A White Wedding Christmas

A White Wedding Christmas

by Andrea Laurence

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373734290
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 12/01/2015
Series: Brides and Belles , #4
Edition description: Original
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Andrea Laurence is an award-winning contemporary author who has been a lover of books and writing stories since she learned to read. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she’s constantly trying to develop a taste for sweet tea and grits while caring for her collection of animals that includes a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody’s business. You can contact Andrea at her website: http://www.andrealaurence.com.

Read an Excerpt

Putting together a decent wedding in a month was nearly impossible, even with someone as capable as Natalie handling things. Certain things took time, like printing invitations, ordering wedding dresses, coordinating with vendors… Fortunately at From This Moment wedding chapel, she and her co-owners and friends handled most of the work.

"Thank you for squeezing this last wedding in," Natalie said as they sat around the conference room table at their Monday morning staff meeting. "I know you all would much rather be starting your holiday celebrations."

"It's fine," Bree Harper, the photographer, insisted. "Ian and I aren't leaving for Aspen until the following week."

"It gives me something to do until Julian can fly back from Hollywood," Gretchen McAlister added. "We're driving up to Louisville to spend the holidays with his family, and working another wedding will keep me from worrying about the trip."

"You've already met his family, Gretchen. Why are you nervous?"

"Because this time I'm his fiancée," Gretchen said, looking down in amazement at the ring he'd just given to her last week.

Natalie tried not to notice that all of her formerly single friends were now paired off. Gretchen and Bree were engaged. Amelia was married and pregnant. At one time, they had all been able to commiserate about their singleness, but now, it was just Natalie who went home alone each night. And she was okay with that. She anticipated a lifetime of going home alone. It's just that the status quo had changed so quickly for them all. The past year had been a whirlwind of romance for the ladies at From This Moment.

Despite the fact that she was a wedding planner, Natalie didn't actually believe in any of that stuff. She got into the industry with her friends because they'd asked her to, for one thing. For the other, it was an amazingly lucrative business. Despite the dismal marriage statistics, people seemed happy to take the leap, shelling out thousands of dollars, only to shell out more to their divorce attorneys at some point down the road.

As far as Natalie was concerned, every couple who walked through the door was doomed. The least she could do was give them a wedding to remember. She'd do her best to orchestrate a perfect day they could look back on. It was all downhill from there, anyway.

"I'll have the digital invitations ready by tomorrow.

Do you have the list of email addresses for me to send them out?" Gretchen asked.

Natalie snapped out of her thoughts and looked down at her tablet. "Yes, I have the list here." Normally, e-invites were out of the question for a formal wedding, but there just wasn't time to get paper ones designed, printed, addressed, mailed and gather RSVPs in a month's time.

"We're doing a winter wonderland theme, you said?" Amelia asked.

"That's what Lily mentioned. She was pretty vague about the whole thing. I've got an appointment with them on the calendar for this afternoon, so we'll start firming everything up then. Bree, you're doing engagement photos on Friday morning, right?"

"Yep," Bree said. "They wanted to take their shots at the groom's motorcycle shop downtown."

Natalie had known Lily a long time, but her choice in a future husband was a surprise even to her. Frankie owned a custom motorcycle shop. He was a flannel-wearing, bushy-bearded, tattooed hipster who looked more like a biker raised by lumberjacks than a successful businessman. Definitely not who Natalie would have picked for her best friend, and she was pretty sure he was not who Colin would've picked for Lily, either.

He seemed like a nice guy, though, and even Natalie could see that under the tattoos and hair, the guy was completely hormone pair-bonded to Lily. She wouldn't say they were in love because she didn't believe in love. But they were definitely pair-bonded. Biology was a powerful thing in its drive to continue the species. They could hardly keep their hands off each other at the engagement party.

"Okay. If that's all for this morning," Bree said, "I'm going to head to the lab and finish processing Saturday's wedding photos."

Natalie looked over her checklist. "Yep, that's it."

Bree and Amelia got up, filing out of the conference room, but Gretchen loitered by the table. She watched Natalie for a moment with a curious expression on her face. "What's going on with you? You seem distracted. Grumpier than usual."

That was sweet of her to point out. She knew she wasn't that pleasant this time of year, but she didn't need her friends reminding her of it. "Nothing is going on with me."

