Bed of Roses (Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet Series #2)

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Overview

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts cordially invites you to meet childhood friends Parker, Emma, Laurel, and Mac—the founders of Vows, one of Connecticut’s premier wedding planning companies.

Wedding florist Emma Grant gets to play with flowers every day and work with her three best friends in the process. She couldn’t ask for a better job. And her love life seems to be thriving. Though men swarm around her, she still hasn’t ...

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Bed of Roses (Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet Series #2)

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Overview

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts cordially invites you to meet childhood friends Parker, Emma, Laurel, and Mac—the founders of Vows, one of Connecticut’s premier wedding planning companies.

Wedding florist Emma Grant gets to play with flowers every day and work with her three best friends in the process. She couldn’t ask for a better job. And her love life seems to be thriving. Though men swarm around her, she still hasn’t found Mr. Right. And the last place she’s looking is right under her nose.

But that’s just where Jack Cooke is. He’s so close to the women of Vows that he’s practically family. Now though, the architect has begun to admit to himself that his feelings for Emma have developed into much more than friendship. And when Emma returns his passion—kiss for blistering kiss, they must trust in their history—and in their hearts…

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her second bridal-themed romance about four friends who run Vows, a Greenwich, Conn., wedding planning business, Roberts focuses on Emma Grant while her partners, MacKensie, Parker and Laurel, play supporting roles. In the first installment of this planned quartet, Vows' bridal photographer got engaged, and now florist Emma wonders if she can find true love with old friend Jack Cooke, who is also very close to Emma's associates. When Emma kisses Jack, her “spark-o-meter” melts from the blazing heat, but their romance's setbacks are smoothed out with a little help from their friends. Though there are few surprises in this cute courtship, those with a TiVo full of Bridezillas should enjoy it, thanks largely to Roberts's effortless wit. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Romantically inclined floral designer Emmaline Grant has a successful career and a satisfactory social life—but, so far, the man of her dreams has yet to appear. She seriously doesn't expect it to be her longtime friend, architect Jack Cooke—until a chance kiss on the back stairs turns her comfortable world upside down. VERDICT Ardent, sexy, and romantic, this satisfying story overflows with friendship and laughter; a delightful second installment in Roberts's "Bride Quartet," continuing where Vision in White left off. The ever-popular and prolific Roberts lives in Keedysville, MD.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425230077
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/27/2009
  • Series: Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet Series , #2
  • Pages: 358
  • Sales rank: 81,734
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Nora Roberts is the number-one New York Times-bestselling author of more than 190 novels, including The Search, Black Hills, Tribute, High Noon, and many more. She is also the author of the bestselling futuristic suspense series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. Roberts has more than 400 million copies of her books in print.

Biography

Not only has Nora Roberts written more bestsellers than anyone else in the world (according to Publishers Weekly), she’s also created a hybrid genre of her own: the futuristic detective romance. And that’s on top of mastering every subgenre in the romance pie: the family saga, the historical, the suspense novel. But this most prolific and versatile of authors might never have tapped into her native talent if it hadn't been for one fateful snowstorm.

As her fans well know, in 1979 a blizzard trapped Roberts at home for a week with two bored little kids and a dwindling supply of chocolate. To maintain her sanity, Roberts started scribbling a story -- a romance novel like the Harlequin paperbacks she'd recently begun reading. The resulting manuscript was rejected by Harlequin, but that didn't matter to Roberts. She was hooked on writing. Several rejected manuscripts later, her first book was accepted for publication by Silhouette.

For several years, Roberts wrote category romances for Silhouette -- short books written to the publisher's specifications for length, subject matter and style, and marketed as part of a series of similar books. Roberts has said she never found the form restrictive. "If you write in category, you write knowing there's a framework, there are reader expectations," she explained. "If this doesn't suit you, you shouldn't write it. I don't believe for one moment you can write well what you wouldn't read for pleasure."

Roberts never violated the reader's expectations, but she did show a gift for bringing something fresh to the romance formula. Her first book, Irish Thoroughbred (1981), had as its heroine a strong-willed horse groom, in contrast to the fluttering young nurses and secretaries who populated most romances at the time. But Roberts's books didn't make significant waves until 1985, when she published Playing the Odds, which introduced the MacGregor clan. It was the first bestseller of many.

