Planning on Prince Charming(10)

By: Lizzie Shane

Unfortunately, the strange autumn heat wave had yet to let up and Sidney had resorted to fanning herself with her bouquet in an effort to keep from being the Sweaty Suitorette when Mister Perfect finally made an appearance. It was downright sweltering out here.

She tried not to think about the camera lens only a few feet away—and the ten pounds it would add.

Not exactly how she’d envisioned meeting the man of her dreams when she’d agreed to come on the show.

“All set?”

Sidney whirled toward the familiar voice, her heart pounding triple time as Josh stepped out of the shadows and into the professionally lit gazebo. Her hands clenched hard around the stems of the bouquet. She’d already known he looked amazing in a suit, with every hair styled into place, but somehow he was even more heart-stopping now that she knew what he looked like when he was a little rumpled.

“Hi.” God, why did she sound so breathless?

She hadn’t seen him since he’d thrown her out of his room the night before. She’d made it back to her own room undetected and so far no one had even hinted that they knew she’d snuck out.

Sidney wished she could tell Josh that they’d gotten away with it unscathed, but more than anything, she wished she could talk to him about the kiss. She shouldn’t have kissed him—he’d made that clear when he’d all but thrown her out—and she needed to smooth things over, get back to normal with him, tell him it had just been the scotch kissing him, but the cameraman, segment producer and audio tech were all watching, absorbing every word—and probably filming it for all she knew.

“I just wanted to make sure you were all set,” Josh said, the words seeming filled with a thousand possible meanings as he held eye-contact.

Was he checking up on her? Checking to make sure she hadn’t been kicked off the show because of last night’s adventures? Checking to make sure she hadn’t made a run for it? Or was there some other meaning she was missing entirely?

“Good to go.” The words rushed out on an exhale.

“Good. Good.” He nodded to himself. “You’ve got a good set-up here.”

“I do?” She reached up self-consciously to check the veil. It was a massive monstrosity of a thing. Huge to the point of tackiness.

Marrying Mister Perfect wasn’t really known for their subtlety.

“The gazebo’s good. You know you’re a favorite if they put you in here.” Josh smiled reassuringly. “You have nothing to worry about. He’s going to love you.”

Sidney had to remind herself which he they were talking about.

Mister Perfect. Daniel. Man of her dreams. Right.

“Thanks. I just keep telling myself to think of The Veil. It’s my new mantra.”

Josh cocked his head quizzically and she explained, “The Veil magazine. There’s a list they put out every year. A Who’s Who of Wedding Planners. If you get on there, you’re set for life. But it’s more than just a list. It’s a tangible marker of success.”

“And that matters.”

“I’m a Dewitt.”

He arched a brow questioningly.

“In my family, you don’t do anything unless you’re The Best. My father is Titus Dewitt—”

“Holy crap.”

“Exactly. My mother is the president of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. My brother started his own business when he was seventeen, sold it for millions when he was twenty-three and started another last year just for fun. And I plan parties for a living.”

He shrugged. “I play matchmaker on national television. We’ve all gotta do something.”

“Yeah, but I have to be The Best. Hence the Veil list.”

He smiled. “More people should say hence.”

Something warm and sweet unfurled in her chest at his smile, but when she would have spoken, he lifted a finger, his eyes going distant as he listened to an exchange through his earpiece. “He’s on his way. Just relax. Be yourself and he won’t be able to resist you.”

“Thanks.” A flush heated her face that had little to do with the sweltering weather. Then Josh was gone, vanishing into the night beyond the reach of the industrial grade lighting.

Seconds later, another man stepped into the bright lights of the gazebo, grinning from ear to ear and trailing a pair of mobile camera crews.

“What have we here?” he asked, his charm on high-beam as he took in the altar, veil and bouquet.

Daniel the Teacher. He’d been the odds on favorite to win it all last season, but Marcy had shocked the world by picking Craig instead, leaving Daniel unattached and ripe for the picking as the next Mister Perfect. She’d thought it would be him. She’d been thrilled by the idea. She’d wanted it to be him.

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