With love in their hearts and crafting the perfect wedding on their minds, the possibilities are endless for the ladies of Lynette Austin's new Magnolia Brides series.
SOME DREAMS ARE WORTH WHATEVER IT TAKES
Jenni Beth Beaumont left her broken heart behind when she took her dream job in Savannah. But after her brother's death, Jenni Beth returns home to help mend her parents' hearts as well as restore their beautiful but crumbling antebellum mansion. New dreams take shape as Jenni Beth sets to work replacing floors and fixing pipes to convert the family homestead into the perfect wedding destination. However, some folks in their small Southern town are determined to see her fail.
Cole Bryson was once the love of Jenni Beth's life, but the charming architectural salvager has plans of his own for the Beaumont family home. As the two butt heads,
old turmoil is brought to the surface and Cole and Jenni Beth will have to work through some painful memories and tough realities before they can set their pasts aside and have a second chance at their own happily ever after.
Praise for the Maverick Junction series:
"Can't Stop Lovin' You is an extraordinarily well-written story filled with just the right amount of angst to keep you interested from beginning to end. Austin creates a lovely town with intriguing characters who will win your heart. Austin's lively, witty and engaging dialog rounds out a well-constructed book." -Fresh Fiction
"Can't Stop Lovin' You is another sweet contemporary romance in the beautifully written 'Maverick Junction' series." -Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick
"A perfect example of small-town Texas, filled with a wonderful group of characters... Readers will want to visit Maverick Junction again and again." -RT Book Reviews, 4 stars
About the Author
LYNNETTE AUSTIN loves Starbucks, peppermint patties, and long rides with the top down and the music cranked up! She grew up in Pennsylvania, moved to New York, then to Wyoming, and presently divides her time between Florida's beaches and Georgia's mountains. She's been a finalist in Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Contest, PASIC's Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers' Maggie Contest. Having grown up in a small town, that's where her heart takes her-to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody...and all their business, for better or worse. Visit Lynnette at www.authorlynnetteaustin.com.
Read an Excerpt
"To have and to hold, from this day forward..." Jenni Beth Beaumont whispered the age-old vows.
Tiny white lights transformed Savannah's Chateau Rouge's gardens into a magical fairyland. The heavily beaded bridal gown shimmered in their reflected light.
Unfortunately, Jenni Beth was not wearing the gown.
But oh, how she wanted this. Not the wedding itself. No. She wanted to be the driving force behind making a bride's wedding day the most special of her life. Instead of organizing events here at Chateau Rouge, she wanted her own wedding planner business.
Tonight's bride fairly radiated. The groom, Jenni Beth's second cousin, looked so handsome in his dress uniform. He'd just last week come off a tour of duty in the Middle East.
Pain, instant and excruciating, washed over her, left her light-headed. Her brother Wes had been even more handsome in his dress uniform the day he'd graduated from Officer Candidate School, then again the day he'd deployed in his camos. The day she'd kissed him good-bye. The last time she'd seen him alive. Her throat constricted.
She exhaled, forced herself to shake it off. Not tonight. Tonight was a celebration of love. The beginning of a new family. Of dreams come true.
While the bride and groom funneled their guests through the receiving line, Jenni Beth bolted to a separate section of the garden to make sure the cake, the bubbly, and the band were in place. She did a last-minute check on table settings, place cards, candles-the list was never ending.
The music started, the bridal party wended their way to the area, and the celebration began.
As the evening wore on, Jenni Beth relaxed.
A familiar voice whispered in her ear. "Dance with me."
Cole Bryson. She hadn't seen his name on the guest list.
Shivers raced down her spine, and her heart stuttered. It had been too long, not long enough. "No."
She wouldn't turn around, wouldn't meet those mesmerizing eyes.
His hands settled on her bare arms, and she nearly jumped. As the work-roughened hands moved over her skin, her stomach started a little dance of its own.
"I'm working, Cole."
"Nothin' needs doin' right now. Sean and Sarah are deliriously happy, and everything's runnin' smoothly. Come on, sugar. You don't want to cause a scene."
