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Best Man

Best Man

Автором Katy Evans

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Best Man

Автором Katy Evans

оценки:
4/5 (37 оценки)
Длина:
249 pages
3 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Nov 30, 2019
ISBN:
9781732443921
Формат:

Описание

A brand new contemporary romance from New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Katy Evans.

When the wedding of your dreams is just around the corner, everything needs to go as planned. Only problem is, the groom didn't get the memo.

Aaron forgot the rings, and Lia is determined to make the long drive home to get them in time for their "I do's." But there's a catch. There always is with Aaron, isn't there?Aaron is too hungover to come, and sends a replacement.The best man.Miles Foster. The cocky, arrogant, sexy best man…and the last person Lia wants to be trapped in a car with for hours.But Aaron insists, and Lia  wonders if there's another reason Aaron wants Miles tagging along--aside from sticking her with a hot, surly babysitter.Yet how bad can it be? It'll be over before she knows it, and she'll never see him again. Just like in college.But when secrets are revealed, and Lia's whole world is turned upside down, she realizes she's been living a lie--and so has her groom.Miles is supposed to be the best man at her wedding.But what if he is simply the best man she has ever known? The best man for her?

Издатель:
Издано:
Nov 30, 2019
ISBN:
9781732443921
Формат:

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Best Man - Katy Evans

CONTENTS

Title Page

11:00 AM, December 7

9:00 AM, December 6

9:49 AM December 6

10:23 AM December 6

2:26 PM, December 6

2:45 PM, December 6

3:06 PM, December 6

3:35 PM, December 6

4:30 PM, December 6

5:46 PM, December 6

6:34 PM, December 6

9:06 PM, December 6

11:36 PM, December 6

2:06 AM, December 7

3:10 AM, December 7

3:30 AM, December 7

4:02 AM, December 7

5:02 AM, December 7

6:18 AM, December 7

7:08 AM, December 7

9:28 AM, December 7

10:38 AM, December 7

11:00 AM, December 7

11:16 AM, December 7

11:25 AM, December 7

June 30th

3:00 PM, August 3

Dear Readers

Titles by Katy Evans

Acknowledgments

About

Copyright

11:00 AM, December 7

The dress is a strapless Carolina Herrera, with layers and layers of whisper-thin organza. It blows my budget and the less is more mantra out of the water, but like Eva said the day we bought it in downtown Denver, when you know, you know. The locale is the sumptuous Midnight Lodge, nestled in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, every tiny detail of the place costing my father more than an entire year of his salary. The twenty-three members of the bridal party are assembled. It’s the scene of every little girl’s fairytale fantasy.

My fantasy.

At least, the one I’d been harboring up until today, when everything changed.

Eva smiles at me. Ready to make your dreams come true?

I stare at myself in the mirror. I look like Cinderella, if the wicked stepmother had just materialized at the castle on Cinderella’s wedding day and gunned down Prince Charming in cold blood. I’m also about three minutes away from losing the mimosa I’d polished off earlier that morning at breakneck speed. I go to chew on my nails but then I remember Eva painted them, and the last thing I want is for him to see the chips.

He notices things like that. He’s an observer.

And I want to be perfect for him.

Him.

The wrong him.

Oh, god.

I go to chew on my lip, but I can’t do that because they’ve been lacquered with bubble-gum pink gloss, and he’d probably notice if I got it on my teeth, too. All my normal ways of freaking out are off limits.

This is the day of my dreams, the day I’ve planned to the letter, just so I could avoid any potential calamities that might make me freak out.

But I am freaking out. Oh, lordy, am I ever.

I’ve been waiting my whole life for this day.

This perfect day, where the sun is shining, the snow is melting, birds are singing, and the sky is the deepest blue I’ve ever seen.

But there’s a problem.

A problem in the form of a pretentious, bearded, six-foot-three wall of hot man flesh who stalks around hating the world and thinking he’s better than everyone in it.

My fiancé’s best friend. The best man, Miles Foster.

This is all his fault.

You okay? Eva asks.

I am, I insist, pushing the infernal veil out of my face for the thousandth time. This dress is itchy as hell.

