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The Wedding Hoax

The Wedding Hoax

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The Wedding Hoax

évaluations:
3/5 (7 évaluations)
Longueur:
241 pages
3 heures
Sortie:
Sep 29, 2014
ISBN:
9781633750876
Format:
Livre

Description

Wedding dress designer Daisy Willows always imagined marrying the man of her dreams. The fantasy did not include a fake engagement or a fake wedding. Or that her ex, Cole Benton, would be the groom. But as her mom's medical bills pile up, Daisy can't refuse the help of a well-known bridal show expo owner...or his plan for the fake wedding of the century.

Cole Benton's bridal magazine is on the verge of capsizing, taking Cole's dream of an outdoor lifestyle magazine with it. So Cole agrees to the publicity stunt and becomes "engaged" to Daisy. But despite their searing-hot chemistry—both in public and in private—not everyone is buying the charade. And now the only way to save their skins and prove that their big white wedding isn't a big white lie is to say "I do..."

Each book in the Hoax Series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Series Order:
Book #1 The Wedding Hoax
Book #2 The Hookup Hoax
Book #3 The Hometown Hoax

Sortie:
Sep 29, 2014
ISBN:
9781633750876
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders, and a reality TV junkie. Her passion is contemporary romance - writing stories filled with laugh out loud moments, uber-hunky heroes, feisty heroines, and always a happily ever after.

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The Wedding Hoax - Heather Thurmeier

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Epilogue

About the Author

Find love in unexpected places with these satisfying Lovestruck reads…

Trouble Next Door

Her Super-Secret Rebound Boyfriend

Just One Spark

The Attraction Equation

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2014 by Heather Thurmeier. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 105, PMB 159

Fort Collins, CO 80525

rights@entangledpublishing.com

Lovestruck is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC.

Edited by Alethea Spiridon Hopson and Tracy Montoya

Cover design by Erin Dameron-Hill

Cover photography from Shutterstock

ISBN 978-1-63375-087-6

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition September 2014

Chapter One

Daisy Willows fought the urge to tap her fingers on the counter as she waited. All she wanted was a nonfat, extra-foam mocha latte to start her busy day. Was that so much to ask? A bridal-gown designer needed proper caffeination if she was expected to come up with brilliant new dress ideas for potential clients.

Especially if those new ideas had to happen in ten minutes.

She scooped up her latte the second the barista set it down, taking a sip. She sighed and her eyes fluttered closed as the rich aroma drifted around her and the steamy mocha warmed her throat. It might be steamed milk and steeped ground beans to some people, but to her, this was the nectar of the Gods.

Satisfied, she spun on her heel toward the door, her caffeine fix gripped tightly in front of her. She opened her eyes and stepped forward, but it was too late to stop her already moving body. Instead, it was like the world turned to slow motion as she collided with a broad chest, her hand instinctively squeezing her cup tighter until it crumpled. Mocha latte splashed onto the front of her crisp, white button-up shirt in a spectacular splatter that would make Jackson Pollack proud.

Hot! She pulled the wet material away from her skin and blew down the front of her shirt to cool her skin. The liquid wouldn’t burn her, but it still stung.

Are you okay? The voice sent a tingle down her back and goose bumps up her arms. That was a voice she knew but hadn’t heard for a while.

No, no, no… Anyone but him…

Cole Benton.

Of all the days for her to wander into his neighborhood…

Of course, this was his favorite coffee spot, so it stood to reason he might stop in here from time to time, but this second? What were the odds? She should have picked a different place. But this one did make the best mochas she’d ever tasted.

Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath in through her nose, trying to find her happy place. It didn’t include him. Not anymore.

She plastered on her best I’m-so-over-you smile. Oh, this? It’s nothing a laundry pen and the bathroom hand drier won’t fix. Relax. You got this. He’s no big deal. Nice to bump into you. Literally. She tried to giggle casually, but it came out sounding distinctly snort-like.

