The Best Friend Bargain (Kisses in the Sand #3) - Robin Bielman

Chapter One

“Will you marry me?”

“Hey Danny, want to get hitched?”

“Hi Danny. I know this sounds crazy, but marry me maybe?”

Ugh. No matter how Olivia Lincoln proposed it to her best friend, he was going to think she’d lost her mind.

She kind of had. That saying, pregnancy zaps you of brain cells? She’d been zapped. And little baby Lincoln was only a very new part of her. This didn’t bode well for future brainpower.

Which might not be a bad thing considering she had a broken heart to go with the pregnancy. The less she thought about, remembered, and dreamt of her baby’s daddy, the better.

She stood outside the Happy Harpoon in White Strand Cove and ran her hands down the knit black skirt she’d splurged on during London’s Fashion Week last month. After first trying to find Danny at home, a neighbor had told her he was at the restaurant celebrating Midge’s seventieth birthday. Olivia remembered the spunky senior vividly from her last time here eight months ago.

One more party guest didn’t matter, right? Liv wasn’t a complete stranger to the Cove, but she still felt uneasy. A little selfish, too. Danny had made a life for himself in the small California beach town. What right did she have to ask him for the biggest favor ever?

He wouldn’t tell her no. He never told her no. She’d counted on him since the sixth grade when he’d defended her against the girls who teased her about her weight. From that day forward he’d protected her, made her feel like her full-figure didn’t define her, and helped fix the never-ending string of messes she found herself in.

But this was different, and Danny didn’t like different. He had his future mapped out, his goals set in unmovable stone.

She pushed through the doors of the restaurant and loud, happy chaos greeted her. The surf and sand might only be a few hundred feet away, but under this roof stood a sea of people—all wearing funny hats. Liv smoothed down her shoulder-length hair. Too bad it wasn’t a crazy hair party. After flying the friendly skies for ten hours, her new blond tresses, cut and styled around her shoulders now, were mad as a hatter. She chuckled. At least she still had her sense of humor.

Danny liked her sense of humor.

It matched his own ridiculous brand.

No one noticed her at the reception desk, but nerves gripped her all the same. Nausea, too. She put a hand to her stomach, not that it ever helped, and slipped past partygoers in search of something to settle her queasiness. The bar came into view with plenty of room to lean against.

“7 Up please,” she told the bartender before turning to scan the room for Danny. No doubt he had on his captain’s hat. It was his go-to for any dress-up occasion. But with so many bodies and hats in different colorful shapes and sizes, her eyes crossed. She’d just sip her soda and send him a text in a few minutes. Guess who’s here and wants to buy you a drink, sailor? The marry-me part she’d leave out. Some things needed to be said in person, even though an electronic buffer would make it a million times easier.

A super-sized cake atop the bar caught Olivia’s attention, and she went for a closer look. An edible picture of Midge decorated the left side of the white icing and Happy 70th Birthday written in tiny frosted stars was on the right.

Liv put her face a little closer to breathe in the sugary sweet scent. Good to know her sense of smell had yet to be affected by pregnancy hormones. She took another whiff and sighed. Cake made everything better.

A commotion sounded from behind her, but before she could turn around to check it out, someone bumped her. Someone tall and solid, because the jolt knocked her off balance, and she face-planted into the cake.

Yes, she did.

Her nose actually hit bottom.

It was her face now alongside Midge’s. Damntastic. She froze for a second. Since she couldn’t see anyone, maybe no one could see her.

Firm but gentle hands took her by the shoulders and lifted her off the cake. “I’m really sorry. Are you okay?”

Olivia knew that voice anywhere. She hadn’t heard it in the six months she’d been in Europe and, even with cake and frosting all over her face, hearing it now brought instant comfort. She licked her lips and swallowed the delicious taste of chocolate and vanilla buttercream before turning to