Wedding War by Jenny Gilliam
What happens when a fairytale-believing wedding planner and a jaded hot-rod builder who thinks love is nothing more than a chemical reaction end up on opposite sides of the aisle at the wedding of her best friend and his brother? A wedding war erupts.
Jake Ryan will do just about anything to keep his brother from making the same mistake he made. He’s convinced there won’t be a wedding because he’s out to stop it. Mia Briscoe’s determined this will be the most spectacular wedding she’s ever planned. And when she discovers the groom’s brother is out to break up the happy couple? The battle begins.
Jake and Mia have both suffered deep emotional wounds that prevent them from making lasting connections. And both are baffled by the intense feelings they bring out in each other. Can Mia teach Jake that love is something to cherish and not loathe? And if she can, will he be strong enough to bury his past so they can have a chance at a future together?
Oh, baby. Come to mama.
Mia Briscoe had never been one for flights of fancy, but the big, bruising man sprawled out in First Class seat 2B made her want to drop to her knees and thank nature for producing such a fine specimen.
If the long, muscular legs clad in soft denim were any indication, he had to be at least two or three inches over six feet. The jeans, worn in all the right places, drew her gaze to what promised to be an impressive package. His black T-shirt hugged thick, sinewy arms roped with muscle and stretched across a pair of well-defined pecs. A ball cap hid his face, but she sensed a firm, square jaw. He stared at a magazine that lay open in his lap, as his long, masculine fingers touched the page.
Mia told herself not to stare, but damn, how could she not when the man’s body was so...mouth watering? She whimpered. She actually whimpered.
She’d never been affected by a man like this before. Not even in high school, when other girls swooned over rock and movie stars. To have this reaction here, on an airplane, of all places seemed...strange. And wonderful.
It took her mind off the fact that the last time she’d boarded an airplane it’d been to sit at the deathbed of the woman who’d raised her after her parents died in a car accident. She’d been thirteen. Aunt Eva took her in, loved her and guided her to make the right choices in life. Eleven months later, her aunt’s absence still felt as raw as an open wound. Don’t think about it.
Mia gathered herself, realizing she stood in the middle of the aisle salivating over a piece of man-candy. She glanced down at the boarding pass in her hand. 2B. Her eyes flickered to the bulkhead.
Wait a minute. Mr. Studly is in my seat!
Wow, she must have managed to repay one hell of a karmic debt, because good fortune shone on her today.
A coiffed and polished flight attendant gave Mia a plastic smile as she passed by. Mia looked back down at Mr. Studly, still engrossed in his magazine.
She cleared her throat.
No response. She tried a more direct approach. "Excuse me. I think you’re in my seat."
He finally glanced up and Mia’s heart all but stopped.
Blue eyes, as deep as the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, stared up at her, an unreadable expression on his face. Intelligence shone in those gorgeous depths, and his dark brows pulled into a frown as he gave her face and body a slow perusal. Mia felt his gaze as if he’d touched her with those tough, masculine hands. She suppressed a shiver.
She’d been right about that square jaw. At eleven in the morning it showed signs of a heavy beard. His strong chin boasted a faint cleft. She’d always had a weak spot for a man with a strong chin with a faint cleft.
He broke eye contact, returning his attention to his magazine. "I’m not moving."
"I beg your pardon?" Mia asked.
"You heard me," he said, in a deep baritone.
"But…you’re in my seat." She thrust her boarding pass under his nose. "See? It says right there. Seat 2B."
"I can read, sweetheart," he said, sending Mia’s blood near boiling point.
Is this guy for real? A hunk of studly man-love he might be, but he had the manners of a garden rock. Wishing he had just kept his mouth shut, she drew up to her full five feet nine inches. "Are you sure about that?" she asked sweetly.
"Lady, I’m not gonna sit here arguing with you all day. You better sit your pretty little ass down or you’re gonna be in for a rude awakening when we take off."
Of all the pigheaded, misogynistic things to say! Mia’s blood pressure skyrocketed as a fine red mist gathered before her eyes.
Mia wasn’t one to stand by while people trampled over her in order to get their way. No, sir. She was no one’s doormat. And it infuriated her that this guy expected her to toe the line simply because he said so.
She planted her feet and propped a fist on her hip. "I’m not going anywhere. You’re the one who should move."
He glanced at her and smirked. Why did the colossal jerk have to be so damn gorgeous? It wasn’t fair.
"Not gonna happen," he drawled.
"The hell it’s not."
One black brow lifted sardonically. "What are you gonna do? Tell on me?"
"You bet your ass I am." Mia spun on her heel and smacked into the Barbie-doll flight attendant she’d seen moments ago.
"Is there a problem?" she asked Mia.
"As a matter of fact, there is. This…this person" —she infused plenty of meaning into the word so there was no mistaking what she thought of squatters, "is in my seat." She shoved the boarding pass at the flight attendant, who stared at it as though Mia handed her a smelly sock. "It’s right there. 2B." She whirled back on the interloper. "He’s in my seat."
While it pleased her enormously to vent her frustration, Mia realized her behavior was a tad childish. True, the man occupying her seat had started this whole mess, but as an adult she should have risen above it. She ran a successful—okay, successful was stretching it—wedding planning business, for crying out loud. She dealt with disasters worse than this on a daily basis.
"Sir?" the flight attendant asked. "May I see your boarding pass?"
He smiled, the act transforming his entire face. Mia wasn’t going to fall for his charming act this time. Uh-uh. No way. However, Airline Barbie was a different story. She looked ready to climb on his lap and take him for a ride. While she perused his boarding pass, he flicked a glance at Mia. And smirked.
"Sir, it does say here you’re in 2A." She seemed disappointed.
He turned that megawatt smile back on Airline Barbie. "It’s just I have this thing about planes," he explained, speaking to the flight attendant as if Mia had ceased to exist. "I have a real hard time flying as it is, so it helps if I sit in the aisle. I thought I was getting an aisle seat, so I just sat here."
"That’s the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. You are not seriously going to believe him, are you? He’s totally playing you." Mia huffed and folded her arms under her breasts.
Airline Barbie turned on Mia. "Ma’am, you need to calm down right now or I’m going to have you removed from the aircraft."
Mia’s mouth hung open. Outrage sang through her blood, but logic and reason, temporarily out to lunch, decided to make a comeback.
"If he would have said that to begin with, I would have gladly given up my seat." There. She even managed to sound the teensiest bit contrite—though she spoke through clenched teeth. "He can have the stupid seat if he’s afraid of flying. Okay? It’s not that big a deal."
Mia’s temper often landed her in situations such as this. However, had The Jerk explained his fear of flying in a calm and rational manner when she’d first spoken to him, she would have gladly traded seats. But, nooo, he had to be a big ol’ butthead about it.
Really, The Jerk deserved Mia’s ire.
Airline Barbie didn’t look convinced. In fact, she and The Jerk shared a commiserating glance, as if Mia had lost her mind. She knew she fought a losing battle. And the hell of it was, she had to sit next to him for the next five hours.
Her first time in First Class, paid for by her best friend, whose wedding she would be planning for the next two weeks, and it had been ruined by a misogynistic pig who, quite unfairly, resembled a dark, delicious and seriously yummy god.
Well, crap. It appeared her good fortune had turned into a curse.