Wish You Were Here

( 21 )

Overview

Kissing the wrong guy days before her scheduled wedding leads Allison to become a runaway bride. But can it also lead to happily ever after?

Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom.

Still, kissing the groom?s brother, Daniel, in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison?s life ...

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Wish You Were Here: A Novel

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Overview

Kissing the wrong guy days before her scheduled wedding leads Allison to become a runaway bride. But can it also lead to happily ever after?

Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom.

Still, kissing the groom’s brother, Daniel, in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at this point. Daniel’s adventures—chronicled through a collection of postcards—have always appealed to Allison’s well-hidden desire for something more. But how can betraying her fiancé’s trust lead to a true happily ever after?

Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Recognizing she doesn’t have all the answers won’t be easy because she’s used to being in control. To find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her—one outside her carefully defined comfort zone—and find the strength to let Him lead.

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Editorial Reviews

USA Today
"Even though there are some snowy Colorado mountain scenes, this fun novel has 'beach read' written all over it. . . . With equal parts drama and comedy, Beth Vogt's debut romance is as heart-tugging as it is funny and it keeps the reader guessing as to what Allison's Happy Ever After will look like up until the very last scene." —USA Today
Carla Stewart
“I was swept away to the splendor of the Rockies in Wish You Were Here, a lovely debut by Beth K. Vogt. This perfectly paced love triangle has endearing characters and plot twists that kept me turning the pages deep into the night. I loved it!” —Carla Stewart, award-winning author of Chasing Lilacs and Broken Wings
Lisa Jordan
“Beth Vogt's Wish You Were Here is a heartwarming story of reconciliation and second chances. Her characters charmed me from the first page and had me tearing up by the end of the novel. Beth weaves in spiritual truth that massages the soul while sprinkling in LOL moments to tickle the funny bone. Definitely one for the keeper shelf.” —Lisa Jordan, Author of Lakeside Reunion and Lakeside Family
Donita K. Paul
“Beth K. Vogt creates character, paints personality, and defines drama within a romantic comedy that sparkles with fun. Wish You Were Here will tickle your fancy from the first misplaced kiss to the kiss that lands exactly on the right spot in the end. This could only be the first book of many to come from a sensitive and talented new fiction author.” —Donita K. Paul, bestselling author of the Dragon Keeper Chronicles
Siri Mitchell
“Vogt’s writing shines in this contemporary take on a timeless theme. She excels in portraying vibrant characters who grapple with vital questions. Wish You Were Here provides a postcard-perfect glimpse of the courage it takes to really be who you are.” —Siri Mitchell, author of The Cubicle Next Door and She Walks in Beauty
Kristin Billerbeck
“Beth Vogt is a sparkling, new talent whose Wish you Were Here brims with life, fun, and depth. Allison has acquired the wrong wedding dress, but worse yet, she may have grabbed the wrong groom. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. It's always refreshing to find a new voice in Christian fiction that shines!” —Kristin Billerbeck, author of What a Girl Wants
Rachel Hauck
"Beth Vogt hits a home run with her debut novel, Wish You Were Here. Quirky, snappy, and sweet, it's a story of finding true love that will leave you sighing and smiling." —Rachel Hauck, bestselling and award-winning author of The Wedding Dress
Megan DiMaria
“One kiss can change everything! Wish You Were Here takes the reader on an emotional journey with Allison Denman as she struggles to find her place in this world. Allison comes to grips with the truth that playing it safe is not the same as living to the fullest—a good lesson for all of us. Beautifully written, Wish You Were Here is a lovely debut novel by Beth K. Vogt that illustrates the plans we make may not be God’s choice for us. A fun and satisfying read!” —Megan DiMaria, author of Searching for Spice
Susan May Warren
“What a delightful story! From the first line to the last page Beth captivated me with her voice and this charming, funny yet poignant story about letting go of your life and finding the love that's been waiting all along. A fabulous first novel . . . I can't wait for the next by this talented new author!” —Susan May Warren, Rita Award-winning, bestselling author of The Shadow of your Smile
From the Publisher
“I was swept away to the splendor of the Rockies in Wish You Were Here, a lovely debut by Beth K. Vogt. This perfectly paced love triangle has endearing characters and plot twists that kept me turning the pages deep into the night. I loved it!”

“Beth Vogt's Wish You Were Here is a heartwarming story of reconciliation and second chances. Her characters charmed me from the first page and had me tearing up by the end of the novel. Beth weaves in spiritual truth that massages the soul while sprinkling in LOL moments to tickle the funny bone. Definitely one for the keeper shelf.”

“Beth K. Vogt creates character, paints personality, and defines drama within a romantic comedy that sparkles with fun. Wish You Were Here will tickle your fancy from the first misplaced kiss to the kiss that lands exactly on the right spot in the end. This could only be the first book of many to come from a sensitive and talented new fiction author.”

“Vogt’s writing shines in this contemporary take on a timeless theme. She excels in portraying vibrant characters who grapple with vital questions. Wish You Were Here provides a postcard-perfect glimpse of the courage it takes to really be who you are.”

“Beth Vogt is a sparkling, new talent whose Wish you Were Here brims with life, fun, and depth. Allison has acquired the wrong wedding dress, but worse yet, she may have grabbed the wrong groom. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. It's always refreshing to find a new voice in Christian fiction that shines!”

"Beth Vogt hits a home run with her debut novel, Wish You Were Here. Quirky, snappy, and sweet, it's a story of finding true love that will leave you sighing and smiling."

“One kiss can change everything! Wish You Were Here takes the reader on an emotional journey with Allison Denman as she struggles to find her place in this world. Allison comes to grips with the truth that playing it safe is not the same as living to the fullest—a good lesson for all of us. Beautifully written, Wish You Were Here is a lovely debut novel by Beth K. Vogt that illustrates the plans we make may not be God’s choice for us. A fun and satisfying read!”

“What a delightful story! From the first line to the last page Beth captivated me with her voice and this charming, funny yet poignant story about letting go of your life and finding the love that's been waiting all along. A fabulous first novel . . . I can't wait for the next by this talented new author!”

