Stand-in Groom [NOOK Book]

Overview

With a rare blend of humor, erotic tension, and dead-on emotional truth, New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann weaves this delightful romance of a man and woman brought together by chance, bound by choice, and in trouble deeper than they realize.

Like a knight in a fairy tale, he appeared from out of nowhere and rescued her at the last moment. Now, sizing up the man who’d saved her purse and driven off her attackers, aspiring ...
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Stand-in Groom

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Overview

With a rare blend of humor, erotic tension, and dead-on emotional truth, New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann weaves this delightful romance of a man and woman brought together by chance, bound by choice, and in trouble deeper than they realize.

Like a knight in a fairy tale, he appeared from out of nowhere and rescued her at the last moment. Now, sizing up the man who’d saved her purse and driven off her attackers, aspiring Boston entrepreneur Chelsea Spencer considered that this good-looking stranger could fit another role—not to mention a tuxedo—equally well. By the end of the week, Chelsea was scheduled to get married as a condition for earning the inheritance necessary to save her fledgling business. There was only one problem: She was short a groom.

Johnny Anziano would have been satisfied with a date, but the woman he’d dashed in to save during a street mugging had proposed much more than that. For two weeks’ “work,” he’d earn $75,000 and a luxurious tropical island vacation. By saying a simple, meaningless “I do,” he could save Chelsea one more time. But this time they were facing something a lot more dangerous than a gang of street thugs—their attraction for each other.

From the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553907131
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/24/2009
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 51,489
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Suzanne Brockmann
Since her explosion onto the publishing scene more than ten years ago, Suzanne Brockmann has written more than forty books, and is now widely recognized as one of the leading voices in romantic suspense. Her work has earned her repeated appearances on the USA Today and New York Timesbestseller lists, as well as numerous awards, including Romance Writers of America’s #1 Favorite Book of the Year (three years running), two RITA Awards, and many Romantic TimesReviewers’ Choice Awards. Suzanne Brockmann lives west of Boston with her husband, author Ed Gaffney.

From the Paperback edition.

Biography

Although Suzanne Brockmann can't remember a time when she wasn't scribbling something (one of her earliest masterpieces was an action-packed radio play called "Mice on Mars"), she didn't begin to write seriously until she was married with young children. She spent several years trying to break into the super-competitive field of screenwriting before deciding to try her hand at genre fiction; and, it was only after months of intensive research that she finally homed in on Romance. In June of 1992, she sat down to write her first book. By year's end, she had completed ten manuscripts, and in August of 1993, she sold her first book, the contemporary romance Future Perfect.

Brockmann's first novels were stand-alones. But as her career progressed, she noticed that romance mini-series, with their opportunities for character development and intersecting story lines, had become extremely popular. Seeking to increase her readership, she decided to write a mini-series of her own. She found her "hook" in a magazine article on Navy SEALs and, in 1996, she released Prince Joe, the first novel in her Tall, Dark and Dangerous series. The alpha males of Brockmann's fictional SEAL Team 10 proved to be the perfect romantic heroes, and the series was an immediate hit with readers. Four years later, she launched a second series of military/romantic thrillers centered on the friendships, romances, and working relationships among a team of Navy SEALS and members of an elite security agency called Troubleshooters, Inc. Starting with The Unsung Hero in 2000, the Troubleshooters books have catapulted the author to the top of the charts.

Brockmann is known in the industry as a risk-taker, having written stories around such sensitive topics as interracial romance and homosexuality, In 2004, she garnered attention for her eighth Troubleshooters novel, Hot Target, which involved one of her most popular recurring characters, openly gay FBI agent Jules Cassidy, in a romantic subplot. Brockman, who dedicated the book to her gay son Jason, was not sure how readers would respond. To her surprise, the reaction from gay and straight alike proved positive. She stated on her website: "I love the fact that the world I've created in my books -- a diverse American world filled with the same variety of people who live in my urban American neighborhood -- has been so enthusiastically embraced by readers."

