The best man to be her Mr. Right?
Royal wedding planner Lindsay Reeves's first encounter with best man Zach Sullivan is when he sits on the wedding dress! But when preparations reach crisis point, Lindsay is forced to call on the infuriating playboy for his help.
But Zach's good looks, charm and cynicism about marriage become more of a distraction! In the business of happy-ever-afters, jaded Zach might just be Lindsay's toughest client yet!
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
A fifth generation California, Teresa Carpenter lives in San Diego within miles of her extensive family and knows with their help she can accomplish anything. She takes particular joy and pride in her nieces and nephews who are all bright, fit, shining stars of the future. If she’s not at a family event, you’ll usually find her at home reading or writing her next grand romance.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
"Now boarding, first-class passengers for Flight 510 to Florence."
Lindsay Reeves's ears perked up. She glanced at her watch; time had gotten away from her. She closed her tablet folio, tucked it into her satchel and then reached for the precious cargo she was personally escorting across the ocean. She hooked the garment bag holding the couture wedding dress for the future Queen of Halencia over her shoulder and began to move as the attendant made a second announcement. "First-class passengers now boarding."
"Welcome aboard." The attendant looked from the second ticket to Lindsay. "I'm sorry, both passengers will need to be present to board."
"We're both here. I bought a seat for this." She held up the garment bag.
The woman smiled but her eyes questioned Lindsay's sanity. "You bought a first-class ticket for your luggage?"
"Yes." She kept it at that, not wanting to draw any further attention. With the wedding only a month away, the world was alive with wedding dress fever.
"We have a storage closet in first class that can hold it if you want to refund the ticket before takeoff," the attendant offered.
"No, thank you." Lindsay pressed the second ticket into the woman's hand. "I'm not letting this bag out of my sight."
On the plane she passed a nice-looking older couple already seated in the first row and moved on to the last row where she spied her seats. She draped the garment bag over the aisle seat and frowned when it immediately slumped into a scrunched heap on the seat.
That wouldn't do. She pulled it back into place and tried to anchor it but when she let go, it drooped again. The weight of the dress, easily thirty pounds, made it too heavy to lie nicely. She needed something to hold it in place. After using her satchel to counter the weight temporarily, she slid past a young couple and their two children to speak to the flight attendant.
"We have a closet we can hang the dress in," the male attendant stated upon hearing her request.
"I've been paid not to let it out of my sight," she responded. True enough. Her reputation as a wedding planner to the rich and famous depended on her getting this dress to the wedding in pristine condition without anyone seeing it but her, the bride and her attendants.
"Hmm," the man—his name tag read Dan—tapped his lips while he thought.
"Welcome aboard, sir." Behind Lindsay another attendant, a blonde woman, greeted a fellow passenger.
Out of the corner of her eye Lindsay got the impression of a very tall, very broad, dark-haired man. She stepped into the galley to give them more room.
"You're the last of our first-class passengers," the attendant advised the man. "Once you're seated, please let me know if you need anything."
"Check," the man said in a deep, bass voice and moved down the aisle.
Goodness. Just the one word sent a tingle down Lindsay's spine. She sure hoped he intended to sleep during the long, red-eye flight. She wanted to get some work done and his voice might prove quite distracting.
"I've got it" Dan waved a triumphant hand. "We'll just put the seat in sleep mode and lay the bag across it." He poured a glass of champagne and then another. "Will that work?"
"Yes, that will be perfect. Thank you."
"Seats aren't allowed to be reclined during takeoff. Once we reach cruising altitude I'll be along to put the seat down. And I'll look for something to secure it in case the flight gets bumpy."
"Great. You've been very helpful."
Lindsay headed back to her seat. Halfway through first class she caught sight of the newcomer and her breath caught in the back of her throat. He was beautiful. There was no other word for it. Long, lean features with high cheekbones, dark, slanted eyebrows and long, black eyelashes. Dark stubble decorated his square jaw.
Suddenly her eyes popped wide and she let out a shriek. "Get up!" she demanded. "Get up right now!"
He was sitting on the dress!
A frown furrowed his brow. He slowly opened lambent brown eyes so stunning she almost forgot why she was yelling. Almost.
"Are you talking to me?" he asked in a deep, rasping voice.
"Yes." She confronted the man, hands on hips. "You're in my seat. Sitting on my dress. Get up!"
"What's the problem here?" The other attendant appeared next to her.
"He's in my seat." She pointed an accusing finger. "Sitting on my garment bag. Make him move."
Behind her a young child began to cry. Lindsay cringed but held her ground.
The beading on this dress was intricate, all hand-sewn. If it had to be repaired it would cost a fortune. And she'd already paid a pretty penny to make sure nothing happened to it. How could someone sit on a garment bag without noticing it?
"Let's all calm down." The blonde attendant squeezed by Lindsay. "Sir, can I ask you to stand, please?"
The man slowly rose. He had to duck to the side to avoid hitting the overhead compartment. He must be six-four, maybe six-five; a long way to glare up from five feet four. She managed.
