A Billion Reasons Whyby Kristin Billerbeck
There are a billion reasons Kate should marry her current boyfriend.
Will she trade them all to be madly in love?
Katie McKenna leads a perfect life. She has a fulfilling job, a cute apartment, and a wedding to plan with her soon-to-be fiancé, Dexter. She can think of a billion reasons why she should marry Dexter. He’s everything she/b>/b>
There are a billion reasons Kate should marry her current boyfriend.
Will she trade them all to be madly in love?
Katie McKenna leads a perfect life. She has a fulfilling job, a cute apartment, and a wedding to plan with her soon-to-be fiancé, Dexter. She can think of a billion reasons why she should marry Dexter. He’s everything she wants in a husband.
And then in walks Luc DeForges, her bold, breathtaking ex-boyfriend. Only now he’s a millionaire. And he wants her to go home to New Orleans to sing for a friend’s wedding. As his date.
But Katie made up her mind about Luc eight years ago, when she fled their hometown after a very public breakup. Yet there’s still a magnetism between them she can’t deny.
Katie thought her predictable relationship with Dexter would be the bedrock of a lasing, Christian marriage. But what if there’s more? What if God’s desire for her is a heart full of life? And what if that’s what Luc has offered all along?
"Katie and Luc dance off the pages of this book, making you fall in love with them and New Orleans. Full of surprises and romance." —Carolyne Aarsen, author of The Baby Promise
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Read an Excerpt
A Billion Reasons Why
By Kristin Billerbeck
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2011 Kristin Billerbeck
All rights reserved.
A Fine Romance
Katie McKenna had dreamed of this moment at least a thousand times. Luc would walk back into her life filled with remorse. He'd be wearing jeans, a worn T-shirt, and humility. He'd be dripping with humility.
That should have been her first clue that such a scenario had no bearing on reality.
"Katie," a voice said.
The sound sent a surge of adrenaline through her frame. She'd forgotten the power and the warmth of his baritone. A quick glance around her classroom assured her that she must be imagining things. Everything was in order: the posters of colorful curriculum, the daily schedule of activities printed on the whiteboard, and, of course, the children. All six of them were mentally disabled, most of them on the severe side of the autism spectrum, but three had added handicaps that required sturdy, head-stabilizing wheelchairs. The bulk of the chairs overwhelmed the room and blocked much of the happy yellow walls and part of the large rainbow mural the kids had helped to paint. The room, with its cluttered order, comforted her and reminded her of all she'd accomplished. There was no need to think about the past. That was a waste of time and energy.
Her eyes stopped on her aides, Carrie and Selena. The two women, so boisterous in personality, were usually animated. But at the moment they stood huddled in the corner behind Austin's wheelchair.
Carrie, the heavyset one in the Ed Hardy T-shirt, motioned at her.
"What?" Katie pulled at her white shirt with the delicate pink flowers embroidered along the hem and surveyed the stains. "I know, I'm a mess. But did you see how wonderfully the kids did on their art projects? It was worth it. Never thought of the oil on the dough staining. Next time I'll wear an apron."
Selena and Carrie looked as though there was something more they wanted.
"Maddie, you're a born artist." Katie smiled at the little girl sitting behind a mound of colorful clay. Then to the aides: "What is the matter with you two?"
Selena, a slight Latina woman, shook her head and pointed toward the door.
Katie rotated toward the front of the classroom and caught her breath. Luc, so tall and gorgeous, completely out of place in his fine European suit and a wristwatch probably worth more than her annual salary, stood in the doorway. He wore a fedora, his trademark since college, but hardly one he needed to stand out in a crowd.
As she stared across the space between them, suddenly the classroom she took such pride in appeared shabby and soiled. When she inhaled, it reeked of sour milk and baby food. Her muddled brain searched for words.
"Luc?" She blinked several times, as if his film-star good looks might evaporate into the annals of her mind. "What are you doing here?"
"Didn't you get my brother's wedding invitation?" he asked coolly, as if they'd only seen each other yesterday.
"I did. I sent my regrets."
"That's what I'm doing here. You can't miss Ryan's wedding. I thought the problem might be money."
She watched as his blue eyes came to rest on her stained shirt. Instinctively she crossed her arms in front of her.
"I came to invite you to go back with me next week, on my plane."
