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Daisy’s cell phone woke her out of a dead sleep. Max jumped up from the pillow beside her, barking like there was a five-alarm fire. No one ever called this early unless it was an emergency, and she wasn’t awake enough to deal with whoever was waiting on the other end of the phone.
Pushing aside the pink duvet that she’d had since she was fourteen years old, she swung her legs over the side of her white four poster bed and checked her clock. Five minutes until her alarm. Only one caller knew her schedule that well.
“Beta. It’s Dad.” Daisy’s father’s voice crackled over the phone.
“You don’t have to tell me who you are.” A smile tugged her lips. Even though he was economics professor at Berkeley and handled complicated software every day, her father was old school when it came to phones. “I recognize your voice.”
“It’s been seven days. I thought you might have forgotten your old dad.”
Daisy shoved her feet into a pair of fluffy pink slippers, preparing herself for the coming storm. He wouldn’t have called from Belize if something wasn’t up, and she knew exactly what it was. The early call. The hitch in his voice. The incident on Friday at the conference center. Put together, it smelled suspiciously of auntie involvement. “I thought you were on an ‘Extreme Jungle’ trek with no phone reception for five days.”
“We hiked back as soon as Salena called with the news.” His voice tightened. “She says you didn’t even meet the boy we chose for you. That you are …” His voice cracked, whether from emotion or a bad line, she couldn’t tell. “… engaged.”
Daisy groaned. News travelled faster on the auntie underground than by any other mode of communication. “How could she possibly have contacted you in the middle of the jungle? Did she send a pigeon?” She opened her closet door and pulled out the outfit she had planned for the day: flowery skirt, vintage T-shirt, leather jacket and her favorite biker boots. One of the benefits of working as a software developer was that no ever expected her to wear boring clothes.
As if sensing the hostile turn of the conversation, Max barked and jumped on his hind legs. A gift from her cousin, Layla, at a very down time in her life, Max wasn’t just a pet; he was an emotional support dog who knew just when she needed him.
After giving Max some assurance that she was okay, she pulled off her Captain America nightshirt, and proceeded to dress for work while her father talked over the speakerphone.
“We have a cousin in the travel business. He knew someone at a travel company in Belmopan, who knew someone at the embassy, who knew someone at the company that was running the tour. They contacted our guide on his emergency radio. “
“Seriously, Abba?” She rubbed Max’s fluffy head as she pulled on her boots. “He got an emergency call that your daughter in San Francisco did not want to meet some random guy you chose for her to marry because she was with someone else? I can’t imagine what he thought about that? And what about Priya? Is she happy to have her vacation interrupted by your family crisis that isn’t a crisis at all?”
“Priya understands,” he said firmly. “Also one person in the tour group broke his arm abseiling, and another twisted his ankle portaging the kayaks, and the helicopter had just come back for the woman who almost drowned when we were cave tubing, so we were already three people down. Plus Priya didn’t like staying overnight in the caves. The bats kept her awake, and after a snake got into her sleeping bag she said she would prefer a hotel.”
“Very sensible.” Daisy moved the phone to her shabby chic dresser. Her father had found it at a thrift store and they’d painted it robin egg blue, a contrast to the sea of pink in her room.
“Not everyone shares your enthusiasm for extreme activities,” she added. Her father had a thirst for adventure that meant family holidays had never been mundane.
“Who is this boy? Salena couldn’t remember his name. She said she thought it was Limb. What kind of name is that? Limb. What parents name their boy after body parts?”
“He’s…umm…” Definitely not someone her father would approve of since he’d cursed Liam in three different languages after he’d stood her up and cursed him again after he disappeared. “It’s not what you think, Dad.” She pulled her long, thick hair into a pony tail, and fixed it with three hair ties to keep it in place.
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date published : March 16, 2021
pages : 352
audiobook narrator: Soneela Nankani
audiobook length: 11 hrs, 25 min
Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can’t give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiance.
Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend’s little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy’s matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather’s will. If only he hadn’t broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago…
Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimize their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that very little is convenient about their arrangement. History and chemistry aren’t about to follow the rules of this engagement.
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