Read Girl Least Likely to Marry Online

Authors: Amy Andrews

Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance

Girl Least Likely to Marry

Talk nerdy to me

Samuel Tucker is absolutely the last person scientist Cassie Barclay would ever date. Yes, he’s gorgeous, but he’s also far too cocky for his own good and thinks that Pi is a tasty afternoon treat. So when he asks her to dance at her friend Reese’s non-wedding she’s wondering why on earth she says yes!

Tuck is used to people assuming he’s all brawn and no brain, and amuses himself by winding Cassie up. But when he finally takes her to bed, suddenly it’s Tuck who can show Cassie a thing or two! Can he convince her that love and sex have nothing to do with logic and everything to do with chemistry?

SNEAK PEEK EXCERPT FROM

GIRL LEAST LIKELY TO MARRY

“Are you okay?”

Cassie nodded automatically, but she doubted she’d ever be okay again. She felt like she’d just had a lobotomy. Could a kiss render you stupid?

“I think I should go now. Unless...” He dropped his gaze to her swollen mouth.

Cassie shook her head and took a step back.
No unless.
Go, yes, just go. He’d turned her into a dunce.

Tuck smiled at her dazed look. It was nice to have left an impression on Little-Miss-Know-It-All. “Good night, Cassiopeia.”

Cassie was incapable of answering him. She feared she’d been struck mute. As well as dumb. She watched him swagger to his room opposite hers, slot his key in, open his door. He turned as he stepped into his room.

“I’ll be right over here. If you need a cup of
shhu-gar.

Cassie had no pithy comeback as his door clicked quietly shut.

Dear Reader,

I’m so excited to be involved in my very first Harlequin KISS continuity and to have worked with three authors who are not only wonderful writers but absolutely fabulous women! Writing a set of linked stories especially when each writer is separated by vast amounts of land and/or ocean can be challenging, but I think I can speak for all of us when I say we had a lot of fun during our online brainstorming sessions. I know for me there was something beautifully symbiotic about the depth of friendship between our four fictional friends and the way our friendships deepened over the course of the continuity.

I had a great time writing
Girl Least Likely to Marry,
affectionately known to us and those who follow me on Twitter as the #jock and the #geekgirl. I was very excited to be writing Cassiopeia, a bona fide Mensa-level genius.
Big Bang Theory
is one of my favourite TV shows and I really wanted to write a female Sheldon—although, not quite that extreme! But, I have to tell you, it was much more difficult than I ever imagined. As someone used to writing heroines with emotional depth, Cassie was a true challenge because while she had IQ to burn, her EQ was practically nonexistent. It took me quite a while to get a handle on her and I think I only really managed it by getting inside the hero’s head. Tuck, in his laid-back Texan way, totally got Cassie. And getting to know him gave me a way to understand her.

I think out of all my heroes, I love Tuck the most. And that’s not just because he’s the kind of guy that belongs on a billboard advertising underwear (you know the kind, right?) but because his utterly alpha competitive spirit refused to let Cassie settle for the half-life she’d accepted as her lot.

I really hope you enjoy Cassie and Tuck’s story about two people who weren’t looking for love but found it anyway!

Love, Amy

Girl
Least Likely
to Marry

Amy Andrews

ABOUT AMY ANDREWS

Amy Andrews has always loved writing, and still can’t quite
believe that she gets to do it for a living. Creating wonderful heroines and
gorgeous heroes and telling their stories is an amazing way to pass the day.
Sometimes they don’t always act as she’d like them to—but then neither do her
kids, so she’s kind of used to it. Amy lives in the very beautiful Samford
Valley, with her husband and aforementioned children, along with six brown
chickens and two black dogs.

She loves to hear from her readers. Drop her a line at
www.amyandrews.com.au.

Other Harlequin® KISS™ titles by Amy
Andrews:

Driving Her Crazy

This and other titles by Amy Andrews are available in ebook
format—check out
www.Harlequin.com
.

To Aimee Carson, Heidi Rice and Kimberly Lang. Thanks for the laughs, ladies—
it was an absolute pleasure. Lets do it again sometime!

