Will a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells in the sexy second novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s irresistible new series that marries Sex and the City with The Wedding Planner?
When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.
Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love.
Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.
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!
“So this is where the noise happens, huh?” she asked.
Josh’s eyes narrowed as his friend’s hand touched Heather’s back briefly. “Absolutely,” Trevor said. “We’re sorry it keeps you up though.”
“Oh, it’s okay,” she said, waving her hand. “I mean . . . it’s not. But tonight I couldn’t sleep anyway, so you get a free pass. What do you all play?”
“Donny’s bass, Felix is on drums. Josh is lead guitar, and I, as the most important member, have the pipes.”
“Oh! I thought Josh was the singer,” Heather said with a quick glance over her shoulder at him.
Their eyes locked, and Josh felt a flicker of . . . something.
“Ah, is that what he’s telling the women these days,” Trevor joked.
“No, I just . . . I hear him, singing sometimes,” Heather muttered.
“Our boy can carry a tune well enough, but wait until you hear me, love,” Trevor said.
Josh turned away in mild disgust, pulling a beer out of the fridge as Trevor and the other guys coaxed Heather into the practice room, thrilled to have any sort of audience, even a reluctant one.
“Yo, Tanner,” Felix called.
“What,” he called, popping the lid off the bottle and tilting the beer back to his lips as he tried to shake off whatever was bringing down his mood tonight.
“Let’s show Heather here that we’re more than a bit of noise coming through her bedroom wall.”
Josh turned around to see Donny dragging one of his kitchen chairs across the room, disappearing into the practice room.
“All right, love, you just sit down and get comfortable,” Trevor said. “Tanner! Come on, man.”
Josh heard the low strum of Donny’s guitar, heard Felix do a little warm-up rhythm, and knew there was no way of getting out of it. If he refused to play a song now, he’d look like an ass.
Still, his feet didn’t move, and he took another sip of beer.
Feeling eyes on him, he glanced up to see Heather in the doorway, leaning one shoulder against the doorjamb as she studied him.
“Okay, 4A?” she asked.
Her tone was lighthearted, almost slightly reluctant, as though she didn’t want to care about why he was out here alone, feeling oddly itchy with his life.
He appreciated it. He’d spent enough time in the past few years dealing with people who walked on eggshells around him, cooing sweetness. Some of it genuine, some of it not so much.
Heather’s no-nonsense question was refreshing—and exactly what he needed.
He was happy and healthy and living the dream, damn it.
Even if he was no longer sure it was his dream.
“You going soft on me?” he asked, taking one last sip of his beer before setting it aside and strolling toward her.
Heather’s eyes narrowed. “Hardly. I just wanted you to get your shit together so I can see your cute lead singer work his magic.”
He deliberately stepped into the doorway so she couldn’t move in either direction without brushing against him, grinning at her discomfort.
“You’re in a better mood tonight,” he said, his eyes skimming over her crazy curls and relaxed expression. “Why?”
“Believe it or not, I’m not a shrew.”
Heather shoved his shoulder with a little scowl. “I’m not!”
“Does that mean you’re going to start making banana bread like Mrs. Calvin?”
“Yes, definitely. And coffee cake and sugar cookies and whatever other goodies you might like. All while wearing a frilly, feminine apron.”
“Dare I hope there’s nothing under the apron?” he asked, leaning in slightly.
“Right again!” she said, in mock delight. “I just love to bake naked.”
Josh’s pulse leapt, but Trevor interrupted before the sudden X-rated picture in his mind could turn into a full-fledged fantasy.
“Dude, we doing this or what?”
Josh looked at Heather.
“One song,” she said, holding up a finger. “I may as well see what the music sounds like on this side of the wall.”
Rating : 5 out of 5 Stars
With this second installment in her Wedding Belles series, Lauren Layne has delivered a beautiful story that packs an emotional punch. This story was in equal parts heartbreaking, sexy and uplifting, with two irresistible, relatable characters. The author has dealt with a darker subject matter with sensibility and realism.
Heather Fowles is almost living her dream life in Manhattan. She is close to a promotion from assistant to actual wedding planner and she has moved into an apartment on the Upper East Side. Unfortunately, her dream is marred by Josh Tanner, her wannabe musician neighbor and his night long recording practice. She doesn’t hesitate to express her opinion of him but she can’t resist his charming arrogance. As it happens, Josh is in a funk and Heather’s sassiness manages to shake him out of it. I loved their easy banter and the way Heather retaliates against Josh’s sarcastic remarks.
Josh is a cancer survivor and with Heather, he has the feeling that his disease doesn’t define him. His family is very protective of him, Heather is just herself, sassy, sweet and resolute. Of course, it helps that she doesn’t know anything about his past. She interferes in his life but it feels right. Their bickering and teasing make him feel alive.
They are both guarded, for different reasons, but they connect easily and treasure their newfound friendship. However, behind his easy charm and confidence, Josh hides his insecurities about the future. Even if he is attracted to Heather, he holds himself back from the possibility of a relationship with her. His mercurial attitude creates tension between them. He questions his carefree lifestyle, though and wants to find a new purpose. Living a half life is simply not enough, he wants more with Heather, even if it involves taking emotional risks and fulfilling her childhood dreams.
This book is another winner in the Wedding Belles series. I enjoyed every minute of it! Lauren Layne’s writer’s voice is always light, charming and funny. This story was also deeply emotional and that is an irresistible combination! I loved these generous, genuine characters and I didn’t want their story to end. The supporting characters were great, Josh’s interactions with his mother were adorable. More than coworkers, the Wedding Belles are a group of close friends and I can’t wait for the next book in the series, Alexis and Logan’s story. This book can be read as a standalone and is told in dual POV.
Thanks for visiting and happy reading!
An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.