ebook & paperback
HARLEQUIN PRESENTS EXTRA
NORTH AMERICA 05/11
"Ally has once again hit a home run
with this book. Bradley and Hannah sizzle and melt as they fall into one
another's orbit. These characters were real, flawed, and so lovable. And I
thought that she couldn't top Damien and Chelsea from "Magnate's Indecent
Proposal". Wow, was I wrong!!! I don't know which I love more?! Still
melting and sighing..."
"I did need a pick-me-up
the other day so downloaded your WEDDING DATE Ally - it was fabulous.
JUST what I needed. You always write gorgeous couples with such
Anderson, USA Today Bestselling author
really enjoyed this book ... it felt realistic,
letting the pressure build up between the two of them.
some wonderful dialogue; Hannah Gillespie is no pushover, she's feisty,
which keeps their relationship interesting and creates great chemistry
between these two characters, but you just know her heart is in trouble."
Teresa @ Good Reads
you want a warm, feel-good read, you can't go past Ally Blake's category
romances. Her characters make you smile
and her sassy voice make the pages fly by.
Some authors are auto-buys for me, Ally Blake is one of them."
USA Today Bestselling author
To follow the series of blog posts about the writing of this book,
THE WORKING TITLE
"The Way You Look Tonight"
"In the Meantime"
ebook & paperback out now!
Never mix business…with
Hannah is PA to the smart and
gorgeous adventurer and TV presenter Bradley Knight. Together they make
the perfect professional partnership – they’re both ambitious,
super-organised and don’t own an off-button! So when Hannah heads back to
Tasmania for her sister’s wedding, and back into the family craziness she
had run from years before, the last thing she wants is for Bradley to come
too. He sees it as a perfect shooting location; she just wants to shoot
herself if he sees her in less than a super-human professional light. How
can she stay zipped up and professional when karaoke and flowing mojitos
are the wedding entertainment?!
and Boon says: "If
you like Harriet Evans and Miranda Dickinson, you’ll love this."
‘You’re him! Aren’t you?’
The gorgeous specimen of manhood in the dark sunglasses at the pointy end
of the squat, pale-pink fingernail sat stock still. To the eclectic, late
afternoon, Brunswick Street crowd rushing past the sidewalk café he would
have appeared simply cool. Collected. Quietly attentive behind a half
smile so effortlessly sexy it could stop traffic. Literally.
Hannah knew better.
Hannah, who worked harder, and with longer hours than anyone else she knew,
would have bet her precious life savings on the fact that even while he was so
conspicuously tall, broad, and darkly handsome he might as well have been
wearing a neon sign around his neck that said “Gorgeous Guy This Way!”, behind
those ubiquitous dark sunglasses he was hoping, almost desperately, that the
older woman on the other end of the finger might quickly realise she had
mistaken him for someone else.
‘You are!’ the woman continued, flat feet planted determinedly on the uneven
cobbled ground. ‘I know you are! You’re the guy who makes Voyagers.
I’ve seen you in magazines. And on the telly. My daughter just loooves you.
She even considered going into training once so she could be one of those
regular-type people you send off into the wild and up mountains with nothing
but a toothbrush and a packet of Tim-Tams. Or however it goes. And that’s
saying something! It’s all but impossible to get that girl off the couch. You
know what? I should give you her number. She’s quite pretty in her way and
Sitting - with apparently ninja-like invisibility - on the other side of the
rickety table that served as the Knight Productions office those times the boss
felt the need to get out of the confines of their manic headquarters, Hannah had
to cover her mouth to smother the laugh threatening to bubble to the surface.
other time of day or night her boss was so like the mountains he had famously
conquered before turning his attentions to encouraging others to do the same on
TV. He was colossal, tough, unyielding, indomitable, enigmatic. Which was why
seeing him wriggle and squirm and practically lose the power of speech under the
attentions of an overtly loving fan was always a moment to relish.
had taken Hannah less than half a day of the year she’d worked for Bradley
Knight to realise that overt adoration was her boss’s Achilles’ heel. Awards,,
industry accolades, gushing peers, bowing and scraping minions all turned him to
there were fans. The many many many fans who knew a good thing when they
saw it. And there was no denying that Bradley Knight was six feet four inches
of very good thing.
