Not the Marrying Kind

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-10-09
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

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Sixteen years ago, world-famous artist Harriet P. Smith was the nerdiest girl at Doolittle High School, and Jake Porter was the new boy in town. Charismatic, handsome, and instantly popular, Jake was way out of her league. Harriet was shocked when he asked her to the graduation dance . . . and devastated when he left town for good the next morning. Only his father's remarriage could bring Jake, now a hot shot L.A. music exec, back to small-town Arkansas. His only consolation is the stunning woman with the mysterious green eyes he meets at a local bar. He's got no idea he was a part of one of the best nights of her life-or that he's about to fall for her as hard as she once did for him. Jake's never been the marrying kind, but another night with Harriet might make him change his mind.


Not The Marrying Kind

Chapter One

West Village, Manhattan

Some things in life are better left alone.

Harriet P. Smith fingered the black and white surveillance photograph of Jake Porter emerging from a Sunset Strip club eight days—or to be more precise, nights—earlier. She studied the flash of a smile, the dark eyes she could paint in her sleep, the quirk in his nose caused by a basketball injury, the protective way he held his arm around the shoulders of the pint-size blonde who walked beside him. Not that the woman mattered one way or the other. For better or worse, it was Jake Porter who held her attention.

And darn it, that had always been true.

And that despite the almost sixteen years that had passed since the last time she had been within arm's reach of Jake Porter.

It was funny how she always thought of him with both his first and last names. Harriet shoved the photo into the thick envelope supplied by Gotham Investigations, wishing she could discard her dilemma over the man as easily. To be honest, she'd shoved the situation into the recesses of her brain for more years than she cared to count. It was time to quit hiding. She flipped the envelope over and stared at the logo of the firm she'd hired to find Jake Porter.

We Specialize in Discretion proclaimed the script beneath the company name. Well, she sure as heck hoped so. She'd paid a premium for their services, and the last thing she wanted was either Jake Porter or the press finding out what Harriet P. Smith was up to until she had readied herself to come clean.

Harriet eyed the fat envelope. She'd pulled only the one photograph out so far. Shifting from foot to foot, she considered what she might find if she tugged the rest of the items out. The investigator had filled her in over the phone on the highlights. Jake Porter hadn't let any grass grow under his feet. Good college. Better graduate school. He'd turned his MBA to advantage, establishing himself as a rising star in managing creative clients. And he'd founded his own record company. Way back when, at Doolittle High, Jake had been named Most Likely to Succeed and had tied with Harriet for Most Creative. Funny how none of her classmates had credited her with the potential to succeed. But if fame and fortune equaled success, avant-garde artist Harriet P. Smith of the West Village, at thirty-three going on thirty-four, had outstripped every kid in high school who'd made fun of her geeky looks and her penchant for spending more time painting than worrying about boys and clothes. She'd also shed the pounds she'd packed on courtesy of the dreary years she'd spent hating her life in a small town in Arkansas.

Harriet shoved the envelope away from her. It bumped into her cold coffee cup, and dark liquid splashed onto the packet. She tugged one of her paint rags from the waistband of her yoga pants and dabbed at the spill. Staring at the pattern the moisture made spreading into the paper, she envisioned the shapes in a profusion of color and almost, almost forgot all about Jake Porter.

She needed to work. She needed to retreat into the sanctuary of her studio and commune with her canvas. At some point she would know what to do with the information she'd gathered on Jake Porter. The way she knew when one of her massive creations was just right, the way she knew when the color had come to life the way she saw it within her soul, that's the way she'd know when she was meant to contact Jake Porter.

Until that moment came, she'd keep on keeping on. She had to trust she'd know when the time was right to tell Jake Porter he had a son.

Not The Marrying Kind. Copyright © by Hailey North. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Not the Marrying Kind by Hailey North
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