Cassie Anderson, bridesmaid extraordinaire, is tired of attending her friend’s weddings either solo, or with her best friend, Thad. Finding a real date is simply too much work. Especially when she sees an old acquaintance from high school, Dan, at her friend Shelley’s wedding. After the spark shared between them, Dan has become the object of her affection. Too bad he has a nasty habit of having a date on his arm at every turn. Stealing another woman’s date is against the rules, but if she could just catch him alone…well, that would be fair game! Unfortunately, timing is everything, and she and Dan seem to have the worst. Always the bridesmaid, walking away with nothing more than a dreadful dress, Cassie is committed to changing her luck and getting her man!
Cassie Anderson has been the girl of Dan’s dreams since high school. Unfortunately, her return to his life comes at the worst time possible. As he tries to put his life back together, he keeps an eye on her, hoping to find her single at the right time. A time when it all hurts a bit less. A time when he can offer her all of the love she deserves. After three weddings of happenstance meetings, Dan finds himself to be a little more ready for everything that is Cassie. Putting himself out there, he can only hope she is everything he thinks she might be — his forever girl.
“Cassie. Cassie, did you see who’s here?” Shelley tugged at her skirt, trying to get her attention directed toward the back of the church.
“What’s the matter with you?” she asked Shelley and then turned to face the back of the church. “Ohh, now I see what you mean.”
“And yet, you ignored me,” Thad said from the other side.
She just blew him off with a wave. He would get over it in two seconds or less anyway.
There he stood, looking as dapper as a GQ cover. His suit was a very nice shade of blue, with a white shirt and what appeared to be a pinstripe tie. By the time Shelley had gotten her attention, he had already selected a pew and scooted by people for a seat. The most important thing Cassie noticed was his lack of a date.
Who doesn’t take their fiancée to a wedding?
This could be a good sign. Of course, she would have to do some more investigating before she determined whether he had a single status at this point, or remained affianced. It then dawned on her that she, herself, had brought a date to the wedding. She took her eyes off Dan long enough to glance over at Thad, currently very busy staring at the legs of the woman next to him.
Boy, can I pick ‘em. Even my pretend boyfriends are losers.
“Thad, do you think you could be a little more discrete about your appreciation for our neighbor there?” she asked through gritted teeth, trying to keep her disdain to a low roar.
“Oh, shit, I’m sorry Cassie. But did you see her calves? I swear, it’s just a professional thing,” he said this with the gigolo grin, his specialty, one that hardly ever worked on Cassie. Hardly ever.
“If this is where you tell me how you’re a critic and you were just admiring her legs in a professional manner, don’t bother,” Cassie uttered in her most stern, yet quiet, voice. “You critique the arts, Thad, her legs are not performing.”
“I could argue that point, but seeing how your face is scrunching up at me, I won’t. You’re right, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
Thad did his best to appear remorseful and even went so far as to kiss her forehead and squeeze her hand. She did not squeeze back.
To Cassie’s way of thinking, the fact that he had been holding her hand the whole time, including while checking out the lady’s legs next to them, made it a little worse. What could she say, though, considering she had been waiting and hoping for the appearance of another man?
She turned her head and caught Dan glancing in her direction. His mouth immediately curved up into a smile and he waved in Cassie’s direction. Cassie returned the smile and raised her left hand to reciprocate the wave, realizing she’d brought Thad’s hand along with her. Making it obvious that she had brought a date to the wedding, she immediately dropped Thad’s hand. Too late. She knew Dan had seen already.
Thad never expected to find anyone who meant more to him than his best friend, Cassie. She was the one woman he loved enough not to sleep with. He was a player, but an honest one. Unfortunately, not everyone felt that balanced out his love ’em and leave ’em ways. He just didn’t see a need to settle down — yet. Then, he met Brianna, who made him think about the future — a future with her — which was a new experience for Thad. Brianna is also a new kind of woman and convincing her that they have a future might just be the challenge of his life.
