USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne is the “queen of witty dialogue and sexy scenes” (Rachel Van Dyken)! Now, Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true…but their own.
Discovering her fiancé is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.
Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya's fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?
About the Author
Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than two dozen romantic comedies. Her books have sold over a million copies, in nine languages. Lauren's work has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
To Have and to Hold
HOLD ON. BACK UP. Back all the way up. What do you mean you’re getting married?”
It was eleven p.m. on a Wednesday, and Seth Tyler was exactly where he always was these days: behind his expansive mahogany desk at the Tyler Hotel Group, suit jacket slung over the back of his ergonomic chair, tie begging to be undone, impeccably pressed white shirt cuffed at the wrists.
He raked a hand through his thick light brown hair in frustration and fixed his younger sister with his best no-nonsense glare, an approximation—like everything else he seemed to do lately—of his deceased father.
When Seth’s father dropped dead of a heart attack eight months ago, Seth had thought the hardest part about his father’s passing—other than the mourning, of course—would be taking over the family company.
Sure, Seth had been groomed for the role. He’d wanted the president and CEO title. He’d always wanted it.
But not yet, for God’s sake.
Seth had no problem admitting that he was a perfectionist, and he’d been bound and determined to take over the family company his way. The right way.
And the right way, as Seth had determined it, was spending at least a year shadowing each of the senior-level Tyler Hotel Group executives. Seth had wanted to learn every possible detail, every in and out of the business, before even thinking about taking over the reins of the Fortune 500 company.
But his father’s heart had had other plans. Mainly, up and quitting during a routine round of golf. And so, quietly, per his father’s wishes, Seth had become CEO two years ahead of schedule.
Not a day passed that Seth didn’t wish his father were still with him, but in truth, taking his place at the head of the boardroom table had been easier than Seth had anticipated. The investors hadn’t freaked out. The executive team hadn’t left in mass exodus. Even Hank’s longtime assistant, Etta, had stuck around, seemingly content to call Seth boss even as she busted his balls about not eating enough vegetables, getting enough sleep, or getting his hair cut.
But if taking over the family company was easier than Seth had expected, there was one ramification of Hank Tyler’s death that Seth hadn’t been in the least prepared for:
Maya Tyler inhaled a long, patient breath, as though preparing to deal with a difficult child. “Well see, marriage, Seth, is when two people fall in love and decide to spend the rest of their lives—”
“Yes, I’m aware of how marriage works,” Seth interrupted. Although, not as aware as he’d like, as it turned out. He wouldn’t be getting any firsthand knowledge of how marriage worked anytime soon.
Maya bit her lip. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to remind you of Nadia.”
Seth glanced down at his desk to avoid his sister’s too-perceptive gaze. She wasn’t wrong. He’d gotten to the point where he could go most days without thinking of his ex, but he hadn’t yet figured out how to think about marriage without hearing the incredulous laugh she’d let out when he’d gone on one knee and showed Nadia the ring he’d spent months picking out.
“Can we not?” he said curtly.
“Don’t get pissed. It’s a wedding. You’re supposed to be happy.”
“I’m not pissed; I’m just surprised.”
That was an understatement. Seth had not seen this coming, and for a man who exercised precision in all things, he couldn’t say he was enjoying the shock value of Maya’s announcement. Especially not on the heels of his father’s death. A death that everyone but Seth had seen coming, because Seth had been the lone outsider on the knowledge that was his father’s longtime heart condition.
Apparently, Hank had considered his only son a control freak—had known that Seth would have stopped at nothing to try to halt death in its tracks.
His father had been, well, right. It was hard to admit, but if Seth had known about his father’s condition, he’d have devoted every waking hour to researching experimental treatments and the best doctors.
Hank Tyler hadn’t wanted that for his final months. Not for himself or for Seth.
Still, Seth resented not having the choice. Resented his father nearly as much as he missed him.
But he’d put that behind him. Mostly.
Hank was gone, and Maya was still here. Maya was all he had.
He had known she was dating a new guy—Neil something or other. But Seth hadn’t thought a thing about it. Maya had whipped through a constant string of casual boyfriends since high school, and other than a two-year relationship in college, they had never been serious.
And it certainly hadn’t gotten close to marriage.
What’s worse, Seth hadn’t even met this man that was apparently to be his brother-in-law.
But none of this would have mattered, not really, if Seth’s instincts hadn’t been buzzing that something was amiss with the way this was all going down. Something was off. He knew it down to his gut.
“How long have you been seeing this guy?” he asked.
Maya slumped back in the plush chair facing Seth’s desk with a groan. “Don’t do this. I knew you were going to do this.”
He frowned. “Do what?”
“The big brother thing,” she said.
“Hard not to, what with me being six years older and all,” Seth said.
He didn’t add that he was doubly obligated to be protective given Hank’s death just months earlier. Maya had definitely been Daddy’s Little Princess. She still got tears in her eyes every time their father’s name was mentioned.
Maya leaned forward, her pale blue eyes much like his own, although her blond hair was lighter than his, thanks to her frequent trips to the salon.
“I love him, Seth. I know you’re jaded these days, but Neil is exactly the type of guy we women spend our entire lives dreaming about.”
Seth bit his tongue to stop from saying that he bet Maya was exactly the type of girl that guys like Neil dreamed about, too. Young, pretty . . . and filthy rich.
