New York Times phenomenon Lucy Kevin returns to Rose Chalet, the most romantic wedding venue in San Francisco, bringing three more of her beloved wedding stories together in one volume!
The Wedding Dress
Dress designer Anne Farleigh creates pure magic with her ideas and her fabrics. She needs some of that magic to rub off when she meets charming P.I. Gareth Cavendish, who delivers some unexpected news.
The Wedding Kiss
Rose Martin is the owner of Rose Chalet. She's so busy planning weddings for everyone else that she doesn't realize her own special someone has been by her side all this time!
Businessman Will Scott only agrees to a feng-shui design consultation to be polite. He thinks the whole thing is hocus-pocusuntil he gets to know interior designer Angelina Morgan and his no-nonsense demeanor falls under the magic power of love.
|Product dimensions:||4.10(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
When New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller Lucy Kevin released her first novel as an ebook, it became an instant digital bestseller. Since then, she has sold more than half a million books and has appeared on bestseller lists around the world. The Washington Post has called her “One of the top writers in America.” Lucy Kevin also writes emotional and sensual contemporary romance as Bella Andre. www.LucyKevin.com
Read an Excerpt
Despite the downpour, Anne Farleigh looked like an angel as she hurried up the walk to her front door. A very wet angel.
But even soaked to the skin, with her long hair and dress both utterly drenched, she was beautiful.
Gareth Cavendish had been waiting in the rain in front of her house for the past hour-enough time to make some calculated guesses about the woman who lived in the old-fashioned but obviously well-cared-for home. For starters, there was a white picket fence running around it. Gareth didn't know many people who actually had white picket fences, but it spoke to him of a family that had lived there happily for a long time.
Of course looks could be deceiving, as the contents of the envelope in his jacket pocket proved.
The case was straightforward. Jasmine Turner, a twenty-one-year-old woman from Oregon, wanted to track down the father who had abandoned her and her mother. She'd hired Richard Wells's law firm to represent her.
Since leaving the police force six months earlier and starting Cavendish Investigations, Gareth had worked several private cases for Richard. Most, unfortunately, involved cheating spouses. The Farleigh case, however, came with a large potential bonus: if Jasmine won her case and was awarded half of her biological father's estate, Gareth would end up with an additional payday- enough to keep his new private practice comfortably afloat.
As Anne moved closer to the front of the house, Gareth saw that she was smiling. How, he wondered, could someone be that happy about being caught in the rain?
Even more peculiar was the fact that when she finally spotted him standing in the rain by her front porch she didn't seem at all suspicious. Instead, she smiled directly at him, stunning him for a moment.
"Hello," she called out. "Are you looking for someone?"
Quickly regrouping, he asked, "Are you Anne Farleigh?"
She nodded and sent another of those pretty smiles his way. He moved up onto her covered porch and was about to reach into his jacket for the envelope when he looked into her eyes and stopped cold.
Her eyes were the most incredible shade of blue, like the ocean on a perfectly sunny day. Even in the middle of a rainstorm, the way she was looking at him warmed him through.
Gareth needed to serve her and get out of there. Yet, in spite of the rain and the situation, he wasn't in a hurry to leave.
Not with such a lovely woman standing in front of him.
He pushed the thought away as he finally grabbed the envelope and held it out to her. "This is for you."
She took the envelope, opening it with the obvious excitement of someone expecting a pleasant surprise.
While she took out the legal papers, he realized she was close enough for him to smell the sweet floral scent of her perfume.
She finished reading and held out the envelope to him. "You've made a mistake. You have the wrong person."
"Your parents were Edward and Chloe Farleigh?" Anne nodded. "Yes, but-"
"Then I'm afraid there hasn't been any mistake. I'm here to serve you with papers relating to your father's other daughter."
Anne shook her head sharply. "No, I'm sorry. You've got this all horribly wrong. My father didn't have another daughter. It's just me."
"He did have another daughter, Ms. Farleigh. Her name is Jasmine Turner. She is his biological daughter as a result of a relationship he had with Deirdre Turner twenty-two years ago." Even though Gareth couldn't help but feel bad for blindsiding her with the news, he had to do his job. "This is official legal notice that you're being sued for a share of your father's estate."
People never reacted well to being told that they were being sued, and he knew what to expect. Anger, disbelief, shock, dismay and then resentment.
What he wasn't expecting was that Anne would simply push the envelope back into his hand, letting go so that he had to either catch it or let it fall into the puddle gathering on the porch at his feet.
"I'm sorry, Mr.-"
"Cavendish. Gareth Cavendish. And you can't just give me back these papers. You've been legally served with them now."
"While I don't understand how a mix-up like this could happen, I do know that you've served these papers to the wrong person, because my father would never have done something like this."
She said it perfectly pleasantly, even a bit apologetically, as if she was sorry Gareth had wasted his time. Underlying her every word was a certainty that told him she wasn't going to budge from her position. With that, she put her key in the lock of her front door.
"Ms. Farleigh," he said again, "I'm certain there hasn't been a mistake."
"And I'm certain there has been. Good night."
She stepped through the door and shut it behind her.
* * *
Anne's home was full of happy memories-from the knickknacks collected by her mother, to the old photographs on the walls. She had made a few changes over the years since her parents' deaths, but had kept it bright and happy, with hints of its classic past. Most of the furniture in her bedroom, for example, consisted of antique pieces she'd inherited, such as the large four-poster bed that had been her parents', and the old chest of drawers with the scuff marks at the bottom from where her tiny feet had kicked it when she'd been a toddler.