Just like that the laughter tickling Hannah’s throat turned into a small
frowned deeply, cleared her throat and shifted on her wrought iron seat,
redistributing the balance of her buttocks. And more importantly her train of
very last thing her boss needed was even the smallest clue that in moments of
overworked, overtired weakness, he’d even given her the occasional tummy
flutter. And sweaty palms. And hot flushes. And raging fantasies the likes of
which she wouldn’t dare share with even her best friend whose good-natured
ribbing about Hannah’s constant proximity to their gorgeous boss had come all
too close to hitting the mark on a number of occasions.
beep of a car horn split the air and Hannah flinched out of her heady daydream
to find herself breathing a little too heavily and staring moonily at her boss.
Hannah frowned so hard she pulled a muscle in her neck.
She’d worked her backside to get there, to take any job she could get in order
to gain experience before finally finding the one she loved. The one she was
really good at. The one she was meant to do. And she wasn’t going to do
anything to risk that career path now.
Even if that wasn’t reason enough, pining after the guy was a complete a waste
of time. He was a rock. He’d never let her in. He never let anyone
in. And when it came to relationships Hannah wasn’t prepared to accept anything
less than wonderful.
Don’t. Ever. Forget it.
glanced at her watch. It was nearly four. Phew. The long weekend looming
ahead of her – four days away from her all-consuming job, and her all-consuming
boss – clearly could not have come at a better time.
Still on the clock, she turned her concentration back to the woman who may as
well have had her boss at knife-point he was sitting so eerily still.
scraped her chair back and intervened before Bradley managed to perform the
first ever case of human osmosis and disappeared through the holes in his
wrought iron chair.
woman only noticed her existence when Hannah slung an arm around her shoulders
and none too gently eased her to the curb.
you know him?’ the woman asked, breathless.
Glancing back at Bradley, Hannah’s inner imp took over. Leaning in she added,
‘I’ve seen the inside of his fridge. It’s frighteningly clean.’
woman’s still glittering eyes widened and she finally focussed fully on Hannah.
She was very thorough in her perusal of the kinks that always managed to appear
in Hannah’s straightened hair by that time of the afternoon. The countless
creases in her designer dress. The chunky men’s diving watch hanging loosely
around her thin wrist. The cowboy boots poking out from beneath it all.
Then the woman smiled.
With a none too comfortable flash of realisation it hit Hannah that she was
being compared unfavourably to the daughter who never got off the couch. Her
inner imp limped back into hiding.
Eight hours earlier she’d looked the epitome of the personal assistant of
Australia’s most successful television producer, even despite the little odes to
her tomboy roots. You could take the girl out of small-town Tasmania but...
she didn’t say any of that. With a shrug she admitted, ‘I’m Mr Knight’s
‘Oh.’ The woman nodded, as if that made so much more sense than a man like him
choosing to spend time with her and not just because when he said jump she knew
how high without even having to ask.
After a little more shop chat Hannah turned the woman in the opposite direction,
gave her a little push and waved goodbye as like a zombie the woman trudged off
down the street.
brushed off her hands. Another job well done. Then she turned, hands on hips,
to find Bradley running long fingers beneath his eyes, sliding his sunglasses
almost high enough to offer a teasing glimpse of the arresting silvery-grey eyes
beneath. But not quite.
Then, slowly, achingly slowly his rigid body began to unclench. Slowly, muscle
by hard-earned muscle, limb by long strong limb, down his considerable length
and until his legs slid under the table and his large shoes poked lazily out the
apparent languor was all an act. The efforts of a private man to restrain
whatever it was that drew people to him like moths to a flame. Unfortunately
for him it only made the restrained power seething inside of him more obvious.
More compelling. A familiar sweep of sensation skipped blithely across her skin
again - a soft, melty, pulsing, feeling.
Even the fact that she knew she was about to bear the brunt of the dark
mood he’d be in after the one-way love-in, it didn’t make her immune.
least it hadn’t yet.
Time was what she needed. Time and space so that the boundaries of her life
weren’t defined by the monstrous numbers of hours she spent deep inside
Bradley’s overwhelming creative vision. Thanks heavens for the long weekend!
