Stand-In Groom (Brides of Bonneterre Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Falling in love with a client could cost this wedding planner her business;

learning the true identity of the groom could cost her heart.

 

When professional wedding planner Anne Hawthorne first meets the handsome Englishman George Laurence, she wonders if God has finally answered her prayers for a husband. But when the ?best man? for her turns out to be a client?and someone else?s ...

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Stand-In Groom (Brides of Bonneterre Series #1)

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Overview

Falling in love with a client could cost this wedding planner her business;

learning the true identity of the groom could cost her heart.

 

When professional wedding planner Anne Hawthorne first meets the handsome Englishman George Laurence, she wonders if God has finally answered her prayers for a husband. But when the “best man” for her turns out to be a client—and someone else’s to-have-and-to-hold—Anne quickly realizes that planning his wedding will be no honeymoon. Can she remain professional while falling for the groom?

 

A personal assistant for a wealthy man who wishes to keep his identity—and his engagement—a secret, George Laurence has come to Louisiana to plan his employer’s wedding and pose as the groom. Not only is this a challenge to the tenets of his Christian faith, but he can’t stand the fact that he’s deceiving Anne, the first woman who ever made his heart really sing. Will George ultimately risk his career to keep the woman he loves?

 

And what will happen when Anne finds out the groom’s true identity? Can Anne and George find a way to a happy ending, or will this “I do” ruse destroy their chance at love?

 

 

Stand-In Groom is as sweet, beautiful, and chaotic, as a perfectly planned wedding. Anne is a bright and wounded heroine you’re going to care about for a long time. George is a hero to capture your heart. Kaye Dacus will take you along for a fun, poignant ride in Stand-In Groom.

~Mary Connealy, author of the Lassoed in Texas series

 

Absolutely delightful! I enjoyed Stand-In Groom from cover to cover! Ms. Dacus’s clever story and wonderful prose will draw you away to a place deep in the heart of Louisiana, surrounding you with the scents, sounds, and sights of the deep south. A story filled with romance and intrigue, betrayal, and forgiveness, I found myself laughing, crying, and rejoicing right along with the characters.

 ~M. L. Tyndall, author of The Falcon and the Sparrow

 

[set author photo]

Kaye Dacus of Nashville, Tennessee, is a graduate of Seton Hill University and an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

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Editorial Reviews

CBA RETAILERS & RESOURCES - KELSEY SHADE
Dacus's characters are amusing, and her plot is captivating, making the book nearly impossible to put down, wondering what will happen next.
NOVEL REVIEWS - KELLY KLEPFER
Stand-In Groom is a unique story that is full of humor, angst and Southern flair. Kaye Dacus has thrown a proper Englishman into the heart of Louisiana with a wedding planner, her large family, and a healthy serving of Dino and Frank fill the book, too. If you love stores that throw obstacles at the couple you know should be together, and you love the idea of weddings and details involved in weddings, or delight in Southern fiction, romance or Englishmen, then check out Stand-In Groom.
Romantic Times

Dacus pulls off a delightful story that places readers in the heart of the South with the debut of the Brides of Bonneterre series. readers will enjoy this look at how lives are transformed through devastating events and how forgiveness is the key to a promising future. Nothing is as it seems in this heartwarming story.

— JENNIFER REYES

NOVEL REVIEWS

Stand-In Groom is a unique story that is full of humor, angst and Southern flair. Kaye Dacus has thrown a proper Englishman into the heart of Louisiana with a wedding planner, her large family, and a healthy serving of Dino and Frank fill the book, too. If you love stores that throw obstacles at the couple you know should be together, and you love the idea of weddings and details involved in weddings, or delight in Southern fiction, romance or Englishmen, then check out Stand-In Groom.

— KELLY KLEPFER

CBA Retailers + Resources

Stand-In Groom is a unique story that is full of humor, angst and Southern flair. Kaye Dacus has thrown a proper Englishman into the heart of Louisiana with a wedding planner, her large family, and a healthy serving of Dino and Frank fill the book, too. If you love stores that throw obstacles at the couple you know should be together, and you love the idea of weddings and details involved in weddings, or delight in Southern fiction, romance or Englishmen, then check out Stand-In Groom.

— KELLY KLEPFER

CBA RETAILERS & RESOURCES

Dacus's characters are amusing, and her plot is captivating, making the book nearly impossible to put down, wondering what will happen next.

