Authors: Stephanie Bond
“Denise, I’m tired of beating around the bush here,” Redford said
“I want you in my bed tonight, but the choice is entirely yours.”
Desire flooded my body, rushing through my veins, awakening every nerve ending. The silence stretched between us for long seconds while my mind raced with uncertainty. “I…” I
swal owed and tried again, not entirely sure what words might tumble out of my mouth. “I…excuse me.”
I escaped to the bathroom, closed the door behind me and leaned against it. I stared at myself in the mirror, touched my skin, my hair, concrete things that defined me. But what about the things I couldn’t see…those deep, dark desires that lurked in my heart? Those things defined me, too, whether I liked it or not.
I didn’t like it, knowing that my body could override my reason. But I couldn’t help but acknowledge how much I wanted Redford, how much I wanted to share his bed tonight. Worse, how much I needed to share his bed.
So with shaking hands I slipped my engagement ring from my finger and set it on the vanity. Then I opened the door, inhaled deeply and walked out into the bedroom…to my husband.
We al slip up sometime—we stumble, then recover and, hopeful y, learn something in the process. But what if you can’t get over the biggest mistake of your life?
Denise Cooke married U.S. Marine Redford DeMoss three years ago in a quickie Vegas wedding after a whirlwind courtship. Their honeymoon was mind-boggling, but when Redford
returned to his overseas duty and Denise returned to NYC, reality set in, and she had the marriage annul ed. Except now she’s being reunited with her biggest mistake to resolve a tax issue and Redford looks better than ever…can she keep from making the same mistake twice?
Continuing with the characters I first introduced in “The Truth about Shoes and Men” on www.eHarlequin.com and in the Harlequin Temptation novel
Cover Me, My Favorite Mistakeis a
about two mismatched lovers who begin to suspect that that the only thing worse than living with each other is living
other. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it! Visit me at my Web site, www.stephaniebond.com. And please tel your friends about the wonderful love stories within the pages of Harlequin romance novels!
Much love and laughter,
Books by Stephanie Bond
685—MANHUNTING IN MISSISSIPPI
751—ABOUT LAST NIGHT…
769—IT TAKES A REBEL
787—TOO HOT TO SLEEP
805—SEEKING SINGLE MALE
my favorite mistake
An Evening To Remember…
Those words evoke al kinds of emotions and memories. How do you plan a romantic evening with your guy that wil help you get in touch with each other on every level?
Start with a great dinner that you cook together. Be sure to light several candles and put fresh flowers on the table. Enjoy a few glasses of wine and pick out your favorite music to set the mood. After dinner take the time to real y talk to each other. Hold hands and snuggle on the sofa in front of the fireplace. And maybe take a few minutes to read aloud selected sexy scenes from your favorite Harlequin Blaze novel. After that, anything can happen….
That’s just one way to have an evening to remember. There are so many more. Write and tel us how you keep the spark in your relationship. And don’t forget to check out our Web site at www.eHarlequin.com.
This book is dedicated to the memory of
Cheryl Anne Porter, a sister Harlequin writer
who could light up a room with her smile
and leave your ribs aching from laughing.
You wil be missed, Cheryl.
“THIS IS A MISTAKE ,”
I said, suddenly panicked by the horde of women pushing at me from al sides. In the minutes just prior to Filene’s Basement “running of the brides,” the crowd was getting hostile, al elbows and bared teeth.
Next to me, my friend Cindy turned her head and scowled. “Denise Cooke, you can’t back out now—I’m counting on you!” The normal y demure Cindy Hamilton shoved a
woman standing next to her to make room to reach into her shoulder bag. “Here, put on this headband so we can spot each other once we get in there.”
I sighed and reached for the neon pink headband. It wasn’t as if I could look more ridiculous—I was already freezing and humiliated standing there in my yoga leotard (the Web-
site-recommended uniform for trying on bridal gowns in the aisles). February in New York did not lend itself to leotards—I was numb from my V-neck down. “This is a lot of trouble for a discounted wedding gown when you’re not even engaged,” I grumbled.
“This was your idea, Miss Penny Pincher,” Cindy reminded me.
