Florist Claire Holbrook has always played by the rules her entire life, but breaks them to spend one night with sexy lone wolf Jake Manning, a man she’s adored since she was a teenager. Six weeks later, things get complicated when she discovers they created a bond that will last a lifetime
Jake has never played by the rules. Getting Minister Holbrook’s daughter pregnant wasn’t part of any life plan, but he won’t run from his responsibilities. He’ll step up and be the best man he can, even if he doesn’t have a clue where to begin. The more time he spends with Claire, though, the more he wants her, and the harder it is to get close, because that would mean sharing the one thing he hasn’t with anyone–the truth and his heart.
“To Holly and Quinn,” Jake Manning said, holding up his champagne flute.
Claire Holbrook raised her glass, toasting to her best friend and her new husband. Holly’s cheeks were flushed with an unbridled happiness. Her eyes glistened with tears, and her smile hadn’t wavered all day. Holly had claimed love, Quinn, and happily ever after.
“Welcome to the family,” Evan Manning said, leaning down to give Holly a kiss.
“You’re the only woman I’d wear a tux for,” Jake said, giving Holly a hug.
Claire’s heart dipped, but she held her smile intact. And she should. Today wasn’t about Claire and her ridiculous, lifelong crush on Jake Manning. Or the fact that he’d basically just said he’d never wear a tuxedo again, which pretty much meant he was never intending on getting married. She forced those thoughts aside and focused on these last few minutes with the bride and groom.
“It was a gorgeous day. Everything was perfect,” Claire said with a smile, her eyes taking in the Edwardian ballroom again. The event had been straight out of an issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. The ceremony in the charming chapel had been poignant, and the reception a true celebration of the couple’s new life together. But now that the night was coming to an end, only a few guests were still meandering around the ballroom. The live band was playing soft music, and Holly and Quinn’s daughter, Ella, was dancing with a few children on the dance floor. The five of them were standing together for one last chat before Quinn and Holly left for the night.
“Thank you all for everything. Claire, you’ve always been like a sister to me. Evan and Jake, you’ve made me feel like family right from day one and I will never, ever forget that. I never thought I’d have a family again—and now I have one that is better than I could have imagined,” she said, tears filling her eyes. Quinn wrapped his arms around her from behind, still holding his champagne flute. Her friend leaned back into her husband. They were perfect for each other, and anyone who saw them together knew it. Felt it. Today all of Holly’s dreams had come true. She had married the man she’d loved since she was a teenager.
“To the best men,” Holly said, smiling and holding up her glass to Evan and Jake. Quinn’s brothers had shared the honored position, and Claire spent the day being sandwiched between the two of them as maid of honor.
“To the best men,” Claire said.
“And to the maid of honor,” Quinn said, smiling at her.
Victoria James is a romance writer living near Toronto. She is a mother to two young children, one very disorderly feline, and wife to her very own hero.
Victoria attended Queen’s University and graduated with a degree in English Literature. She then earned a degree in Interior Design. After the birth of her first child she began pursuing her life-long passion of writing.
Her dream of being a published romance author was realized by Entangled in 2012. Victoria is living her dream-staying home with her children and conjuring up happy endings for her characters.
Victoria would love to hear from her readers! You can visit her at victoriajames.ca or Twitter @vicjames101 or send her an email at Victoria@victoriajames.ca.