He met her grin with his own and sent her a flash of perfectly white teeth. Damn, he had a sexy smile. The rest of him was pretty damn sexy, too. Green eyes with little flecks of gold in them, a chiseled jaw that would make a Greek God jealous, and chestnut-colored hair just long enough to drag her fingers through but not so long it was feminine.

Oh no, he was all man.

Daisy? If she wasn’t mistaken, he almost sounded shocked. He reached around to the counter behind her and grabbed a handful of napkins, then proceeded to dab her shirt. That’s not helping at all.

Then stop doing it, she said between clenched teeth while his fistful of napkins pressed into her breast. Another dab, this one against her nipple. She batted his hand away. I’ve got it.

His hand stilled, and he peered down at her with a grin bordering on mischievous. Some of it soaked up.

I’m not sure napkins will do much more good. But thanks for trying. And for feeling me up ’cause that’s what my morning was missing.

He tossed the soggy napkins into the trash. What brings you to my neck of the woods?

Was that his polite way of asking what the hell she was doing in his regular coffee shop? Well, it wasn’t her fault he’d shown her his favorite place when they dated. And it certainly wasn’t her fault that they made the best latte this side of 42nd Street.

I’m meeting with a bride-to-be soon. You?

On my way to work, like always. Just like him to imply she should know better than to come here at his usual time. It had been a year already. How was she supposed to remember his exact commute to work each morning?

She peered over his shoulder at the guy with the camera hanging around on the street out front. She groaned. "He’s here for you and not us, right? Not that there’s an us anymore. She cleared her throat, then nudged her chin toward the windows. Or a real celebrity sighting nearby?"

Cole glanced back, then shrugged. I can’t see why they would be here for us. We’re old news.

When they’d dated, they had been splashed across Page Six a few times. And occasionally a tabloid put in a snippet about somewhere they’d been or something they’d done. She’d never really figured out the public’s fascination with them. She designed dresses; he ran a magazine—big deal. But for whatever reason, they’d often been news. It was the one thing in their relationship she didn’t miss.

Totally old. Moldy old. Shut up! I don’t know why we were ever newsworthy to begin with. It’s not like you’re George Clooney and I’m Vera Wang or anything.

"Speak for yourself. I’m still one of the magazine industry’s most eligible bachelors, according to Forbes at least." He chuckled with a smug expression. Cole Benton belonged to the Benton family, an American dynasty of billionaire entrepreneurs whose ties to the country dated back more than a century. Cole’s father owned a magazine empire that rivaled Condé Nast, and Cole, his eldest heir, had the right combination of money, smarts, and stunning good looks to capture People magazine’s attention on at least a monthly basis.

His comment pierced her chest like a hot dagger. Of course he was still an eligible bachelor, since he didn’t want to marry her or anyone else.

Still playing the field, huh? She forced a casual laugh and patted him playfully on the shoulder. No settling down for this guy.

Nope. What about you? I don’t see a ring on that finger. Haven’t snagged a husband yet?

She hoped to relieve the sudden tension building in her shoulders with a shrug. Oh you know, I dabble here and there.

I do enjoy a good dabble. He winked. Trust him to turn an innocent conversation into dirty talk.

She swatted him again across the hard muscles of his upper chest and rolled her eyes, exaggerating her annoyance. She enjoyed a good dabble now and then, too, but had been dabble-free since their relationship ended.

You always did, she mumbled.

What was that?

Nothing. Glancing around, she spied the ladies’ room in the back corner. I’d love to stay and chat, but I really should get cleaned up if I’m going to make it to my meeting without being too late.

They eyed each other awkwardly for a second. What was the right etiquette for parting from an ex?

See you around, he said.

Yeah. See you soon. She added a wave as he walked away.

What? See you soon? Not if I can help it.

Cole strode through the office, smiling and offering quick greetings as he went. He enjoyed the hum of the editing floor. Something about the creativity of the space and the collaboration of his employees working together really energized him, making him excited for the next issue of Exclusively Yours to hit the shelves.

As he glanced around the office at his hardworking, loyal staff, he prayed there would be many more issues to come. He knew subscription numbers were down, but when his financial heads called an emergency meeting, he feared it was worse than he originally thought.

