Married For Real

Married For Real
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First comes marriage… then comes love Arizona Adams: reluctant bride Arizona needed financial help; she didn't need a husband.Then she discovered that the man demanding she become his bride had been secretly funding her for months… . Declan Holmes: determined groom Declan had wanted Arizona for years. Now he had the perfect opportunity to make Arizona his… he could marry her first and make her love him later.Declan only had to hang on till Christmas and then they'd be married for real!

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“I want you, Arizona!”

“There’s a saying about hell and fury and women scorned—are you sure you’re not suffering from being scorned, Declan?” she asked scathingly.

He laughed. “It could be a bit of that, too, I guess.”

“On the other hand, what would you have thought of me if I had responded to your eyes across the fence?”

“Well, I probably wouldn’t have had to marry you, would I?” he said placidly.

LINDSAY ARMSTRONG was born in South Africa, but now lives in Australia with her New Zealand-born husband and their five children. They have lived in nearly every state of Australia and have tried their hand at some unusual, for them, occupations, such as farming and horse training—all grist to the mill for a writer! Lindsay started writing romances when their youngest child began school and she was left feeling at a loose end. She is still doing it and loving it.

Married For Real

Lindsay Armstrong


ARIZONA Adams flung her large black hat on a settee, crossed the lounge to the mirror over the fireplace and withdrew the pins securing her thick hair. She ran her fingers through it as it fell to her shoulders in a rich river of chestnut. It was strong, abundant hair with a bit of a wave in it, and she could do pretty much as she liked with it. Her late husband, who had died a year ago and whose memorial service she’d just attended, had often commented that it had a life of its own.

She sighed and looked at her elegant outfit, an almost ankle-length slim black dress worn with a long cream jacket, and thought he would probably have approved of it. He’d also often said that she had an innate but different sense of style, although he’d been fond of adding that she could wear anything and look good. But the truth was, she did her own thing when it came to clothes, and for some reason it generally came out right—then again, according to her mother, she always did her own thing pretty much, which was fairly ironic coming from her mother, who had named her only daughter after a song first and a state in the USA quite incidentally. Yet here she was, Arizona reflected also with irony, feeling tense and uneasy as well as sad and not at all sure whether she would be allowed to continue to do her own thing.

She turned away from the fireplace and glanced at her watch. Nearly six o’clock, which left six more hours of this day—would he come?

He came five minutes later.

Arizona heard the doorbell chime just after she’d shed her jacket and was picking up her hat. She stilled, and right on cue the double lounge doors opened and Cloris stood there.

‘Sorry, Arizona,’ she said diffidently, ‘I know you didn’t want to be disturbed but it’s Mr. Holmes. I—well, I didn’t like to say no.’

‘That’s all right, Cloris,’ Arizona said resignedly, laying her hat and jacket down with exaggerated care. ‘I’m sure Mr. Holmes is a hard man to say no to.’

Cloris, who liked to think she enjoyed a more exalted station than housekeeper but who nevertheless was a marvellous housekeeper, smiled gratefully. ‘He was at the service,’ she confided. ‘At the back—I don’t think many people saw him. I only saw him because I was at the back myself and, well—’ she gestured ‘—that’s Mr. Holmes.’

‘That’s Mr. Holmes,’ Arizona echoed. ‘Show him in, please, Cloris.’

Cloris beamed then hesitated. ‘Would you like me to bring in some, er, drinks and snacks?’

‘No,’ Arizona said definitely.

Cloris opened her mouth but detected the gleam in Arizona’s grey eyes, and she withdrew with a suddenly shuttered expression. Arizona grimaced. Ten seconds later Declan Holmes walked into the room. He was, as Arizona had often heard commented, a fine figure of a man. Tall and well built, he had thick dark hair and Irish blue eyes. That he often had a saturnine, cynical look in those blue eyes didn’t seem to lower him in the estimation of many women by an iota. If anything, it was the opposite. Which was a fact that she’d thought about once or twice with some cynicism herself—her own sex’s preference for dark, damning men. And, as she’d often seen him, he was faultlessly outfitted in a dark grey suit that hid neither his powerful shoulders nor lean hips and justly became his position of wealth and power.

‘Hello, Declan,’ she said coolly and with some idea of taking the initiative as he stopped a few feet from her. ‘So you did come.’

He raised a wry eyebrow at her. ‘I don’t break my word lightly, Arizona. How are you? I believe I’m to be denied the pleasure of having a drink with you.’

She narrowed her eyes and said a bare, ‘Yes.’

‘That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?’ he murmured amusedly. ‘You look as if you could do with one yourself. It can’t have been an easy afternoon.’

‘And about to become even harder, I imagine.’

‘We’ll see,’ he said placidly. ‘Did you really think I wouldn’t come? I thought you knew me better than that, Arizona.’

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