New Zealand widow Raven thinks her mother’s American fiance is the lovliest man. Visiting his home in Maryland, she unfortunately finds his son the exact opposite. Greg’s animosity and distrust forces Raven into an unpalatable position of safeguarding her mother’s happiness. His arrogant assumption his father has been conned by a gold digger enrages Raven and she assumes the mantle to prove him wrong. Soon finding herself attracted to Greg, Raven is certain he is incapable of feeling anything deeper than the lust he makes no effort to hide. Even if she is wrong about him, she can’t extricate herself from her pretence and she’s afraid he could never forgive her deception, her lies.
She was his father’s fiancee, wasnt she? Greg discovers Raven’s subtefuge within days of her arrival. His initial enjoyment of her antics quickly palls as his feelings for her deepen. Desperate to bring her lies into the open he manoeuvers her into a situation where she’ll be forced to own up, only to have his scheme back fire.
But Raven has other secrets. Secrets that could drive Greg away, forever.
Read An Excerpt
As Raven moved across the foyer she had no idea which direction to take to find anyone, and was hesitant to open any of the closed doors she could see. Just then, a phone rang close by. She moved toward the noise and was approaching a slightly ajar door when she heard a voice answer. Greg’s, she was sure.
“Where have you been?” she heard him demand. Then after a pause, he said, “Yes, she arrived safely. Yes, I took care of her.” Another pause. “No, she hasn’t come down yet. She was pretty wiped out, I guess.”
Raven lifted her hand to tap on the door, not wishing to eavesdrop on this one-sided conversation, but something stayed her hand for a moment.
“What’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong! Abby, she’s younger than you. I doubt if she’s twenty-five.”
Raven was chuffed to have so many years taken off her age, even as she caught the dismayed tone in his voice.
“Of course I’m sure. I was waiting for some middle-aged woman to get off the plane and suddenly this fox was talking to me. I tell you, she isn’t as old as you. No way this is a love match, Abby. How can Dad even think of marrying someone like that?”
Raven gasped. How had this happened? Greg was talking to his sister and they had definitely got hold of the wrong end of the stick. They thought she was going to marry Brad. No wonder Greg’s reception had been cool! Raven smiled as she pushed the door slightly. She’d clear up this misunderstanding straight away….
Raven could see the back of Greg’s head. He was sitting behind a large desk, but had swung the chair around facing the window, the phone pressed against his ear. His constant jerky movements clearly showed his agitation.
“There is no way someone like her could be physically attracted to a man of Dad’s age. For God’s sake, he could almost be her grandfather! We have to do something to stop this wedding. She’s obviously after his money, or whatever else she can get out of him.”
Raven froze. “Someone like her!” She listened unashamedly now. What gave him the right to make assumptions about her?
“I don’t know. Okay, I guess. She has legs that go on forever. Bet she knows how to use them, too. Inveigling an old man into believing she loves him. It’s disgusting. What was she wearing? How do I know? Cheap blue jeans and a sweater.”
Again a pause while he listened. “I can recognize decent clothing if I saw it.” Raven felt the blood rush into her face as she glanced down at her clothes. They may not be designer, but they were clean and tidy.
“Her luggage wouldn’t have cost more than a couple of hours wages, either.”
The arrogant snob!
How dare they discuss her like this? Even if they had somehow misunderstood Brad, they had no right to brand her as a gold digger. Decent people would have waited until they’d met her properly, asked her outright why she was marrying Brad. One thing for sure, now Brad’s wealth was no longer a question….
She took a deep breath. Someone quiet and shy might not have coped with the derision in Greg’s voice. But Raven had had to learn to be strong and stand up for herself. She wasn’t about to allow anyone to assume such things about her. If her mother arrived and encountered such snobbery, her happiness with Brad would be in jeopardy. Raven was in no doubt her mother would sacrifice her new life if Brad’s children weren’t completely happy about their marriage.
Raven backed out of the room quietly, dismayed they seemed to be dismissing their father’s feelings with so little regard.
A plan was already formulating…. She’d show them a thing or two about good manners and politeness. They seemed to be sadly lacking in that department, even if they did have money.
So they thought she was an unsuitable wife for Brad? She’d show them unsuitable! By the time they met Joy, they’d be so relieved that Brad was marrying her and not Raven that they’d welcome Joy with open arms. Her mother was not going to be subjected to any of this contempt she fumed. If Joy caught even the slightest whiff of disapproval…Raven had to make sure Joy seemed like an angel sent from heaven by comparison.