Roberts soon made a name for herself as a writer of spellbinding multigenerational sagas, creating families like the Scottish MacGregors, the Irish Donovans and the Ukrainian Stanislaskis. She also began working on romantic suspense novels, in which the love story unfolds beneath a looming threat of violence or disaster. She grew so prolific that she outstripped her publishers' ability to print and market Nora Roberts books, so she created an alter ego, J.D. Robb. Under the pseudonym, she began writing romantic detective novels set in the future. By then, millions of readers had discovered what Publishers Weekly called her "immeasurable diversity and talent."

Although the style and substance of her books has grown, Roberts remains loyal to the genre that launched her career. As she says, "The romance novel at its core celebrates that rush of emotions you have when you are falling in love, and it's a lovely thing to relive those feelings through a book."

Good To Know

Roberts still lives in the same Maryland house she occupied when she first started writing -- though her carpenter husband has built on some additions. She and her husband also own Turn the Page Bookstore Café in Boonsboro, Maryland. When Roberts isn't busy writing, she likes to drop by the store, which specializes in Civil War titles as well as autographed copies of her own books.

Roberts sued fellow writer Janet Dailey in 1997, accusing her of plagiarizing numerous passages of her work over a period of years. Dailey paid a settlement and publicly apologized, blaming stress and a psychological disorder for her misconduct.

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    1. Also Known As:
      J. D. Robb; Sarah Hardesty; Jill March; Eleanor Marie Robertson (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Keedysville, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Silver Spring, Maryland

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Since details crowded her mind, many of them blurry, Emma checked her appointment book over her first cup of coffee. The back- to- back consults gave her nearly as much of a boost as the strong, sweet coffee. Basking in it, she leaned back in the chair in her cozy office to read over the side notes she’d added to each client.

In her experience, the personality of the couple— or often, more accurately, the bride— helped her determine the tone of the consult, the direction they’d pursue. To Emma’s way of thinking, flowers were the heart of a wedding. Whether they were elegant or fun, elaborate or simple, the flowers were the romance.

It was her job to give the client all the heart and romance they desired.

She sighed, stretched, then smiled at the vase of petite roses on her desk. Spring, she thought, was the best. The wedding season kicked into high gear— which meant busy days and long nights designing, arranging, creating not only for this spring’s weddings, but also next.

She loved the continuity as much as the work itself.

That’s what Vows had given her and her three best friends. Continuity, rewarding work, and that sense of personal accomplishment. And she got to play with flowers, live with flowers, practically swim in flowers every day.

Thoughtfully, she examined her hands, and the little nicks and tiny cuts. Some days she thought of them as battle scars and others as medals of honor. This morning she just wished she’d remembered to fit in a manicure.

She glanced at the time, calculated. Boosted again, she sprang up. Detouring into her bedroom, she grabbed a scarlet hoodie to zip over her pjs. There was time to walk to the main house before she dressed and prepared for the day. At the main house Mrs. Grady would have breakfast, so Emma wouldn’t have to forage or cook for herself.

Her life, she thought as she jogged downstairs, brimmed with lovely perks.

She passed through the living room she used as a reception and consult area, and took a quick scan around as she headed for the door. She’d freshen up the flowers on display before the first meeting, but oh, hadn’t those stargazer lilies opened beautifully?

She stepped out of what had been a guest house on the Brown Estate and was now her home, and the base for Centerpiece— her part of Vows.

She took a deep breath of spring air. And shivered.

Damn it, why couldn’t it be warmer? It was April, for God’s sake. It was daffodil time. Look how cheerful the pansies she’d potted up looked. She refused to let a chilly morning— and okay, it was starting to drizzle on top of it— spoil her mood.

She hunched inside the hoodie, stuck the hand not holding her coffee mug in her pocket, and began to walk to the main house.

Things were coming back to life all around her, she reminded herself. If you looked closely enough you could see the promise of green on the trees, the hint of what would be delicate blooms of dogwood and cherry blossoms. Those daffodils wanted to pop, and the crocuses already had. Maybe there’d be another spring snow, but the worst was over.

Soon it would be time to dig in the dirt, to bring some of her beauties out of the green house and put them on display. She added the bouquets, the swags and garlands, but nothing beat Mother Nature for providing the most poignant landscape for a wedding.

And nothing, in her opinion, beat the Brown Estate for showing it off.

The gardens, showpieces even now, would soon explode with color, bloom, scent, inviting people to stroll along the curving paths, or sit on a bench, relax in sun or shade. Parker put her in charge— as much as Parker could put anyone else in charge— of overseeing them, so every year she got to play, planting something new, or supervising the landscape team.

The terraces and patios created lovely outdoor living spaces, perfect for weddings and events. Poolside receptions, terrace receptions, ceremonies under the rose arbor or the pergola, or perhaps down by the pond under a willow.

