Hopeless romantic Ivy Rhodes
anti-Cupid Bennett Westcott
request the pleasure of your company for
their disaster of a courtship
Wedding planner Ivy Rhodes is the best in the business, and she's not about to let a personal problem stop her from getting ahead. So when she's asked to star in the reality TV show Planning for Love, it doesn't matter that the show's videographer happens to be a recent--and heartbreaking--one-night stand.
Bennett Westcott admits he didn't handle his encounter with Ivy very well. But looking at her beautiful smile--and great body--through a camera lens every day? He can't be faulted for suggesting they have some no-strings fun.
The more time they spend together, the more Ben realizes Ivy isn't the wedding-crazed bridezilla he'd imagined. But if he doesn't trust himself to make a relationship last, how can he convince Ivy to give him another chance?
Ivy Rhodes lay sprawled at the bottom of the stone steps, feet tangled in the straps of a large black duffel bag. Everything hurt and, to top it off, she thought she'd heard her dress rip. At the very least, the pale pink satin had to be smudged from her ungraceful slide down the sweep of old stones dominating the foyer of the Great Hall at CafÃ© Brauer. Worst of all, the round lens of a video camera bobbled less than an inch from her nose.
"Are you kidding me? You're filming this?" Ivy's voice rose to a high squeak on the last word. Her famous, unflappable composure threatened to crack. Because who wouldn't be flustered when their humiliating clumsiness got recorded for posterity on a wedding video? She dropped her cheek back to the cool stones and waited for a wave of dizziness to subside. Hopefully, if any of the caterers needed to walk by her to finish setting up the ballroom, they'd avoid stepping on anything important, like her dress or her head.
"Ollie, you idiot! Get out of the way." The deep, baritone voice issuing the command buzzed with almost as much annoyance as Ivy felt.
A pair of highly polished dress shoes entered her limited field of vision, replacing the scuffed loafers belonging to the cameraman. Hoping this indicated the camera was gone, Ivy lifted her head once more. Not only had the camera disappeared, but an incredibly handsome man now crouched in front of her.
Although it was true almost every man looked good in a tux, this one in particular was downright yummy. Broad shoulders filled out his jacket. Impeccable tailoring emphasized the vee shape of his torso. His chin had a movie-star cleft deep enough to anchor a small boat. A streaky thicket of blond hair set off piercing blue eyes. Combined with his unusual-for-April-in-Chicago tan, it gave him a bit of a surfer look.
"Are you okay? Here, let me help you up," he said, without waiting for an answer. Strong arms lifted her off the floor, cradling her against a very firm chest. Her long dress, albeit possibly streaked and torn, cascaded down to his knees. It was like a scene out of a movie: the formalwear, the romantic pose, the Prince Charming look-alike carrying her. Or, to be perfectly honest, one of several favorite fantasies she mentally thumbed through instead of counting sheep. Ivy's heart did a quick flip flop. These things never, ever happened to her. This moment was well worth a few scrapes and bruises.
"Not that I'm complaining, but where are we going?" she asked.
"To find you a chair. We need to assess your injuries before you try to stand."
What a strangely technical thing for him to say. Not at all the warm, charming words she'd hoped to come out of his lips. "Are you a paramedic?"
"Nope. But I am certified in advanced first aid. I just don't want you to sue me."
"What?" Ivy craned her neck around to meet his eyes. "You're being nice to me to sidestep litigation?" And with that, her personal ocean of humiliation snaked out a riptide, sucking her even deeper. Prince Charm-less was more like it. "Put me down right now," she demanded.
"As soon as I find a damn chair!" He turned left into the Great Hall. Early afternoon sunlight beamed in through the wide windows, casting a golden haze across the top of the enormous room.
Ivy waved her hand at two hundred gilt Chivari chairs framing the round banquet tables in perfect arcs. "Take your pick."