Publisher: Cardinal Press, LLC
Formats: eBook, print
An impromptu wedding—one night of escape. That’s all Laurel Worthington’s joke marriage to Brett Matthews was ever supposed to be.
The Wedding Lullaby
An impromptu wedding—one night of escape.
That’s all Laurel Worthington’s joke marriage to Brett Matthews was ever supposed to be. But somewhere between the tacky Reno ceremony and annulment day, the troubled socialite surrendered to the romance of a honeymoon night and her wealthy husband’s undeniable charm. When Laurel finds out her faux wedding has produced a very real result, she reaches out to Brett for help. But what can she expect from a virtual stranger—even if he is the father of her unborn child?
After Brett discovers Laurel is pregnant, he sets his mind on marrying her. He’s determined to be the kind of father he never had. But this time around, Laurel will only settle for a love match. Despite their overwhelming chemistry, Brett isn’t convinced he can give her what she needs. Is he capable of stepping up and being the kind of husband and father his new family deserves?
Read an Excerpt
“Talk about a lucky roll of the dice.” Henry Davenport’s canary-eating smile said it all. The only thing missing from his baby-blue tuxedo were yellow feathers. “I do believe I’ve outdone myself this year.”
“You have.” Brett Matthews grinned at his best man. He stood next to him at the front of the Love Dove Wedding Nest, a cheesy hole-in-the-wall chapel in Reno, Nevada. “But no one expects any less from you.”
Henry was the epitome of the idle rich, a billionaire trust-fund baby with nothing better to do with his time than watch his inheritance grow faster than he could spend it. The guy acted like he was still in college, not thirty-two, the same age as Brett. Every year, a group of Henry’s wealthy friends and acquaintances met for a Bacchanalian celebration on his birthday—which just happened to be April Fools’ Day—and two of the partygoers partook in an “adventure” dreamed up by their host extraordinaire.
This year, the birthday boy wanted to throw the tackiest wedding of the century. A roll of gold dice had selected the bride and groom for the one-night marriage. Brett had rolled a pair of sixes. His intended, the same. Now all they had to say was “I do.”
Henry had provided everything from the gaudy apparel to the ice-cube-sized garish wedding ring to the high-priced, highly qualified lawyer who had drawn up a paperweight-worthy prenuptial agreement to protect the vast fortunes of the parties involved and oversee the annulment proceedings.
Not that Brett’s wealth came from family money, as most everyone else’s did. He managed billions with his investment firm, but his personal net worth was from fresh-from-the-mint new money. But for once, that didn’t seem to matter to anyone.
Henry jabbed Brett. “It’s not too late to bow out.”
A fifty-thousand-dollar penalty fee to one of Henry’s favorite charities allowed guests to say no to participating in whatever he’d conjured up for the evening. Forget taking the out. Brett couldn’t. “That wouldn’t be in the spirit of the celebration.”
Henry’s smile widened. “You’ve come a long way, Matthews.”
Brett had. His entire life he’d wanted to show the “old-money” kids he’d grown up with that he was more than the illegitimate son of the Davenports’ housekeeper. Thanks to Henry’s invitation this year, Brett was getting his chance. He should be past the niggling sense of insecurity, but despite everything he’d achieved in his life, he needed this acceptance the most.
He was about to marry the society princess herself. Laurel Worthington was a fun-loving blueblood who graced the Chicago society columns and pages of Town and Country on a regular basis. Okay, marry for one night only, but this was his in. His ticket. His dream.
He’d met Laurel for the first time this afternoon, and she was perfect, the kind of woman he would want for a wife—beautiful, refined, and connected. Maybe he could convince his bride to go out with him after they annulled the marriage. If they did date, telling people how they met would make a good story.
The sequined-clad Elvis impersonator, who would be officiating the ceremony, tapped him on the shoulder. “Ready?”
Elvis played “Love Me Tender” on his guitar. Cynthia Sterling, maid of honor and friend of the bride, sauntered down the aisle in sparkly silver stilettos. The full skirt of her bubblegum-pink satin bridesmaid dress swayed, and the crinolines underneath rustled.
“Last chance to jilt your bride,” Henry whispered.
Brett ignored him. Ignored the pounding of his heart. Ignored the sweat dampening his collar.
This is it.
As his bride stepped into view, he sucked in a breath. Laurel should have looked ridiculous wearing bridal apparel even thrift stores wouldn’t accept, while carrying a bouquet of silk carnations that had seen better days.
But she didn’t.
He’d never seen a more beautiful bride—despite the puffy sleeves and linebacker-worthy shoulder pads. She was the type of woman he dreamed about dating, loving, marrying.
Talk about icing on the wedding cake. Brett grinned. Fate had brought him and Laurel together, and he had zero complaints.
She flashed him a shy smile, and his heart melted.
Out of your league, Matthews.
Not any longer.
Ryland Guyer, a member of the US Ski Team and heir to Guyer Gear, a sportswear brand, stood next to Laurel. Wearing a lavender tuxedo, he held out his arm to the bride to escort her down the aisle.
This is it. This is really it.
With slow steps, she followed the path worn into the carpeted aisle. Her polyester lace gown hugged her luscious curves. Her wheat-brown hair shimmered with golden-honey highlights beneath a rhinestone tiara with a ten-inch puff of tulle veil.
When she reached the altar, a grinning Ryland waved her on. Laurel extended her arm to Brett. Her sparkling blue eyes met his.
A rush of anticipation surged through him. He wanted to forget this was all an act.
Swallowing the lump lodged in his throat, he took her hand in his. So delicate, so soft, so lovely. And his…for tonight.
With a genuine smile, he faced the officiant.
Thanks to a roll of the dice, Brett Matthews had made it. He finally belonged.
And he would make the most of the opportunity.