The Bridesmaid’s Checklist Series Book 1
By K.T. Castle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
The whole event kicks off with the worst kind of surprise when Kassandra discovers who her friend's fiancé really is, and she's torn between supporting Laura's future happiness and hiding the deeply buried, intimate past she shares with the groom-to-be. Struggling to be the bigger person and do all the hard work on her own, Kassandra finds surprising comfort in Josh, the best man in the wedding and someone she's been avoiding for years. He's charming, thoughtful, handsome, and the worst kind of womanizer, but she just can't seem to stay away. All the while,Kassandra can't help wondering if the wedding could be any more cliché—until she finds unexpected ways to change things up a bit.
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“Kassie! Kassie, wake up! I’m getting married,” a high-pitched voice squealed at me at 3:00 a.m.
Who the hell is this? I had picked up the phone without even looking at the caller ID. Oh, Laura. Great.
“Kassandra, are you listening? I’m engaged!” Laura screamed from the other side of the phone.
“Yeah, wow,” I said. “Congratulations.”
“I can’t believe you, Kassie. You should be more excited. You’ll get to be my bridesmaid!” The volume of her voice kept rising.
“I’m happy for you, Laura.” I really didn’t know at the moment how I felt. I was trying to look around to see exactly where I was. “Believe me. It’s just…it’s three o’clock, and I was sleeping.”
After looking at my surroundings, I remembered I was in my own house. I had a minor headache, probably from all the drinking the night before, and my body ached a bit. I looked beside me and found the reason for my hurt.
Next to me I found the silhouette of a beautiful man. The memories of the few hours before my abrupt awakening came back at me:
A bar. A blond. My home. Some sex...in that order.
“I know it’s late, but I had to give you the good news.”
“And news it is.” She was the last of my best friends who was single; not so long ago we roamed all the bars in town together, looking for men to hook up with, and suddenly she was engaged.
The Bridesmaid’s Checklist Book 2
Kassandra is unable to decide the best way to help Marisol, especially when her relationship with Josh reaches a level of commitment she wasn’t expecting. Both girls will have to remember the past in order to move their relationships forward.
Destiny is full of surprises, and sometimes, the plans you have aren’t laid out on the path set before you.
Join Kassandra and Marisol as they remember how they planned Sol’s wedding while they solve together the difficulties in the present.
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She was calmer after she revealed her true intentions to me, but we didn’t discuss her options much more; we both knew that this was a decision she had to make on her own.
An hour later, Josh and Micah returned. We knew they’d already had dinner, since anyone could see red thick tomato sauce smudged all over the toddler’s face. The boys had hunted some chicken soup and green salad for us girls, relieving me of my cooking duties.
After having her soup, Marisol said her farewells. Michael texted her that he was on his way home, and she wanted to be there to greet him. She took some leftover pizza and salad for Michael’s dinner. Josh helped her out with Micah, who’d fallen asleep watching cartoons in my room.
It was a surprise to see Josh so helpful with the rowdy toddler. I didn’t know he liked children, and it surprised me even more that he was actually good with them. I finished cleaning the kitchen, and Josh came back to hug me from behind. “How about I rub your shoulders before I go home?”
“That sounds wonderful,” I said as he stepped back so I could continue with my last task.
“You’re really tense, babe,” he informed me. “What had Sol so upset?” He moved away and leaned against the kitchen counter.
He crossed his arms before commenting, “I thought that would be something to be happy about. I know I’d love to knock you up.” My boyfriend said naturally, as if we’d had a conversation of the sort recently—or at all.
We’d only dated for six months, so the baby subject had never been discussed before. To be honest, I’d never in my life even thought about babies. I was about to ask Josh what exactly he meant by his comment when he distracted me with another question.
“Michael isn’t happy about her being pregnant, or what?”
“Michael doesn’t know yet,” I explained, doing my best not to show the panic I felt at his mention of us having babies. I wasn’t ready for that at all, but this was really about Sol and Michael, not us. “And, please, don’t tell him. I probably shouldn’t have told you anything.”
