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From This Day Forward: The Wedding Belles #0.5 by Lauren Layne

From This Day Forward: The Wedding Belles #0.5 by Lauren Layne

I never expected a series based around wedding planners would be so clever or intriguing, but Lauren Layne managed to pique my interest and leave me anxious for the next in her new series The Wedding Belles.  A novella installment, this is a wonderful story from a perspective that was fresh and unique and oh so sexy. Please read on for my review, check out the tour stops to see what others thought and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where Two Winners will receive a Print ARC of TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, The Wedding Belles Book One

From This Day Forward

Men. *sigh* Sometimes they are just so stuck in their own stuff that they can’t get out of their own way.  It’s not just men though, as Leah soon proves with her stubborn refusal to listen to anything BUT the noise in her own head.

Wedding photographer Leah McHale is solidly confident about her own skills, and booked out years in advance for them.  Her friend Alexis, the owner of The Wedding Belles, THE up and coming wedding planning business in New York has offered her a career-changing wedding gig.  It only comes with one small hiccup – she needs to work in tandem with another photographer, and that photographer happens to be the one man she can’t forget – Jason.

Jason Rhodes, former foster kid turned Army Ranger, retired to photographer after a car bomb decimated his unit and sent him on a search for a new career.  Another photographer in the rolodex at Wedding Belles, Jason is handsome, charming and sexy, and comes with a reputation.

A fling between these two a year before ended with Leah’s discovery of a strange female in his house followed by radio silence leaves these two with sparks and unaddressed questions.  Who’s to blame? Oh they both are – to be sure. Leah, even after hearing Jason’s stories of his childhood and service couldn’t move past her knowledge of his player past.  Jason, with his own, and completely understandable, trust issues is unwilling to take a step out and risk rejection.  Instead, the two have tortured themselves with memories of what was, and questions linger.

If these two could only get past the hurt feelings and actually TALK to one another, and really listen, the story could end there. But, after days of off the charts sexual tension, some quiet moments of camaraderie and a SUPER steamy night – things are still unsettled.  These two are so frustrating in ALL the good ways, and both need intervention that fortunately comes to break through the walls of hurt, and bring them together.  A wonderful set-up for the series, with heat, heart and some clever dialogue mixes with the chaos of weddings from a new perspective.

From This Day Forward: The Wedding Belles #0.5 by Lauren Layne

Title: From This Day Forward
Author: Lauren Layne
Series: The Wedding Belles #0.5
Also in this series: To Have and to Hold, For Better or Worse, To Love and to Cherish
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Pocket Star
ISBN: 1501135198
Published on: 6 June, 2016
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 100
Rated: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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About the Book:

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...

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Header - Excerpt - Tasty

“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?”

Alexis nodded.

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.”

“Bring it.”

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.

 

Gazes can’t have a color, but eyes can.

 

This cut is to avoid “eye” repetition (if you accept my edit of “eyes” for “gaze”).

 

A person glances, but a gaze doesn’t glance–it can cut away and fall and be averted, though. See my fix.

 

Lauren Layne

OK

 

Stet these fragments for effect.

 

Giveaway - Tasty

 

About Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

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