Series: The Wedding Belles #1
Published by Pocket Books on July 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne is the ÔÇ£queen of witty dialogue and sexy scenesÔÇØ (Rachel Van Dyken)! Now, Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any brideÔÇÖs dream come true... but their own.
Discovering her fiance is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin's businessÔÇöand breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks sheÔÇÖs found it with her first bridal client, a sweetÔÇöif slightly spoiledÔÇöhotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman whoÔÇÖs holding the purse strings.
Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya's fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving MayaÔÇÖs fiance is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs BrookeÔÇÖs help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning... is theirs?
Lauren Layne’s newest series, The Wedding Belles,┬áis kicked off with a wonderful story line and some endearing characters.┬áThis is only the second book by her that I’ve read but I see a future as an Lauren Layne one click fan. ┬áWithin the first few pages I fell for Seth, and then when I met Brooke, it seemed they were fated for some type of relationship as┬áBrooke escapes her status an a duped bride and finds her world suddenly filled with Seth Tyler as she plans his sister Mayas’ wedding
What I love about Laurens characters is that they are multi-dimensional but not over complicated. She uses the story line to advance their back stories so we can understand what motivates them. They are contemplative which makes reading them a joy.┬á With Brooke, her own fiance’s deception is enough to make her question her own judgement yet she remains optimistic, but only for others.
“She was a romantic, sure, but she was also deliberate in her romanticism. As though her unshakable belief in happily ever after was a conscious decision rather than a default fantasy born out of naivete.”
With Seth, his life is really filled with work, and his own lack luster relationship history is a great excuse to avoid getting involved. ┬áBut once Brooke and Seth begin to relax around each other and the conversation begins to flow, the connection can’t be stopped.
“You were so reserved and yet so forward. The contradiction was puzzling, and I wanted to know what you wanted.” ~ Brooke
As the story line progresses he inserts himself in Brooke’s life and try as she might, she can’t ignore him or their growing attraction. It ‘s no surprise that this ┬áleads to lots of flirting (and some very well done sexy scenes). ┬áThere’s also bit of drama. as Seth makes some bad decisions that create a divide between them. I thought his actions were sweet in that over protective way, but it gives us┬ásome angst.
But a series about wedding planners must be filled with hope for love and Layne does a really stellar job delivering that with smart characters and great dialogue. the ending ┬ágave me the sometimes elusive warm fuzzies and those tears that prickle at the back of the eye. ┬áWhen my husband asked what I was reading ( what would give me watery eyes?) ┬áand I gave him the title, he said “Awe” in such a sweet tone it gave me my very warm and fuzzy moment. YAY me 🙂 ┬á4 Stars and recommendation.
~Review by Cyndi
(Five (5) Exclusive Print Copies of FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, A Wedding Belles Novella)
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ItÔÇÖs not as though Brooke had meant to start dating a con man. She certainly didnÔÇÖt intend to get engaged to one.
But thatÔÇÖs the thing about con mans. The good ones were good at, well . . . the con.
And Clay Battaglia had been a good one. The best, actually, if you took the word of the FBI agent whoÔÇÖd debriefed Brooke and her familyÔÇöwhile she was still in her wedding dress.
Turns out that while Brooke had been happily building her wedding-planning company, Clay had been quietly and competently been getting away with every white-collar crime in the book. While sheÔÇÖd been planning their wedding, heÔÇÖd apparently been knee-deep in yet another Ponzi scheme.
Brooke hadnÔÇÖt even known what a Ponzi scheme was when the FBI had told her.
She did now.
Following ClayÔÇÖs arrest, she spent weeks researching white-collar crime. Wanting to know what heÔÇÖd been up to all those times heÔÇÖd quietly kissed her forehead late at night and told her he needed to make some phone calls for ÔÇ£work.ÔÇØ Wanting to know what her life would have been like if the FBI hadnÔÇÖt taken him down before theyÔÇÖd exchanged vows.
Still, while Brooke would be ever grateful that sheÔÇÖd learned the truth before sheÔÇÖd become Mrs. Clay Battaglia, sheÔÇÖd be lying if she didnÔÇÖt admit that the timing of it had stung just a little bit.
If theyÔÇÖd only taken him down a day before. Heck, even an hour before.
Just moments after Brooke kissed her fatherÔÇÖs cheek and prepared to marry the man she loved at the wedding sheÔÇÖd poured her heart into, the FBI stormedÔÇöyes, stormedÔÇöthe church.
Clay was in handcuffs before she even registered what was happening.
Numbly she watched as he listened to his Miranda rights at the precise moment he should have been listening to the vows sheÔÇÖd spent months writing.
And as reality slowly sunk in, Brooke waited. Waited for him to look at her. To look at her and say that it was all a lie. All one big misunderstanding, and that theyÔÇÖd be on their way to Bermuda as planned by tomorrow.
He didnÔÇÖt even apologize.
No, the man sheÔÇÖd loved for two years with every fiber of her being merely smiled at her and then shrugged.
ThereÔÇÖd been plenty of photos taken that day, but that was the one that made it onto the front page of every major newspaper on the West Coast.
ÔÇ£The Greatest Con of All.ÔÇØ ÔÇ£Arrested by Love.ÔÇØ And her personal favorite, courtesy of her very own LA Times: ÔÇ£White-Collar Bride.ÔÇØ
The stories all read pretty much like youÔÇÖd expect. About Clay, mostly, and the litany of accusations against him, but also about Brooke.
The papers had stopped short of defamation, but the implications were there. She was clueless and ditzy at best, a potentially overlooked accomplice at worst. Completely oblivious to the fact that sheÔÇÖd been sharing a roof with the most nefarious white-collar criminal in a generationÔÇöor pretending to be.
None of that had bothered her. What had bothered her was that sheÔÇÖd been a fool. Self-absorbed, naive, and downright blind.
Brooke had been dodging dumb-blonde jokes for most of her life, but the debacle with Clay was the first time she thought she might really, truly be deserving of the title.
She hadnÔÇÖt been surprised when new clients had stopped calling. HadnÔÇÖt been surprised when current clients canceled. Nobody wanted to hire that wedding planner.
Brooke had even been relieved, at first. In those first weeks after ClayÔÇÖs arrest, she hadnÔÇÖt been able to handle any talk of weddings. Not her own, and not other peopleÔÇÖs.
But the worst part of all of this, the part that kept her up long into the lonely nights, wasnÔÇÖt the negative effect on her career. No, the worst part was that sometimes, in the very darkest corner of her soul, she feared that she might still love Clay, at least a little. Sure, her brain knew that all the things sheÔÇÖd loved about Clay had been a lie. Her brain understood that his name wasnÔÇÖt even Clay.
But her heart? Her heart was having a harder time forgetting the way he always let her be the little spoon and tuck her cold feet against his warm calves. Or the way heÔÇÖd brought her coffee in bed every morning. Or the way sheÔÇÖd come home after a long day with the worst sort of bridezilla and Clay would make them cocktails and sit on the deck with her, and watch the sunset and laugh.
SheÔÇÖd imagined that all their nights would be like that. All the nights for the rest of her life, with maybe with a couple of kids thrown into the mix eventually.
There wouldnÔÇÖt be any more nights on the patio watching the sunset with Clay. WouldnÔÇÖt be any patio at all, because BrookeÔÇÖs real estate broker had made it quite clear that she should be counting herself lucky to get a dishwasher in New YorkÔÇöa patio was out of the question.
So no patio. No Clay, or whatever his real name was.
No man at all, really.
No falling in love.
Not ever again.