“Sure, that’s for them to talk about.” At least we agreed on that, but I was still stock on his revelation.
“Josh,” I asked as calmly as I could manage, trying to control the arrhythmia suddenly overtaking my body, “what exactly did you mean by the knocking-me-up comment?” I stopped wiping the microwave so I could look at him and size up his reaction.
“Nothing much,” he nonchalantly answered, his gray eyes clear with honesty. “Just a silly comment.” Then he crossed his arms over the broad chest I loved so much and gazed back at me as if he was gauging my own reaction in return.
I didn’t know if he’d meant anything by those words or if he was just trying to shake off the whole topic—maybe because of the doubtful vibes I was sending his way. I turned and walked to the sink, rinsing the cloth I used to clean the kitchen and placing it next to the wide metallic bowl. “You’d like to have a baby.” It was meant to be a question, but I expressed it as a statement.
“Sure. Why not?” Josh answered with complete honesty. “I’d like to have a baby in the future.”
I exhaled deeply. That made me feel a little better, even if he hadn’t said he wanted to have a baby with me in that future. I walked to the living room, made myself comfortable on the light couch, and took a few seconds to think clearly.
It was rational for anyone to think about having children in the future, wasn’t it?
“I didn’t even know you liked children,” I said. He joined me on the sofa and turned me around so he could massage my shoulders as he’d promised.
“I didn’t know it myself, so of course you didn’t know.” Josh cleared his throat while his hands did their magic. “I thought my nephew was the only kid I liked, and he’s older now. Playing video games with him is the highlight of our relationship. But I’ve been spending some time with babies recently. Nat’s girl is so cute, there are no words to describe her. And Micah—he’s super fun. We had a good time together today.
“My sister got pregnant in her early twenties,” he continued, “so I was still a teenager when Elliot was born. I guess that’s why I didn’t have that much time to enjoy him. He’s twelve now—a real teen nightmare. Of course, being the cool uncle and playing Playstation with him always helps.”
“Oh.” I mean, what else could I say? I knew so little about his family. I already knew he had a sister who was a single mother, but I didn’t know his nephew was a teenager. He rarely talked about them, so I thought he wanted to keep our relationship lighter than ‘meeting-the-family’ status, and I was perfectly fine with it.
He’d mentioned to me that I should meet his sister once or twice, but there’d always been something else to do. Maybe he wasn’t that interested in me meeting his family, but I knew why I didn’t want him to meet mine. Knowing them, they’d make the situation much more formal than it should have been, and I didn’t want Josh to get the impression I was out to tie him down. Our intentions with each other were clear, but the formality and future path of our relationship was a whole other topic. I didn’t know if he was ready for something like that; I knew that at the moment, I definitely wasn’t.
“I still don’t get it, though.” Josh completely changed the subject and therefore my train of thought. “Why is her pregnancy a problem?”
“Marisol hasn’t worked since Micah was born,” I explained. “She’s the best financial manager I’ve ever met. Sol’s great at her job, banks were always throwing money at her to work for them, but most of all, she really enjoyed working with numbers. She was really truly happy. Not that she isn’t right now,” I clarified. “She’s completely in love with Michael and Micah. I don’t think she’d have it any other way. But she was happy to go back to work, to feel fulfilled in her professional life. Now that Micah’s in preschool, she accepted a proposal from a bank she used to work for. Marisol’s super happy getting her chance to work with all those numbers. And she feels that a new baby will change it all. Somehow, she thinks that Michael and her family will pressure her into staying at home with the baby. She’s terrified of that.”
“That’s why she was so upset.” Josh seemed to really understand Marisol’s situation—seemed completely sympathetic. “But there must be other options,” he added. “Besides, a new baby should be a source of joy in any family. I love how children light up a place.”
