Discovering Daisy

Discovering Daisy
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Mills & Boon presents the complete Betty Neels collection. Timeless tales of heart-warming romance by one of the world’s best-loved romance authors.Daisy Gillard led a quiet life in her father’s little shop, until the handsome pediatrician Mr. Jules der Huizma swept her away to Holland! It was a secret joy for Daisy that Jules seemed to want to spend time with her.But Daisy knew her feelings couldn’t lead anywhere, because Jules was promised to another woman.… But he was so attentive and charming, Daisy was starting to hope that she would become Jules’s bride.…

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“Mr. der Huizma,” said Daisy. “Oh, it would be you, wouldn’t it?” she added wildly.

It was nice to have been rescued, but why couldn’t it have been by a stranger? Why did it have to be someone who, if he remembered her at all, would have thought of her as a quiet, well-mannered girl? Now it would be as a silly, careless fool.

“Indeed it is I.” He held her by the arm.

At his hotel he ushered her across the narrow pavement and into the foyer. He turned to her, expressed the hope that she was none the worse for her ducking in the canal, and bade her goodbye.

But his large, firm hand felt strangely comforting and Daisy lingered for as long as possible in the hope of seeing him again.…

About the Author

Romance readers around the world were sad to note the passing of BETTY NEELS in June 2001. Her career spanned thirty years, and she continued to write into her ninetieth year. To her millions of fans, Betty epitomized the romance writer, and yet she began writing almost by accident. She had retired from nursing, but her inquiring mind still sought stimulation. Her new career was born when she heard a lady in her local library bemoaning the lack of good romance novels. Betty’s first book, Sister Peters in Amsterdam, was published in 1969, and she eventually completed 134 books. Her novels offer a reassuring warmth that was very much a part of her own personality. She was a wonderful writer, and she will be greatly missed. Her spirit and genuine talent will live on in all her stories.

Discovering Daisy

Betty Neels


IT WAS a blustery October afternoon and the dark skies had turned the sea to a dull grey, its sullen waves eddying to and fro on the deserted beach. Not quite deserted, for a girl was walking there, stopping now and again to stare seawards, stooping to pick up a stone and hurl it out to sea and then walk on again. She looked small and lonely with so much emptiness around her, and certainly she was both, but only because there was no one there to see.

She marched along at a furious pace, making no attempt to wipe away the tears; they didn’t matter; they relieved her feelings. A good weep, she told herself, and everything would be over and done with. She would present a smiling face to the world and no one would be the wiser.

She turned back presently, wiped her eyes and blew her nose, tucked odds and ends of hair back under her headscarf, and assumed what she hoped was her normal cheerful expression. Climbing the steps back onto the sea front of the little town, she waved to the porter of the Grand Hotel across the road and started up the narrow, steep main street. The season was pretty well over and the town was settling down into its winter sloth; one could walk peacefully along its streets now, and chat unhurriedly with the shopkeepers, and the only cars were those of outlying farmers and the owners of the country properties dotted around the countryside.

There were narrow lanes leading off the street at intervals, and down one of these the girl turned, past a row of small shops converted from the old cottages which lined it; chic little boutiques, a jeweller’s, a tiny tea room and, halfway down, a rather larger shop with a sign painted over its old-fashioned window: ‘Thomas Gillard, Antiques’. The girl opened the door of the shop and the old-fashioned bell jangled.

‘It’s me,’she called ungrammatically, and pulled off her headscarf so that her nut-brown hair tumbled around her shoulders. She was an ordinary girl, of middle height, charmingly and unfashionably plump, her unassuming features redeemed from plainness by a pair of large hazel eyes, thickly fringed. She was dressed in a quilted jacket and tweed skirt, very suitable for the time of year but lacking any pretentions to fashion. There was no trace of her recent tears as she made her way carefully between the oak clap tables, Victorian Davenports, footstools and a variety of chairs: some very old, others Victorian button-backed balloon chairs.

Ranged round the walls were side cabinets, chiffoniers, and a beautiful bow-fronted glass cabinet, and wherever there was space there were china figurines, glass decanters and scent bottles, pottery figures and small silver objects. She was familiar with them all. At the back of the shop there was a half-open door leading to a small room her father used as his office, and then another door opening onto the staircase which led to the rooms above the shop.

She dropped a kiss on the bald patch on her father’s head as she passed him at his desk, and went up the stairs to find her mother sitting by the gas fire in the sitting room, repairing the embroidery on a cushion cover. She looked up briefly and smiled.

‘It’s almost teatime, Daisy. Will you put the kettle on while I finish this? Did you enjoy your walk?’

‘Very much. It’s getting quite chilly, though, but so nice to have the town empty of visitors.’

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