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New Release | Marie, Always A Bridesmaid by Lucinda Race #romance #laterinliferomance #ku #bookboost
Title Marie, Always A Bridesmaid
Author Lucinda Race
Genre Contemporary Romance, Later in life Romance
Bridesmaid dresses forever… Marie Dorz loved her life. A vice president at a large bank, working with commercial clients to change the landscape of Charlotte and the surrounding towns. She has an amazing house, great friends and her best friend, Jeremy, is always her plus one. Who needs to get married, right? Except secretly, Marie longs for more but has zero time to make it happen. Jeremy Williams is happy to be Marie’s plus one for any event, work or personal. In fact, he’d like to be her permanent plus one but settles for being her best friend. They’ve worked together in his real estate business and now he’s found an inn that is begging to be restored to its former grandeur in a small town outside of the city. He asks Marie to join him on his fact-finding mission and then to his surprise she wants to be his partner, business partner that is. Will working together bring them even closer and maybe help them discover true love? Or will Marie’s matchmaking change their status quo and push them apart forever? Marie is a standalone novella. A sweet and clean romantic story with a guaranteed happily ever after. Happy reading!
“Marie Dorz, how can you possibly want to take this hideous bridesmaid dress back to Charlotte?” Her sister, Rose, was trying to close and latch the top of an overstuffed suitcase.
“Give me the darn dress.” Marie thrust out her hand. “I’ll just leave it here. It’s not like I’ll ever wear it again.”
With a sweet smile, she said, “You heard Jackie, she said it was easy to shorten. With a complete makeover, it might make a pretty cocktail dress for a bank function.”
Marie quirked her brow. “It would take a total makeover. Those ruffles”—she faked a shudder—“aren’t worth the effort.” She flung herself across the bed. “Why is it brides always say you can just shorten the dress? I swear I’d have to add on to my house if I was in any more weddings and kept all of the bridesmaid dresses.” She rolled to her side and propped herself on an elbow as she studied her happily married younger sister. “How come you never get roped into being a bridesmaid?”
She shrugged. “I’m an introvert with a lot fewer friends.” Rose held the dress up to her body and looked in the mirror before she grimaced and looked over her shoulder at Marie. “You’re right. This dress can’t be saved. Maybe one of these days all the women who had you buy and wear a hideous dress will return the favor.”
“Not likely. I like my simple life with good friends and zero serious entanglements. And it’s the way I want it to stay.” She slapped the bed. “Thank you very much!” Marie hopped up and tossed the ruffle-covered dress across the chair. A knock on the hotel room door drew her attention and she walked over and pulled it open, smiling when she saw one of her best friends. “Hey, Jeremy. Come on in.”
Her oldest friend from Charlotte followed her inside. “Hi, Rose.” He gave them both an easy smile that crinkled the corners of his blue-gray eyes. Running a hand through his closely cropped curly blond hair, he asked, “Ready to get back home?”
“And leave the shores of Cape Cod? No. But I’m going to hit the road as soon as I can get this bag closed.” She shoved the two sides of the suitcase together and finally zipped it shut, then set the bag next to the bed.
“Didn’t you forget something?” He pointed in the direction of the ruffled dress.
With a wave of her hand, she said, “That’s staying here. Maybe the hotel can donate it or something.” With a laugh, she said, “I have no room for another dress I’ll never wear again.”
He gave her an assessing look. “How many weddings have you been in? I’ve been to at least twenty with you.”
“In that neighborhood.” She was not about to confess she had lost count. “Thanks again for coming with me this weekend. It’s easier showing up with the same plus one to a bunch of these events so my well-meaning friends don’t decide to play matchmaker.”
He grinned. “Always happy to be your wingman.”
“If you ever want me to return the favor, just let me know.” She slung her laptop bag over her shoulder and picked up her purse. Jeremy took the handle of her suitcase. “I left my bag with the concierge and I gave the valet the ticket before I came upstairs so the car will be waiting for us.”
Marie was always impressed with his attention to detail. When they had first met, he needed a construction loan to start a housing development. His business plan was impeccable, and she quickly granted him the loan. Over the last ten years, their careers grew in parallel to an easy friendship between them. Jeremy could be counted on to attend business functions at the bank where she was the vice president in commercial lending, and he was a well-respected businessman in and around the Charlotte area so she accompanied him when needed too.
“Thanks again for coming with me.” She stood on tiptoes and pecked his cheek. “You’re a good friend.”
Color flushed his cheeks and his gray-blue eyes grew round. He ran a hand over the slight stubble on his chin. “It was good to get out of town for a long weekend.”
Rose was watching them, her head ping-ponging back and forth. A smile tipped her lips.
“What are you so happy about?” Marie asked her.
“Nothing. It’s just good to know you guys had a nice time. Jeremy, you should come for Thanksgiving this year. The family is gathering at my place in New Hampshire.”
He glanced at Marie who didn’t react until she said with a wide smile, “You should. There’s always tons of food and there is nothing like a holiday in New England. Who knows? We might even get snow.”
He kept his eyes on Marie. “Thanks, Rose. I’ll think about it.”
She pulled open the door and held it for Marie and Jeremy to go in front of her. The trio headed to the lobby, walking alongside each other in the hallway.
Rose said, “What’s your favorite kind of pie? Just in case you come, I want to make sure you have something special.”
“Apple cranberry. It’s one my grandma used to make when we were kids, and it was always the best one.” He gave Marie a quick glance. “What’s your favorite?”
She laughed. “I’m nontraditional. Cheesecake.”
“With cherries or plain?” He gave her a keen look. “Or another kind of fruit?”
“Cherries. And not the New York style. I have a recipe that is to die for.” She slipped her laptop bag over the handle of her roller bag as she took it from his hands. “Maybe when I get a free minute I’ll make one.”
He snorted. “The hardest working vice president I know might have time to bake?”
She knew he must be doubting her ability and her back bristled. “Yes. For what’s truly important I’ll make time. So, watch out, buddy. The next time I bake, you’d better show up hungry.”
He patted his midsection. “Not a problem. And if I decide to join your family for Thanksgiving, I hope you make one for that event too.”
She flashed him a sharp look. “That would be part of the plan. And after you taste mine, it will ruin you for any others.”
“That could very well be the tipping point for whether I accept your sister’s invitation or skip a family holiday altogether.”
The revolving door was just ahead of them. She gave Jeremy a saucy wink. “Don’t worry, Rose. I’m sure once Jeremy gets a taste of my dessert, he’ll be ready to attend one of the best days of the year with us.”
Rose stepped through the door first. “Jeremy, see you at Thanksgiving.”
Marie gave him a cheeky grin and she slipped her sunglasses over her eyes. “Are you driving to Boston, or am I?”
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Award-winning and best-selling author Lucinda Race is a lifelong fan of romantic fiction. As a young girl, she spent hours reading romance novels and getting lost in the hope they represent. While her friends dreamed of becoming doctors and engineers, her dreams were to become a writer—a romance novelist.
As life twisted and turned, she found herself writing nonfiction but longed to turn to her true passion. After developing the storyline for the McKenna Family Romance series, it was time to start living her dream. Her fingers practically fly over computer keys she weaves stories about strong women and the men who love them. To date she has published over 20 romance novels and several paranormal cozy mysteries. Lucinda lives with her two little dogs, a miniature long hair dachshund and a shitzu mix rescue, in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. When she's not at her day job, she’s immersed in her fictional worlds. And if she’s not writing romance novels, she’s reading everything she can get her hands on.
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