Or so Neil likely thought.
The truth was, most of Maya’s money was tied up in a monthly allowance. It had been that way when Hank Tyler had been alive, and Seth’s father had stipulated that it remain that way after his death.
Technically, Maya supported herself on the salary from the fancy art gallery where she worked part-time. But judging from the half dozen shopping bags strewn about his office right now, it was safe to say not a penny of that monthly check from their father’s estate was going into savings.
Maya wasn’t frivolous—she had a good head on her shoulders, gave plenty of time and money to charity—but she also liked pretty things and fancy dinners.
As a result, she tended to attract men who also liked pretty things and fancy dinners. Seth was willing to bet the new guy was no different.
It was on the tip of his tongue to beg her to reconsider—to date the guy for at least a year before taking the plunge. But then, time wasn’t always the answer, was it? He’d dated Nadia for nearly three years, and look how that had turned out.
Seth sighed at the earnest, pleading look on his sister’s face. No wonder she’d had their father wrapped around her manicured finger. The girl was good. No, not a girl, he reminded himself. Much as he thought of Maya as his baby sister, she was twenty-six now.
Old enough for him to start respecting her decisions.
“Tell me about Neil,” he said begrudgingly.
Maya grinned and clapped her hands together, launching into something about a meet-cute at the art gallery. Damn it, he knew he should have pushed for her to land some desk job here at the hotel group, where he could keep an eye on her.
Seth pushed back from his desk, standing as she chattered away happily, and went to the large floor-to-ceiling windows that had an unobstructed view of the iconic lights of the Empire State Building.
He did some of his best thinking when away from his desk—which meant these days he was barely thinking at all. But when he separated from the office, that was when he was really able to focus: away from email and the phone and the endless to-do lists and memos from his assistant and . . .
“—he’s such a good guy, Seth. He brings me flowers every day, just because, you know? And sweet little gifts. And anytime I mention a new restaurant I want to try, Neil manages to get reservations, like, same day . . .”
And who pays for the dinner?
Seth kept his voice easy as he turned around to face Maya. “What does he do?”
Maya’s smile froze for just a moment before it brightened again. “He wants to start his own company—one that makes art more accessible to regular people. You know, like matching up-and-coming artists with new collectors. Eventually he wants to build a mobile app and everything. He’s in investment mode right now, but—”
Seth had no problem with start-ups. Or art. But a few of Maya’s word choices caused the alarm bells in Seth’s head to ratchet up another notch:
Neil wants to start his own company. He eventually wants to build a mobile app.
And the nail in Maya’s fiancé’s coffin—he was in investment mode.
In Seth’s experience, a man truly in investment mode of starting his own company didn’t have the extra resources to be sending a woman flowers every day. Or buying her little gifts. And certainly not taking her out to dinner on a regular basis at all the hottest new eateries.
Seth ran a finger along the inside of his shirt collar. It did nothing to ease the tension. He tugged at the knot of his tie, loosening it just enough to flick open the top button. Laid-back wasn’t something he did often. As a thirty-two-year-old CEO of one of the largest companies in North America, he had an image to uphold.
But it was nearly midnight, and the only person to see him was his sister.
A sister who was getting married.
“Seth, you have to know I hate coming to you with this kind of stuff,” Maya was saying now, her voice genuinely contrite. “I know this is all more than you wanted this soon. The responsibility of the company, plus all the logistics of Daddy’s estate. The responsibility of me . . .”
Seth rubbed at the back of his neck as he sat back down in his chair and faced his sister. “You’re an adult, Maya. It’s not like I’m having to attend parent-teacher conferences.”
“I know, and I’m taking care of myself, I am, it’s just—”
“It’s just that you want your big white wedding,” he said.
Maya grinned in relief. “I have been planning it forever.”
Seth smiled back. “You forget that I was there for some of those early planning stages. I’m still not sure I forgive you for making Tinkerbell the groom while I was relegated to usher.”
“Head usher. And it wasn’t your fault you didn’t look as cute in a bow tie as an overweight pug. Besides, I’m happy to give you a promotion to maid of honor for the real deal,” she teased.
“We both know that Tori would kill me if I took the top spot away from her,” Seth said, referring to Maya’s longtime best friend. “Plus, teal’s not my color.” Seth knew his sister loved anything that emphasized her blue eyes and could already see the aqua-themed cornucopia that would be her wedding. He got a headache just thinking about it.
“Oh, please. You can pull off just about any color you want,” Maya said. “I hate that you got Mom’s olive complexion while I got Dad’s pasty shade of pale.”
“Buttering me up before you drop the cost of this blessed event?”
Maya pulled her bottom lip between her teeth nervously before scooting toward the edge of her chair. “It’s just, well, I have some money of my own, of course, but then Neil pointed out that if Daddy were alive—”
Seth stiffened. Neil pointed out, did he? Seth was liking his sister’s husband-to-be less and less.
Still, Maya brought up an undeniable point. Though Hank Tyler had left Maya plenty of money, the monthly allotment wouldn’t be enough to plan a decent cocktail party in their social set, much less a wedding.
But that wasn’t the real reason Seth felt himself caving.
He knew that if their father were alive, Hank would have spared no expense for his only daughter’s wedding.
