The Best Laid Wedding Plans
Author: Lynnette Austin
Series: Magnolia Brides, Book 1
Release date: November 3, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca
SOME DREAMS ARE WORTH WHATEVER IT TAKES
Jenni Beth Beaumont left her broken heart behind when she took her dream job in Savannah. But after her brother's death, Jenni Beth returns home to help mend her parents' hearts as well as restore their beautiful but crumbling antebellum mansion. New dreams take shape as Jenni Beth sets to work replacing floors and fixing pipes to convert the family homestead into the perfect wedding destination. However, some folks in their small Southern town are determined to see her fail.
Cole Bryson was once the love of Jenni Beth's life, but the charming architectural salvager has plans of his own for the Beaumont family home. As the two butt heads,
old turmoil is brought to the surface and Cole and Jenni Beth will have to work through some painful memories and tough realities before they can set their pasts aside and have a second chance at their own happily ever after.
Full Name: Kimberly Alicia Atherton
Occupation: Serial Divorcee
Physical description: Five-feet-five, bottle blond, chin-length hair, brown eyes, and very well-endowed.
Describe yourself in 100 words or less:
Okay, so let’s be honest. I’m Misty Bottoms’ mean girl, and I have to say I worked pretty darned hard for that title. When I see what I want, I go for it. In high school, when Cole Bryson asked me to the prom? Heck, yeah, I said yes. I mean, seriously, would you turn him down? No, you would not! Gotta say, though, that life hasn’t been exactly what I’d imagined. Two husbands and on the search for number three! I love to wear my red cowboy boots, a pair of denims short enough to show my…you know, my assets and a T-shirt covered in bling!
What is your favorite thing about living in Misty Bottoms? Where in Misty Bottoms can you most often be found?
My mom and dad still live here, and, hey, this is home. It’s a small town, and it’s kind of nice to know everybody. That can be a two-edged sword, though, because my potty mouth still gets back to my mom, who insists I’m not too old to have my mouth washed out with soap. I really like hanging out at Duffy’s Pub. It’s a good place to have a cold beer, play a little pool, and, who knows? Maybe I can find hubby number three there.
When not working, how do you spend your time?
Right now, I’m actually driving down to Savannah a couple days a week, taking a cosmetology class. I really hope Helen, the owner of Frenchie’s Beauty Parlor, will give me a break and hire me to do nails at her salon.
If money was no object and you had 3 weeks of vacation, what would you do with your time?
I’d take my mom and go to a spa in some exotic location. Somewhere we could get massages and facials and they had room service. The farthest I’ve ever made it from Misty Bottoms was Atlanta. My first husband and I lived in a tiny little speck on the map between here and there, and my second husband and I lived in an even smaller town.
Describe your dream wedding:
My dream wedding starts with a guy who loves me and will actually stick with me—even when I do stupid things. I mean, don’t we all make mistakes? And shouldn’t we all have a second, okay, a third chance?
The actual wedding? Well, let me tell you, it would be a whole lot different from either of my first two. Larry and I went to a JP for a quickie wedding, and Joe and I got married at his house by a friend who had a license to do that. Believe me, neither of them was my dream wedding! I’d love to have a really girlie, really romantic wedding. You know, with the big dress, a long, white one with a huge skirt and lots of ruffles. No, wait. I changed my mind. I’ve got a body! Why not show it off?
For flowers? Roses. Lots and lots of roses. Oh, and a pink cake.
Her experienced gaze scrutinized the scene, took in both the setting and the people, alert for any problems. The arbor, with its draping of wisteria, had turned out beautifully and smelled like heaven itself. The bride’s family, the groom’s family—both wore expressions of happiness mixed with a touch of relief.
Jenni Beth’s eyes drifted to the flower girl. Daniella was antsy, her little fingers busily plucking the lace from the basket that held rose petals. And what in the world was Ricky, the ring bearer, doing to his shoelaces? Her eyes narrowed. Had he tied them together? Oh, boy.
As the sun set, the minister announced the newly joined Mr. and Mrs. Talbot, and Jenni Beth clapped with the rest of the guests while checking to make sure the walkway remained clear. The music began on cue, and the happy couple started down the aisle, hands laced, smiles bright.
When the ring bearer tripped, the best man scooped him onto one shoulder, diverting a minor catastrophe. She’d have to remember to thank him for the quick thinking.
If the reception went as smoothly, she could congratulate herself on a job well done.
While the bride and groom funneled their guests through the receiving line, Jenni Beth bolted to a separate section of the garden to make sure the cake, the bubbly, and the band were in place. She did a last-minute check on table settings, place cards, candles—the list was never ending.
The music started, the bridal party wended their way to the area, and the celebration began.
As the evening wore on, Jenni Beth relaxed.
A familiar voice whispered in her ear. “Dance with me.”
Cole Bryson. She hadn't seen his name on the guest list.
Shivers raced down her spine, and her heart stuttered. It had been too long, not long enough. “No.”
She wouldn't turn around, wouldn't meet those mesmerizing eyes.
His hands settled on her bare arms, and she nearly jumped. As the work-roughened hands moved over her skin, her stomach started a little dance of its own.
“I'm working, Cole.”
“Nothin' needs doin’ right now. Come on, sugar.”
Knowing she shouldn't, she turned to face him. Mistake. She always had found him irresistible, and that hadn't changed. He'd perfected that slow Southern drawl, had the sound of a true gentleman. But the twinkle in his eyes gave him away. Revealed the bad boy tucked not far below the surface.
Right now, dressed in a dark suit and tie, the man looked like every woman's dream. He appeared smooth and debonair, but beneath lay the wild.
He took her hand, and, God forgive her, she followed him, weak-kneed onto the portable dance floor, telling herself she didn't want to, that she only did it to keep peace. Knowing she lied.
A full moon shone overhead and candlelight flickered. When he drew her into his arms and pulled her close, she sighed. One hand held hers, the other settled south of her waist.
“You smell good, Jenni Beth. You always do.”
His voice, low and husky, sent goosebumps racing up and down her arms. Despite herself, she rested her head against his chest, seduced by the strong, steady beat of his heart, the illusion he could make everything and anything all right.
The luxury of staying home when the weather turns nasty, of working in PJs and bare feet, and the fact that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged, are a few of the reasons middle school teacher Lynnette Austin gave up the classroom to write full-time. Lynnette grew up in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Mountains, moved to Upstate New York, then to the Rockies in Wyoming. Presently she and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A finalist in RWA's Golden Heart Contest, PASIC's Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers' Maggie Contest, she’s published five books as Lynnette Hallberg. She’s currently writing as Lynnette Austin. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody...and all their business, for better or worse.
Social Networking Links