"Ah." She nodded and waited for something intelligible to come out of her mouth. "It's not money."
"Come home with me, Katie." He reached out his arms, and she moved to the countertop and shuffled some papers together.
If he touches me, I don't stand a chance. She knew Luc well enough to know if he'd made the trip to her classroom, he didn't intend to leave without what he came for.
"I'm afraid that's not possible." She stacked the same papers again.
"Give me one reason."
She faced him. "I could give you a billion reasons."
Luc's chiseled features didn't wear humility well. The cross-shaped scar beneath his cheekbone added to his severity. If he weren't so dreaded handsome, he'd make a good spy in a Bond movie. His looks belied his soft Uptown New Orleans upbringing, the kind filled with celebrations and warm family events with backyard tennis and long days in the swimming pool.
He pushed through the swiveled half door that separated them and strode toward her.
"That gate is there for a reason. The classroom is for teachers and students only."
Luc opened his hand and beckoned to her, and despite herself, she took it. Her heart pounded in her throat, and its roar was so thunderous it blocked her thoughts. He pulled her into a clutch, then pushed her away with all the grace of Astaire. "Will you dance with me?" he asked.
He began to hum a Cole Porter tune clumsily in her ear, and instinctively she followed his lead until everything around them disappeared and they were alone in their personal ballroom. For a moment she dropped her head back and giggled from her stomach; a laugh so genuine and pure, it seemed completely foreign—as if it came from a place within that was no longer a part of her. Then the dance halted suddenly, and his cheek was against hers. She took in the roughness of his face, and the thought flitted through her mind that she could die a happy woman in those arms.
The sound of applause woke her from her reverie.
"You two are amazing!" Carrie said.
The children all murmured their approval, some with screams of delight and others with loud banging.
Luc's hand clutched her own in the small space between them, and she laughed again.
"Not me," Luc said. "I have the grace of a bull. It's Katie. She's like Ginger Rogers. She makes anybody she dances with look good." He appealed to the two aides. "Which is why I'm here. She must go to my brother's wedding with me."
"I didn't even know you danced, Katie," Selena said. "Why don't you ever come dancing with us on Friday nights?"
"What? Katie dances like a dream. She and my brother were partners onstage in college. They were like a mist, the way they moved together. It's like her feet don't touch the ground."
"That was a long time ago." She pulled away from him and showed him her shirt. "I'm a mess. I hope I didn't ruin your suit."
"It would be worth it," Luc growled.
"Katie, where'd you learn to dance like that?" Carrie asked.
"Too many old movies, I suppose." She shrugged.
"You could be on Dancing with the Stars with moves like that."
"Except I'm not a star or a dancer, but other than that, I guess—" She giggled again. It kept bubbling out of her, and for one blissful moment she remembered what it felt like to be the old Katie McKenna. Not the current version, staid schoolmarm and church soloist in Northern California, but the Katie people in New Orleans knew, the one who danced and sang.
Luc interrupted her thoughts. "She's being modest. She learned those moves from Ginger and Fred themselves, just by watching them over and over again. This was before YouTube, so she was dedicated."
Katie shrugged. "I was a weird kid. Only child, you know?" But inside she swelled with pride that Luc remembered her devotion to a craft so woefully out-of-date and useless. "Anyway, I don't have much use for swing dancing or forties torch songs now. Luc, meet Carrie and Selena. Carrie and Selena, Luc."
"I don't have any 'use' for salsa dancing," Selena said. "I do it because it's part of who I am."
"Tell her she has to come with me, ladies. My brother is having a 1940s-themed wedding in New Orleans. He'd be crushed if Katie didn't come, and I'll look like a hopeless clod without her to dance with."
Katie watched the two aides. She saw the way Luc's powerful presence intoxicated them. Were they really naive enough to believe that Luc DeForges could ever appear like a clod, in any circumstance or setting? Luc, with his skilled charm and roguish good looks, made one believe whatever he wanted one to believe. The two women were putty in his hands.
"Katie, you have to go to this wedding!" Selena stepped toward her. "I can't believe you can dance like that and never told us. You'd let this opportunity slip by? For what?" She looked around the room and frowned. "This place?"
The cacophony of pounding and low groans rose audibly, as if in agreement.