"Even though there are some snowy Colorado mountain scenes, this fun novel has 'beach read' written all over it. . . . With equal parts drama and comedy, Beth Vogt's debut romance is as heart-tugging as it is funny and it keeps the reader guessing as to what Allison's Happy Ever After will look like up until the very last scene."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451659863
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,427,631
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Beth K Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an air force physician who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. She’s discovered that God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Beth makes her home in Colorado.

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Read an Excerpt

Wish You Were Here

Chapter 1

She never should have said yes.

Allison smoothed the bodice of the wedding gown, the fitted lace sleeves clinging to her arms. Waves of material billowed out from her waist, threatening to overwhelm her like a silken tsunami.

The style was all wrong.

She’d known it months ago—the moment the saleswoman released the dress from its protective plastic covering. Allison doubted all those layers of ivory lace and silk, bows and beads would ever fit back into such a small bag.

Securing the myriad of tiny pearl buttons marching down the back took precedence over her request for something simpler. She’d been instructed to stand on a round carpeted platform in front of a wall of angled mirrors. Encouraged to turn this way and that for the assembled critics—her best friend, Meghan; her mom; her younger sister, Hadleigh; and Seth’s mom. Her future mother-in-law’s breathless “Perfect” sealed Allison’s fate.

While her mother paid a price as outlandish as the dress, the bridal shop attendant stressed the “no returns/no refunds” policy. And now . . . well, Allison couldn’t do anything about her decision five days before the wedding.

Allison moved toward her standing beveled mirror. The only thing out of place in the room was the garment bag emblazoned with the elaborate, oversize initials of the bridal shop lying across her spotless white matelassé bedspread. Four pillows covered in matching shams and arranged just so lined the open-rail headboard. A framed oval photo of a triumphant Seth after winning a marathon stood on the bedside table.

Allison turned the photo around so it faced the wall. “No seeing the bride before the wedding day. It’s bad luck.”

She leaned toward her reflection in the mirror, gathering her auburn hair into a haphazard pile on top of her head. Maybe with an updo, veil, manicure, makeup—

“Who am I trying to kid?” She let her hair fall past her slumped shoulders. “Nothing can turn the wrong choice into the right one.”

She should have spoken up, insisted she have the chance to try on a few more gowns. But if there was one thing she’d learned during the six years she’d dated Seth Rayner, it was how to go along with what someone else wanted.

Turning away from the irrefutable evidence, she fought to move past her bed as the gown swirled around her legs. The partially buttoned dress gaped open in the back, causing the sheer sleeves to slip off her shoulders.

She wouldn’t wear the dress forever. Just for the ceremony. The reception. The limo ride to the hotel. Six hours, tops. Once it was dry-cleaned and stowed in the cavernous walk-in closet in Seth’s town house, she’d never have to see the designer debacle again.

Except in the wedding photos.

“Scat, Bisquick.” Allison lifted the material as her cat swatted the delicate hem. “I am not wearing a pricey cat toy.”

Undeterred, her yellow cat stalked her out of the bedroom, menacing sounds warning Allison the game was still on. She sidestepped down the hall to her living room, keeping a watchful eye on her marauding feline. The five-foot train followed her like a guest who had overstayed her welcome.

She paced around her couch and matching chairs, upholstered in soft white suede. She was careful to avoid snagging the gown on her cognac-colored coffee table as she swished by. She hated the thought of storing the items in her parents’ attic, but it couldn’t be helped. There was no place to put her furniture at Seth’s.

Maybe she should practice walking down the aisle. Practice made perfect, right?

Allison closed her eyes. Took a deep breath. Sang the words “Here comes the bride . . .”

Just step forward. One foot in front of the other. One. Two. One. Two.

Her eyes flew open. “I’m flunking the wedding march five days before my wedding. If I can’t walk down a pretend aisle in my apartment, how am I going to manage the real thing?”

She collapsed on the couch, waves of material swelling up around her like a hot air balloon. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to get married. Seth was perfect for her. She was just tired of talking about the wedding and thinking about the wedding . . . and what came after. Most of all, she was tired of this dress—and she hadn’t even worn it for real yet.

She needed a diversion. Maybe Meghan would be up for a movie. Something happy, like . . . An Affair to Remember. She’d give her a call and then escape the bridal gown nightmare.

And the sooner the better. If they had a fire in the building, she’d perish under five thousand dollars’ worth of lace, beads, pearls, and silk. As if to emphasize the ugly truth, someone rapped on her door. Meghan, reading her mind? Or the local fire marshal, ready to declare her a walking fire code violation?

Shoving the skirt aside, she pulled the door open with a welcoming smile. “Hey, Meggie—”

Or not Meggie.

Seth’s older brother, Daniel, leaned against the doorjamb. “Hey, yourself, Kid.” His mismatched eyes—one blue, one green—skimmed over her bridal frenzy. “Am I interrupting an elopement?”

A lazy grin slid up his face, as if he’d like to help with that adventure. Of course, Daniel’s motto might be “Grab Your Backpack and Follow Me,” thanks to the miles he’d logged in his hiking boots over the years. He appeared straight off some mountain trail, dressed in cargo pants and a life is good T-shirt under his brown leather bomber jacket, chin unshaved, brown curls tamed by a baseball cap.

How he and her starched, spit-polished fiancé happened to be kin baffled her.

“O-of course not!” She gathered the open back of her gown in one hand, shoving the ivory fabric back over her shoulders. “What are you doing here?” And why now, when she wore the fire hazard? She debated grabbing the coat hanging on the rack near the door, but knew a layer of hunter green wool wouldn’t improve her appearance.

“Seth asked me to help move some of your stuff to his house this week, remember? I thought I’d pick up a few boxes.”

“Boxes?”

“Books. Kitchen supplies. Knickknacks. Whatever you’ve packed.” He stepped into her apartment, his larger-than-life persona managing to shrink even her dress down to size. But Allison still had to part the waves of material as she backed up.

“Uh, is that the dress?”

Was he choking back a laugh? Confirmation the dress was a nightmare.

“Yes. Please, no comments.” Allison ran her hands along the flowing skirt as if she could tame it. Not going to happen.

