A Wedding Blunder in the Black Hills by Kim O'Brien
David and Millie both have big problems. A widowed dentist with an almost-teen son, he’s being stalked by an amorous patient. Millie’s mom keeps sending her on blind dates, even though the café owner has trust issues. So when a lost filling lands Millie in David’s office, the two of them find a solution—a faux relationship. No one gets hurt and no one gets nagged. It’s a great plan—until they really start to care. Now what will they do?
Kim O’Brien grew up in Bronxville, New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and a master’s degree in fine arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. She worked for many years as a writer, editor, and speechwriter for IBM. She is the author of eight romance novels and seven nonfiction children’s books. She’s happily married to Michael, has two fabulous daughters, Beth and Maggie. She is active in the Loft Church in The Woodlands, Texas. Kim loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her Facebook author’s page.
He's your dentist, Mom. I'm not going on a blind date with your dentist."
Millie Hogan stabbed her knife into the tub of mustard then swiped it across a piece of pumpernickel. She'd only broken up with Karl Kauffman a couple of weeks ago, and already her mother was trying to set her up.
Peering over the top of the glass deli counter, Howard Glugan, the chief of police and one of the café's regulars, strained to watch. "Take it easy, Millie," he said. "I'd hate to charge you for assault and battery to a slice of bread."
Millie managed to laugh. She arranged slices of ham and swiss cheese on the bread, stuck a colorful toothpick through the center, and added a handful of chips. "Pie, Chief?"
"Blueberry, pecan, or rhubarb."
"I could manage a piece of rhubarb."
Millie cut him an ample slice and rang him up on the register.
"Of course you're going out with Dr. Denvers," her mother stated. "It's all arranged."
"Then unarrange it. Shouldn't you be working the grill?" Millie turned to the town's librarian. "The usual, Mrs. Ellison?"
"Yes, please. I hate to say it, dear, but Eva's right. Dr. Denvers is a real catch."
Her mother laughed as Millie ladled out a bowl of chicken noodle. She knew Mrs. Ellison liked a buttered roll and a cup of herb tea with her soup. She'd practically grown up here in Dosie Dough's, and the same people had been ordering the same thing for years. She knew most of the people seated at the booths and tables. Unfortunately, this meant that everyone was so familiar with one another that they ended up discussing everything in front of everybody, like now.
"Why are you so stubborn?" her mother said. "Just because you broke up with that policeman doesn't mean you give up on all men."
"And bless his soul is that boy cranky," Aunt Lillian remarked from her wheelchair. She was sitting with the other aunts at her usual spot at the table in front of the bay window where they could see the town square and comment if they saw something interesting. "He's practically shaking the parking meters in hopes of giving some poor soul a ticket," Lillian continued. "Can't you talk to Karl, Chief?"
The chief wiped his mouth with a napkin. "I don't discuss police business."
Millie scooped out a generous portion of tuna salad. She really didn't want to talk about Karl Kauffman anyway. He kept leaving parking tickets on her car with notes that said, Call me.
"I hear we've got more snow coming." Millie glanced over at Aunt Keeker for help. Of all the three women who made up Eva's best friends and Millie's "aunts," Keeker could always be counted on for a lively discussion about the weather. She particularly enjoyed being the bearer of bad news when it came to storms, and today she was wearing her sheepskin bomber hat, a sure sign that Deer Park was due for a major snowfall.
"As a matter of fact—" Keeker started.
"Dating is like riding a horse," her mother interrupted. "If you fall off, you should get right back on again."
Millie lifted the lid off the steaming pot of tomato soup. She was pretty sure the nearest her mother had ever been to a horse was watching a rerun of Bonanza on television.
"Mom, I'm done with blind dates. I'm not going out with the electrician, the UPS guy, or anyone else." She ladled the soup into the bowl and in her best and most dramatic stage voice, declared, "I'm off men. Forever."
"Let's not get melodramatic," her mother said dryly. "You know you like going out on dates."
"That was before," Millie said. "I've decided to concentrate on my acting career now."
"Dr. Denvers is perfect for you," her mother insisted. "Smart, good looking, and nice. He has that doctor thing going, too. You'd have excellent medical benefits."
Millie gave her a look. "We have medical coverage, Mom."