We’ve got it all, she thought.

The house itself? Could anything be more graceful, more beautiful? The wonderful soft blue, those warm touches of yellow and cream. All the varied rooflines, the arching windows, the lacy balconies added up to elegant charm. And really, the entrance portico was made for crowding with lush greenery or elaborate colors and textures.

As a child she’d thought of it as a fairyland, complete with castle.

Now it was home.

She veered toward the pool house, where her partner Mac lived and kept her photography studio. Even as she aimed for it, the door opened. Emma beamed a smile, shot out a wave to the lanky man with shaggy hair and a tweed jacket who came out.

“ ’Morning, Carter!”

“Hi, Emma.”

Carter’s family and hers had been friends almost as long as she could remember. Now, Carter Maguire, former Yale prof and current professor of En glish lit at their high school alma mater, was engaged to one of her best friends in the world.

Life wasn’t just good, Emma thought. It was a freaking bed of roses.

Riding on that, she all but danced to Carter, tugged him down by his lapel as she angled up on her toes and kissed him noisily.

“Wow,” he said, and blushed a little.

“Hey.” Mackensie, her eyes sleepy, her cap of red hair bright in the gloom, leaned on the doorjamb. “Are you trying to make time with my guy?”

“If only. I’d steal him away but you’ve dazzled and vamped him.”

“Damn right.”

“Well.” Carter offered them both a flustered smile. “This is a really nice start to my day. The staffmeeting I’m headed to won’t be half as enjoyable.”

“Call in sick.” Mac all but purred it. “I’ll give you something enjoyable.”

“Hah. Well. Anyway. Bye.”

Emma grinned at his back as he hurried off to his car. “God, he is so cute.”

“He really is.”

“And look at you, Happy Girl.”

“Happy Engaged Girl. Want to see my ring again?”

“Oooh,” Emma said obligingly when Mac wiggled her fingers.

“Ahhh.”

“Are you going for breakfast?”

“That’s the plan.”

“Wait.” Mac leaned in, grabbed a jacket, then pulled the door closed behind her. “I didn’t have anything but coffee yet, so . . .” As they fell into step together, Mac frowned. “That’s my mug.”

“Do you want it back now?”

“I know why I’m cheerful this crappy morning, and it’s the same reason I haven’t had time for breakfast. It’s called Let’s Share the Shower.”

“Happy Girl is also Bragging Bitch.”

“And proud of it. Why are you so cheerful? Got a man in your house?”

“Sadly no. But I have five consults booked today. Which is a great start to the week, and comes on the tail of the lovely end to last week with yesterday’s tea party wedding. It was really sweet, wasn’t it?”

“Our sexagenarian couple exchanging vows and celebrating surrounded by his kids, her kids, grandchildren. Not just sweet, but also reassuring. Second time around for both of them, and there they are, ready to do it again, willing to share and blend. I got some really great shots. Anyway, I think those crazy kids are going to make it.”

“Speaking of crazy kids, we really have to talk about your flowers. December may be far away— she says shivering— but it comes fast, as you well know.”

“I haven’t even decided on the look for the engagement shots yet. Or looked at dresses, or thought about colors.”

“I look good in jewel tones,” Emma said and fluttered her lashes.

“You look good in burlap. Talk about bragging bitches.” Mac opened the door to the mudroom, and since Mrs. Grady was back from her winter vacation, remembered to wipe her feet. “As soon as I find the dress, we’ll brainstorm the rest.”

“You’re the first one of us to get married. To have your wedding here.”

“Yeah. It’s going to be interesting to see how we manage to run the wedding and be in the wedding.”

“You know you can count on Parker to figure out the logistics. If anyone can make it run smooth, it’s Parker.”

They walked into the kitchen, and chaos.

While the equitable Maureen Grady worked at the stove, movements efficient, face placid, Parker and Laurel faced off across the room.

“It has to be done,” Parker insisted.

“Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.”

“Laurel, this is business. In business you serve the client.”

“Let me tell you what I’d like to serve the client.”

“Just stop.” Parker, her rich brown hair sleeked back in a tail, was already dressed in a meet- the- client suit of midnight blue. Eyes of nearly the same color flashed hot with impatience.

“Look, I’ve already put together a list of her choices, the number of guests, her colors, her floral selections. You don’t even have to speak to her. I’ll liaise.”

“Now let me tell you what you can do with your list.”