That was true. I was helping Cindy with her Positive Thinking 101 class, and her assignment was to prepare for an event with the idea being that it would then become a self-
fulfil ing prophecy. Since Cindy wanted to be married more than anything else in the world, she’d decided to buy a wedding gown. Cheapskate that I am (an investment broker-slash-financial planner, actual y), I had suggested Filene’s biannual bridal event for a good deal.
So here we were at seven-thirty on a cold Saturday morning, poised with oh, about eight or nine hundred other freezing leotard-clad women, waiting for the doors of Filene’s to be hurled open. There were a few identifiable teams with members wearing identical hats or T-shirts. Like me, they were friends who had been commandeered to grab as many dresses as possible from the clearance racks, thereby increasing the odds of the bride-to-be getting a gown she wanted.
“Remember,” Cindy said, her eyes as serious as an NFL coach dispensing plays, “strapless or spaghetti straps, with a princess waistline—white is my first choice, but I’m
wil ing to go as far left as light taupe. I need a size ten, but I can work with a twelve.”
I nodded curtly. “Got it.”
“If you find a gown that might work, put it on so no one can grab it out of your hands.”
I swal owed and nodded again, suddenly apprehensive.
“And who knows,” Cindy added with a grin. “You might find a dress that you’l want to keep for yourself.”
I frowned. “Barry and I haven’t even talked about getting married.”
“Good grief, you’ve been dating for two years—he’s going to propose someday, and then you’l already have a dress. It’s
I started to say it was presumptuous, then remembered why Cindy was there and clamped my mouth shut. Barry was…great, but I couldn’t see myself getting married…again.
Like every time I remembered my last-minute and short-lived Las Vegas marriage to Sergeant Redford DeMoss, I got a sick feeling in my stomach. My first marriage was one
of those events in my life that I wanted to expunge from my memory, like a stupid teenage stunt…except I hadn’t been a stupid teenager—I had been a stupid adult. In the three years since my marriage to and subsequent annulment from Redford, I had managed to block the incident from my mind for the most part. But since two of my best friends, Jacki and Kenzie, had recently gotten married and my last single friend, Cindy, seemed hel -bent on doing the same, the memories of my incredible wedding night had been popping into my head at the strangest moments—I couldn’t seem to outrun them.
Someone behind me stepped on my heel, scraping it raw. I winced, not sure how I was going to outrun this dogged bunch, either.
“They’re opening the doors,” Cindy announced excitedly.
A cheer rose from the crowd and everyone lurched forward col ectively. The two security guards unlocking the doors looked as frightened as I felt. When the doors were flung
open, self-preservation kicked in—I had to match the pace of the crowd or be trampled. I squeezed through the double doors and ran for the escalator, my heart pounding in my chest.
The escalator was instantly jammed, and everyone stil clambered upward, some screaming as if we were al vying for front row seats at a rock concert. At the top of the escalator, we spil ed onto the second floor where several freestanding racks bulged with pouf dresses. I had no idea where Cindy was and I hesitated, not sure where to begin.
Women stampeded by me in a blur and began yanking dresses by the armfuls from the rack. It was a locust swarm. I realized I was going to miss out if I didn’t move quickly.
Cindy’s order of “strapless or spaghetti straps” vanished in the wake of the disappearing gowns. I grabbed whatever I could get my hands on, draping the gowns over my shoulders until I could barely see or hear past the mounds of rustling fabric.
Within one minute, the racks had been picked clean. As if on cue, everyone began trying on dresses where they stood, stripping to their underwear and in some cases, even
further, heedless of the male salesclerks and security guards mil ing about. Keeping an eye out for a neon pink headband, I sorted through my spoils like a lion protecting its kil .
I had managed to snare a white satin gown with cap sleeves, size fourteen; an off-white long-sleeved lacy number with a straight skirt, size twenty; a pinkish Gibson-girl design with bishop sleeves, size twelve; a dark beige high-neck gown with an embroidered bodice, size four; and a creamy halter-style gown with a pearl-studded skirt, size ten. My shoulders fel in disappointment—I had struck out for Cindy.