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«Mr. Right-now», Paige Tyler

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Copyright В© 2010 Paige Tyler


With special thanks to my extremely patient and understanding husband, without whose help and support I couldn’t have pursued my dream job of becoming a writer. You’re my sounding board, my idea man, my critique partner, and the absolute best research assistant any girl could ask for! Thank you for talking me into finally taking the plunge and submitting to Ellora’s Cave.

Trademarks Acknowledgement

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

Abercrombie & Fitch: Abercrombie & Fitch Company

Cosmo: Hearst Communications, Inc.

Seattle Mariners: Baseball Club of Seattle, L.P.

Victoria ’s Secret: V Secret Catalogue, Inc.

Chapter One

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Wasn’t that how the saying went? Well, it sure the heck fit her, Kate Gentry thought. Since graduating from college eight years ago, she’d been a bridesmaid eight times and had the dresses in her closet to prove it. After the last time, she told herself if one more friend asked her to be in their wedding party, she was turning them down. Of course, she couldn’t very well keep that promise when it was her best friend in the whole world doing the asking. Which was why she was on a ferry heading from Seattle to San Juan Island to be maid of honor at the upcoming nuptials.

For all her grumbling, though, Kate would never have dreamed of turning Rachel down when the other girl asked her to be in the wedding party. While she might have rotten luck when it came to men, Kate was thrilled Rachel was marrying the man of her dreams. Not only was Rachel’s fiancé good-looking and successful, but he treated her like a princess. Seeing the couple together gave Kate hope there was a guy just as wonderful somewhere out there for her. All she had to do was find him.

Kate leaned on the railing and propped her chin on her hand as she looked out over the water at the Cascade Mountains. Why the heck did all of her friends find Mr. Right while she got stuck with one loser after another? Okay, maybe “loser” was the wrong word. The men she’d gone out with were all very nice. Unfortunately, none of them were interested in marriage. Or maybe they just weren’t interested in marrying her.

Sighing, she let her gaze wander over the deck below. It was deserted except for a tall, dark-haired man standing by the railing. He had his back to her, so she couldn’t see his face, but from his broad shoulders, sculpted biceps, and great butt, she was willing to bet he was handsome. With a body like that, he had to be. It’d be a crime if he wasn’t. She wished he would turn around so she could see if she was right.

As if he’d somehow read her mind, the man turned to face her direction. He leaned back, casually resting his elbows on the railing behind him. Kate blinked as she took in his straight nose, chiseled jaw, and wide, sensual mouth. It was just as she thought. He was gorgeous. In fact, he was so good-looking it made her wonder if he was a model and there was a photo shoot going on for a magazine or something down on the lower deck. She could definitely picture him in an ad for Abercrombie & Fitch. She scanned the deck for a camera crew, but she didn’t see one. If anything, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Perfect seemed to be all alone down there.

Kate chewed on her lower lip thoughtfully, wondering if she should go down and casually run into him. It wouldn’t be the first time she did it to meet a guy. Who knew? Maybe he lived in Seattle, too. They could go on a couple dates, develop a deep meaningful connection, and be coming back to San Juan Island to get married themselves by this time next year.

Her gaze lingered on the man for another moment before she turned away from the railing and went back inside. Quickly making her way over to the stairs, she hurried down to the lower deck and out the double doors to the front of the ferry. When she got there, however, the handsome hunk was nowhere in sight.

Frowning, she turned around to look through the windows to see if she could spot him inside, but to her dismay, she didn’t see him anywhere.

“Damn,” she muttered.

Wasn’t that just her luck? She finds a gorgeous guy and loses him before she can even talk to him. Oh, well. He was probably married anyway. Or gay. The good ones were always one or the other.

Tucking her long, ash-blonde hair behind her ear, Kate walked over to the railing and looked out at the mountains again. Though not nearly as interesting as the hot guy she was eyeing earlier, the view was still breathtaking. She didn’t think she’d ever get tired of seeing the lush, green trees and snow-topped mountains. The ferry was certainly a great way to see it all. After the wedding, maybe she should come up here on her own for a vacation.

The cool breeze coming off the sound whipped at Kate’s hair and she reached up to tuck it behind her ear again. Although she would have preferred to stay on deck and enjoy the view, she knew if she didn’t get out of the wind soon she’d be a mess by the time she got to San Juan Island. Since the rest of the wedding party would probably already be there, she didn’t want to show up looking like she’d spent the afternoon in a wind tunnel. Besides, she thought as she made her way across the deck and back inside, maybe she’d run into that gorgeous guy. God, he’d look so damn good in a tux.

Much to Kate’s disappointment, however, he was nowhere to be found. She kept an eye out for him anyway, hoping he might make an appearance at some point before the ferry arrived at San Juan Island, but he didn’t. When the boat neared the dock a little while later, Kate finally gave up on the notion of running into him and went down to the lower deck where the vehicles were parked. She made her way along the row of cars until she came to hers, then got in and waited along with everyone else while the passengers without vehicles disembarked.

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