“It’s impressive.”

Allison blew a wisp of hair out of her eyes. “Are you kidding me? I look like Bridal Fashion Disaster Barbie.”

“Hey, all brides are beautiful on their wedding day.” Daniel tucked the strand of hair behind her ear, the warmth in his eyes offering encouragement. “Seth won’t be able to take his eyes off you.”

“He’ll be trying to find me somewhere in all this fabric.”

As Daniel stepped around Allison, she caught the sound of his chuckle. She imagined his glance skimming the stack of assorted packing boxes piled in the living room of her otherwise immaculate apartment.

“You are planning on moving in with Seth after the wedding, right?”

“Of course I am. I’ve just been busy with deadlines and . . . and things . . .” She hated how the unused packing boxes made her feel guilty of some unnamed crime.

“Okay, so show me where the packed boxes are, and I’ll get out of your way.”

She longed to provide proof that she’d packed something. Say a few magic words and conjure up some boxes under the dress. Abracadabra, I do, I do. “I-I haven’t packed anything yet.” She shrugged, causing the lace to slip a few inches.

“Too busy playing dress-up?” The disarming grin Daniel tossed over his shoulder took any potential sting out of his question. “I really do like the dress, by the way.”

“You’re a liar, but thanks.” She tugged the fabric back in place. Stupid dress.

Daniel turned back and wrapped an arm around her, pulling her close. Allison’s dress crunched in protest even as his embrace wrapped her in the scent of leather and remnants of the brisk November night air. “Listen, Alli, you don’t have to explain to a master procrastinator like me. Let’s just consider helping the bride pack a best man’s duty. Besides, what’s a future brother-in-law for? We can order Chinese and tackle a few boxes. Deal?”

“You sure you’ve got time? I’d have to change.”

“I hope so. Or I’m hopelessly underdressed.” He turned her in the direction of her bedroom, his hands warm on her shoulders. “Need help with the buttons in the back . . . ummm, that would be a no.”

Allison fled to her room, her laughter mingled with the heat of a blush that coursed across her face and all the way down her spine.

That Daniel—he knew how to make her laugh. She couldn’t wait until he was actually her family.

Daniel sat back on his heels, his hands braced on his thighs. “How many boxes is that? Six?”

“That makes eight.” Alli wrote linens across the top in block letters with a black Sharpie.

“I’ve never known anyone to color coordinate a linen closet.” Daniel stood and offered his hand to Alli. “Your über-organization makes it easy to pack your stuff. DVDs filed by genre and alphabetized by title?”

“It makes life easier. I don’t like wasting time looking for things.” She wrapped her fingers around his and stood, rubbing her neck with her other hand. “You know what they say: ‘A place for everything, and everything in its place.’”

“Yeah, well, this is why you’re marrying my brother, Mr. Clean. I’m more of a ‘let everything go all over the place’ kind of guy.” Daniel placed his hand over hers where she kneaded her shoulder. “Muscle spasm?”

“Just a little one.” Allison stilled as he worked to ease the tightness. “Too much time hunched over my computer, trying to finish up projects before the h-honeymoon.”

Somewhere in the midst of her detailed retelling of a recent graphic design deadline, Daniel realized he’d stopped listening and let himself focus way too much attention on the curve of Alli’s neck and the softness of her skin as he massaged her shoulder. He patted her back—a nice brotherly gesture—and stepped away. “All better?”

“Y-yes. Thanks.” She turned, pulling at the hem of her oversize Air Force Falcons sweatshirt and then smoothing it against her black yoga pants. “So . . . interested in dessert? I mean, something other than fortune cookies? I’ve got some ice cream.”

“Sounds great.”

Shoving his hands into his back pockets, he followed her to the kitchen. She’d decorated in basic black and white—white towels, black ceramic containers on the countertops, a white KitchenAid mixer. Even her cat’s dishes were color-coordinated, one black, one white. The only splash of color was the large bulletin board displayed on one wall. He stood in front of it, realizing it was a pictorial travelogue of his past. An assortment of “Wish You Were Here” postcards threatened to overflow the frame’s borders. Almost all of the fifty states. Canada. Germany. The Bahamas. Turkey. Kenya. He went through passports the way some people went through credit card balances. He shook his head. “I can’t believe you kept all these.”

“Some people collect antique paperweights.” Alli came to stand beside him, a metal ice cream scoop in her hand. “I collect postcards from my future brother-in-law.”

“Isn’t this the first one I ever sent you?” He touched a postcard in the middle of the collection.

“That’s the one. And nice guy that you are, you kept sending them. Thanks. I liked seeing all the exotic places you were visiting while I slogged through midterms and finals.”

“I remember that trip to Australia. You and Seth were—what?—juniors in high school. You begged me to send you a postcard—”

“I did not beg!”

He deflected her well-aimed jab with the spoon, wrapping his hand around hers. “Were you already dating my little brother back then?”

“Barely.” Allison withdrew her hand and went to the freezer to get the ice cream. “He’d asked me to homecoming, and we just kind of started dating after that.”

“Kind of started dating?” Daniel gave a snort of laughter, watching her scoop mounds of fudge ripple into a white ceramic bowl. “You know Seth better than that. He had every step planned out to get you to fall in love with him.”

And he accomplished that goal, just as he gets everything he sets his sights on.

Daniel leaned against the counter, snagging a spoonful of ice cream. “Aren’t you going to have any?”

Alli stashed the carton back in the freezer. “I’m the one who has to fit in a wedding gown in five days, remember? I thought I’d share a bite of yours.”

He held a spoonful of fudge ripple in front of her. “I suppose this counts as another best-man duty—saving you from not fitting in that gorgeous gown of yours?”

“Very funny, wise guy.” She paused before handing the spoon back to him. “Hey, there’s a thought! If I can’t fit into the dress, I can’t wear it, right? Quick, I need more ice cream!”

She dashed toward the fridge, but Daniel was there ahead of her, blocking her way.

“Come on, Daniel. Move.”

