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A delightful best friend's brother romance!
Can someone say worst day ever?
First, Samantha gets fired from her job, and then she runs into the one man who could help turn things around.
But Samantha will never forget the day that she made a pact with her three best friends in high school. Each of them took a pledge to never date their idea of Mr. Wrong. Fun and innocent, right?
The problem with Samantha’s Mr. Wrong is that he’s one of her best friend's brothers. Samantha slept with him in high school. He was her first and no man has ever compared.
Fast forward to today when her best friends all agree to accept a challenge to go date their Mr. Wrongs by the age of thirty.
Remember that man who could change everything? It’s him...her Mr. Wrong.
And he's just made her an offer she can't refuse, even if it means leaving the ones she loves behind.
- Best Friend's Brother
- Secret Romance
Emilia Hudson has never been one to consider arranged marriages, especially if it meant her fifty-five year old parents would have a say, but with her dismal love life, she’s almost reconsidering.
After her latest dating disaster, Emilia writes a simple blog post that goes viral. Worse yet, people start considering her a relationship expert, and all she feels like is a fraud.
As the emails and speaking engagements start rolling in, she realizes her only option is to take the bull by the horns and run with the unexpected fame.
What she doesn’t want to do is talk about the real reason why she won’t ever fall in love again.
However, when she gets an offer she can’t refuse from a major publisher, that’s all they want her to write about, but It isn’t until she meets the man behind the proposal that she realizes why…
Intro to Chapter One
Intro to Chapter One
“All you need to hear are three little words,” Winter gushed, “and life will be amazing.”
My two best friends, Winter and Tessa, were recently engaged, and I knew exactly what they were thinking.
I was next.
But I wasn’t.
I had bigger problems to worry about.
Like, I don’t know…
Finding a job after being let go from a place that had worked me to death.
“What three words, in particular?” I eyed Winter suspiciously.
Winter stared at her finger like she thought the engagement ring was about to hop off and run away, and I smiled.
Tessa was in the dressing room of the Seattle bridal boutique where she was getting the finishing touches on the alterations for her late December wedding while Winter, Arie, and I were waiting to be called back for alterations of our own.
The dreaded bridesmaids’ dresses.
This was not my idea of a good time. Not because I wasn’t over the moon for Tessa and Winter, but I knew what they expected of me.
We all knew what was expected of me.
“You are hired?” I teased. “Those three words?”
“I love you,” Winter hummed.
“And I love you too.” I laughed.
Winter rolled her eyes. “No, those are the three words.”
“I’d much rather have an interview than a date.” I smiled, and Arie chuckled next to me.
We’d all been given flutes of champagne when we’d arrived, and we’d vowed to drink Tessa’s portion since she was pregnant, which meant we each took on that challenge and had far too much bubbly running through our veins.
“Okay, Ladies, I’m ready for you.” The seamstress stood in front of us, holding our bridesmaid dresses, and I smiled.
“Saved by the wedding bells,” I muttered, and Arie giggled some more.
We followed the woman to a large dressing room where she hung the dresses and turned to look at us. “Would each of you like your own room or—”
Winter waved her hand in the air and smiled. “No, we’ve seen more than enough of each other over the years to know what to expect. Arie likes her plain cotton tighty-whities, Samantha enjoys silk and lace, and I’m into whatever I can come up with that’s clean and folded.”
Winter always seemed to have some sort of laundry crisis with clothes never being folded. I wasn’t even sure what was going on all the time. She was an artist, and I was certain that scattered creativity was what made her so successful.
“Okay, we will start with this dress for…” She read the tag. “Arie.”
Arie groaned but wiggled out of her jeans and pulled the pink sweater over her head, and sure enough, she was in a plain cotton bra and underwear.
The ivory satin dresses that Tessa had picked out for us were beautiful, but they were like most bridesmaid dresses. One and done.
The silky fabric draped over Arie’s slender body, and we all gasped. It was almost like we were seeing Arie in a wedding gown of her own.
“You’re beautiful,” Winter said, standing and circling our friend.
“Gorgeous,” I agreed.
Arie was so used to jeans and sweatshirts, I think the dress surprised her.
“I guess I clean up nicely, after all.” Arie chuckled and waved her empty hand, which Winter promptly filled with a champagne flute as the seamstress went to work.
“I hope I look a quarter as good as you do in that dress,” I said, smiling.
And I meant it.
Arie had one of those bodies where clothes just draped beautifully, whereas my body had lumps, bumps, curves, and folds that fabric loved to cling to, so I was really looking forward to today’s fitting.
“Back to those three little words.” Winter wiggled her brows, and I took another sip of champagne.
The seamstress had several pins between her lips, but she managed to squeak out, “Oh, are you seeing someone too?”
“No.” I shook my head. “My friends are overeager. That’s all.”
“That’s not all there is to the story,” Winter prodded, and I scowled in her direction.
“We’ve been friends since high school,” Arie began, taking me off guard. “And back when they were sixteen, they decided to make a pact between each other that they’d never date their Mr. Wrongs.”
The seamstress stopped working on Arie’s hem and looked up at us. “Really?”
