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Synopsis: After being jilted, practically at the altar, Genie Wainwright heads to Hawaii to escape the well-meant pity party her friends and family are bound to throw on her behalf. What she never expects is to find someone to help her mend her broken heart.
Donnie Taylor, owner of the posh Sapphire Bay Resort, has no interest in marriage–until he meets an unforgettable guest at the hotel. What starts out as a kindhearted gesture brings Donnie something he never expects–love!
Genie Wainwright stared at her reflection in the mirror, and ignored the light but determined tapping at the door. She remained silent, soaking up the sadness of the now empty bride’s chamber.
Just an hour ago, this room at the Jefferson Hills Country Club had been filled with revelry. Six bridesmaids—including Ross’s sister, Genie’s sisters Amanda and Amber, and three of Genie’s good friends Shelly, Serena and Jessica—throw in the maid of honor (her best friend Cami), Ross’s mother, Genie’s mother and grandmother, and it was like a pre-wedding party before the ceremony.
But that was before Aaron (Ross’s dad) called his wife out into the hallway. When she came back in, she’d lost the smile she’d left with. Genie had known in an instant that something was terribly wrong.
The silent isolation of the now empty room wrapped its icy disdain around Genie, bringing her back to the present. She cleared her throat and pushed aside the memory of that devastating moment when her perfect life had ended. She didn’t want to relieve it again. Not now. Not ever.
“Go away,” Genie said to the incessant knocker.
“Gene, open the door.” Cami’s unrelenting voice traveled through the walls. Genie didn’t respond. Just kept staring at herself in the mirror. Her dark hair
piled on top of her head still looked perfect. Her blue eyes were vacant of anything, even sadness, she thought. But that would come if she succumbed to the tears. She had to keep them imprisoned. She would not shed a single tear over that rat bastard fiancé of hers—make that ex fiancé.
“Genie!” Cami yelled. “If you don’t open the door I’m gonna kick it down.” Yeah, right. Genie laughed a little.
“And you’ll have to pay for it.” Cami said in a firm voice.
“Go for it!” Genie said softly.
An instant later, there was a loud boom and the door swung open.
Genie jumped. Her heart slammed into overdrive. Cami peeked in, then disappear back out into the hallway. Seconds later, she reappeared. Genie’s jawdropped as she stared into the mirror, watching Cami waltz into the bride’s chamber in her sleeveless, knee-length blue dress and wearing a triumphant grin.
Genie glanced over her shoulder and twisted around to look at Cami’s feet. Stilettos. No way had she kicked in the door in those. Genie shook her head.
“I warned you.” Cami shrugged and dragged a chair up next to Genie. “I’m your best friend,” she said quietly. Sitting, she raked her light-brown hair behind her ear. “Why wouldn’t you open the door for me?”
“Because I know you.” Genie turned to look at her. “You’ll try to cheer me up.”
“Don’t you get it?” Genie asked. “There’s nothing that you or anyone else can say that’ll make this better.” It was hopeless. Genie knew that. Why didn’t everyone else?
“Really?” Cami bit her bottom lip and let her gaze roll around the room. When she settled back on Genie, she said in a tone that eventually landed in the realm of a question, “How about…a big-ass meteor crashed into Ross’s house and sent him straight to hell?”
A hint of laughter escaped before Genie could wrangle it in and shove it back down into the despair pitted in her gut.
“Admit it.” Cami nudged Genie. “It was funny.”
Genie nodded. “Yeah, okay. It was kind of funny.” For a minute. But it wasn’t enough to take away the emptiness that’d befallen her a couple of hours ago. Ross had left her—practically at the altar. He hadn’t had the guts to tell her himself that he didn’t want to marry her. He’d left that chore to his parents.
“Look, I know this is hollow comfort,” Cami said softly. “But even on his best day, Ross Harper was never good enough for you.”
“You’re right,” Genie said. It was hollow comfort. She looked at Cami, fighting the tears that were hell-bent on escaping. “I’m supposed to be headed to Hawaii right now. With my husband.” Her voice cracked. She choked the hurt back down into her gut.
“I’d still go…if I were you.” Cami nodded.
“Hell, yes!” Cami smirked beneath deliberately raised eyebrows. “Trade
Ross’s share in. Upgrade. Go in style.”
Genie shook her head. “I can’t do that.”
“I have to cancel the trip. Give him back half the money.” Genie’s voice
wavered. “Don’t I?”
“No, you don’t.” Cami said with an arrogant laugh. “Ross owes you a hell of alot more than a trip to Hawaii. That’s for sure.”
Maybe Cami was right. Ross did owe Genie for the hurt and humiliation he’d
caused her today. But did she really want to spend the next week on the island of Maui—lovers’ paradise—alone?