“I’m saving you from a very rash decision, Alli.” He marched her back into the living room, directing her to sit on the couch. “I told you that you look beautiful in that dress.”

“And I told you that I don’t believe you.” Alli pulled her legs up and wrapped her arms around her knees.

Daniel started piling boxes by the door to carry them down to his truck. As he turned from depositing a box by the door, he caught Alli smothering a yawn. “That’s my cue to leave.” He moved Bisquick from where he lay snoozing in a chair—on top of Daniel’s ball cap. “Stupid cat.”

Allison followed him to the door, watching him slip on his boots. “I’ll ignore the ‘stupid cat’ remark because you didn’t laugh out loud when you saw my wedding gown.”

“Don’t worry about the dress, Alli. You’ll take Seth’s breath away.” He ran his finger along the line of doubt etched between her eyebrows.

“Trust me.”

“I can help carry the boxes to your truck—”

“Don’t bother, bride-to-be.” He leaned down to place a quick good-night kiss on Alli’s cheek just as she tilted her face up. His lips brushed hers, halting her thanks with the lightest of touches. The slightest bit of contact.

Not a kiss. Not really.

Just enough for Daniel to capture the softness of Alli’s lips and the hint of chocolate that lingered there.

He would never kiss his brother’s fiancée.

He looked up—and lost himself in Alli’s eyes, their gray-blue depths reminding him of a cloudless expanse of sky. The light citrus scent that always lingered in her auburn hair lured him closer. “Alli . . .”

He placed his hand against the curve of her back, drawing her against him. Caressed the side of her face, watching as the cloud of confusion in her eyes changed to a spark of startled awareness. Their lips touched again. He closed his eyes, his hand sliding through her hair to the nape of her neck, just enough to let her know that yes, he meant every moment, every gentle touch of this kiss.

And to his shock, Alli kissed him back.

Instead of slapping his face.

Just as he began to lose himself in the kiss, an incessant tone jarred Daniel’s senses, pulling him back to reality—away from Alli. What was that?

Alli stared at him, confusion once again clouding her eyes. She cut short the whisper of his name when she covered her lips with trembling fingers. “Y-your cell.” She shook her head as if clearing her thoughts and stepped out of his embrace. “You probably need to answer that.”

“Alli, wait.” He reached for her hand as he dug his phone out of his back pocket and flipped it open. “Daniel here.”

“Hey, it’s Seth. Did you go by Allison’s tonight like I asked? I’ve tried calling her, but she’s not answering her cell.”

“Seth.” Alli’s eyes widened, the lips he’d just kissed forming his brother’s name. Their eyes locked, and Alli seemed to hold her breath, waiting to see what he would say. What was he supposed to do? Add lying to his sins? “Yeah, I’m just leaving Alli’s. I grabbed a load of boxes. I’ll drop them by your house tomorrow.”

“You want to bring them by tonight?”

“No, it’s later than I realized.” He faced away from Alli, putting distance between them.

“How’s Allison?”

“She’s fine.” Not that Daniel was asking at the moment. “She’d tried on her dress when I showed up. Counting the days until the wedding.”

“I can’t wait to see it. Mom said it’s stunning.”

Daniel managed some noncommittal reply. Their mom was right—and wrong. The dress was stunning, but it wasn’t right for Alli. Didn’t matter. Alli would be a beautiful bride for his brother.

After signing off, Daniel shoved his cell into his back pocket. Took a deep breath and faced—an empty room. Where did Alli disappear to?

The kitchen?

Empty.

Daniel walked down the hallway to Alli’s bedroom. Her cat lounged in front of her closed bedroom door like a sorry excuse for a watchdog.

“Not necessary, cat.”

He eyed the door, debating. Beat a hasty retreat or face Alli like a man? The cat stared him down through half-closed eyes.

He rapped his knuckles against the door. “Alli, come on out.”

Silence.

“Come on, Kid. We need to talk.”

When he leaned close, he heard her muffled response: “Go away, Daniel.”

“This is ridiculous. We can’t have a conversation through a closed door.”

“We’re not having a conversation—”

“What do you call this?”

Silence.

“Alli?” Daniel stared at the door, unsure if he wanted her to open it or keep it closed.

She pulled the door open so fast that he took two steps backward. He missed trampling on the cat, who hissed and darted back down the hallway to the living room.

“You want to talk? Fine. What do you want me to say?” She raked her fingers through her hair. “How could you . . . how could we . . .” Her voice broke off as she choked back a sob.

“Don’t cry, Kid—”

She stomped her foot. “Don’t you dare tell me not to cry, Daniel Rayner! You’re not the one getting married in five days! You’re not the one who just made the biggest mistake of her life!”

He held up his hands. “Hey, I don’t think what happened is the biggest mistake of your life.”

She glared at him. “I am not going to stand here and discuss all my mistakes with you, letting you decide where k-kissing you ranks—”

“That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”

More silence.

“Look, I got ahead of myself, wanting to kiss the bride.” Daniel figured if he downplayed the whole episode, Alli would too. “Let’s not make a big deal out of it.”

“N-not make a big deal out of it?” She stared at him, looking as shocked as if he’d suggested they kiss again.

“It was just a kiss, not a one-night stand.” Daniel’s lie tore him apart. The kiss had mattered to him—not that he could admit it. How many lies had he told tonight? “You’re not the first woman I’ve kissed, Alli. You won’t be the last.” He forced a laugh that sounded fake, even to him. What was that verse his scoutmaster used to quote? Even a fool, when he is silent, seems wise. Daniel needed someone running a teleprompter with that verse on it.

Alli’s words were a strained whisper. “How could we do something like that?”

“It was my fault, Alli. Not yours.” He longed to take her in his arms and comfort her, but he didn’t dare touch her again. No more mistakes tonight.

She wiped away her tears with the back of her hand. “I-I need you to leave. Please.”

“I’ll load the boxes in my truck and lock your front door, okay?”

“Fine.”

Okay, then. His work here was done. The sooner he left, the better. He needed to put some distance between himself and the temptation of his brother’s fiancée.

Allison twisted the shower handles. Come on, hot water.

She tilted her head so the water streamed across her face and down her shoulders, waiting for the warmth to ease the tension from her body.

