USA Today Bestselling Author
As a Navy SEAL, Evan Lancaster was prepared to handle any task, any disaster.
He was not prepared for this.
He was not prepared for HER.
Evan’s best friend John is getting married, but there have been many glitches and rescheduling due to his fiancé Chloe’s job. Now they’ve lost the venue and have to start over again. The first step is enlisting Evan’s help. Now it’s not only Evan who will be working on this, Chloe’s friend and florist Presley will also be helping John pull off this surprise wedding. What John doesn’t know is that Presley and Evan have a past. It was many years ago but it doesn’t make the initial meeting any less awkward.
This is just one of my favorite scenes.
She did not need this today. Not the day after Brad—her boyfriend of five months—had dumped her. At her favorite restaurant, no less. The jerk.
Her emotions were all over the place, which was the only explanation for why she reacted to Evan’s perusal. What woman wouldn’t enjoy the appreciation of a gorgeous man?
One who was in love with her boyfriend…?
She would examine that thought another time. For now, Presley brushed invisible lint from the bright red fabric of her dress with an internal huff. She’d chosen the dress because it was her favorite.
Because it made her feel confident and pretty. Not so it could be mentally removed by a guy who had a history of deserting her.
Presley took a steadying breath and willed her pulse to slow. She wasn’t sixteen. Evan wasn’t eighteen. They were adults now. He’d moved on, and so had she. She was in no mood to relive the past.
Evan’s gaze finally met hers. Presley knew the moment he recognized her. It was comical, really, how fast his interest morphed into a less desirable expression. Shock mixed with a dash of surprise, then his full lips thinned into a scowl, as if he’d just decided the years between them hadn’t been nearly long enough.
His reaction set her defenses on edge. He had a lot of nerve acting as if he had any right to be upset. She hadn’t done anything to him. If there was any anger to be had, it belonged to her.
“Hey, Presley,” John called, waving her over.
Presley took a deep breath, fighting to calm the nerves eating away at her stomach.
The past is dead and gone. I’m here for John and Chloe.
Pasting a smile on her face, Presley closed the distance between them.
“John,” she greeted warmly. Presley reached for him as she approached the table. John took her hands in his, giving them a light squeeze.
“You’re a lifesaver. Thank you for coming.” John released her hands and motioned toward his companion. “This is my friend and best man, Evan—”
“Lancaster,” she finished. “Yes, I know.” She kept her expression passive. “Hello, Evan.”
John’s best man. What were the odds?
“You know each other?” John appeared dumbfounded. “Not really.” The desire to return a blow made the words tumble from her mouth. “We were…acquaintances, once. A long time ago, right Evan?”
Evan’s frown was fierce, but he remained silent.
Apparently, she’d hit her mark. She should be happy, but cheapening what he’d meant to her didn’t feel great, regardless of how they’d ended.
“Dude.” John shoved at Evan’s shoulder.
Evan’s sigh was loud enough for the entire coffee shop to hear as he lumbered to his feet to join them.
If it weren’t for her budding friendship with Chloe, Presley would’ve turned around and left. It was clear Evan wished she would go. Well, Evan Lancaster could get over himself. Presley was the best person to help plan this wedding. She knew what Chloe wanted. They’d discussed the details at length while picking out the flowers at Presley’s nursery. John needed her help, and Presley wouldn’t let Evan ruin Chloe and John’s big day.
“Don’t mind him, Presley,” John said. “He was raised in a barn.”
How could she forget? She’d had her first kiss in that barn.
“You can take the cowboy off the ranch…” Presley let her words trail off. She had no idea if Evan worked the ranch, or if his family was still in the horse business.
“Oh, Evan isn’t a cow— Ow!”
Evan slapped a beefy hand on John’s shoulder, cutting off whatever John had been about to say as Evan pulled him away from her.
“What the hell, man?”
Evan ignored his friend.
“Presley.” Evan didn’t attempt to hug her. “Been a long time.”
She shivered as the unexpected rumble of his voice cascaded down her spine, resonating through her middle. Presley shifted on her heels. A knowing arrogance flashed in those intense jade eyes as he followed her movement. The muscles in his arms flexed, as if he were fighting the urge to move.
“Yes, it has.” She swallowed hard. “You, um, you look well.” An understatement, to be sure.
Kincade, Parker. Hot SEAL, Best Man (SEALs in Paradise) (pp. 16-18). Parker Kincade. Kindle Edition.
Now the one thing to take note of is in the introduction, Evan prevents John from revealing he’s not a cowboy, but a SEAL. You know that’s gonna come back and bite him, right?
I got quite the kick out of this book as John gets a new deadline and can’t help with any of the planning.
Interesting family interaction as Evan gets permission from his father to use the barn for the wedding. Presley’s sister Emilia is a hoot, she’s holding more of a grudge against Evan then Presley is.
Between Evan’s family dynamics and Emilia’s barbs, there is plenty of simmer to sizzle romance and the secret Evan is withholding could very well destroy everything they’ve built during the wedding planning.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this multi-author series!
5 Contented Purrs for Parker!
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USA Today Bestselling Author, Parker Kincade, writes edge-of-your-seat-sexy romantic suspense, hot and steamy sports romance, and contemporary western romance. Her first novel, One Night Stand, won the 2013 Reader’s Crown Award for Best First Book, the category of Best Erotic Romance in the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Golden Claddagh contest, and was named finalist in the Romance Writers of America/Passionate Ink Stroke of Midnight contest.
Parker lives in the Southern United States. She loves to read, play golf, spend time with her family and friends, snuggle with her beloved boxer, ice cream from the ice cream truck, and watching old musicals.