Brockmann's distinctive literary blend has come in for its fair share of praise. Writing in the Chicago Tribune, veteran Booklist reviewer John Charles stated: "Brockmann strikes the perfect balance between white-knuckle suspense and richly emotional romance." And USA Today has called her "[t]he reigning queen of militaray suspense." As further proof of her mainstream appeal, she remains one of a handful of Romance novelists to have made the leap from mass market paperback to hardcover.

Good To Know

In an interview with the online magazine All About Romance, Brockmann says: "I started reading when I was three (my first 'real' book was Beverly Cleary's Here Comes the Bus -- I remember this because no one believed that I was really reading it and I got really upset when my older sister took it back to the school library before I'd finished it!)."

A serious history buff from her youth, Brockmann has read widely on WWII and has been known to incorporate stories from that era into the books of her Troubleshooters series.

Brockmann loves music. She attended Boston University as a film major with a minor in creative writing but dropped out to perform with a rock and roll band. She also sang with and served as music director for a Boston-based a cappella group called "Serious Fun" and produced its first and only CD in 1998.

Brockman is married to novelist Ed Gaffney.

The mother of an openly gay son , Brockmann is a proud member of PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays).

In her writing, Brockmann employs a device she calls Deep Point of View. She explains it in an interview with the online writers' journal Writers Write: "In my books, I use subjective point of view, but I'm not satisfied with merely showing the reader what that camera sees from its perch atop a character's head. I bring the camera down, inside of that character's head, so we see the world through that character's eyes. We hear things through his ears. We smell what he smells, feel what he feels, think what he think. With deep POV, I write using words that that character would use. I tell the story with that character's voice."

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Chelsea was being followed.  

It was crazy.  

True, this wasn't the best neighborhood in Boston, but it was seven o'clock in the morning. It was broad daylight.  

She glanced behind her. There were three of them--lean, dangerous-looking young men dressed in gang colors. She slipped the strap of her purse securely around her neck as she moved more quickly down the sidewalk. She could be wrong. Maybe they were headingtoward the H&R Block that was three doors down from her office. Maybe they were looking to have their taxes done.  

They were right behind her now, and she moved aside, toward the street, praying that they would walk on past.  

They didn't.  

"Hey, blondie." The taller of the three leered at her--if it was possible for a sixteen-year-old to leer.  

They were only kids. Kids with fuzz on their upper lips and chins that was supposed to pass as facial hair. Kids pretending to be grown men. Kids who were taller and wider than she was. Kids who probably carried knives and could hurt her badly before shecould even shout for help.  

"You part of the beautification program in this part of the city?" the shortest of the three asked, laughing at his own joke. He wore an enormous ring in his nose--obviously to make up for his lack of height. He couldn't have been more than fourteen yearsold.  

The third boy made animal noises--part dog, part barnyard pig--as he invaded her personal space.  

Chelsea stepped out between two parked cars, into the street. "Excuse me. I need to get to work, and you should probably get to school--"  

She had to stop short to keep from bumping into the tall one.  

"Excuse me," he mimicked her. "Excuse me. We don't go to no friggin' school."   "Maybe you should reconsider. You could use a little help with your grammar." She stepped around him, but the dog-boy blocked her path. He grinned, and she pulled back. His teeth were all filed to sharp little points. He snorted and woofed at her obviousalarm.  

That's all they wanted. They wanted to scare her. Well, okay. She was scared. They could let her go now.  

"You got some money we can borrow?" the nose-ring wearer asked. "We'll pay you back--we promise."  

She felt a flash of anger, wondering how often that had worked--how often the people they intimidated simply handed over their money. 

  As the other boys laughed Chelsea pushed past them onto the sidewalk, aware of the cars moving down the street, aware that not a single one of them had even slowed to see if she needed help. "Go away," she said sharply, "before I call your mothers."  

It was the wrong thing to say.  

