Happy is the Bride

Happy is the Bride June 2017“fresh” ~Publishers Weekly

“authored by four talented authors each putting their own unique signature to this lovely book” ~Fresh Fiction

“Johnson gives us humor and heat” ~RT Book Reviews

Stirring up all the romance and excitement a bride could hope for—plus a healthy dose of unforeseen shenanigans–four of today’s most dazzling bestselling authors deliver the wedding of the year, where there’s something—and someone—for everyone…

Opposites attract when a wealthy cattleman and a penniless artist decide to get hitched at a Texas dude ranch in tornado country—and the whirlwind festivities are as filled with surprises as their love…especially when the guest list includes: one pretty party crasher on a mission, a sheriff known as the One Night Stand King, and a workaholic event planner who definitely did not plan to fall for a laid back cowboy.

Toss in a shocking behind-the-scenes bet, a fateful power outage, and a Man of Honor and a Best Woman determined to see the worst in each other (between hot kisses), plus thrilling lessons in love at first—and second—sight, and the celebrations are going to go all night long!

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REVIEW:

“City girl falling for country boy is standard romance fare, but it feels fresh when Austin wedding planner Erin and ranch hand Tanner grouse to each other about how they don’t understand millennials… Each couple sizzles with chemistry…there are plenty of heartwarming moments for fans of lighthearted fare.” ~Publishers Weekly

“These four novellas are all seamlessly tied together with a common storyline: a nontraditional wedding between a wealthy Texas cattle rancher and a vegan artist. Each couple is connected somehow to the wedding, and the authors do a great job with character and plot continuity. Wilde’s story sizzles with tension, batner and chemistry. Johnson gives us humor and heat, though the main characters do take a detour down Misunderstanding Trail. Pearce’s story is sweet and spicy, and Dailey’s is sexy and heartwarming.”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

EXCERPT

A wedding on three weeks’ notice.

The bride and groom must be crazy to plan such a thing.

No, she must be crazy to agree to put it together for them . . . and on a dude ranch no less!

But now that Erin realized who the groom’s family was, it was a good thing she had said yes. The Cutwrights were an important family in this part of the country, with the money to match the status. Having their wedding on her résumé would boost her reputation and her business in a way that no amount of posting on social media could—no matter what Jessica said.

But in exchange for that coup, she was certainly being put through the wringer.

Erin drew in a breath as she bounced along in the passenger seat next to a cowboy who spent more time fiddling with the radio than he did keeping his eyes on the road. Though, actually, they’d left the road a few miles ago. Now they seemed to be driving in a field of some kind. Nothing roadlike about it.

He hit another pothole or gopher hole or whatever kind of hole was found out in the middle of nowhere and Erin’s teeth clashed together. She’d be lucky if she didn’t end up biting her own tongue off during this ride from hell.

“Where exactly are we going?” she asked.

“Chapel.”

Another one-word answer. Those were all she seemed to have gotten from him since they’d climbed into the truck. Oh, he was a perfect gentleman but not exactly a conversationalist.

She gripped the safety bar above her head a little tighter and shot him a sideways glance.

This man was all Texan and all cowboy, from the dirty boots and jeans right down to the can of chewing tobacco she’d noticed tucked away beneath the dashboard in the center console. Which was what made it even stranger that she couldn’t stop looking at him.

Maybe it was the sun-kissed light brown hair. Or the green-blue eyes. Or just the fact that he was so completely the opposite of almost every guy she came across in Austin.

Austin was in Texas, but it seemed more like an artistic island set adrift in a sea of ranches.

The population of the city was probably made up of as many transplants as locals.

The cultural scene was unique on to itself. Austin was a Mecca for music lovers and musicians alike. It was the kind of city where you could not only find a vegan bakery but the business did so well they were thinking of expanding into a second location. And in Austin you were as likely to see a fuel-efficient hybrid as a good ol’ boy diesel truck.

She suspected here, not too far outside of the city, Tanner Black’s life was the complete opposite.

The top one hundred country songs played on the preset radio stations in his oversized, fuel-guzzling pickup truck. She’d bet he ate meat and potatoes for every meal. Accompanied by a good old American Budweiser. No micro brewed local beer for this man.

After having met him just an hour ago, Erin had a strong sense of who he was already. What she couldn’t figure out was why she felt a tiny bit of disappointment every time he gave her one of his one-word answers.

