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Authors: Melissa Hill

Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Contemporary Women

The Guest List

BOOK: The Guest List
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Table of Contents

Also by Melissa Hill

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright

Acknowledgements

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Epilogue

Also by Melissa Hill

The Charm Bracelet

Something from Tiffany’s

The Truth About You

Please Forgive Me

Before I Forget

The Last to Know

Wishful Thinking

All Because of You

Never Say Never

Not What You Think

Something You Should Know

About the Author

Melissa Hill lives with her husband Kevin, daughter Carrie and dog Homer in Co. Dublin. Previous titles including
The Charm Bracelet, Something from Tiffany’s
,
The Truth About You
and
Please Forgive Me
have all been bestsellers, and her books have been translated into twenty-three different languages. Melissa is a Number One bestseller in Ireland and Italy.

For more information, you can visit Melissa’s website at
www.melissahill.info
, like her Facebook page
www.facebook.com/melissahillbooks
or follow her on Twitter
www.twitter.com/melissahillbks
.

THE GUEST LIST
Melissa Hill

www.hodder.co.uk

First published in Great Britain in 2013 by

Hodder & Stoughton

An Hachette UK company

Copyright © Melissa Hill 2013

The right of Melissa Hill to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library

ISBN 978 1 848 94609 5

Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

338 Euston Road

London NW1 3BH

www.hodder.co.uk

Acknowledgements

Massive thanks to Francesca Best and Isobel Akenhead for fantastic editorial input, and to the Hodder team in Ireland and the UK who always work so hard on my behalf – I’m very grateful.

Thank you to Sheila Crowley for being an amazing agent, wonderful friend and true force of nature. Thanks too to Katie McGowan, Rebecca Ritchie, Tally Garner and all the lovely people at Curtis Brown UK, who continually work their magic.

Big thanks to readers, booksellers, reviewers and bloggers everywhere for being so supportive of my books, and to those who’ve been in touch to say how much they enjoy them. I love hearing from you so please do keep the feedback coming at
www.melissahill.info
,
www.facebook.com/melissahillbooks
or Twitter
@melissahillbks
.

I very much hope you enjoy
The Guest List.

To Kevin and Carrie, with lots of love

Chapter 1

You are invited to attend the nuptials of

Audrey McCarthy and Joseph Bourke

The bride and groom kindly request the following:

  • No female guests to wear white; this includes clothes, shoes and/or accessories.
  • Guests should refrain from wearing garments from
    Coast
    or
    Karen Millen
    clothing stores.
  • Guests should please visit laceconfetti.com/mccarthy–bourke to review the colour scheme of the wedding and dress accordingly.
  • Single male invitees should not bring as dates female guests who are unknown to the bride and groom
    .
  • All non-local guests should stay at the hotel in which the wedding reception will be held (prices and information available online at
    www.themanor.com
    ).
  • No gifts on the day unless in the form of cash or cheques. Preferred method of gifting is via the wedding list (see attached notification card for details) or through deposits to the couple’s joint bank account (details below) by the date of the wedding.

It was more of an edict than an invite, and Cara Clancy didn’t think she’d ever come across anything more obnoxious. Engraved on expensive wedding stationery below the date, time and place was that long list of what could only be described as
demands.

She knew that her old college friend Audrey McCarthy was a show-off, but this was taking it to another higher level. Even as a person who wasn’t easily offended or slighted, Cara couldn’t help but feel her hackles rise at this utter lack of tact and taste, not to mention blatant money-grabbing tendencies.

So much for ‘for richer for poorer’ . . .

She shook her head as she sought out the wedding list ‘notification card’ mentioned in the invite, and wasn’t in the least bit surprised to see that the list was at one of Ireland’s most expensive luxury stores, Brown Thomas. Of course.

No run-of-the-mill chain store would be good enough for these two and she made a mental note to check it out to see what the cheapest item on the list would be. She was sure she wouldn’t be the only one doing so.

But just in case guests didn’t subscribe to the wedding list, the couple were also kind enough to allow you donate to them personally, should you be so inclined.

Her eyes widened. The cheek of it . . .

The inclusion of the bank account number was a brazen appeal for cash, and Cara wondered when weddings had become less about the commitment two people were making to spend the rest of their lives together and more about money and gifts.

As much as she wanted to throw the invite in the bin and compose a response that regretfully informed the couple of her inability to attend an affair that seemed geared to padding their pockets (and which would undoubtedly help with the financial burden of any future divorce), she found that she didn’t have it in herself to do so. Instead she placed it aside, wondering what Shane would think when she showed it to him.

Probably much the same as she did. Despite his moneyed background and privileged upbringing (his father, Gene Richardson, was a hugely successful Dublin property developer), her boyfriend wasn’t in the least bit flashy, and wasn’t a fan of ostentatious displays of wealth.

