Best Man for Hire

By: Tawna Fenske

 (Entangled Lovestruck) (Front and Center)

So perfect he’s almost too good to be true…

Anna Keebler makes a living being unconventional. A wedding planner who specializes in more…unusual ceremonies, Anna’s client list includes everything from nudists to paintballers to Little Red Riding Hood enthusiasts. So when her photographer up and quits during a wedding blitz in Hawaii, Anna makes an unconventional decision. She hires a hot Marine to be her new photographer.

Little does she know, Grant Patton is the best man in one of her weddings. He’s so perfect he’s practically a Boy Scout—if Boy Scouts were big, ripped Marines with gorgeous gray eyes, and good at, oh, everything. Especially sex. In fact, his only flaw seems to be that he hates marriage as much as she does. But Anna suspects the sexy Boy Scout routine is a cover, and if he wants this thing between them to be about more than sex, Grant must reveal the dark past he’s fought so hard to hide…

For my husband. Because I can actually call you that now, though you will always remain “my gentleman friend.” Thank you, Craig, for being a daily source of support, laughter, inspiration, and all the things that make my toes curl.

Chapter One

Anna clicked her purple ballpoint pen and smiled at the couple twined together like sticky linguine on her office love seat. “So you want a fairy-tale wedding,” she said.

It was a phrase uttered in the office of every wedding planner in America at least once a week. But at Anna’s Wild Weddings in downtown Portland, Oregon, it meant something different.

“We’re thinking Little Red Riding Hood,” announced the bride, a twiggy blonde named Marci, who’d been referred to Wild Weddings by a couple whose frog-themed wedding Anna had orchestrated in August. “Darin already has his wolf costume from last Halloween, and my mother has this great vintage red cape, and the groomsmen can be woodsmen, and my grandmother can walk down the aisle carrying—”

Anna jotted brisk notes in her pink steno pad, pausing to murmur, “that sounds reasonable,” or “how lovely” to requests she knew most wedding planners would deem neither reasonable nor lovely.

“And we want to include the phrase, ‘all the better to eat you with, my dear’ in the vows,” the groom announced, giving his bride’s knee a squeeze. “And maybe ‘I’ll huff, and I’ll puff and I’ll blow you—’”

“That one’s actually The Three Little Pigs,” Anna interjected. “Not that ‘eat you’ and ‘blow you’ aren’t charming phrases to include in your nuptials. So do you have a date and place in mind?”

Marci nodded and caressed the groom’s shoulder, her orange and blue-polka-dotted manicure clashing terribly with his green shirt. “Darin and I were thinking springtime in Hawaii,” she said. “I know it’s soon, but that’s our favorite time of year there, and we want to do this before my grandmother is too feeble to travel.”

“Hawaii?” Anna tapped her purple pen on her teeth and glanced at the calendar. “Any island in particular?”

Darin shrugged. “Not really. My family owns property on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, so any of those would work.”

Anna glanced at the bride’s handbag perched on the love seat beside her. A Louis Vuitton Alma Satchel, about eighteen hundred dollars, if Anna remembered right. Though they hadn’t talked budget yet, Anna would bet her left butt cheek money was no object with this couple.

“Tell you what,” Anna said. “I’m actually doing three other ceremonies on Kauai at the end of March. If you two wanted to aim for a few days on either side of that, I can cut you a deal on airfare for my assistant and me.”

Darin perked up, solidifying Anna’s theory that the wealthiest clients were always the ones most excited by a bargain. “We can do that,” he said, beaming at his bride. “Right, honey?”

“Absolutely.” Marci looked at Anna. “Just out of curiosity, what are the other weddings?”

Anna shrugged. “One nudist ceremony, one paintball wedding, and one totally normal ceremony.”