The help only he can offer…
Cypress Pointe, Florida, is a long way from LA, where pop singer Cassie Branford needs a hit to prove she's not a two-album wonder. But her case of writer's block could be over when the struggling songwriter meets Luke Hastings at a family wedding.
The legendary musician walked away from success at the height of his career. Yet Luke is already inspiring Cassie with his dedication to building a permanent community outreach center for troubled teens. Volunteering to help bring music into these kids' lives is also bringing her and Luke closer. Maybe they're not as different as he thinks…
Read an Excerpt:
“We aren’t talking about me.”
“Maybe we should.”
Her steady gaze held his. His heart pounded. This close, he could see the distinctive shade of green mocking his words. She knew, maybe even better than he did.
“Talent like yours doesn’t go away,” she echoed.
“Maybe it should.”
The words hung between them. Time stilled as his blood raced. How had she managed to resurrect this one painful aspect of his life? How had she focused on the fact that while he said he wouldn’t write again, the ability had never turned off? His brain still formed tempos and lyrics, even though he ruthlessly pushed them away every time they surfaced. For two years he’d lived without admitting the truth to himself. And now, by encouraging Cassie to deal with her fears, he was forced to confront his own.
This was why he hadn’t wanted to make a deal with her. Yet at the same time, was secretly glad he did.
With so little space between them, he looked down at her lips. What would she do if he crossed the line? Kissed her as a way of changing the subject.
Find out, his inner voice taunted.
He moved that last fraction closer, his lips hovering over hers. And still she stayed put, as if waiting to see if he would carry out his intentions. So he did.
His lips covered hers, silencing her gasp. He moved slowly, savoring the unexpected delight. The air around them grew heavy as he coaxed a trembling response from her. Adrenaline buzzed through his system, much like the feeling he experienced when a melody came together. Only this wasn’t a song. This was Cassie. Alive and in the flesh. Returning his kiss now with the enthusiasm he’d seen when she performed on stage. A passion he couldn’t deny. Or fight.
One of her hands moved over his, satiny soft as she twined their fingers together. The kiss continued. Slow and unhurried. Until a shout from the gym reminded him that his office door was wide open. Everyone and their brother could get a gander of him kissing the pop artist who’d come to the Klub to volunteer her time to the kids, not him.
He snapped back to his senses, jerking away from her.
Who will catch a lifetime of love?
Winning the annual wedding bouquet design competition may be the closest Kady Lawrence gets to the altar. She has to come in first or risk losing the floral shop that's been in her family for generations. Her main competition is Jasmine Matthews. But it's Jasmine's son who's caught Kady's attention.
Enter hunky Dylan Matthews. Kady has no inkling Dylan is a DEA agent on a case in Cypress Pointe, and Dylan wants to keep it that way…until Kady's targeted. Determined to keep her safe, Dylan goes undercover at a floral convention and risks a lot more than blowing his cover…he risks losing Kady forever.
"This is more than a love story; it has intrigue, secrets and tons of twists and turns." 4-Star rating from RT Book Reviews
Read an excerpt:
The reception was subdued and elegant. Just what the bride dreamed of. Exactly what the wedding planner and Kady delivered.
On her last trip to place the final floral arrangement, Kady made her way around the far wall, heading to the gift table. Only a few steps from her destination, she was suddenly under siege by a half-dozen playing children. She went into football mode, dodging first to the left, then to the right, spinning to avoid a rushing child as she held on tightly to the container. After evading the possible disaster she grinned, impressed by her running-back skills. Who knew she was so light on her feet? The path clear now, she hurried on, until she stepped on an abandoned toy left behind by one of the kids. Her ankle turned. Unable to steady herself, she thought for sure she was about to tumble. Bracing herself, she securely locked her arms around the crystal container, holding on for dear life. But instead of going down, strong hands gripped her upper arms and straightened her.
Blowing out a relieved breath, she looked over her shoulder, glimpsing the most unusual pair of blue eyes she’d ever seen. Actually, blue wasn’t entirely correct. A hint of silver turned them an unusual shade of metallic gray. The man’s somber expression matched the concern she read there and his very handsome face garnered all her attention.