“The bride—”

“The bride is an asshole. The bride is an idiot, a whiny baby bitch who made it very clear nearly one year ago that she neither needed nor wanted my par tic u lar ser vices. The bride can bite me because she’s not biting any of my cake now that she’s realized her own stupidity.”

In the cotton pajama pants and tank she’d slept in, her hair still in sleep tufts, Laurel dropped onto a chair in the breakfast nook.

“You need to calm down.” Parker bent down to pick up a file. Probably tossed on the floor by Laurel, Emma mused.

“Everything you need is in here.” Parker laid the file on the table.

“I’ve already assured the bride we’ll accommodate her, so—”

“So you design and bake a four- layer wedding cake between now and Saturday, and a groom’s cake, and a selection of desserts. To serve two hundred people. You do that with no previous preparation, and when you’ve got three other events over the weekend, and an evening event in three days.”

Her face set in mutinous lines, Laurel picked up the file and deliberately dropped it on the floor.

“Now you’re acting like a child.”

“Fine. I’m a child.”

“Girls, your little friends have come to play.” Mrs. Grady sang it out, her tone overly sweet, her eyes laughing.

“Ah, I hear my mom calling me,” Emma said and started to ease out of the room.

“No, you don’t!” Laurel jumped up. “Just listen to this! The Folk- Harrigan wedding. Saturday, eve ning event. You’ll remember, I’m sure, how the bride sniffed at the very idea of Icings at Vows providing the cake or any of the desserts. How she sneered at me and my suggestions and insisted her cousin, a pastry chef in New York, who studied in Paris and designed cakes for important affairs would be handling all the desserts.

“Do you remember what she said to me?” “Ah.” Emma shifted because Laurel’s finger pointed at her heart. “Not in the exact words.” “Well, I do. She said she was sure— and said it with that sneer— she was sure I could handle most affairs well enough, but she wanted the best for her wedding. She said that to my face.” “Which was rude, no question,” Parker began. “I’m not finished,” Laurel said between her teeth. “Now, at the eleventh hour, it seems her brilliant cousin has run off with one of her— the cousin’s— clients. Scandal, scandal, as said client met brilliant cousin when he commissioned her to design a cake for his engagement party. Now they’re MIA and the bride wants me to step in and save her day.” “Which is what we do here. Laurel—” “I’m not asking you.” She flicked her fingers at Parker, zeroed in on Mac and Emma. “I’m asking them.” “What? Did you say something?” Mac offered a toothy smile. “Sorry, I must’ve gotten water in my ears from the shower. Can’t hear a thing.”

“Coward. Em?”

“Ah . . .”

“Breakfast!” Mrs. Grady circled a finger in the air. “Everybody sit down. Egg- white omelettes on toasted brown bread. Sit, sit. Eat.”

“I’m not eating until—”

“Let’s just sit.” Interrupting Laurel’s next tirade, Emma tried a soothing tone. “Give me a minute to think. Let’s just all sit down and . . . Oh, Mrs. G, that looks fabulous.” She grabbed two plates, thinking of them as shields as she crossed to the breakfast nook and scooted in. “Let’s remember we’re a team,” she began.

“You’re not the one being insulted and overworked.”

“Actually, I am. Or have been. Whitney Folk puts the zilla in Bridezilla. I could relay my personal nightmares with her, but that’s a story for another day.”

“I’ve got some of my own,” Mac put in.

“So your hearing’s back,” Laurel muttered.

“She’s rude, demanding, spoiled, difficult, and unpleasant,”

Emma continued. “Usually when we plan the event, even with the problems that can come up and the general weirdness of some couples, I like to think we’re helping them showcase a day that begins their happy ever after. With this one? I’d be surprised if they make it two years. She was rude to you, and I don’t think it was a sneer, I think it was a smirk. I don’t like her.”

Obviously pleased with the support, Laurel sent her own smirk toward Parker, then began to eat.

“That being said, we’re a team. And clients, even smirky bitch clients have to be served. Those are good reasons to do this,” Emma said while Laurel scowled at her. “But there’s a better one. You’ll show her rude, smirky, flat, bony ass what a really brilliant pastry chef can do, and under pressure.”

“Parker already tried that one on me.”

“Oh.” Emma sampled a skinny sliver of her omelette. “Well, it’s true.”

“I could bake her man- stealing cousin into the ground.”

“No question. Personally, I think she should grovel, at least a little.”

“I like groveling.” Laurel considered it. “And begging.”

“I might be able to arrange for some of each.” Parker lifted her coffee. “I also informed her that in order to accommodate her on such short notice we would require an additional fee. I added twenty- five percent. She grabbed it like a lifeline, and actually wept in gratitude.”

