Married by Saturday
Brittany’s life was spiraling out of control and she still needed a groom by Saturday or her father would lose everything he’d spent his life working for. The stranger she just met may be the hero she’s been looking for her whole life. Regardless, he would suffice as a groom for the wedding ceremony.
Taylor wasn’t even looking for a woman and definitely not a bride, when he received an unorthodox marriage proposal from a beautiful trucker.
Can they find true love after the wedding
to make their dreams of a happily ever after a reality?
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
~ Pink Satin Romance ~
Married by Saturday. She could pull it off. But only if she could find a groom. It really shouldn’t be all that difficult. She was a determined woman. She would do it, even if she had to marry a perfect stranger.
Miles and miles of flat, deserted highway merged into the setting sun of Montana. Brittany’s shiny gold eighteen-wheeler, loaded with chrome, glistened in the sun’s rays as it rolled down the concrete road alone.
Alone was just where Brittany wanted to be right now. On a spur of the moment decision, the huge truck rolled to a halt at the scenic rest area. The majestic mountains of Yellowstone loomed on the horizon, and the cool air was fresh and clean, a far cry from city air.
Brittany was not a typical truck driver. She drove only on rare occasions, when she needed to get away—away from Minneapolis and the rat race. Her favorite runs were to the new truck plant in Newark, California, to pick up a new truck, or to Salt Lake City, Utah, to pick up a new trailer. She was on her way to the latter after a minor detour to Red Lodge.
Dressed in a fitted ivory western style shirt, skintight jeans, tan cowboy boots, and a matching ivory cowboy hat, Brittany felt at ease as she stepped down out of the truck. She was average in height, about 5’4”, with a slim and trim body to equal any fashion model’s shape. Her tan face resembled the face of an Old Norse goddess, the forehead, and cheekbones high, and proud full lips, with skin a golden tan from many days spent in the sun, and sparkling, golden amber-brown eyes.
Staring at the setting sun, a warm, light wind blew gently through her silky, long, golden blonde hair, and her eyes reflected the sun as if they were pools of firelight. She portrayed a picturesque impression of beauty and peace, even though her thoughts were in turmoil. Just then, another lonely truck rolled down the highway giving Brittany an appreciative toot of his horn. Coming back to the present from her deep thoughts, she smiled and tipped her hat in recognition as she headed back to her truck, the Golden Girl. Time to get moving if she wanted to make the Red Lodge Café before dark.
Back on the road again, Brittany focused on her problem. It was time to find a solution. The problem was marriage, and the deadline was less than a week from today. The pressure from her father’s unspoken words proved too much for her, so she left Minneapolis bright and early for the mountains of Montana that promised quiet and solitude.
Making decisions was not usually a problem. She knew how to solve problems. The process was simple—define the problem, list the alternatives, and go with the best solution. But there just wasn’t a feasible solution to this problem. This was the twenty-first century, and people just shouldn’t have to get married unless they wanted to. But leave it to her grandfather to put her in this position. He’d been old when he wrote the will, and he must’ve thought he was helping her somehow. But how, was beyond her. The worst part was she needed to be married by her twenty-fifth birthday, which was next Saturday, or wait five more years to receive her two-million-dollar inheritance.
Brittany believed in marriage and wanted to marry someday, but the right person just hadn’t come along. Most of the men she met were either in love with themselves, her money, or her body. Over the last couple of years, she’d had more than her fair share of proposals, but only one she’d even considered. She’d dated her father’s young protégé, Mark DeVries, on and off for a year. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but she just didn’t love him. Recently though, he’d been making bold attempts to seduce her, and her feelings of friendship had quickly turned to intense dislike for him and his insulting attempts.
She honestly didn’t care about the inheritance money for herself, but her father needed it desperately and soon. The only way to save her father’s trucking business was to get married. But could she marry someone she didn’t love? That was the question she kept asking herself.
~ * ~
Standing six feet tall, legs apart and hands in pockets, John Northland stared out his second-floor office window toward the immense parking lot below. Semi-trucks, new and used, were lined up in neat rows. The smell of diesel exhaust fumes rose up through the small, open office window. Trucking was his life. Northland Trucking was in the business of selling and servicing semi-trucks and had been for thirty long years. Acquiring just two trucks to sell, he started the business and watched it grow to sales of over two hundred trucks a year.
Recently, due to a falling economy, sales hadn’t been good. With the high fuel prices, high federal and state road usage taxes, and a dwindling economy, the independent truckers were hurting along with the fleets. And when truckers were hurting, they kept their old trucks and repaired them instead of buying new trucks.
John got caught holding the bag, you’d say. He ended up with a large truck inventory, most of which was on short-term loans at the bank. At this point, he could barely give the trucks away for cost. Finally, he’d been forced to take out a two-year personal note for two million dollars, due on July 31st of this year. The economy had finally started moving again, his business dramatically improved and was holding its own, but wasn’t making enough to pay back the bank loan. As a last resort, today he’d met the bank president over lunch to see about an extension on the loan. The answer was no. The bank did not feel John would be able to repay the loan with the current economic situation, even down the line. The best thing to do would be to liquidate the business to obtain the money.
