Authors: Baird, Ginny
THE WEDDING WISH
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this book are fiction and figments of the author’s imagination.
Edited by Linda
Cover by Dar
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
From the time that she could talk, romance author Ginny
Baird was making up stories, much to the delight—and consternation—of
her family and friends. By grade school, she’d turned that inclination into a
talent, whereby her teacher allowed her to write and produce plays, rather than
write boring book reports. Ginny continued writing throughout college, where
she contributed articles to her literary campus weekly, then later pursued a
career managing international projects with the US State Department.
Ginny has held an assortment of jobs, including school
teacher, freelance fashion model, and greeting card writer, and has published
more than ten works of fiction and optioned nine screenplays. She has
additionally published short stories, nonfiction and poetry, and admits to
being a true romantic at heart.
Ginny is the author of several bestselling romantic
comedies, including novellas in her
. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), the RWA
Published Authors Network (PAN), and Virginia Romance Writers (VRW).
When she’s not writing, Ginny enjoys cooking, biking and
spending time with her family in Tidewater, Virginia. She loves hearing from
her readers and welcomes visitors to her website at
Books by Ginny Baird
Summer Grooms Series
Holiday Brides Series
THE WEDDING WISH
TABLE OF CONTENTS
strolled quickly through central campus, a backpack slung over her shoulder.
The backpack bounced as she scurried along, rushing to make her eleven o’clock
class. The day was bright and sunny with Frisbee players dotting the green
stretch of lawn. Soon spring semester would end, and a lazy summer ambiance
would settle in amid the blossoming dogwoods and magnolia trees. She was
studying for her Masters in Art so was determined to go straight through her
program. Being a year-round student wasn’t so bad, and her job in the art
library helped her afford it. The grant money didn’t hurt either. She’d never
really planned to go to school in the same town where her parents lived, but
when the financial packages came in, this had been the best offer she’d gotten.
felt something slam into her shoulder, and her backpack slid to the ground.
man! I’m so sorr—”
looked up into gorgeous brown eyes. He stood about six feet tall, with extra-broad
shoulders and honey-blond hair.
expression lit up. “Isabel? Isabel Miller?”
paused a moment to study him; then her lips turned up in a grin. It couldn’t
be, but it was. The one man who’d completely broken her heart. Of course, that
had been at age twelve, but still… “Robert?”
face warmed all over as he held her gaze. “I can’t believe it’s you.”
bent quickly to the ground and picked up her backpack, then handed it over. “I
totally apologize for running into you. Are you all right?”
think so,” she said, still dumbstruck. “I mean, yeah. Of course.” Robert Reed,
after all this time. Since he’d morphed into a man, she was surprised she’d
recognized him. Then again, she could never forget those chocolate-colored
hope I didn’t leave a bruise.”
he’d left a bruise all right. Way down deep in her heart. But that hadn’t
really been his fault. “I’m sure I’ll live,” she said, sliding the backpack
onto her shoulder.
can’t believe you’re at Eastern,” he said. “Are you a student?”
says you can’t go home again?” she asked with a grin. “How about you?”
did the same,” he told her. “I’m in med school, second year.”
tilted her head to the side, springy curls bouncing. “As I recall, you always
had the inclination.”
handsome face colored from the neck up. No doubt, he remembered too. All those
late afternoons in the den playing doctor. Mostly what got examined was her
mouth—with his tongue. Not that she’d minded. Isabel had actually
suggested the game.
stared down into pretty blue eyes, feeling his temperature spike. While he’d
believed Isabel to be pretty as a kid, she was one smoking knockout now. Her
golden hair still fell in ringlets past her shoulders, but those shoulders now
framed an awesomely female body. “Isabel, let me explain…”
laughed sweetly, the sound recalling a song from long ago. “No explanations
needed. Whatever you remember, I had a part in it too.”
fell into her eyes, the sky and trees swirling around him. How could she still
do this to him after so much time? “Yes. I mean…” He stammered slightly. “We
both did. Want to.”
sure did,” she said, her pretty face aglow.
suddenly remembered his mission. “It’s been so great seeing you, but I’ve got
to get somewhere.”
