It Happened One Wedding Page 87

“Use the checklist on me,” he said intently.

When she paused—her head spinning with everything he’d just said—he continued on with the list himself.

“Not hung up on a prior relationship. Check. Settled in my career. Check. Available whenever you want. Check. I have all the qualifications. The only thing I was missing was the number-one rule: I said I didn’t want to be in a serious relationship.” He moved closer, linking his fingers through hers. “And now I know that with you, I want that more than anything. Just give me a chance, Sidney. Let me show you that I can be the man you’re looking for. I promise you won’t regret it.”

Sidney sat there for several moments, her throat feeling tight. He was right—she did know how good they were together. She could so easily picture them laughing over dinner, or breakfast, or while hanging out with friends or spending the holidays up in Wisconsin with Isabelle, Simon, his parents, and a cozy ranch filled with little kids. She could picture the quieter moments, too—when she would be there for him after a tough day at work, or him listening as she talked about some new development in the complex relationship she had with her father.

And with her whole heart, she wanted all of that. She wanted to believe they really could do this.

But there was one thing she needed to know first.

“So, I have a question.” She looked Vaughn right in the eyes, for once not trying to hide her vulnerability. “What does it mean when a guy who has spent years avoiding commitment says he’s suddenly changed his mind? Is it a fluke thing he’s going to regret in a couple of months, or is it the real deal?”

His hand caressed her cheek, his voice husky with emotion. “It means he’s found the one woman who makes him want to be a happily-ever-after type. So bring on the damn singing birds and woodland animals.”

Sidney smiled, tears filling her eyes. “Good answer.” She reached for him and pulled his mouth down to hers. He cupped her face between his hands, kissing her tenderly, and then slowly deepened the kiss. When they finally pulled apart, he gave her a no-nonsense look.

“I think it goes without saying that you will be un-inviting Two-Minute Tyler to this wedding.”

“Two-Minute Tyler got nixed two weeks ago,” she said.

Vaughn looked unmistakably pleased, hearing this. “Why?”

She slid her arms around his neck. “Because when he kissed me, I pictured you instead.”

“Well, I hope you soaked it up, Sinclair. Because that was the last first kiss you’ll ever have.” He bent his head, his voice low and possessive. “All the rest are mine.”


ADMITTEDLY, HE WASN’T the biggest expert on such things. But from what Vaughn could tell, the Sinclair-Roberts wedding was a huge success.

Standing by the bar in the corner of the room, he surveyed the elegant scene before him. Guests mingled among candlelit ivory-linen-topped tables decorated with centerpieces of roses and orchids. The band played Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” as couples danced on the ballroom floor, and through the open French doors he saw more guests on the terrace, laughing, talking, and admiring the view of the lake.

Even a few minor blips hadn’t dampened the spirits of the evening. Uncle Finn’s impromptu—and slightly slurred—toast in which he’d rousingly asked everyone to raise a glass to “Simon and Annabelle.” A slightly awkward moment in the receiving line when Vaughn’s grandmother got on her pedestal about the high divorce rate among “kids these days” while talking to Isabelle and Sidney’s thrice-remarried father. The mild pouting by Cousin Anna, who—after clinking her champagne flute nearly nonstop during the salad course—had returned from the restroom to find her stemware mysteriously replaced by plastic.

Vaughn’s gaze drifted to the left, toward the foyer, where he saw Sidney heading up the wide, curving staircase behind her sister. In one hand she held the train of Isabelle’s dress—there appeared to be some sort of wardrobe malfunction, although they were both laughing as they walked up the steps. Down on the main level, the photographer scurried into action to capture the moment, while Vaughn tried to decide what was more captivating: Sidney’s smile, or the strapless champagne-colored dress that skimmed over her every curve. Between that, the siren-like waves of her auburn hair, the smoky eyeliner, and the strappy heels, he’d barely been able to tear his eyes away from her since she’d walked down the aisle during the wedding ceremony.

Yesterday they’d made the decision to keep the situation between them on the down-low, not wanting to detract anything from Isabelle and Simon’s big night. Although there’d certainly been a lot of long, intimate looks during the rehearsal dinner, they’d otherwise proceeded as usual, playing their roles of best man and maid of honor and not doing anything overt to out themselves as a couple.

Then, during last night’s toasts, when the two of them had been seated next to each other at a table with their families, Sidney had delivered the bad news.

“I can’t wait to get you alone tonight,” Vaughn had said in a low voice, speaking in Sidney’s ear as everyone laughed while Simon told a funny story about his groomsman Kimo.

“Oh . . . I forgot to mention: I’m not going home tonight,” she said. “I’m spending the night in a suite with Isabelle at the Four Seasons. We thought it would make things easier in the morning, since the church is right across the street from the hotel.”

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