Valentine Bride - a short story

After being jilted at the altar by her fiancé, Virginia Montgomery quit her job and moved a thousand miles away to manage Hotel Amore on Little West Cay, hoping she’d never see that no-good coward Thomas Bennett again. But Fate and Mother Nature conspire and whip up a little Valentine’s Day magic to bring Virginia and Thomas back together.

You know what they say; Fate doesn’t take no for an answer, and it isn’t nice to mess with Mother Nature.


 

Snippet:

It couldn’t be him. Not here, a thousand miles from Massachusetts. She’d mistaken someone else for him. Thomas Bennett was not on Little West Cay.

“Virginia.”

Virginia Montgomery's entire body turned stiff, pulse thundering in her ears louder than the ocean. She dragged her gaze back to the wide open archway of the hotel’s entrance. Her smile remained frozen in place.

The unwelcome ghost from her past strode slowly toward her, a heart-wrenching vision of pure decadence. Cream Dockers, a form fitting cotton shirt and leather-weave loafers made him look like a life-long resident of the Bahamas. He even had a tan.

In the eleven months since he’d left her at the altar, Virginia had tried to contort her memories of him into a smarmy, pencil pushing nerd. What a futile task.

If anything, he’d filled out with muscle, let his perfectly manicured hair grow a little too long around the collar, and now strode toward her with a debonair confidence he’d never possessed before. Obviously life without her had improved him.

Bastard.

“Hello, Virginia.”

She increased her smile even as her anger ratcheted up to level-red. “Mr. Bennett.”

The next instant, the blood rushed to her feet. There could only be one reason he was here. Of all the nerve! To add insult to the astronomical injury he’d already inflicted...

Virginia glanced past him, scanning left, then right. Where was she? She was probably blonde. He’d always had a preference for blondes. Was he on his honeymoon? Treating a new girlfriend? Or just flaunting his latest bimbo?

He glanced over her with a look so warm and longing her heart flip-flopped in her chest. “You look—”

Virginia spun away and stalked to the desk where she pounded his name into the keyboard.

Bennett. Single Occupancy.

She scanned the remaining reservations to be certain. Only one party had yet to check in; a Japanese couple celebrating their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

She looked up to find him standing across from her at the massive granite reception counter. Dear God, had he always been so handsome? While the tan made the thin lines at his eyes more pronounced, somehow that made him even sexier. His blue eyes glittered magnificently against his sun-kissed skin.

“I’m afraid there’s been a mistake. This is a couples only resort. You can’t stay here alone.”

He smiled wickedly, teasing her. “It’s the only hotel on the island.”

“I’m well aware of that, Mr. Bennett. Fortunately for you the plane doesn’t depart for another half hour.”

His twinkling smile remained, as if he had some naughty secret he wanted her to beg out of him. “Virginia—”

She picked up the phone. “Jonas, please send the van back to the front. Mr. Bennett will be returning to the airport.”

He reached across the desk and depressed the receiver button.

She squared her shoulders. “I’m sorry, Mr. Bennett. This is a privately owned island, and rules are rules.”

“After what we shared, you can at least call me Thomas.”

She slammed down the handset, nearly smashing his removed-in-the-nick-of-time finger.

A million questions whirled through her head, but what he said next rendered her speechless.

“I’m not leaving, Virginia. Not without you.”

 

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