Knowing she shouldn't, she turned to face him. Mistake. She had always found him irresistible, and that hadn't changed. He'd perfected that slow Southern drawl, had the sound of a true gentleman. But the twinkle in his eyes gave him away. Revealed the bad boy tucked not far below the surface.
Right now, dressed in a dark suit and tie, the man looked like every woman's dream. He appeared smooth and debonair, but beneath lay the wild.
He took her hand, and, God forgive her, she followed him, weak-kneed, onto the portable dance floor, telling herself she didn't want to, that she only did it to keep peace. Knowing she lied.
A full moon shone overhead and candlelight flickered. When he drew her into his arms and pulled her close, she sighed. One hand held hers, the other settled south of her waist.
"You smell good, Jenni Beth. You always do."
His voice, low and husky, sent goose bumps racing up and down her arms. Despite herself, she rested her head against his chest, seduced by the strong, steady beat of his heart, the illusion that he could make everything and anything all right.
One song drifted into another and she stayed in his arms, her mind drifting to what could have been. What should have been. She'd loved this man-or had it simply been a bad case of puppy love?
Whatever. She was over him.
And yet one glance at that face had her insides turning to jelly. She was deceiving herself. Sometimes, late at night, her thoughts still turned to him. The man was drop-dead handsome. All that gorgeous dark, wavy hair, those sexy hazel eyes, and that mouth-capable of making her lose her mind. Her survival instincts.
His feet? Well, they were made for walking, and she'd better darned well remember that.
Still, one night, a dance or two. What could it hurt?
"Your hair looks like molten gold in the moonlight, Jenni Beth." He brushed a hand over it. "Sure wish you'd let me loosen some of these pins and set it free."
Her own hand moved up to the chignon she'd arranged earlier that afternoon, bringing her back to reality. "Sorry, Cole. I'm working, and it's time for me to clock back in."
Before she could change her mind, she stepped out of his arms, felt the slight chill in the air.
She forced herself to stand still, to show no reaction while his eyes traveled the length of her, taking in the slim black sheath, the black pumps, and the understated jewelry. Her work uniform.
Despite herself, she ran her own mental inventory. At six foot, Cole's eight-inch advantage made her feel petite. And every bit of him was muscle. When he held her, she felt protected.
Until he walked away.
And tonight? She needed to be the one to do the walking. For oh, so many reasons.
This would be her last wedding at Chateau Rouge. Earlier today, she and her roommate had packed both her car and a tiny U-Haul to the gills, the day bittersweet. She'd miss Molly, her life here in the city.
She'd be risking everything. No choice. Her parents needed her. And this was her shot at her dream. The old go big or go home. She almost laughed. In her case, she had to go home to go big.
Or she'd go home to fall flat on her face.
Either way, by this time tomorrow, her time in Savannah would be history.
"Good-bye?" He grasped her hand as she took a step away.
"I still have a lot to do here tonight."
"How about later? I don't mind waitin'." He threw her one of those bad-boy looks, the one that made her want to fling herself at him. Made her want to beg for one more minute in his arms, one more kiss.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! She looked away, pretended to check on the wedding crowd.
"That's not a good idea. And after tonight?" Aiming for indifference, she shrugged. "I'm moving home tomorrow, Cole. Back to Magnolia House. So it's not likely we'll be running into each other. You'll be here in Savannah, I'll be in Misty Bottoms."
He frowned. "Thought you liked it here."
"But you're goin' home."
He leaned toward her.
Her breath caught, but when his lips brushed her forehead, feather light, she let herself relax. Too soon.
With a nearly imperceptible shift, his lips dropped to hers. She fought not to go under as the heat seared her. Battle lost, her hands moved to his shoulders, his hair, and she clung to him.
But sanity returned when his lips slid from hers to taste her neck.
He lifted his head, his whiskey-brown eyes heavy-lidded and passion-filled. Wavy brown hair, streaked by the sun, touched his jacket collar in the back.
He winked. "We might be seein' each other sooner than you think, sugar."