"This may be just a classroom to you, but to me, it's the hope and future of these kids. I used to dance. I used to sing. It paid my way through college. Now I'm a teacher."
"You can't be a teacher and a dancer?" Selena pressed. "It's like walking and chewing gum. You can do both. The question is, why don't you?"
"Maybe I should bring more music and dancing into the classroom. Look how the kids are joining in the noise of our voices, not bothered by it. I have to think about ways we could make the most of this."
But she hadn't succeeded in changing the subject; everyone's attention stayed focused on her.
"You should dance for the kids, Katie. You possess all the grace of an artist's muse. Who knows how you might encourage them?"
Katie laughed. "That's laying it on a bit thick, Luc, even for you. I do believe if there was a snake in that basket over there, it would be rising to the charmer's voice at this very minute."
Luc's very presence brought her into another time. Maybe it was the fedora or the classic cut of his suit, but it ran deeper than how he looked. He possessed a sense of virility and take-no-prisoners attitude that couldn't be further from his blue-blood upbringing. He made her, in a word, feel safe ... but there was nothing safe about Luc and there never had been. She straightened and walked over to her open folder to check her schedule for the day.
Tapping a pencil on the binder, she focused on getting the day back on track. The students were involved in free playtime at the moment. While they were all situated in a circle, they played individually, their own favorite tasks in front of them.
"Carrie, would you get Austin and Maddie ready for lunch?"
"I'll do it," Selena said. "And, Katie ... you really should go to the wedding."
"I can't go to the wedding because it's right in the middle of summer school."
"You could get a substitute," Carrie said. "What would you be gone for, a week at most? Jenna could probably fill in. She took the summer off this year."
"Thanks for the suggestions, ladies," Katie said through clenched teeth. "But I've already told the groom I can't attend the wedding for professional reasons."
The women laughed. "I'm sorry, what reasons?" Carrie asked, raising a bedpan to imply that anyone could do Katie's job.
It was no use. The two women were thoroughly under Luc's spell, and who could blame them?
"Maybe we should talk privately," Luc said. He clasped her wrist and led her to the glass doors at the front of the classroom. "It's beautiful out here. The way you're nestled in the hills, you'd never know there's a city nearby."
She nodded. "That's Crystal Springs Reservoir on the other side of the freeway. It's protected property, the drinking water for this entire area, so it's stayed pristine."
"I'm not going back to New Orleans without you," he said.
Apparently the small talk had ended.
"My mother would have a fit if I brought one of the women I'd take to a Hollywood event to a family wedding."
Katie felt a twinge of jealousy, then a stab of anger for her own weakness. Of course he dated beautiful women. He was a billionaire. A billionaire who looked like Luc DeForges! Granted, he was actually a multimillionaire, but it had been a long-standing joke between the two of them. Did it matter, once you made your first ten million, how much came after that? He may as well be called a gazillionaire. His finances were too foreign for her to contemplate.
"And who you date is my problem, how?"
"If my date tries to swing dance and kicks one of my mother's friends in the teeth, I'll be disinherited."
"So what, would that make you the fifth richest man in the United States, instead of the fourth?"
"Katie, how many times do I have to explain to you I'm nowhere near those kinds of numbers?" He grinned. "Yet." He touched his finger to her nose lightly. "My fate is much worse than losing status if you don't come. My mother might set me up to ensure I have a proper date. A chorus line of Southern belles. And I guarantee you at least one will have the proverbial glass slipper and think her idea is so utterly unique, I'll succumb to the fantasy."
"Wow! What a terrible life you must lead." She pulled a Keds slide from her foot and emptied sand out of her shoe. A few grains landed on Luc's shiny black loafer. "To think, with courtship skills like that, that any woman wouldn't be swept off her feet—it's unfathomable." She patted his arm. "I wish you luck, Luc. I'm sure your mother will have some very nice choices for you, so go enjoy yourself. Perk up, there're billions more to be made when you get back."
"Sarcasm doesn't suit you, Katie."
He was right, but she didn't trust herself around him. She'd taken leave of her senses too many times in that weakened state. Since moving to California, she'd made it her goal to live life logically and for the Lord. She hadn't fallen victim to her emotions since leaving New Orleans, and she'd invested too much to give into them now.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I only meant that I'm sure there are other nice girls willing to go home and pretend for your mother. I've already done that, only you forgot to tell me we were pretending. Remember?"