Cole pushed open the door to a room of stoic colleagues staring back at him. Great. Gentleman, he said in greeting, taking his seat at the head of the table. He sat forward and leaned his elbows on the edge of the polished mahogany wood. Give it to me straight. How bad is it?

Bad, Bruce said. We’re looking at major downsizing in the next quarter if we don’t find a way to turn the numbers around.

How much downsizing are we talking exactly? he asked. This wasn’t good. The economy still wasn’t back on its feet and Cole had no desire to add to the unemployment rate by laying off a bunch of staff.

At least half unless we find an influx of cash or a ton of new subscribers right away.

"We’ve increased our advertising, added a digital subscription services, and created a new Exclusively Yours shopping app. What more can we do?"

Just hear us out, Kevin said.

The tension in Cole’s shoulders grew and a headache sprang to life behind his eyes. Spit it out, Cole said, his voice even, trying his best not to pass judgment before he heard their ingenious plan.

We go to William and enlighten him to this situation and get a temporary cash infusion to stimulate sales further.

Cole shook his head and sat back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest. No way. We can’t go to my father. Find another way.

We’re running out of solutions, Robert said softly as if trying to comfort a child. Exactly how Cole would feel going to his father for money.

Making the bridal magazine successful was his only shot at proving to his father that he could handle a bigger, more challenging one. If he couldn’t run this one well, he’d never earn the outdoor magazine he really wanted. Prime Outdoors was his ultimate goal, and he’d do whatever it took to reach it.

There has to be another way. The silence in the room thickened as the men shifted glances at each other. What?

Bruce cleared his throat. There’s one other possible solution.

Great.

Well, you may not like this solution any better.

I won’t know until you tell me. Cole’s patience was waning quickly.

We’ve heard rumors about Mason Bridgewater looking for a new investment.

The guy who organizes the bridal show where we had a booth last year? Excellent. Maybe we can do some cross-promotion together. That could be huge. Exactly the kind of opportunity the magazine needed right now.

Don’t get too excited yet. We have to see if the rumors are true and if they are, you may not like whatever he’s offering.

Cole leveled his gaze on his colleagues. Listen, if Mason saves me from having to admit I’m coming up short to my father, then I’m all for it. How soon can I meet with him?

We’ll try to get a meeting scheduled within a couple of days.

The sooner the better. And if he’s not interested anymore, then find me another investor who is. The magazine will be back in the black in no time. Cole smiled feeling triumphant and confident in the future. Any investment deal was better than telling his father he’d failed the magazine. If it also meant his business would succeed, his employees would all keep their jobs, and he would finally be put in charge of Prime Outdoors, then he was ready to sign on the dotted line.

Whatever the deal was, he’d never say no.

Chapter Two

Sorry I’m late tonight. Daisy climbed onto the bed to sit cross-legged beside her mother. She rubbed her fingers along her mom’s limp hand, gently massaging the fragile skin to stimulate her circulation. Her mom rested, propped up on pillows against the headboard, smiling at their familiar routine. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper getting out of New York.

Daisy’s bridal-design house and boutique was in the heart of Greenwich Village, which made the commute to her mom’s house in lower Westchester County just under an hour. But tonight it had taken almost an hour and a half.

You should’ve stayed in the city. You didn’t have to drive all this way to hang out with me for an hour. I’m fine here with Samantha.

Samantha, the at-home nurse, did an amazing job tending to her mother whenever Daisy couldn’t be there to help. Which was most of the time. But homecare came with a hefty bill each month, and it was getting tougher and tougher to pay while also covering rent, salaries, and buying supplies for Designs by Daisy.

I know, but I won’t be able to come tomorrow. I’m busy at the shop and then I have a meeting with an investor. I spent the better part of my day pulling together stuff to show him.

Mason Bridgewater wasn’t just any investor. He was the most successful bridal-show organizer in the country. He managed to bring in the biggest sponsors, the highest attendance of new brides-to-be, and the best vendors to each of his shows. He was also a crotchety, old grouch who expected small businesses like hers to fork over huge amounts of cash to score a booth at those shows, which is why she’d never been a part of one. Why he’d contacted her assistant about forming a business partnership with Daisy was a mystery, but she wasn’t about to turn away what could be the shop’s only hope for survival.