She took off her wet clothes and stepped into the warm shower, smiling as she thought about how lovely Tyce's concert at The Rose Chalet had been and how sweet it was that he and Whitney had finally declared their love for each other. She'd much rather think about her friends than the man-albeit a very handsome man-who had come to deliver those legal papers to her a few minutes ago.
She appreciated good-looking men just as much as the next woman, but her reaction to this one had been out of the ordinary. Probably, she decided as she dried off and dressed, because he seemed to be the perfect combination of rugged and gentle. His dark hair had curled a little too long over his collar, and every part of him had been big and strong, from his shoulders to his hands. She'd felt as if she could stare into his dark eyes for hours.
Anne headed downstairs a few minutes later, wearing a favorite long-sleeved dress of her mother's to which she'd made a few small alterations to fit her slightly smaller figure. A few half-finished dress designs were strewn across the dining room table. As a dress designer, working at The Rose Chalet kept her very busy, not just with wedding dresses but also with designs for the bridesmaids and flower girls.
She went to the sink to fill her kettle with water to make a cup of tea but ended up stopping with her hand halfway to the faucet. Gareth Cavendish was still standing out in front of her house in the pouring rain.
Had he been there all this time that she'd been getting dry and warm? Why was he still here? She'd made it perfectly clear that he had targeted the wrong person with his legal papers.
A faint twinge of pity flashed through her. No doubt, he had some monster of a boss who would shout at him or maybe even fire him for making this mistake. Anne knew how lucky she was to be working with Rose at the chalet. Best friends since childhood, they were always there for one another.
Gareth looked utterly miserable. So miserable, in fact, that she pulled a clean dish towel out of a kitchen drawer, then walked back to her front door and poked her head out into the damp night air.
"Would you like to come in for tea, Mr. Cavendish?"
From under his umbrella, he looked at her as if she'd just asked him if he'd like to take up juggling. "Excuse me?"
"Would you like to come in and have some tea?"
Anne repeated. "You must be very wet and cold by now."
He hurried over and left his soaking-wet umbrella on the porch. As Anne stepped aside to let him in, he said, "You really shouldn't let strangers into your home like this."
Anne raised her eyebrows. "You've already told me who you are and what you want," she pointed out. "I don't think many criminals do that."
"But how do you know I am who I say I am?" Gareth countered. "You haven't even asked me for any ID."
Sensing it would make him feel better, she held out a hand. "Well, then, you'd better show me some ID, hadn't you?" After he showed her his license, she said, "Come dry off and sit down." She handed him the wildly colored dish towel. "You've been standing out there forever."
After rubbing the towel over his hair and face, he carefully folded it and put it on a nearby marble table-top. Then he sat down on the large couch covered in plush deep red velvet. The room was filled with mementos, sketches of designs, piles of books and all the other comfortable clutter of her life. While she poured his tea, his eyes skimmed over the old-fashioned Singer sewing machine she kept on a small table in the corner.
She passed him the cup and saucer, and his hand brushed hers as he took it. His skin was surprisingly warm despite the cold rain he'd been standing in. He took a sip of the tea, then put it down and took out the envelope again, laying it next to the teapot.
Anne worked to fight back a slight tightening in her chest. "Honestly, there must be more than one Anne Farleigh in the world. Or," she supposed out loud, "perhaps you've got the wrong name altogether of the person you're looking for."
"You sound very certain, Ms. Farleigh."
"Call me Anne," she said with a smile, ignoring the envelope that Gareth was pushing closer toward her.
"Okay, then, Anne, can I ask why you're so convinced this has nothing to do with you?"
"Because my mother and father loved one another. I don't just mean that the way that people sometimes say it automatically. They truly, deeply loved one another. They even died in one another's arms. When the car crashed-" she had to pause for a moment to push away the brutal image "-they reached out for each other's hands and held on through to the end. Would they have done that if they weren't so deeply in love?"
"I'm so sorry about the way they died-" Gareth began, but Anne kept going.
"I've never been deeply in love with anyone, but I know that if I were, I would never cheat on them. That person would be enough to fill my heart and my life. They'd be everything. There would be no reason to cheat. So, you see, this person you're talking about- who cheated on his wife and had a daughter no one knew about-can't be my father."
Gareth nodded as though he understood, and she was glad to have finally gotten through to him. But her relief was short-lived as he asked, "Your father was an author who traveled to Oregon many times on book tours, wasn't he?"
When she nodded, he said, "Then I'm sorry, I really am, but you are the Anne Farleigh I'm looking for. This isn't easy, I know, but your father, Edward Farleigh, had a lover in Ashland. She had a daughter twenty-one years ago named Jasmine Turner. Jasmine feels that your father unfairly left her out of his last will and testament. She wants what she believes to be her rightful share of the inheritance."
"But this is silly," Anne insisted in a calm voice even though it would be so easy to let herself get angry with this woman, Jasmine, and at Gareth for being so insistent that his client was right. The thing was, the only reason she'd be angry with either of them was if they were right. Which they weren't. "I don't know how you've come to this conclusion or what your client has told you, but she isn't my father's daughter. I've told you, my mother and father loved each other too much for something like that to have happened."
She started to push the papers back across the table, but Gareth held up a hand to stop her. "Anne, it doesn't work like that. You've been served with legal papers now, and you can't just give them back. If the two of you can't resolve things in mediation, then I'm afraid this will have to go to court."
Court? She looked at Gareth for several seconds, reality finally dawning. "I'm really being sued?"
"Yes," he said with a grave nod tinged with obvious regret, "you're really being sued."