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Here is a short sample from the book:
I just about bolted right then. But I was angry enough to overcome my racing heart and stand my ground. “I want to rent your carriage rig,” I said. “For my wedding.”
The flat note in his voice surprised me. For a minute I thought he was sorry he’d overreacted to my presence.
And then he started to laugh.
I was mortified to feel my face heat up and tears sting my eyes. Goddamn it, he was doing it to me again. Only last time he’d laughed in my face in front of everyone at school, all his friends and mine—and gotten them to join him. Well, he wasn’t going to break my heart this time. I’d given it to someone else.
I pulled myself straighter. “Yes, my wedding,” I said. “Can I rent it or not?”
He stared at me for a long minute. At last, he heaved a sigh. “Come here. I’ve got something to show you,” he said, and started for the barn.
I followed reluctantly.
Inside, he turned a light on and kept going toward the back, where something big and covered in canvas dropcloth stood beneath the loft. The rich, sweet scent of hay brought a smile to my face as I walked after him—but it died there when he yanked the canvas away like some demented magician performing a cruel trick.
The carriage had been breathtaking the last time I’d seen it. All white lacquer and polished brass and wrought iron wheels, with deep blue velvet seats. Now it was dulled and filthy, the brass rusting, the seats matted and covered with dust. The whole thing canted drunkenly to one side, courtesy of a missing front wheel.
Cam raised an eyebrow. “Still want it? I’ll rent it to you cheap.”
Now I really was going to cry. Not just about the carriage, but the way he was rubbing it in—like he hadn’t hurt me enough five years ago and wanted to make sure he finished the job. I backed away, shaking my head and unable to utter a word. Then I turned to leave. I never should’ve come here in the first place.
If he’d sounded the least bit angry or sarcastic, I would’ve kept going. But he’d gentled his tone, with obvious effort. “Fine. I’m waiting,” I said without turning around.
I sensed him behind me before he spoke again from inches away. “Who are you marrying?”
“Why do you care?”
There was a long pause, and he said, “You know what? I don’t.”
My shoulders sagged, and I turned to look at him. I didn’t need to stoop to his level. “Tommy Lowell,” I said. “Is that all right with you?”
His eyes flared briefly, and I got the distinct impression it was not all right with him. But I wasn’t taking his opinion into consideration. He got himself under control, and said, “Okay. I’ll make you a deal.”
I snorted. “You already said you’d rent it to me cheap. I hope this deal’s better.”
The hint of a smile struggled to form on his face, but he fought it. “Much better,” he said. “Here’s the deal. I’ll fix it up for you, just like new. I’ll even let you borrow it for free. Horses included, my best pair. On one condition.”
An explosion of butterflies filled my stomach, and suddenly I didn’t want to know the condition. But I heard myself say, “What’s that?”
“Once you’re married, you never come back to my place again. Ever.”
The pure venom in his voice took my breath away. Something told me agreeing to this was a terrible idea, and bound to blow up in my face somehow. But I did really want the carriage, and it wasn’t like I could come back here even if I wanted to. I was moving to New York with Tommy.
“All right,” I said, and held a hand out. “It’s a deal.”