances (as Kate Silver) or contemporary romances (as Kate Adair) she can be found swimming, sailing, diving, or fishing. Elissa Hare lives in the Northwest of the U.S.A. where she is currently studying law. What little spare time she has left over from her studies is spent playing the piano and reading novels.Catherine and Elissa have been best of friends since the day they first met - introduced by a fellow writer and mutual friend. Driveby Wedding is their first joint book.
"WILL YOU MARRY ME?"
"Marry you?" Sheena Douglas croaked, surprised that she could speak at all.
She'd known there was more to Kane than people thought. Even so, she hadn't been ready for the penetrating quality of his gaze when at last she met him. No one but a Scorpio could possibly summon this much internal power.
He was more than she'd hoped. She knew he was the one.
But his proposal was the last thing she'd expected.
* * *
KANE KNEW THAT she couldn't have been expecting his proposal. But for the first time in his life, he was serious.
He'd known as soon as he saw her.
She was the one. That glorious mane of auburn hair, that delicious mischief in her sparkling green eyes, and those mouth-watering lips. They'd swayed together on the dance floor, more and more slowly, closer and closer together.
He'd realized, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he wanted far more than a brief love affair. He wanted to forsake all other women; in fact he already had. He could barely remember the girlfriends of last week, let alone last month.
But she hadn't yet answered him. He repeated his proposal. "Will you marry me?" And he held his breath.
* * *
IT JUST HADN'T been in her plans. She'd thought she'd have to chase him, persuade him -- being CEO of a junk-food empire wasn't the greatest character builder. Too many admiring women, too much money. And, of course, too much ice cream. His proposal threw her completely off balance.
She looked up at him. "Marry you?" she repeated, slowly.
"Sure," he said, as if it was perfectly natural to propose marriage to a complete stranger. "Why not?"
He turned his head away from her for a moment as he searched for a place to put down his wineglass. She caught the fresh scent of his hair as he turned his head back towards her. He smelled of cleanness with a tangy overlay of musky aftershave. And maleness.
She looked at him and frowned. What kind of answer was that, "why not?" She was a planner. She didn't just do things because there was nothing against them. She did what was necessary to gather information first, whether it was reading the tea leaves, or consulting the palmistry experts. She analyzed her options, and made an informed choice. "Most people don't propose marriage quite this way," she said, finally, on an outrush of pent-up breath.
"Neither do I," he admitted, a hint of amusement quirking up his mouth. "Normally."
"You propose often?"
"Never, as a matter of fact."
Sheena tried to look away, and found she couldn't. She felt bathed with warmth as he kept his eyes on hers. The effect was curiously intimate.
"This is for real, you know," he said. His voice was deep, sincere.
She closed her eyes. Somehow, communication had been easier in the long interlude on the dance floor. They'd moved closer and closer together, dancing more and more slowly, arms, thighs, and then bodies touching. By the end they'd been barely moving, but perfectly synchronized, listening to one another's heartbeats, attuned to one another's breathing.
She shivered as he carefully reduced the distance between them.
"Sheena," he said. "I'm not scaring you, am I?"
She shook her head. He wasn't touching her, but he was caressing her -- more thoroughly than he had on the dance floor. She'd never felt anything like it. The warm glow inside her spread suddenly, intensely, to her abdomen. The muscles on the nape of her neck quivered infinitesimally, and her scalp tingled. She wanted him.
He didn't frighten her. In fact, he seemed strangely familiar. She felt as if she'd known him all her life -- or at least, as if she'd been waiting for him all her life. It was a pleasant feeling. She smiled up at him, dreamily.
"So... what do you say?" She gazed fixedly at the elegant black satin of his bow tie, completely at a loss for words.
"Marry me," he murmured, his lips close to her ear.
She moved her stare to his left shoulder, concentrating hard on the glossy black of his evening jacket. This was real. And it couldn't be happening.
"Look at me, Sheena," he said.
She did. His steady gaze held her spellbound. She felt like the only woman in the room. But... marriage? Here? Now?
He seemed to read the doubt in her expression. "Okay. Let's talk," he said. He put one hand gently under her arm and took her out the French windows onto the deck.
* * *
THE COOL BREEZE of the Oregon summer night fanned Sheena's hot cheeks, and she finally found her voice.
"Look, Kane," she began, thinking it was time to bring some sanity into this encounter.
She got no further.
