Wild With You(3)

By: Layla Hagen

When I stepped inside the coffee shop, I swept my gaze across the room. It was full of customers, some with laptops propped open on the table, typing away, some just chatting over a drink. My party hadn't arrived yet. I located a single empty table in a corner. The guy who'd entered after me was also eying it. Forget it, buddy. That table is mine.

I dashed through the room, muttering excuses when I bumped a few chairs, until I reached the table. I set my tote on it and sat down, mentally reviewing the topics that usually came up during the first meeting.

I kept my attention trained on the door, and when my couple came in, I waved at them. Amber waved right back. Her fiery red bob bounced with every step. As she and her fiancé made their way toward me, I took in the third person. He looked vaguely familiar. It took a few seconds for the connections to click in my brain. With a jolt, I realized he was the owner of Jace's team, the LA Lords. I tried to remember if Jace told me anything about Graham Frazier, but other that he was thirty-two and a great leader, nothing came to mind.

I was certain I'd seen him in photos with the team before, but either all pictures had been black-and-white or I'd mentally blocked how striking his blue eyes were. In fact, he was a striking man all around. On a scale of one to ten, that face earned a twenty.

"Hi! I'm Lori Connor."

"Hi, Lori. I'm Amber. This is my fiancé, Matt, and this is Graham, our best man."

I shook hands with all three, and once we all sat down, I straightened my shoulders, lifting the corners of my lips in my go-getter smile.

"So, what can I do for you? I'm afraid my brother didn't know many details. The most important things to know are the date and the approximate number of guests. Let's start with the date."

"As soon as possible. I'm pregnant, and I'd like to wear my white gown before the bump shows. We thought a Valentine's Day wedding. Is that even possible?"

"Everything is possible. I can work with that; don't you worry. And congratulations."

Valentine's Day was in four weeks. It required even more hassle than usual, and some suppliers overcharged for speedy services. It wasn't much time, but I'd pulled it off before.

"Thank you. We're thinking about eighty guests."

I nodded. "I have a list of locations that can fit that number."

Amber turned to Graham. "Graham has agreed to host the wedding. He has a beautiful house outside Santa Monica, and the outdoor space is gorgeous. We could install a tent there."

"Perfect. If we've got the location, half the wedding is practically in the bag." I turned to Graham. "But I do have to warn you that hosting a wedding involves a lot of hassle. We'll have a crew milling around your property."

"I can handle it."

I bet he could. He seemed the kind of man who could handle anything. He smiled, and I returned it but then averted my gaze. I was trying really hard not to find him attractive, and I was failing. His face looked sculpted, and I briefly wondered if the rest of him did too. I couldn't tell because his blue shirt was tailored but not stretched. Still, I thought it hinted at steely, defined muscles. Or maybe that was just my overactive imagination.

"Since we're on a tight schedule, you might want to send a save-the-date e-mail to your guests. I have some beautifully formatted wedding templates to show you."

"But we'd be sending regular invitations too?" Amber asked.

"Some of our guests are more traditional," Matt added.

"Of course. But choosing invitations and having them printed and mailed can take up to a week, even if we hurry. The save-the-date e-mail is so people already know to keep that day free, make traveling plans if necessary."

"Great thinking. I like you, Lori," Amber said. "So what are the next steps?"

"Do you have any preferences regarding color scheme, or even a theme?"

"Not really," Amber said. Matt looked mildly panicked. Graham merely leaned back in his chair. This was business as usual. The bride getting all excited, the man—or in this case, men—checking out at the mention of color schemes.

"I have my laptop with me, and I'll be showing you a few things, so you can have an idea of what's possible."

I extricated my laptop from my tote and positioned it on the table so the four of us could see the screen. Most of the time, the first meeting was about getting to know each other, seeing if we clicked, but Amber and Matt were on a tight deadline. I clicked open the folder titled Themes, and started the slideshow. I had a mix of everything, from classic elegance to shabby chic to more extravagant options.

"Tell me if you like anything. And if you don't, that's okay too. I promise we'll find exactly what you need for your special day."