Gretchen crossed her arms over her chest and gave Natalie a look that told her she was going to stand there until she spilled.

"Christmas is coming." That pretty much said it all.

"What is this, Game of Thrones? Of course Christmas is coming. It's almost December, honey, and it's one of the more predictable holidays."

Natalie set down her tablet and frowned. Each year, the holidays were a challenge for her. Normally, she would try going on a trip to avoid all of it, but with the late wedding, she didn't have time. Staying home meant she'd have to resort to being a shut-in. She certainly wasn't interested in spending it with one of her parents and their latest spouses. The last time she did that, she'd called her mother's third husband by her second husband's name and that made for an awkward evening.

Natalie leaned back in the conference room chair and sighed. "It's bothering me more than usual this year." And it was. She didn't know why, but it was. Maybe it was the combination of all her friends being blissfully in love colliding with the holidays that was making it doubly painful.

"Are you taking a trip or staying home?" Gretchen asked.

"I'm staying home. I was considering a trip to Buenos Aires, but I don't have time. We squeezed Lily's last-minute wedding in on the Saturday before Christmas, so I'll be involved in that and not able to do the normal end-of-year paperwork until it's over."

"You're not planning to work over the shutdown, are you?" Gretchen planted her hands on her hips. "You don't have to celebrate, but by damn, you've got to take the time off, Natalie. You work seven days a week sometimes."

Natalie dismissed her concerns. Working didn't bother her as much as being idle. She didn't have a family to go home to each night or piles of laundry or housework that a man or child generated faster than she could clean. She liked her job. "I don't work the late hours you and Amelia do. I'm never here until midnight."

"It doesn't matter. You're still putting in too much time. You need to get away from all of this. Maybe go to a tropical island and have a fling with a sexy stranger."

At that, Natalie snorted. "I'm sorry, but a man is not the answer to my problems. That actually makes it worse."

"I'm not saying fall in love and marry the guy. I'm just saying to keep him locked in your hotel suite until the last New Year's firework explodes. What can a night or two of hot sex hurt?"

Natalie looked up at Gretchen and realized what was really bothering her. Colin's rejection from the night of the engagement party still stung. She hadn't told anyone about it, but if she didn't give Gretchen a good reason now, she'd ride her about it until the New Year. "It can hurt plenty when the guy you throw yourself at is your best friend's brother and he turns you down flat."

Gretchen's mouth dropped open and she sunk back down into her seat. "What? When did this happen?"

Natalie took a big sip of her soy chai latte before she answered. "I had too much chardonnay at Lily's engagement party and thought I'd take a chance on the big brother I'd lusted over since I'd hit puberty. To put it nicely, he declined. End of story. So no, I'm not really in the mood for a fling, either."

"Well that sucks," Gretchen noted.

"That's one way of putting it."

"On the plus side, you won't really have to see him again until the wedding day, right? Then you'll be too busy to care."

"Yep. I'll make sure I look extra good that day so he'll see what he missed."

"That's my girl. I'm going to go get these email invitations out."

Natalie nodded and watched Gretchen leave the room. She picked up her tablet and her drink, following her out the door to her office. Settling in at her desk, she pulled out a new file folder and wrote Russell-Watson Wedding on the tab. She needed to get everything prepared for their preliminary meeting this afternoon.

Staying busy would keep Christmas, and Colin, off her mind.

Colin pulled into the parking lot at From This Moment, his gaze instantly scanning over the lackluster shrubs out front. He knew it was winter, but they could certainly use a little more pizzazz for curb appeal.

He parked and went inside the facility. Stepping through the front doors, he knew instantly why Lily had insisted on marrying here. Their box holly hedges might have left something to be desired, but their focus was clearly on the interior. The inside was stunning with high ceilings, crystal chandeliers, tall fresh flower arrangements on the entryway table and arched entry-ways leading to various wings of the building. Mom would've loved it.

He looked down at his watch. It was a minute to one, so he was right on time for the appointment. Colin felt a little silly coming here today. Weddings weren't exactly his forte, but he was stepping up in his parents' place. When he'd married a year and a half ago, it had been a quick courthouse affair. If they'd opted for something more glamorous, he would've let Pam take the lead. Pam wasn't interested in that, though, and apparently, neither was his sister, Lily.