checked the time on her cell. “Me too.”
are you headed?”
the Art Center. And you?”
face flamed. “I’m uh…” He glanced quickly around the quad. “Going that way,” he
said, pointing in the opposite direction. “Say, Isabel,” he said before she
could turn to go. “Do you think we could meet up later? It would be great to
grab a cup of coffee and hear what you’ve been up to.”
face brightened in a smile. “Coffee later sounds great.”
me at the Student Center? Three o’clock?”
it is,” she said, dashing off.
took a seat before an easel and pulled a stash of pastel pencils from her
know what I hate about these life drawing classes?” Cindy asked from beside
her. “It’s the models they get. We’re supposed to be talking body form here.
Think Michelangelo’s David. But all we ever get are these little skinny dudes.
Waiflike, if you can even apply that term to guys.”
bodies are beautiful in their own way.” She was glad she’d finally gotten a class
with her best friend. This had been the first one all year. During the last
session, they’d studied the female figure. Today’s focus was the male anatomy.
She adjusted her newsprint on the board before her, feeling Cindy grab her arm.
on,” Cindy said under her breath. “I think we’ve just been blessed.”
slowly raised her eyes to spy the back of their tall, blond model as he slid
the robe from his frame. Musculature rippled across his well-toned back and
taut derriere. “O. M. G.”
Right,” Cindy whispered. “I’m almost scared to have him turn around.”
he did, Isabel gasped. When she and Robert had played doctor as kids, they’d
teased each other with slight glimpses of each other’s bodies, but she’d never seen
as much of him as
she had, it certainly couldn’t have competed with the way he looked now. All
grown up and gorgeous.
set his robe on a nearby table, then took his place on the stool at the front
of the room, bathed in the spotlights’ glow. He was…absolutely…perfect. From
his head down to his toes then… Oh! All the way back up again—past his buff
six-pack and broad, muscled chest and that hot-as-sin sexy face that, in and of
itself, could make most women moan. Isabel swallowed hard, not at all sure she
could do this.
the matter?” Cindy asked, hastily beginning to sketch. “Why aren’t you starting?”
was grateful she sat at the back of the room and that the glare from the lights
was in his eyes. She felt her grip on her pencil slide as her palms went moist.
just never thought I’d have this opportunity.”
and me both,” Cindy said, giving Isabel’s hand holding the pencil a nudge. “And
neither of us is going to waste it.”
Isabel said, striving to remain professional. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”
sat as still as possible, trying to distract himself from the fact that he was
sitting naked before a crowded room. If he hadn’t made that deal with his buddy
Alan, he’d never be here. As it was, he was stuck upholding his end of the bargain.
When he’d been suddenly called out of town to New York, he’d needed someone to
pick up his shift at the lab quickly. The sole volunteer in sight had been Alan
Alan’s offer of help had come with a price. He had a freelance job he needed
Robert’s help with later. Robert had easily agreed, thinking maybe Alan did
part-time landscaping or something. He had no clue he’d wind up here, like Adam
in need of a fig leaf.
only sense of relief lay in believing nobody in the class knew him. He’d just
caught a glimpse of their faces as he’d entered the studio, and, gratefully,
none had looked familiar. Now all he had to do was stay put for the next ninety
minutes, ignoring the fact that his…uh…personal attributes were on open
display. The fact was, there was nothing personal about this. This was a
centuries’ old practice concerning the rendering of art and creative portrayals
of the human body. That it was his body in particular didn’t matter one iota to
any of the artists in the room. And Robert knew he’d do well to remember that.
approached the Student Center, spying a beautiful blonde seated in a booth
beside the plate-glass window. A backpack was parked beside her on the bench as
she busily tapped at the laptop positioned before her on the table. She worked
with fierce concentration, oblivious to the swirl of commotion around her. The
Student Center was always a busy place, with people bustling in and out,
chatting loudly and carrying coffee. The young woman was wholesome-looking yet
refined. There was something so familiar about the curve of her cheek… Robert
reached for the door, and she turned toward him and smiled. His heart leapt in
. She was even
prettier than he’d recalled her being on the lawn. And his memory should still
be sharp. That was only four hours ago.