Nearly a decade ago, accountant Kari Parker shed 220 pounds of dead weight — her hulking, abusive college boyfriend. The last thing she wants in her life is another man — especially one as tall as a Windy City high rise. Yet when her best friend enters her in Romance TV’s “Get a Love Life” contest, another man is exactly what she gets. As much as she'd love to just say no, she can't turn down the prize money that will allow her to help her parents save the restaurant they've run all her life. Sparks fly between Kari and her bogus groom, and as she and Damien share close quarters, intimate meals and — gulp — his bed, Kari doesn’t stand a chance of resisting his considerable charms. Even worse? She might not want to. But building a real future out of their sham marriage will be tougher than baking a wedding cake from scratch … with no flour … in a broken oven.
Excerpt from Blind Date Bride
(after they’ve agreed to let the cameras follow them around, and have to share a bedroom)
Kari plumped her newly acquired down pillow, stretched out on her back and stared up at the ceiling. The ceiling fan whirred lazily, making only a few slow circles before Kari was convinced that no one would be spending the night on Damien’s floor. The hardwood floor wasn’t just rock-hard; it was also freezing cold. Kari didn’t know how that was possible when it was in the low eighties outside, but if she didn’t climb into Damien’s bed soon, her boxer-clad butt was going to end up with a severe case of frostbite.
Her eyes darted from the ceiling to the bed, where Damien still sat, watching her intently.
“Stop looking at me like that!” she snapped at him.
“Like you’re on a diet and I’m a hot fudge sundae!”
Damien rolled his eyes. “You think you’re that irresistible, huh?”
“Well,” Kari began. More concerned with her own response to the look he was giving her, she hadn’t considered how conceited the complaint would make her sound.
“Because I have news for you, sweetheart, I can resist. No problem.”
She stood and sat on the edge of Damien’s bed opposite him, but not before scowling at him. “You don’t have to be such a jerk about it.”
He glowered right back. “Why shouldn’t I be? You’re basically saying you don’t trust me to keep my hands to myself, right?”
“Because I’ve never had to force my attentions on an unwilling woman before, and I don’t intend to start anytime soon. So until you decide you want my hands on you, you have nothing to worry about.”
PURCHASE BLIND DATE BRIDE
Arlene Hittle is a Midwestern transplant who now makes her home in northern Arizona. She suffers from the well-documented Hittle family curse of being a Cubs fan but will root for the Diamondbacks until they run up against the Cubs. Longtime friends are amazed she writes books with sports in them, since she's about as coordinated as a newborn giraffe and used to say marching band required more exertion than golf.