I stand and pluck the dress up under my armpits, hoisting it over my boobs. I try to take a step but…too much fabric, in all directions. It’s a wonder I don’t drown in this sea. In this sea, or in this mess I’ve created for myself. I sit back down on the vanity stool and pout. I’m stuck.

In more ways than one.

She gathers handfuls of too much organza and helps me up, depositing the pile of fabric safely in my wake. I shuffle to the full-length mirror and glance at myself. I don’t look like a bride, or even a fairytale princess. I look like a prisoner who just got her death sentence.

It’s too loose, I whine. I never had much of a rack, and now it’s super obvious. Why did I decide to go strapless again? I think I must’ve lost some boobage during my diet. What if the top of my dress falls down while I’m walking up the aisle?

Eva smirks. I’m sure Aaron’ll love the show.

The thought makes the mimosa turn in my stomach. I used to live for what Aaron thought. Whenever I had a choice to make on something, be it a new movie coming out, or a sweater at the mall, or a new hair style, I’d think, Would Aaron like this? But I realize, as she says his name, that it doesn’t matter to me in the slightest what Aaron thinks. The only opinion I care about now is that of the man who will be standing precisely two feet to my husband-to-be’s left.

I am such an idiot.

In less than fifteen minutes, I will be marching down the stone steps outside the Midnight Lodge to a picturesque gazebo at the foot of the hills, on the arm of my father, who has socked his entire life’s savings into making this day picture perfect for his only daughter. I will take the hand of the man I’ve been attached at the hip to for over five years, ever since I met him in a dank frat cellar when I was a wide-eyed little college freshman. I will join with this man—this man I’ve spent all of my adult life with—in holy matrimony, ’til death us do part.

I will become Mrs. Aaron Eberhart.

But I know I’ll be looking past my husband-to-be to the man who, up until twelve hours ago, I’d thought I hated. Miles Foster.

And I will be wondering What if…

I wish choosing a husband was as simple as choosing a dress.

When you know, you know.

I did know, or I thought I did. Up until twelve hours ago, I thought Aaron Eberhart was my true soul mate, the one I’d happily spend the rest of my life with. That’s when things took an unexpected turn.

Right now? I don’t even know my own name.

And I have a feeling I might be making a huge mistake.

9:00 AM, December 6

Eva knocks on the door to my hotel room and screams so the entire lodge can hear, Happy Wedding Day Eve!

I grin as my fairytale princess dreams dissolve in my head, and I’m faced with the reality, which is, for once, even better.

I’m fucking getting married.

I sit up in my little double bed and blink in the sunlight. Tomorrow night, my wedding night, I’ll share the spectacular Presidential Suite with my husband. Just me and my husband and a massive king bed with silk sheets.

And sex. Lots of hot, wedding-night sex.

My pulse flutters when I think of my hotter fiancé, Aaron. We’ve been together half a decade, had sex probably a thousand times. But sex as man and wife…it’s got to be different, right? Hotter, more intense?

I shiver again just thinking of it. Of being a wife. To Aaron.

Ohmigod.

I’m twenty-three, and in just over twenty-four hours, I will be Mrs. Aaron Eberhart!

I scramble out of bed, doing a little dance of excitement, and tear open the door, a big grin on my face. Eva has her blonde hair in a loop atop her head and is wearing Lycra pants and a hoodie, straight outta eight AM yoga. She’s also holding a bag of Danishes and two big traveler mugs of coffee. And how’s my favorite bride? she sings.

I rub my hands together and grab the coffee. Great. Tell me this is black.

What kind of best friend do you think I am? After twenty years of being besties, I think I know how you take your coffee. She opens the bag and pulls out a round Danish, laying it on a napkin. She sits down at the little table and pulls her knees up to her chest, biting into a raspberry. Danish?

I wrinkle my nose as I sip the coffee. I have a dress to fit into, remember?

Really? For what? she asks with mock confusion. Then she smiles. Just take a whirl on the elliptical downstairs later. Hope you’re ready to spa yourself silly today.

Oh, yes. I’m so in. I need to do something to these nails.

I hold them out and she inspects them. They’re practically chewed to the quick because of all the nervous energy I have. I’m an awful nail-chewer.