It was late for a shower—more like early—but she knew she’d never go to sleep. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw Daniel’s face right before he kissed her . . .

Shampoo. She should shampoo her hair. One less thing to do when she got up for work in a few hours. She’d French-braid her hair before she went to sleep.

She lathered her head, savoring the familiar mandarin-orange scent of her favorite shampoo. Scrubbing her hair reminded her of how Daniel’s hand slipped through her hair as he pulled her close . . .

Rinse. She needed to rinse and condition.

And she needed to stop thinking about Daniel Rayner.

Massaging the cream from scalp to ends, she conjured up a mental to-do list.

One: Send off the PDFs of the magazine layouts she’d completed.

Two: Make sure Lori knew what deadlines would come up while she was on her honeymoon.

The honeymoon. She and Meghan were going shopping tomorrow—today—for some last-minute must-haves. She still needed a beach cover-up and some sort of hat. And maybe she could find a new dress for the wedding rehearsal.

The rehearsal.

Well, that was a huge number three on her list.

How would she survive seeing Daniel at the rehearsal? How would she survive being his sister-in-law for the next who knew how many decades of wedding anniversaries with Seth?

“Why did I kiss him, God? Why? Why?” Allison leaned her forehead against the shower tile. “What was I thinking?”

No answer.

Instead, Daniel kept interrupting her attempts to organize the upcoming day. The strength of his arms wrapped around her. How his lips coaxed an unexpected response from her. How he whispered her name right before he kissed her the second time.

The cold spray forced Allison to turn off the water. She’d emptied her hot water tank. Shivering, she grabbed her faded green robe and wrapped it around her still-damp body. She grabbed a towel off the rack and gathered her wet hair into the soft cotton. Turning, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror over her sink.

Don’t you look great?

Not.

Gray streaks of mascara marred her pasty white face. She looked like she had the twenty-four-hour flu. She certainly felt sick. The Kung Pao chicken and beef and broccoli she’d shared with Daniel threatened to come back up her throat.

“What have you done?” Allison whispered to her reflection.

Again, no answer. Apparently, both she and God were out of answers tonight.

She walked into her bedroom, toweling her hair. The pristine white designer gown hung in front of the window, the moonlight making it seem iridescent. It loomed like a silent judge, declaring her guilty. She ought to stitch a scarlet “K” across the bodice. If anyone asked about the last-minute embellishment, she could say, “Oh, this? I somehow managed to kiss my fiancé’s brother.”

Allison climbed into bed, too tired to care about dropping the towel on the floor. She removed a wide-tooth comb from the bedside table, worked out the snarls in her hair, and began braiding it.

How long would she and Daniel have kissed if his cell phone hadn’t rung? Did the caller have to be Seth? It was almost as if he’d caught her in Daniel’s arms.

As hard as she tried to avoid them, Allison knew she’d made some mistakes in her life. And now she could no longer lie about her feelings for Seth’s adventuresome brother. Part of her wished Daniel hadn’t answered his phone. The harmless first not-really-a-kiss had surprised her. But she hadn’t resisted when Daniel kissed her again. During her impressionable teen years, she’d imagined what it would be like to kiss Daniel. Now she knew.

She’d always admired Seth’s older brother—his love for the outdoors, his independent streak, his ability to make her laugh. Until tonight, she’d convinced herself that her mixed-up emotions for Daniel were remnants of an adolescent crush. Now she wasn’t sure what she felt for her fiancé’s brother.

But she was engaged to Seth. She’d dated him for six years. He was perfect for her. Reliable. Safe. Her dream come true.

How could she betray him like this? What kind of person was she to kiss her fiancé’s brother? Did she even deserve someone as good as Seth?

With a groan, Allison slipped under the blankets, rolling onto her stomach. How was she going to tell Seth?

Shame caused her to bury her face in her pillow, her prayer a broken plea. “I can’t tell him, God. I can’t. He won’t understand. I don’t even understand how it happened.”

Tears scorched her face as she imagined standing before Seth, confessing her sin. He would be so hurt.

Allison pressed her hand against the ache in her chest.

Could he hurt any worse than she did?

Shoving the pillows away, Alli turned onto her side, staring at her wedding gown.

What if Daniel told Seth?

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 11, 2014

    Haphazard way to fall in and out of love. Never quite sure what

    Haphazard way to fall in and out of love. Never quite sure what would happen next.
    Enjoyable Read
    God bless u

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    Wish You Were Here was such a page-turner that I read it in one

    Wish You Were Here was such a page-turner that I read it in one night (staying up until 2am to finish it). I fell in love with Allison and Daniel so quickly! The character development was wonderful.
    I loved that it was a believable novel. It was a story line that made sense and you were rooting for Allison all the way through. The growth in Allison throughout the book made it real. It wasn't a book that I read to hear a fairytale. It was one that, when I finished it, I felt like each of the main characters were people I knew or could meet on the street!

    Definitely worth the $15 I paid and I'll be buying all of her future books as well!

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  • Posted December 17, 2012

    I enjoyed Allison's journey as told by Beth K. Vogt in Wish You

    I enjoyed Allison's journey as told by Beth K. Vogt in Wish You Were Here. Allison's need for control and yet her desire to escape the box she's managed to get herself stuck in struck a chord with me. I think we all find ourselves in situations we wish we could avoid, or hadn't agreed to.

    Wish You Were Here is a challenging read...not because it was hard to read, but because it challenged me to think about why I do things, rather than just do them because it's "expected". 

    This book is a light-hearted look into the life of Allison Denman as she struggles with conflicting emotions about two very different brothers. We see her grow from an unsure young lady to a young woman who realizes she doesn't have all the answers, but must take a step of faith to find the happiness God has for her.

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  :)


    ***Book received free for purposes of review. The above is my honest opinion.***

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  • Posted October 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great Debut Novel!

    I've been stretching myself lately, reading first time authors more, realizing how important it is for us aspiring authors to support one another as we're beginning our writing careers.


