Dee Baines is sensible and plain compared to her outgoing, flirty sister. So she's amazed when pilot Mark Sellon chooses to pay attention to her!
Mark has a reputation as a risk-taking rogue who has an eye for the ladies and a thirst for adventure! But quiet, intelligent Dee offers Mark a chance to be...himself. Before he knows it, he is falling for this kind-hearted girl.
Could this unlikely couple forge a love to last a lifetime?
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January 01, 2011
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Excerpt from His Diamond Bride by Lucy Gordon
5th August 2003
'He must have been the most handsome man who ever lived,' Pippa sighed, her eyes fixed on the framed photograph in her hands. 'Look at those film star features and the way he's half smiling, as though at a private joke.'
'That's what used to drive the other girls wild,' Lilian said. 'Mum said he could charm the birds off the trees, and always keep them wondering.'
She was fifty-eight, with grey hair and a vivid face. She smiled when she spoke of her parents.
The photograph had been taken sixty-three years earlier. It showed a fine-looking young man, splendid in airman's uniform, his head slightly cocked, his features alive with sardonic humour. It bore only a faint resemblance to the old man that he was now, but the glint in his eyes had survived.
He was crouching on the wing of an aeroplane, one arm resting on a raised knee, his face turned to the camera, yet with a mysterious air of gazing into the future, as though he could see what was coming and was eager to meet it. Everything in the picture was redolent of life and masculine attraction.
'He may have been a hero back then, but I'll bet he was a devil, too,' Pippa said gleefully.
She was just twenty-one and beautiful. Her mother was immensely proud of her but she didn't let that show too often.
'Too attractive for her own good,' was her favourite expression to conceal her pride.
'Yes, I've heard he was a devil, among many other things,' she agreed, looking back at the picture of Flight Lieutenant Mark Sellon. 'By the way, the local TV station has been in touch. They want to do a piece--hero and wife celebrate sixty years of marriage. And the local paper. They're both sending someone to the party this afternoon to get some pictures and a few words about all the fantastic things he did in the war.'
'Grandpa won't like that,' Pippa observed. 'He hates going back over that time. Have you ever realised how little we actually know about it? He always avoids the subject. "Ask Gran", he says. But she doesn't tell much either.'
'I wish they'd let me throw the party in my house,' Lilian said. 'It's bigger and we could have got more people in.' She looked around disparagingly at the modest little property that stood at the far end of Crimea Street on the outskirts of London.
'It's where it all began,' Pippa reminded her. 'They met when he came to stay here with the family the last Christmas before the war, and all over the house there are places that remind her of him as he was then.'
'I suppose now you know them better than any of us,' Lilian said.
Pippa was her youngest child, several years younger than her siblings, arriving when the others were all at school and Lilian had resumed her career as a midwife. Lilian's mother had come to the rescue, announcing that, as they lived only three streets apart, she could take on most of the baby's care. The result was that Pippa had always been close to her grandparents, regarding them almost as extra parents.
She was spirited, even rebellious and in her teens this had led to difficulties with Lilian, resulting in her taking shelter in Crimea Street. The trouble had been smoothed out. Mother and daughter were friends again, but Pippa now lived with her grandparents, keeping a protective eye on them as they grew old and frail.
On the surface it was a perfect arrangement, yet Pippa was a worry to all who loved her. With her brains and beauty she should have been doing something more demanding than a dead-end job, and her social life should have consisted of more than staying at home almost every evening.
All the fault of Jack Sothern, Lilian thought bitterly. He'd seemed like a decent fellow, and everyone had been happy when he...