Dear Reader,

I have a passion for historic buildings--big or small, opulent or plain.  From the passageways of the Tower of London to the faded boards of a broken-down shed on a lonely prairie highway, I love to imagine who built a house, who walked its halls, who lived, who loved, and who might have died there all those years ago.

Billionaire Zach Harper is descended from pirates.  His family castle, built on an island off the coast of New York, is a living museum and the centerpiece of his heritage.  But when he accidentally marries architect Kaitlin Saville at a wild Vegas office party, everything is at risk . 

I hope you enjoy the special excerpt from Zach and Kaitlin's story in this newsletter. 

I modeled the Harper family castle after the real life Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia.  If you're interested, there's a link to the castle on my web site.

Happy reading!

Barbara Dunlop

Excerpt from The CEO's Accidental Bride

Copyright @ 2011 by Barbara Dunlop

Zach slid into the passenger seat of the black Porsche Carrera idling at the curb outside Kaitlin's Yorkville apartment building and yanked the door shut behind him.

"Did she sign?" asked Dylan Gilby, as he slipped the gear-shift into first.

Zach slipped the seatbelt over his shoulder and clicked the latch into place. "Nope."

He normally prided himself on his negotiating skills. But there was something about Kaitlin that put him off his rhythm, and meeting had been a colossal failure.

He didn't remember her being so stubborn. To be fair, he hadn't known her particularly well. They'd met a few times before the party, but it was only in passing while she was working on the renovation plans for his office building. He remembered her as smart, diligent, fun-loving and beautiful.

He had to admit, the beautiful part certainly still held true. Dressed to the nines in Vegas, she was the most stunning woman in a very big ballroom. Even today, in a dusty t-shirt and faded jeans, she was off the charts. No wonder he'd gone along with Elvis and said "I do." He was pretty sure, in that moment, he did.

"You offered her the money?" asked Dylan.

"Of course I offered her money." Zach had wanted to be fair. Well, and he'd also wanted the problem solved quickly and quietly. Money could usually be counted on to accomplish that.

"No go?" asked Dylan.

"She's calling her lawyer," Zach admitted with a grimace, cursing under his breath. Somehow, he'd played it all wrong. He'd blown his chance to end this neatly, and he had nobody to blame by himself.

Dylan flipped on his signal light and checked the rear-view mirror on the busy street. He zipped into a tight space between a Mercedes and an old Toyota. "So, basically, you're screwed."

"Thank you for that insightful analysis," Zach growled at his friend. Harper Transportation could well be on the line here, and Dylan was cracking jokes?

"What are friends for?" joked Dylan.

"Procuring single malt." If ever there was a moment that called for a bracing drink, this was it.

"I have to fly today," said Dylan. "And I get the feeling you'll need every brain cell functioning."

Zach braced his elbow against the armrest as the car angled its way through traffic on the rain-damp street. He reviewed the conversation with Kaitlin like a post-game tape.  Where had he messed it up?

"Maybe I should have offered her more," he ventured, thinking out loud. "Five million? Do people say no to five million?"

"You might have to tell her the truth," Dylan offered.

"Are you out of your mind?

"Clinically, no."

"Tell her that she's inherited my grandmother's entire estate?"

Hand the woman control on a silver platter? Did Dylan want to guarantee Zach was ruined?

"She did, in fact, inherit your grandmother's estate," Dylan pointed out.

Zach felt his blood pressure rise. He was living a nightmare, and Dylan of all people should appreciate the outrageousness of the situation.

"I don't care what kind of paperwork was filed by the Electric Chapel of Love," Zach ground out. "Kaitlin Saville is not my wife. She is not entitled to half of Harper Transportation, and I will die before--"

"Her lawyer may well disagree with you."

"If her lawyer has half a brain, he'll tell her to take the two million and run." At least Zach hoped that was what her lawyer would say.

