To Marry McKenzie

By: Carole Mortimer

breath knocked out of his body!

'It's better than a lot of the alternatives,' she acknowledged. 'And, while I

appreciate your offer concerning the glasses...' the girl continued to smile,

appearing to have no idea of the effect she had just had on him ' you

said, it's not worth getting upset about,' she dismissed with a shrug.

'Then whatever were you crying about?' Logan rasped, angry with

himself—and her!—for his unprecedented reaction just now.

The smile faded—and so did Logan's confusion. He shook his head. The

girl was plain, for goodness' sake; just a load of freckles and smoky grey


'Well?' he snapped impatiently.

She was looking up at him reproachfully with those wide grey eyes now.

'I—I—I've cut myself!' She held up the damaged finger.

Logan scowled down at it. 'It appears to have stopped bleeding.' Which it

had. 'And it doesn't look too serious.' Which it didn't.

And, he decided irritably, he had already wasted enough of his afternoon on

this situation—whatever it might be!

'I'll have my secretary bring through a plaster,' he bit out abruptly. 'In the

meantime, I would suggest you give that finger a wash. And your face,' he

added with an impatient glance at her bloodstained cheek.

She put a hand up self-consciously to her cheek. 'I said I'm sorry for

disturbing you.' She frowned, looking on the verge of tears once again.

She could have no idea how—momentarily!—she had disturbed him!

'What's your name?' he asked.

'Darcy,' she said miserably.

'Well, Miss Darcy—'

'Darcy is my first name,' she corrected, even as she sniffed inelegantly.

Oh, no, she was going to cry again! And wasn't Darcy a boy's name...?

'Your father wanted a son, hmm?' Logan murmured mockingly.

Those grey eyes flashed angrily. 'What he wanted, and what he got, are two

entirely different things,' she clipped.

'It usually is where women are concerned,' Logan drawled derisively.

Darcy looked up at him beneath those long, dark lashes. 'Are you married,

Mr McKenzie?'

Logan's surprised brows shot up beneath the dark hair that fell lightly over

his brow. What did his married state have to do with anything?

'As it happens—no,' he answered slowly.

She nodded—as if she had already guessed as much. 'Women, I've

invariably found, often respond in character to the men they are involved

with. For example—'

'Darcy, I believe you were here to serve a meal and then depart, not to

psychoanalyse the client!' Logan cut in scathingly, his jaw tightly clenched.

Until a few minutes ago he had been quietly pleased with his day; lunch had

been a success, contracts were being drawn up even as he spoke to this

young lady, and he had been looking forward to having dinner this evening

with a beautiful blonde he had met at a dinner party on Saturday. That sense

of well-being had now been lost in an increasing desire to strangle this

young woman!

Darcy looked slightly flustered. 'I'm so sorry. I—It's just—I—I'm really not

myself today!' she choked before burying her face in her hands as the tears

began to fall once more.

Logan shook his head dazedly, once again feeling totally out of his depth in

the face of the renewed tears. 'Oh, for goodness' sake!' he muttered before

reaching out and taking her into his arms.

She felt so tiny as he cradled her against the hardness of his chest, that red

hair feeling like silk against his fingers as he absently caressed it, her

shoulder-blades so fragile to his touch she was like a little bird—

What on earth was he doing? This was the waitress who had come to serve

lunch, for heaven's sake! More to the point, anyone could walk in on them

and completely misconstrue the situation!

He shifted uncomfortably. 'Er—Darcy...?'

Her only answer to his tentative query was to bury her face even further into

his shirt-front, the dampness of the material clinging to his chest now.

Logan felt totally out of his depth, beginning to wish that someone would

come in and interrupt them—whatever construction was put on his actions!

'Here,' he prompted gruffly, handing her the snowy white handkerchief from

his breast pocket, relieved when she moved away from him slightly to give

her nose a good blow.

No wonder not too many women cried in his presence, he decided ruefully,

if Darcy's unattractive appearance was anything to go by—she looked like a

startled fawn: all eyes and blotchy cheeks!

'I really am so sorry,' she said miserably. 'It's just that I had some—rather

disturbing news, earlier, before coming out. I don't usually cry all over

perfect strangers, I can assure you.' She gave a watery smile.

Logan gave the ghost of a smile in return. 'That's okay—I'm far from

perfect!' he attempted to tease, wondering exactly what sort of news this

young woman could have received to reduce her to this state. 'Is it anything

I can help you with?' he heard himself offer—and then frowned at this









Having originated from a large, Scottish-based family— consisting of his

aged grandfather, his mother, a couple of aunts and numerous

cousins—Logan usually found it all too easy to distance himself from the