Not that Audrey McCarthy was wealthy. From what Cara could remember, she was pretty sure that her old friend had, like herself, come from a normal working-class background. Maybe the hubby-to-be was minted? Although if he was, they’d hardly be sending out glorified begging letters in the guise of wedding invites – would they?

And who was the groom anyway? Cara glanced back through the invite for the mention of him and found the name. Ah, a ‘Joseph Bourke.’ Maybe Mr Bourke didn’t have any demands for the wedding day, or maybe Audrey thought of him as simply another wedding-related accessory.

Her thoughts resting on the idea of weddings, Cara wondered what her and Shane’s wedding would be like, if one day he decided to ask her.

She certainly knew what her answer would be if he did, and she also knew for certain that their big day would be an out-and-out celebration of their love for each other, and a million miles from what Audrey McCarthy seemed to be planning.

Cara and Shane had been together for almost three years. They’d first met at a mutual friend’s dinner party and had immediately hit it off. He was fun and laid-back and had a wickedly dry sense of humour that really appealed to her. Not to mention that he was very good-looking with fair hair, green eyes and a broad rugby-player physique from his days playing at Blackrock College. By the end of that night the chemistry was almost palpable and she knew that if Shane asked her out she wouldn’t hesitate for a second. Turns out he did, and the pair embarked on a budding romance that turned to full bloom within months.

At five foot nothing, Cara always felt tiny in Shane’s arms, but more importantly, she felt safe.

She glanced at a photo on a nearby side table, of her and Shane taken the previous winter on a weekend trip to Barcelona. Smiling, she suspected that when the time was right, Shane would ask. Now twenty-nine years old, Cara was certain she had found the man she was supposed to be with. Marriage was just the next natural step, wasn’t it?

Turning her attention away from thoughts of marriage, she began the process of organising herself after a day’s work. She placed her laptop case on the coffee table, ready and waiting for later when she had some additional work do to.

As someone who was naturally artistic and creative, Cara adored her job as a graphic designer at Octagon Design, a small firm based in Greygates, the small Dublin coastal suburb in which she had grown up. It was also a plus that she had a stellar relationship with her boss, Conor Dempsey, whom she’d always known from the area, and was proud of the fact that she was not one of those people who constantly lamented that their boss was a pain in the ass or out to get them. Cara knew that he respected her and the job that she did for his company and as such, he gave her a relatively free rein.

She glanced at the time and knew that Shane would be home soon. While Cara was a million miles from being a domestic goddess, she was at least confident in her ability to whip up some tomato soup . . . even if it was just from a can.

She went into the small galley kitchen of their cosy one-bed apartment and started pottering about, first deciding to open a bottle of red and let it breathe while she waited for Shane. Although the place was by no means palatial, it had modern and stylish features that complemented their lifestyle. Located just on the fringes of Dublin city centre, it was handy for them both for work, while also ideal for bustling city living, which they both enjoyed. Having decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps and go into the building industry, Shane had instead trained as an accountant and worked in a city-centre firm, and her own office in Greygates was just a short commuter-train ride away. They were both thrilled with the place when they’d picked it out together the year before, aware that it was a real demonstration of their commitment to one another and the future they were working on creating, one step at a time.

Within minutes, she heard the front door of the apartment open, and listened to the usual rustlings indicating that Shane was getting rid of his work things and making his way to the kitchen.

She had her head down, buttering bread and getting ready to place it in the frying pan, when he came in.

‘Ahh . . . what kind of culinary masterpiece do I smell tonight?’ he teased. ‘Could that really be grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup? Ah the memories that are flooding back to me . . . all involving being five years old. You really are a domestic goddess in disguise,’ he said, coming up behind Cara and encircling her with his arms.

She let loose a snort of laughter. ‘Yep, that’s me, cooking for you in such a way that you think of your mum.’ She turned in his arms to face him and planted a kiss on his lips. He was six foot two and with those blond good looks Cara really couldn’t get enough of him. Her pulse still quickened when he kissed her.

‘Mmm . . .’ he sighed into her long hair. ‘Actually, my mum never made grilled cheese, but Lillian did.’

Lillian had been his nanny. Shane had grown up in a huge house located on a large country estate outside Kildare. To say that the family was wealthy would be a huge understatement, and his parents, especially his mother Lauren, enjoyed flaunting their money and social status. The fact that Shane didn’t was yet another quality of his that Cara admired.

Giving her another brief kiss on the forehead, he stood back and idly checked through the post. ‘Crikey, what the hell is this?’

Seeing that Shane was holding Audrey McCarthy’s wedding invitation in his hand, she shook her head. ‘I know. Tacky isn’t it?’

BOOK: The Guest List
2.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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