The dog-boy pushed her, hard, and she went down onto her knees. The tall one grabbed the strap of her purse and it lifted her back up as it caught around her throat.  

He was running now, all three of them were, and she was dragged and bounced along the cracked, uneven sidewalk. She heard herself screaming and she felt her shoe come off, felt her toes scrape along the concrete. Her head snapped back and her arm twistedbehind her as the boy yanked her bag free.  

God! All the work she did at home last night--that flash drive was in her purse! Chelsea pushed herself up off the sidewalk, kicked off her other shoe, and ran after them. 

  They were nearly a block ahead of her, but she could think of nothing but all those hours of work, and she ran faster.  

And then it happened.  

With a squeal of tires, a white delivery truck bounced over the curb, right onto the sidewalk in front of the three kids. The driver swung himself out the open door of the cab, landing directly on top of the tallest boy. The kid was no match for a full-grownman, and the truck driver was extremely full grown. All it took was an almost nonchalant backhanded blow, and the big kid went down, her shoulderbag pulled free from his hands.  

But the dog-boy and the kid with the nose-ring were both behind the man. Chelsea saw a glint of sunlight reflect off the blade of a knife.  

"Look out!" she shouted, and the man turned. The way he moved was graceful, like a choreographed dance, as he disarmed the kid with a well-placed sweep of his foot. He moved threateningly toward the dog-boy, who turned tail and ran after his friends.  

Chelsea slowed to a stop, aware that her heart was pounding, that her panty hose were torn, her clothes askew, her hair loosened from her usual French braid and dangling around her shoulders, aware that the soles of her feet burned and stung from her shoelessrun down the rough city sidewalk. She had to bend over to catch her breath, hands braced above her bruised knees. 

  She tilted her head to look up at the man who'd rescued her handbag. He looked even taller from this position, his shoulders impossibly broad. He was dressed in well-faded blue jeans and worn white leather athletic shoes. He wore a Boston Red Sox cap backwardover a dark head of unruly curls and a T-shirt that proclaimed in large red letters I'm too sexy for my shirt. Given a leather jacket and a studded dog collar, he could have been those kids' older and far more dangerous brother.   "You all right?" he asked her, moving closer, his dark eyes even darker with concern. "You need me to call the paramedics?"  

Chelsea shook her head no, taking quick stock of her bruises and scrapes. Both knees were bleeding slightly, as were both elbows and the heel of one hand. The top of her right foot and most of those toes were sore. Her neck felt raw where the strap ofher purse had given her a burn.  

"I'm okay." She straightened up, trying to tuck her blouse back into her skirt, trying to ignore the fact that her hands were shaking so hard, she couldn't get the job done.  

The man didn't ignore it. "Maybe you should sit down."  

Chelsea nodded. Sit down. That would be good.  

She let him lead her across the sidewalk to a building that had a stone stairway going up to the front entrance. He helped her sit on the third step up, then sat next to her, setting her handbag between them and pulling off his baseball cap.   She glanced at him, aware that he was gazing at her.  

He wasn't what she'd call classically handsome. His nose was big and crooked, as if it had been broken one too many times. His cheekbones were rugged and angular, showcasing a pair of liquid-brown, heavily lidded eyes. His mouth was generously wide, withfull, sensuous lips that seemed on the verge of a smile. His hair was dark and curly and long, and as he steadily returned her curious gaze he pulled it back into a ponytail at the nape of his neck.  

"I've seen you around the neighborhood for a couple of weeks," he told her. His voice was deep and husky, with more than a hint of urban Boston coloring it. "You opened up that computer consulting business around the corner, right?"   She nodded. She hadn't seen him around. She would've remembered. "I'm Chelsea Spencer." She held out her hand.  

"I know," he said, finally letting his smile loose as he gently clasped her fingers. 

  It was a smile that was set on heavy stun. Chelsea was not normally affected by such things, but this man's smile was off the scale. It was a smile that seemed to echo the words on his T-shirt. She glanced at those words again. He followed her gaze andactually blushed, a delicate shade of pink tingeing his rugged cheekbones.  