“So Brady’s friend owns the church as well as the dude ranch?” she asked in an attempt to spur conversation.

“Chapel. And, yup, she does.”

At least that was more than one word, but the response hadn’t given Erin any more satisfaction than his previous ones had.

He hit another bump that jostled her nearly out of her seat. She gripped the seat belt cutting into her chest with one hand and clung harder to the ceiling handle with the other.

“Have we considered how the guests are going to drive out here? It’s kind of rough going.” The way Tanner’s truck was bouncing on this rough terrain, she didn’t think a normal car would be able to navigate it.

“Don’t know. That’s not my responsibility.”

This was a real issue, and that the bride and groom hadn’t thought of it was a big problem for her. Make that another problem in an already challenging event.

With a huff of frustration, she asked, “What is your responsibility?”

For the first time during the drive, he turned to look directly at her. A crooked smile lifted one corner of his mouth. “Right now, babysitting you.”

The cocky grin confused her. He slammed on the brakes and threw the truck into park before she could decide whether he was angry about his babysitting duty or not.

Erin frowned. “Why are we stopping?”

They appeared to be in the middle of nowhere.

“We’re here.” He tipped a chin in the direction of something past the passenger side of the truck. When she could wrestle her eyes off the dark shadow of the stubble covering his chin and stop wondering if it would feel as tantalizing against her skin as it looked, she twisted in the seat to follow his gaze.

There, in the middle of the field, was a building. Smaller than she’d envisioned, it was obviously the chapel.

He was right. It was definitely not a church in the conventional sense. Nothing like the big, modern structures you’d find in a city. Nor like the imposing old churches modeled after Gothic cathedrals.

This was so quaint and so picturesque she wouldn’t be at all surprised to find a row of artists lined up with easels and canvases attempting to capture its charm.

“It’s beautiful.”

“Yeah, it is.”

Surprised, she swung her eyes to look at Tanner. That he had an opinion and had agreed with her was more than she’d expected.

“Does anyone use it?” she asked.

“You worried it’s full of mice and spiderwebs?”

She hadn’t considered that before, but now . . . “A little. But I’m curious, too. It’s so charming, but it really is off the beaten path.”

“Meg uses it for the guests at the ranch. But nah, there’s not a weekly Sunday service, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“Can we go inside?”

“Sure. That’s why we’re here.” He turned off the ignition and reached for the driver’s side door handle.

Erin was just pulling her cell phone out of her bag so she could snap a few pictures when the passenger door opened, startling her. She spun to find Tanner standing with one hand out.

Damn him. Just when she’d made up her mind that he was a jerk, he was acting the perfect gentleman by opening her door and offering a hand to help her out of the high truck.

She turned in her seat and his gaze dropped to her shoes. “Those heels aren’t gonna be your friend in this dirt.”

“I’m afraid you’re right.” She cringed and glanced at how far down the ground looked from here. Climbing up had been challenging enough, but climbing—or maybe jumping down—was scary. Especially in four-inch spikes. She laughed. “Any suggestions for my dismount?”

He smiled. “Don’t worry. I gotcha.”

Before she knew what he had in mind, big, strong hands encompassed her waist and she was flying through the air only to land softly on the ground. He continued to hold her as she grabbed for his biceps when she felt her heels sink into the grass and soft dirt.

“You okay?” he asked.

Still gripping muscles that felt much harder beneath her hands than they’d looked peeking from beneath the short sleeves of his T-shirt, she managed to nod. “I think so. You’re right. These are impractical shoes. Lesson learned.”

“They’re nice though.”

A compliment from the man of few words threw her. “Thanks.”

She realized she probably should let go of him now. Or at least soon.

The fact that his hands remained on her waist didn’t help her nervous reaction to this man.

What was it about him? She’d met with powerful CEOs of Fortune 500 corporations, as well as demanding fathers of brides who wanted to dictate where every penny of their money was going. She’d never felt quite like this. Not like the way she was feeling in front of one working cowboy who’d already told her the only thing he was responsible for regarding this wedding was babysitting her.

But oh how good his hands felt on her.

Work. That would help her get her head back on straight and hopefully make her stop thinking about how good those big, strong hands would feel on the rest of her body.

While she was naked.

In bed.

With him.