With those enigmatic words, he drifted away from the party, into the darkness.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There is a new star on the horizon - Lynnette Austin. This is one of the most satisfying and delightful books I've read this year. It's bursting with interesting and wonderful characters and takes place in a little town we can only dream of being in. Our hero, Cole Bryson, is so easy to fall in love with and the tension level throughout to reach that happy ending is just right. It's a great story. Don't miss this special book by a special author. Shame on the Barnes & Noble store for only having one copy on the shelf.
Jenni Beth left Savannah to start her own business in her ancestral home, which would get some much needed restoration. Jenni Beth's brother had died while serving his brother and she had a history with one of his best friends, Cole. Cole offered to help on restoration. I liked this story. I loved the characters and plot. Jenni Beth was tenacious in hanging on to her dream. That was not the only thing she found. I recommend this book. **I received an ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review
The Best Laid Wedding Plans by Lynette Austin is the 1st book in her new Magnolia Brides series. This was a fun and very nice small town romance, though a bit long. Jenni Beth Beaumont gives up the job she loves as a wedding planner in Savannah to return home to be with her parents, who have not recovered from the death of her brother. Jenni Beth plans to fix up their home, and turn it into a wedding planning business. Her family’s financial situation, due to bad loans, forces her to ask for a loan to rebuild the house and start the business. The town is slowly falling apart, and Jenni Beth plans could be just the right thing to bring things back to the way they were. Cole Bryson was Jenni Beth’s late brother’s best friend, whom she also had a crush as a teenager. Cole has sworn to protect Jenni Beth, though she wants nothing to do with him, especially after he stood her up at the prom years before. Cole enjoys his life, with his choice of many women, but he finds himself becoming deeply invested into Jenni Beth’s life. It is Cole who will accidently discover that the banker offering the loan to Jenni Beth has plans of his own, which will hurt Jenni Beth and her family. Cole is determined to find out more about the land, and protect her. I do enjoy these small town and family oriented romances, and it was nice to see old friends of both Jenni Beth and Cole come and help. I also enjoyed how Jenni Beth worked on helping her parents get back on their feet, and become active again. Nice touch. The story also becomes a mystery as to who is behind the sabotage as Jenni Beth plans her first small wedding. She races against time with Cole and other friends helping to fix the things destroyed in time for the wedding. But most of all this story is a sweet romance between Jenni Beth and Cole, which is slow to build. Jenni Beth finds herself falling for Cole again, but she cannot allow herself to trust him, and get hurt again. Cole doesn’t want to become serious, but he finds himself thinking about Jenni Beth all the time. Will they be able to open their heart to love each other? The Best Laid Wedding Plans was a very nice story, with a little of everything….romance, family, friendship, small town, sorrow and mystery. I enjoyed this book, but did feel it could have been a bit shorter. Overall, this really was a fun read.
Cole and Jenni Beth start off a bit rocky due to their past, but their relationship developed as they worked together on renovating her house and starting her business. I enjoyed this sweet southern romance, good start to a new series. I'm really looking forward to the next book, I'm really hoping it features their friend Beck! I received an ARC via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, all conclusions are my own.
It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book. But, once it got rolling I was HOOKED. It's been a year and a half after Jenni Beth's brothers death. And back home she feels her entire world is falling apart. Her parents are but shells of themselves, the families ancestral home is disintegrating around them and the families finances are non-existing. The only way she figures to fix this is to go back home, fix the family home and run a business from it. One big speed bump though, is Cole Bryson, whom she shares an unpleasant past with and whom she keeps tripping over. Will her business pan out? Can she and Cole manage not to kill one another? Only one way to find out. Read it and find out. I received this copy of The Best Laid Wedding Plans by Lynette Austin from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first book by Lynette Austin that I have read and I am so glad that I did! It is sweet and funny, there's a little mystery and a lot of love. Jenni Beth is a true Southern Lady but don't let that fool you. If you mess with her she's not afraid to put you in your place. She's a strong minded, hard working woman that knows exactly what she wants and will do anything to get it. She is still mourning the loss of her brother and only time will tell if she will be able to fully heal and reconnect the pieces of her family. Then there's Cole... Cole is handsome and full of Southern charm. If you don't fall for his charm and being called "sugar", you will once you get to know him. There is a little fire and ice between the two but it's a wonderful combination! Jenni Beth has to over come a lot of hurdles in order to make her dream come true and if it works out in the end it will be so worth it! I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. I will definitely keep an eye out for the others to follow in the series.
