Be Mine (Holland Springs 6) - Page 1

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  • Chapter One

    Bella Edwards had to be the most disloyal friend ever. How else could she explain the idiotic need to introduce herself to the man who was her best friend’s ex’s best friend? Though she really wasn’t breaking any best friend rules, or going after a man Daisy had dated.

    Bella shook her head. Reason away all she wanted, but in the end, only a disloyal friend would contemplate going after the best friend of the man who had broken her best friend’s heart.

    Plain and simple. Unlike her thought process.

    She sighed, and then looked around for Daisy. She was walking across the beautifully decorated backyard, with a serving tray in one hand. She looked beautiful, sad, and slightly green.

    The poor thing.

    Striding to her, she intercepted Daisy at the back door to the house.

    “You doing okay?” Isabella asked. “Not overdoing yourself? Are you drinking enough water?”

    Daisy gave her a patented stop-being-so-overbearing look. “I’m fine. Thanks for checking on me.”

    Bella narrowed her eyes, not believing the fine pronouncement. She wanted to call her bluff, but knew it would do no good. Instead, she handed Daisy her glass of ice water, then crossed her arms and tapped her foot.

    This time, Daisy glared at her, but Bella knew it was in a loving way, and drank every last bit down.

    “There,” Daisy said. “Anything else, Dr. Edwards?”

    “For you to sit down for more than five minutes.” Seriously, Daisy had been going a hundred miles an hour since the wedding started. Now, that the reception was in full swing, she’d revved up the speed to two hundred, at least. All because the man, who was the source of her best friend’s misery, was here, walking around like some Prince Charming in search of his princess.

    Stupid man.

    Actually, stupid men. Every last one of them. Her ex-fiancé was almost as bad as Daisy’s, having run off with his own stepmother to Vegas. It had been all over the news.

    No. She wouldn’t think of that lying, no-good bastard Peter. She didn’t care if her thoughts were not very Christian-like or kind. She couldn’t forgive him right now, because she still wasn’t over his betrayal.

    “I’m pregnant, not dying,” Daisy pointed out.

    “Just wait until the morning sickness,” Bella said without thinking.

    “Because you’ve experienced it how many times?”

    Nice, Daisy, she wanted to snap. Then again, didn’t her best friend believe that she, Isabella Edwards, daughter of Pastor John Edwards, was as pure as the driven snow? That she was saving herself for marriage and had never, ever had anything bad happen to her, until a few months ago?

    So instead of snapping for no good reason, Bella rolled her eyes and smiled. “Fine. I’ll stop being so pushy, but are you sure you’re okay—emotionally, I mean?” Really, no matter what had happened to her in the past, she couldn’t stand seeing Daisy hurt. At all. She loved her best friend more than anything, and she only wanted the best for her. And if the best included stabbing the dumbtail earl who’d gotten Daisy pregnant, then she’d be all over that.

    Daisy started talking again, but Bella listened with half an ear because he was staring. Liam’s dark gaze raked over her, a wicked smile touching his mouth. Her knees went weak, and she became hot all over. Oh gosh, she couldn’t be doing this. She shouldn’t be doing this, no matter how innocent her gaze was.

    Daisy’s gaze bounced from her to Liam and then back again. Bella flushed.

    Stay calm. “Who is that?” she asked, with just enough interest in her voice so she wouldn’t be entirely deceptive. She knew exactly who he was.

    “Liam Stewart, best friend of my baby’s daddy.”

    Despite everything, disappointment assailed her. Stupid, Bella. All men are wrong for you, especially that one. “Oh, never mind, then.”

    Suddenly, Daisy grinned. “It wouldn’t be disloyal of you to dance with the man, if you want. I heard from Zoe that his fiancée left him for another man. So… you two have a lot in common.”

    Feeling even lower than low, a surge of hope flowed through her body. He was unattached and, best of all, Daisy didn’t care. Still… the right thing would be to refuse. Only, she couldn’t stop staring at him. At his sexy smile, at his lean body, at the way he wore his suit, or the fact that he was incredibly handsome. He was undeniably powerful, the in-charge type who probably wanted his way with everything—how else could he be friends with a Romanov?

    And totally Not. Her. Type.

    “Doubtful.”

    “I need to go inside and take a little break, okay?”

    Bella nodded. “Make it a long break.”

    Daisy practically ran inside, and Bella broke off eye contact with Liam long enough to see what would make Daisy leave in such a hurry. She frowned as Sebastian Romanov practically barreled into her.

    She held up a hand. “Oh, no you don’t.”

    The blond man stopped mid-stride and had the gall to look down his nose at her. His lips thinned. Yeah, he was hot, and charming, and lest she forget, a complete butthole to her best friend.

    “Isabella, how nice to see you.” His teeth practically bit out the word nice, like it was a foreign concept to him.

    “Wish I could say the same,” she said sweetly.

    He moved to one side, and so did she to block him. “If you’ll allow me to—”

    “To what—hurt my best friend? Make her more miserable than ever? I think you’ve done enough,” she said flatly.

    The man’s haughty façade faded. “Thank you for making her drink some water,” he said quietly. “I’m quite concerned she’s doing too much. You’re a great friend to her, Isabella.”

    Well, that took the wind out of her outrage-sails. “What do you have planned?”

    “To win her back?” His vibrant blue eyes were focused on the door, bare longing in his gaze.

    “Yes, what do you plan on doing?” she repeated.

    “I plan on winning her back.”

    She blinked. “That’s it?”

    He smiled, gorgeously sexy. “I have a few other methods I plan to employ.”

    “Good,” she said. “But leave her alone for a while. This is the first break she’s taken, and I think if you start your plan to win her, then she’ll make herself sick.”

    Sebastian muttered a curse. “You’re correct, of course. I’ll make myself scarce. Until later, then.” With that, he strode away, and Bella watched him go, wondering if she should have demanded he make up with Daisy right this minute.