— KELSEY SHADE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607420507
  • Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/15/2009
  • Series: Brides of Bonneterre Series, #1
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 131,841
  • File size: 406 KB

Meet the Author

Kaye Dacusis a graduate of Seton Hill University’s Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. She is an active member and former vice president of American Christian Fiction Writers and current president of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers. Her Stand-In Groom was a Christy Award finalist in 2010.
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Read an Excerpt

Stand-In G Room

Planning this Wedding will Be No Honeymoon


By Kaye Dacus

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2008 Kaye Dacus
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60742-050-7


CHAPTER 1

Nothing like running late to make a wonderful first impression.

Anne Hawthorne left a voice-mail message for her blind date, explaining her tardiness, then crossed her office to the gilt-framed mirror that reflected the view of Town Square through the front windows. At a buzzing jolt against her waist, she flinched, smearing her lipstick.

Great.

The vibrating cell phone chimed out a wedding march. A client. She reached for a tissue to repair her mouth while flipping the phone open with her left hand. "Happy Endings, Inc. This is Anne Hawthorne."

"I can't do it! I can't marry him!" Third call today.

Why had she agreed to be set up on a date the Thursday of a wedding week? If it were just the regular weekly dinner with her cousins, she could skip out and get some work done. "Calm down," she said to her client. "Take a deep breath. And another. Let it out slowly. Now, tell me what happened."

Fifteen minutes later, still on the phone, she pulled her dark green Chrysler Sebring convertible into a parking space in front of Palermo's Italian Grill. She sat in the car a few minutes—air conditioner running full blast—and listened to the rest of her client's story.

When the girl paused to breathe, Anne leaped at her chance. "I completely understand your concern. But sweetie, you have to remember most men aren't interested in the minute details of a wedding. Just because he doesn't care if the roses are white variegated with pink or solid pink, don't take that to mean he doesn't love you anymore. Which ones do you like the best?"

"The variegated roses," the bride-to-be sniffled into the phone.

Anne turned off the engine and got out of the car. The heat and humidity typical for the first day of June in central Louisiana wrapped her in a sweaty embrace. "Then get the flowers you like. He will be happy because you're happy. Do you want me to call the florist in the morning?" One more change the day before the wedding. Saturday couldn't come fast enough.

"Do you mind?"

"That's what I'm here for." She opened her planner and made a note at the top of the two-page spread for tomorrow. "Feeling better?"

"Yeah. Thanks, Miss Anne. I've got to call Jared and apologize."

"See y'all tomorrow." Anne made sure her phone was set to vibrate-only mode and entered the most popular new restaurant in Bonneterre. Maybe she should have left the planner in the car, but she would have felt naked, incomplete, without it.

The heavenly aroma of garlic, basil, and oregano mixed with the unmistakable yeasty scent of fresh bread and wafted on the cool air that blew in her face when she opened the door. Her salivary glands kicked into overdrive, and her stomach growled. She really needed to stop skipping lunch.

Winding through the crowd of patrons awaiting tables, Anne scanned faces for the man her cousin Jenn had been absolutely dying to set her up with for months. She'd made a point of watching the local news broadcast on Channel Six last night so she'd know what he looked like. Her right heel skidded on the slatelike tile and she wobbled, her foot sliding half out of the black mule. Anne hated shoes that didn't stay on her feet of their own accord, but they were fashionable. She righted herself and arrived without further incident at the hostess station.

"Miss Anne!" A young woman in a white tuxedo shirt and black slacks came out from behind the high, dark wood stand and threw her arms around Anne's waist.

She recognized the girl as a bridesmaid in a wedding she'd coordinated just a month or so ago. What was her name? "Hey, sweetie! It's so good to see you. How are you?"

The bubbly brunette stepped back. "I'm great. I'll be getting my degree in August, and I already have job offers from advertising agencies in Baton Rouge and Houston."

Anne smiled, remembering the girl in a pewter, floor-length straight skirt with a corset-style bodice. The bride had let each of the girls choose which style top they were most comfortable in. Gray bridesmaids' dresses. Purple and lavender florals and bunting. The Garrity-LaTrobe wedding. Six female attendants. Of course! "How exciting. Congratulations, Carrie."

"Thanks. Are you meeting someone here?"