"A friend got me this shirt," he explained sheepishly. "I'm visiting him today, and I wore it, you know, kind of like a joke?" He was still holding her hand. "I'm Giovanni Anziano. My friends call me Johnny."  

"Thank you for saving my bag."  

His smile faded as his gaze swept her scraped knees and dirt-streaked clothes. "I wish I got there sooner. They didn't do more than knock you over, did they?"  

He was watching her closely. His eyes may have been lazily hooded, but Chelsea got the sense that this man missed nothing. She shook her head. "No."  

He ran one hand down his face. "Jeez, will you listen to me? 'They didn't do more than knock you over'--as if that wasn't enough. I saw you bounce when you hit the ground. You sure you don't want some professional help getting cleaned up? There's a hospitalnot too far from here and it won't take too long."  

"Oh, no!" Chelsea pulled her hand free and closed her eyes. "Oh, God, I've got a meeting with a client in an hour." She laughed, but it sounded faintly hysterical, so she stopped. "I look like I've been hit by a train."  

"You look like you've been mugged."  

Chelsea stood, searching the street for a taxi. "If I hurry, I can take a cab home and get cleaned up and only be a few minutes late." She turned to face him. "Thank you again. If you hadn't come to my rescue . . ."  

Johnny stood up, too, and again she was startled by how very tall he was. "Lookit, I'm running a little early. Hop in the truck, and I'll give you a ride home and back."  

She gazed at him in surprise. He laughed, as if he could read the trepidation in her eyes.

   "I'm not dangerous," he told her. "I promise. Come on, I work for Meals on Wheels, delivering food to helpless little old ladies who unlock their apartment doors for me without batting an eye. Hell, I've got a key ring the size of New Hampshire for allthe people who can't get up to answer their own door."  

Meals on Wheels. The words were painted on the side of the truck that was still parked in the middle of the sidewalk. Meals on Wheels was a charity organization that delivered precooked meals to shut-ins. Some of them were ill, some elderly, all of themunable either to get to a grocery store or cook their own meals for whatever reason. Whoever this Giovanni Anziano was, the Meals on Wheels organization trusted him enough to allow him to make deliveries.  

He smiled again, and Chelsea felt her stomach flip-flop. She could imagine him smiling at her that way as he leaned over to kiss her, as he pulled her against that rock-solid body, encircling her with those powerful arms. She could imagine him smilingat her as he helped her out of her clothes and . . .  

Where on earth had that thought come from? She wasn't prone to having on-the-spot fantasies about strange men--no matter what they looked like. No matter if they were, indeed, too sexy for their shirts.  

"Hop in," Johnny said again. "I'll go get your shoes."    

   Chelsea Spencer.  

She was sitting in the Meals on Wheels truck. She was sitting next to him, holding tightly to her bag as he took the right turn onto Beacon Street, heading out toward Brookline, where she lived.  

Johnny glanced at her again, smiling as he met her eyes. Man, she was the definition of incredible.  

It was weird, because she wasn't especially pretty--at least not in the conventional sense. Her nose was a touch too pointy, her chin too sharp. But taken with the rest of her face, she was strikingly attractive. Her eyes were a shade of blue Johnny hadn'teven known existed before he first caught sight of her. Her hair was silky and golden blond. And her mouth . . . Her lips were gracefully shaped and gorgeously full. It was the kind of mouth he fantasized about. And God knows he'd been doing a hell of a lotof fantasizing lately. . . .  

"I'd been meaning to stop in your office and introduce myself for a couple of weeks now," he said, pulling up to a red light and turning to look at her.  

She glanced at him again, and he could see an answering flash of attraction in her eyes.  

He felt his pulse accelerate and forced himself to slow down. He had a shot here. If he asked her out, there was actually a chance that she would accept. But he had to chill out, take it slow, be cool. Be very, very cool.  