And though Seth knew that no fancy flower arrangement or imported champagne could make up for the fact that their parents wouldn’t be there to walk Maya down the aisle, Seth was determined to give his sister the wedding she’d always wanted.
“I’ll take care of it,” he said gruffly. “You know I will.”
Maya made a happy squealing noise, but Seth held up a hand. “But just so we’re clear. How much are we talking?”
“Oh gosh, I don’t know yet,” Maya said. “There are so many variables. The venue, the photographer, the caterer, and the dress, of course—”
“—but I’m sure I’ll have a better idea after this Friday.”
“What happens Friday?” Seth asked, somehow fairly certain he wasn’t going to like the answer.
Maya did another one of those happy hand claps. “Oh, I didn’t tell you! The Wedding Belles have an opening.”
Seth stared at his sister blankly.
Maya rolled her eyes. “Come on. The Wedding Belles?”
He shook his head. “Is that, like, a fancy dress shop, or something?”
“Um, try the premiere wedding-planning company in the city. Maybe the country. They have access to all the best venues, the top designers, and they never do the same wedding twice. Everything is custom, original, perfectly tailored to the bride’s needs. One of a kind.”
That, Seth could translate: expensive.
Still, if their father were alive . . .
“They’re super exclusive,” Maya said. “You have to book them, like, years in advance, but I called, and they had something open up!”
“That’s great,” Seth said, rubbing a hand down his face. He knew full well that the convenient opening had likely been a result of Maya’s very recognizable last name.
“So anyway, Friday is just a consultation. They want to hear what I’m looking for and my timeline—”
“What is your timeline?” Seth interrupted.
In other words, how long do I have to figure out whether Neil’s the gold digger I think he is?
“Well, I’ve always liked the idea of being a June bride,” Maya said, “but that’s less than six months away, so we all know that’s not going to happen . . .”
Seth blinked. It wasn’t? Six months seemed like a hell of a long time to him, but then he wasn’t the one who’d been marrying off the family dog when he was six. What did he know?
“So I’m thinking maybe a Christmas wedding,” she said. “It’s so festive, with the red and green, or I could go metallic, or even blue—you know what that does with my eyes . . .”
Seth tuned his sister out as she ran through possible color schemes.
Christmas. That gave Seth eleven whole months. Plenty of time to get to know his future brother-in-law, and then find a way to get rid of the bastard if he didn’t pass muster.
But if Seth was going to make this work—if he was going to have a shot at getting to know the real Neil—it meant he’d have to spend some time with the money-grabbing bastard. He had to be there when the man inevitably slipped up.
“What time?” Seth interrupted.
Maya paused mid-description of the pros and cons of flocked Christmas trees. “What time for what?”
“Your meeting on Friday with the Wedding Chimes. What time is it?”
Maya laughed. “The Wedding Belles. And it’s at two, at their headquarters on the Upper West Side. Why?”
“I want to be there.”
His sister blinked in surprise. “You do?”
Seth lifted a shoulder. “I want to be involved in all of this. I don’t need to come along to dress fittings and whatever the hell else you’ve got going on, but the big-decision stuff . . . I want to be a part of it.”
Maya laughed. “You are so like Dad. He always liked to know how every penny of his money was being spent.”
Sure, let’s go with that. Easier for her to think he was pinching pennies than checking out her fiancé.
Seth smiled. “Guilty. You want live doves, we’ll get live doves, but I want to make sure these wedding planners don’t think they have a blank check just because our last name is Tyler.”
Maya shrugged and bent down to retrieve her various shopping bags. “Suit yourself.”
Seth walked his sister to the office door, dipping his head slightly when she went up on her toes to kiss his cheek.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
Seth nodded. “I just want you to be happy.”
“I am,” she said, beaming up at him. “I’m so happy. And I’m really sorry you haven’t had a chance to meet Neil, but it all happened so fast.”
Tell me about it.
“He’ll be there on Friday, right?” Seth asked. “How about the three of us go out for a late lunch after the meeting with the wedding planner?”
Maya nodded. “Perfect. You’re going to love him. And he can’t wait to meet you.”
Me and my wallet, I’d bet.
“Friday, two o’clock,” Maya said, kissing his cheek one more time. “Don’t be late, ’kay?”
Seth blinked. “Have I ever been late?”
His sister laughed. “Good point. Would you be less grumpy about the whole thing if I told you we’ll do an open bar at the wedding, stocked with all your favorites?”
Seth only had one favorite: Four Roses Bourbon. And if the ever-increasing tension in his chest was any indication, he was going to be drinking a lot of it in the coming months. Starting with tonight.