"I'm not sitting on anything." He gestured across the aisle. "I moved it there because it was in my seat."
Lindsay looked to her left. The garment bag rested in a heap on the seat with her heavy satchel dumped on top. She jumped on it, removing her bag and smoothing the fabric. It was all mushed as though it had been sat on.
"May I see your tickets, please?" Dan requested.
Lindsay pulled hers from the front pocket of her satchel and waited to be vindicated.
"Actually, you're both in wrong seats. My fault, I'm afraid. I'm used to a different plane. I do apologize. Ms. Reeves, you are on the left and, Mr. Sullivan, you need to move forward a row."
Lovely. She couldn't even blame the beast. Except she did.
At least he'd be in the row ahead of her so she wouldn't have to have him next to her the entire flight.
His brown gaze went to the toddlers in the row in front of the one the attendant indicated. "I'd prefer the back row." He pasted on a charming smile. "Is it possible to trade seats?"
No. No. No.
"Of course." The blonde gushed, swayed, no doubt, by his dimples. "There was a cancellation so no one else is boarding in first class. Is there anything I can get you before we continue boarding?"
"A pillow would be nice."
"My pleasure, Mr. Sullivan." She turned to Lindsay. "Anything for you, ma'am?"
Ma'am? Seriously? "I'd like a pillow. And a blanket, please."
"We'll do a full turndown service after the flight gets started." She gave Sullivan a smile and disappeared behind the curtain to the coach area.
Lindsay stared after her. Did that mean she didn't get a pillow or a blanket? This was her first time flying first-class. So far she had mixed feelings. She liked the extra room and the thought of stretching out for the long flight. But Blondie wasn't earning any points.
Lindsay draped the garment bag over the window seat as best she could until the seat could be reclined. Unfortunately that put her in the aisle seat directly across from Mr. Tall, Dark and Inconsiderate.
Nothing for it. She'd just have to ignore him and focus on her work. It would take the entire flight to configure the seating arrangement for the reception. She had the list of guests from the bride and the list of guests from the groom. And a three-page list of political notes from the palace of who couldn't be seated next to whom and who should be seated closer to the royal couple. What had started as a private country wedding had grown to include more than a hundred guests as political factors came into play.
It was a wedding planner's nightmare. But she took it as an opportunity to excel.
Before she knew it she was being pushed back in her chair as the plane lifted into the air. Soon after, Dan appeared to fold down the window seat. He carefully laid the heavy garment bag in place and secured it with the seat belt and a bungee cord. She thanked him as she resumed her seat.
She glanced out of the corner of her eye to see Sullivan had his pillow—a nice, big, fluffy one. Ignore him. Easier thought than done. He smelled great; a spicy musk with a touch of soap.
Eyes back on her tablet, she shuffled some names into table seats and then started to run them against her lists to see if they were all compatible. Of course, they weren't. Two people needed to be moved forward and two people couldn't be seated together. That left four people at the table. She moved people to new tables and highlighted them as a reminder to check out the politics on them. And repeated the process.
A soft snore came from across the way—much less annoying than the shrill cry of one of the toddlers demanding a bandage for his boo-boo. Blondie rushed to the rescue and the boy settled down. Except for loud outbursts like that, the two boys were actually well behaved. There'd been no need for Sullivan to move seats.
"Would you care for a meal, Ms. Reeves?" Dan appeared beside her.
She glanced at the time on her tablet. Eight o'clock. They'd been in the air an hour. "Yes, please."
"You have a choice of chicken Cordon bleu or beef Stroganoff."
"I'll have the beef. With a cola."
He nodded and turned to the other side of the aisle. Before he could ask, Sullivan said he'd have the beef and water.
Her gaze collided with his. Brown eyes with specks of gold surveyed her, interest and appreciation sparkled in the whiskey-brown depths, warm and potent.
Heat flooded her, followed by a shiver.
"What's in the bag?" he asked, his voice even deeper and raspier from sleep. Way too sexy for her peace of mind.
"None of your business." She turned back to her table plan.
"Must be pretty important for you to get so upset. Let me guess, a special dress for a special occasion?" He didn't give up.
"Yes. If you must know. And it's my job to protect it."
"Protect it? Interesting. So it's not your dress."
She rolled her eyes and sent him a droll stare. "I liked you better when you were snoring."
He grinned, making his dimples pop. "I deserve that. Listen, I'm sorry for my attitude earlier and for sitting on the dress. I had wine with dinner and wine always gives me a headache."
Lindsay glared at Sullivan. "So you did sit on the dress." She knew it. That had definitely been a butt print on the bag.
He blinked, all innocence. "I meant I'm sorry for dumping it over there."
His grin never wavered.
"Why did you have wine with dinner if it gives you a headache?"
The smile faded. "Because dinner with my folks always goes better with a little wine. And I'm going to have a headache at the end either way."
"Okay, I get that." Lindsay adored her flighty, dependent mother but, yeah, dinners were easier with a little wine. Sometimes, like between husbands, a lot of wine was required.
