Marriage in Name Only - By Anne Oliver

She narrowed her eyes. ‘Have you been married before?’


Do I look stupid? She received his message loud and clear.


She wrote ‘COMMITMENT-PHOBIC’ in her ‘Getting Acquainted’ column. She believed in marriage when two people loved and trusted each other and were committed to making it work. She just didn’t believe that she personally could do the long-term bit. Or maybe she was afraid to believe.

Did that make her as commitment-phobic as him? she wondered momentarily. Not at all, she told herself. She wasn’t phobic, just … careful. Right?

‘I’m also serious about sharing a little pleasure around the business aspect,’ he said.

‘Well, maybe I’m not.’ She added ‘APPROACH AT OWN PERIL’ to the list and slapped her notepad shut.

‘You were enjoying it fine a few moments ago.’

His eyes dared her to take issue with the inconvenient truth.

‘You didn’t give me time to … to change my mind,’ she said of their kiss. ‘I wasn’t ready.’

‘You’ve been ready since the last time we bumped lips.’

Bracing his forearms on his knees, he gave her that sexy grin that made her want to throw herself onto the couch next to him and beg him to do it again …

About the Author

ANNE OLIVER was born in Adelaide, South Australia, with its beautiful hills, beaches and easy lifestyle. She’s never left.

An avid reader of romance, Anne began creating her own paranormal and time travel adventures in 1998 before turning to contemporary romance. Then it happened—she was accepted by Harlequin Mills and Boon for their Modern Heat™ series in December 2005. Almost as exciting, her first two published novels won the Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year for 2007 and 2008. So, after nearly thirty years of yard duties and staff meetings, she gave up teaching to do what she loves most—writing full time.

Other interests include animal welfare and conservation, quilting, astronomy, all things Scottish, and eating anything she doesn’t have to cook. She’s travelled to Papua New Guinea, the west coast of America, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the UK and Holland.

Sharing her characters’ journeys with readers all over the world is a privilege and a dream come true.

You can visit her website at

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in Name Only?

Anne Oliver


AT LEAST SHE was going to die in spectacular fashion.

Chloe Montgomery clenched her fingers around the tacky tar-smelling rope and tried to imagine that she wasn’t suspended who knew how high? above the pitch-black auditorium in one of Melbourne’s finest entertainment venues.

A rough knot below her feet scratched her bare soles. The way-too-small-barely-there costume dug into her ribs, making breathing almost impossible—especially when every shallow gasp could be her last.

‘You’ll be fine, Chloe,’ the guy behind her whispered as he made a final adjustment to the slim safety harness at the back of her waist. ‘Trust me, you’ll be the highlight of the evening’s entertainment.’

‘Trust you …’ Her voice came out reed-thin, a touch hysterical and barely audible above the rushing sound in her ears. How was she going to get one note of Happy Birthday out when her throat was closing over? She was no singer at the best of times.

‘Ready?’ the guy murmured.

‘Mmm-hmm,’ she managed between tightly pressed lips. What insane reasoning had convinced Chloe that she was up for this—in any way?

Because she wanted—needed—to prove to her new boss that she was an asset to her event-planning business. No task too hard, no unforeseen circumstance she couldn’t handle.

So when the artist booked for the event was involved in a car accident on the way here, Chloe had stepped up to the plate—or, in this case, the rope. And if everything went as planned, she’d be lowered onto the birthday boy’s lap, kiss him on the cheek, someone would be there to unfasten her harness and she could escape to the venue’s kitchens, challenge met and dignity intact. Dana would be only too grateful and impressed and desperately keen to take on such a valuable, flexible employee full-time.

A single spotlight exploded into life, blinding her with its brilliance and holding her captive in its hot white light. The audience’s hushed murmur of anticipation rose into the stratosphere and she could feel every pair of eyes focused on her. Chloe, who’d spent her life trying and mostly failing to be someone people noticed, was finally the centre of attention.

A pity she was going to be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Thought fled