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WITH THIS RING
Series: A Bay Mansion Wedding, Book 1
Print Length: 216 pages
Publication Date: July 1, 2019
Publisher: Annabeth Avery
Cover Design: Blackraven’s Designs
When a momzilla crosses a frustrated bride-to-be, chaos ensues…
Nancy Blake has dreamed of her daughter having a fairy tale wedding fit for a Princess since Lilly was born. However, Lilly and Trevor want to be married soon and with as little fanfare as possible. How will Nancy be able to carry out her plans for the wedding to end all weddings, you ask? She enlists the services of Jillian Ashbury, owner of The Bay Mansion, one of San Francisco’s elite wedding venues.
But as the big day approaches, the tension between mother and daughter escalates, nearing the point of no return. Will they be able to work out their differences before Lilly and Trevor walk down the aisle? Or, will the bride and groom make a run for Vegas to be married by an Elvis impersonator?
Warning: This fairy tale contains an overwhelmed bride one-step away from wearing prison orange; a prince charming who sticks his foot in his mouth; and a momzilla who continually forgets… she’s not the bride.
***Note, this book was previously published as The Wedding Chaos. It was part of Lucy Kevin/Bella Andre’s Kindle World, Four Weddings and a Fiasco. This version has been revised.
READ CHAPTER ONE
Trevor anxiously paced back and forth in his office practicing his speech… positive his employees thought he was crazy, but he didn’t care because tonight, he was going to ask the love of his life to become his wife.
What if she says no? Trevor thought just as his phone rang. Quickly checking the caller ID, he picked up the receiver, continued pacing, and immediately blurted out his concern. “What if she says no, Brodie?”
“Calm down little brother and stop wearing a hole in the carpet. You two have been head-over-heels in love since you met. She won’t say no.”
Trevor flopped down in his chair and blew out a long breath. “Brodie, I’ve never been so nervous in my life. I can barely remember what I’m supposed to say, and I’ve been practicing all day. My employees are probably one step away from locking me up in a padded room and throwing away the key.”
“Trevor, you’re not crazy. Forget about the speech and focus on how much you love Lilly and the way she makes you feel. When the time comes, speak from the heart and you’ll know exactly what to say.”
“Who are you and what have you done with my brother? You know… the self-proclaimed bachelor who’s sworn off marriage.”
“Ha. Ha. Quit being an ass-hat and go ask that beautiful woman to marry you before I change my mind, turn on the McIntosh charm and sweep her off her feet, myself. Now go take a shower. I can smell you through the phone.”
Trevor immediately lifted his arm and sniffed. “I smell fine you jerk.”
“I know, but at least I switched your focus for a while.”
“Funny… Not! One day Brodie, you’re going to meet a woman who knocks you on your butt, and I for one can’t wait.”
“Only in your dreams little brother. But on a more serious note, you’ve got this Trev, which is why Lilly is going to say yes. So once again… relax and good luck. Talk to you later.”
“Thanks, Bro. Love you, man.”
“Love you, too,” Brodie replied before ending the call.
* * *
Lilly had just finished putting on her lipstick when she heard Trevor call her name.
“Lil, you ready?”
“Be right there.”
After double checking her lipstick, she quickly switched out her purse and headed downstairs. She was so busy fiddling with her dress and making sure her make-up looked okay that she hadn’t noticed the stunned, hungry look on Trevor’s face.
“You look amazing,” he said breathlessly.
She had chosen a black, stylish Chiffon dress with a high-scooped neckline and sexy, sparkling back strap. The opened-back dress looked chic and sophisticated with its layered skirt, natural waist, and side cutouts.
She had decided to complete her ensemble with sparkling earrings, bangles on her wrist and a pair of black, open-toed, 3-inch, stilettos. Her brunette hair hung down in silky waves and framed her face to make her feel vibrant and sexy.
“Why thank you, sir. You don’t look so bad yourself,” she said with a coy smile before slipping on her red cashmere coat and sashaying toward him.
When she wrapped her arms around his waist and looked up into his piercing, blue eyes, he took her mouth in a sultry kiss that not only sent tingles down her spine, but also had her reaching up on her tip toes for more. It had always been this way between them. Intense. Passionate.
While his masculine, clean scent surrounded them, he deepened the kiss and pulled her body closer. She sighed, sucked his tongue fervently into her mouth and gave into the inevitable. Truth be told, she would never get enough of this man.
