Authors: Marie Astor
Twenty-eight-year old Annabel Green is about to tie the knot with her college love, an aspiring author Jeremy Blake, but her plans for an ideal wedding are rudely interrupted when she catches Jeremy kissing his gorgeous book agent.
Shell-shocked by Jeremy’s betrayal, Annabel retreats into the quiet routine of TV dinners and solitary evenings. It is then that Annabel’s best friend, fashion designer Lilly Clayton, sets herself on a mission to draw Annabel out of her shell. In an attempt to persuade Annabel to keep an open mind on dating, Lilly takes Annabel for a stunning makeover, but after Annabel passes on a date with a dashing entrepreneur, Lilly decides that more drastic measures are needed. Lilly invites Annabel to see a palm reader who gives Annabel a lucky charm that is supposed to help her find true love.
A few weeks later, during her trip to Paris, Annabel meets a handsome Parisian, and as the two embark on a whirlwind romance, she starts to believe in the power of the talisman the palm reader has given her. But what Annabel doesn’t know is that Lilly is hiding a secret that could unravel her faith in her newly found luck in love.
o Catch a Bad Guy
copyright 2012 by Marie Astor
Published at Amazon for Kindle
All rights reserved. Without Limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Table of Contents
As she headed for the tiny boutique shop on the corner of
and Sixtieth Street
, Annabel felt the palms of her hands prickle with perspiration. Her breath quickened with excitement and
what might have been
a bit of fear
Today she would be trying on her wedding dress for the first time.
“Annabel, you look stunning!” Lilly gushed when Annabel finally emerged from the dressing room.
“Wow,” Annabel whispered at her own reflection in the mirror, thinking that the person in there could not possibly be her. “It is so beautiful, Lilly! It’s the most amazing dress I’ve ever seen.”
“Thank you.” A quick smile of satisfaction lit up Lilly’s face. “You know, it’s the least I could do, you being my best friend and all. Now, turn around.” Lilly waved her hand imperiously. “Let’s see if we need to make any adjustments.” Lilly was tall and lanky
nine, she wore a size four and
could have been a model, but instead she chose to be a designer, quipping that she preferred calling the shots instead of being a mannequin.
“Ouch!” Annabel felt one of Lilly’s pins poke her waist.
“Sorry! Did I get you?”
“How much weight did you lose?” demanded Lilly. “If you had told me that you were planning to go on a diet, I would have waited with the dress
ow I have to take it all in.”
“I didn’t go on
diet,” retorted Annabel. “I just haven’t had much of an appetite lately.”
“It’s not like you have any weight to lose
ou’re skinnier than my models,” Lilly mumbled, holding the pin between her lips as she continued to adjust the fabric. “What was that you said about not
appetite?” Lilly straightened
up to survey the alterations after she had placed several more pins into the dress. “Is everything
between you and Jeremy?”
“Oh, it’s nothing – just stress at work.” Annabel shrugged, s
ensing Lilly’s inquiring stare. “I don’t mean to sound
like a Bridezilla, but the planning is exhausting. Meredith has been helping me, but there is still a lot to be done.”
“What about Jeremy? He should be pitching in.”
“Tell me about it! I can’t even get him to look at the guest list. But in his defense
he’s been really busy with his book
Athena and he are working round the clock.”
“He sure has been spending a lot of time with that hot book agent of his.” Lilly raised an eyebrow.
“It’s nothing like that
hey’re working together. According to Athena, a book deal should be coming through any day, and she’s saying that it’s going to be really big.”
. I’m sorry
ou know that I have issues with trusting men.” Lilly smiled apologetically, busying herself with another round of fabric adjustments.
“Don’t worry about it.” That was one of the things about Lilly –she never pulled any punches.
“Well, it seems my work here is done,” announced Lilly. “That is
unless you decide to lose any more weight in the next month, which you’d better not, since I won’t be doing this all over again.”
I promise.” Annabel smiled
t times Lilly was worse than her own mother. “You’ll be glad to know that I’m going to meet Meredith for
cake tasting at Veniero’s. Do you want to come?”
“I wish I could, but I’m swamped here as it is
I am scrambling like mad for this
trip? You never told me anything about it.”
“Well, I didn’t want to jinx it
and it’s only become official this morning,” Lilly admitted guiltily. “I’ll be going to
in three months to present my collection in a fashion contest for new designers
ou had to apply to be considered
and I’ve been holding my fingers crossed for the past six months. I could get some real orders there, Ann
his could be it!” Lilly whispered, her eyes lighting up.
“Lilly, this is terrific news! I’m so happy for you
I know that you’ll blow them away!”
“I hope so.” Lilly twisted her hands nervously. “I’ve been wracking my brain since this morning what to pick for the contest.”
“I can relate to that
ll your dresses are beautiful.”
“Oh, stop it! You’re flattering me when I need brutal honesty!” Lilly waved her hand, blushing with pleasure. “Is that your cell phone ringing? Let me guess
s it Meredith?”
Annabel fumbled in her purse, groping for her cell phone.
es, I’m on my way – I’ll see you there in five.” She hung up the phone, looking at her watch. “I’ve got to run
ou know how Meredith gets about people being late. Are you sure you can’t come?” Annabel offered one last time.
“I wish I could, but there’s just too much to do. Have an extra pastry for me.”
“See you later. Thanks again for the dress
t’s a dream come true!”
As usual on a Saturday afternoon,
was bustling with shoppers. Annabel checked her watch
he was supposed to meet her cousin Meredith at two o’clock
and it was already one
thirty. With traffic
it could easily be a twenty-minute ride to the Village, which was where Veniero’s was located, but if she got a cab right away, she would just about make it.
I wonder if they will ever build that Second Avenue subway line
, Annabel thought as she stood on the crowded sidewalk, hoping for a miracle. Out of the corner of her eye
she could spot two women laden with shopping bags trying to hail a cab one block up, but maybe, just maybe, she would get lucky after all. Suddenly, a cab pulled over to the curb, and Annabel lunged toward it. Through the car window she could see the man inside paying his fare, and she strategically positioned herself by the door
t was not uncommon in
to have a cab snatched right from under your nose.
, please.” Annabel hastily shut the door. As the cabbie drove on, Annabel caught the resentful glances of the two women she had spotted earlier.
, she thought
ou lose some, you gain some
. This was the only good thing that had happened to her all week
and as far as she was concerned, she had earned it.
By the time the cab finally pulled in front of Veniero’s, Annabel could spot Meredith
pacing the pavement in front of the bakery.
“Annabel! There you are!” Meredith exclaimed as soon as Annabel’s foot reached the curb.
“Sorry I’m late
he traffic was horrible. Have you been waiting long?”
“Only about five minutes
I left extra early since I wasn’t sure how long it would take to find parking. You are so lucky to live in the City
on’t ever move to the suburbs.” Meredith sighed wistfully. “I can’t believe I let Doug talk me into this move
very time I want to come out to the City, I feel like it’s a major production. I might as well live somewhere in