Genie shook her head. “That’s just what I need. A week at a resort that caters to honeymooners.”
“The heck with that,” Cami said. “Go to Oahu. The north shore, where it’s nice and quiet. There’s that swanky resort up there. Sapphire Bay or something like that. My parents love that place.”
Well if Cami’s parents loved it, that was a sure sign it wouldn’t be a singles’ playground.
Sapphire Bay sounded perfect. Exactly the kind of place Genie could mend her broken heart. A place where there would be no eligible men—at least none that’d pique her interest.
Donnie Taylor had come from old Texas oil money. When he turned twenty-
six, he’d gone to his father with the idea for Sapphire Bay Resort—an upscale haven set in paradise. His father had been hesitant, but Donnie’s mother had insisted—even though her son would be moving half a world away.
Five years later, Sapphire Bay Resort was no longer the best kept secret on the island of Oahu. Located on the North Shore, it appealed to the more discerning customer rather than the party crowd, who liked to hang out at Waikiki. And that’s the way Donnie liked it.
He enjoyed living in paradise. He enjoyed running the resort. What he didn’t enjoy was his mother’s constant nagging about grandchildren. It had gotten worse when she decided to move to Hawaii about a year ago, after his father died.
Donnie hated disappointing her, but how could he make her see that he hadn’t met a women he’d want to spend the rest of his life with, much less father her children.
But that hadn’t stopped Marla Taylor. She’d finagled her way into volunteering at the hotel’s concierge desk, but Donnie knew she was only positioning herself to scan the women as they came and went. So far, she hadn’t throw any of the hotel’s guests at him, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. Donnie knew it was only a matter of time before she found the one she deemed Ms. Right.
He strolled through the open veranda, smiling and greeting hotel guests and staff alike with an amiable nod. His mother wasn’t at the concierge desk, and that troubled him as he headed for the elevator and his office on the second floor.
His secretary, Lorna, hadn’t come in yet. As Donnie recalled, she’d said something about a doctor’s appointment today. Passing by Lorna’s work space, hewondered where his mother was and what she was up to?
Opening the door to his office, he found Marla Taylor sitting at his desk. She
was in her late fifties and not a bad looking woman—as far as mothers go—and Donnie couldn’t understand why she didn’t concentrate on her own love life.
“Morning, Mother.” He called her mother because he knew it bugged her. “Something wrong with your desk?” He stood beside his chair, staring down at her. “No. I just wanted to talk to you.” Her Texas drawl was alive and kicking and truth be told, so was Donnie’s, just not as pronounced. It was hard to get rid of
something that’d been more than twenty-five years in the making.
“What can I do for you?” he asked, thumbing through the files on his desk,
pretending to look at them.
“Well for starters….”
“Never mind.” He raised a hand as if that’d stop her. But something had to.
Donnie had bigger problems than his mother’s need for grandchildren. “Mom, I really don’t have time right now. Erin called in sick,” he said of one of the two dayshift hostesses for the Beachcomber Café, one of four restaurants on the resort’s grounds. “I’ve got to find a replacement to handle her duties.” There was no way the other hostess, Kelly, could handle the crowd by herself. Donnie wondered if he could get one of the waitresses from the Oceanview to stand in?
Marla stood. “I can do it.” Her voice was calm, but her eagerness was shining brightly on her face.
It wasn’t the greatest idea, but it wasn’t the worst either. Marla could easily handle the task of greeting the coffee shop’s patrons. She’d also be on the female diners like a dog with a bone once she found out they were single. And she would find out.
“Mom…” He glared at her and issued a stern warning. “You can’t be pestering the female diners in the restaurant.”
“Donnie.” She used her scolding tone. What she didn’t know was that it hadn’t worked on him since he’d turned ten. “People in Hawaii are friendly. I intend to merely uphold that tradition.”
He latched onto her arm and guided her toward the door. “Don’t make me regret this, Mother,” he said, shuffling her out into the hallway.
At this point, Donnie had been able to appease the resort’s guests his mother had been interrogating. Thankfully, they were easily amused with comps for dinner at the Wishing Well, Sapphire Bay’s world-renowned steakhouse. He didn’t want to get to the point where he had to start handing out free passes to the hotel’s best suites because of his mother’s hare-brained schemes.
About the Author:
NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY Bestselling Author Sandra Edwards writes award-winning romance in a variety of subgenres such as paranormal (mostly time travel and reincarnation), contemporary, and suspense. She lives in the U.S. (west coast) with her husband, two kids, four dogs and one very temperamental feline. Sandra’s books often push the envelope and step outside the boundaries of conventional romance. For more info on Sandra’s books, visit her website at sandrawrites.com.