Pacing the floor of his office, searching for an answer, John knew his only hope was Brittany, his daughter. Running his thin fingers through his slightly receding gray hair, he headed for the soft leather chair behind his massive wood desk, tired of the pacing already. “Damn!” he shouted. “If only she’d gotten married!” His voice gradually became a whisper upon realizing his efficient secretary would hear. Sure enough, within minutes the door opened to his office.
“Everything all right?” asked Penny in a soft voice.
“Yes! Yes. I’m fine. Now don’t disturb me again. I’ll call you if I need anything,” he answered in an irritated voice.
“Sorry,” she apologized as she closed the door.
Slowly tapping his restless fingers on the empty desktop, his thoughts raced back to Brittany. Why did she have to be looking for a knight in shining armor? God only knows she had plenty of good prospects to choose from. And he knew, because he’d chosen most of them, without her knowledge of course, but none had been good enough for his Brittany. To collect her two-million-dollar inheritance from her grandfather, she had to marry by Saturday. Her grandfather had been old when he wrote the will, and he had old-fashioned ideas. In the will he stipulated she be married by her twenty-fifth birthday, June 30, to inherit the money, or wait till her thirtieth birthday. He must’ve assumed women didn’t know how to handle money. That was the only reason he could think of to explain it.
Brittany was never interested in the money until the last few years when his company started to go downhill. She knew the loan was due soon, but she hoped the company would make enough to pay it off. So she’d waited and hoped.
If only she’d agree to marry Mark, his young assistant. Mark was a nice enough guy, but Brittany had made it very plain a friendship was all she wanted where Mark was concerned. And the poor guy had tried just about everything possible to convince her to marry him.
Hell! What was he to do with only one week left? If only Brittany would listen to him. It had actually gotten to the point he really didn’t care who Brittany married, as long as she married by Saturday.
The damn phone rang, disturbing his thoughts. Pushing the button down, he stormed, “Now what do you want? I told you not to disturb me.”
“Sorry, John, but I thought you’d want to know,” she answered in a demure voice.
“Know what, Penny?” John asked impatiently.
“It’s Mark. He found out Brittany left for the mountains this morning, and he’s going out there after her. I just thought you’d like to know,” she stated.
“There’s not much I can do if he wants to try to change her mind. Although I don’t think he stands a chance of succeeding, I do wish him the best of luck. Thanks for letting me know, Penny.” John leaned back in his chair as he flipped the phone button off with a slight feeling of hope once again.
~ * ~
Mark DeVries was in a rage even though his face showed no trace of emotion. Early that morning, passing through the shop’s service area, he overheard some mechanics talking about the Golden Girl. The truck was made road-ready late last night, so Brittany could leave at dawn. Damn! She’d slipped out on him again. Well, she couldn’t go far enough to get rid of him.
Mark was the assistant general manager of Northland Trucking, working under her father, John. He was John’s right-hand man, having worked his way up through the ranks of the business during the last four years.
Mark grew up poor, in a family where ample food and new clothing were considered luxuries. When he was ten years old, his father ran out on his mother and their family of four. He worked odd jobs ever since high school to help pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads. Mark was definitely his own man. He put himself through college on scholarships and worked a full-time job to support his family. Thankfully, he was intelligent enough to earn straight A’s without much effort or he never would’ve made it. Mark’s childhood hadn’t been easy, and as far as he was concerned, there was only one person to blame—his father. Not that it would’ve mattered one way or the other, since his father never could hold down a job anyway. His father was an alcoholic, so staying wouldn’t have been of much help to any of them.
Mark, an embittered man of twenty-five, kept a calm composure not allowing it to show. He stood just under six feet tall with a firm, muscled body. His hair was thick and coal-black with natural curls descending over a high forehead. His face was distinctly carved including a somewhat large nose and a definite masculine jawline. His baby blue eyes flashed an authoritative sexy gleam that set many hearts aflutter.
Because of his effect on women, he managed to attract Brittany’s attention for a while and began to put his plan into action. One way or another he was going to marry her, and the Northland Trucking business empire her father built would one day be his. Things had been going well with Brittany, until he’d started getting impatient and scared her off. He made big plans for dinner and the theater tonight, knowing she would be back home from her trip up north where she’d been hiding. Who would’ve thought she’d take off right away! She was most likely on her way to the mountains by now. If he left now, drove straight through, and didn’t encounter any highway patrols, the mountains would be in view by nine or ten p.m.
Mark’s plan was to obtain the Northland Trucking Company, the money and prestige it would bring, and Brittany would be the cream to top it off. Yes, he would enjoy all aspects of their inevitable union. If he played his cards right, he just might be sharing her bed soon. He’d waited long enough. She would be his, and with a little luck it would be legal, too. Mark had a bright outlook on their meeting. Knowing her kind heart, she would marry to save her father from financial ruin, and as far as he knew, he was the only person she would even consider marrying.