"But he's a dentist," Aunt Mimi called out from the aunts' table. She was a tiny woman with a cloud of permed apricot-colored hair that matched the coat of the toy poodle that snored in her lap. "Do you know how hard it is to get good dental benefits?"
"If she's going to date him," Jeff Gulden, a thin, wiry-haired mechanic with huge ears and a chronically sad face, said, "could she at least wait until next week? I have a root canal scheduled for Friday, and it'll probably go better if the doc doesn't have a broken heart."
"Remember it took Erv Michels two weeks before he stopped throwing the UPS packages into the bushes after Millie dumped him?" Aunt Mimi agreed. "Not that I blame you, Millie honey, for
passing on that boy. I saw him kick his dog when he thought no one was watching." She stroked her poodle lovingly.
"All of you," Millie said, waving a serving spoon, "need to stop talking about my social life. If you want to help me, think of things for me to write about in my application for Chef's Challenge. The deadline's coming up." She pointed to the back kitchen. "Mom, don't you think you ought to go flip those burgers?"
"Lottie's got the grill." Her mother's brow creased. "I don't know why you keep trying to get yourself on those mindless reality shows. What if some crazy person saw you on TV and started to stalk you?"
Millie blinked innocently. "Well, I guess if he was single, you'd probably try and set me up on a date with him."
Her mother pursed her lips firmly together. "I'm just trying to help you, honey. I don't want you ending up like me, with no one to keep me warm at night."
"I'll keep you warm," somebody called out. Millie thought it was Will Gavinski, who worked on the sunflower farm ten miles north of town.
Millie didn't think that thirty-one was exactly ancient, however, she let her mother's comment pass. "What can I get for you today, Mr. Lawrence?" Millie asked the next customer in line.
"He'll have liverwurst," Millie's mother announced before the manager of the town's movie theater could reply, "and I'll get it. You need to go home and get ready for your date."
Millie swiped a generous amount of mayo on the bread. Hadn't her mother heard a word she'd said? So what if David Denvers was a good dentist. It didn't mean he'd be a good date. In high school, he'd been a year ahead of her. She remembered a nerdy kid on the short side with big glasses and ears that bent out slightly at the sides.
"If you like him so much, Mom," she joked, "why don't you go
skiing with him?"
Her mother set her hands on her ample hips and locked eyes with Millie. "If you won't, I will. I'm not standing the boy up."
The restaurant became so quiet that Millie could hear the hum of the refrigerator in the back room. Was her mother serious? This from a woman who got in her car to drive twenty yards to the mailbox?
At age sixty-four, overweight, and a diabetic, the last thing her mother needed to be doing was putting on a pair of skis. As if reading Millie's thoughts, her mother said, "I'm sure my old skis could still get the job done."
Her mother had to be bluffing. Millie folded her arms and ordered herself not to give in.
"Don't wait up for me," her mom continued. "Unlike some people"—she paused to give Millie a significant look—"I have not forgotten how to have fun."
"Mom, you can't go skiing. You could hurt yourself."
"Before you were born, I used to be quite the ski bunny, and I still have the trophies to prove it."
She might have been a ski bunny once, but Millie tactfully restrained from pointing out that most bunnies didn't top the scale at over two hundred pounds. "Mom ..."
"Your father has been gone for twenty years. It's high time I put myself back on the market. You gotta live, Millie."
I would, Millie thought, but you won't let me. Immediately she felt a stab of guilt. This was her mother, who loved her more than anyone else in the world. If her mother sometimes tried to run her life, it was only because she wanted Millie to be happy.
"You're acting crazy, Mom. Skiing is risky."
Her mom rolled her eyes. "I'm not a novice. And if I do get
hurt, at least I'll be with a doctor." "Dentist," Millie corrected.
"They both go to medical school," Millie's mother announced. "Don't worry about me."
Clumping across the wooden floor in her trademark UGG boots, her mom added, "I'll tell him you were having female problems, Millie, but you want to reschedule."
Why? Millie scrunched her eyes shut. Why me? She didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Her mom loved her dearly yet couldn't see she was killing her. Watching her mom's broad frame navigate around the crowded room, Millie knew she should stop her, and yet part of her wanted to let her go. If she kept caving in to her mother's demands, she'd never get her mother to leave her alone.
Why couldn't she have a mother who didn't guilt her daughter into blind dates or wield her health as a weapon?