"I am, but I don't see him. The reservation was for seven fifteen under my name."

The girl ran her french-manicured acrylic nails down the waiting list and stopped at a crossed-out line. "Here you are. They were getting ready to reassign your table, so you got here just in time. Follow me, please."

Walking through the packed restaurant behind the slender, petite young woman, Anne tried not to feel self-conscious. At nearly six feet tall and doing well to keep herself fitting into a size eighteen, she hated to imagine what others thought when they compared her to someone like this little hostess—five foot fourish with a waist so small she could probably wear Anne's gold filigree anklet as a belt. When working, Anne rarely thought about her stature or size. In public, though, all the comments and teasing she'd received when she'd reached her full height at age thirteen rushed back into her memory. If only she'd had some athletic ability, she might have been popular and not fallen for a man who'd strung her along until he didn't need her anymore.

"Here we are." Carrie gave a be dimpled grin and bounced away.

"Thank you." Anne chose the chair facing the entry and set her purse on the floor and her planner on the table. She glanced at her watch again. Seven thirty on the nose. Surely her date wouldn't have given up waiting on her after only fifteen minutes.

"Still waiting on someone?" The young waiter—probably a student at the Bonneterre branch of the University of Louisiana— handed her a thick, faux leather–bound menu.

Not that I want to be. "Yes. He's probably just running a little late."

"Can I go ahead and get you something to drink while you wait?"

"Sprite with a cherry and twist of lime, please. Are Mr. and Mrs. Palermo here tonight?"

"Yes, ma'am, I believe the owners are here. Is anything wrong?" Worry etched the young face.

She gave him the reassuring smile she'd perfected over the years of working with nervous brides and frantic mothers of the bride. "No. I'd like to discuss planning a few events with them. But only if they have time. If they're busy, I can come back early next week."

His relief obvious, he grinned and nodded. "Yes, ma'am. And I'll be right back with your cherry-lime Sprite."

She turned her attention to the menu, pleased to see the broad range of selections.

The waiter returned with her soda. "Here you are. Can I get you an appetizer while you wait?"

She probably shouldn't, but—"I'd like the fried calamari and crawfish tails, please, with the cayenne-Parmesan dipping sauce."

"Excellent choice. My favorite."

She listened to the specials, making a mental note of the eggplant roulade—"Fried or grilled rounds of eggplant smothered in a spicy cream sauce with crawfish, bacon, and fresh spinach"—and the jambalaya alfredo—"With chicken, andouille, and traditional Cajun seasonings in the cream sauce."

"I'll be back with your appetizer in a little bit." He glanced at the still-empty chair across from her but didn't comment before walking away.

Anne set the menu aside and zipped open her camel-colored leather planner. Taking out a legal pad and pen, she reviewed her notes all over the two-page spread for today and the notes for tomorrow, then wrote out a to-do list of what she still needed to accomplish before her eight o'clock meeting with the bride, groom, and minister in the morning.

"Anne Hawthorne?"

She looked up at the voice and stood to hug former clients. She chatted with the couple for a few minutes before they continued on to their table.

Anne had just regained her seat when another former client came over. Anne hugged the young woman around the bulge of her pregnancy as she asked Anne to plan her baby shower. They looked at Anne's calendar and set an appointment to discuss ideas and dates.

The waiter returned with the calamari and crawfish tails and eyed the empty place as he set the dish on the table. "Do you want to wait until your companion arrives before you order?"

Maybe she should call to see what was going on. "Give me a few minutes?"

He nodded. "Enjoy the calamari."

"Thanks."

"Sure."

Grabbing her purse but leaving the planner on the table, Anne crossed the restaurant to the quieter lobby area outside the restrooms. She dialed and pressed the small cell phone to her ear.

Without ringing once, his voice mail picked up. His outgoing message gave his office phone number, which she repeated in her head while waiting for the tone. "Hi, this is Anne Hawthorne. It's ... a little after eight, and I've been at the restaurant for a while and just wanted to see when you think you might be getting here." She left her number and disconnected, then called his office phone, which rolled into voice mail after three rings. Rather than leave another message, when given the option, she hit the number 0. After a couple of clicks and an ad for the TV station, someone picked up.

"KCAN newsroom. How may I help you?"

"Hi, I'm trying to get in touch with Danny Mendoza."

