Have Gown, Need Groom. Rita Herron

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Have Gown, Need Groom - Rita Herron

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      “It can’t be…”

      Hannah’s chest tightened as she stared at the man’s birthmark. She’d seen it before.

      His head snapped up. “What’s wrong?”

      His dark gaze locked with hers, the unmistakable cleft in his chin hauntingly familiar. Hannah staggered backward, a bolt of heat engulfing her as if an inferno had burst into flames at her feet.

      She recognized this man. She knew him…intimately.

      He was the man from her dreams.

      Dear Reader,

      Happy New Year! May this year bring you happiness, good health and all that you wish for. And at Harlequin American Romance, we’re hoping to provide you with a year full of heartwarming books that you won’t be able to resist.

      Leading the month is The Secretary Gets Her Man by Mindy Neff, Harlequin American Romance’s spin-off to Harlequin Intrigue’s TEXAS CONFIDENTIAL continuity series. This exciting story focuses on the covert operation’s much-mentioned wallflower secretary, Penny Archer.

      Muriel Jensen’s Father Formula continues her successful WHO’S THE DADDY? series about three identical sisters who cause three handsome bachelors no end of trouble when they discover one woman is about to become a mother. Next, after opening an heirloom hope chest, a bride-to-be suddenly cancels her wedding and starts having intimate dreams about a handsome stranger, in Have Gown, Need Groom. This is the first book of Rita Herron’s new miniseries THE HARTWELL HOPE CHESTS. And Debbi Rawlins tells the emotional story of a reclusive rancher who opens his home—and his heart—to a lovely single mother, in Loving a Lonesome Cowboy.

      In February, look for another installment in the RETURN TO TYLER series with Prescription for Seduction by Darlene Scalera.

      Wishing you happy reading,

      Melissa Jeglinski

      Associate Senior Editor

      Harlequin American Romance

      Have Gown, Need Groom

      Rita Herron


      To all the sisters and mamas and grandmamas who hold families together through their family traditions.

      And especially to my own mom, who spent numerous hours sewing handmade quilts for each of her grandchildren.

       You gave them something to treasure forever—your love in the shape of a blanket to wrap around them and remind them of family.


      Rita Herron is a teacher, workshop leader and storyteller who loves reading, writing and sharing stories with people of all ages. She has published two nonfiction books for adults on working and playing with children, and has won the Golden Heart Award for a young adult story. Rita believes that books taught her to dream, and she loves nothing better than sharing that magic with others. She lives with her “dream” husband and three children, two cats and a dog in Norcross, Georgia.

      My dearest, loving Hannah,

      You are a very special granddaughter because you were the first miracle in the Hartwell family. You represented love and hope.

      But you are the one who remembers the problems; the one old enough to realize that when your mother walked away she wasn’t coming back. And with your own little heart bleeding, you were the one to square your shoulders, console your heartbroken father and nurture your little sisters. And you never complained. You showed us strength when we thought we had none left.

      You are studious and smart, dependable and responsible, but cautious to a fault. Don’t forget how to dream, my dear Hannah. Learn to take chances, laugh and have fun. I wish for you happiness, true love and a man who will give you all the joy a partner can.

      Love you always,

      Grammy Rose

      P.S. Inside the hope chest you should find something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue!


      Chapter One

      Chapter Two

      Chapter Three

      Chapter Four

      Chapter Five

      Chapter Six

      Chapter Seven

      Chapter Eight

      Chapter Nine

      Chapter Ten

      Chapter Eleven

      Chapter Twelve

      Chapter Thirteen

      Chapter Fourteen

      Chapter Fifteen

      Chapter Sixteen

      Chapter Seventeen

      Chapter Eighteen

      Chapter Nineteen

      Chapter Twenty

      Chapter Twenty-One

      Chapter Twenty-Two


      Chapter One

      “Okay, who ordered the male stripper?” Hannah Hartwell glared at her two younger sisters, Mimi and Alison, as the six-foot hunk Zorro ripped off his cape and flung it toward the leather side chair. Instead of meeting its mark, the black scrap of fabric snagged the bouquet of condom balloons dangling from the ceiling of her apartment and waved at her like a bat’s wings. The surprise bachelorette party had definitely been a…surprise.

      The music accompanying Zorro’s striptease grew louder and the roomful of females cheered. Hannah groaned. Enthralled in the show, her sisters ignored her question. Either that or they didn’t want to ’fess up.

      Mimi tucked a wad of dollar bills into the waistband of Zorro’s black tights while gyrating her hips to the beat of the Spanish guitar. Hannah squeezed her eyes shut. If her fiancé, Seth Broadhurst, found out about this evening, he would be mortified. A calm, practical psychiatrist, he avoided attention and wasn’t a jokester like some of the other doctors at the hospital where they both worked. And she desperately wanted to maintain her hard-earned reputation with the ER staff.

      Exhaustion pulled at her. She had to get some sleep. Her wedding was only a few hours away, her future teetering on the brink, just like Zorro’s underwear dangling from the edge of her light fixture. Hannah waved her hands and lowered the volume of the music to a soft hum. “This was great, girls. I appreciate all the gifts, but the party’s over.”

      A few moans accompanied her statement, but her friends conceded, offered congratulations on her upcoming nuptials, then hugged her goodnight.

      Mimi sighed dramatically as the guests left. “Geez, sis, I wish you’d loosen up. Can’t you go with the flow just once in your life?”

      Maybe I could if you’d act responsibly just once in your life. “I can go with the flow,” Hannah protested.

      Mimi merely laughed, making Hannah feel incredibly boring, while her youngest sister, Alison, escorted the stripper to the door. When Alison returned, she sank onto the sofa beside Hannah.

      Mimi’s shark’s-tooth earrings clinked as she gyrated her hips to the music again. “Wow, he had the biggest—”

      “Mimi!” Hannah covered her ears with her hands, cutting off her sister before she could launch into a graphic description. So, the man had great muscles and sexy pecs and the biggest—


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