OMG. I had never expected something like this from a man like Josh. A man I saw with so many different women, I once considered him a womanizer. A man who worked in the fashion world at a modeling agency, scouting models at bars and pubs. A man who kept telling me he was so in love with me. And now he mentioned babies and how wonderful they are.
It was too much for me right then.
“Whether they’re planned or not, having a baby is a big deal. People should be happy about it,” Josh continued, voicing his opinions in a parallel universe I never thought existed.
Yep, too much. I needed to stop this conversation.
“I’m sure,” I said, trying to stop any more ‘how wonderful are babies’ comments. “You know what, Josh? I’m really tired.” I stood and ran from his loving ministrations. “This whole thing with Sol completely drained all my energy and I have an early day tomorrow. Do you mind if I go to bed now?”
“Oh, sure, gorgeous,” he said. “I completely understand.” Josh walked to the door and I followed him closely. “I’ll see you tomorrow, then.” The way he said goodbye sometimes made my body physically reluctant to let him go. His kisses completely melted me, and he knew just how to ignite my body so I couldn’t do anything but want him. Tonight, though, I felt like being alone, and I really needed him to go.
“Will you meet me tomorrow at my place?” he asked as his mouth left a trail of kisses down my neck. “Or should I come back here?” His hands had already unbuttoned my shirt, exposing one of my breasts, and his skilled fingers played with my nipples.
“You’re the devil,” I said, pushing him against the door. He dropped his hands and gave one his most deliciously impish smiles. “Stay away from me.”
“I’ll call you tomorrow and let you know,” I answered.
“I love you, baby,” he said.
I kissed him lightly and closed the door behind him as he left. It might have been silly, but at that moment, I was really thankful that I was on the pill.
The Bridesmaid's Checklist Book 3
Natalie has dropped a major bomb on her, confessing she believes her husband is having an affair. Kassandra is always ready to help a friend, but accepting that one of their marriages isn’t working goes against everything she believes about the people she loves. Wanting to help their friend overcome this difficult situation and provide Natalie the support she needs, Kassandra and the girls pull a lot of strings to help Natalie uncover the truth. In the process, Kassandra discovers remarkable similarities between Josh’s recent changes and those in Natalie’s allegedly cheating husband. She’s always been an independent woman who prides herself on her own success, and when she digs up one dirty secret after another, she can’t help but wonder if her man’s womanizing days are really behind him.
Sometimes, love makes us twist reality to avoid hurting those we hold closest to our hearts. Join Kassandra and Natalie as they struggle to reconcile their fears in love with the truth.
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“I know. I can’t believe it, either.” I was running out of replies, and I had no idea how to make him feel better, seeing as since I struggled with it myself. Honestly, I was more worried about Natalie than anything else. I’d only seen her that upset one other time, when she told us she couldn’t have children. All her life, she’d wished for the perfect family and somehow, against all odds, became a mother with the best husband in the world. The possibility of Andrik hurting her so deeply and taking away her dream seemed surreal.
“I’m sure it’s some sort of misunderstanding.” Josh couldn’t let it go. “You have to make Nat talk to him. He isn’t an asshole. He worships the ground she walks on. It makes no fucking sense.”
“I’ll check on her tomorrow,” I said. “Tell the rest of the girls about it. Natalie needs us.” I rubbed my pant legs, my hands feeling cold and unpleasantly damp.
“But make sure she talks to her husband.” He gave me a determined stare before looking back at the road. “Andrik isn’t that kind of man. I wouldn't be surprised if Ed had a fling on the side, but not Andrik. Never him.”
“What makes you so sure?” His words surprised me. Edward was his best friend, and Josh had no problem picturing him cheating on his wife. Why couldn’t Andrik cheat on Nat? He’d cheated before; in fact, he’d cheated on his previous wife with Nat, and that was how they fell in love. He’d been married before he broke his wedding vows and ultimately left his family to begin a new one with my friend. I didn’t like it, but I couldn’t discard the possibility that he’d do it again.