His mouth came down towards hers. Somewhere, beyond him, she could scent the fragrance of honeysuckle. At the first touch of his lips on hers she forgot everything else.
She forgot her big brother's warnings about Kane Ramsey, and forgot that she knew less than nothing about him. Other than he drove fast cars, was a magnet for beautiful women, and was as sexy as God ever made a man. She was too busy kissing him back, her heart pounding, her body on fire everywhere he touched her. She was experiencing total internal meltdown. And loving every moment of it.
When he finally raised his head, she smiled up at him. "Of course, I'll marry you," she said happily. He held her shoulders lightly in his two hands, grinning at her. "You're sure?"
"Positive," she smiled back at him. This situation felt right. That was all that mattered.
"You know," he said, the hint of a smile curling his lips, "I have this private plane at Portland airport." He paused. "We could..." he broke off, and brushed a stray tendril of her hair away from her face.
Sheena felt bold now that the big decision had been taken. She took his hand and cradled it between her head and shoulder, smiling sleepily up at him. "Let's go," she said, cheerfully. They were going to be up all night at this rate. Their destination was not exactly next door.
For her intuition now told her where they were going.
There was a longer pause. He removed his hand gently from her shoulder and caressed her chin between his thumb and forefinger.
Sheena shivered as the night breeze whispered along her bare arms.
He took off his jacket and put it round her shoulders. "Come on," he said, his hand propelling her towards the driveway as he spoke. "Let's go."
The car slid smoothly out of the driveway, and she watched Kane's strong wrists manipulate the steering wheel round the steep and curving roads down the highest hill in Portland.
Before she knew it, they were at the airport, and he was handing her into his Lear Jet, having issued a few murmured instructions to the pilot. She remembered the party only as a dim dream. It was, after all, not important. Marriage was.
"How long does it take to get to Vegas?" she asked, yawning widely as she burrowed into her seat on the plane. She'd never been to Vegas on any of her fashion buyer's trips.
"Two and a half hours," he said, leaning across her to buckle her seatbelt.
"Can we get married tonight?" she asked, only mildly curious. It didn't seem terribly likely, but one heard such strange things about Vegas. Anything was possible there, it seemed.
"Of course," he said, as he fastened his seatbelt.
"Won't your parents be upset that they weren't invited?" Sheena asked anxiously. She wanted everything about their relationship to be perfect right from the start.
"My parents?" Kane shook his head. "No, they're both dead."
"Don't be. It was a long time ago. How about yours?"
"My mother's dead, too. My father and stepmother won't mind."
Kane took her hand as they taxied to the runway.
"You know, Sheena, you really are an extraordinary woman," he said, relaxing into the comfortable armchair. "And very trusting. How could you know I was really going to marry you? Tonight?"
She wriggled her hand appreciatively in his larger one. "Beats me," she said, cheerfully.
"Hmm." He squeezed her hand. "How did you know we were going Vegas, though?"
"I just knew, that's all."
Of course she had known. She'd been completely sure what his intentions were, as soon as her psychic energy had kicked in. Ian had been quite wrong about Kane. What did brothers know, anyway?
Ian had scoffed at her when Sheena, at the age of fifteen, neglected by her father and cordially disliked by her young stepmother, had conducted her first seance to get in touch with the spirit of their mother, who had died two years before. To her sorrow, she'd never managed to make that contact, even though she'd tried for five long years. She'd made lots of contacts with the living, though: astrologers, numerologists, and psychics. They had helped her grieving soul to find solace in the stars, and had taught her a new way to live.
Three months ago, she'd had a revelation. It had happened when she stopped by the fortune teller's booth at the Psychics' Summer Solstice Celebration in Eugene, Oregon. Sheena had asked what the future held for her. The bearded young man in the long embroidered tunic had gazed into her eyes. "Kane. His name is Kane. Look for him, and you will find a new life -- together."
"Kane who?" she had asked.
He had merely replied, "Ice cream."
Sheena never ate ice cream, but after leaving the fortune teller's stand, she went to buy some. Kane's Kool Treats. That's who it was. Her brother Ian's friend, Kane Ramsey. She was going to marry Kane Ramsey.
She squeezed Kane's hand happily.
She was going to marry Kane.
* * *
KANE SMILED AT his soon-to-be wife as they landed at Vegas. It was a shame he had to bring her to such a tacky place, but it was the only place he knew of where they could get married at once.
She was enchanting.
And she was going to be his.
But first they had to find a jeweler, a chapel, and the hotel.