    I'd never heard of Beth K. Vogt until I received the invitation to this blog tour for her debut book, Wish You Were Here. I also don't think I've ever read a book by Simon and Schuster's division called Howard Books. But the cover and the description of Beth's book made me want to sign up. I've since realized that many of the aspiring authors I've connected with through ACFW, Facebook and My Book Therapy already know Beth. And now, so do I. :)

    I can tell by Beth's writing style that she obviously knows what she's doing with regards to words. I loved seeing the plot develop and these two characters grow closer together, although both were resigned to the fact that nothing would ever happen between them. I loved the cover of this book, as well as the characters and their evident long-standing attraction for one another... all the while the heroine was engaged to the hero's controlling little brother.

    I'm glad I asked to be on the Litfuse Blog Tour for this book, for it was an enjoyable read. Especially as a debut novel. I read Wish You Were Here in a matter of days and wanted desperately to see the two lead characters end up together. I received a paperback copy of this book from the publisher in return for participating in this blog tour and supplying an honest review. I gave Wish You Were Here 4 stars.

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  • Posted June 18, 2012

    Alli is getting ready to marry her high school sweetheart. What

    Alli is getting ready to marry her high school sweetheart. What could be more romantic? Everything is going according to plan. When the groom's older brother Daniel comes to help Alli pack her things to move, one moment turns into a kiss which turns into a major crisis. Suddenly Alli isn't so sure about her "perfect" life. Alli soon leaves her old life behind as she tries to decide exactly what she wants to do with herself. As old habits threaten to surface, she will have to learn to rely on her faith to keep her life from derailing.

    This was a sweet book. You can completely tell that Alli is getting in over her head from the start, so it's almost a relief that she soon becomes a runaway bride. I appreciated the author's ability to balance some serious subjects with the more light-hearted fluff in the rest of the book. This can be difficult to pull off, but I felt that it worked well in this book. Another good point was that Alli never wallowed in the bad things going on, and she certainly had plenty things to be in a funk about. Daniel seemed like a great travel partner. He was also a very swoon-worthy guy.

    If there was one small thing that bugged me, it was that the characters talked out-loud to themselves a lot. Some of that I felt could have made more sense as internal dialogue. The other thing is that I really wanted more backstory on Alli. She had a lot of very interesting stories in her life, and I just wanted to read more about all that. Those are small things though, and overall this is a really fun book. It has loads of romance and introspection. It's a super fast, fluffy read. It'll be perfect for relaxing on the beach or at home, so check it out!

    Book provided for review.

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  • Posted June 16, 2012

    Fabulous! I LOVED the premise of this book... was wondering how

    Fabulous!

    I LOVED the premise of this book... was wondering how she was going to redeem this woman who had kissed her fiancee's brother days before the wedding. That's a hard thing to redeem, but it worked well, and I LOVED the plot, LOVED the characters, and yeah, just a super good book!

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  • Posted June 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    She kissed the wrong man! Now a few days before her wedding, All

    She kissed the wrong man! Now a few days before her wedding, Allison finds herself in a horrible predicament. How could she betray her fiance by kissing his brother, Daniel? Allison hasn't been happy with things for a while. For example, she hates her wedding dress. But she would never intentionally hurt Seth, after all, she has agreed to marry him. Daniel lives a life she sees as filled with adventure and romance. As Allison sorts out her feelings, things with Seth and Daniel become more complicated. Who will she choose? Will a wedding take place? Pick up this book and you will find yourself engulfed in this wonderful, sometimes funny, love story.

    What an enjoyable book! There were moments I was surprised or giggling, but always loving the story. I loved the special touch the postcards made before some of the chapters. They added information and helped build anticipation in the story and characters. Each character seemed to be living, feeling human beings placed in a setting that was realistic. I recommend this book to readers who want to enjoy a good book. Thank you to the Litfuse Publicity Group for my free copy and the ability to participate in the blog tour.

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  • Posted June 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Finding Her Way

    What a delightful book and a very quick page turning read! Allison and Seth open the book with there marriage pending in 5 days! She is trying on her beautiful $5000 wedding gown...that she hates! Next we are at her apartment where she should be packing....Daniel Seth's older brother has come to the house to help her and remove some of the boxes! What happens is Daniel lets his hair down...so to say...and ends up kissing Alli. Forward ahead to Alli starting to head down the aisle with her Groom waiting at the end, and her Step-Father Will holding her arm...they get to the pew where her Mom sits, and she turns and says "I can't do this"...and she runs out of the church.
    So begins her journey to find Alli...she has to find forgiveness and her way back to God. She sure ends up having a lot of adventures!! Enter Lama's, fighting brothers, avalanches, her absent Father, and more.
    You will wonder if she will find her way back to Seth? They have a six year connection, or will some other fellow turn her eye.
    Be set for a very enjoyable read!
    I received this book from Litfuse Blog Tours and the Publisher Howard Books, and was not required to give a positive review.

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  • Posted May 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wish You Were Here!

    "She never should have said yes." When reading a story that's about a bride-to-be a line like that might worry you or like me make you extremely curious and keep you reading, reading, reading! I'm not sure that I've ever been hooked by a first line but there's a first time for everything, right?

    Allison Denman is having second thoughts about her wedding dress, her groom, and the direction her life is headed. With the help of her Aunt Nita, her aunt's crazy llama, she discovers God's plan for her life and her true love. Now, I'm not going to spoil anything but let me just say that Allison's HEA will definitely leave you feeling, for lack of a better word, all mushy inside.

    Each and every character including the irascible llamas, Pacha and Kuzko add such color and fun to what just could have been a plain ol' romance. It reminds me of a romantic movie. Romantic comedies and dramas are my absolute favorites and Wish You Were Here was a bit of Julia Roberts's Runaway Bride mixed with Kimberly Williams-Paisley's Lucky Seven in book form. Even though this is her first novel, Ms. Vogt writes like a pro and I for one am certainly glad that she decided to branch out from writing strictly nonfiction. I'm her new biggest fan and can't wait to read what she comes out with next.

