Falling for the Best ManBy: Amanda Ashby
Emmy Watson hurried across the Bradley International Airport parking lot clutching at her hastily made sign. As the bright Connecticut sun heated her skin, she should’ve been pleased the fall weather had turned out so perfectly for the wedding event she’d spent the last two months organizing. Instead, all she could think about was how letting the best man stay with her at the farm was going above and beyond the call of duty.
Her sisters would probably say Emmy had to stop being such a middle-child people-pleaser and stand up for herself. Then again, it was Pepper and Bec’s fault she was doing this in the first place, which meant Emmy wasn’t in the mood to heed their advice.
Her sisters didn’t love Wishing Bridge Farm, but Emmy never thought they’d want to sell the place. More to the point, Ivy wouldn’t have left them a third each if she knew what they were planning. A familiar wave of pain washed through her. She still struggled to accept that the salt-of-the-earth old lady, with her mischievous blue eyes and her seemingly unstoppable spirit, was actually gone.
It was also why Emmy was determined to make the farm’s new vintage wedding venture a success—so she could convince the bank manager it was a viable business, and get a large enough mortgage to buy her sisters out.
She would get a mortgage, she amended. After all, they’d often hired out the old covered bridge to wedding parties, and over the years the various event planners had oohed and aahed at the retro treasures Ivy had hoarded. Of course, Emmy had since discovered there was a bit more to organizing a wedding than owning some old suitcases and patterned china.
That’s why I’m at the airport about to invite a stranger into my house.
When she reached the arrivals gate, a crowd had already gathered and Emmy had to murmur several apologies as she squeezed her way toward the front.
Finally, the automatic doors slid back and a middle-aged couple wearing identical I Love Texas T-shirts wandered out. They were followed by a young family with two toddlers and, as Emmy obediently waved her hastily scribbled sign high in the air, it hit her how awkward this was. Especially the part where she had to explain to the best man that thanks to a plumbing problem at the Rosepot Inn, he’d now be staying with her.
She sighed as she readjusted her sign.
The fact the plumbing problem had been caused by the groom’s younger brother, who’d got drunk and forgotten he’d started to run a bath, hadn’t helped. Nor had the outrageous behavior of the two groomsmen who’d tried to convince the bridesmaids they could all share a room together. Naked.
Between trying to calm down Melinda, her hypercritical client, and finding new accommodation for twenty people, Emmy had thought the day was never going to end. But she’d finally managed to book out every last room in Sunshine, only to be reminded by Melinda’s fiancé, Lewis, that the best man wasn’t flying in until the following day.
Melinda’s voice had turned into a high-pitched squeal as she declared that the wedding was cursed, and that the best man would have to sleep on a park bench. And so Emmy had done what any desperate wedding planner eager to save the family home would’ve done. She’d said he could stay at the old cottage at the bottom of Wishing Bridge Farm, and—
Of all the arrival gates in all the world, he walked into this one.
Time stopped as the all-too familiar figure of Christopher Henderson stepped through the sliding doors. Her breathing quickened as he casually readjusted the small travel bag hanging over his broad shoulder before peering around with the kind of confidence she’d never have.
This could not be happening.
It had been two years since she’d last seen him, but even from a distance it was impossible to miss his dark green eyes and the chiseled cheekbones that did strange things to her stomach muscles. His skin was tanned, and he’d obviously just returned from a trip. Not that she was surprised. Christopher was a travel writer with a syndicated column called Off the Beaten Track, so he was always returning from some exotic destination or another. She was pretty sure his passport read more like a stamp collection than a travel document.
It also served as a reminder of just how badly their last encounter had gone. She quickly lowered her sign and wriggled back past a group of limousine drivers until she was hidden from sight, for once pleased that, while her two sisters liked to command authority and attention, Emmy’s special skill was fading into the background.