Her mother had reached the coatrack. Hardheaded, stubborn, and proud of every drop of German blood—that was her mother. Millie clenched her jaw. Her mother wasn't going to win. Not this time. "You'd better check your blood sugar before you go."
"No time," her mother replied. Her hand was on the doorknob. "See you later, honey."
The door was open now. A cold draft snaked its way across the floor, and she could see the light bouncing off the gleaming heaps of snow half burying the parking meters on the sidewalk.
"Hold it," Millie ordered. "If I do this for you, you have to promise me—no exceptions—that this is the last time you set me up on a blind date."
Her mother turned. "Of course, dear."
"No meddling of any kind in my social life."
"Scout's honor," her mother replied and held up two fingers for Millie to see.
"No more talk about me getting older or settling down or having kids."
Millie studied her mother's face a moment longer. She probably couldn't trust her, yet she didn't want her going off and trying to ski just to make a point. "Okay," Millie said, "I'll do it. I'll go skiing with Dr. Denvers."
Her mother's face relaxed into a broad smile. "David will be waiting by the ice sculpture of the dolphin—and sweetie, don't forget to floss before you go."
It'd been years since Millie had skied. In the ladies' room at the ski lodge, she squeezed into her one-piece ski outfit. The zipper was a bit tighter than she remembered, and the sleeves seemed to have shrunk. Then again, she'd been sixteen when she'd bought this outfit.
Sixteen. She'd had such big dreams then—of going to Hollywood and being discovered or living in Manhattan and starring in a Broadway show. She and Oprah would nod to each other casually at cocktail parties, and Millie would appear periodically on shows like Larry King Live and Good Morning America.
Millie tugged her zipper. She'd never seen herself as a permanent fixture at Dosie Dough's, and at the rate she was going, the best she could hope for was a spot on Dr. Phil for a special on dysfunctional relationships. All too easily she could picture her aunts, mother, and former dates squeezed onto one couch while Millie sat across from them trying to explain that she didn't have commitment issues—just a desire to find out if there was more to life than what Deer Park had to offer.
Surveying herself in the mirror, Millie couldn't decide if she looked more like a fat Judy Jetson or the Michelin Man. In either case, the way the material strained at the zipper suggested that the first time she hit a mogul she was going to burst out of this ski suit like a parboiled tomato.
She tucked her mass of dark, curly hair into a bright yellow Turtle Fur hat and settled her goggles on top. Who cared what she looked like?
Blinking, Millie stepped outside into the blinding light of snow reflected off the mountain. She scanned the group of skiers who clustered in groups around the ski racks or slid past on their way to the lift line.
She didn't see a short man with glasses who had ears that kind of stuck out at the sides waiting next to the ice dolphin. Then again, it'd been years since she'd seen him. After high school, he'd gone to dental school in California and gotten married. According to chatter at the café, he'd returned to Deer Park six months ago to take over his father's dental practice.
Pushing up her tight sleeves, she checked her watch. It was a little after four o'clock. Maybe he wasn't coming. She felt something hopeful stir inside, and then a deep voice said, "Millie? Millie Hogan?"
A medium-sized man wearing black ski pants and carrying a pair of Rossignols over his shoulder walked up to her. "David Denvers." He extended his free hand for Millie to shake.
"I know," Millie said. "I mean, I remember you from high school."
"Me, too," David said cheerfully. "Only you looked a lot taller then."
Back then she'd been a giant compared to him. Not anymore. He wasn't a very tall man, but he still had several inches over her. His face was lean now, and he carried the skis easily. The glasses were gone, too. She couldn't tell if his ears still stuck out though. His wool ski cap hid them.
"Nice to see you again," Millie murmured, reduced to falling back on good manners and hoping that he wouldn't bring up the time when she was in ninth grade and he had asked her out in the middle of the cafeteria line. She'd said no, and the cafeteria lady had looked as if she wanted to throw the spaghetti and meat sauce at her.
"Hope you haven't been waiting long," David continued, glancing over his shoulder. "I was getting us lift tickets." He handed her a sticker and a thin metal hanger.
"Thanks," Millie said, threading the thin wire through her coat zipper. "Let me pay you back."
"It's my treat," David said.
"I insist." The more she let a guy pay for her, the bigger the guy's expectations at the end of the date. Millie never intended to feel obligated to anyone.