Hearts pounding and bodies aching with desire, a few minutes later they came up for air only to stare dreamily at one another.
“God you taste good. We better leave now before I strip you bare and carry you upstairs,” Trevor said in a raspy voice.
Unable to speak from the lump in her throat and the hunger coursing through her veins, Lilly simply nodded as he gave her another soft, sensual kiss on the lips before grabbing her hand and heading toward the door.
* * *
Ten minutes later, they were in the car and on the road. It was a short drive from Berkeley to San Francisco, but for some reason it felt like a lifetime to Lilly. There was something different about Trevor tonight, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it.
Maybe they were celebrating a raise at work, but why wouldn’t he tell her? Whatever the reason, she was going to embrace their night together with gusto.
They parked the car and headed for Pier 39. Lilly was a little surprised and saddened when they didn’t stop at any of the restaurants. She was hoping for a nice romantic dinner near the water, so they could watch the sunset as the sparkling lights illuminated the city. Distracted by her thoughts, she hadn’t noticed the seaplane and pilot waiting for them.
“Trev, what’s going on?”
“It’s the first part of the surprise. We’re going to sip champagne and watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean as we fly over the San Francisco Bay.”
“Are you serious?” she asked gleefully.
“Sweetheart, I’ve never been more serious in my life. What do you think?”
“What do I think? I think someone is seriously getting lucky tonight,” she whispered in a low, seductive tone only he could hear.
They both smiled at each other with a knowing look and then introduced themselves to the pilot. Once they boarded the plane, John rapidly went over the safety instructions and then poured them each a glass of champagne. It was by far the most romantic thing she had ever experienced in her life and they had yet to start the tour.
Lilly couldn’t contain her excitement. She had lived in San Francisco her entire life and had never toured some of the city’s most famous landmarks from the air. Once the plane took off, she snuggled closer to Trevor, squeezed his hand, and took a sip of her champagne.
She couldn’t imagine how much time it must have taken him to arrange all of this. So as the plane climbed in altitude, she turned to Trevor and spontaneously gave him a kiss hot enough to melt Mount Everest.
The forty-minute flight entailed breathtaking aerial views of the Ferry Building, Alcatraz Island, the city skyline, and the spectacular Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. The combination of soft, romantic music in the background and John’s spontaneous narration had Trevor and Lilly grinning from ear to ear. But the crème de la crème came when John flew them under the Golden Gate Bridge just as the lights came on.
“Oh my, Trev! This is fantastic. Thank you so much for this magical evening.”
Trevor pulled her closer and began trailing soft, sensuous kisses down her neck before whispering in her ear, “We’re not finished yet. The night is just getting started, sweetheart.”
Heat suffused Lilly’s body and cheeks, as she let out a soft moan and tilted her neck sideways, so Trevor could have better access. It was a little daring given they weren’t alone, but she couldn’t help herself.
This gorgeous, six-foot three man with sandy blonde hair, striking blue eyes, and strong jaw line that held a five o’clock shadow not only warmed her up in all the right places, but also made her lose all of her inhibitions and throw caution to the wind.
Clearing his throat to grab their attention, John said, “Sorry for the interruption folks, but it’s time to land. Please make sure your champagne glasses are in their holders. Once we safely land, you’ll be able to resume your activities in the car,” he said with a deliberate laugh.
“Thanks for everything, John. It was perfect, as promised,” Trevor said as his smoldering eyes drank in Lilly’s flushed cheeks and sexy dress. He couldn’t wait to get her back to the hotel tonight, which was another part of their magical evening he hadn’t divulged.
* * *
Upon landing, Lilly was surprised to find herself quickly being whisked away in a town car. “Trev, I thought we were having dinner? Where are we going now?”
Trevor gave Lilly a quick peck on the cheek and simply said, “Patience Lilly Mine…patience.”
Unsure of how to respond, Lilly relaxed in his arms and enjoyed the ride. While she was curious about where they were going, she had promised herself when the night began, she would relax and enjoy their time together. Let go, let flow, Lilly thought as the driver continued to his destination.
And let go she did. When they arrived at Pier 3, Trevor helped Lilly out of the car, which turned out to be a good thing because her knees weakened a little once she saw the gorgeous yacht they were about to board.
“Surprise,” Trevor said with a sparkle in his eyes. He stepped back, held out his hand and said, “Lilly Blake, will you join me for dinner and dancing as we sail around the bay?”
