For Nick and Adele Hughes this idyllic evening for two is the last place either of them wants to be. Their marriage over, they never believed they could find their way back to each other. But, stranded in this picturesque cottage, Nick and Adele find they cannot resist the spark that has always fizzed between them.
As the twinkling firelight begins to work its magic, this couple discover the wonderful thing about breaking up is making up...
"Fiona Harper never fails to deliver consistently entertaining novels full of warmth, emotion and heart and Break Up to Make Up is another wonderful story that will touch your heart and tickle your funny bone so take the phone off the hook, put your feet up and lose yourself in this terrific romance written by a writer who is set to become one of the top names in romantic fiction!"
"Break Up to Make Up is a fast paced, emotion packed read, filled with tension, longing and humour."
Pink Heart Society Reviews
I'm really excited to have a book released in 2008, because it's a special year for Mills & Boon. This year the company celebrates its centenary - 100 years of producing great books that are loved around the world.
Of course, things have changed a lot in the last hundred years, especially for women. And the heroines in Mills and Boon romances reflect the times we live in now - strong, feisty women who know how to bring their alpha heroes to their knees.
Adele in 'Break Up To Make Up', is a truly modern heroine. She's smart, she successful, and nothing is going to stop her building the perfect life for herself. But having it all is not as easy as she'd thought it would be! While she's organised and successful in the office, her personal life - and her marriage - is a complete shambles.
And no wonder. Her soon-to-be ex-husband, Nick, has just hatched one of his crazy schemes, and he's roped Adele in, taking them on a journey that will open old wounds and make them face the problems that drove them apart. Can Adele really have it all? I hope you enjoy hitching a ride with Adele and Nick and finding out the answer yourself.
Adele fought the urge to run from the bathroom screaming. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and ordered her hands to stop shaking. When she felt her heart rate slow a little, she opened her eyes again.
Nothing had changed. Eight legs and a fat, hairy body still inhabited her bath. She took a few steps backwards, never letting her gaze off the spindly legs, checking for any twitch that indicated it was thinking of making a sudden move.
Once the edge of the tub obscured her view of the intruder, she fumbled on the shelf above the sink. Toothpaste and toothbrushes went flying as she grabbed the glass they sat in. All she needed now was something flat and not too flexible. Her eyes darted round the room, hardly taking anything in. She made herself look again, more slowly this time.
Balanced on the washing hamper was the magazine she'd been reading last time she'd been having one of her ritual soaks. The sort of soak she ought to be having right now, if it weren't for the intruder. Righteous anger bubbled in her chest. How dare that nasty little…squatter…spoil her plans for the evening?
She seized the magazine and marched towards the bath, trying not to let her steps falter as she drew close. It had been much easier when she'd had someone else to do her spider-catching. But those days were gone. This was between her and eight-legged Freddy over there.
She lifted the upturned glass in her hand, hoping it wasn't going to slip. Even her fingertips seemed sweaty. Her breath came in gasps, punctuated by long gaps when the air stayed locked in her chest. Two more steps and she'd be close enough.
The glass was only inches away from the creature now. Everything went very still. Even the spider—as if it sensed her approach. And then it darted. Straight towards her up the side of the bath.
Adele didn't stop to think; she just threw both glass and magazine in the direction of her attacker and raced out of the bathroom. And while the sound of shattering glass echoed in her ears, she slammed the door and leant against it. Just in case it was thinking of trying the door handle.
See? This is why she shouldn't be doing this! Her phobia made her irrational. She would have moved away from the door at that point, but a noise from inside the bathroom made her grip the door handle tighter.
No, she wasn't going to do it. She wasn't going to wish him here.
She did not need a man to catch a spider. Especially that man.
Her fingers forgot the door knob as she let out a long sigh and ran them through her long dark hair.
I can do this, she thought as she stood there in the silence. I've got to. No one else is going to do it for me.
Her hands shook as she smoothed down the folds of her spotlessly white towelling bath robe and tightened the sash. It was a pointless gesture. Her furry friend in there didn't care what she looked like, but somehow she needed to present a calm and cool front, to be the Adele she knew how to be, the Adele who wasn't fazed by anything or anyone.