David shrugged. "We can settle this after we finish skiing. We don't want to lose the light."
Millie bent to put on her skis. She hadn't used them in years and was more than a little relieved when the bindings snapped neatly shut. "David," she said and straightened. "I should warn you, I haven't skied in quite a while. Would you mind starting out on a blue trail?"
David didn't answer. She looked over her shoulder and saw a slender blond standing nearby. The woman was wearing tight black ski pants that outlined her long, thin legs and a black ski jacket that ended at her trim hips. The woman's big blue eyes were fixed on David.
"David," Millie prompted sharply enough to get his attention. "What?" His voice sounded strained, and the way he now looked at Millie reminded her of someone who was trying to put a good face on something unpleasant, like spending the afternoon with an IRS auditor.
Great. She could win a Michelin Man look-alike contest, and her date wished that he were with someone else. Her toes pinched in the boots that, like the snowsuit, had mysteriously shrunk in the closet. When she got home, she and her mother were going to have a very long conversation.
* * *
When David saw that Cynthia had followed him to the ski area, he almost groaned. During the past few weeks, he'd tried talking to her, ignoring her, and once hiding from her in the office supply room. Cynthia, however, had proved to be both unshakable and relentless.
He supposed that he could get a restraining order, but he suspected that Chief Glugan would laugh at him if he tried. Cynthia wasn't threatening or dangerous. She was just a lonely young woman, recently divorced, who like him had returned to Deer Park after being away for years. Besides, his parents and Cynthia's parents were good friends. He suspected the reason she was so good at finding him was that his mother was helping.
Digging his ski poles into the snow, David pushed forward, heading for the lift line. He had a vague plan about getting to the top of the mountain ahead of her then disappearing with Millie down one of the lesser-known trails.
The lift line moved agonizingly slow. He had to fight himself not to glance over his shoulder again to make sure she wasn't standing right behind him. He wished with all his heart that two weeks ago Cynthia had walked into a different dental office. He probably shouldn't have complimented her so much on her dental hygiene or accepted that offer of coffee and donuts. She'd mistaken friendship on his part for something more.
Wedding Blunder in the Black Hills 4 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Fun, emotional, and inspirational. I really enjoyed Millie and Eva, her mom, they were great fun. The romance was sweet but not the focus of the story.
Contrary to the cover design, this story is not one that pivots around winter or holidays.
I’d definitely read this again!
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
A Wedding Blunder in the Black Hills is a Christian fiction novel by Kim O'Brien. The story centers around Millie Hogan who dreams of a life on a reality television cooking show, and David Denvers the town dentist.
Millie helps her mother run the Dosie Dough Cafe, her mother "helps" run Millie's love life. David's mother work at the front desk of his office, and David works at avoiding the advances of an amorous patient.
Throw in some meddling aunts, a town where everyone knows everyone's business, and an almost-teenage-son and you get two people who need quick solutions. That solution? A fake relationship. This would get Millie's mother to stop setting up dates, and would get Cynthia to back off David. No one gets hurt. No one gets nagged. Everything goes according to plan, until they start to care. Now what?
This was a good story. Classic two people have problems, they find a mutual solution, all goes according to plan, they begin to care... Nothing wrong with a classic plot line. It was well done. The last few chapters I found to be really well done. With a laugh thrown in at the end.
I have trouble with cooks where the Christian aspect, or conversion of a main character is overdone. That was not the case with this book. I thought the christian aspects of the book were woven well with the rest of the story.
Overall this is a good story, that I would recommend.
(I was provided a free ebook preview copy from NetGalley for review purposes. I am under no obligation to provide a positive review.)
More than 1 year ago
I didn't like the title either. It doesn't make sense to me.
Millie Hogan has dreams of Hollywood super-stardom; despite the fact she's over 30, overweight and lives with her mother. She's also (somehow) managed to date the entire male population of the town, though she never lets it go beyond a couple of dates so she isn't ever vulnerable. She's a woman who hides behind the dream she keeps putting off, because she's too scared to take the risk.
The mother is in denial about her diabetes, acts one way in front of everyone and another in private, and has a bunch of (very) wacky friends.