Brianna works through men like she works through her closet — seasonally. Any other way has always been trouble. When she meets Thad, she is thrilled. Not only does he intrigue and excite her, but he is just like her — noncommittal. He sets her on fire with his smooth talk and honest approach to dating. Even without being physical beyond a kiss, the thought of him makes her entire body hum. Except, Thad has gone and gotten attached to her in a way neither of them expected; attached in a way she simply cannot allow. Unfortunately, he won’t allow their relationship to become physical until she surrenders her heart to him, which is a battle she isn’t sure she can win. The longer it lasts, the less sure she becomes of wanting it to.
Her lips were her slightly open, lush and painted with a bright shade of pink. He immediately thought about all of the places he wished those lips would touch—from his own lips, to his neck, and just about everywhere else on his body. He wanted to know what this woman tasted like. He wanted to know everything.
“Is there something about my lips that you find fascinating?”
“Oh,” Brianna giggled, “honesty is a lovely trait. I expected you to deny it and make a smooth transition. You seem more, well…smooth, than honest.”
“I can be honest,” he said, once again looking into her eyes. “You just tell me to what degree you want it, my honesty that is, and I’ll follow.”
“There are degrees?” Bri’s eyebrows curved up, as did her lips.
“Give me an example and I’ll let you know which I prefer.” Thad enjoyed the smartass smirk on her face. This woman could not only keep up with him, but also possibly keep him on his toes. He could feel the potential danger pulsing through his veins at the mere thought of them together.
“Let’s see,” he placed his hand on the small of her back, guiding her off to the side of the gallery, where they had a bit more privacy, “level one would be the smooth answer you expected, mysterious and flirtatious. Something similar to ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I am just absolutely taken with your smile, I got a bit lost for a moment.’ Level two, is more honest and direct. But let’s face it, I’m always smooth.”
Brianna put her hand on his cheek, smacking it lightly with a grin upon her face. “Your smoothness is not at all in question. Not for a moment.”
He grabbed her hand quickly. Her breath caught in a hitch and her eyes darted to his as he kissed the inside of her palm. Thad left behind a bit of moisture—his idea of a sweet hint.
“Now, where was I? Oh yes, level two. Level two would sound a bit more like, ‘My apologies, Brianna. For a moment there, I couldn’t help but wonder how your lips might feel against my own. Now, level three. Most people cannot handle level three. In fact, I haven’t met a single woman who could.”
“Oh, no. Mr. Carlmont, did you just dare me? That sounded akin to a dare.”
“That was no ordinary dare. It was a double-dog dare ya.” When she smiled, her eyes lit up, as perfect as Christmas trees dressed in all white. He liked it; he liked her.
“I never turn down a challenge and I certainly never back down from a dare, so by all means, hit me with your best stuff!”
Thad moved in closer, while Brianna stepped back against the wall a bit. She had nowhere else to go, exactly what Thad wanted. He placed his hands against the wall on either side of her head and leaned in to whisper against her throat, just below her ear, hoping she would feel his warm breath.
“Okay, here is level three truth, I hope you’re ready.” He breathed and she shivered, but did not say another word. “Brianna, just a moment ago, when I couldn’t take my eyes off your lips…in my mind, I already had this little dress of yours off. In my mind, your lipstick had already been kissed right off those luscious lips. I stared at them, simply wondering, if they—if you—could possibly taste as good as I suspect you must.”
“Oh, my” Brianna whispered.
I am a mom, to an amazing young man. Everything else in life is just a way to keep busy, between laughs with him – or a way to pay for his sports equipment and growing feet. No, really, his feet are out of control!
When I was twelve years old I hit the big leagues by winning a Young Authors Award (okay, okay it was only within my school district, shhhhh). Although, I have been unable to duplicate this success, in my adult writing, I’m giving it my best shot.
I live in the Pacific Northwest, with my son and our chocolate lab. We enjoy the sun when it shines and the snow when it falls. When we aren’t dancing in the rain or singing at the top of their lungs, in the car, we are planning our dream vacations…which we might even get to take some day.
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