If she'd had her way, she and Frankie would've gone down to the courthouse, too. There was no reason to rush the nuptials, like Colin and Pam, but Lily just wanted to be done. She loved Frankie and she wanted to be Mrs. Watson as soon as possible. Colin had had to twist her arm into having an actual wedding, reminding her that their mother would be rolling over in her grave if she knew what Lily was planning.

She'd finally agreed under two circumstances: one, that the wedding be at Natalie's facility. Two, that he handle all the details. He insisted on the wedding, he'd offered to pay for it; he could make all the decisions.

Lily intended to show up in a white dress on the big day and that was about it.

Colin wasn't certain how he'd managed to be around so many women who weren't interested in big weddings. Pam hadn't wanted to marry at all. Hell, if it hadn't been for the baby and his insistence, she wouldn't have accepted the proposal. In retrospect, he realized why she was so hesitant, but with Lily, it just seemed to be a general disinterest in tradition.

He didn't understand it. Their parents had been very traditional people. Old-fashioned, you might even say. When they died in a car accident, Colin had tried to keep the traditions alive for Lily's sake. He'd never imagined he would end up raising his younger sister when he was only nineteen, but he was determined to do a good job and not disappoint his parents' memory.

Lily was just not that concerned. To her, the past was the past and she wasn't going to get hung up on things like that. Formal weddings fell into the bucket of silly traditions that didn't matter much to her. But it mattered to him, so she'd relented.

Colin heard a door open down one of the hallways and a moment later he found himself once again face-to-face with Natalie Sharpe. She stopped short in the archway of the foyer, clutching a tablet to her gray silk blouse. Even as a teenager, she'd had a classic beauty about her. Her creamy skin and high cheekbones had drawn his attention even when she was sporting braces. He'd suppressed any attraction he might have had for his little sister's friend, but he'd always thought she would grow up into a beautiful woman. At the party, his suspicions had been confirmed. And better yet, she'd looked at him with a seductive smile and an openness he hadn't expected. They weren't kids anymore, but there were other complications that had made it impossible to take her up on her offer, as much as he regretted it.

Today, the look on her face was a far cry from that night. Her pink lips were parted in concern, a frown lining her brow. Then she took a breath and shook it off. She tried to hide her emotions under a mask of professionalism, but he could tell she wasn't pleased to see him.

"Colin? I wasn't expecting to see you today. Is something going on with Lily?"

"Lots of things are going on with Lily," he replied, "but not what you're implying. She's fine. She's just not interested in the details."

Natalie swung her dark ponytail over her shoulder, her nose wrinkling. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, she told me this is my show and I'm to plan it however I see fit. So here I am," he added, holding out his arms.

He watched Natalie try to process the news. Apparently Lily hadn't given her a heads-up, but why would she? He doubted Lily knew about their encounter at the engagement party. She wasn't the kind of girl to give much thought to how her choices would affect other people.

"I know this is an unusual arrangement, but Lily is an unusual woman, as you know."

That seemed to snap Natalie out of her fog. She nodded curtly and extended her arm. "Of course. Come this way to my office and we can discuss the details."

Colin followed behind her, appreciating the snug fit of her pants over the curve of her hips and rear. She was wearing a pair of low heels that gave just enough lift to flatter her figure. It was a shame she walked in such a stiff, robotic way. He wouldn't mind seeing those hips sway a little bit, but he knew Natalie was too uptight for that. She'd always been a sharp contrast to his free-spirited sister—no-nonsense, practical, serious. She walked like she was marching into battle, even if it was a simple trip down the hallway.

After their encounter at the engagement party, he'd started to wonder if there was a more relaxed, sensual side to her that he hadn't had the pleasure of knowing about. He could only imagine what she could be like if she took down that tight ponytail, had a glass of wine and relaxed for once.

He got the feeling he would know all about that if he'd accepted her offer at the party. Unfortunately, his rocky on-again, off-again relationship with Rachel had been on that night. As much as he might have wanted to spend private time with Natalie, he couldn't. Colin was not the kind of man who cheated, even on a rocky relationship. Especially after what had happened with Pam.

