Wedding planner, Cassie Winters can’t wait to find her own happily ever after, and when she meets wedding hater, Theo Abbot, she realizes she’s got her work cut out for her. Theo’s grumpy, set in his ways, and determined to never fall in love again, but the more time they spend together, the more Cassie begins to wonder if she can change Theo’s position on love. Fans of Claire Kingsley and Kaylee Ryan will adore WED LIKE WILDFIRE by Lauren Helms, a steamy, grumpy sunshine romance.
Once upon a time, there was a grumpy CEO who met a wedding planner who never stopped smiling…
You could say that I live and breathe weddings and love, and as a wedding planner, a happily ever after is the main event. So when I learn that Theo Abbot absolutely hates weddings, that should be my clue to run for the hills as fast as my sexy little black stilettos will take me.
But I digress.
I’m on the hunt for my own epic love story, one T-Swift herself could write a song about. Which means unavailable and seemingly uninterested CEOs are off limits. Even if the man oozes sex appeal and his grumpiness turns me to mush.
A little flirting never hurt anyone.
Cassie Winters shines so bright I need a pair of Ray-bans to look directly at her. Problem is, once I’ve set my eyes on her, I can’t seem to look away. The woman is a walking, talking promotion for all things love and happiness.
Hand me an antacid.
Counting, on one hand, the amount of times I’ve failed in my life, leaves me knowing I won’t ever do “love” again. I’m set in my ways and not even this sexy little spitfire could sweet talk me out of my decision to never get married.
Yet it only took one drink to derail that plan.
But, things aren’t always as they seem and when real life gets in the way of this fairy tale, we’re both forced to take a hard look at what we truly want.
Are we both ready to wed or is this a wildfire that’s about to burn out?
Copyright 2023 @Lauren Helms
I hear my sister and Mateo agree with her, and the woman continues.
“I mean, just look at the stage. It features more than fifty hand-painted scenic backdrops. It’s just absolutely remarkable.”
Despite the fact that I could get lost in this woman’s voice, I don’t appreciate that she barking up the wrong tree trying to sell this space to my sister.
I come to a stop behind the three of them, my attendance going unnoticed. I resist the urge to clap for her performance, but interrupt her words with my own instead.
“Well done, sounds like you could sell religion to the damn Pope.” Harsh, but I don’t like when people think they can take advantage of us just because we have money.
Both my sister and the woman startle. Mateo snorts. I glance at Nora and the glare I’m getting could cut ice, but I’ve survived the look before. I nod a hello at Mateo before sliding my gaze to the best damn saleswoman in the world.
Taking in the woman standing in front of me, no goddamn joke, my heart skips a fucking beat. I draw my hand out of my pocket and slowly rub my chest absentmindedly.
The woman is utterly exquisite. Her soft blond hair is braided in a way that is messy but perfectly styled and falls over her shoulder with strands of soft gold framing her face. A face that at first glance looks flawless. I’m unable to continue my perusal as I’m stopped in my tracks by two sparkling blue eyes staring back at me. Taking in all of her, I see that the smirk she wears tells me she’s not about to let me get away with what I’ve just said.
“No doubt you are correct, Mr. Abbot. However, I wouldn’t attempt something so outrageous.” Her eyes gleam. “I was just telling Nora and Mateo some very well-known facts about this beautiful cathedral.” She glances up and waves her hand around as if to encompass the whole space.
“Theo, this is Cassie Winters, our wedding planner. It’s nice of you to join us,” Nora bites out in a pleasantly terse tone. She walks up to me and kisses my cheek. As she pulls away, she whispers, “Be nice.”
I ignore her and focus on the wedding planner. Cassie.
“Well, I’m just confused as to why we are even here, Ms. Winters. Or is it Mrs.?” I ask.
She doesn’t miss a beat. “Ms. Thank you. And we are here because the couple getting married”—she gestures to Nora and Mateo—“wanted a tour.” Her tone straddles the line of condescending and courteous. And it’s sexy as fuck.
Nora punches me lightly in the side, typical sister shit. “Yes, I asked if we could check out the cathedral as well as some other places. We’ve already ruled some out due to availability, but this place has an opening twelve months from now,” she informs me as she walks back over to Mateo, lacing her fingers through his. His eyes flash as he looks down at her.
“I thought you didn’t want to wait a year,” I say, my eyes darting back at Cassie. She stands there, smiling with fucking stars in her eyes at Nora and Mateo.
“True, but places book up quickly, and I wasted too much time floundering before hiring Cassie,” Nora says.
I nod. Makes sense. I take a second to look around this place. I want to vomit, it’s so extra. We may have grown up with silver spoons in our mouths, but we didn’t grow up around such fancy-ass stuff such as weddings in the Scottish Rite Cathedral.
“Why the grumpy face?” Cassie’s beautiful voice breaks me out of my stupor.
“Oh, no, that’s his normal face,” Nora tells her.
“I don’t understand why you picked this place. It’s a church…”
“Are you not religious, Mr. Abbot?” Cassie interrupts.
“I’m not sure why that matters to you,” I snap.
Her eyes widen a tad at the venom in my tone. “You said it’s a church.”
“You didn’t let me finish, Ms. Winters. I was saying, it’s a church that was built in the ’20s and this place fits, like what? Twelve hundred people? Do you even know that many people, Nora?” I stuff my hands in my pockets out of frustration.
“No,” Nora offers shakily.
“Mr. Abbot, the theater space is only one of the locations available for a ceremony. This was our first stop. I wanted them to get the full tour,” Cassie says and I so badly want to ask her to call me Theo, but I don’t know if I’ll like the way she says my name more than the way she calls me Mr. Abbot.
I grunt, not having time for this argument. “Okay, then let’s look at a more accommodating space.”
“You know what, I think this place has lost its magic for me,” Nora grumbles. “Let’s check out that last place on my list. I know Theo has a busy schedule.”
“If you are sure, we can head over to INDUSTRY then,” Cassie says as she follows Nora and Mateo toward the exit.
I’m not into games. I’m not going to ask Nora if she’s sure or apologize for raining on her parade with this place. It’s not a good fit for her. She knows it. I know it. And this ridiculous wedding planner needs to learn it if she wants to keep my sister as a client.
Cassie walks by me, her shoulder nearly brushing mine, and my senses are immediately taken over by a soft smell of amber and vanilla.
“I’m so happy that you were able to join us today,” she says softly. I look down at her. She’s a few inches shorter, and the sparkle in her eyes is mischievous.
Clenching my jaw, I don’t reply as she walks on by, but the urge to wrap my hand around her arm and pull her back to me is strong.
I think what gets under my skin the most is that she has yet to drop the smile this whole time. Is it stuck on her face? Is this a Botox gone wrong? She doesn’t look like the type of woman to be obsessed with Botox, but what the fuck do I know?
I close my eyes for a minute to gain my wits.
One, two, three…
About Lauren Helms
Lauren Helms is a romance author her nerdy and flirty contemporary words. Lauren has forever been an avid reader from the beginning. After starting a book review website, that catapulted her fully into the book world, she knew that something was missing. While working for a video game strategy guide publisher, she decided to mix what she knew best–video games and romance. She decided to take the plunge and write her first novel, Level Me Up. Several published novels later, Lauren created a PR company, Indie Pen PR, to help other authors promote their books.
Lauren lives in Indianapolis, Indiana sharing her love of books and video games with her own Gamer Boy husband and three young kid nerds who will hopefully grow up to share the love of things that united Lauren and her husband on their own happily ever after.
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