A new light beamed in Laurel’s bluebell eyes. “She cried?” Parker inclined her head, and cocked an eyebrow at Laurel.

“So?”

“While the crying part warms me inside, she’ll still have to take what I give her, and like it.”

“Absolutely.”

“You just let me know what you decide on when you decide on it,” Emma told her. “I’ll work in the flowers and decor for the table.” She sent a sympathetic smile at Parker. “What time did she call you with all this?”

“Three twenty a.m.”

Laurel reached over, gave Parker’s hand a pat. “Sorry.”

“That’s my part of the deal. We’ll get through it. We always do.”

They always did, Emma thought as she refreshed her living room arrangements. She trusted they always would. She glanced at the photograph she kept in a simple white frame, one of three young girls playing Wedding Day in a summer garden.

She’d been bride that day, and had held the bouquet of weeds and wildflowers, wore the lace veil. And had been just as charmed and delighted as her friends when the blue butterfly landed on the dandelion in her bouquet.

Mac had been there, too, of course. Behind the camera, capturing the moment. She considered it a not- so- small miracle that they’d turned what had been a favored childhood game of make believe into a thriving business.

No dandelions these days, she thought as she fluffed pillows. But how many times had she seen that same delighted, dazzled look on a bride’s face when she’d offered her a bouquet she’d made for her? Just for her.

She hoped the meeting about to begin would end in a wedding next spring, with just that dazzled look on the bride’s face. She arranged her files, her albums, her books, then moved to the mirror to check her hair, her makeup, the line of the jacket and pants she’d changed into.

Pre sen ta tion, she thought, was a priority of Vows.

She turned from the mirror to answer her phone with a cheerful, “Centerpiece of Vows. Yes, hello, Roseanne. Of course I remember you. October wedding, right? No, it’s not too early to make those decisions.”

As she spoke, Emma took a notebook out of her desk, flipped it open. “We can set up a consultation next week if that works for you. Can you bring a photo of your dress? Great. And if you’ve selected the attendants’ dresses, or their colors . . . ? Mmm- hmm. I’ll help you with all of that. How about next Monday at two?”

She logged in the appointment, then glanced over her shoulder as she heard a car pull up.

A client on the phone, another coming to the door.

God, she loved spring!

Emma showed her last client of the day through the display area where she kept silk arrangements and bouquets as well as various samples on tables and shelves.

“I made this up when you e-mailed me the photo of your dress, and gave me the basic idea of your colors and your favorite flowers. I know you’d talked about preferring a large cascade bouquet, but . . .”

Emma took the bouquet of lilies and roses, tied with white, pearl- studded ribbon off the shelf. “I just wanted you to see this before you made a firm decision.”

“It’s beautiful, plus my favorite flowers. But it doesn’t seem, I don’t know, big enough.”

“With the lines of your dress, the column of the skirt, and the beautiful beadwork on the bodice, the more contemporary bouquet could be stunning. I want you to have exactly what you want, Miranda. This sample is closer to what you have in mind.”

Emma took a cascade from the shelf.

“Oh, it’s like a garden!”

“Yes, it is. Let me show you a couple of photos.” She opened the folder on the counter, took out two.

“It’s my dress! With the bouquets.”

“My partner Mac is a whiz with Photoshop. These give you a good idea how each style looks with your dress. There’s no wrong choice. It’s your day, and every detail should be exactly what you want.”

“But you’re right, aren’t you?” Miranda studied both pictures.

“The big one sort of, well, overwhelms the dress. But the other, it’s like it was made for it. It’s elegant, but it’s still romantic. It is romantic, isn’t it?”

“I think so. The lilies, with that blush of pink against the white roses, and the touches of pale green. The trail of the white ribbon, the glow of the pearls. I thought, if you liked it, we might do just the lilies for your attendants, maybe with a pink ribbon.”

“I think . . .” Miranda carried the sample bouquet over to the old- fashioned cheval glass that stood in the corner. Her smile bloomed like the flowers as she studied herself. “I think it looks like some really creative fairies made it. And I love it.”

Emma noted it down in her book. “I’m glad you do. We’ll work around that, sort of spiraling out from the bouquets. I’ll put clear vases on the head table, so the bouquets will not only stay fresh, but serve as part of the decor during the reception. Now, for your tossing bouquet, I was thinking just the white roses, smaller scale like this.” Emma took down another sample.

“Tied with pink and white ribbons.”