Why the need for an investor all of a sudden? her mom asked, concern wrinkling her forehead.

Because the bills keep coming, and the brides aren’t buying.

Seemed she couldn’t sell anything but her cheapest dresses because of the ongoing recession. If it was over five grand, most brides weren’t interested. She wanted to focus more energy on making affordable dresses to bring in more brides, but she still needed to produce high-end gowns to appear in magazines and runway shows. Not to mention, those were the gowns with the biggest profit margins. Sadly, she just didn’t have time for both without another dressmaker or two on staff, but she didn’t have the funds to hire anyone right now.

Everything’s fine with the store, she said, forcing a smile to her lips. She hoped it was convincing. I’d like to expand in the future, and I need some extra money to do that.

Samantha straightened the jars of ointments and medications on the dresser. Daisy’s gaze fell to the pictures leaning against the wall behind the pill bottles, stopping on one particular photo.

She climbed from the bed and grabbed the photo of her and Cole together, dressed formally at her cousin’s wedding from well over a year ago. In it, they both looked happy and in love and… Well, she’d been in love at least.

Mom, I’ve only asked you to get rid of this photo about a million times already.

Good luck, Samantha whispered beside her. I tried to take it down after your last visit, and she noticed within the hour. I think he’s sticking around forever.

Forever was not a word that went with Cole Benton.

Driven. Workaholic. Cocky. Bachelor until the bitter end. Those were words that described Cole.

She brushed her fingers across the glass without thinking. He’d looked even better in person last week.

Clean cut. Distinguished. Built. Sexy. Those words described him pretty accurately, too.

You know I love that picture of you, her mother said. You look so beautiful in it. I can’t help it if Cole happens to be in it as well. It’s staying, so get used to it.

Daisy groaned and put the photo back.

I told you, Samantha said with a smirk. She’ll never get rid of it.

Don’t worry. The second I’m ready to part with it, Samantha will be there with a pair of scissors to cut you out of it so she can take Cole home with her. Her mother laughed.

Samantha blushed. Well, I can’t say I mind the eye candy spicing up the room.

Daisy rolled her eyes. You’re both terrible. If either of you loved me, you would cut Cole out of that picture and let me be happy alone in my frame.

You know that sounds tragically pathetic, right? her mother teased. Besides, if we cut Cole out, then we’d have nothing to look at all day but each other.

Hey, you said I was the object of your attention in that picture. Now the truth comes out.

This time, Daisy joined in with her mother and Samantha’s laughter. If seeing that darn picture kept her mom’s spirits up and provided her with something nice to look at, then maybe Daisy could put up with it for a little longer.

Or maybe she’d buy her mom a new bigger and better picture to put up instead, so that Cole could finally be put away and forgotten for good.

As she climbed back onto the bed to rejoin her mother, something on the floor caught her attention—another picture of her and Cole at the coffee shop with the headline, Together Again?

Ridiculous.

You know you’re encouraging them by buying these magazines, right? You’re not making my life any easier.

If you’re in the news, I’m buying a copy.

But this isn’t news. It wasn’t even news last week when it happened! Daisy said, frustrated. She tossed the magazine back on the floor, instead of into the garbage where it belonged, and flopped onto the bed.

What did happen with Cole? Samantha asked quietly from near the doorway, almost as if she were

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  • (3/5)
    We get a couple who fake being together to save their businesses however not only do things change but it is a little difficult for Cole and Daisy to fake this weddings when there feelings are involved since they were in a real relationship before. They broke up because they both wanted different things, so how will they deal with the same issues again? It was a funny cute book and not too much drama..Enjoy!
  • (4/5)
    Fun story of second chances as ex-lovers Daisy and Cole enter into a fake engagement so each can fulfill a life dream. Heather Thurmeier writes with such wit and optimism her books are always a joy.