About the Author
Read an Excerpt
To Catch a Groom
By Rebecca Winters
Mills & BoonCopyright © 2005 Rebecca Winters
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGREER DUCHESS could tell by tapping feet and shifting bodies that her sisters were getting antsy. "We're almost through, guys. For November is it agreed we'll go with Ginger Rogers Did Everything Fred Astaire Did, But She Did It Backward And In High Heels?"
"Like I said before, not everyone who buys our calendars knows who Ginger Rogers is," Olivia spoke up.
"It doesn't matter, does it? Piper's drawing is so wonderful they'll still get the point," Greer murmured, making a unilateral decision on the spot. She adored the stylized cartoons of Luigio and Violetta, the two winsome Italian pigeons who were in love with each other.
Though Piper did the actual drawings, and Olivia headed sales, Greer was the instigator and power behind their business enterprise.
"Moving on, here are the choices we narrowed down for December. Behind Every Successful Man Is A Surprised Woman, and, A Man's Got To Do What A Man's Got To Do. A Woman's Got To Do What He Can't."
Piper got up and stretched her softly rounded body. "I liked both those sayings the first time you thought them up."
"I still like them," Olivia asserted. "Your clever mind never ceases to impress me, Greer. You make the decision. We trust your judgment," she said, rising to her feet on long,shapely legs. "Now we've really got to go or we'll be late for the reading of Daddy's will. We're supposed to be there at ten."
"Okay. Get the car started while I e-mail this to Don. It'll take me two secs."
Within a minute the sent message appeared on the computer screen. She felt relief that next year's calendar entitled, For Women Only, would be printed and ready for distribution in May which was only a few weeks away.
Don Jardine, one of several guys she and her sisters had been dating, was the owner of the print shop. He did a terrific job for them.
Unfortunately he kept hinting that he wanted her to take him seriously because he'd fallen for her. But she wasn't in love with him. Lately she'd found excuses not to go out with him anymore. If they could just remain business friends ...
All things considered, Duchesse Designs - her brain child inspired by their only illustrious female ancestor and heroine - the Duchess of Parma, a woman in advance of her time - was doing much better than her initial conservative estimates indicated.
With orders from all over the country quadrupling since Christmas, she and her sisters were going to make a substantial profit. For the first time in five years they would be able to invest part of their earnings while they put the rest back into their company.
Naturally that was going to mean more money for Don and make him happy, too. Maybe happy enough to forgive her? She had yet to find that out. If he sent a reply e-mail that she'd better take her business to someone else, then she would have her answer.
After turning on the answering machine, she dashed out of the basement apartment to join her sisters.
All the rituals of laying their beloved father to rest had been observed except for this visit to Mr. Carlson's office.
It was a formality. Once it was behind them, they'd be able to channel their sorrow by expanding their growing business.
Twenty minutes later they arrived at the law firm in downtown Kingston, New York. The receptionist showed them into the conference room where a TV and DVD player had been set up.
Soon after they'd sat down, Mr. Carlson walked in with a legal file under one arm. He greeted them, shook hands, then took his place at the end of the rectangular conference table.
"Your father asked me to read you a letter he wrote in his own hand." He opened the file and drew it out. Once his bifocals were in place, he cleared his throat.
"To my darling daughters Greer, Piper and Olivia, whom I've always referred to as my precious pigeons. You came along after I turned fifty and had despaired of ever giving your mother children -
"If Walter Carlson has assembled you for the reading of this will, then it means my troublesome old ticker finally gave out and you've already been informed that our humble home has to be sold to pay all the medical expenses.
"I wish I could have left it to you, but it wasn't meant to be. At least you aren't saddled with debts. Walt will pay the latest bills and is taking care of everything. He's aware you need time to find another place to live. Therefore he will be the one to let you know how soon you must move out.
"My greatest sadness is that none of you has ever shown the slightest inclination to marry. It worried your mother before she died, and it upsets me even more. I remember her last words to you: find a good man to marry right away and settle down to raise a family. My last words echo hers.
"To that end I'm bequeathing $5,000 to each of you.
It's from the Husband Fund your mother and I created before she passed away. You can spend it any way you want so long as it's used in the pursuit of a spouse to help you enjoy this life to the fullest.
"You will receive those checks today. For this day and age it's not much, but it's given with all my love. I know my girls will be fine because you're intelligent, talented, resourceful and have created a solid Internet business since college. However as you will discover when you put this money to the proper use, there's more to life than earning a living.
"To stimulate your thinking, I'm insisting you remain in Walt's office to watch your mother's favorite classic. Humor me and make your old dad happy. I want only the best for my beautiful girls. You and your mother always were my greatest joy.
"Signed, Your loving, concerned father, Matthew Duchess, February 2, Kingston, New York."
When Mr. Carlson finished reading the letter and looked up, Greer turned her blond head to eye her fair-haired sisters seated around the table.
Because their dad's health had been deteriorating long before they'd buried him six weeks ago, they'd already been through the most painful part of their mourning period. Certainly with all the bills owing to the extra health care costs for both their mom and dad, the idea of an inheritance had never crossed their minds.
To find out their parents had left them any money at all came as a total surprise. But the mention of a Husband Fund completely soured the gift for Greer.
Not only that ... she balked at the idea of being forced to view the film their funny, dear mom must have seen too many times to count.
It was one of those Hollywood movies about three women who decide to get married and scheme to find a millionaire in the process. However their mother had never been able to get Greer to watch it because Greer found the concept utterly absurd.
If a woman wanted that kind of money, she didn't need a man. All she had to do was become a millionaire herself!
But their mother had been born in a different era with a completely different mind-set about a woman's choices in life.
Being a hopeless romantic, she'd named her nonidentical triplets for her favorite movie stars. In fact she'd raised her daughters on fairy tales.
Greer had never been a great proponent of them.
While Olivia and Piper swooned over the beautiful girl ending up with the handsome prince just because she was beautiful, Greer often upset her sisters by fabricating her own renditions.
She much preferred that the beautiful, innocent, helpless heroine use her brain to figure out a financial scheme to buy the castle and lands from Prince Charming who needed a lot more going for him than charm to attract her and win her hand in marriage.
Greer had shocked their mother when she'd told her it was probably a man who'd thought up all those fractured fairy tales.
It wasn't that Greer had anything against men per se. In fact she loved to date and often tripled dated with her sisters. Don and his friends had been the latest bunch of guys they'd gone out with as a group. But she drew the line at a serious relationship.
There was plenty of time for marriage in the future. Her own parents hadn't married until much later in life when they were finally ready to settle down and have a family. That was good enough for her.
Many times Greer, the oldest of the triplets who'd always espoused the "all for one, one for all" theory, had
Excerpted from To Catch a Groom by Rebecca Winters Copyright © 2005 by Rebecca Winters. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.