He told his sister good-bye, and then went straight to his bar cart in the corner and poured himself a generous tumbler of his beloved bourbon—hell, he deserved it. Then he went immediately to his computer to search for every possible detail he could find on one Neil Garrett.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is my first by this author. I enjoyed her style of writing and the plot. The romance between Seth and Brooke was interesting and intriguing. The story ended leaving a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart. It was great that both couples found their happily-ever-after. I'm looking forward to the next in this series of the Wedding Belles. LA-TXN
I had not read one of the authors books before, and really enjoyed most of it. The sex scenes were a little graphic for me, but I know there is a market for that. I enjoyed the plot and dialogue between the characters. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Lauren Layne has brought the fun and sexy back to the stressful venue of wedding planning with her new series The Wedding Belles. The first full-length installment delivers on the promise of the prequel novella, bringing fun, laughter, sexy moments and characters to adore. Brooke was an up and coming wedding planner on the west coast, until her own wedding went south when unexpected guests, in the form of the FBI, arrived to arrest her groom. Reeling from the devastation, she’s landed a position with The Wedding Belles, and she’s determined to make her mark. An unexpected change in plans leaves Brooke in charge of a high-profile wedding her first day on the job. When she meets the man she believes is the groom, she’s instantly attracted – a HUGE no no. Fortunately, the man in question turns out to be the brother of the bride, and is determined to have a hand in every moment of the planning. Oh, did I mention that Griffin is a control freak with serious doubts in his sister’s intended? Oh this was SO fun. Mixing characters that are engaging, a touch of mystery, unrequited love and new supportive friends, the story brings all that I’d expect from a Lauren Layne book! Griffin is the one who hates change, and always wants to fix things for everyone. He’s controlling and tightly wound, and while his intentions are good, his own issues are many. He’s a great friend and brother, though, and will always be overly cautious. With the unexpected death of his father from a health issue that everyone BUT him knew of, he’s also a bit of the little boy lost, play acting as the man he believes he should be, rather than the one he really is. Mia, Griffin’s sister, is so far removed from the snooty society deb that one would expect, and she’s a breath of fresh air and very much in love. Still, it doesn’t allow for a bit of matchmaking for her brother and her wedding planner, and she’s a wonderful touchpoint for the relationship of Griffin and Brooke. And those two are explosive: Griffin wants ‘inside information’ on Mia’s fiancé, before he makes the big mistake of hiring a PI. While Brooke doesn’t want to touch that hot potato, she’s unable to get Griffin or his suspicions out of his head. When everything goes spectacularly pear shaped, the women of The Wedding Belles step up and piece Brooke together again, all while pushing her to believe in her own platitudes and take a chance. A wonderful installment. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Nice light reading while on vacation. Fluff, but I love them escape of HEA,
Loved all the main characters!! The guy is soooo swoon-worthy. The heroine is so likeable. The side characters leave you wanting more of them! Loved it.
## Fabulous read. I really enjoyed this book. The hero and heroine had some major chemistry going on. Very well written for sure. The only problem I had was with the heroine. She was very hot & cold. She kept scolding the hero about everything. A little too mean for me. She made such a huge deal out of him hiring a PI to look into his sister's boyfriend. The sister is a hotel heiress, he absolutely SHOULD hire a PI for background checks. Duh. Anyway, I adored the rest of it !!
I absolutely ADORE this series. To Have and To Hold is the 1st book in the Wedding Belles series (there is a novella that is a sorta prequel to the series) & is such a fun & sexy read. Lauren Layne is fast becoming my favorite author. Brooke is healing from heartache & has moved to NYC to rebound from finding out her soon-to-be husband (as in at the alter soon) is a con artist. Her first new client is Mya who is planning a wedding soon after meeting her groom. Her sexy & gruff older brother Seth is paying the bills & is none too happy about how fast the wedding is happening. Seth & Brooke have instant chemistry but their love story is anything but easy. But there is a HEA. Great story & I can't wait for the next book in the series. Advanced Reader Copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD was such a fantastic story and I'm so excited for more of this great new series, The Wedding Belles, from author Lauren Layne. I absolutely love this setting and this group of ladies. Brooke Baldwin is new to New York City and to the Belles, but she fits right in with Alexis and Heather. Brooke owned her own wedding planning company in California but after notoriously being humiliated at the altar when the Feds arrested her fiancé on her wedding day she desperately needed a fresh start in a new place. She may not be too trusting of men but she still believes in love and the magic of a beautiful wedding day. Her first assignment is to help Maya Tyler, a hotel heiress, plan her dream wedding. It all goes well except for the interference of Maya's older brother, Seth, who happens to be footing the bill and demanding approval on all decisions. Not that he was worried about the money, he was just staying close because he didn't believe Maya's fiancé Neil was who he said he was and it didn't hurt that the wedding planner was drop-dead gorgeous. Brooke and Seth get off on the wrong foot right from the start. Seth is determined to stop the wedding and Brooke is determined to prove herself to her new boss by planning the perfect wedding. The problem is they find each other irresistible, and can't seem to fight the attraction. It's not quite an enemies to friends romance but for their own reasons Seth and Brooke each do their best to avoid each other and the feelings they can't seem to help. Seth is a grumpy workaholic with no time for a relationship especially with a woman as sweet as Brooke who still believes in happily ever after. I love watching those determined bachelors fall. Ms. Layne creates amazing sexual tension between these two and I absolutely love the banter. And of course, it's crazy sexy every time they do give in to their desire. These two are just plain hot together and I really enjoyed this story! 4 stars
To Have and To Hold is the first full length novel in The Wedding Belles series and I’ve fallen in love with these ladies. The Wedding Belles is an elite New York wedding planning agency. Brooke Baldwin is the newest wedding planner, moving from California after her heart was broken from her ex-fiancé con man. Their breakup became national news and caused her wedding business to crumble. Brooke is starting a new life in New York and on her very first day at The Wedding Belles she’s assigned a high profile client, the hotel heiress Maya Tyler. Brooke is ready for the challenge but is surprised with Maya’s controlling (but sexy) brother, Seth. Seth is not happy with the sudden wedding announcement. He will do anything to stop the wedding including enlisting Brooke. Brooke and Seth have an instant attraction but have a difference of opinions, especially when it comes to love. I loved the chemistry between Brooke and Seth but they are both protecting their heart. Their fears resulted in a lot of arguments and miscommunication that put too much tension on their story. I felt that Brooke was more to blame for this. They both make bad choices in their relationship and Brooke didn’t learn from her mistakes. Instead she put all the blame with Seth. Seth has had a painful past so it was understandable why he was controlling. With the dual POV we see Seth realize his faults and do his best to change. That’s what I loved about him. If only Brooke took more responsibility in their relationship I would have given this book I higher rating. Despite my problems with Brooke I still enjoyed this story. From the first chapter I was drawn in to this book and if I had the chance I would have finished it in one sitting. I like author Lauren Layne’s writing that was a perfect mix of romance, humor, friendship and conflict. I can’t wait to read the next book, For Better or Worse.
