Engaged to Her Ravensdale EnemyBy: Melanie Milburne
IT WASN’T GIVING back the engagement ring Jasmine Connolly was most worried about. She had two more sitting in her jewellery box in her flat in Mayfair above her bridal-wear shop. It was the feeling of being rejected. Again. What was wrong with her? Why wasn’t she good enough? She hadn’t been good enough for her mother. Why did the people she cared about always leave her?
But that wasn’t all that had her stomach knotting in panic. It was attending the winter wedding expo next weekend in the Cotswolds as a singleton. How could she front up sans fiancé? She might as well turn up at the plush hotel she’d booked months and months ago with ‘loser’ written on her forehead. She had so looked forward to that expo. After a lot of arm-twisting she had secured a slot in the fashion parade. It was her first catwalk show and it had the potential to lead to bigger and more important ones.
But it wasn’t just about designing wedding gowns. She loved everything to do with weddings. The commitment to have someone love you for the rest of your life, not just while it was convenient or while it suited them. Love was supposed to be for ever. Every time she designed a gown she stitched her own hopes into it. What if she never got to wear one of her own gowns? What sort of cruel irony would that be?
She glanced at her empty ring finger where it was gripping the steering wheel. She wished she’d thought to shove on one of her spares just so she didn’t have to explain to everyone that she was—to quote Myles—‘taking a break’.
It didn’t matter how he termed it, it all meant the same thing as far as Jaz was concerned. She was dumped. Jilted. Cast off. Single.
Forget about three times a bridesmaid, she thought sourly. What did it mean if you were three times a dumped fiancée?
It meant you sucked at relationships. Really sucked.
Jaz parked the car in her usual spot at Ravensdene, the family pile of the theatre-royalty family where she had grown up as the gardener’s daughter and surrogate sister to Miranda Ravensdale and her older twin brothers, Julius and Jake.
Miranda had just got herself engaged. Damn. It.
Jaz was thrilled for her best mate. Of course she was. Miranda and Leandro Allegretti were perfect for each other. No one deserved a happy ending more than those two.
But why couldn’t she have hers?
Jaz put her head down against the steering wheel and banged it three times. Argh!
There was a sound of a car growling as it came up the long driveway. Jaz straightened and quickly got out of her car and watched as the Italian sports car ate up the gravel with its spinning tyres, spitting out what it didn’t want in spraying arcs of flying stones. It felt like a fistful of those stones were clenched between her back molars as the car came to a dusty standstill next to hers.
Jacques, otherwise known as Jake, Ravensdale unfolded his tall, athletic frame from behind the wheel with animal grace. Jaz knew it was Jake and not his identical twin brother Julius because she had always been able to tell them apart. Not everyone could, but she could. She felt the difference in her body. Her body got all tingly and feverish, restless and antsy, whenever Jake was around. It was as if her body picked up a signal from his and it completely scrambled her motherboard.
His black hair was sexily tousled and wind-blown. Another reason to hate him, because she knew if she had just driven with the top down in that chilly October breeze her hair would have looked like a tangled fishing net. He was dressed casually because everything about Jake was casual, including his relationships—if you could call hook-ups and one-night stands relationships.
His dark-blue gaze was hidden behind designer aviator lenses but she could see a deep frown grooved into his forehead. At least it was a change from his stock-standard mocking smile. ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ he said.
Jaz felt another millimetre go down on her molars. ‘Nice to see you too, Jake,’ she said with a sugar-sweet smile. ‘How’s things? Had that personality transplant yet?’
He took off his sunglasses and continued to frown at her. ‘You’re supposed to be in London.’
Jaz gave him a wide-eyed, innocent look. ‘Am I?’