PS. A quick thank you to Aimee and Kim
who explained to me the meaning and context of
that great American word
jonesing.
I am a total convert and plan on using it much, much more :-)

PROLOGUE

Ten years ago, Hillbrook University
campus,
upstate New York…

Cassiopeia Barclay tapped
the rim of her wine glass to the
other three. ‘Of course it’s not the end,’ she said, looking around at her
fellow flatmates. ‘Of course it’s just the beginning. Tonight may be our last
night together but not for long. We’ve got the road trip coming up soon,
remember?’

The women all nodded in agreement although trust fund princess
Reese looked quickly away, throwing back a hefty slug of her champagne. Gina,
the Brit, followed suit, knocking her drink back with practised gusto. Southern
Belle Marnie sipped regally, her good manners always on display.

Denying her Australian roots, Cassie also sipped her drink. Not
because of good manners, or in deference to the expensive Dom Perignon that
Reese and her Park Avenue pay cheque gave them access to—Cassie couldn’t care
less if she was drinking Dom or Dr Pepper—but because everything she did was
calm and measured and logical.

Why down champagne, posh or otherwise, when it only led to a
hangover?

Her first ever hangover had been here in this house, with these
three women, and she had no desire to repeat the experience. That was the
ultimate definition of stupidity.

And Cassiopeia Barclay was far from stupid.

In fact with an IQ of one hundred and sixty-three she was
officially a genius.

Their attention was returned to the nearby athletic field, in
plain view of their deckchairs. The sky was starting its slow slide into evening
but Hillbrook’s male track team could still easily be made out as they went
through a training drill. It was a regular ritual for the ‘Awesome Foursome’, as
they’d been dubbed, and Cassie joined in because these three women had been her
family, accepting her social inadequacies without question, and they enjoyed
it.

But, try as she might, she didn’t get the fascination with
either sport or the men who played it. Most of them were no doubt here on some
trumped-up scholarship and Cassie found that pretty annoying. Why was it that
there was no money to support scientific research but somehow there was always
cash for another track field?

Gina sighed as a particularly buff guy leaned over, touching
his toes, exposing the backs of his legs, his shorts riding up to reveal a peek
at one taut buttock. ‘Now,
that
is a well put
together arse,’ she murmured, her British accent even more pronounced in this
very American setting.

Marnie rolled her eyes. The blonde from the Deep South was as
different from the Englishwoman as was possible. She was petite and perky, with
an innocence about her that stuck out like a sore thumb next to Gina’s brash
sexuality. But Cassie had seen Marnie come out of her shell over the course of
the year, much like her, and a lot of that was owed to Gina and Reese’s
differing but vibrant influences.

Reese smiled at Gina indulgently. She’d been doing that a lot
this last week, Cassie realised belatedly. Smiling. Gina’s assertion earlier
that it had something to do with a certain Marine had been confirmed by Reese’s
startling confession that said Marine was
the
one.

Imagine that! After a week!

Sometimes Cassie felt like an alien in their midst, and it was
nothing to do with her Australian accent. Even at nineteen they all seemed
sophisticated women of the world next to her, introverted geek girl—Marnie
included.

Reese had just dropped the bombshell that she’d fallen in love
at first sight, Gina was slowly working her way through the entire eligible—and
not so eligible—male population of the United States, and Marnie was sighing
over her friend’s big white virginal wedding.

It was utterly perplexing, but also interesting—from a
behavioural science perspective. How much more could her friends achieve if they
locked up their hormones and concentrated on their chosen careers like she had?
Still, these three women had opened her up to a whole world that she hadn’t been
aware of before, and all new experiences were beneficial.

Back home in Australia she’d led a largely solitary existence.
Either at home with her parents, shut in her room and absorbed in some research
or other, or at university doing the same thing.

There’d been no girlfriends.
No
boyfriends.
No late-night drinking or ogling track
teams.

But here at Hillbrook her ‘gal pals’—yes, according to Gina
they
were
gal pals—hadn’t taken her social
awkwardness, lack of fashion sense or inept dancing as an excuse. They’d dragged
her to nightclubs and frat parties, and to bars where they served cocktails by
the jug and Karaoke was King. They’d loaned her dresses and shoes, done her
make-up and styled her hair and, most importantly, they hadn’t taken no for an
answer.

She had a lot to thank them for. She would look back on her
year in the US as a social experiment, with her as the subject, from which she
had collected some very useful data.

‘One day, Gina,’ Reese said, interrupting Cassie’s train of
thought, ‘you are going to fall hard and fast for some guy, and I hope I’m going
to be there to tell you I told you so!’