Overwhelmed with emotion, Lilly nodded in agreement, accepted his outstretched hand and boarded the yacht, which turned out to be amazing. Before dinner, they strolled the outer decks with the other guests and enjoyed the incomparable views of the glittering San Francisco skyline.
“Are you cold?” Trevor asked.
“A little. I didn’t quite plan for an evening on the water, but I’m not complaining. The view of San Francisco is absolutely incredible. I can’t believe you went through all of this trouble. Given your busy schedule, when did you find time to do all of this?”
“Well, I must admit that I’ve had some time on my hands this last couple of weekends while you’ve been working in the library. And before you start, that’s not a complaint. I’m simply answering your question. Now, where was I?”
“You were about to tell me how you came up with this romantic evening.”
Not wanting to give the biggest surprise away, Trevor hedged as he said, “I wanted to do something special for you because I know you’re stressed about your dissertation, which got me to thinking about the last time we went out for a romantic dinner.”
“Chez Pare. That little bistro near campus everyone was raving about,” Lilly answered.
“How could I forget? Go on,” she encouraged with a smile.
“That’s when it hit me. We both needed a night out on the town. So, here we are.”
“Really? That’s all there is to it. Suddenly, you realized we both needed a night out. Nothing more. Nothing less,” she suspiciously inquired.
“Yes. Nothing more. Nothing less,” he repeated.
“Well, I must hand it to you. Tonight, rivals any romantic dinner I’ve ever been on,” Lilly said lovingly.
“You don’t say?” Trevor asked with a satisfied smirk.
“You know it’s the best. Don’t tease.”
“Not teasing, sweetheart. Just getting confirmation,” he said wrapping her in his arms and kissing her lightly on the forehead. “Now let’s go inside for dinner. We’ll have plenty of time to chat and dance before the night is over.”
* * *
The maître de led them to their table as Lilly marveled at the décor of the gorgeous dining room. There were already several couples sitting at cozy tables covered in white linen cloths with romantic centerpieces that entailed a variety of beautiful roses and lit candles. It was like a scene from a fairy tale and she was the princess.
“Please be seated. Your waiter will arrive shortly to take your order,” the maître de said as he poured them each a glass of water.
“Trev, you have completely outdone yourself.”
“I’m glad everything is to your liking milady,” he said in a funny British accent that had her laughing.
From the moment they’d met, he’d always been able to make her laugh and tonight was no different. She was having the time of her life and making no apologies for it. Let go. Let flow, she thought once again. Lost in her own reverie, she was shocked to realize the waiter had arrived and was greeting them.
“Good evening, my name is Miguel and I will be your waiter for tonight.”
“Good evening, Miguel,” they both said.
After pouring them each a glass of the house wine, Miguel smiled and said, “We’ll begin your meal with an arugula salad with roasted red beets, Chipotle pine nuts, Humboldt fog goat cheese, and herb toasted crostini in a Meyer lemon tarragon vinaigrette. If this is not to your liking, I’m sure the chef could make something more suitable to your palate.”
“No, it sounds delicious,” they both said hastily.
“Excellent. If you will excuse me, I shall return shortly with your salads. Enjoy the wine and please let me know if you need anything else. Tonight, your wish is my command.”
“Thank you, Miguel,” they both said cautiously with a smile on their face.
Once Miguel was out of earshot, they both began laughing. “I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t about to tell him no to the salad,” Lilly said with a touch of humor in her voice.
“Me neither,” Trevor replied as they both continued to laugh. “Okay, let’s make a pact that no matter what’s on the menu, we throw caution to the wind and try everything. Deal?”
“Deal,” Lilly said with a wink.
Turns out the salad was full of flavor as the goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette blended together for a bold, enticing taste. And just when they thought the meal couldn’t get any better, Miguel brought out an appetizer that consisted of Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Skewers. Lilly and Trevor were in heaven. Once they had finished their appetizer and the plates had been cleared, Miguel returned to the table and refilled their wine glasses.
“Are you enjoying the meal?”
“Yes, everything is delicious,” Lilly said.
“Wonderful. Shall we continue?”
“Yes, please do,” Trevor replied.
“You will have four choices to pick from regarding tonight’s entrée. Our chef has prepared an herb-seared chicken breast with tomato and Kalamata olive salsa over African rice pilaf, ginger spiced glaze salmon with Asian noodles and sugar snap peas, braised beef short ribs with chive mashed potatoes and sautéed spring greens with a port demi-glaze, or vegetarian lasagna with layers of fresh zucchini, baby spinach, basil, eggplant, onions, tomato, cauliflower and carrot puree.”