If your go-to adult contemporary romance authors are Jennifer Probst and Julie James, then To Have and To Hold is the perfect book for you. It's a chic plus witty romance that'll have you crying, swooning, grinning mischievously, and eye-rolling all at once. The whole wedding planner romance thing never gets old, and a cute secondary romance as well as a potentially suspicious character seals the deal on this being a must-read for romance lovers.
Seth and Brooke are at odds with each other from the very beginning, but there is a definite attraction there as well to keep things a little spicy. You could really feel their chemistry. I'm really enjoying this series so far, which is not surprising. There isn't a book that I've read by this author yet that I haven't liked. I'm ready for more! The ARC of To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.
This series, you guys! I had never read a Lauren Layne book until From This Day Forward and she has quickly become a must read/auto buy author for me. Usually, I have to at least read a whole book, but she managed to do it with a short novella! It captured me in a way that I instantly knew I would love the entire series. I was left wanting more of this world and was very excited going into To Have and to Hold- Layne did not disappoint! I am positive this series will be one of my top contemporary series of 2016! Lauren Layne strongest suit is her ability to create characters that the reader can't help but to fall in love with! She builds the perfect amount of angst between her couples and then BAM! The chemistry between Seth and Brooke was incredible and kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. Brooke was everything that a woman should aspire to be- brave, self sufficient, witty, has a career she excels in, and a lover of chocolate and wine! Seth was the ideal book boyfriend and I couldn't stop myself from feeling protective over him on different occasions. I loved Brooke, but Seth totally owned my soft spot. I shipped these two so hard! Although the main plot line was incredible, the supporting characters and their stories are really what gave this great book an extra dose of awesomeness! Not only did we have a fan yourself romance, but we had great friendships too! There was a little bromance and a whole lot of girl time. These are characters that I can't wait to get more from in the coming books. Also, Etta! She gave me several fits of laughter and was easily my favorite supporting character. Everybody needs an Etta in their life! Layne has a writing style that you can't help but to get lost in. The flow of the story is effortless and everything seems like it happens in it's natural order. There's no scene that feels forced in order for the story to progress. The dialogue between the characters seems genuine and realistic. You almost feel like you're there in that wedding dress shop or at the hotel bar along with these characters. Her ability to transport me from my couch in Texas to the streets of New York City gave me life! Most contemporary books are filled with lots of cutesy fluff or need an overly complicated plot twist in order to keep the reader's attention. Although To Have and to Hold is not one of those books with super heavy content, it's still a book that I could not put down! It was a simply, light read that wrapped up perfectly and I'm excited to see what happens next! *Huge thanks to Pocket Books and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review!*
I am a romance bookaholic, I LOVE romance novels. I have a list of several author that I know that when I pick up one of their books I am in for an extremely emotional ride. Lauren Layne is one of those authors. To Have and To Hold is technically book one in the Wedding Belles series, but we were first introduced to the Wedding Belles in From This Day Forward (fantastic book as well by the way). I am not going to rehash the blurb, you read it and liked what you read, so you are reading the reviews to see why and if other readers liked the book, so this is what I am going to do. Tell you why I liked, no, LOVED this book. This book took me thru the whole gamut of emotions, at times the things the characters did made me laugh, sigh, at times, they made me mad. The emotion that made me love this book the most, it made me cry. Ms. Layne has a way of writing a story so emotional and takes me so deep into the story that when something happens to the characters I will actually cry with or for them. There was a scene in the book when Seth asks Brooke what she is wants from a man in their relationship. Her answer: “That someone good will love us”, “I don’t think any women really want or need the roses and the fancy dinners or even the poetry so much as we just want the love.” This book is most definitely an HEA book, don’t get me wrong. I did not say they were sad tears. Thank you Ms. Layne on a most definite emotional roller coaster ride. It was a wonderful ride. I cannot wait to read Heather and Josh’s story. Thank you NetGalley for listing this fabulous book on your site. Thank you Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for approving my request and gifting me with a copy of this fabulous book for my honest review. Thank you for reading my review.