"Is this Anne Hawthorne?" the female on the other end asked.

Frowning, Anne started to pace. "Yes."

"I'm so sorry I didn't have time to call you before now. Danny got called in on a breaking news assignment and will be out in the field for the rest of the evening. He asked me to let you know he wouldn't be able to meet you but that he would call you tomorrow."

She squeezed her eyes closed and rubbed her forehead. "Thanks for letting me know. If you talk to him again this evening, tell him—" What? Thanks for standing me up? "Never mind. I'll just leave a message on his cell phone."

"Okay. Listen, I'm really sorry I didn't have time to call you."

"Don't worry about it." Anne ended the call, hooked the phone back on her waistband, and returned to her table. The aroma from the fried squid and crawfish on the plate in front of her tantalized her taste buds.

"Any word?" The waiter returned and tipped his head at the empty chair.

"Yes. He got called in to work so won't be coming."

"Oh. I'm sorry. Do you want me to box this up for you?"

"If you could bring me a box, that would be great, because I'll never be able to eat all this and a meal, too."

"You mean—you're going to stay?"

Anne tried not to laugh at his surprised expression. "Of course. I've been waiting to eat here for a month. I'm going to have the eggplant roulade—with the eggplant grilled instead of fried."

"Yes, ma'am. I'll go place your order now and bring you another drink."

"Don't forget the box for this." Anne served a few pieces of crawfish and calamari onto the small appetizer plate. Jenn always liked Anne to bring home leftovers after dining out, to see what other restaurants were doing.

At the thought of her restaurateur cousin, Anne shook her head. This was the third time Jenn had set Anne up on a blind date and the third time it hadn't worked out. Jenn had a habit of setting Anne up with men of Jenn's taste rather than Anne's type. At five foot six, Jenn didn't have to worry about towering over her dates. Five inches taller, however, Anne wanted to date someone who was at least six feet tall so she didn't feel like quite such an Amazon beside him. But it seemed as though tall, single Christian men over the age of thirty were hard to come by.

Of course, every man Anne had gone out with in the past who had matched her ideal of the Perfect Man had ended up being Perfectly Wrong for her. Maybe she needed to stop focusing on the physical type and just get out and have fun meeting new people.

She spent her life making others' dreams come true. Well, it was time for Anne Hawthorne, wedding and event planner extraordinaire, to start creating her own happy ending.

* * *

George Laurence perused the menu, surprised to find the wide variety of dishes listed. His experience with Italian restaurants in midsized American cities primed him to expect spaghetti, lasagna, and fettuccini. So far, Palermo's Italian Grill in Bonneterre, Louisiana, appeared promising.

"So, George, where do you hail from in England?" Across the table, his employer's local lawyer shook out the folded fabric napkin and laid it in his lap.

George closed the menu. "I spent my childhood in London. My late teens and early twenties in Edinburgh."

"University of Edinburgh, huh? Heard that's a great school." Forbes Guidry handed his menu to the waitress and placed his order.

George considered his response as he ordered crawfish-stuffed manicotti. He'd wanted to live in America because he'd always heard that people weren't judged by their family background, wealth, or education. After five years of working for one of the wealthiest people in the country, he'd learned otherwise. The social prejudices in England and America differed but still existed. When most Americans found out he'd never attended college, they made assumptions about his intelligence and ranked him lower in their estimation.

He handed his menu to the server and returned his attention to the lawyer. "I wouldn't know about the university. I never had the opportunity to attend. I started working when I was sixteen." First, there would be an awkward silence, then a mumbled apology—

"I'm impressed." Forbes took a sip of his water, seeming unflustered. "Just from talking on the phone this afternoon, I would have guessed you had at least a master's degree if not a PhD."

George opened his mouth, but nothing came out. No one had ever given him such a compliment. Although, he had heard lawyers in Louisiana weren't to be trusted. Was this man, with his tailored suit, expensive haircut and manicure, and impeccable manners, just one of those Artful Dodgers who could charm his way out of any situation? Or was he as genuine as his Southern accent and friendly demeanor indicated? George hoped for the latter. He'd never pretended to be someone else before and needed an ally, someone who knew his true purpose and identity.

"Thank you." No other response came to mind. Instead of putting on false modesty or being arrogant by focusing on his own merits, George returned to a previous conversation. "You said a housekeeper has been hired?"