A corner of his rather nice mouth kicked up. "You surprise me, Ms. Reeves. I'd have thought you'd be appalled."
"Parents aren't always easy." She closed her tablet to get ready for her meal. "It doesn't mean we don't love them."
"Amen. Respect is another matter."
That brought her attention around. He wore a grim expression and turmoil churned in his distracted gaze. The situation with his parents must be complicated. It was a sad day when you lost respect for the person you loved most in the world. She understood his pain only too well.
Thankfully, Dan arrived with a small cart, disrupting old memories. He activated a tray on the side of her seat and placed a covered plate in front of her along with a glass of soda. Real china, real crystal, real silverware. Nice. And then he lifted the cover and the luscious scent of braised meat and rich sauce reached her.
"Mmm." She hummed her approval. "This looks fantastic."
"I can promise you it is," Dan assured her. "Chef LaSalle is the pride of the skies."
She took her first bite as he served Sullivan and moaned again. She couldn't help it, the flavors burst in her mouth, seducing her taste buds.
"Careful, Ms. Reeves," Sullivan cautioned. "You sound like you're having a good time over there."
"Eat. You'll understand." She took a sip of her drink, watching him take a bite. "Or maybe not. After all, you've already eaten."
"I wasn't hungry earlier. Damn, this is good." He pointed to the video screen. "Shall we watch a movie with our meal?"
She was tempted. Surprising. After the disaster of last year, work had been her major consolation. She rarely took the time to relax with a movie. She was too busy handling events for the stars of those movies. A girl had to work hard to make the stars happy in Hollywood. And she had to work harder than the rest after allowing an old flame to distract her to the point of putting her career at risk. But she'd learned her lesson.
Luckily she'd already signed the contract for this gig. And she planned to make the royal wedding of the Crown Prince of Halencia, Antonio de l'Accardi, to the commoner, Christina Rose, the wedding of the century.
Thirty days from now no one would be able to question her dedication—which meant returning to the puzzle of the table seating.
"You go on," she told Sullivan. "I have to get back to my work."
"What are you doing over there? Those earlier moans weren't as pleasant as your dinner noises."
"It's a creative new form of torture called a seating arrangement."
"Ah. It sounds excruciating."
"Oh, believe me. It's for a political dinner and there are all these levels of protocols of who can sit with whom. And then there's the added element of personal likes and dislikes. It's two steps back for every one step forward. And it's a lot of manual double-checking...talk about a headache."
"Politics usually are." The grimness in his tone told her there was something more there. Before she had time to wonder about it, he went on. "The information isn't on spreadsheets?"
"It is, but there are more than a hundred names here. I have to seat a table and then check each name to see if they're compatible."
"You know you can set up a program that can look at the information and tell you whether the table mates are compatible at the time you put the name in."
She blinked at him. "That would be wonderful. How do I do that exactly?"
He laughed, a deep, friendly sound, then rattled off a string of commands that had her eyes glazing over. "The setup will take a few minutes but will likely save you hours overall."
"Yeah, but you lost me at the word 'algorithm.'" She wiped her mouth with the cloth napkin. "You really had my hopes up for a minute there."
"Sorry, tech talk. I own a company that provides software for cyber security. A program like this really isn't that difficult. Let me see your computer after dinner and I'll do it for you. It'll take me less than an hour."
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Book Description Mills & Boon. Book Condition: Very Good. The Best Man & The Wedding Planner With preparations in crisis, royal wedding planner Lindsay must call on the playboy best man, Zach Sullivan, for help. But his good looks, charm and cynicism about marriage are a total distraction. Zach might just be Lindsay's toughest client yet! Series: Mills & Boon Cherish. Num Pages: 416 pages. BIC Classification: FRD. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 109 x 170 x 19. Weight in Grams: 182. Some minor shelf wear but remains good. 2015. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # KEC0013119
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Book Description Mills & Boon, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. In VERY GOOD overall condition, with some signs of previous ownership. Daily dispatch from UK warehouse. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000057974
Book Description Mills & Boon, 2015. Book Condition: Very Good. The Best Man & The Wedding Planner With preparations in crisis, royal wedding planner Lindsay must call on the playboy best man, Zach Sullivan, for help. But his good looks, charm and cynicism about marriage are a total distraction. Zach might just be Lindsay's toughest client yet! Series: Mills & Boon Cherish. Num Pages: 416 pages. BIC Classification: FRD. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 109 x 170 x 19. Weight in Grams: 182. Some minor shelf wear but remains good. 2015. Paperback. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # KEC0013119
Book Description Mills & Boon, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. 9780263251890 Will be shipped promptly from UK warehouse. Book is in good condition with no missing pages, no damage or soiling and tight spine. There may be some dog-eared pages showing previous use but overall a great book. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780263251890
Book Description Mills & Boon 19/11/2015, 2015. Book Condition: Good. This book is in good or better condition. It has no tears to the pages and no pages will be missing from the book. The spine of the book is still in great condition and the front cover is generally unmarked. It has signs of previous use but overall is in really nice, tight condition. Shipping is normally same day from our UK warehouse. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780263251890