After realizing how much more he was attracted to Natalie than the woman he was dating, he'd broken it off with Rachel for good. He was hopeful that now that he was a free man, he might get a second chance with Natalie. So far the reception was cold, but he hoped she'd thaw to his charms in time.

He followed her into her office and took a seat in the guest chair. Her office was pleasantly decorated, but extremely tidy and organized. He could tell every knickknack had its place, every file had a home.

"Can I get you something to drink? We have bottled water, some sparkling juices and ginger ale."

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A White Wedding Christmas 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
MELHUTCHINSON More than 1 year ago
This book should so be made into a Hallmark movie. I love this story!! So sweet and I love winter weddings so it made me even that much more excited about the wedding that happened in the story! Natalie has her own wedding planning shop that is all inclusive and has pretty much made it one of the best around. She and her team work together to offer a wedding that can not be matched and they even have their own chapel that they have the weddings in. Even though Natalie is always planning someone else's wedding, she is not so sure that she will ever find Mr. Right and settle down herself. When Natalie and her team is asked by her longtime best friend if they will make an exception for her and plan one more wedding before they all go on Christmas vacation, the whole team decides that yes, they can do that. Natalie is excited that her friend is coming to her venue to have the wedding but with only a month to pick everything out and get it all in order for the big day, she knows that it is going to get hectic. When her best friend's brother is at the engagement party, Natalie decides to take her chances on a long time crush on him and ask him if he would like to go out with her afterwards. He declines her only for reasons Natalie will not know for awhile. When it is time to start picking things our for the wedding and planning it all, Colin, her best friends brother and her long time crush, is the one to show up and assist with the process. Colin said that his sister is not fond of a big wedding but he wants to do right by his deceased parents and give her a wedding that would make them proud. Natalie is caught off guard by this and is trying to act like Colin's refusal to go out with her after the engagement party is no big deal. Little does Natalie know that Colin is all about taking her up on the offer now. When Colin asks Natalie to help him go through his parent's old house, the house where Natalie has so many memories of spending time with Colin and his sister, so that he can give it to his sister as a wedding gift, things begin to take a drastic turn for Colin and Natalie. Sparks fly and romances ignite all too easily. Will Colin and Natalie be able to focus long enough to get the wedding planned and over with? Andrea Laurence has a way to draw you into her stories and make you want to know how it is all going to end without stopping in the story at all! I read this one in one sitting because I could not put it down. It was super good. You will not regret reading this one for sure. Thanks for a great read!
judyrudy More than 1 year ago
A White Wedding Christmas is Andrea Laurence’s fourth book in her Brides and Belles series. I’ve read each book in the series and loved all of them. This is a standalone book, but I recommend reading the other books in the series just to understand some of the backstory—and also because they are all such wonderful stories. Natalie Sharpe is a wedding planner whose life focuses around her business. Colin Russell is her best friend’s brother and has been tasked with arranging his sister’s wedding. He’s always dreamed of giving her the perfect wedding after the death of their parents but his sister could care less. So Colin enlists Natalie’s help. They plan everything from the venue to the flowers, the reception and lastly the dress. The wedding planning draws these two friends closer to one another. And when the bride doesn’t show up at the wedding, what happens will certainly surprise the reader. A White Wedding Christmas is heartwarming story. It was a fast paced read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was sad to see the series come to an end. Maybe Ms. Laurence can figure out a way to add another book to the series…It was that good!
MaryL2 More than 1 year ago
A White Wedding Christmas By Andrea Laurence Can a cynic change her beliefs? Natalie is a cynic about marriage so her job as a wedding planner shocks Colin. Her non-Christmas spirit offers up a challenge to him to not only bring Christmas back to Natalie, but break through her cynical heart to the sweet girl he knew. Even though Colon has suffered a loss, he wants a family and a HEA while Natalie doesn't believe in a HAE because of all the marriage failures she has seen and been a part of. Colin bets that he can give back Christmas to Natalie while she bets he can't! Colin is always up for a challenge so let the games begin! Andrea has created a story with characters that pulls at your heart strings while you are rooting for a HEA.
caitlinallycesmum More than 1 year ago