Here's the deal: Lauren Layne is one of those authors that I know if I pick up her book, I'm going to love it. She wrote one of my favorite series: New York's Finest. You really need to read that series, by the way. Unless you're someone who doesn't like good books with hunky dudes that make you want to break the law. Just cuff me already, I don't know what I did but it was something. Back to this one ... it's just perfection. That's really the only thing that I have to say. I blew through this one late one night when I should have been sleeping but I just couldn't put it down. I usually jot notes down as I go so that my review is really specific to what I was thinking as I read but I didn't write one damn thing down. I didn't need to and honestly, I just didn't want to stop reading to take the time to write something about how amazing Layne is or how I'm going to book-stalk her forever or how her characters are perfect and if Seth was a real person that my husband would be in serious danger of becoming the ex-husband. You follow Brooke's life just after she experienced a soul-crushing blow ... her fiance left her at the alter. Basically because he was skeezy. It's not an easy road to get over this skeezy dude but it was heart-warming to watch Brooke struggle through all of those emotions. Layne really makes you connect with her characters and I found myself instantly wanting Brooke to be my friend and I can only wish that I would be so brave if I went through the same type of experience. Although if it were me, there would probably be something about kicking skeezy dude in kiwis ... that was unfortunately missing from these pages but it's something I'll overlook because Seth. Ugh. I just love him. I love how he was this bumbling idiot about how to handle things and how he was just ... Seth. He's so authoritative and for some reason, that is sexy as hell. I'm telling you, you have to pick this one up. You won't be disappointed. The storyline zips along at a wonderful pace and nothing slows down or gets boring. The characters are interesting and I loved them almost as much as Brooke and Seth. I wouldn't change one sentence, word or comma in this book. Just go to the bookstore today, pick this up and send me a message when you're done and we'll see who read it the fastest. But since I read it first, I get Seth. Go find your own book boyfriend. * I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *
Ooh Wedding Belles! Oh Wedding Belles! What a beginning to a series that is all about weddings in a big and bright NYC. Living there I know just how flashy weddings can be when money is no object. That is exactly what we get… at least in this book with white fluffy dream coming true to those that planned out their weddings since they could imagine. So naturally this was the best feel good book that I have read this year! SWEAR! Our wonderful heroine is a bit of a heartbreaking case as she seeks solace on the island of Manhattan where there are clear seasons, no friends and family, and most importantly no scam artist ex-fiancée with a side of anonymity… sort of. Seeking a break from being a headliner back in LA (after all who wouldn’t be when your fiancee gets taken in by FBI at your wedding), Brooke partners up with an exclusive and glamorous wedding planning company – The Wedding Belles in an attempt to start over. Her first client is a hotel heiress, Maya Tyler… and Brooke’s first encounter with Tyler family happens to be with so so so so handsome, mercurial, and controlling Seth Tyler- Maya’s brother and the piggy bank for his sister’s wedding. Aah from the moment those two laid eyes on each other it was nothing but a tug of war between their insane attraction and propriety. And boy did those two make a fun read as they tried to deny their attraction and crazy hot chemistry. There are definitely some strong alpha vibes in this book that had me hot and bothered during my commute to and from work. That is clearly shown as Sethy fights his inner “get off my lawn”… Or well “get off my sister” old men vibes as we learn that he is not on board with the wedding, meanwhile totally crushing on the wedding planner. Something is off with the whole situation of his sister marrying off after knowing the Groom for such a short time. To confirm his suspicions he drags Brooke down with him. Brook who has her own demons when it comes to that subject matter. This story may be a bit insta love in some ways but Laura makes it work so well. There are some fabulous secondary characters development that most of the time I wanted to quit my job and join the Belles myself. Honestly I even expected more drama (and there were plenty of opportunities to go there) but beyond the angsty romancy stuff between Brooke and Seth it didn’t get into it. Am I disappointed? A bit… Does it deter from me enjoying the hell out of the book? HELL NO! I look forward to visiting Belles headquarters on UES…. Soon… So so soon!
With each book I read of Layne's I find that I'm liking her more and more. Her books are just so easy to read. He characters are likable, with issues you can relate to. I'm also loving this new series. I don't know why but I really love books that revolve around weddings and all the moving parts behind it. The first book in the series starts with Seth Tyler & Brooke Burke. I really liked Seth. Poor guy had so much on his shoulders. At times he came off being very gruff, but I feel that's due to the fact that he needs to keep everything in his life in order to feel like he's in control. He worries so much about the people he cares about, even when he doesn't know he cares. Brooke on the other hand made me more then once stop and think...really! I understand that she went through something in her life that would have made most people think twice about trusting people, but she seemed to still have trouble trusting or believing in the right person. She is always mad at Seth or blowing him off. At times it was hard to see them as a romantic couple. But since I really enjoyed the story I made myself overlook Brooke and the traits of hers that bugged me. We all do something that bugs others. By the end of the story I was very happy with it and really did love it. Like people, some characters you don't need to be your best friend. Even with the very few things that wasn't my favorite about the book, I did enjoy it and want to know more about the characters that are coming up, and maybe see more of Seth and Brooke's happy ending.
