Wild With You(10)

By: Layla Hagen

I marked the designs they had in store in Amber's size and sent them to her. With the tight timeline, we couldn't order one for her. She had to make do with what the store had in their inventory, but I'd chosen this one because they had a large selection. I'd never had a disappointed bride, and I didn't plan to start now.

Chapter Five


On Tuesday, I arrived a full half hour before Amber at the bridal store. I'd scheduled the menu tasting and florist meeting right after the store visit, so every minute counted. Since I brought customers here regularly, I had something of a VIP status. I asked them to bring out the gowns Amber had indicated, and two she hadn't: a mermaid gown and a classic princess style. Some brides had a clear idea of the type of dress they wanted, only to discover it didn't suit them. I'd also had brides who claimed they didn't even want to try on a certain type of dress, only to end up buying exactly that one. That's why I insisted my brides at least look at all styles.

While the vendors steamed a couple of the dresses, I checked my e-mails on my iPad. One in particular caught my attention.

From: Jeff Finn

To: Lori Connor

Hey! I'm going to be in town in a couple of weeks. Let's go out for a drink.

I closed my eyes, drawing in a deep breath, then another one. It didn't help. The nerve of this jackass.

We'd both been in med school when I unexpectedly got pregnant. I'd dropped out and started the event-planning agency. Jeff was a doctor in Denver now, but he came to LA about once a year for conferences. He'd never, not once, expressed any interest in his son. Yet every time he was in town, he hit me up. He contacted me the first time around when Milo turned one. I'd hoped that meant he'd changed his mind, that he wanted to get to know his son. Turned out it was a booty call. I told him exactly where he could shove his call. Usually he was more explicit in his e-mails, as if I was at his beck and call. I knew my worth, damn it. His e-mails made me want to hurl every insult I knew at him, but I took the high road and ignored him.

I didn't use the address I had when we were together anymore, but my work e-mail was listed on my website. I deleted the message right away, but I was in a foul mood.

When Amber arrived, I tried my best to push the matter out of my mind. She was a dream client. She tried on every single dress, and I couldn't help ooooh-ing and awww-ing.

"They're all so pretty. How will I make up my mind?" Amber twirled in the mermaid gown. "Thanks for having them bring me this one too. I would never have asked for this style, and look how beautiful it is."

Honestly, accompanying my brides to buy their dresses was a mutually beneficial thing. I made sure everything ran smoothly and efficiently, but being among these beautiful dresses was a feast for my eyes.

"Why don't you put the ones you want in the narrower selection and then try them on again?" the sales clerk suggested.

As Amber pondered this, a buzzing sound came from her purse. She took out her phone.

"Graham's here early," she said. "Lori, can you bring him here in the back? He's outside the store."

"Okay. I'll go get him." He and Matt were supposed to meet us directly at the restaurant where we were having the tasting.

Graham was already inside the store when I reached the entrance. I searched for Matt out on the street through the glass front, but couldn't spot him.

"Hey, Graham. Is Matt early too? He can't come inside. He can't see Amber."

"Don't tell me you believe in those things," Graham challenged. The fire in his bright blue eyes riled me up. Why did he have to be infuriating while also looking sexier than anyone had the right to? Not checking him out took a concerted effort.

"What if I do?" I asked, chin held high.

"If a wedding falls apart, it's because one of them realizes they're making a mistake. Better before than after."

Had he known his was a mistake before?

"Doesn't hurt to stick to the rules," I countered. As a kid, I'd laugh at my father, an Irishman who'd emigrated to the US, when he recounted some of his grandmother's superstitions. I'd disregarded them as folklore and foolishness, but as an adult, I thought there might be deep-rooted psychological explanations for at least some of them. Maybe seeing the future bride in her dress caused the groom to have cold feet. I had no time to dig that deep, but I planned to err on the side of caution.

Graham shook his head, smiling. The fire in his gaze wasn't dimming, though, and my heart rate was intensifying. It had to be because I was excited to see Amber's narrowed dress selection. Right?

"Matt's not here. I left the club early because it's on the other side of the city and I didn't want to risk a traffic jam. But he works four blocks away from the restaurant where we're having the tasting."