“That would be perfect. This is turning out to be so much easier than I thought.”

Pleased, Emma made another note. “The flowers are important, but they should also be fun. No wrong choices, remember. From everything you’ve told me, I see the feel of the wedding as modern romance.”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m after.”

“Your niece, the flower girl, is five, right?”

“She just turned five last month. She’s really excited about scattering rose petals down the aisle.”

“I bet.” Emma crossed the idea of a pomander off her mental list. “We could use this style basket, covered with white satin, trimmed in baby roses, trailing the pink and white ribbons again. Pink and white rose petals. We could do a halo for her, pink and white baby roses again. Depending on her dress, and what you like, we can keep it simple, or we can trail ribbons down the back.”

“The ribbons, absolutely. She’s really girly. She’ll be thrilled.” Miranda took the sample halo Emma offered. “Oh, Emma. It’s like a little crown! Princessy.”

“Exactly.” When Miranda lifted it onto her own head, Emma laughed. “A girly five- year- old will be in heaven. And you’ll be her favorite aunt for life.”

“She’ll look so sweet. Yes, yes, to everything. Basket, halo, ribbons, roses, colors.”

“Great. You’re making it easy for me. Now you’ve got your mothers and your grandmothers. We could do corsages, wrist or pin- on, using the roses or the lilies or both. But—”

Smiling, Miranda set the halo down again. “Every time you say ‘but’ it turns out fantastic. So, but?”

“I thought we could update the classic tussy- mussy.”

“I have no idea what that is.”

“It’s a small bouquet, like this, carried in a little holder to keep the flowers fresh. We’d put display stands on the tables by their places, which would also dress up their tables, just a little more than the others. We’d use the lilies and roses, in miniature, but maybe reverse the colors. Pink roses, white lilies, those touches of pale green. Or if that didn’t go with their dresses, all white. Small, not quite delicate. I’d use something like this very simple silver holder, nothing ornate. Then we could have them engraved with the wedding date, or your names, their names.”

“It’s like their own bouquets. Like a miniature of mine. Oh, my mother will . . .”

When Miranda’s eyes filled, Emma reached over and picked up the box of tissue she kept handy.

“Thanks. I want them. I have to think about the monogramming. I’d like to talk that over with Brian.”

“Plenty of time.”

“But I want them. The reverse, I think, because it makes them more theirs. I’m going to sit down here a minute.” Emma went with her to the little seating area, put the tissue box where Miranda could reach. “It’s going to be beautiful.”

“I know. I can see it. I can already see it, and we haven’t even started on the arrangements and centerpieces and, oh, everything else. But I can see it. I have to tell you something.”

“Sure.”

“My sister— my maid of honor? She really pushed for us to book Felfoot. It’s been the place in Greenwich, you know, and it is beautiful.”

“It’s gorgeous, and they always do a fabulous job.” “But Brian and I just fell for this place. The look of it, the feel of it, the way the four of you work together. It felt right for us. Every time I come here, or meet with one of you, I know we were right. We’re going to have the most amazing wedding. Sorry,” she said, dabbing at her eyes again.

“Don’t be.” Emma took a tissue for herself. “I’m flattered, and nothing makes me happier than to have a bride sit here and cry happy tears. How about a glass of champagne to smooth things out before we start on the boutonnieres?”

“Seriously? Emmaline, if I wasn’t madly in love with Brian,

I’d ask you to marry me.”

With a laugh, Emma rose. “I’ll be right back.”

Later, Emma saw off her excited bride and, comfortably tired, settled down with a short pot of coffee in her office.

Miranda was right, she thought as she keyed in all the details. She was going to have the most amazing wedding. An abundance of flowers, a contemporary look with romantic touches. Candles and the sheen and shimmer of ribbons and gauze. Pinks and whites with pops of bold blues and greens for contrast and interest. Sleek silver and clear glass for accents. Long lines, and the whimsy of fairy lights.

As she drafted out the itemized contract, she congratulated herself on a very productive day. And since she’d spend most of the next working on the arrangements for their midweek evening event, she considered making it an early night.

She’d resist going over and seeing what Mrs. G had for dinner, make herself a salad, maybe some pasta. Curl up with a movie or her stack of magazines, call her mother. She could get everything done, have a relaxing eve ning, and be in bed by eleven.

As she proofed the contract, her phone let out the quick two rings that signaled her personal line. She glanced at the readout, smiled.

“Hi, Sam.”

“Hello, Beautiful. What are you doing home when you should be out with me?”

“I’m working.”