    *I received my complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for posting my honest opinion/review of it for the tour.*

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  • Posted May 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Romantic Comedy with Heart

    I’m going to be honest. I picked up Beth Vogt's book knowing it’s a runaway-bride story. What I didn’t expect was to enjoy it as much as I did. Since I have a hard time seeing someone jilted, especially at the altar, Vogt had a challenge ahead of her. Could she create a heroine I would like and be able forgive for her fickleness, a hero deserving of her without being a self-serving bride-stealer, and a former fiance who wasn’t a cliched character with so many faults I wondered what on earth she was thinking to have been engaged to him in the first place. Vogt could, and she did. Allison Denman quickly captured my heart. She’s bright, witty, and wounded. She’s also confused. Enter Daniel Rayner, her fiance’s brother, who kisses her days before her wedding, catapulting her from confusion to crisis. How can she marry his brother, Seth, when she enjoyed Daniel’s kiss? But how can she hurt Seth, the well meaning albeit somewhat controlling guy she’s been with since high school? Watching Allison, Daniel, and Seth wrestle with their feelings in the aftermath of her mad dash out of the church in a detested wedding dress was an enjoyable experience. Although this is a romantic comedy, Vogt brought some tough issues into play, which added depth to the story. As Allison faces her feelings about faith, family, her former fiance, Seth, and her longtime friend, Daniel, she discovers who she is—and finds peace in knowing whose she is and following His plan for her life. Only then is she able to embrace a future vastly different than the one she’d originally envisioned. If you’re looking for a romantic comedy that is not only fun but has substance and a faith element that isn’t heavy-handed, I recommend While You Were Here. You’ll laugh, because Allison is such a fun character. You might even get misty-eyed a time to two. And you’ll certainly sigh, because Daniel is one fine specimen of manhood. I enjoyed Vogt's debut novel and look forward to her next book.

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  • Posted May 28, 2012

    From a writer’s standpoint, Wish You Were Here is a wonder

    From a writer’s standpoint, Wish You Were Here is a wonderful study in character development. For example: one of the main characters didn’t even appear on-scene until page 21 and yet, by then I knew that he was controlling, manipulative and obsessed with perfection. And that’s how Vogt excels: by showing character traits through other’s actions and reactions.

    The heroine, Allison, was a very complex character, like all of us. As she grew and changed, I grew to love her more and more. And there were so many twists and turns in the plot that revealed so many layers of Allison’s life.

    I guess my favorite part of the book (besides the love story, of course) was the postcards at the beginning of some of the chapters. It foreshadowed a little of what was going on in the background. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but when a postcard mentions Class 5 rapids, things are about to get bumpy!

    Wish You Were Here was a wonderful story of forgiveness and redemption – a reminder that we have to forgive others in order to be forgiven. Loved it!

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  • Posted May 22, 2012

    Wish You Were Here makes me wish I was THERE. It’s a del



    Wish You Were Here makes me wish I was THERE. It’s a delightful story in an extraordinary setting, complete with Llamas and a wonderfully kooky-yet-grounded best friend. Beth Vogt has created characters that truly feel like actual acquaintances of mine. I wish I COULD meet them. And my absolute FAVORITE character was the wedding dress. I won’t say too much about it, but that dress provided many laughs out loud.
    The author knows funny, she knows how to weaken the knees, and she shows us how to handle a seriously dark issue with tenderness and great sensitivity. How can this be her first novel? It couldn’t be better.

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  • Posted May 17, 2012

    Adorably Funny! My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. Disclaimers: I

    Adorably Funny!

    My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

    Disclaimers: I received this book from the publisher (Howard Books) in exchange for my honest opinion.

    My Overall Thought/Impressions: I thoroughly adored this novel. It was touching, hilarious, and just an overall cute read. This was Vogt's debut novel and I for one can't wait to see what this author comes up with next.

    I loved the characters Daniel and Allison from the very start. The very first time they talked together I just fell in love with both of them and how they acted around each other. Granted, that proved to be slightly problematic, because Daniel was the groom's brother and not the groom. I have only seen bits and pieces of the Runaway Bride, but this was a cute spin-off of that movie.

    Beth's writing allowed the story to flow smoothly. I can honestly say that it had me laughing in all the right places. Then she would spin around and make me feel moved almost effortlessly.

    The Christian elements of this story never seemed forced and weaved seamlessly into the story. The Christian elements were never preachy or shoved down your throat. I loved when authors can combine religion into a story this subtly.

    The plot, I've already mentioned this briefly, but I adored this plot. Normally, the idea of seeing somebody get jilted isn't something I smile about, but in this case I actually really liked the plot.

    Basically, this novel was a really cute read that I loved reading. I loved Vogt's style, her characters, and her ability to weave a story is definitely admirable.

    In Summary: An adorable read that was both cute and touching. A novel that I loved reading and one that I definitely recommend to anybody and everybody.

    Warnings/Side-notes: Nothing comes to mind.

    The Wrap-up: This was just an extremely cute read that I really enjoyed. However, it also had a depth to it that made me interested in seeing what happened next. An enjoyable read that I really liked and one that I will definitely be placing on my keeper shelf. I would definitely reread this one.

    Love,

    Danica Page

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  • Posted May 8, 2012

    Vogt's Debut Book A Great Read!

    Allison has everything a girl could want: a great job doing what she loves without punching a time clock, and in just a few days she’s marrying her perfect man in a big beautiful wedding in the perfect dress. Well, everyone else thinks it’s the perfect dress, Allison hates it. Then to make matters worse she ends up kissing the groom’s brother, Daniel, just five days before the wedding.

    This story gave me things to laugh at, to cry about, and to think on. The author did a great job of balancing the story to what real like can be like. Allison is a great character, in that she is like so many women who get swept with the current of expectations. Fortunately, Allison realizes before it is too late it’s time to jump ship and stand on her own two feet.

    The author touched on a couple of topics that I hadn’t see before, but sorry I won’t share those here, it would be better for you to experience them yourself. The author also kept me guessing how how things would end. I saw a couple of different directions she could have gone and wasn’t sure until the very end how the story would conclude. Which is really hard to do with romance so a definite bonus with this book.

