Returning from a charity cycle ride through the Himalayas, Simone is determined to finally deal with the dreadful secret she's kept and move on with her life. Until the diary into which she poured her troubled heart is lost...and found by billionaire journalist Ryan Tanner.
Simone's never been able to open up, to get close, and she's immediately suspicious of Ryan. But there's something about him that invites trust. Maybe this beautiful, loving man can help her find the real her. He just might be her Mr. Right in a million....
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August 31, 2007
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Excerpt from Needed: Her Mr. Right by Barbara Hannay
"Journeys end in lovers meeting; every wise man's son doth know."
JET lagged and dull headed after his long flight from London to Sydney, Ryan Tanner was waiting in the Customs queue when he first saw the girl with the turnand-stare legs.
He caught sight of her again when he was pushing his luggage trolley through the Arrivals hall.
The slim blonde in a belted pink shift, with long golden-brown legs and strappy high-heeled sandals, was like a glowing hologram moving confidently through the drab tide of travellers dressed in predictable, look-alike business suits or denim jeans.
But Ryan's interest in her, although keen, was fleeting. Stunning as the girl was, she was a total stranger among thousands of strangers. Ryan had no idea where she'd come from or where she was heading. And his focus now was on getting home.
Home, after a year and a half in London. Home, after eighteen months of dreary British weather.
He'd spent a good part of the flight dreaming of sunshine and his first view of Bondi Beach--aquamarine surf breaking into white froth on yellow sand. But, with his usual lousy luck, it was pouring rain in Sydney today. The view was obscured by grey clouds.
Now, head down against the sheeting rain, he left the terminal building and felt his mood sink from travelweary-jaded to downright morose as he steered his unwieldy trolley piled with two suitcases, a bulky snowboard and a laptop.
There was, of course, a long queue at the taxi rank. Ryan yawned and supposed he should have let someone know he was arriving this morning. But, after a twenty hour flight, he was too tired to bother with conversation, with the inevitable questions about London and the ugly row with his Fleet Street editor.
Besides, he felt scruffy, needed a shower. And a shave wouldn't go astray, he thought, rubbing at the rough stubble on his jaw.
Then he saw the young woman again.
Fresh as a newly picked peach, she was standing ahead of him in the queue.
Wind, whipping across the street and under the awning, exposed enticing glimpses of her divine legs before she got control of her skirt.
He spent a pleasant moment wondering if she was a European tourist or an Australian coming home.
Three businessmen at the front of the queue climbed into the same taxi and Ryan shuffled forward, dragging his luggage trolley with him, pleased that the line was diminishing at a reasonable rate.
He thought about his comfortable, slightly shabby flat in Balmain and hoped that the tenants, who'd rented it while he was away, hadn't treated it too badly.
He stole another quick glance at the girl, not that he made a habit of ogling attractive girls, but this one intrigued him. He tried to pin down the quality that grabbed his attention, apart from her legs.
Perhaps it was an impression of vitality and fitness, the way she stood, shoulders back, head high, suggesting can-do confidence without conceit. Her bulky backpack surprised him. She looked the type who would travel with expensive matching suitcases.
Suddenly, almost as if she'd felt his eyes on her, she turned and looked straight at him, and for electrifying seconds their gazes met and held.
Her eyes were dark--blue or brown, he couldn't be sure--her brows darker than her hair and well defined. And, as she looked at him, he could have sworn that her mild, slightly bored expression changed.
He sensed a tiny stirring of interest from her. A ripple. The briefest flicker at the corner of her mouth. The barest beginnings of a smile.
He decided to smile back and discovered he was already smiling. Had he been grinning like a fool?
And then it happened. A tremulous, gut-punching sense of connection with this girl seized him by the throat, drove air from his lungs.
But in the next breath her taxi arrived. The driver jumped out and grabbed her pack, grumbling noisily at having to leave the warmth of his cab and splash about in the rain. The girl slipped quickly into the back passenger seat. Ryan caught one final flash of her beautiful bare legs before she shut the door.
The driver, a very glum fellow indeed, dumped her bulky backpack into the taxi's boot. He already had a couple of boxes in there and he spent a bad-tempered few minutes in the rain, shoving and cramming her pack, squeezing it mercilessly into the too small space.
At last the bulky pack was squashed enough to allow him to slam the door but, as he did, something slipped from one of the pack's side pockets and fell into the rain-filled gutter with a plop.
It was a small book. "Hey, mister, you want this cab or not?"
Ryan turned, surprised to discover that other passengers had left and he'd reached the top of the queue. A taxi driver was scowling at him.