An all-new sizzling friends-to-lovers standalone romance is coming from author Tessa Bailey, and I am so excited to share with you the cover and a little sneak peek.
When I woke up this morning, I didn’t plan on crashing a wedding.
But here I am.
In leather pants and a faded T-shirt, I didn’t even bother dressing up, which is drawing censorious raised eyebrows from the Charleston upper crust. There they are in their pressed pastels and bow ties, neatly divided into two sides of the aisle. Golden blondes on the left. Deep, rich brunettes to the right. Not a head of midnight-black hair among them.
None like mine.
Defiance rears back inside me and I toss that mane of inherited black hair now, letting it whip and settle around my shoulders. Perhaps it’s the move that causes an older woman in the back row to recognize me—finally. Or recognize my mother, rather. I’ve grown up a lot since leaving this town, and since I own a mirror, I’m aware of the resemblance.
Green eyes, resting bitch face, stubborn chin, indecent curves.
I’m a Potts girl, head to toe.
Looking as if she’s seen a ghost, the woman fingers her pearls and leans over to start a gossip wildfire, no doubt. My mouth curls into a pleased smile and I go back to observing the congregation. Everyone is seated and waiting for the bride to walk down the aisle, except for me. I’m standing in the far back corner, cloaked in shadows. Appropriate, considering my cousin, Naomi, is getting married this afternoon and no one in my family was invited.
What family? You’re the only one left now.
An invisible fist grinds into my chest and I push off the wall, intending to duck out for a breath of fresh air. No way I’m going to lose my composure in front of these people. Especially the blonde side of the room. When I turn to leave, however…that’s when I see him.
Once, during a hurricane, I made the mistake of leaving my apartment in Brooklyn for a gallon of milk. Cereal makes up ninety percent of my diet, so I was desperate and tired of eating fistfuls of dry Cheerios. I didn’t make it two steps out of the building when a hundred-mile-an-hour wind swept my feet out from under me, landing me on my back with a view of the dark thunderheads above. I still went and bought the milk, because I am a stubborn piece of work, but I remember that feeling of utter shock. The confirmation that forces more powerful than my iron will exist, just waiting to knock me on my butt.
That’s how I feel when I see the groom. Naomi’s groom.
My throat resists my attempts to swallow, coating itself in mud. Palms sweaty, pulse clamoring, knees buckling—yes, buckling—I fall back against the back wall of the church. I turn to find a full back row of blonde heads watching me and I lift my chin, commanding myself to pull it together. What in God’s name is wrong with me?
As if induced by magic, my gaze lifts to the groom once more. He’s not the cookie-cutter trust fund boy I was expecting. No, he’s…compelling. Hands clasped behind his back, he’s the authority in the room without moving a single muscle. He must be six foot five, based on the way he towers over the groomsmen, and the breadth of his muscular chest is somehow fierce. Braced and ready for action. He has a thick head of tobacco hair, face shaven but already battling a beard. His blatant masculinity isn’t what robs me of the ability to stand, though.
It’s his eyes. For all this man’s obvious power, they’re heartbreakingly kind.