Marnie raised her glass. ‘Cheers to that,’ she said.

Gina scoffed in her very English way with a toss of her glossy
dark hair. ‘To hell with that.’

The others laughed as they returned to their regularly
scheduled programming—the track team. Cassie followed suit, smiling at Gina’s
running commentary but perplexed by it at the same time. She was deeply thankful
that jocks did nothing for her and that she was far too rational to be swayed by
hormones.

Sure, as a scientist she understood that human beings were
under the influence of their biological imperative to mate, but she also
believed in head over heart. Certainly Gina wouldn’t be in the quandary she was
now if she’d been thinking with her brain instead of her ovaries.

Sleeping with Marnie’s brother Carter last week had really
rattled Gina. Cassie was generally fairly oblivious to nuances, but she’d have
had to be deaf, dumb and blind to miss Gina’s edginess. Quite why Gina was edgy
Cassie had no idea. What was done was done. And it wasn’t Gina who was engaged
to be married, was it?

Which was exactly what she’d told Gina when she’d confessed the
transgression to her last week and Gina had sworn her to secrecy.

It was at times like this that Cassie was glad she’d vowed
never to fall victim to love. How could she when she simply didn’t believe in
it? And, even if she did, she didn’t have time for the messy, illogical
minefield of it all. Not while there was a big universe to study which was
infinitely more fascinating than any man.

A shout of triumph from the track brought Cassie back into the
conversation flowing around her.

‘Mmm, that’s right, my lovely blond Adonis.’ Gina’s commentary
continued. ‘Give your mate a hug, then.’ The men complied, as if Gina had yanked
their strings. ‘Ding-dong,’ she cooed on a happy sigh, and Marnie and Reese
laughed.

Cassie watched the display of male camaraderie, rolling her
eyes as they high-fived and man-hugged. They reminded her of gorillas. Next
they’d be beating their chests and picking nits off each other. One thing was
for sure: should she ever drop a hundred IQ points and end up with some man he
would never be of the jock variety.

‘Tell us about the stars, Cassie.’

Cassie glanced over at Marnie, whose head was dropped over the
back of her chair as she pointed to the first star just visible in the sky.
‘That’s Venus, right…evening star?’

Cassie smiled. Marnie was forever talking about the night skies
over Savannah and had loved having her own personal astronomer at her beck and
call. ‘Yep,’ she confirmed, looking at the pinprick of light in the velvet
sky.

‘Will we be able to see Cassiopeia tonight?’ she asked.

Cassie shook her head. ‘It’s too light here. When we’re on our
road trip we’ll stop at the Barringer Crater in Arizona. We’ll sleep under the
stars and I’ll show you then.’

It was the main reason Cassie was going on the trip. Time with
her gal pals would be great, but she’d always wanted to see the crater site
formed when a meteorite had ploughed into the earth fifty thousand years ago,
and that was her priority.

‘You speak for yourself,’ Gina butted in. ‘The only stars the
Park Avenue Princess and I are sleeping under are of the five-star variety.
Isn’t that right, Reese?’

Reese nodded. ‘Er…yes,’ she said, looking quickly away and
taking another decent slug of her champers.

‘Carter proposed to Missy under the stars at the Grand Canyon.
Isn’t that romantic?’ she said, her voice dreamy. ‘Our families were on holiday
together. Missy and I stayed up all night talking about how wonderful it
was.’

‘Bless their hearts,’ Gina said, mimicking Marnie’s Southern
drawl.

It had taken Cassie a few months of Gina teasing Marnie over
the quaint Southern phrase to realise it could be used to mock as well as to
sweeten. Glancing at Gina’s tense profile, she guessed this was one of the
mocking times.

‘Missy wants a star theme running through the reception,’
Marnie continued ignoring Gina’s sarcasm. ‘She’s spending a small fortune on
this gorgeous black drapery that billows from the ceiling and twinkles with
thousands of tiny lights…’

Cassie didn’t really understand why you’d spend good money on
creating the illusion of a starry sky when the real thing was up there for free.
It certainly didn’t seem to be very effective budgeting. But weddings were as
much a mystery to her as the notion of love, so she gave up trying to figure it
out.

She was just going to lounge here with her friends and watch
the stars come out.

One last time.

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