I loved this story! Lauren Layne has the knack of putting really likable characters into fun situations where you can't help but root for a happy ending. In this case Seth and Brooke are at odds right from the start. It doesn't help that she at first mistakes him for the groom and horrifyingly realizes that the zing she feels on seeing him is sexual attraction. Though it's quickly cleared up and she finds out he's the single brother of the bride, Seth is quick to get into Brooke's bad books with his insufferable attitude and determination to make things difficult for Maya at every turn. It's not that he doesn't love his sister, he just believes he knows what's best for her, and marrying Neil isn't it. I loved Seth and Brooke together, once they get past their prickly introduction. Brooke knows that Seth is well meaning, even if he comes across as overbearing. The problem for her is that he's a client, and getting involved with him, right when she's just starting her career over again is a serious problem. Fortunately her boss doesn't seem to think that a sex only fling will be an issue and when she's given the green light, and Seth is very willing, they share some sexy scenes together. But the problem for Seth is that he likes to be in control. And this tendency to want to control those around him drives his current relationship with his sister, and then with Brooke too. As such he tends to overstep boundaries with the best of intentions, resulting in conflict that he's created – and now he has to fix. Brooke's co-workers at The Wedding Belles are a mixture of characters, ranging from the slightly more flighty Heather to the very serious and under control Alexis. I enjoyed the contrast in their characters and how they are able to work together to pull off all sorts of weddings (and fix the disasters inherent in the planning). It was fun to take a look behind the scenes at how wedding planners pull everything together and fans of TLC shows that deal with weddings will find a lot to love about this story. The happy ever after ending for Brooke and Seth is quite lovely and I'm anticipating that the next two in the series will be just as good as this one. 5 stars!
I fell in love with this super entertaining and beautifully, written story that is full of drama, hot sassy banter and lol moments. It has likable characters that are well developed and the chemistry between them is sizzling. I was hooked from the first page till the last, I couldn't get enough. Brooke Baldwin has moved to NYC after running away from LA after her fiancé was arrested at the altar on their wedding day by the FBI. While she was planning their wedding Clay was knee deep in another ponzi scheme. But the worst part wasn't losing all her clients it was she feared that she still might love him. So she swore off, ever falling in love again and left town. As she starts her career with the elite Wedding Belles, her first client is Maya Tyler, the heiress of the Tyler Group Hotels. Seth Tyler had always wanted to be the CEO of the Tyler Hotel Group, but when his father dropped dead eight months ago of a heart attack he was not ready. When his younger sister Maya came to him, announcing she was engaged and wanted to get married. His first instinct was that something was amiss or off, he hadn't even met him in the three months that they had been dating. So in order to get to know his future brother in law, Neil Garret, Seth becomes involved with the wedding planning. When Brooke answered the door for her appointment with Maya Tyler, she had come face to face with the one bad element of wedding planning that she'd never experienced before, wild, instant attraction to the groom. The man was gorgeous, and had caused her stomach to flip and a fierce stab of want. But when she finds out he is the brides brother, although he is one of the richest men in the country, his entitled attitude sets her on edge. While Seth's tension increases, realizing he has it bad for the wedding planner, even though she was not at all his type. His skin burned just from her simple contact through their clothes. There was definite heat between them. Will they act on their feelings? What will happen working through all the wedding planning? You won't want to miss out on the sweet and sexy fun in this story. I enjoyed meeting all the Wedding Belles and can't wait to read their story. Loved it! Highly Recommended! Received a complimentary copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
What a wonderful book! To Have and to Hold is an emotional, sweet, steamy read. The character development is fantastic and the multiple story lines, with similar themes, blend so well and deliver a really satisfying conclusion. Seth Tyler is having to be involved in his little sister’s wedding planning. He loathes the planning and his sister’s fiance. But, the wedding planner stirs some other strong emotions in the sometimes-stodgy businessman. Brooke is beautiful, but Seth knows there is so much more to her than meets the eye. If they could only get out of each others’ way long enough to allow love to take hold! There is some wonderful tension that exists in this back and forth dance between Seth and Brooke. There are a few steamy scenes and lots of love and butterflies! Lauren Layne delivers consistently reliable and enjoyable love stories and she’s quickly become one of my go-to-favorites! You can’t go wrong with To Have and To Hold! This book delivers everything promised in the synopsis and so much more! I’m already looking forward to the next book in this series. To Have and To Hold received a 4.5 rating at BFF Book Blog. An advance copy was received in exchange for an honest review. BFF Book Blog uses a set of icon ratings. This book received additional ratings for: butterflies, character development, romance, steamy, supporting characters, sweet and tension.
To Have and To Hold is such a fun book. Even though a large part of it takes place in the winter, I found it to be a perfect summer read. I guess because when I think weddings I think warm weather. I love the trope of hate to love. Sometimes you can find you have feelings for someone you thought you despised, and that makes the chaos that happens all the more enjoyable. This book is a pretty quick read. I kept flipping the pages to see what was going to happen next. The characters are great. Brooke is independent but has a tendency to run from her problems, which is why she ends up working in New York. We aren't left wondering what she ran from, it's known from pretty early on. I like that we had that information up front. It helps us to see her motives in everything else that is going on. Seth is a bit of a control freak. He likes to be the one to call the shots and have things done a certain way. It's very apparent in how he plans to keep his sister from making a huge matrimonial mistake. Sexual tension, guys. There's tons of it. Seth and Brooke have a pretty strong chemistry, and they try to fight it every step of the way. They don't want to like the other, but it's pretty inevitable. I loved seeing them squirm for each other when it made them uncomfortable. The plot could be predictable at times, but it didn't take away from the story. I liked that I could see what was going to happen, even if at times I wished the circumstances were different. Overall, I really enjoyed this series, and I can't wait for the next installment. I need everyone to find their HEA.