The two of them were married. Yes. He'd have to own that particular mistake. But it couldn't possibly be a situation his grandmother had remotely contemplated when she wrote her will. There was the letter of the law, and then there was a spirit of the law. His grandmother had never intended for a stranger to inherit her estate.

He had no idea if New York was in fact a joint property state. But, even if it was, he and Kaitlin had never lived together. They'd never had sex. They'd never even realized they were married. The very thought that she'd get half of his corporation was preposterous.

"Did you think about getting an annulment?" asked Dylan.

Zach nodded. He'd talked to his lawyers about that, but they weren't encouraging. "We never slept together," he told Dylan. "But she could lie and say that we did."

"Would she lie?"

"What do I know? I thought she'd take the two million." Zach glanced around, orienting himself as they approached an entrance to Central Park. "We going anywhere near McDougal's?"

"I'm not getting you drunk at three in the afternoon." Dylan shook his head in disgust as he took a quick left. The Porsche gripped the pavement, and they barely beat an oncoming taxi.

"Are you my nursemaid?" asked Zach.

"You need a plan, not a drink."

In Zach's opinion, that was definitely debatable.

They slowed to a stop for a red light at another intersection. Two taxi drivers honked and exchanged hand gestures, while a throng of people swelled out from the sidewalk in the light drizzle and made their way between the stopped cars.

"She thinks I got her fired," Zach admitted.

"Did you?"


Dylan sent him a skeptical look. "Is she delusional? Or did you do something that resembled getting her fired?"

"Fine." Zach shifted his feet on the floor of the Porsche. "I cancelled the Hutton Quinn contract to renovate the office building. The plans weren't even close to what I wanted."

"And they fired her," Dylan confirmed with a nod of comprehension.

Zach held up his palms in defense. "Their staffing choices are none of my business."

Kaitlin's renovation plans had been flamboyant and exotic in a zany, post-modern way. They weren't at all in keeping with the Harper corporate image.

Harper Transportation had been a fixture in New York City for a hundred years. People depended on them for solid reliability and consistency. Their clients were serious, hard-working people who got the job done through boom times and downtimes.

"Then why do you feel guilty?" asked Dylan as they swung into an underground parking lot off Saint Street.

"I don't feel guilty." It was business. Nothing more and nothing less. Zach knew guilt had no part in the equation.

It's not like he should have accepted inferior work because he'd once danced with Kaitlin, held her in his arms, kissed her mouth and wondered for a split second if he'd actually gone to Heaven. Decisions that were based on a man's sex drive were the quickest road to financial ruin.

Dylan scoffed an exclamation of disbelief as he came parallel with the valet's kiosk. He shut off the car and set the park break.

"What?" Zach demanded.

Dylan pointed at Zach. "I know that expression. I stole wine with you from my dad's cellar when we were fifteen, and I remember the day you felt up Rosalyn Myers.

The attendant opened the driver's door, and Dylan dropped the keys into the man's waiting palm.

Zach exited the car as well. "I didn't steal anything from Kaitlin Saville, and I certainly never--" he clamped his jaw shut as he rounded the polished, low slung hood of the Porsche. The very last element he needed to introduce into this conversation was Kaitlin Saville's breasts.

"Maybe that's your problem," said Dylan.

Zach coughed out an inarticulate exclamation.

"You married her," Dylan took obvious satisfaction in pointing that fact out as they crossed the crowded parking lot. "You must have liked her. You said yourself you haven't slept with her. Maybe you not so much angry as horny."

"I'm angry. Trust me. I can tell the difference."

©Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

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To celebrate the release of her new release, Barbara Dunlop is hosting a special contest for ASR readers!

To enter her contest, visit her website and find the answer to this question -

What is Kaitlin wearing when Zach knocks on her apartment door?

Then email us at with your answer by midnight on January 23rd, 2011. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address and please mark the subject as 'CEO's Accidental Bride'.

Four winners will each receive a full set of Barbara's Montana Millionaires Trilogy!

Good luck!

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