In the latest standalone instalment in the Left at the Altar series—a collaboration of six New York Times bestselling authors—we are back in Las Vegas with a wedding between two complete strangers. Set in Sawyer Bennett’s Wicked Horse Vegas world, Wicked Wedding is available now and I have a sneak peek for you. And in case you were wondering, we originally met Andrew Collings (the hero) in Wicked Envy.
My brows furrow wondering why in the hell she’d be calling me on her honeymoon. I ignore my phone, moving instead to the desk where I have my iPad set up. Sitting down, I accept the call and then Avril and Dane’s faces are taking up my screen.
They’re obviously in their hotel room judging by the rumpled bed I see in the background, but from their shoulders up they appear to be dressed and ready to head out the door. Tokyo is thirteen hours ahead of D.C., so it’s mid-morning there.
“Hey,” I say with surprise. I didn’t expect to hear from them until they came back to the office.
“Hey,” Avril says with a wide grin.“What are you doing?”
“Not much,” I say, running my fingers through my hair. I’d cut it short recently, and I’m liking it so far.“But why in the hell are you calling me on your honeymoon?”
Dane chuckles.“We miss you, dude.”
“Yeah,” Avril agrees, her eyes soft as she focuses through the on-screen camera.“Wemiss you.”
“Fuck off,” I grumble, although it pleases me.“Youtwo have better things to do than call me.”
“Oh, we just got done doing ‘better things,’” Dane says with a wink, and I wait for jealousy or sadness to fill me.
Neither happens, and I’m relieved. I’m truly okay with the three of us not being together intimately, although I’ll always treasure those moments.
“Everything good to go on your end?” Avril asks, her tone turning professional.
I’m meeting some hematology researchers at Johns Hopkins this week. They’ve been testing our prototype. We try to meet once a quarter to go over results and adjust as needed. Our machine will be in testing probably for another few years, but we don’t want to leave any stone unturned. Our goal is clean results so we get FDA approval down the road.
“Everything’s fine,” I assure her.“I’ll send you two an update email before I head out Thursday.”
Dane nods.“When you get back into the office on Friday, can you get with Leon to go over proposed changes he made to the cytometer research budget?”
“Can it wait until Monday?” I ask.
“Yeah… sure, but why?” he replies.
“I’m headed to San Diego,” I say, and I cringe at the tone of my own voice. It’s way too vague and secretive. Avril is the first to leap as she leans in toward the camera.“What for?”
She knows it’s a woman.
No use hiding it.
“I met someone,” I say firmly, hoping to head questions off at the pass.
“Who?” she exclaims with delight.“When? Where? What’s her name?”
“Jesus, Avril,” Dane grumbles as he pulls her back by the shoulder.“Give the man some privacy.”
“No way,” she says as she shrugs his hand off. She leans in even closer to the camera. If she tips her head back to any more, I’ll be looking up her nose. It’s a move that warms my heart, because she has to know that as well and just doesn’t care because we’re best friends.“Spillit, Drew. I can see on your face that this is something special.”
Dane doesn’t make a move to pull her back, but rather peers at me over her shoulder. I can see he’s now interested in my answer, the surety in Avril’s voice I’m hiding something making the difference.
“Her name is Brynne,” I tell them.“She’s a dentist who lives in San Diego. I’m going to see her this weekend, so I won’t be in the office on Friday.”
Dane waves a dismissive hand, and Avril presses on.“Where did you meet her? Online dating? A casino? The Wicked Horse?”
“None of the above,” I say vaguely.
They both just stare at me with resolute expressions.
Sighing, I admit.“She was hitchhiking down the road in a wedding dress.”
They are slack-jawed now, confusion written all over their faces.
“So I picked her up. We went to a bar and had some drinks.”
“Go on,” Avril says with a nod, leaning in just a bit more so it’s mostly her face I’m gazing at.
“And well… we got married.”