“It’s after six. Pack it in, honey. Adam and Vicki are having a party. We can go grab some dinner first. I’ll pick you up in an hour.”

“Whoa, wait. I told Vicki to night just wasn’t good for me. I was booked solid today, and still have about another hour before—”

“You’ve got to eat, right? And if you’ve been working all day you deserve to play. Come play with me.”

“That’s sweet, but—” “Don’t make me go to the party by myself. We’ll swing by, have a drink, a couple laughs, leave whenever you want. Don’t break my heart, Emma.”

She cast her eyes up to the ceiling and saw her early night go up in smoke. “I can’t make dinner, but I could meet you there around eight.”

“I can pick you up at eight.”

Then angle to come in when you bring me home, she thought. And that’s not happening. “I’ll meet you. That way if I need to go and you’re having fun, you can stay.”

“If that’s the best I can get, I’ll take it. I’ll see you there.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 849 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(487)

4 Star

(192)

3 Star

(90)

2 Star

(46)

1 Star

(34)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 855 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book for de-stressing in a bubble bath

    This is Nora Roberts second book in the Bride Quartet. In the first book, Vision in White, we meet the pragmatic photographer, Mac, who must overcome her own practicalities to allow herself to fall in love. Now we meet Emma, the florist, who is a romantic to the core. She wants the whole nine yards- and indeed, she'd be the one to have a train just that long. She longs to be swept off her feet by true love.
    I felt the romance in this book was much sweeter and maybe more 'romantic'- in part because Mac was the more practical sort and had to overcome herself to fall in love. Emma is a bit of a social butterfly, dating around, and an old friend works his way into her affections. This is my fiction favorite right now, as de-stressing is the order of the day. My nonfiction favorite right now is another great book that's worth reading called "Emotional Intelligence 2.0"

    27 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Very good book. I loved the characters. The cover. The romance

    Very good book. I loved the characters. The cover. The romance

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    To me this was the weakest of the series. I feel that Emma thi

    To me this was the weakest of the series. I feel that Emma thinks she was "entitled" to invade Jack's home. She should have realized that most men, and I don't care how long you know them, really values their privacy. She wouldn't have had a key to my home either. She knew the type of man Jack was while they were growing up, why did she expect for him to change all of the sudden b/c they were "dating". I also feel that the marriage proposal was rushed and not well thought out. I feel he only did it to keep her friendship.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    warm straightforward contemporary romance

    In Greenwich, Connecticut the four best friends (Mac, Emma, Laurel, and Parker) used to play as children together pretending to be a bride. Now they run Vows, a wedding planning business together. Mac has met her forever English teacher, Carter Maguire (see VISION IN WHITE) to the elation of her BFFs as the couple is now engaged.

    Florist Emma wonders if her long time buddy architect Jack Cooke is her forever man
    as she thinks a lot about him. Deciding not to wait, Emma kisses Jack to his astonishment. Even more shocking, he wants more kisses from her as does the florist. As they fall in love, each has doubts as they fear the end of a wonderful friendship, but those kisses heat up New England.

    The second Bride Quartet tale is a warm straightforward contemporary romance with no surprising twists or spins for readers. The story line is well written and entertaining as the lead couple from (BED OF ROSES and VISION IN WHITE) as well as the two remaining buddies from Vows seem real and make for a fun simplistic romance. Nora Roberts has handed out
    to her readers two exquisite bouquets with two to go.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    Terribly hard to get through

    I couldn't get through this fast enough! The characters are incredibly shallow and I couldn't get over the deep and meaningful love she had for this man that she had only dated for 3 months. Definitely lacked substance. But I suppose if you're looking for a simple romantic book, this one's for you.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    An enjoyable read

    I did enjoy this book quite a bit, but because "Vision in White", the first book in the series, was probably my favorite Roberts book of all time, it had a lot to live up to. While it was a fun, light read, it wasn't particularly memorable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2009

    Somewhat weak...

    This is a good book to read when you want to take a break and not be mentally challenged.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A well done romance

    The first book in the Bride Quartet series, Vision in White, was one of my first reviews. I like Nora Roberts, as you know exactly what you'll get from her books: a good, old-fashioned, happily-ever-after romance. Sometimes I'm just in the mood for happily-ever-after, and Nora never disappoints.

    This one picked up shortly after the first story and focuses on Emma, the florist. Emma is the most romantic one of the four friends, but she's no pushover. Emma and Jack have known each other for years, so are both a little surprised when their relationship takes a romantic turn. You know the story: boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back and they live happily ever after.

