TV presenter Polly Anna Adams has spent a lifetime living up to her name. Suddenly single, Polly hides behind her cheery facade and enters a celebrity dance competition. Her partner? None other than gorgeous but wary professional dancer Liam Flynn.
Liam has learned the hard way to keep his heart on lockdown, but Polly's joie de vivre puts a spring back in his polished step. As the competition heats up, so does their unstoppable attraction. If only they could convince themselves their hot tango passion is just for the cameras....
'Tolly, I know you said you were fine, but I was passing anyway, and I thought I'd just drop in and--' Shona did a double take and stopped short. 'What happened to your hair?'
'I cut it last night.' With nail scissors. The long, straight blonde hair Harry had said he loved was no more. And at least getting rid of it had been Polly's choice. Something that was under her control.
'Cut? Hacked, more like. Has Fliss seen it?'
'Um, no.' And Polly knew her best friend would panic, remembering what Polly had done half a lifetime ago. Her lowest point, when she'd sworn that her life would be perfect from then on, no matter how hard she had to work at it. When she'd learned to smile her way through absolutely anything.
Shona blew out a breath. 'We need to get you to the hairdresser's. Like now.'
Polly waved a dismissive hand. 'I'm fine. It's not as if anyone's going to see me. I don't have to go in to the studio.'
'That, sweetie, is where you're wrong. Coffee, first,' Shona said crisply. 'And, while I'm making it, you need to get changed. The sort of stuff you wore for Monday Mash-up will be just fine.'
'I don't work on Monday Mash-up any more.' Polly shrugged. 'Anyway, I'm busy.'
'Doing things that Harry really ought to be doing, since he was the one who called off the wedding,' Shona said, her mouth thinning.
'I'm the one who organised it, so it's easier for me to do it. I have the contacts,' Polly pointed out.
She left unsaid what they were both thinking: it also meant that Grace wouldn't be involved. Cancelling the wedding arrangements less than two weeks before the big day was tough enough; letting her ex-fiance's new girlfriend do it would be just too much to bear. And she knew that Harry would definitely delegate cancelling everything: he'd give that little-boy-lost look that always got him his own way.
'I could strangle Harry, I really could. Selfish doesn't even begin to--' Shona stopped. 'But you already know what I think. OK. Go and get changed while I sort the coffee and make that hair appointment. Oh, and put some stuff under your eyes.'
To cover up the shadows Polly knew were there. It was one of the disadvantages of having fair skin; even one night without sleep meant she had dark shadows under her eyes. She hadn't slept for several, since Harry had told her that he couldn't marry her.
'I do love you, Pol, but..'
As he said the words, someone filled her veins with liquid nitrogen. Freezing her. But.
That meant Harry didn't love her at all.
'. .it's as a friend. There just isn't the kaboom,' he finished.
'Kaboom?' She didn't have a clue what he was talking about. How was this happening? Was she in some parallel universe?
'Kaboom. When you meet someone and it's like the sky's full of fireworks.' He gestured wildly, mimicking starbursts in the sky. 'A thousand red balloons floating into the sky.'
She still didn't have a clue what he meant. When she saw Harry, she didn't see dangerous fireworks or balloons that could pop and leave her with nothing. She saw warm and safe and secure. And she'd been so sure he'd felt the same. That they'd be together for ever. That theirs would be one of the marriages people looked up to in showbiz--one that lasted, instead of being over almost as soon as the publicity photos had been printed. Because she and Harry were friends. They fitted. Polly wasn't going to have the same kind of on-again, off-again relationship that her parents had, in between their affairs. This would be a proper marriage. Harry's family liked her. His friends liked her. And her friends liked Harry and...