Arie nodded. “Yup. But several months ago, they came up with a challenge. They figured that since they were almost thirty and hadn’t found anyone yet, maybe they should try to date their Mr. Wrongs instead of running away from them.” Arie laughed. “And the rest is history because two of my three friends are now getting married to their Mr. Wrong.” Arie pointed in my direction. “Now, we’re just waiting to hear who Samantha’s Mr. Wrong is.”
“But you didn’t make that vow with your friends?” the seamstress asked Arie.
Arie grinned. “Nope. I’m smarter than that. I rarely succumb to peer pressure.”
I smacked Arie’s shoulder, and she chuckled.
“The kicker is that Samantha’s Mr. Wrong is one of our brothers.” Winter’s eyes widened as she spoke, but her voice didn’t get any quieter. “She slept with one of ’em back in high school and based her vows on him.”
The seamstress went back to Aire’s dress but whistled. “The plot thickens.”
“Well, I just got let go from my job, so I don’t have any time to play the challenge.”
Tessa walked into our room dressed in her wedding gown, and we all let out gasps. She looked like a goddess.
I quickly blinked back tears as she stood in front of us, looking apprehensive as she waited for our responses.
“What do you think?” she asked, her hands running along the expensive white fabric.
“Oh, Tessa.” I brought my hands to my mouth. “You’re beautiful. Absolutely breathtaking.”
“You’re like a princess,” Arie said, holding back tears.
Tessa rubbed her belly, which wasn’t visible in the gown, and I smiled.
“You two look adorable.” I winked at Tessa, and she giggled.
Tessa’s eyes connected with mine, and her happiness filled me up. She looked like she was walking on air.
“Your friends were filling me in on your pact.” The seamstress stood and motioned for Arie to get dressed.
Tessa giggled. “It’s pretty crazy, really. I don’t think any of us ever thought something would come of vows we’d made when we were sixteen, but it was like on some subconscious level, we’d learned to date and interact with the wrong men—”
“Who we thought would be the right men when we were sixteen.” Winter sighed. “Goes to show we didn’t know what we were doing when we were sixteen.”
“Or it showed that you knew exactly what you were doing,” the seamstress mused. “Your sixteen-year-old selves knew who you’d be attracted to, who you’d be compatible with, and you avoided that type until now when you opened yourselves up to love.”
I laughed. “Except for me. I’m as closed and locked up as a safe-deposit box.”
Arie laughed and pointed at me. “Then you’re in real trouble.”
I nodded as Arie, Winter, and Tessa all stared at me, waiting.
Waiting for me to tell them which brother I’d slept with back in high school and which brother was my Mr. Wrong.
Arie felt she was off the hook since her brother was so much older. Tessa was positive it was her brother, Brendan, because we spoke on the phone so much, especially recently. And Winter concluded that it had to be her brother, Sheppard, since we’d hung out a few times when he helped me with some IT stuff.
“You guys are awful. I’m jobless, nearly homeless, and all you want to know is who I slept with when I was a teenager?” My hand rested on my hip.
They all shouted, “Yes,” and the seamstress laughed.
“Well, too bad.” I grinned. “This is Tessa’s day.”
The seamstress pulled the next dress and called my name.
All eyes remained on me, but I refused to make eye contact with any of them. I knew they could wear me down, and I wasn’t ready to reveal which brother I’d slept with so many years ago. There was a lot more surrounding that entire event than I ever wanted to think about. I didn’t want to believe that it had shaped who I was as a nearly thirty-something woman, but it did.
As the fabric slithered over me, my friends started talking about the upcoming holidays, and I felt like I could finally breathe again.
Until the seamstress zipped up the dress.
I looked in the mirror, and just like with Arie, the dress looked more like a wedding gown than a bridesmaid dress, and all I wanted to do was run.
The fabric felt like it was choking me, or maybe it was the weight of the silly challenge of confessing which brother I’d slept with, or perhaps it was the fact that I had no job.
All I knew was that I wanted to escape.
I wanted to start over.
I wanted to pretend this challenge had never existed.
“You okay?” Winter whispered as Arie and Tessa gabbed about wedding stuff.
“Not really.” My eyes connected with hers, and she squeezed my hand. “I never thought finding a new job would be so hard.”
She let go of my hand and nodded. “The right one will come just when you need it. Don’t despair.”
“I’m all about the despairing right now.” I laughed. “It gets me through the day.”
“And that is so not your style.” She took a couple of steps back and looked at me in the dress and let out a whistle. “But this dress is your style. You’re smoking hot.”
Arie’s eyes connected with mine, and she nodded. “So hot.”
“And sexy,” Tessa called out. “If you haven’t told us by my wedding which brother you slept with, something tells me we’ll be able to figure it out.”
“But you should just tell us now and get it over with.” Arie wiggled her brows.
My friends laughed, and I shook my head.
“Remember, it’s those three little words that can change your life forever…” Winter held up three fingers, and I rolled my eyes.
I wished it were as simple as confessing which brother had ruined me for life, but it wasn’t. I knew the moment I uttered his name, I’d never be able to take it back.