“Wow! All of those sound delicious.”
“I assure you they are,” Miguel said with confidence. “Which of the entrees would you like to try this evening?”
“The herb-seared chicken sounds divine, Miguel.”
“Very well, and you, sir?”
“I’ll have the braised beef short ribs with chive mashed potatoes.”
“Excellent choices, if I do say so myself… and I do,” Miguel said in a comical voice before leaving the table.
“I think he’s warming up to us,” Lilly said with a smile that lit up the entire room.
God, she’s beautiful, Trevor thought as he watched her take in their surroundings. He could watch her for hours and never get enough. He loved how her silky hair flowed over her shoulders and ran down her back. It always made him want to run his fingers through it over and over again.
But when you incorporated the sexy black dress with the open back, except for the crisscross straps that prevented him from having direct access to her soft, silky skin, it was too much. He had been aroused from the moment she’d walked down the stairs and taken his breath away.
No one had ever looked as lovely as his Lilly. And she would be his, not only tonight but forever. “What are you thinking?” he finally asked, as the silence grew between them.
“I’m thinking right now, I’m the luckiest girl in the room. A thoughtful man who I love and adore has gifted me with an amazing romantic evening that has me swooning in my seat.”
“Love and adore, huh?” he asked with a wink and a smile.
“Yes, love and adore.”
Before Trevor could say more, Miguel arrived with their meals. “Bon Appetit,” he said before leaving their table.
The entrees were even better than the salad and appetizer. The chicken was juicy and full of flavor. Lilly couldn’t help the moan that escaped her lips as she took another bite.
“Careful. You know what that sound does to me,” Trevor said in a deep, sultry voice. At Lilly’s surprised expression, he couldn’t help but laugh. “Relax sweetheart and enjoy. Don’t stop moaning on my account.”
Thinking turnabout was fair play, Lilly began rubbing her foot up and down his calf as they continued to eat. It was a dangerous game of cat and mouse, but she was up for it and soon Trevor would be too. Up that is. Therefore, when he suddenly cleared his throat, she couldn’t help but smirk.
The rest of the meal encompassed a series of smoldering looks, a tad of innuendo, and a few sensual touches that were just enough to keep them both in an aroused state of bliss. It wasn’t until Miguel interrupted their game that they both realized once again there were other people in the dining room with them.
“Are we ready for dessert?”
“Uh… Yes, I think we are, Miguel,” Trevor replied.
“Very well, sir. For the chocolate lover, we have a chocolate pot de crème with cinnamon Chantilly cream. If you don’t fancy chocolate, we have a vanilla peach pot de crème with cinnamon Chantilly cream.”
“Mm. If it’s okay with you Trev, why don’t we split the chocolate one?”
“Sounds good. You heard the lovely lady, Miguel. Chocolate it is…”
As Miguel left the table, Trevor knew it was now or never. While the flirting during dinner had been a wonderful distraction, he could no longer hold back the nerves swirling around in his stomach. God, please let her say yes, was the last thought he had before he stood from their table only to bend down on one knee and open up a small, red velvet box.
“Trev, what are you doing?”
Instead of answering her question, Trevor looked up and said, “Lilly Anne Blake, you stole my heart the moment we met during orientation our freshman year. I had never seen a woman as beautiful as you. I knew then that someday I would ask you to be my bride. You are my best friend, my confidant, my lover, my cheerleader, and the woman I want to be the mother of my children. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife so that we can begin a new journey together that’s full of passion, love, and many happily-ever-after’s?
Stunned, Lilly didn’t immediately respond, which prompted Trevor to say, “Lil?”
“Oh My God, Trev. Yes. Yes, I’ll marry you,” she swiftly replied before launching herself into his arms.
Trevor released the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding and said, “That’s good to know. You had me worried there for a moment.”
“I’m sorry. I… I just wasn’t expecting this tonight,” she whispered for only him to hear. “I love you, Trevor McIntosh. I’ve loved you since the day we met, and I’d be proud to be your wife.”
“I love you too Lilly Mine,” he said right before pulling her into a fiery kiss that left them both panting for more and caused the room to erupt in applause as the rest of the dinner guests egged them on. Tuning out the applause, Trevor continued to devour her lips as their yearning for one another intensified and their tongues battled for control.
I’ll remember this night forever, Lilly thought as the people in the room slowly faded away.
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