Yikes. You definitely need a mani-pedi. Your dad’s paying for anything we want done? She reaches into her gym bag and pulls out the Midnight Lodge Spa brochure. Because I think I’m doing the chocolate and champagne decadence massage and body facial.

I shrug. He said, and I quote, ‘It isn’t every day my only daughter gets married. Treat yourself!’ My mom’s doing the works. But chocolate and champagne? I think I gained ten pounds just hearing that.

She eyes my body, which I’ve been beating into submission with PiYo classes and endless dieting since Aaron proposed, nineteen months ago. You look great.

I spin around in front of the full-length mirror, zeroing in on my butt in the boxers I’m wearing. I’ve squatted enough to give myself a little shelf back there, and I hardly jiggle at all anymore. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see Aaron’s jaw drop when he sees me. I keep dreaming about it.

She smiles. Oh, he’ll be unable to take his eyes off you.

I frown. The truth is, Aaron hasn’t really noticed my transformation at all. But that’s because I wear baggy clothes most of the time. In the dress, with the help of the corset to cinch my waist and push up my boobs, it’ll be obvious. He better.

In my mind, the scene is set: The distant mountains, the crisp air, the robin’s-egg-blue sky, loving family from far and wide. And up ahead, the man. The man of my dreams. I thrill for the thousandth time in an hour and grab a tank and yoga pants to change into, then knot my hair up on top of my head in a messy bun. Ready!

I’m excited to go downstairs. Because we’ve brought over five hundred guests in, it’s almost like we own the place. Everywhere I look, there’s someone I know and love. I hug some friends from college in the elevator, and when I get down to the lobby, a crew of cousins and aunts and people I don’t even know begin to whistle the Wedding March. I grin and bow, blushing, and they all applaud.

I want to bottle this moment and keep it forever.

The only thing that would make it more perfect would be if Aaron was here with me.

But he’s not. I scan the vast lobby but don’t see him anywhere. Maybe he’s at breakfast.

We cross past the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace to the little restaurant, following the sounds of chattering and silverware clinking to a packed room. I look around and spot all ten of my bridesmaids, as well as the two flower girls and the ring bearer, sitting around a big circular table.

But no Aaron.

Eva and I go over to my bridal party. While Natalie and Cara are good friends from high school that Eva and I both know, the others are distant family members and even some of Aaron’s family, whom I don’t know so well. But Aaron has so many friends—mostly frat brothers—that he couldn’t narrow it down to less than ten, so in order to keep things even, I ended up asking people I barely knew.

I hug Natalie and Cara and wave at the others, then give my three little five-year-old triplet cousins kisses. Hi! Everyone having fun? Ready for spa time at ten?

They all nod, and the little girls, wearing matching flower girl tank tops, clap their hands. I hug them tight and kiss their chubby cheeks again. You two are going to look so beautiful! I gush.

Natalie gives a whoop. She says, Hey, girl. You hear about the bachelor party?

Uh-oh. I’m not sure I want to. The skin on the back of my neck prickles. What about it?

Nothing. Just that Mike didn’t get home until six.

Mike is her husband. He seemed kind of sedate when I met him, which I’d thought was a good thing. Aaron’s claim to fame is rocking the roof off parties, so I hoped a couple of sticks in the mud would prevent him from getting out of hand.

Or so I thought.

In the morning? I blurt stupidly.

She nods.

I straighten. Well, that explains why Aaron is MIA. But I don’t get it. The bachelor party yesterday was skiing at Winter Park. Then they were maybe going to have a few beers and chill out. A little low-key après-ski fun, Aaron had said, nothing too wild.

But six in the morning? That sounds…worrisome. I can’t help but get a sinking feeling in my stomach. What? What did they do?

She shrugs. They went to some club. I don’t know. But when he came in, he smelled like a brewery, and then he started puking all over the bathroom.

A club? That doesn’t sound low-key. I rub my temples, still unable to shake the sinking feeling brought on by memories of Old School Aaron.

The Aaron he promised he’d left behind. Because he loves me.

Oh, god.

Noticing my alarm, Eva reaches out and jiggles my arm. I’m sure it’s fine.

