The Marriage Campaign

The Marriage Campaign (2006)
Harlequin Books

Campaign fund-raiser Lisa Meyer has worked hard to be her own boss and will let nothing — especially romance — interfere with her success. Then fate places sexy Mark Smith back in her path and sparks begin to fly. But if she lets herself fall for Mark, will she lose all she’s worked for? To Mark, Lisa is the perfect candidate for him to spend his life with. He’s already shared one passionate kiss with her and can’t resist the connection between them. Convincing her that they should treasure this second chance is another story, though. So Mark starts his own marriage campaign, one he’s determined to win… 

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  • Publisher: ‎ Harlequin American Romance; Original edition (August 8, 2006)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • Mass Market Paperback: ‎ 256 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 0373751311
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0373751310
  • Item Weight: ‎ 4.5 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎ 4.22 x 0.67 x 6.61 inches

What are Readers Saying

Love wins in this election

Lisa Meyer is an attendant at her best friend’s wedding, and happens to have a huge crush on her friend’s twin brother, Mark. At the reception he finally kisses her. Actually, not to put too fine a point on it, he does more than kiss her. He sweeps her off her feet and promises a night neither will forget. Then, before the evening ends, she sees him leave the reception with another woman. Lisa smiles through her anger and moves on.

In present day, eight years later, Lisa is a forceful campaign organizer and fund-raiser for a gubernatorial candidate in Missouri. Totally committed to electing her candidate and making a place for herself in his administration, she’s using a huge fund-raising event in St. Louis to prove she can handle the greater responsibility. Unfortunately, at the last moment, she finds herself face-to-face with Mark Smith, the man who ran out on her. He’s attending the function as the guest of honor and a major contributor. She thinks Mark is a snake, but (darn it!) she feels the old familiar pull to him.

Mark can’t believe that by filling in for his father at this fund-raiser, he’s found Lisa again. He remembers the night at his sister’s reception when he thought Lisa was “the one.” After helping a friend’s sick girlfriend to her car, he hurried back to find Lisa but she was gone. Although he’s still a little peeved that she dumped him all those years ago, he still feels an attraction, and he’s determined to find out if she feels the same. If she does, he has another campaign in mind for her: A marriage campaign.

I enjoy politics and so it was fun seeing how the supporting cast in a campaign works. The way Michele brought St. Louis locations into the story and wove in Lisa’s friends was well-done. Subsequent books will feature the friends as they find their true loves, too–good news for Michele’s fans!

Dee S. Knight

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Eight years later

That was the thing about funerals. You had to attend, and they were the absolute most inappropriate places to meet men. Which was why Lisa was trying hard to avoid staring at that tall, handsome guy across the way. After all, he’d started staring at her first.

Worse, he hadn’t let up.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” As the chaplain standing by the open grave droned on, Lisa Jean Meyer decided that she hated attending funerals, hated them even more than celebrating birthdays.

Birthdays made you feel old. Funerals made you feel mortal, as if you had too many things left to do and no time in which to do them. It didn’t matter if the burial was for someone you really didn’t know that well, as this one was, for funerals simply had a way of reminding you that you were about to turn thirty this year—and worse, that you were still single, with nary a promising prospect in sight, including that annoying hot guy standing behind the crowd on the other side of the grave.

He stood taller than those in the four rows in front of him, and his six-foot-plus height gave Lisa an excellent view of a head full of dark, silky hair. His eyes were a deep brown color, and when she glanced at him again, he held her gaze for the tiniest second before blinking and casually looking away. Despite the brevity of the connection, the encounter had left her with the oddest tingle, as if he were somehow familiar to her.

But that was impossible. She didn’t know anyone in St. Louis under the age of forty, aside from her coworkers. With her promotion to Herb’s lead fund-raiser formalized last week, Lisa had recently transferred from Jefferson City, and as soon as the November election was over, she’d be going back to the state capital. Of course, she hoped that would be with Herb’s gubernatorial victory.

Right now family duty called, and Lisa put the handsome mourner and the odd sense of déjà vu out of her mind. Dating and handsome men did not rate a spot in her top five priorities. The funeral had served as an unwelcome reminder that she seriously needed to spend more time with her parents, beyond required family holidays. Unfortunately her career often interfered with any good intentions: even now, her phone vibrated in her right pocket. Her career was priority number one.