"Yes, but since no one's been in residence, she just goes by every so often to dust and let the exterminators in, that kind of thing. The house was built like a typical English manor, or so I'm told. There are two bedroom suites in the basement beside the service kitchen. I figured you'd take one and Mrs. Agee would take the other. Now, to business." Forbes reached under the table and retrieved a document from his briefcase.

The document. The addendum to George's work contract—the contract he'd never wanted to sign in the first place. The rules by which he would have to live his life while in this quaint Southern city. He clenched his fists under the table. If keeping his work visa didn't depend on this ...

"I assume your employer discussed the details of the addendum with you." Forbes handed the contract across the table.

George nodded, guilt clenching his gut. "Yes."

"As his legal representative, it is my responsibility to remind you of the confidentiality clause. Should you reveal to anyone, including the wedding planner, the identity of your employer or that you are not Courtney Landry's fiancé, your employment will be terminated. As you know, if you lose your job, you will be in violation of your work visa and must return to England."

The only reason why George had agreed to this charade. "Yes, I understand."

"Take it with you and read over it tonight. Any questions you have can be discussed when we meet tomorrow at ten."

George tucked the document into his own attaché case. "Very good."

"Whew. Now that that's over, we can enjoy our dinner."

"Yes, indeed." George needed a neutral topic to have time to take his mind off the fact that he was about to spend the next five weeks living a falsehood. He still hadn't figured out how to do it and maintain his Christian values. "Have you lived in Bonneterre all your life, Forbes?"

Over the salad course, the lawyer talked about Bonneterre as it had been during his childhood. George consciously made eye contact every fifteen or twenty seconds while also looking around the restaurant decorated to resemble a Tuscan villa.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Stand-In G Room by Kaye Dacus. Copyright © 2008 Kaye Dacus. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    This was a fun read, full of all sorts of feel good! Loved the

    This was a fun read, full of all sorts of feel good! Loved the
    characters and hope there are many more stories from the Bonneterre folks!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 17, 2012

    Great read.

    Enjoyed reading this sweet story. It was my first Kaye Dacus book, and I have already read 3 others.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 22, 2011

    Loved my first Dacus book!

    I thought this book was really cute! I liked that the plot was different in a way from other books like this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    meet your groom at the wedding!

    Anne Hawthorne is an event planner who has been hired to handle an engagement party and wedding and in walks the bride and groom and immediately Anne is hit with a strong attraction to the groom. Fighting the appeal that she feels for her client, she works diligently to fulfill the couple's wishes but finds it harder and harder to fight the magnetism that she feels. Finally, because of George's opposition to lying to Anne, he informs her that he is not the 'groom' but just his stand-in. The detailed story of their romance is heart-warming as well as uplifting and truly an enjoyable experience.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Light-hearted Romance

    This book was wonderful light-hearted fun. The main character, Anne Hawthorne, is a wedding planner who meets a perspective client, George Laurence, and instantly feels like maybe her single days are over and God has answered her prayers. Even though Anne is attracted to George, she maintains a professional distance because she's been led to believe George is the soon-to-be-married groom. As their mutual attraction grows, George struggles to find a way to tell Anne what his real roll is in the wedding that Anne is planning. Getting to the truth and watching the budding relationship between Anne and George was touching and pure enjoyment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Who's time table are you following?

    This is quite the romance. Some could call it predictable, but I would not necessarily say that because one could not foresee all the twists and turns that are to occur before the outcome. I only think people will predict how they want it to end and just assume they will get it right. As I have said dozens of times before, I am not much a fan of contemporary romances, but I liked this one. That said, I did not necessarily love it. But I think that is because my heart is just stronger in the realm of historical fiction. (Definitely recommend Kaye Dacus' historical series The Ransome Trilogy!!)



    Some elements of a large family and good food were parts of this story that I am not used to reading in a book that I quite enjoyed. As well as imagining the scenes and hearing the British or Southern accents play through in the characters vernacular. This is my first contemporary experience with reading this author and it will not be my last. I do recommend this book, and look forward to reading the sequel soon in a few days.



    Things happen in life to get you where you need to be, and the hardest part is dealing with a painful event and believing that you will get past it. God knows what he is doing, and the part to remember is that things are best in his time and not in our own. I feel very uplifted from this book and the characters experiences. It makes me think over things from my own past and see more of God in them than I ever would have realized at the time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 4, 2009

    Aieee!