The light turned green, and he stepped on the gas.   He couldn't believe it when he'd seen the three punks knocking Chelsea down to the ground. And he really couldn't believe it when she started chasing after them. The lady had guts. When most people were mugged, they got up and ran in the opposite direction."Are you going to press charges?" he asked.   She snorted. "Of course."  

Johnny nodded. "Of course." He tried to hide his smile. "Silly question."   "Will you do me a favor?"  

Oh yeah. Especially if it involved full body contact . . . He nodded again, aware that she was watching him. He forced himself to sound cool. Nonchalant. "Sure."   She smiled. "Don't you want to know what it is first?"  

"Nope."  

"Hmmm. In that case, maybe I better think about whether there are any other big favors I need done . . ."  

She was flirting. Chelsea Spencer was flirting with him.  

"How about we discuss the terms of this favor over dinner tonight?" he countered. There. Damn! He did it. He asked her out. 

  But she just laughed. "There're no terms. I just need you to file a statement with the police. You probably got as good a look at those guys as I did."  

"All right, but . . ." He shook his head. "Just don't expect the police to be able to do too much with what we tell them."  

Her smile faded. "I know there's only a small chance the police will be able to find those boys, but . . ." She suddenly sat forward in her seat, pointing. "Take the next left. My building's the second on the right."  

He followed her instructions and double-parked in front of her building. This block was all high-priced condominiums. The buildings were perfectly maintained, their grounds well kept. It was Nice, with a capital N, and a silent but very present dollarsign in front of that capital N.  

Chelsea Spencer had money. A lot more money than he'd imagined. Johnny gazed up at the ritzy building. It was possible this lady was out of his league. Not that he necessarily thought so, but if she thought so, the game was over.  

Chelsea opened the truck door and turned to look back at him. "I'll be quick." 

"Don't be so quick that you forget to wash out those scrapes with soap." 

  She smiled. "You sound like my mother." 

  "No, I sound like my mother. She was a doctor."  

"No kidding."  

"Nope."  

She was just sitting there, one hand on the opened door, gazing across the truck into his eyes. Johnny gazed back, hardly daring to breathe.  

"I'll, um, go change," she said breathlessly.  

"I'll be right here."  

It took her thirteen and a half minutes.    

From the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 49 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sweet read

    This is a re-release from Brockmann. Nice story--starts off with suspense--then the "meet cute" plot device. I really liked the characters. The plot of "stand in groom" looke a bit flimsy--but held up within the book. YUmmy romance between CHelsea & Johnny. Couldn't put it down--really! Had to find out what happened next!If cast well, it would make a nice movie.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2013

    Great read

    Brockmann never disappoints! Definitely recommend...

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

    Great story

    Loved this book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2013

    Really sweet.

    This is a very sweet love story by one of my favorite authors. The main characters are special. You gotta love Johnny, he’s too good to be true. One would only hope that there really are people like him out there somewhere.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    You must check it out

    Fun and easy reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2013

    Liked it!

    I really enjoyed this book! Very likable characters, very sweet story, not particularly complex but funny and sweet. This was my first book by this author, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    Eh

    Short novella length story. Woman with Major Issues meets guy with none

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2013

    Good story

    Good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Wonderful!

    This book is truely a good down to earth love story, that had me crying one minute, and then laughing the next. Not to mention the hot and steamy love scenes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2013

    Neiccee

    First time reader of this author. Loved the book, good story would have liked it to be a little longer, book was only 172 pages. I enjoy reading longer novels. Loved the story,

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2013

    Stand in groom

    One of the best short books i've read. Even though its short it was well written .

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2013

    Very well done

    Actually feel the emotional truth. Very well written, fun, and sexy. Will read again and again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    Great read

    Always like her books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    Never a dull monmet

    I love reading this book it kept you wanting to see what happen next

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2013

    Good

    It was good story Johnny was very easy to like but Chealsea was not

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Good

    It was a charming read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    Bxxdueioi

    Dkmj.dkuk

    0 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews

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