The chill in the air in the New York winter isn't only from the weather when the wedding planner meets the older brother. The glamor of the rich and famous on Manhattan is at its finest when Seth and Brooke set to fight out what's best for Maya, Seth's sister. The characters in the story, even though living with all the material advances and enjoying them, were not having a perfect life, and had their faults and failures themselves as well. I really liked Seth, he is earnest, honest, and sincere, he wants everyone around to be happy, safe, and satisfied with their lives, and he is willing to do whatever he can, to make it happen. I think he got a raw deal from his best friend in that regard, I liked Grant well enough, but I think he should have known Seth better, his intentions better, and understand them. Maybe Grant's reaction came based on his own feelings, but still, in my opinion, not fair towards Seth. Brooke is not my favorite female lead, mainly because I found it hard to understand her, her actions, opinions, and to relate to her. So I think it is more of a case "it's not you, it's me" thing. There's a lot of banter and bickering between Seth and her, but it was missing the humor in my eyes. Most of the time it made me cringe, with the hurtful words they said to each other. In my opinion, it went too far, and the recovery should have had more depth to it, to be able to overcome. I didn't understand her blind eyes towards Maya's fiance when he was acting so much like her's did when he betrayed her. Also in today's dating world, I don't think anyone doesn't do some kind of background check, no, not a PI unless you are filthy rich (and then it is just smart and expected, not something to be jumped on about) but more than Facebook profile, that's for sure. So the story wasn't for me, I found it light on the substance, superficial at its best and snooze-worthy at its worst. ~Two Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Welcome to the Wedding Belles, the premier wedding planners in New York City. Book 1 in Lauren Layne's new Wedding Belles series is a must-read for romance lovers. What I love about LL's stories, is that they are always the perfect mix of funny and sexy. The women are people you wish you could be friends with and the men are always perfect for them. There isn't just one type of "perfect man" and that's what makes these books so fun! In this story, we meet Brooke, a wedding planner who is fleeing from the implosion of her wedding (yeah, the groom to be got taken away in handcuffs by the FBI at the alter...yeah, take that in) and has landed an amazing job with the Wedding Belles. Brooke's first big assignment is to plan the wedding of Maya Tyler, heir to the Tyler Hotel fortune (think Hilton but classier). Now enter the complication to this perfect scenario...the bride-to-be's brother, Seth, who is determined to stop the wedding. Seth was a hint Mr. Big from Sex and the City (only much younger) and Mr. Darcy (swoon!). The attraction is instant and the sparks fly from the first meeting of the pair. I enjoyed the way this romantic pair complimented each other and challenged each other. Super sexy and super romantic...though is it bad that the real romantic hero for me was Grant...Seth's best friend. Though he was only in a few scenes...he is the one that really made my heart go pitter-patter! Overall, a fantastic introduction to a new group of LL characters for us to fall in love. I cannot wait for the next book, For Better or Worse.
I have never read this author before but I love wedding stories and wanted to try this one...Wow! I'm sorry I waited so long to try this author out. Lauren Layne created a wonderful story with believable characters and I just adored the ride. Brooke Baldwin was a happy, bubbly wedding planner in Los Angeles, CA. She planned the biggest and most important wedding of her career...her own. The only problem, during the ceremony the FBI storm in and arrest her groom. Embarrassed and devastated, Brooke heads to New York City to take a job with The Wedding Belles, NYC's premiere wedding planners. Brooke's first wedding is for Maya Tyler, daughter of the Tyler Hotel Group's CEO who just recently passed away. Since Maya has no living parents, her older brother Seth, who is now the CEO, decides to become involved in the planning because he is suspicious of her recent fiance. While Maya is free spirited and fun, Seth is controlled and no-nonsense. At the first meeting, Brooke is very attracted to Seth until he opens his mouth. OMG...I just loved these two. They were so different on so many things, yet so similar in other ways. I really enjoyed the road these two took to finally get together. Ms. Layne knows how to write some fun, entertaining dialog. And their happy ending was perfect and well deserved for these two! I really enjoyed all the other characters too....Alexis and Heather (the other Wedding Belles), Maya and especially Seth's best friend, Grant. I would love to see Grant's back story! Overall, I really loved the book and look forward to reading the rest of the series.
The series, The Wedding Belles features a small group of wedding planners and their own way through love. Brook and Seth were a great couple to feature in book one. Brook was a very likable character, a fearless, fun and smart female lead. Seth was a sexy hotel owner-millionaire who liked to be in control of everything. The plot points were fun and unique, pulling in several secondary characters. One of the many things I love about Layne’s novels is there is no shortage of an amazing supporting cast.
This is a great book; this is the first book in the Wedding Belles series written by Lauren Layne. Brooke Baldwin is a celebrity wedding planner. She is looking forward to her wedding, that is until she discovers her fiancé is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows and ruins her business. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet, if slightly spoiled hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings. Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya's fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night. If you are looking for a great book, then you need to read this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.