She turned to face the bathroom door and imagined herself in one of her business suits, her hair in its usual coil at the nape of her neck, not fanning over her shoulders and falling over her face. It was all about mental attitude, wasn't it? You could do anything if you put your mind to it.
She'd been sent on some stupid training seminar when she'd worked at Fenton and Barrett. She had pretended she was listening, but really she'd been plotting how she was going to start her own firm of management consultants. She'd made her dreams come true since then and she could certainly use the same trick now.
What had they those people waffled on about? Oh, yes. Visualisation. She concentrated, and in her mind's eye the creature in the bath became a butterfly, brightly-coloured and fragile.
Anyone could pick up a butterfly, couldn't they?
She wrenched the door open and marched over to the bath. Shattered glass covered the bottom, but the creature she sought was now halfway up the side under the taps. If she didn't know better she'd think it was giving her a cocky look.
'Butterfly', she murmured under her breath as she extended her hand forward and closed her fingers over it. The distance from the edge of the bath to the window suddenly stretched to the size of a football pitch. She tried to walk slowly, but after a step and a half she was running. 'Butterfly!' she shouted, as the legs started to twitch in her hand and she fought the reflex to gag.
'Yuck! Spider, spider, spider, spider!' she yelled as she opened the catch with her free hand and threw the horrible thing out the window. Then she shivered and rubbed her hand on her robe over and over again until she thought she'd wear the little loops away.
She really needed that bath now. But before she could do that, there was a whole lot of glass to clean up. There was no one here to catch spiders and there was no one here to pull the shards out of her bottom if she missed a bit, so she'd better do a good job.
Her head was practically in the cupboard under the kitchen sink when the doorbell rang. The sun had only just set and it was light enough not to have to turn the lamps on, but dark enough not to be able to see what she was looking for. Her fingers stretched into the shadows at the back of the cupboard.
Where was that darn dustpan and brush? It had to be here somewhere.
The bell went again and Adele banged her head on the top of the cupboard. She did not have the kind of doorbell you could ignore, all soft chimes, indicating someone was waiting patiently at the door, flowers in hand. Oh, no. This was one of those insistent ones that grated like an old-fashioned bicycle bell.
All she'd wanted to on a Saturday evening, after spending all day at the office, was to sink into a silky rich bubble bath and read the next four chapters of her book. That wasn't too much to ask, was it?
She rubbed the back of her head as she took silent, quick steps to the front door and yanked it open, not even caring she was in her bathrobe.
She was going to deliver a brisk, 'Yes? What do you want?' But the words died on her lips. Leaning against the wall, with a twinkle in his eyes and a dimple in each cheek, was the most infuriating man she'd ever had the displeasure of knowing.
She knew her mouth was hanging open, but she couldn't seem to get it closed again. He smiled and the dimples deepened.
In the last few minutes the sun had tucked itself even further below the suburban skyline of slate roofs and chimney pots and the glow from the porch light made him seem warm and golden in contrast.
He looked so…real. Not like the Nick she'd been screaming at in her head for the past nine months, anyway. In her memory she'd made him shorter, more boyish and much less attractive. She could feel the familiar chemistry starting to frazzle her brain already.
He looked deep into her eyes and she felt another few brain cells pop into nothingness.
He hitched an eyebrow. 'The one and only.'
She shook her head, not even knowing where to start. Why was he here? How long had he been back in the country? And more importantly, why was he standing on her front doorstep as if nothing had ever happened?
'Can I come in?'
She wanted to slam the door in his face, tell him he could get lost and contact her through her solicitor if he had to, but somehow she found herself nodding. He'd always seemed to have the irritating knack of getting her to go along with almost anything he said. And although he always meant well, she was the one who always seemed to end up getting hurt or having to tidy up the resulting mess.
It had been a really bad idea to let Nick Hughes into her life.
It had been an even worse idea to marry him.
From "BREAK UP TO MAKE UP" by Fiona Harper
Mills & Boon Romance June 2007
ISBN: 978-0-263-85449-7Copyright: © 2007 by Harlequin Books S.A.
This excerpt is posted by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
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