When fate bobbles your dream, sometimes you have to make your own magic…
Award-winning author Beth Ciotta presents Marry Poppins, the third book in the contemporary fairy tale series—Impossible Dream—celebrating hope, love, and the magic of the human spirit!
She wants a family. He needs a wife. A marriage-of-convenience solves a myriad of problems for unlucky Georgie Poppins and down-on-his-luck Bryce Morgan. Falling in love wasn’t part of the bargain so no one is more surprised than Georgie and Bryce when sexual sparks ignite a full-blown romance. Unfortunately, as love swells, trouble mounts, including a glitch at Impossible Dream.com—an Internet company designed to match people with their most avid desire. Maybe Georgie and Bryce weren’t meant to be after all.
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Most of her waking moments didn’t seem real. Visiting places she never dreamed she’d see in person, alongside the man she once dreamed she’d marry. Not only that, they were rooming together and sleeping together—albeit platonically.
Aside from that one unexpected and amazingly perfect kiss, Bryce had kept his lips to himself. Georgie would have been disappointed except his attraction was evident. She felt it. She sizzled with it. Something was building. Something was going to happen between Georgina Lou Poppins and Bryce-The Bullet-Morgan. The anticipation was exhilarating. The ultimate foreplay—and the most he’d done was hold her hand while navigating crowds. Or palming the small of her back while guiding her through an entrance.
His touch had been warm and welcome. He made her feel safe and cared for, as if she were his to worry about. Every brush of his hand felt like a lover’s caress.
Maybe they weren’t destined for forever, but they were destined for at least once.
She didn’t want to jinx it. She didn’t want to cheapen it with girlish, gossipy exchanges with her friends. She didn’t want to rush it or force it—patience recommended—so she played it cool. No easy feat. Especially when they were first waking up or preparing for bed. Or basically anytime they were alone in the hotel suite—that king-sized, pillow-soft mattress screaming for action of the horizontal-mambo variety.
Sort of like now.
“Are you sure there wasn’t anything else you wanted to do tonight?” Bryce asked as he shrugged out of a suit jacket and draped it over the chair.
A loaded question, considering, yeah, she’d like to jump his bones. Georgie answered cautiously as she sat on the sofa and unbuckled her left strappy heel. “Not for anything, but these shoes weren’t made for walking.”
“No, they weren’t.”
Georgie glanced up and caught Bryce staring at her legs.
The sexually charged air crackled and Georgie had to bite her tongue as she fumbled with the buckle of her other—not exactly, but as close as she owned—FMPs.
Bryce had treated her to dinner and a show. A musical playing in Leicester Square, which was sort of like New York’s Times Square albeit it more quaint (according to Bryce, who’d been to New York City, unlike Georgie).
Even though Bryce had assured her not all people dressed up for the theater, Georgie couldn’t resist going all out. Fortunately, Angel had supplied her with two dresses suitable for finer entertainment. Georgie had settled on a simple black halter dress and strappy red heels. The same heels she’d worn to Bryce’s non-wedding. The difference was her non-wedding dress had skimmed her knees. This hemline stopped mid-thigh. So, yeah, her legs were on prime display.
Feigning innocence, she asked, “Anything wrong?”
“I should go.”
“Anywhere. I need to walk this off.”
It was all she could do to stay seated, to feign calm. He looked gorgeous and miserable and she wanted to tackle him to the floor. “Walk what off?”
Bryce palmed the back of his neck and rubbed. He blew out a breath. A tense breath. A really tense breath.
Georgie practiced extraordinary patience.
“That dress. Those shoes. You. The past few days.” He stuffed his hands in the pockets of his trousers, studied the toes of his boots.
“You look hot, dammit.”
Her pulse kicked. If only he didn’t sound so disappointed. “Thank you. I think.”
“I can’t be here. This—and don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about—can’t happen.”
Heart pounding, Georgie took a leap of faith. Enough patience. Time to initiate derring-do. She rose to her bare feet and closed the distance between them. “Okay. No pretending. Let’s face this head on.” She inched closer, pressing her body to his, acknowledging his oh-so-noticeable package. “Why can’t this happen?”
He remained frozen, staring down at her in stoic silence.
“Because I’m Ryan’s sister?” she prodded. “Because you’re on the rebound? Because you don’t love me and you don’t want to complicate matters with meaningless sex? Because you’re conflicted about the twins and your future and you need me to be there for them and for Arlo so you can honor your charity commitments and pursue whatever?”
She rattled off everything she could think of because there wasn’t one forthcoming bone in Bryce’s infuriatingly hunky body. The man guarded his innermost thoughts as if they were a flipping national secret.
He worked his jaw. “Yes.”
She wanted to punch him—the big stubborn, noble, ex-jock. “What if I told you meaningless sex is all I’m interested in? What if I told you I have no intention of bailing on your nanny job—no matter if this happens or not—because that job is the only thing keeping me afloat until my dream job comes through. Which—in case I didn’t mention it before—should be soon.”
If she said it often enough, maybe it would happen. Maybe she’d get that golden email from Impossible Dream alerting her of a wondrous opportunity. As it was, the only notices she’d been getting were from bill collectors.
Jerking her thoughts back to pleasant ground, Georgie dug in. “Here’s the thing. Ignoring this attraction won’t make it go away, Bryce. Addressing it might. If it helps,” she lied, “I meant what I said that day at Grace Chapel. This isn’t a matter of the heart. This is purely physical.”
And that was about all she could muster in the derring-do department without sacrificing her pride.
Bryce closed his eyes and cursed.
When he reached for his jacket, Georgie turned her back. He was leaving. Fine. “Go for your walk. Forget I said anything,” she said while fumbling with the zipper at the back of her dress. “I’ll be in bed by the time you get back, sleeping this off.”
She heard the door open…
Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Do. Not. Cry.
“Dammit,” she swore when the zipper wouldn’t budge and her temper overflowed.
“Screw it.” Bryce cupped her shoulders and turned her in his arms.