I’m not so sure.

Aaron used to pride himself on being the ultimate party guy. If a friend did a keg stand, he’d do two. If a brother danced on the bar in their D-Phi cellar, he’d do it naked. His frat nickname was Guppy, because he drank like a fish, all the time.

He always had to push the limits, especially when alcohol was involved.

We used to have all these fights because he wouldn’t ever turn away from any woman who flirted with him. Because sometimes he did worse than flirt—when he was drunk.

I look at Natalie. Did Mike say anything…about Aaron?

She gives me an apologetic shrug. No. Sorry.

I stay quiet, realizing I’m the hostess and this isn’t a good time to have a freak-out, but the second I can break away, I dial Aaron’s cell.

It goes right to voicemail.

I dial it again, expecting a different result, but no. Voicemail again.

All sorts of cringeworthy images start to bloom in my head. Winter Park was probably full of cute little ski bunnies in tight outfits, and Aaron has always had an eye for pretty women.

More than an eye when he’s drunk, which was what inspired our last breakup.

Oh, gosh, relax, Lia! You’re overreacting.

That was nineteen months ago, before he grew up, proposed, and became a changed man. Sure he still drinks, but other than that, he’s a virtual saint, now. I just hope he didn’t overdo it in the drinking department and hurt himself.

I quickly jab in a text: U ok?

I stare at the text, willing him to respond, but he doesn’t. Then I look up and see a kind, familiar face, smiling at me across the restaurant.

It’s my ninety-year-old Mimi, my great-grandmother, from Sacramento. I haven’t seen her in years.

I almost run over a waiter carrying a full tray of breakfast on my dash to her. I’m bawling by the time I get there. She’s dressed to the nines, as usual, in a polyester pink suit, with pink lipstick to match. Her hair is dyed platinum—she looks like Barbie as a grandmother. I hug her excitedly. Mimi! I’m getting married!

I know, sweetheart, she says in her soft but gravelly voice as I crouch in front of her table. You look positively glowing, Dahlia. I couldn’t miss my favorite great-grandchild’s big day.

I’m not her favorite great-grandchild; all of us are. She has about thirty great-grandchildren scattered about the country and never misses a birthday for any of them. I know the tears I’m crying will probably blotch up my face, but I can’t help it. I’m so glad you came.

Of course! Though I really thought I’d be coming in for Weston’s wedding, first. What happened to him?

I look around for my older brother, West. He was invited to the bachelor party festivities last night, but had said he was beyond that, considering he’d just turned thirty. Plus, the guy’s always working. It’s a shame. He would’ve made a nice fly on the wall for me. Oh. Well, he’s probably at the gym. Or working. You know him.

She gives her head a disappointed shake. Does he even have a girlfriend?

I shake my head. West has lots of girls. So many, I’ve lost track. He eats them up and spits them out like sport. No one special.

Ah, that’s a shame. He’s so handsome. Speaking of handsome, where is your fiancé? Aaron, is it? I hear he’s quite the dish. I’d like to meet him.

Oh, yes. I gnaw on my lip a little, until I realize that’s probably not good for my overall look, either. He had a late night with his bachelor party, but he’ll be around shortly. How was your flight? Can you believe this place? Your grandson went all-out on this.

It’s just fine. She looks around, her lips puckering in distaste. Yes. It’s quite nice. But you know, it isn’t so much the event as it is the man, don’t you think?

Yes. Of course. I mean—

All this stuff is nice, but, she leans in closer, as if she’s about to tell me some great Mimi wisdom, it’s not really necessary, is it?

Well…no. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, right? Might as well do it right.

Right? Your great-grandfather and I got married at city hall and shared a funnel cake on the boardwalk in Santa Monica. That was right for us, she says, her eyes misting a little, likely caught in the memory.

I smile and pat the wax-paper-thin skin on the back of her hand. That’s nice and all, but Aaron and I agreed on this: Go big or go home. He loves parties. Lives for parties. And I want something people will remember. This is the way to do it. I’ve been planning this forever. This is right for us.

I straighten and say, Well, I’ll be sure to introduce you to Aaron when he comes down. Are you coming to spa day?

She shakes

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