I received and ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I have loved all the Brides and Belles books so far and was looking forward to Natalie's story and it did not disappoint. Natalie Sharpe loves to help arrange weddings, as she is a co owner of From This Moment wedding facility but she does not believe in love. All her friends have recently found their H.E.A.'s and she is surrounded by friends in love. Natalie also Hates Christmas and tries to go away at this time of year to escape it all- except this year her childhood friend Lily is getting married and wants it at her facility so Natalie asks her partners do they mind doing this wedding as a favour to her and they say yes. This is where the fun begins. Natalie always had a crush on Lily's brother Colin when they were younger so she is dreading seeing him again at the wedding but on the day of the meeting with Lily to arrange some of the details about her wedding she is anxiously waiting to see her friend when in walks Colin and no Lily and she is instantly blown away by the attraction she still feels towards him. He then explains that he is the one arranging Lily's wedding and Natalie realizes that she will have to deal with him a lot over the following weeks. Colin is out of his depth trying to arrange his sisters wedding, she would just like to go off and do it quietly but he wants her to have a special wedding day- so Lily tells him - YOU HAVE TO ARRANGE IT. This throws him and the lovely Natalie together. Colin is attracted to Natalie but he is not sure how she will react to him after an incident that happened in the past, he just hopes she will forgive him. Natalie and Colin fight their attraction and decide that they will be friends only, Colin does not understand why Natalie does not like Christmas and makes a bet with her that he can get her Christmas spirit back. This is when their friendship develops into more as Colin gives it is all to win the bet. This is a beautiful and heart wrenching story about family, divorce, friendships, trust, and of course love. The whole story flows from one part to the next and the ending is absolutely perfect. I give it a definite 5 stars and just wish there was more in this series but even though there is not I know that Andrea will have another great series coming for us soon and I can not wait. Congrats.
LynnB888 More than 1 year ago
My return to the From This Moment wedding company was even more enjoyable than last time! I've been a fan of all of the ladies and the men that they find in this Brides and Belles series, but I think Natalie ended up being my favorite. She's such a hard-ass, control freak ... but when you hear her background, you understand why and you just want to hug her. I am so happy that she ran into Colin again after all these years ... it's a must read, so what are you waiting for? Natalie Sharpe, co-owner in From This Moment, plans weddings for a living, but she's the biggest cynic around when it comes to love and marriage. She doesn't do love, and she never plans to say I Do! Colin Russell is the brother of Natalie's childhood best friend, Lily. When Lily gets engaged and wants a quick wedding, Natalie gets her fellow owners to agree to help her pull one together for her during their off-time before Christmas. While working together to make Lily's special day, Natalie & Colin find themselves unable to resist the temptation they feel around each other and agree to a temporary fling. Will Colin be able to convince Natalie that happily ever after doesn't just have to exist in fairy tales? ** Received free in exchange for an honest review **
MADreaderMD More than 1 year ago
Natalie has had a crush on Colin, her best friend's brother, since she was a teenager. Even after losing touch with the family for about 10 years, her attraction to Colin hasn't changed. Now he's paying for his sister's wedding, and since she has no interest in planning it, Colin and Natalie have to work closely to plan the perfect winter wedding. This is not exactly a fun and light-hearted story. Although Natalie is one of the co-owners of a wedding planning business, she doesn't believe in marriage or love. Due to the horrible break-up of her parents when she was young, Natalie doesn't believe that any relationship can last past the lust stage. She also doesn't celebrate anything to do with Christmas. It just reminds her of the crappy Christmases after the break-up of her parents. Colin is attracted to Natalie, but he is just coming out of a painfully short marriage and divorce. He doesn't want to get hurt again, but unlike Natalie, he's willing to risk it, if it will lead to real love. As a way to break the ice with Natalie, he bets her that he can get her to like Christmas again. If he wins, he gets one kiss, and he's going to make it count! There are a lot of fun moments as they prepare for the wedding. And Colin certainly pulls out all the stops for his Christmas campaign. It's also a nice tour of Nashville, as the couple visit some well-known sights along the way.
Love_Books50 More than 1 year ago
The last installment in the Brides & Belle's series is another winner for Andrea. When Colin bets Natalie that he can bring back the Christmas spirit for her she takes his bet with confidence that she will win. Little did she know it would be her heart he wins. Natalie story was the perfect ending for this series. Be sure you read Bree, Amelia and Gretchen's stories too.