he Best Laid Wedding Plans is a charming romance set in Georgia. Jenni Beth, is a successful wedding planner in Savannah, unfortunately her brother was killed in combat overseas, and her family has not recovered from his loss. She decides to save the family plantation by turning it into a destination spot for weddings. She is helped by Cole, her late brother's best friend, who works as a salvage picker and runs a antique store in Savannah. Jenni Beth makes a deal with the devil to finance her dream and while the majority of the town supports her new venture, some is sabotaging her renovations. Can she and Cole find the saboteur and get a happily ever after? This book was like a glass of sweet tea, because it was a refreshing, fun romance set in the south. I like both Jenni Beth and Cole, the small town setting, and well developed plot. I look forward to reading the rest of the series and would recommend this book to fans of small town romances.
Jenni Beth Beaumont has decided to leave behind her successful party planning job in Savannah to return home to help her parents recover from the devastating loss of her brother and also keep them in their beloved home. Their home has been passed down for generations, and after some risky investments her parents are on the brink of losing their family home, and Jenni Beth is not willing to let that happen, so she devises a plan to keep her parents in their home, and also put their tiny little town back on the map. She has always wanted to be a wedding planner, and now provided everything goes according to plan she will finally be able to achieve that dream. What she never expected to find when she returned home though was a certain smooth talking southern charmer who broke her heart... Cole Bryson has always felt guilty about making a move on his best friends little sister, and breaking her heart. He never meant for things to happen between them, but every time he is near her he just can't help him self, she draws him in, and he completely loses all rational thought. And now that she is back in town, he feels as though it is his duty to look out for her, like he promised her brother that he would, but she isn't really having it, and she wants nothing to do with him. But no matter how hard he tries he just cant stay away... This was my first time reading a book by this author and I have to say it made a good first impression, so much so, I plan to make a return visit to this series and see what she has in store for all these wonderful characters. I love a good second chance love story, and this one DEFINITELY hit the mark!! If you like second chance love stories with a southern twist...this is the perfect read for you!! ARC requested through NetGalley, and kindly provided by Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for a honest review
The Best Laid Wedding Plans by Lynnette Austin, is a fun but very lengthy novel. I never get tired of reading books about weddings, brides, and the minutiae that accompanies all the festivities. This is the first book in the Magnolia Brides series and it can be enjoyed as a standalone. This story is about Jenni Beth Beaumont, a wannabe wedding planner with a lot of spunk and determination. After years of working for an upscale banquet facility in Savannah Georgia, Jenni Beth decides to move back to her childhood home in Misty Bottoms, a small town about an hour outside of the city. Jenni has big plans for Magnolia House, the historical home in which she grew up in. She wants to convert it into a classy wedding venue. Unfortunately, Magnolia House is in great disrepair and Jenni Beth needs an infusion of cash in order to make it into a viable business. Luckily, she is able to get a bank loan and rally her friends together to make her dream a reality. An added bonus is the possibility of getting her grief stricken parents involved in something new and exciting. After losing their son Wes in the military, they have been unable to fully cope in the present. Not only was Cole Bryson Wes's best friend, he broke Jenni Beth's heart back in high school. As adults, they shared one amazing night together, but nothing ever happened after that. Now Cole is back in her life helping her resurrect Magnolia House. Cole's success as an architectural salvager and his business acumen, help Jenni Beth immensely. Overtime, they work through their past, grieve for Wes and forge a future together. I liked this slightly emotional book and the mystery Ms. Austin weaved throughout the story-line. I can't say that I was surprised, however, I enjoyed the way the clues unfolded and subsequently concluded. I found Jenni Beth to be a little whiny at times, but her goodness and ability to put everyone's needs ahead of her own was quite refreshing. Cole's character lacked depth, but his love for Jenni Beth and her family came through with flying colors. Overall, this is a solid read and I look forward to Ms. Austin's next book. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.