He flinched. "Below the belt."
A pencil fell from behind her ear, and she stooped to pick it up, careful not to meet his glance as she rose. "I'm sorry, but I'm busy here. Maybe we could catch up another time? I'd like that and won't be so sidetracked." She looked across the room toward Austin, an angelic but severely autistic child in a wheelchair. He pounded against his tray. "The kids are getting hungry. It's lunchtime." She pointed to the schedule.
Luc scooped a hand under her chin and forced her to look at him. "Where else am I going to find a gorgeous redhead who knows who Glenn Miller is?"
"Don't, Luc. Don't charm me. It's beneath you. Buy one of your bubble-headed blondes a box of dye and send her to iTunes to do research. Problem solved."
He didn't let go. "Ryan wants you to sing at the wedding, Katie. He sent me personally to make sure you'd be there and sing 'Someone to Watch Over Me.' I'm not a man who quits because something's difficult."
"Anyone worth her salt on Bourbon Street can sing that. Excuse me—"
"Luc, I asked you kindly. Don't. I'm not one of your sophisticated girls who knows how to play games. I'm not going to the wedding. That part of my life is over."
"That part of your life? What about that part of you? Where is she?"
She ignored his question. "I cannot be the only woman you know capable of being your date. You're not familiar with anyone else who isn't an actress-slash-waitress?" She cupped his hand in her own and allowed herself to experience the surge of energy. "I have to go." She dropped his hands and pushed back through the half door. "I'm sure you have a meeting to get to. Am I right?"
"It's true," he admitted. "I had business in San Francisco today, a merger. We bought a small chain of health food stores to expand the brand. But I was planning the trip to see you anyway and ask you personally."
"We'll be doing specialty outlets in smaller locations where real estate prices are too high for a full grocery outlet. Having the natural concept already in these locations makes my job that much easier."
"To take over the free world with organics, you mean?"
That made him smile, and she warmed at the sparkle in his eye. When Luc was in his element, there was nothing like it. His excitement was contagious and spread like a classroom virus, infecting those around him with a false sense of security. She inhaled deeply and reminded herself that the man sold inspiration by the pound. His power over her was universal. It did not make her special.
"Name your price," he said. "I'm here to end this rift between us, whatever it is, and I'll do the time. Tell me what it is you want."
"There is no price, Luc. I don't want anything from you. I'm not going to Ryan's wedding. My life is here."
"Day and night ... night and day," he crooned and then his voice was beside her ear. "One last swing dance at my brother's wedding. One last song and I'll leave you alone. I promise."
Excerpted from A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck. Copyright © 2011 Kristin Billerbeck. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Kristin Billerbeck is the author of numerous Christian novels, hitting the CBA bestseller list and winning the coveted ACFW Book of the Year in 2004 for What a Girl Wants and again in 2006 for With this Ring, I’m Confused. She has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, World Magazine, the Atlanta Journal Constitition and been seen on the "Today Show" for her pioneering role in Christian Chick Lit. She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising from San Jose State University.
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A Billions Reasons Why is about Katie McKenna, a schoolteacher in North California. Originally from New Orleans, she made the move to NC after being publicly humiliated by her then-boyfriend, Luc DeForges. Eight years has passed since the incident and she is now engaged to Dexter Hastings, a stable and committed Christian. One day, Luc shows up at the door of her classroom and convinces her to go back to her hometown to sing at his brother's wedding. But, multi-millionaire Luc has other plans in mind than just bringing her back to sing at the wedding. This book is under the Christian fiction romance category but if it wasn't for scattered mentions of a church and pastor, I thought that it didn't deserve to be in the Christian category. In a couple of chapters, there was a brief mention of an immoral incident that happened in the early years of Katie's and Luc's relationship. However, there was no mention of sorriness for what had happened and the remorse shown was only for the public humiliation. This book will definitely make an interesting read for chick lit fans, but for those who are looking for a completely wholesome Christian book, this won't be ideal.