“There’s just something about the way he looks at her. It’s so obvious how much he loves her. He’s still in love with her. I’m just sure.” Josh switched gears angrily, and I was afraid he’d wreck the clutch and not even notice. He’d regret that later. “It’s like when you told me you thought Dzed was cheating on Babah.”
“Shut the hell up!” What did my grandparents have to do with anything?
“Exactly! Not fucking believable.” He shook his index finger at the windshield before slamming his hand bitterly back down on the wheel.
“Why do you have to use my grandparents as an example?”
“I couldn’t use any of our parents.” He shrugged. Josh’s mother had raised him on her own, and my parents had died when I was five. While our families weren’t the best illustration, I still held onto the greatest memories of my parents as a couple. “I’m sorry, babe,” he added. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m so fucking shocked.”
“I couldn’t tell.” I chuckled softly and rolled my eyes. “And I feel the same way. I just don’t understand why you feel so strongly about this.”
“I really like them. They’ve been kind of an example to me. I look at them, and that’s the kind of life I want with you.” Josh moved his hand from the wheel to take mine. “Of course, it’s nice that there’s not such a big age gap between us.” He winked at me, then let out a long, slow breath. “I guess I also feel really protective of Nat. She’s too sweet. I don’t want her to hurt, especially since I consider her our personal cupid. We might not be together if it wasn’t for her.”
It surprised me that he felt the same way as I did about my friend’s support of our relationship. Natalie had cheered us on from the very beginning. She’d always made little remarks about how Josh was the perfect man for me, even when I was in total denial. She’d been his champion whenever we were all in the same room. When I turned the other way, she kept pushing him toward me, and she never gave up. Even if she asked us not to interfere, I owed her whatever help I could give to save her marriage.
We’d left late to pick up Ella and take her and Natalie home, and when we finally got back to our house, I was exhausted. What I really needed was a long bath before bed, and I’d work on figuring out how to help Natalie—without hurting her even more—in the morning. She’d torture herself endlessly if she waited too long to talk to Andrik about what was going on.
Josh parked in front the house, not bothering with the garage. As he turned off the engine, I let myself out and went to unlock the front door. Once I’d stepped inside the wooden entryway, I felt his hands on my waist, and he turned me around to face him, pressing me against the wall with his body. He pressed his lips against mine, working his magic and leaving me sore. Eager hands roamed my body until they found their way to my neck. Josh held my face tenderly, making me feel precious, needed. Then the kisses that had quickly made me forget about my friend’s situation abruptly stopped. Josh’s forehead rested against mine, both of us breathing heavily.
“I can see the gears turning in your head,” he said. “I know you’re trying to figure out a way to help Natalie. And while I’m nothing but supportive, I want you to remember something.” He pulled back a little, his deep gray eyes gazing intently into mine. “I love you, Kass. You’re everything to me.”
“I love you, too.”
“I just need you to know that. Whatever’s going on with Natalie and Andrik is upsetting and sad, and I really hope it isn’t true. The only thing I know for sure is how much I love you. How much I want you.”
Anything I could have said would have just repeated what he’d already told me. Instead of telling him how much I loved him back, I showed him the best way I knew how.
I jumped into his arms and wrapped my legs firmly around his waist, my lips seeking his to continue their previous assault. I’d always found it easier to communicate with my body what I couldn’t voice. I kissed his neck and could almost feel his eyes roll to the back of his head in pleasure. It gave him time to say, “I know it’s totally selfish, but I don’t want to worry about our friends tonight.”
I pulled my lips away from the soft skin of his neck, where I’d felt his heartbeat pulsing, and leaned back to look at him. “Take me upstairs,” I said, a little breathless. “I want to show you exactly how I feel about you.”
When she's not busy with work, in front of a computer placing many thoughts in order, she does her best to be creative or relax with a good TV series and snacks. Some of her favorite characters are Lucifer, Jace, Clary, Affton, Cable, Poppy, Zack, Maleficent, and Ariel.
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