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The Brides of Blueberry Cove #2
Released Sept 29th, 2015
Interior designer Fiona McCrae has left fast-paced Manhattan to move back home to peaceful Blueberry Cove. But she’s barely arrived before she’s hooked into planning her big sister Hannah’s Christmas wedding—in less than seven weeks. The last thing she needs is for her first love, Ben Campbell, to return to neighboring Snowflake Bay…
As kids, Fiona was the bratty little sister Ben mercilessly teased—while pining after Hannah. But Fi never once thought of Ben like a brother. And that hasn’t changed. Except Fi is all grown up. Will Ben notice her now? More importantly, with her life in a jumble, should he? Or might the romance of the occasion, the spirit of the season, and the gifts of time ignite a long-held flame for many Christmases to come…
Something old might just become something new…
There should be a rule book, she decided. Or at the very least, a tastefully done pamphlet. The Bridesmaid Rules. Fiona McCrae zipped along the cove road, too distracted to even glance across Pelican Bay at the lighthouse perched majestically out on the tip of Pelican Point. Too much to do. Too much to plan. What on earth had she been thinking, taking this on?
“A list of basic, common-sense rules,” she said, warming to the subject as she made the turn toward the Point. She would have been quite happy to draw up that list, if anyone asked. She could think of a half dozen without even trying.
Bridesmaid Rule No.1: No one should have to be a bridesmaid more than once in a year. “Especially if said bridesmaid has yet to become a bride herself.” She smiled wryly. “And the single-ladies crowd goes wild.” She made the universal hordes-cheering sound, and held on to her amused smile as she wove her way ever closer to home base. Hmm. Bridesmaid Rule No. 2 … “No bridesmaid should ever be expected, asked, or guilted into being the wedding planner.” Actually, she thought, that should probably be Rule No. 1.
If there was such a rule book, being a bridesmaid twice in six months and the wedding planner for both events would be in serious breach of the bridesmaid code. On top of that, this time she was also the maid of honor. And she had been honored when her older sister had asked her to play that most special role in her big day. She’d done the big, sloppy cry, in fact. They both had. And there hadn’t even been adult beverages involved.
At the time, Fiona had blamed still being joybuzzed from watching her big brother tie the knot barely three months earlier. And now, suddenly—too suddenly to her mind—it was Hannah’s turn to walk down the aisle.
Weddings were a happy thing. A thing she should be thrilled about. Downright jubilant. So what if her family was falling in love all around her while her life was falling apart?
Okay, so maybe falling apart was being a bit melodramatic. Except selling off her award-winning interior design business in Manhattan to move, lock, stock, and fabric sample binders, back to her hometown of Blueberry Cove, Maine—all without exactly firming up her new business model—pretty much felt exactly like that. She still couldn’t believe she’d really made the leap, taken the plunge. “Jumped off the cliff,” she added sardonically as she pulled in between her sister-in-law Alex’s ancient truck and the big red pickup parked in the small lot outside her childhood home.
Fiona gasped as she cracked the car door open and the icy coastal breeze snatched her breath away. She wedged her booted foot out first to keep the door propped open, trying not to bang it into the truck as she climbed out, lugging the heavy satchel behind her. It was filled with an assortment of samples, swatches, wedding books, and magazines she’d carefully selected, along with a stack of planners she’d already begun assembling, the combined weight of which felt as if she’d packed up the proverbial kitchen sink.
She edged her way out between the vehicles, but didn’t give the truck much notice otherwise, assuming it belonged to yet another of Alex’s long list of sub-contractors. The renovation work on the old lightkeeper’s cottage was the last part of the Pelican Point restoration project that Alex had been working on for close to two years now. Fiona did glance out at the Point then and took a moment to admire the beautifully restored stack of two-hundred-year-old stone that was the McCrae family lighthouse. But only a moment.
No time for dawdling! There was a wedding to plan! “In seven freaking weeks,” she muttered under her breath. Seriously. There should be rules. Fiona hauled the oversized canvas tote up higher onto her shoulder and dipped her chin down, tucking it into the scarf she’d wrapped repeatedly around her neck. It was a vain attempt to keep the wind that clipped relentlessly over the rocky promontory from whipping her cheeks to an even more chapped pink than they already were. In all of her daydreaming about moving back home to the Cove, how was it she’d managed to so utterly forget what the cold weather did to her fair skin?
She needed to get a tube of rehydrating cream to keep in her purse. And one for her car. And every other bag she carried. If she applied it a dozen times a day, she might have a slim chance at not resembling a cherry-cheeked elf at her sister’s December wedding. And that was another thing. Who gets married at Christmas? Who wants to have their wedding anniversary compete with Santa?
“More to the point, who makes the big decision to get married at Christmas, when it’s already only two weeks away from Thanksgiving?” She’d tucked her chin so far down behind the heavily wrapped scarf that speaking out loud caused the wool fibers to laminate themselves to her heavily balmed lips. Lovely. Just lovely. Bridesmaid Rule No. 3: It has to be at least above freezing to have a wedding. And while she was at it, No. 4: There should be at least a six-month minimum wedding planning rule. Better yet, nine. Hell, make it a year. “But seven weeks from saying yes to saying I do? Insanity.” She spluttered at the wool fibers now sticking to her teeth and tongue, too, as she clambered up the wide stone steps.
It wasn’t sour grapes, either. These were salient, perfectly rational points, all of which Fiona planned to put forth to her sister. And she would. Just as soon as she divested herself of the luggage-sized satchel she was grappling with, and scraped the scarf off her face. She’d be completely non-confrontational, of course. She’d merely explain, in a calm, rational, don’t-piss-off-the-starry-eyed-bride manner, that it would make so much more sense to have a lovely spring wedding. Coastal Maine was beautiful in the spring. Well, if you overlooked the mud that resulted from all the snow melting. Followed by all the heavy seasonal rains. Not to mention the occasional crippling late snow storm. Okay, so maybe she’d go the nine-month minimum wedding planning rule. All the better, really. A summer wedding would be perfect. Just as it had been for Logan and Alex.
Plotting how she’d open the delicate-but-had-tohappen conversation, she banged her way to the side door off the wraparound porch that hugged the gabled, shake-shingled house that had been home to generations of McCraes. Surely she could make Hannah see reason. “Knock, knock!” she called out as she let herself in. She shoved her body and the tote into the small mudroom, then heard a loud thump overhead, mixed with muffled voices, followed by laughter.
“Alex?” she shouted through the scarf, which was still half-draped over the lower part of her face as she tried to maneuver herself around to reach for the door that led to the kitchen. There was another thump overhead and more laughter. Good. She’d recruit Alex into her change-the-date mission. Strength in numbers.
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USA Today bestselling author of the Cupcake Club Romance series, Donna Kauffman has seen her books reviewed in venues ranging from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal to Entertainment Weekly and Cosmopolitan. She lives just outside of DC in the lovely Virginia countryside, where she is presently trying to makeover her newly empty nest into something that doesn’t have to accommodate piles of sports equipment falling out of her coat closet (okay, out of every closet...and under every bed....), size 13 cleats and sweaty uniforms cluttering her foyer (and stairwell, and laundry room, and...), and a kitchen that should have come with a traffic light. And a pantry monitor. (Anyone with a clever idea on how to repurpose lacrosse sticks into matching reading lamps, she’s all ears!) When she’s not stripping paint, varnishing an old auction house find, or trying to avoid bodily injury with her latest power tool purchase, she loves to hear from readers!