“Steady there.” His husky voice spoke close to her ear, sending a waterfall of shivers over her skin.
Rattled, she set down the flowers and took a relieved breath before turning to face her rescuer. “Thanks. That could have been a disaster.”
“Then it’s a good thing I happened to be nearby.” A half grin curved his lips.
Kady’s heart thumped in her chest. Talk about good timing. She snuck a peek at him. Yeah, she was going with not spilling the flowers to explain her racing pulse.
Winner of the 2015 Readers Choice Heart of Excellence Award for Long & Short Contemporary.
The Business of Weddings
One part happiness. Two parts love.
Relocating to the coast of Florida after becoming guardian of her best friend’s twin daughters could be the best move LA celebrity chef Jenna Monroe ever made. This is her chance to create a stable, loving home − something she never had. But can she be the mother the girls need?
Wyatt Hamilton thinks she can. The rugged charter boat captain, who came home to Cypress Pointe still grieving the death of his son, has faith in her. But the feelings he awakens in Jenna both exhilarate and frighten her. Because Wyatt no longer believes in forever... Unless she can convince him otherwise.
4.5 star review from Romantic Times Book Reviews
Beautifully written, this is an inspiring story of two individuals with a shared grief commonality that find love and acceptance when they least expect it. An emotionally touching small town story with lots of heart.
4.5 Blue Ribbon Rating- Romance Junkies
A heartwarming tale, HONEYSUCKLE BRIDE, the third book in author Tara Randel's THE BUSINESS OF WEDDINGS series, is a poignant, heartfelt contemporary romance that is sure to touch the hearts of readers. Wyatt has trouble listening to the condolences of his friends and family, but Jenna has suffered her own loss and he finds her words comforting. There is so much chemistry between these two grieving people, one that will not be denied. The two young girls also add appeal, depth and innocence to this story as they suffer their own grief over the loss of their mother and their worry that Jenna will also leave them. I loved the way that the author shows that each of the twins has her own distinctive personality and the way that they interact with each other.
This story can be read as a standalone, but if you enjoy this story, you may want to also check out the previous two novels in this series, MAGNOLIA BRIDE and ORANGE BLOSSOMS BRIDE. The main characters from these books also make appearances in HONEYSUCKLE BRIDE, which should delight many of the fans of the series. That is one aspect that I enjoy about a series. This is the first book I have read by this author but I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more.
Read an excerpt:
“Jenna, some advice?”
She faced him. “Please.”
“Keep loving them, just the way you are. They’ll always remember your love.”
Her throat went dry as tears misted in her eyes. “I can do that.”
He reached out to run a finger over her cheek, catching a single teardrop as it escaped. His gaze held hers, dark and mysterious in the dim light.
“Then you’re miles ahead.”
Jenna stared into Wyatt’s eyes, splayed her hand over his steady heartbeat. The foyer suddenly seemed cramped. The air heated. They stood toe-to-toe, so close, she could feel his soft breath on her skin. His firm fingers circled her arms, drew her closer. He lowered his head, but neither of them made the next move. Unable to stand the suspense any longer, she stood on tiptoes to brush her lips over his.
How right this felt. A deep part of her connected with him on a level she’d never experienced with any other man. Her heart expanded. For a guy who claimed he didn’t get emotionally involved, his kisses said otherwise. There wasn’t anything more involved than sharing a toe-curling kiss.
Gently breaking the connection, Jenna took a step back, her skin cooling at the loss of Wyatt’s warmth.
Lilli Barclay needs a groom—and she needs one now.
Not for herself, of course, but for her mother's
glamorous wedding-themed benefit. Then Lilli can
get back to what really matters, earning a promotion
at work. Just her luck that Max Sanders, the ideal
candidate, still holds a grudge against her for an
incident that happened twelve years ago.
Persuading Max to volunteer will take longer than Lilli
thought. Much longer. And the more time she spends
with him, the further she ventures down Memory Lane.
Pretty soon Lilli can't help wondering if Max could be
more than a pretend groom. He still makes her heart
race. But will he ever be able to forgive the past and
consider a future…with her?
Read an excerpt:
Max settled in and took another long look at this prospective client. That elusive memory still niggled the edges of his mind. Then it hit him, hard and fast.
