To Have and to Hold
Lauren Layne     

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Wedding Belles
Book: 1
Heat Level: Hot  

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?

Other books in the series:

To Have and to Hold is the first full-length novel of Lauren Layne’s Wedding Belles series, and for me, a longer more fleshed out book was enough to push this one into Top Pick category.

Brooke Baldwin learns she can’t precisely trust her own judgment when it comes to men the hard way. The man she lived with, the man she loved, her fiancé turns out to be a con man. Her only saving grace is that she found out before she married him (at the altar, so that was cutting it close) and not after. Yeah, thank God for small mercies. So what does she do? She closes up her wedding planning business and hightails out of LA as fast as she can. New York City, on top of its many other lures, is far enough away to start over, and Wedding Belles is just the kind of company she wants to work for.

Seth Tyler loves his sister, Maya. She’s the only family he has. He’ll do anything within his power to make sure she’s happy, and if that means preventing her from making the biggest mistake of her life by marrying a man she’s only known for three months—who’s only marrying her for her money—so be it. His problem is convincing Maya’s gorgeous blonde wedding planner to not do her job. Convincing her that Maya’s fiancé is just like Brooke’s ex-fiancé. His biggest problem though is just how damn distracting and appealing he finds her.

I’m a total sucker for the handsome, slightly surly and broody hero so Seth was just the man for me. When you combine that with the powerful and undeniable attraction he has to Brooke from the first time he meets her, he’s bonafide winner in my book. And her reaction to him is equally powerful and somewhat amusing.

Brooke sashayed over to the door and swung it open, then promptly realized that there was one element to wedding planning that she’d never experienced, and it was a bad one.

A really bad one:

Wild, instant attraction to the groom.

The man standing on the other side of the door made Brooke’s stomach flip in a way she hadn’t felt, since…ever.

Don’t you just love lust at first sight? And it’s a mutual thing but they both do their best not to show it.

I loved Seth and Brooke’s romance. It had just the right amount of everything: conflict, passion, heat, tension and all the other things that make for a great romance. The one thing that kept running through my mind when I was reading it was, “Resistance is futile.” But then, resistance is a part of what makes it so good.

Ms. Layne does a fabulous job in developing not just the main leads, but the whole cast of characters. She has a knack for creating relationships and friendships that feel real. Look out for Seth best buddy Grant. He doesn’t think Maya should be marrying Neil either but he doesn’t agree with Seth’s heavy-handedness in getting Maya to see things his way. Actually, I would have loved a book about Grant and his true love….  

Like all great books, the end only left me wanting more. And I was seriously lucky in that regard because I promptly dove into and devoured For Better or Worse, the second book in the series. Now I’m champing at the bit to get my hands on To Love and to Cherish, Logan (British hottie alert) and Alexis’s love story. And that one, I have a feeling, is going to be the pièce de résistance of the Wedding Belles series.

~ Beverley