    This was a fast read with no surprises and about halfway thru the book, I had a pretty good idea who the remaining two women will wind up with. No worries, as getting there is half the fun! I gave this book a 3/5 rating because while it's not outstanding, it's still very readable. Nothing groundbreaking or original, but very well done and you get exactly what you came for. Another job well done Nora!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2009

    The Best Nora Roberts Series

    This is such a romantic series with really likable characters. You can really imagine the settings because the book is so descriptive. It leaves you impatient for the next book to be published!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great story!! Not near as charming as Visions in White...

    I LOVED Visions in White - I'd say it's one of my favorite Nora Robert's books, so obviously I was looking forward to Bed of Roses. I really enjoyed it, finished it in one sitting, but I do have complaints. Emma is incredibly annoying and it definitely detracted from the story a bit. I found myself wishing for more Laurel and Del and Parker and Mal. Sure, it made me want to buy the next two books even more, but at times it felt like filler before we get to the better stories!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Bed of Roses... Another FANTASTIC book in the Bride Quartet

    I read Roberts' first book in the Bride Quartet during my honeymoon in July. I could not wait for the second book to come out. I even pre-ordered it through Barnes and Noble. Once again, Roberts details each character in a way that allows the reader to see each characters' traits as you read. Bed of Roses focuses on the second of 4 stories, each depicting one of four best friends. Emma's story is very heart-warming. The friendship that is shared amongst these four women is admirable. A GREAT story...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Bed of Rose, #2

    From the moment I picked this book up, I had to finish it. Nora Roberts writes to keep you interested. The story of 4 friends, and each finding their own special niche in life and business and then finding that "one" person who makes their life whole, is just amazing. Don't we all wish it happened that way?

    Great book, I can't wait for the next one. Romance is her speciality.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Nora has done it again!

    I have been reading Nora Roberts for years. While I like all sorts of books, I always come back to Nora. She has yet to write a book that I don't enjoy. The Bride series has started off with a bang. Vision in White was really good and I had high hopes for Bed of Roses. I am happy to say that my hopes were surpassed. She weaves a beautiful story of Emma the hopeless romantic and Jack ever the bachelor. While there is no scandal, drama, suspense or action, this book is a must have. When you feel like something warm and fuzzy, pick this up. Anyone who is a romantic will love this book. You won't be disappointed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2009

    Love Her Books

    I have read both book in the Bride Quartet series. I love the romance in the book. I love the way it ended. I am looking forward to the next book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    FABULOUS

    I absolutely love this series and cannot wait for the next book to come out!! This book is definitely a page turner and I could not put it down. I love that this series is about four best friends and each book tells the story of one of the 4 friends!!! Great read!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2009

    Two words....LOVED.IT!!

    I totally loved this book. I love all of the characters, their sense of humor, the romance, the everything. Can't wait for the next one!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great "make you feel good" book! Better than Vision in White!

    I really love this series. It's about 4 best friends who own a wedding planning company called Vows. This book showcases the importance of good girlfriends, it has sibling relationships, parent/child relationships and of course the best part - sizzling romance!! The bonds in this series are truly inspiring!
    Bed of Roses is more romantic than the first book Vision in White. You can't help but completely fall in love with Emma and hope that her fairy tale dreams come true. She is a hopeless romantic and wants nothing more than to be swept off her feet. You can really feel the chemistry between Emma and the very handsome, Jack. I love the plot - Emma and Jack have known each other most of their lives as great friends but secretly both wanted more. Jack decideds to make a move and changes their relationship forever. It's a "make you feel good" book." You have to go into it knowing that or you might be disppointed; meaning there is nothing thrilling,there are no twists or turns and it won't keep you guessing (you could probably guess the ending right now). But, I couldn't stop smiling when I was reading it! I can't wait to find out what happens with the last two; Laurel and Parker.
    Vision in White is a great book and you will probably be more invested in the characters if you read it first. However, you can still follow Bed of Roses if you haven't read book one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Terrible don't buy it

    I couldn't stand this book. Nora Roberts books are just about sex and no meaningful relationship and love. it is just sex. sex. sex.

    no thank you. I am not going to buy anymore of her works and I consider this a waste of time and money. hated the characters and their promiscuous ways, this is glorifying casual sex. there is something wrong with you in nora roberts books if you want to remain a virgin till marriage and have a real lasting relationship not a one night stand

    terrible book horrible writing

    2 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    So

    Good

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2013

    Highly recommended

    It`s great, I couldn`t stop reading it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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