    Kaye Dacus' debut novel, Stand-In Groom, is full of fun and flavor with a potpourri of plot twists and a simmering romance between two, almost "star-crossed" lovers.

    Anne Hawthorne is a celebrity caterer in the town of Bonneterre, LA, who falls head over heels (quite literally at one point) with a stoic, yet sensitive, Englishman. Anne decides quickly that George Laurence is perfect for her. There's only one problem, he's already engaged. At least, that's what she thinks. The truth is, George is only committed to doing his job--acting as the ruse for his employer as a "stand-in groom".

    When George shows signs of returning Anne's feelings, the problems that ensue are a recipe for romantic disaster. Both Anne and George are desperate to maintain their moral integrity, despite some precarious situations. But their dedication to doing the right thing only makes them fall deeper in love.

    As the story unfolds, Anne and George seek forgiveness for their past mistakes, rely on faith to get them through each day, and look to the future with hope. And, in the end, love prevails. There is no substitute for love.

    And now abideth faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 28, 2009

    A sweet story

    There are several unique elements in Stand-In Groom that you don't see in a lot of romances--an "older" heroine (late thirties), a very proper Englishman with old school manners (who's also "older"), and the premise of the stand-in groom. Dacus' novel, while contemporary, has an old-fashioned feel to it that I found interesting. But what I really liked was the setting and how she brought it to life. If I didn't know otherwise, I would have thought Bonneterre was a real town.

    This is an enjoyable romance, and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fun Story with Great Characters

    Professional wedding planner Anne Hawthorne has built her business by being the best. She fills her days making her clients' dreams come true and waiting for the day when she'll be the one standing at the altar. Her first interaction with elegant Englishman George Laurence has her wondering if he's the man God has for her, a man she could really trust. But then George shows up in her office-as one of her grooms. How can she keep her feelings under control while orchestrating the most elaborate wedding she's planned yet, for him and his young fiancée?

    George agrees to pose as the groom so his wealthy employer can keep his engagement a secret. Even though it goes against his Christian principles, George needs to keep his position as personal assistant so he can remain in the U.S. When the wedding planner turns out to be the first woman to capture his attention-and his heart-he feels horrible about deceiving her. Will he give up his job and his desire for citizenship in order to gain the woman he loves?

    Stand-in Groom is Kaye Dacus' debut novel, and what a debut. She's crafted a wonderful story with engaging characters I liked from the start. Dacus brings to life the Louisiana setting and pulls the reader into Anne and George's lives with the skill of a long-time author. The story moves along seamlessly, evoking emotion at every turn. I laughed, cried and sighed as I witnessed the hills and valleys of Anne and George's journeys. Dacus has joined my list of must-read authors. I'm looking forward to her next book, Menu for Romance, featuring one of the secondary characters from Stand-in-Groom.

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  • Posted March 11, 2009

    Christian romance.

    Stand In Groom
    Brides of Bonneterre Book 1
    Kaye Dacus
    Barbour, 2008
    ISBN: 978-1602602885
    Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com, 03/09
    5 stars
    Christian romance.
    Anne is a wedding planner. When she meets George, she thinks he is the perfect man. There is just one problem.he is the groom. George finds himself falling for Anne. He cannot tell her that he is not the groom.he is on assignment to plan the wedding and fill in for the groom. What will be Anne's reaction when she learns the truth?
    Kaye Dacus is a new name in Christian Romance--one you will not forget. The pace of this book is perfect. It smoothly moves from scene to scene. The characters demonstrate Christian character throughout the book. Of course, neither George nor Anne is perfect, but their flaws make them easy to relate to. Dacus combines the perfect amounts of romance and humor to produce what I think will be a best seller. This story would make a great movie!

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  • Posted February 27, 2009

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    Always A Wedding Planner, Never A Bride

    If you enjoyed the movie The Wedding Planner with Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, you'll get a real kick out of Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus.

    Anne Hawthorne resides in Bonneterre, Louisiana, a fictionally "real" town with lots of equally "real" characters. A successful wedding planner, Anne has everything she needs--except, of course, her own groom.

    Through her cousin, she meets handsome Englishman George Laurence, and feels an instant attraction. But the next day, he shows up at her office with his fiancee in tow. Let the conflict begin.