Her cheeks flamed. “Yes.”
“I can’t believe it. It’s been twelve years.”
“That’s about right.”
“That’s exactly right.”
“And it’s in the past.” Lilli squirmed in her seat. “I was hoping we could look beyond that.”
Wishful thinking. His gut burned with memories. “I don’t think so.”
“It was an…unfortunate night.”
“Especially after the police showed up.”
A bonfire. Mischief. A pretty girl and a stolen kiss. Great times, until the cops broke up the party. And he’d ended up spending a few nights in juvenile detention because of her.
“You ratted me out.”
“It was either that or get in trouble for something I didn’t do.”
“You could have forgotten my name.”
“I could have, but I didn’t.” Her face colored. “It was all a misunderstanding.”
“You were a far cry from a misunderstanding.”
“It was a long time ago. I was hoping today we could calmly discuss business.”
“Calm isn’t at the top of my list right now.”
Married for a day, in love for life
Nealy Grainger knew that returning to Cypress Pointe meant an inevitable encounter with her teenage crush, and momentary husband, Dane Peterson. She could handle it. She wasn't the wounded girl who'd left Cypress Pointe years ago, heartbroken and furious when Dane had annulled their marriage the day after they'd eloped.
Now one of L.A.'s most in-demand celebrity event planners, Nealy's only come back for a vacation and to help with her sister's wedding—not for a reunion with her long-lost love. But the more their paths cross, the more the sparks fly! Maybe their connection isn't over just yet...
Read an Excerpt:
Nealy stepped into the spacious foyer, cool air greeted her, along with some major structural improvements. The new owner had removed the old ceiling to create an open two-story masterpiece. Her breath caught. Marble floors shone as light filtered through the frosted dome ceiling. A counter nearby, also in marble, had staff waiting behind it to help the guests.
She let out a low whistle. “Not too shabby.”
Her cell phone rang. This had to be Juliet worried about her ETA. As she crossed the highly glossed lobby floor, her heels echoed. “Hold on,” she said to herself, digging through the contents of her purse, intent on finding her phone, when she bumped into a tall, solid form.
“Whoa.” A deep masculine voice said as firm hands grabbed hold of her upper arms to steady her.
“I’m so sorry,” she sputtered, pushing her hair from her eyes. “I’m in a hurry and wasn’t watching where I─” Her words stopped as she recognized the man holding her in place. Him. “Dane?” she whispered.
“Nealy. Been a long time.”
Her breathing nearly stopped as she gaped at her ex-husband, Dane Peterson.
No. This couldn’t be right, could it?
“What are you doing here?” she managed to croak out.
“I’m the owner.”
“The Grand Cypress Hotel.”
Granted, running into Dane made her thinking a little fuzzy, but…”You own this hotel?”
Knocked off kilter by her first glimpse of Dane after twelve years apart, her legs became shaky. Why hadn’t anyone told her Dane owned the hotel? Probably because they figured she wouldn’t step foot in the place if she knew.
They’d have been right.
He’d aged well, exceptionally well, as evidenced by the unexpected stirring in her belly. His dark blond hair, highlighted by the sun, was cut short, a far cry from the disheveled locks he’d once sported. Whiskey-hued eyes and tanned skin portrayed the picture of a man in his prime. Even more handsome than the boy from her memories. She still remembered the lanky teen, long hair falling over his brow into his eyes, wearing T-shirts proclaiming the name of a favorite band paired with ripped jeans and sneakers. Today, a mature Dane wore navy pants and a light blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up his forearms. His dark shoes shone.
His masculine scent, so alluring and familiar, had her leaning toward him until she realized her mistake and blinking furiously, she took a hasty step back from the stunning man standing before her and the powerful reaction he evoked.
“How did you come to own this place?”
“It’s what I do. Rehab old or failing hotels.”
“You renovated this hotel?”
Wow. Talk about total and complete shock.
Nealy shook her head, trying to reconcile this man with the boy she’d fallen head over heels in love with. Her pulse fluttered as the intensity of his gaze made her heart race and her eyes sting.
“Welcome home, Nealy,” Dane said in a low, familiar voice.