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Authors: Rita Herron

Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance, #Erotica, #Fiction, #General

Have Bouquet, Need Boyfriend

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Have Bouquet, Need Boyfriend

Rita Herron

Synopsis:

Shy, mousy Rebecca Hartwell had a shocking secret - she was in love with

the town’s hottest bachelor, Dr. Thomas Emerson! Her feelings seemed

hopeless, but when the latest Hartwell bridal bouquet landed smack on

her head and Rebecca received an heirloom hope chest full of seductive

surprises, she suddenly had an outrageous idea. Dare a shy virgin ask

her secret crush to father the baby she yearned for?

He’d been burned by a Hartwell before, but Thomas couldn’t get Rebecca

off his mind. The quietly lovely woman blushed fiery red every time they

met. She was hiding something?and uncovering it might just be the cure

for this doc’s jaded heart and soul!

Dear Reader,

What a spectacular lineup of love stories Harlequin American Romance has

for you this month as we continue to celebrate our th anniversary.

Start off with another wonderful title in Cathy Gillen Thacker’s

DEVERAUX LEGACY series, Taking Over the Tycoon. Sexy millionaire Connor

Templeton is used to getting whatever-whomever-he wants! But has he

finally met his match in one beguiling single mother?

Next, Fortune’s Twins by Kara Lennox is the latest installment in the

MILLIONAIRE, MONTANA continuity series. In this book, a night of passion

leaves a “Main Street Millionaire” expecting twins-and has the whole

town wondering “Who’s the daddy?” After catching a bridal bouquet and

opening an heirloom hope chest, a shy virgin dreams about asking her

secret crush to father the baby she yearns for, in Have Bouquet, Need

Boyfriend, part of Rita Herron’s HARTWELL HOPE CHESTS series. And don’t

miss Inherited: One Baby! by Laura Marie Altom, in which a handsome

bachelor must convince his ex-wife to remarry him in order to keep

custody of the adorable orphaned baby left in his care.

Enjoy this month’s offerings, and be sure to return each and every month

to Harlequin American Romance!

Melissa leglinski

Associate Senior Editor Harlequin American Romance

HAVE BOUQUET, NEED BOYFRIEND

HARLEQUIN

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this

book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to

the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any

payment for this “stripped book.”

To all my fans who wrote me wanting more of the Hartwells. Hope you enjoy!

ISBN –

HAVE BOUQUET, NEED BOYFRIEND

Copyright© by Rita B. Herron.

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or

utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any

electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented,

including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information

storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission

of the publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Limited,  Duncan Mill Road,

Don Mills, Ontario, Canada MB K.

All characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of

the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same

name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual

known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.

This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books U.S.A.

®and TM are trademarks of the publisher. Trademarks indicated with ®are

registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the

Canadian Trade Marks Office and in other countries.

Visit us at www.eHarlequin.com Printed in U.S.A.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Rita Herron wrote her first book when she was

twelve, but didn’t think real people grew up to be writers. Now she

writes so she doesn’t have to get a real job. A former kindergarten

teacher and workshop leader, she traded her storytelling for kids for

romance and writes romantic comedies and romance suspense. She lives in

Georgia with her own romance hero and three kids. She loves to hear from

readers so please write her at P.O. Box , Norcross, GA -

or visit her Web site at www.ritaherron.com.

Books by Rita Herron

HARLEQUIN AMERICAN ROMANCE

-HIS-AND-HERS TWINS

-HAVE GOWN, NEED GROOM*

-HAVE BABY, NEED BEAU

-HAVE HUSBAND, NEED HONEYMOON*

-THE RANCHER WORE SUITS

-HAVE BOUQUET, NEED BOYFRIEND

The Hartwell Hope Chests

HARLEQUIN INTRIGUE

-SEND ME A HERO -HER EYEWITNESS -FORGOTTEN LULLABY -SAVING

HIS SON -SILENT SURRENDER! -MEMORIES OF MEGAN -THE CRADLE

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My dearest Rebecca,

You are a very special granddaughter because you remind me so much of

myself when I was your age. You were the first of Bert daughterd, the

one who brought a deep love into his marriage that cemented the bond

between him and your mother.

But you were the one who suffered the most when your mother died.

Although your own heart was aching, you pushed your feelings aside to

comfort your father and your little brother in their sorrow.

You showed such strength that the rest of us gained courage from you.

But when you retreated to that silent place where you grieved, you never

quite came back.

Always steady and strong, dependable and caring, you are loyal and

trusting to a fault. Believe in yourself now, Rebecca. Take time to

nurture your own dreams and talent, and love yourself the way you love

others.

I wish for you happiness, true love and a man who will give you all the

joy a partner can.

Love you always,

Grammy Rose

Chapter One

“Who’s getting married next?” Alison Hartwell Broussard waved her bridal

bouquet of roses in the air in open invitation, looking pointedly at her

cousin Rebecca.

A few shrieks answered in reply. “Me!”

“No, me!”

A quiver of longing rippled through Rebecca, but she remained silent,

hugging her arms around herself in a protective embrace as she stood

beneath the sprawling branches of a live oak. She was the least likely

of all the single and female bridesmaids at her cousin Alison’s wedding

to tie the knot.

Her model-gorgeous sister, Suzanne, would probably be next. That is, if

she ever decided to settle down with one man. Right now, marriage and

monogamy were two words missing from Suzanne’s vocabulary.

Rebecca was the very opposite.

She ached for marriage. For one man to love her and hold her and make

her feel special. To give her a child.

Unfortunately, the man she yearned for happened to

be Thomas Emerson, a man who had once been engaged to Alison.

A man who had his pick of women in town. A man who might still be in

love with Alison. A man who’d barely noticed Rebecca.

