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FROM THIS DAY FORWARD
The Wedding Belles #0.5
Released June 6th, 2016
Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in this prequel to USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s The Wedding Belles series about three high-powered New York City women who can plan any wedding—but their own.
Up-and-coming wedding photographer Leah McHale’s career is on the rise–thanks in no small part to the Wedding Belles, the elite New York wedding planning agency that always throws top-tier business Leah’s way. So when one of the Belles asks Leah to fill in at the former First Daughter's wedding, Leah is overjoyed to say yes–until she finds out who she’ll be working with.
Jason Rhodes is the one man who was able to capture Leah’s heart and, once he had it, promptly stepped all over it and left her broken. Now he’s working side-by-side with her at the biggest wedding of the season and Leah is determined to give him the cold shoulder. Despite his persistence, she is not going to fall for his charming, impish ways again. Not even if he still has that killer, irresistible smile...
“Do you have any plans for your unexpectedly free weekend?” Alexis asked as she perused the menu.
Leah’s eyes narrowed on her friend. Alexis Morgan might be the queen of poker face, but Leah had known Alexis for close to a decade now. She knew when she was being handled, and right now, Alexis was definitely working up to something.
Instead of answering the question, Leah took a sip of her mimosa and waited. When Alexis’s brown eyes flicked up to hers, Leah merely lifted her brows. Waited some more.
With a sigh, Alexis set the menu aside and folded both arms on the table, leaning toward Leah. “I need a favor.”
“Anything,” Leah said automatically, meaning it completely.
Her relationship with Alexis may have started as a business arrangement—they’d both arrived in the city ten years earlier with big dreams of pursuing their dream careers.
But somewhere along the way, Alexis and Leah had transitioned from sometimes business associates to friends. Alexis had been there for Leah when she’d needed her, and Leah fully intended to repay the favor any way she could.
“I need you to work the Preston wedding.”
Leah blinked. “The Preston wedding. As in, the wedding of the former First Daughter we were just talking about? The one this weekend?”
Leah sat back, stunned. “Holy crap, Lex. That’s not really me doing you a favor, hon. More like the other way around. This would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me. For any photographer.”
“I know, but I still hate asking last minute like this. If it were up to me, I’d have recommended you from the very beginning, but Kylie’s college roommate and her husband are a two-person photographer team, and Kylie wanted to give the opportunity to her friend.”
“So what happened? They had a falling-out?”
Alexis shook her head. “They live in San Francisco and she’s a few months pregnant. There was some complication; she’s been put on bed rest. Nothing serious, just a precaution, but ergo . . . she’s certainly not going to be flying to New York any time soon, and certainly can’t be photographing a wedding.”
“Ugh. That sucks,” Leah said sympathetically.
Alexis smiled. “This is why I knew you were right for the job. You get it. You get people.”
Leah rolled her eyes. “You hardly have to sweet talk me into taking a job that’s likely to be the highest-profile wedding of my career.”
Alexis glanced down at her Bloody Mary, stirring a pickled green bean. “Well there is one tiny thing I haven’t mentioned.”
Alexis looked up. “It’s a huge wedding. One photographer’s not going to cut it.”
Leah waved her hand. “Oh please. My ego’s not so big I can’t handle a little teamwork. Who else you bringing in?”
Alexis bit her lip, and Leah tensed at the rare unease she saw on her usually confident friend’s face.
Alexis leaned forward and touched her arm. “Leah, you have to know how impossible it is to book one good photographer on short notice in June, much less two, and I’m counting myself lucky because two of the best happened to be available, but . . .”
“But what?” Leah asked, her heart pounding faster as she somehow knew what her friend was trying to say. Knew whose name Alexis was terrified to say.
Alexis’s gaze cut away from hers and fell somewhere over Leah’s shoulder, even as Leah felt the shiver of awareness that someone else had stepped into her personal space.
Alexis glared at the newcomer. “You’re early, Rhodes.”
Leah’s heart stopped, just for a moment. Slowly, she turned around and glanced up into the dark brown eyes of Jason Rhodes.
He pulled a toothpick from his mouth and gave her a slow, sexy once-over. “Hiya, Red. Long time.”
Leah could only shake her head. It had been a long time, but not nearly long enough.
Not only was he the one man on the planet she could absolutely, positively not work with.
He was the one man who Leah had let in close enough to break her heart.
In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.
In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.
For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!