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How did the bride’s dress get in your closet?

Did you love the Second Chance Harbor Series? If so, you'll be happy to know that each book in the wedding planner series, Ever After, features one of the couple's weddings. You can read about Savannah and Ethan's wedding from Fighting Chance in Feel My Love, and Zoe and Max's wedding from One More Chance in The Way You Are!


Haven't read the Second Chance Harbor Series? Get it half off here!


And there's one more wedding in The Way You Are. Can you guess which couple it is from this excerpt?

What if I stepped over the line in planning it myself? What if she secretly wanted a destination wedding?


There was no turning back now. The dress was bought. The preacher scheduled. The guests were invited and sworn to secrecy. The cake had been baked and decorated. The only thing we needed was the bride.


“How are we going to do this?” Gia asked me while we were preparing for the day. “The dress is in your closet in a garment bag. Do you want to show it to her, or do you want one of the other girls to do it?”


“I want to see her face when I show it to her.” And give her a minute in case she freaked out.


“Do you want Abby there to document everything?”


As appealing as that was, there was always the chance that she wouldn’t be happy. Plus, I wanted that moment for myself. “Not in the room.”


“Okay. Will you change into your suit before you go to her?”


“Yeah, I don’t want to give her a chance to run,” I joked, even though, deep down, I was slightly worried. What if she wanted to be with me but never actually get married? She hadn’t mentioned a date since the first few days of our engagement. Maybe she was content with our current arrangement.


“Stop freaking out.”


My chest felt tight. “Because it’s too late, or because she can’t say no?”


Gia’s professional face was on. “She won’t say no.”


Gia tended to will things into reality. I hoped it worked for me too. There was nothing she couldn’t make happen if she set her mind to it. “She loves you.”


“And I love her.” I knew better than anyone love wasn’t always enough, but I’d done my best to fight those old fears.


People were scattered over the property. Everyone from Happily Ever Afters was here to help, wanting us to have the perfect day. Harrison’s white delivery truck was a constant at these events and was parked next to the barn where he was unloading the linens, silverware, and plates we’d use for the reception. We’d strung twinkly lights in the area just in front of the barn.


We usually held receptions inside the barn or on the lawn under a tent, but I wanted our wedding to be special.


Ryan approached, placing his hand on my shoulder. “Are you ready for this?”


“I think it would help if I knew she was okay with this.”


“You wanted to surprise her.”


“Yeah, but now I’m second-guessing myself.”


“It’s perfect. She’s going to love it,” Hailey said.


“How are you feeling?” Hailey’s stomach was nicely rounded now that she was five months pregnant.


Hailey rolled her eyes and bumped shoulders with Ryan. “I don’t need you asking me that every five minutes. That’s what I have this guy for.”

We’d kept my girl busy with little changes from the fake bride to keep her away from the action. Not that she’d know anything unless she realized there was no other bride and groom getting ready on the property. We’d planned to tell her they were in the newly renovated summerhouse and stop her from entering.


“It’s time,” Gia said softly.


***

“How are things coming?” I asked, steering my girl with a hand on her elbow into the house. No one was to come inside. I wanted privacy for this moment. I didn’t want her to feel pressured to say yes.


She shook her head. “They’re done. I just need you to help me carry them out. This bride is driving me crazy, and somehow, I’ve never met her.”


“Weren’t you sick the day Gia met with her?” I asked, my mouth suddenly very dry. I should have grabbed some water before I took her inside. I wasn’t ready for this. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be, though. I just had to keep thinking positive. Of course, she’ll say yes. She won’t freak out that I planned her wedding behind her back. I struggled to draw in a deep breath.


“It would have been nice to see her at some point after that. But Gia said she prefers only to talk to her. She must be a bridezilla.”


“I bet. I wanted to show you something upstairs before we head back outside.”


“Yeah?” she asked, waggling her brows.


Not wanting her to catch on to my plans, I kissed her and led her up the steps.


“You know, one of these days, Gia’s going to fire me for sneaking off to get a quickie with you.”


“Hey, it’s never a quickie with me, and what’s wrong with that? These events go on all day. Surely, you deserve a break.”


“Yeah, to eat." She raised a brow as if waiting for me to make the move.


I cleared my throat, suddenly incredibly nervous. “I have something to show you.”


Her brow furrowed as she looked around the room. “What is it?”


I went to my closet and pulled out the white garment bag.


“How did the bride’s dress get in your closet?” She stood and moved over to me.


I hung it on the back of the door. “It’s not the bride’s. I should say it’s not someone else’s dress. It’s yours.”


She tipped her head to the side. “What are you talking about? I already picked out the dress I’m wearing today.”


“You did,” I said simply, slowly lowering the zipper. Not wanting to miss her reaction, I watched her. Slowly, her mouth dropped open, and her hands came to cover her mouth.


“It’s my dress,” she murmured as she looked from it to me.


“I told you it was.” I wanted to sound confident, but my voice wavered.


“You bought my dress. But why?” She dropped her hands to her sides, tears swimming in her beautiful blue eyes.


“Because we’re getting married today, and you need something to wear.”


She blinked her eyes rapidly. “We’re not getting married today.”


“Yes, we are.”


She looked up at me. “I don’t understand.”


“We’ve been too busy to set a date.” I stepped closer to her as she kept her gaze on me. I cupped her cheek. “But I don’t want to wait another minute to make you my wife.”


She lowered her head as if she couldn’t hold the weight of my gaze any longer.


My stomach dropped. “We were too busy to discuss setting a date. And I knew you wouldn’t want to deal with it during the busy wedding season, so I planned it for you. For us.”


She didn’t respond, and I couldn’t read her expression.


I dropped my hand from her face. “If it’s not what you want, we can do something else. I’ll cancel everything. We can go to the courthouse, or not get married at all. It’s up to you.”


This was my worst nightmare. At first, I was convinced she’d be on board with this plan, but the closer it got, the more nervous I was. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking.”


I stepped away to look out the window.


“Are you saying this is all for us?”


There were people rushing everywhere, carrying things here and there, making sure everything was perfect.


“This is our wedding if you want it to be.”


She was quiet for a few seconds, as if she were taking everything in.


I turned slightly so I could see her face. “Will you marry me today in front of our friends and family?”





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