    George feels the same way about Anne. (He's actually just posing as the groom for his employer, but has signed a contract of confidentiality.) His deception eats away at him. How can he remain true to his heart, his Christian beliefs and his employer at the same time? And how will Anne ever forgive him when she learns of his deceit?

    Here are a few of the things I enjoyed about this book:

    ~The Character of Anne Hawthorne - She is calm, cool, collected and organized on the outside--a rock for her brides in distress. But on the inside, she longs for a groom of her own, a godly man who won't take advantage of her like the last man in her life.

    ~The Character of George Laurence - I love the way he talks! (What is there about a British accent that is so appealing?) Obviously, the author does a great job of bringing this Brit to life on the page.

    ~The Conflict - It oozes from between every line. How will the characters ever extract themselves from this mess?

    ~Tight Writing - Kaye Dacus knows how to make every word count. (Maybe if I sleep with her book under my pillow, that ability will rub off on me. Oh, if it were only that easy!)

    ~The Strong Spiritual Thread - This story shows us two characters who are honestly seeking to follow God's direction in their lives.

    ~The Setting - The author does a wonderful job of turning Bonneterre into a character in the book. The hometown feel gushes over you as you see Anne relate with family and friends that live in and around Bonneterre.

    ~Sacrifice - Don't you just adore love stories where the main character makes a sacrifice in order show her man how much she loves him? I won't spoil it for you, but be prepared.

    This is a wonderful romantic comedy that you don't want to miss. I feel so privileged to have read Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus. Not only is it a great story, but a great study of how to write!

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  • Posted February 27, 2009

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    Fun and Enjoyable Read

    Kaye's Christian Romance novel, Stand-in Groom was a fun and thoroughly enjoyable story from start to finish. The writing is smooth and tight and moves you from scene to scene effortlessly. No part of the novels feels too slow or too quick. I have to say it's one of the best paced romance books I've read in a while. You get just enough to enjoy that moment and look forward to the next.

    Her two main characters, Anne and George, have wonderful personality, with strengths and insecurities that everyone can relate to in some way. They have their flaws, but they work hard to overcome them and truly be better people. While the first half follows the standard format of "the heroines are kept apart because of miscommunication" the second half goes a step beyond and lets us see how they deal with their relationship after clearing up their misunderstanding. I loved that aspect. So often we don't get to experience this in romance stories. And I have to mention Dean Martin and the good old classics. Anne's love of classics added a great little personal touch to her character.

    The characters faith in God, even when they don't understand His motives, is a wonderful example to look up to. I know so many struggle with having complete faith that God has his reasons. Despite the trials Anne and George are put through their faith never waivers and I loved this aspect of the novel.

    There were so many little things I loved about this novel from the morality clause in Anne's wedding contracts to the great family atmosphere, and cousinly love that was so evident throughout the novel. This was a wonderful novel about trust and forgiveness that I recommend whole heartedly to others. I eagerly look forward to the next story in the lives of the Bonneterre women.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Great Christian Romance

    Kaye Dacus gives her readers a classic love story-like a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film. She creates characters with character and wholesome, sigh-inducing romance. The book takes the reader away to its Louisiana setting. Taste the beignets, chicory coffee and spicy crawfish. It is beautifully written, and I can¿t wait to read the next in this series.

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  • Posted February 6, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    A Vibrant Woman Who Isn't a Size 3!

    Finally, a main character who is both large and beautiful! Anne is six feet tall and a size 18. Thank you, Kaye, for choosing a vibrant woman who isn¿t a size 3. You¿re an inspiration to women and writers everywhere. <BR/><BR/>Kaye¿s characters are wonderfully developed. I fell in love Anne¿s dynamic family, especially her cousin. And I thoroughly enjoyed George¿s English citizenship and the problems it presented. However, this is more than just a romance. Anne has some deep emotional issues she deals with before she finds she¿s ready for love.<BR/><BR/>Anne Hawthorne is a beautiful, bold woman with a well established career. When she meets George Laurence, the connection is obvious. However, there is one major glitch; George is the groom in the largest wedding Anne has ever planned. How could she fall for someone else¿s fiancé? How can she plan their dream wedding when her own dreams are shattered?

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  • Posted February 3, 2009

    Wonderful to read!