I believe that the best way to judge a book is by three parameters. 1. The length of time it took to read the book. 2. The ability to put the book down and stop reading. 3. The number of emotions the book brought forth. I'm happy to say that "A Billion Reasons Why" met all of those requirements. I received this book Monday afternoon. It is currently midnight on Tuesday (well I guess technically Wednesday). I finished this book by 12pm this afternoon. Less than 24hours after receiving it. It was that good. I was drawn to this book the moment I read it's description. I am a true romantic. A believer in the Cinderella story. A seeker for that one passionate relationship that defines all future relationships. This book fit the bill
If you love charm, southern romantic charm, then this is the book for you. It is full of classical refereces from Hepburn to 40's swing... give this a try and you will not regret it!
A Billion Reasons Why has hands-down become a favorite book of mine! Prior to reading this, I was not familiar with Kristin Billerbeck. I am so glad to have been introduced to a new author... I've now read several more of her books, and they're funny, light-hearted, and all around great reads! In A Billion Reasons Why, you'll enjoy the sweet romance story of 2 people meant for each other all along... although there's a glitch ~ one of them is engaged to someone else! Get ready for some fun twists and turns! This book had me hooked, and it was hard to put down. I highly recommend it!
'A Billion Reasons Why' is a traditional romance novel, with a Christian slant, written by Kristin Billerbeck and published by Thomas Nelson. The back cover reads: "Katie McKenna leads a perfect life. She has a fulfilling job, a cute apartment, and a wedding to plan with her soon-to-be fiancé, Dexter. She can think of a billion reasons why she should marry Dexter. He's everything she wants in a husband. And then in walks Luc DeForges, her bold, breathtaking ex-boyfriend. Only now he's a millionaire. And he wants her to go home to New Orleans to sing for her childhood friend's wedding. As his date." I thought this book was alright. It wasn't anything spectacular, but it wasn't bad. It was nice to read, what I would call, an old school romance. It was however quite predictable, I think most people will have guessed the ending by the end of the first chapter. This book is a nice one to read if you want a light easy going read, and is a good option for those that want a more sedate romance novel, as opposed to the more "bodice-ripping" variety.
A vey fun and sweet story. Extremely well written. I felt that i was instantly transported to another world of swing dance, fedoras, and beautiful, elegant dresses. I love that world now. Katie was hurt by Luc a long time ago and it taught her a lesson she would always remember: be practical and dont feel anything. Now shes a special needs teacher practically engaged to the world's most boring and predictable man. Thus, she has every reason to marry him. He couldnt possibly cause her to hurt like Luc did. But then Luc begins to force his way back into her world, manipulating her to go home to New Orleans with him fir hos brother's wedding. She agrees so that she can get her ring from her mother and she and Dexter can make tge engagement official. She'd visit her mom, see a few old friends, sing at the wedding, and head home - and hopefully no one would remember her very public humuliation all those years ago. That was the plan. But when do things ever go as planned?
He's a handsome billionaire. She's not impressed. Katie McKenna has never loved any man but one: billionaire Luc DeForges. He was her first love. But there are a billion reasons why she's engaged instead to Dexter Hastings, a solid and stable man who wants the same things she does: marriage and a family but all of the things that she wants without the deep-seeded pain and fear of being abandoned that Luc brings. Dexter and she have worked an arrangement that's akin to faith without action, love without deeds -- a dead faith. Going home to New Orleans to sing for her childhood friend's wedding, Katie must search her heart to find out if any of her reasons for being with Dexter are stronger than love. Only when Katie steps fully into faith and jumps off the cliff of life into the arms of Luc does she understand the fullness of God's grace. I'll be honest here, I really tried to get into this book and I read the first 50 pages of every book to see if I can get into it. I had trouble from page 1. The story line is not to my liking. The plot is okay but it seems to follow every movie that has been made in the early 90's. Maybe that's why I couldn't really get into this book, I've seen all the movie's and have already figured out the ending. It was an okay book but not one for my "Keep" pile.
I love Kristin Billerbeck and have read as many of her novels as I can get my hands on. This one, however, was quite different from her others. It was slow moving in parts, and just seemed super unrealistic. It's about a woman who is really undecisive about her future, including whom to marry. She is also a lover of the 1940's and the way she and Luc (the main character) talk, it's as if they should be in a different era. I think if she made this book into a 1940's period book, it would have been better. Also, there was not as much mention of God as in her previous books, which was disappointing. At times, the plot was very hard to follow, and repetitive. It's still an ok read, but disappointing compared to her other novels.