Always the Bridesmaid. Nina Harrington

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Always the Bridesmaid - Nina Harrington

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      ‘Let’s make a deal,’ Amy whispered in Jared’s ear. ‘I will allow you to help with the wedding, but only on one condition. You do the work yourself. Not your PA, not your events planner, not your brilliant admin team. You. Or is the great Jared Shaw scared of getting his hands dirty?’

      And she looked up at him with the sweetest, most adoring, open-mouthed smile, complete with fluttering eyelashes for the benefit of the onlookers.

      ‘Do we have a deal? Squeeze once for yes and twice for no.’

      Jared tightened his grip on Amy’s waist.

      There was no backing out.

      He squeezed. Once.

      Dear Reader

      Thank you for choosing ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID.

      The romance you are holding in your hands is a very special one for me, since it is my very first published book!

      I am thrilled and excited to be joining the talented family of Mills & Boon authors.

      I do hope that you enjoy Amy and Jared’s story, which is set in a bakery in London.

      Food is one of life’s great pleasures, and I come from a long line of home bakers. I can clearly remember arriving home from school to a table laden with delicious cakes and savouries. A real English tea! It is little wonder that food features so prominently in my writing.

      I would love to hear from my readers, and you can get in touch and find out my latest news by visiting

      Nina Harrington

      NINA HARRINGTON grew up in rural Northumberland, England, and decided at the age of eleven that she was going to be a librarian—because then she could read all of the books in the public library whenever she wanted! Since then she has been a shop assistant, community pharmacist, technical writer, university lecturer, volcano walker and industrial scientist, before taking a career break to realise her dream of being a fiction writer. When she is not creating stories which make her readers smile, her hobbies are cooking, eating, enjoying good wine—and talking, for which she has had specialist training.





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      To all the wonderful writers

      in the Romantic Novelists’ Association,

      who made this book possible.


      AMY EDLER had three problems. All female. And all of them were demanding her attention at that very minute—or there would be tears. Added to that, she had a telephone crammed between her shoulderblade and her ear, a bakery full of customers, and the air-conditioning had chosen the hottest day in June to start playing the maracas.

      It had been Trixi’s idea to offer two of Amy’s problems a chance to ice the chocolate cupcakes—a treat for the other girls at the children’s home.

      Only this was real chocolate icing. And these two problems were eleven-years old.

      Big mistake.


      Amy tried to catch Trixi’s eye, but her catering student was too busy chatting to the last of the customers for the day to help her judge the best-iced cupcake contest.

      She looked down at the trembling lip of the taller girl, glanced swiftly at the still liquid icing, which had flooded the paper cases and pooled out over the plate, and decided that her phone call could wait.

      ‘I think these cakes were too warm from the oven. But look at that shine! They look delicious.’

      The little girl gave her a warm, closed-mouthed grin and shrugged her shoulders in delight. But then her friend started sniffing. She had decided to freeze the icing to help it set, and now two thick slabs of brown fudge lay on top of each cake.

      Amy quickly scooped up the plate, popped it into the microwave for twenty seconds, then spread the now soft luscious frosting into smooth layers.

      Their owner’s mouth formed a perfect ‘Wow’, and then broke into a toothy grin.

      Amy bent down to whisper. ‘I won’t tell if you don’t. They’re perfect! And well done for thinking ahead.’ She stood up, head high. ‘I don’t think I can judge this icing competition properly today, because of the heat—but how about next time? Was that a yes? Brilliant. Now, I would be in serious trouble if I let you go home like that, so it’s time to wash your fingers. Go on—I’ll guard your cakes!’

      She couldn’t help but grin as the delighted little girls joined their pals in a gaggle of excited chatter, filling the room instantly with laughter.

      This was just how she had imagined it would be.

      Her bakery and her kitchen filled with happy children.

      A sigh escaped from somewhere deep inside before she swallowed it down.

      One day soon.

      She knew she could offer a child a loving home. But first she had to pass the assessment process and prove that she could be a responsible single parent before she could even hope to adopt.

      Amy dropped her shoulders and gave herself a mental shake. No time to dwell on that dream. Not at six o’clock on a Friday afternoon, when she still had to deal with problem female number three.

      Which, in theory, should not have been a problem at all, since her friend Lucy Shaw had gone out of her way to find the most experienced wedding planner in London to organise her big day.

      Pity that this planner was not answering any of her telephones.

      Amy counted out the beeps on the answering machine. ‘Hello, Clarissa, it’s Amy Edler here, at Edlers Bakery. Sorry to hassle you, but you did say that you would get back to me about the orchids for the Shaw-Gerard wedding. Please call me as soon as you can.’ Then she added a cheery, ‘Thank you!’

      Amy exhaled a slow calming breath, before squeezing her eyes tight shut and pressing the cool telephone to her forehead.

      I have the situation under control. The wedding is not until next Saturday.

      The cake is going to be perfect. The wedding is going to be perfect.

      I can make sugar orchids in any colour Lucy likes. Not a problem.

      And I will be transformed from a humble baker into a lovely bridesmaid.

      This was going to have to be her mantra for the next seven days.

      Of course it was entirely her own fault for offering

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