From This Day Forward
by Lauren Layne
Published by Pocket Books
Prequel to The Wedding Belles Series
Up-and-coming wedding photographer
Leah McHale’s career is on the rise–thanks in no small part to the Wedding Belles, the elite New York wedding planning agency that always throws top-tier business Leah’s way. So when one of the Belles asks Leah to fill in at the former First Daughter's wedding, Leah is overjoyed to say yes–until she finds out who she’ll be working with.
Jason Rhodes is the one man who was able to capture Leah’s heart and, once he had it, promptly stepped all over it and left her broken. Now he’s working side-by-side with her at the biggest wedding of the season and Leah is determined to give him the cold shoulder. Despite his persistence, she is not going to fall for his charming, impish ways again. Not even if he still has that killer, irresistible smile...
My rambling ahead will spoil you. You have been warned!
From This Day Forward is a prequel to The Wedding Belles Series, and is a novella. Because of this, my thoughts will be just a short as the story.
So, it's a cute story. It focuses on two of New York City's top wedding photographers Leah and Jason. They are The Wedding Belle's go to photographers, and they used to date. Didn't end well. After a couple of months of dating, Leah, who at this point has started to realize she is falling in love with Jason, show's up at his apartment with breakfast. A woman, wearing one of Jason's t shirts, answers the door. Leah runs off, heartbroken. What she doesn't realize, is Jason chases after her, but doesn't get to her in time.
After a month of him trying to explain that it wasn't what it looked like, he gives up. He loved her. But after a horrible childhood of living in foster homes and people giving up on him, constantly, he wants a woman who will at least stick around to hear him out.
As fate would have it, The Wedding Belle's are planning the outgoing president's daughter's wedding, and the photographers the couple wanted can no longer come. As its a big wedding, they need two photographers, and Jason and Leah both have a rare weekend free to step in.
The chemistry between Leah and Jason jumps off the pages, and the sex they have is insanely hot. The story is cute, but cliche. After their night of passion after the wedding, she goes to his apartment, and once again, the door is answered by the same woman as last time, but now she is pregnant. She runs. He chases after her. This time though, she decides she should get an explanation. Some closure. She turns around, and bumps into him.
Long story short, its his sister. A sister he only learned he a few years ago. Explanation given. Forgiveness given on both sides. They both admit to loving one another, even after a year long break up. Happily ever after.
My biggest problem with this novella, is that it doesn't add anything to The Wedding Belle's three book series. It barely has Alexis or Heather in it. Heather provides advice to both Jason and Leah, and Alexis hires them on to the wedding, but otherwise, it might as well just be a stand alone story. I am not a big fan of extra content being put in a series, but it adds nothing to the original characters stories.
It's a cute read if you like romance, and a bit of smut (half this book is sexual tension and sex), but if you are looking for some extra Wedding Belle's content, it isn't really here.
Jason: "Neighbors! Think they have thin walls?"
Leah: "Gosh, I hope so. It'll be so much fun for me to hear whatever adolescent girl you manage to pick up giggle when she sees the tiny thing you've got masquerading as a penis."
Now she would be within arm's reach for the next three days, and for the life of him, Jason wasn't sure what he wanted to do about that. Or rather, he did know, but his body and his brain had very different plans in mind. His body was demanding he take her by the hand, drag her to one of their respective rooms, and put his hands on every inch of that pale, smooth flesh. His brain wanted to punish her. Wanted to swipe at her the way she seemed determined to swipe at him, as though they were two enemies on the grade-school playground. As for his heart - fuck his heart. Damn thing had done nothing but gotten him in trouble. - Jason
Leah: "What do we possible have to toast to?"
Jason: "How about the fact that we've made it nearly five minutes without you losing that darling temper of yours and throwing water on my crotch?"
Leah: "That's what you want to toast to? The fact that you have a dry crotch?
Jason: "Well, I'd toast to your dry crotch, but I don't know that you have one - do you, Red?
Leah: "Never mind. I can't talk to you when you're like this."
Leah: "Presumptuous. Contrary to the delusions in your head, you're not every woman's fantasy."
Jason: "I never wanted to be every woman's fantasy. Just yours."
Leah: "Damn you, Rhodes."
Heather: "Dang, she's got you tangled up in all kinds of knots."
Jason: "My beautiful idiot."
Jason: "Let's start over. Start fresh, except this time we can cut straight to the good stuff. Since I already know how to play your body like a fiddle."
Leah: "And I yours."
Jason: "Too true."