Lisa sighed and tightened her arm around her petite mother’s shoulders. Funerals, no matter for whom, were depressing. “It’s okay,” Lisa whispered as her aunt’s cousin was lowered into the cold, hard ground.

A sharp wind swirled the leaves at her feet before climbing to toy with Lisa’s hair, causing her to shiver. The gust tore some of the blond strands loose from the chignon, and Lisa used her free hand to wipe the wayward locks away from her eyes. Her glove instead further damaged the stylist’s updo.

It was hard to believe that Easter had been the previous weekend, for spring had somehow missed St. Louis. Although the April fifteenth final-frost date had also come and gone, this year the trees were late in bringing forth green buds, and a last-minute freeze had decapitated the tulips and crocuses, leaving them wilting around the gray headstones. The north wind again whipped underneath the tent erected for the burial, and the ensuing chill penetrated Lisa’s skin despite the heavy black wool coat and tan leather gloves she wore.

“How are you holding up?” her mother asked. Blue eyes, so like Lisa’s own, reflected maternal concern.

Lisa stamped her feet slightly to keep the blood circulating. Her designer pumps did little to block the cold. “I’m fine. I’m more worried about you and Dad. I didn’t really know the man.”

“Well, you haven’t seen him since you were five,” her mother said as the minister mercifully ended the service. After everyone gave a relieved amen, Lisa’s mother added, “I hate that our family is drifting apart. We only seem to get together for weddings and funerals. Hopefully this is the last of the latter.”

“A double amen to that. Come on,” Lisa said, anxious to escape the cemetery. Now that the event was over and her family duties fulfilled, she had a fund-raising dinner that desperately required her attention. She led her mother away from the grave site and toward the line of cars snaking along the crushed gravel lane.

“So, will you be coming to Jud’s house?” her mother asked, mentioning Lisa’s uncle on her dad’s side. “He and Shelia are hosting the family lunch. Everyone would love to see you.”

Lisa shook her head. “I can’t.”

Disappointment etched her mother’s features and laced her tone. “Oh. You’re working.”

“I’m always working,” Lisa stressed, for truer words had never been spoken. Because from the very moment she’d stepped into high school and won her campaign for freshman class secretary, Lisa Meyer could be

described in one word: driven. She’d risen through the popularity ranks, delivered on her campaign promises and exited her senior year as class president and year-book editor.

She’d had a bit of a rude awakening in college, discovering that she might not have the qualities required to be a big-league politician. Facing failure in the arena she loved, she’d found the next best thing and become a political fund-raiser and campaign coordinator extraordinaire.

After all, someone had to run the behind-the-scenes operations, and there she’d found her niche. Now her goal was seeing Herbert Usher elected the next governor of Missouri.

“You should be at the post-funeral lunch,” her mother chided gently. “Your father’s side of the family will all be there.”

From the corner of her eye Lisa caught a glimpse of the tall, handsome man who’d been staring. He cut an impressive figure as he strode diagonally across the field toward the end of the row of cars. The crowd that had braved the weather had been thick, a solid tribute to her family.

“Mom, I did try to pencil in the family lunch, but I’ve got some important conference calls to make as soon as I get back to the hotel. Tonight’s a major fund-raiser, my first since I’ve arrived in town. And I’ll have to see if someone at the salon has time to fix my hair.”

As if proving her point, the wind again tore at her head, loosening more strands. When she’d made the appointment and planned out her day so that she could work in the funeral service, she hadn’t factored in the dreary weather Mother Nature might provide. Lisa was at least grateful it wasn’t raining, taking more time out of a day she wished had twenty-six hours to it.

“When does your work ever let up?” her mother asked. “Never,” Lisa said honestly, readying herself for the forthcoming parental dissatisfaction. “Until the August primary, I’ll be on call nonstop. And after we win that, I’ll be even busier until we win the November election. After that, I might be able to sleep.”

Her mother’s lips puckered. “We haven’t seen you in ages, and seeing you at funerals isn’t quality time. You missed celebrating Easter. While I love seeing Andy and the kids, just having your brother’s family around isn’t enough. Will we at least see you for your birthday?”

“Oh, Mom, please. Of course you’ll see me before that,” Lisa said, acknowledging her mother’s sarcasm. Lisa wasn’t turning thirty until early November, right after the national election. “Tell you what—how about I stop by this Saturday? Herb’s in Kansas City and Bradley’s overseeing.”