Well, except for the time she’d dropped an entire platter of pastries on

his head at Vivi Broussard’s wedding. He had gazed at her through the

whipped cream dripping from his hair as if she might possibly be the

biggest klutz in the world. Which she was.

Especially when she got nervous. And being around Thomas Emerson made

her extremely nervous.

“Come on, ladies, line up.” Alison stepped beneath the trellis of roses,

an early-winter breeze carrying the spicy scent of flowers through the

air. “Brady and I are ready to leave. He’s finally promised me a

honeymoon.” She slid her arm around Brady’s waist. “I only had to marry

him twice to get it.”

Laughter and cheers erupted. Alison’s sisters’ husbands, Jake Tippins

and Seth Broadhurst, grinned wickedly, obviously remembering highlights

of their own honeymoons.

Brady slung an arm around his new wife. “Honey, it’ll be worth the wait.”

More laughter followed, envy mushrooming inside Rebecca. Her three

cousins had all married this past year in the gazebo on top of Pine

Mountain at Grammy Rose’s, and their husbands obviously doted on them.

She wanted that kind of love, that mind-altering, earth-shattering bond

with a man.

But every time she got physically close to a man, she lost her cool.

Rational conversation fled, and she stumbled all over her size-seven

feet. And sometimes, God help her, sometimes she even stuttered.

“Becca, come on.” Suzanne jerked her toward the small crowd of women

gathering on the lawn, their long dresses fluttering in the wind. “Angie

and Caitlin are about to attack Alison for those flowers.”

Rebecca laughed at her twenty-three-year-old twin cousins-daughters of

her aunt Shelby who giggled and squealed-vying for the place in front of

Alison. Although the twins shared a sibling rivalry born of being

identical, they also shared a loving sisterhood, as did Hannah, Mimi and

Alison. For some reason, she and Suzanne had never quite had that

connection.

Probably because they were so different.

Another stab of envy assaulted Rebecca as Mimi nestled her three-month

old baby to her chest. Rebecca’s own biological clock beat inside her

like a drum. She desperately wanted a baby.

But a husband had to come first.

“Back to earth, Becca.” Suzanne waved her hand in front of Rebecca’s

eyes, but Thomas gazed their way, and Rebecca froze. A frown marred his

lips, his charcoal-black hair gleaming in the early evening light. The

immediate pull of attraction that engulfed her slid through her nerve

endings, sending a frenzy of delicious sensations spiraling through her.

Sensations that paralyzed her.

His six-foot-plus muscular frame filled out his dark suit. His broad

shoulders almost seemed massive in the crisp white dress shirt. The

sparkle of laughter normally present in his light-green eyes was

replaced by a dark, faraway look, arousing her curiosity. Was he wishing

Alison had married him instead of Brady?

Contemplating going to him and offering a comforting hand, Rebecca

started across the lawn. But her heel caught on a twig. She took a step

forward and nearly plunged to the ground. Yelping, she reached for

something to steady her, or at least break her fall, but found nothing

to hold on to, not a chair or a tree or a table in sight. Thomas pitched

forward as if to break her fall, although he wasn’t near enough to reach

her, but Suzanne, ever the graceful one, slid a long manicured hand

beneath her elbow, catching Rebecca first. Mortification stung Rebecca’s

cheeks.

A fraction of a second later, Thomas raised his gaze, the dark intensity

disappearing as a slow smile spread across his face.

Rebecca’s heart fluttered.

Suzanne poked her. “Wow, who is that hottie eating the groom’s cake?”

Her heart sank.

If Suzanne wanted him, even though she lived miles away in Atlanta, she

would have him. Suzanne always got what she wanted.

“Thom-Thomas Emerson, the OB-GYN-” She took a deep breath to steady her

voice. “He works with Hannah.”

Suzanne whistled beneath her breath. “Whew, a girl might be tempted to

tear up her little black book for him.”

Rebecca gulped. Thomas continued to stare, his gaze almost unnerving

this time.

He had to be looking at Suzanne. Everyone stared at her dark-haired,

incredibly exotic-looking sibling. Not that she could blame them.

Suzanne was beautiful. Dazzling. Mesmerizing. And, darn it, she was even

nice, so Rebecca couldn’t hate her. Suzanne didn’t try to get all the

attention. People were just drawn to her.

But Rebecca was the mousy blonde who hid behind books and art and

wire-rimmed glasses. The impossibly shy one who couldn’t talk or walk

without tripping over her own tongue or feet.

“Let’s hurry, she’s getting ready to throw the roses!” Suzanne gently

pushed Rebecca forward just as Alison released the flowers. The bouquet

soared through the air, bouncing first from Caitlin’s hands to Angle’s,

then finally landing with a thump on Rebecca’s head. She reached for the

arrangement, but the ribbon caught on the stem of her glasses, dangling

over her eyes, blinding her, and a thorn from the rose stabbed her finger.

Thomas Emerson fought a laugh as he watched Rebecca Hartwell struggle

with the bridal bouquet. She was such a sweet, fragile-looking woman

that his battered heart lurched every time he saw her.

But he refused to get involved with another woman right now. Even

kind-hearted blondes with big blue eyes and curves that might be sinful.

That is, if she didn’t hide them beneath those baggy dresses.

He pulled at his collar, a bead of sweat trickling down his neck. This

rash of weddings lately had definitely affected him, probably the reason

he’d proposed to Alison a few months ago. But in retrospect he realized

he wasn’t ready for marriage.

Instead he intended to focus on his career. Although he currently shared

a practice with Hannah Hartwell, he had bigger goals. The very reason

he’d been watching

Rebecca in the first place. Not because he was attracted to the shy

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