    When you think of a wedding, you think, love, joy, and happiness forevermore. But what about all the planning that goes into a wedding? It is more like organized chaos! Life as a wedding planner is never predictable what with all the ups and downs of the bride-to-be and groom-to-be. Some times the wedding planner feels more like a marriage counselor. But what happens when the wedding planner falls in love with the groom-to-be?<BR/>How can she plan the wedding of the guy she loves to another woman? This book is about the love of God, the love of family, and the love we find that lasts a lifetime.

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  • Posted January 27, 2009

    Great Debut Novel

    Looking for a sweet romance with some Southern spunk? This is the book for you. <BR/><BR/>Anne Hawthorne, wedding planner extraordinaire, falls for Englishman George Laurence. (Come on, what girl doesn¿t love a British accent?) Only problem, she believes he¿s a client, mainly the groom. George is really standing in for his boss, a wealthy man who wants his engagement kept on the down low. But with George¿s deception and people/events from Anne¿s past, can their hearts be salvaged before it¿s too late? Pick it up and find out.<BR/><BR/>The book is semi-reminiscent of the movie ¿The Wedding Planner,¿ but it is better written and contains a few more plot twists. I knew what was going to happen, but Ms. Dacus actually had some parts I didn¿t expect. Overall, a fun, lighthearted read. You definitely want to read this one.

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  • Posted January 26, 2009

    Rich setting and characters

    Kaye Dacus' debut novel offers a rich, detailed setting and a heroine worth cheering for. Anne Hathaway is always the planner, never the bride. Her selfless giving to those for whom she plans weddings and to her family make her sympathetic without being whiny. This woman is competent, but compassionate. A true heroine!<BR/><BR/>Enter George, a man with something to hide, but for good reason. His emotional and spiritual journey through the novel rings authentic, not shallow, and his charm never falters. He is perfect for Anne, even if their circumstances are less-than-perfect.<BR/><BR/>A solid debut novel, full heartfelt moments and romance.

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

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    Great debut. More like 4 1/2 stars.

    Great debut! I really enjoyed this story once I got into it. It had unique characters and plot twists. If not for the slow start I would've given it five stars, but it was incredibly romantic and for that I applaud Kaye. The romantic elements and the push-pull that is such and important part of romance novels was very well done. The author had me turning the pages once I got sucked into the story. <BR/><BR/>I didn't feel manipulated and the conflict didn't seem contrived, which was refreshing. Yeah, it was predictable, but romances do follow a necessary pattern. Though this one followed that prescribed pattern, it still had many unique elements that held my interest and had me rooting for the two of them to get together and then stay together. George was the ultimate hero. And the ending was so cathartic and healing for the heroine that it made me smile. I loved the point that you have to forgive past hurts in order to truly heal and move forward in new relationships was brought out in this story. <BR/><BR/>I highly recommend this story to people who enjoy tension between the hero and heroine and don't want a fluffy same-old same-old read. This story had guts and heart tugging action, which earned my respect. I am looking forward to Kaye's next book.

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  • Posted January 23, 2009

    A taste of Southern Charm

    I read this book this week and wanted to keep reading more each time I would pick it up. Kaye has created a wonderful story and seeing how it plays out was fun. The book captures the essense of the South with big family get togethers, food, and Southern Charm. Add to the mix an Englishman and its an entertaining book. There are alot of serious issues dealt with in the book and seeing how they are resolved part of the appeal. I loved the way Kaye deals with certain issues many of us face in different ways and shows how God can work in us to help us deal with these issues. There is alot of fun in this book also and its a really good read. I am looking forward to book 2.

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  • Posted January 21, 2009

    Great Romance Story

    Kaye Dacus brings us the life of a wedding planner, who is single, lonely and really would like to get married herself one day. Her cousins are always trying to set her up but she is to busy with planning other peoples weddings. Anne is afraid to let her guard down when it comes to men because of a past hurt, that she never really got over. Just when she thinks she has found someone she could be interested in she finds out he is the GROOM, or is he?<BR/><BR/>George is standing in for his client because he wants to keep things a secret, but George never thought he would fall for the wedding planner. Now he is confused on what to do, he hates lying to Anne. <BR/><BR/>With a lot of miscomunications and misunderstanding makes things fun and exciting in this tell of love and forgiveness. It was a very great raad and I will be reading more of Kaye Dacus's book in the future.

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