Time, space and meeting a guy. One who might actually stand a chance on
hell of feeling that way about her.
was out there. Somewhere. She was sure of it. He had to be. Because she
absolutely wasn’t going to settle for anything less than everything. She’d seen
first hand what settling looked like in the first of three of the marriages her
mother had leapt into after her father passed away. It wasn’t pretty. In fact
it was downright sordid. That wasn’t going to be her life.
blinked as her boss’s beautifully chiselled face came into such sharp focus her
breath caught in her throat. He was something. But any woman who hoped in
Bradley Knight’s direction was asking for heartache. Many had tried. Many more
yet would. But nobody on earth would topple that mountain.
grabbed a wayward swathe of hair flickering across her face and tucked it back
into her messy ponytail, plastered a smile across her face and bounded back to
the table. Bradley didn’t look up. Didn’t even flicker a lash. He probably
hadn’t even realised she’d left.
‘Wasn’t she a lovely lady?’ Hannah sing-songed. ‘We’re sending her daughter a
signed copy of last season’s Voyagers.’
‘Why me?’ Bradley asked, still looking into the distance.
‘You were just born that lucky,’ she said wryly.
‘You think I’m lucky?’ he asked.
‘Ooh yeah. Fairies sprinkled fortune dust on your cradle as you slept. Why
else do you think you’ve been so ridiculously successful at everything you’ve
ever set your heart on?’
head swung her way. Even with the dark sunglasses between them the force of his
undivided attention was like a thunderclap. Her heart rate quadrupled in
voice was a touch deeper when he said, ‘So in your eyes, my life has nothing to
do with hard work, persistence, and knowing just enough about man’s primal need
to prove himself as a man?’
Hannah tapped a finger on her chin and took a few seconds to damp down her own
latent desires as she looked up at the cloudy blue sky. Then she said, ‘Nah.’
appreciative rumble of his laughter danced across her nerves, creating a whole
new wave of warmth cascading through her. Enjoying him from the other side of
the mile high walls he wore like a second skin was imprudent enough, enduring
the bombardment of his personal attention was a whole other battle.
you really want to know why you are so lucky give that lady’s daughter a call.
Take her to dinner. Ask her yourself.’ She waved the piece of paper with the
woman’s address and phone number on it. ‘Talk about a PR windfall. Bradley
Knight dates fan. Falls in love. Moves to suburbs. Coaches little league
team. Learns to cook lamb roast.’
Behind his sunglasses she could feel his eyes narrowing. He then took his sweet
time sitting upright. He managed to make the move appear leisurely,
inconsequential even, but the constrained power pulsing through every limb,
every digit, every hair was patently clear to anyone with half an instinct. She
could feel her blood pumping through her veins.
this moment,’ he said, his voice a deep dark warning, ‘I am so very very glad
you are my assistant and not in charge of PR.’
Hannah slid the paper into her overstuffed leather diary and said, ‘Yeah, me
too. I’m not sure there’s enough money in the world that could tempt me to take
on a job whereby I’d have to spend my days trying to convince the world how
wonderful you are. I mean I work hard now, but come on...’
Frown lines appeared above his glasses he leaned across the table til his
forearms covered half the thing. He was so big he blocked out the sun – a
massive shadow of a man with a golden halo outlining his bulk.
Hannah’s fingertips were within touching distance of his. She could feel every
single hair on her arms stand to attention one by delicious one. Her feet were
tucked so far under her chair so as to not accidentally scrape against his she
was getting a cramp.
‘Aren’t we in a strange mood today?’ he asked, his voice dropping so quiet, so
very low, and so very much only for her ears she felt it hum in the backs of her
tilted his chin in her direction as he asked, ‘What gives?’
then he slid his sunglasses from his eyes. Smoky grey they were, or
quicksilver, entirely depending on his mood. In that moment they were so dark
the colour was impenetrable.
man was such a workaholic. , he never looked to her without a dozen instructions
ready to be barked. But in that moment he just looked at her. And waited.
Hannah’s throat turned to ash.
‘What gives,’ an intruder shot back, ‘is that our Hannah’s mind is already
turned to a weekend of debauchery and certain nookie.’
Hannah flinched so hard at the sudden intrusion she bit her lip.
From "THE WEDDING DATE "
by Ally Blake
Mills and Boon RIVA March 2011
Text Copyright: © 2010
Cover Art Copyright
© 2011 Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
Permission to reproduce text
granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with
Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved.
® and ™ are trademarks
owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated
companies, used under license.
This one’s for
white chocolate raspberry muffins and macadamia choc chip cookies. Or more
specifically, the super staff at the fabulous local cafes who let me write this
book in their welcoming warmth and know my order by heart.