    The author did a nice job with the spiritual aspect. She highlighted Allison’s life decisions very true to real life. As women, it is too easy to forget our first love, Christ, and put other things ahead of Him. However, the Christian message is not so heavy that it scare anyone off.

    For those of you who love romance, you should enjoy this one, if you’re not a big romance fan this book still has a lot to offer, with a fun and interesting storyline a great characters to love and to hate.


    Disclaimer: I would like to thank Howard Books for the opportunity to read and review this book. I was under no obligation other than to give my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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  • Posted May 5, 2012

    It's hard to put into words how much I loved this book. As a fan

    It's hard to put into words how much I loved this book. As a fan of contemporary romance, I knew I was in for a treat in Chapter One, but to call it a "treat" doesn't do the book justice. I loved the unique Colorado setting and the humor that had me smiling throughout. The romance was swoon-worthy, but it had a rich depth to it that went beyond surfacey attraction. Allison's own journey to personal freedom had so many layers, and I loved how the romantic storyline played a role in deepening her walk with God. Kudos to Beth Vogt for writing an absolute winner! I hope she has many more stories in her because I'll be lining up to read them. :)

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  • Posted May 4, 2012

    From the moment Runaway Bride Allison Denman escapes her oh-so-c

    From the moment Runaway Bride Allison Denman escapes her oh-so-carefully-planned life for a chance to live to the fullest, I couldn’t put this book down.

    The characters are people I’d like to know. And pets, who knew llamas could be so funny? Plus, the plot kept me guessing. With laugh-out-loud moments and ones that tugged my heartstrings, this debut novel by Beth Vogt is definitely one for my keeper shelf. This book is beautifully written, and I’ve already purchased additional copies to share with friends.

    Can kissing the wrong guy lead to happily ever after? You'll have to read Wish You Were Here to find out—but you'll be glad you did!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2012

    Finally a book that pulls you through to THE END

    It's been a long time since I've read a book that I've enjoyed so much. Beth Vogt grabbed me right away and transported me into a story I cared about with real people I wanted to call my friends. Beth understands her readers. Her hero is wonderfully flawed and heroic just like a hero should be. Her heroine has real problems and she deals with them in real ways. I loved the message of this book. Beth Vogt may be a new novelist, but she writes like a seasoned pro. This is one adventure you'll want to take. Go ahead, get the book. You need a good adventure.

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  • Posted May 1, 2012

    Classic Romantic Comedy

    Beth K. Vogt’s writing is so visual and immediate that I felt like I was watching a classic romantic comedy as I read Wish You Were Here.

    It’s easy to like heroine Allison Denman despite, or because of, her disastrous faux pas at the beginning of the novel. Engaged to the perfect man, Allison finds herself kissing his brother, Daniel, five days before the wedding! As her carefully planned life unravels, we catch glimpses of the secrets Allison hides as well as the longing for adventure she’s stifled.

    Daniel is all about adventure, but his on-the-go lifestyle as well as friction with his family has made romantic relationships difficult. Vogt does an incredible job of revealing tidbits of Daniel’s character through his postcards to Allison as well as their interactions. With his mismatched eyes, cargo pants and backpack, and easy-going attitude, Daniel practically hollers, “Come have fun with me.” Readers will be cheering Allison with “You go girl” by the end of this delightful novel.

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  • Posted May 1, 2012

    With realistic, quirky characters and plenty of obstacles, Wish

    With realistic, quirky characters and plenty of obstacles, Wish You Were Here is both tension-tight and romance-light, a faith-inspiring romance that both entertains and makes you think.

    The lives of Allison, Seth and Daniel intersect in a romantic triangle as each with their own conflicting desires and goals face the outcome of their misguided decisions. All three characters show us their inner struggles in a way that makes us root for each one in spite of their flaws—not easy for a novelist to do.

    The story raises some good questions. One point that stood out to me was how sometimes we can assume a tough challenge before us is automatically a challenge we are meant to face. Aunt Rita’s question to Allison: Is the hardest thing always the right thing? makes me think of times we doubt the validity of our fears or true feelings. Maybe we, like Allison, have assumed a hard path was the “right” path simply because it was a challenge.

    Another question this story asks: how long would you work to keep from rocking the boat before you have the guts to ask God if you’ve been in the wrong boat all along? What if the courage you’ve been mustering up to do the “right thing” isn’t courage at all, but fear of the unknown?

    Allison is an interesting character who has learned to control the manageable because deep down, she is afraid to take real control of her life and discover the destiny she was meant for. She shows us what might happen when we take control instead of seeking God’s plan for us and the strength he gives us to fulfill it.

    I love how this story encourages us to find out who we are meant to be, even if it means finding the courage to be honest with ourselves.

    Wish You Were Here is a lovely and provocative blend of humor, dilemma, and romance that will keep you reading through to a very rewarding ending.

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  • Posted May 1, 2012

    An innocent night of Chinese takeout ends with Allison kissing h

    An innocent night of Chinese takeout ends with Allison kissing her fiancé's brother just five days before her wedding, sending Allison's well planned, well controlled life spinning seemingly out of control.

    When I received my advanced copy of Beth Vogt's debut fiction novel, I was working on a to-do list as long as my arm, including college finals. With absolutely NO time for pleasure reading, I set the book aside. One night as I settled into bed, I saw the book on my nightstand and thought I'd read just a couple pages before switching off the light.

    Four hours later, I was half way through the book. I would've stayed up all night reading it if I could've kept my eyes open one more minute! The next day I couldn't study until I'd finished the book because the story was so compelling. My thoughts kept drifting to Allison, Daniel, and Seth.

    It's a wonderful twist on the old love triangle: a runaway bride, two brothers vying for the love of the same woman, and llamas. In my opinion, this is masterful storytelling. I went from laughing, to crying, to holding my breath, and then back to laughing. In addition, the author tackles some tough issues with tenderness and honesty, and reminds readers God really does have a plan for our lives.

    I highly recommend this novel--it's so good I risked failing a college final to finish it!!

    (Disclosure: I was given an advanced copy of this book by the publisher and asked to share my honest opinion with others. My review reflects my genuine personal opinion of this book.)

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