David Denvers is a skinny dentist who had a crush on Millie in High School, but she turned him down. Since then he moved to California, married the perfect woman and had a son. After the wife's death he moved home and opened a dental practice. His pushy, interfering mother is his receptionist. There's also a tech-savvy old lady nanny in the mix too.
Trying to escape a stalker his mother is certain is 'the one' for him; David and Millie concoct a scheme to fake a relationship so everyone will quit hassling them. Despite their intentions they grow from good friends to falling for each other.
Naturally Millie is completely freaked out, and sabotages things. David is a little too understanding, which left room for what could have been more conflict, but it would have been the same tired relationship misunderstandings before the couple eventually make up and live happily ever after.
Instead, the meddling characters dig up a secret from Millie's past that throws everyone for a loop. But it all comes good in the end, and Millie learns God hasn't been ignoring her, and faith like David's is just what she needs. We are left with a wedding dress mix-up that just might mean stardom for Millie after all.
Provided by netgalley for review.
More than 1 year ago
A Wedding Blunder in the Black Hills by Kim O'Brien ISBN 978-1-61626-491-8
Deer Park, South Dakota is too far away from Hollywood to please Millie Hogan. She as a dream to get out of this place and make something of her life, if only she could leave her mom. At thirty-one years old Millie's mom constantly set her up on dates and hinted about grandchildren. The latest is to dater her mother's dentist, David Denvers. Men never stayed. Her grandfather and father had left wives.
David, a widower and father of an eleven year old, has returned to Deer Park after his dad retired. David took over his dental practice and inherited his mom as a receptionist. His mom was determined to see him marry Cynthia now that she returned after her divorce. Cynthia was stalking him. He went on a ski date with Millie and Cynthia followed him all over there. Millie assumed the beautiful woman was his girlfriend and figured this would be their only date. And she had made her mom promise to not ever set her up again.
David and Millie decided to undate. They would convince everyone they were dating so that Cynthia would stop stalking him and Eva, Millie's mom, would leave her alone.
Meet Tank the English bulldog, Cynthia the stalker, Aris the cyberpatrol nanny, a school bully, the "aunts" who hang out in Eva's cafe and each has her own uniqueness. Great story.
Book received from NetGalley for review
More than 1 year ago
Millie is that girl from high school that had all the boyfriends and wanted to be a celebrity. David is that guy that you never really remembered and if you did you remembered a dork.
Fast forward about fifteen years. Millie still has a ton of boyfriends that she breaks up with within two months of a relationship, all while living and working with her mother, who keeps making her go on blind dates, while trying to make it to Hollywood.
David, on the other hand, has out grown his dorkiness and is now a widower dentist with an almost teen son and a stalker that wants to be his girlfriend.
So, when Millie loses a filling, she finds herself in David's chair plotting a solution to both of their problems, they'll "date". It's the perfect solution, Millie won't have to worry about any more blind dates and David can finally break free from his stalker. But when feelings start to change for both of them, will Millie run from David because of her past or will she finally let love in?
This story isn't bad. But it's definitely not one of my favorites. Millie's character wasn't one of my favorites, which is never a good thing when you don't like the main girl. David's character was nice, though, and defied his family and all that was conventional to date Millie.
There is one thing that I noticed about this story. Most authors paint a picture of the town their describing in such a way that makes people almost way to pack up everything and move to the town of the characters, Kim O'Brien, however, paints an honest picture of the Black Hills and, frankly, it seems freezing there. She describes the Black Hills winter and I know that it is too cold for this Arizonian girl.
This book is Christian. You see a character or two turn their lives over to God and you see some of the more rules-than-faith Christians eat some humble pie, though they never admit it.
The romance in this story epitomizes the Christian romance. Gentle, subtle, and clean. The type of romance tweens could even read without worrying about any content that they shouldn't read.
This book was okay. But I won't be reading it again anytime soon. I don't know why I didn't like it very much. In fact, this book should be one of the ones that I was ecstatic over, but I'm not.
The name of the book made absolutely no sense to me. The "wedding blunder" in the title wasn't until the end and no effect on the storyline. It's not a big thing but I think that the author or publisher should have picked a better title. One that made sense with the story.
Overall, I like it, but I don't. Perfect for a tween or teen, even an adult who likes a quick summer read or likes their romances subtle and clean. I give it a three out of five.
I was given this book by Barbour Books and Netgalley in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed are all my own.