The Substitute Release Day
by Denise Grover Swank
The Wedding Pact, Book 1
The first book in a humorous contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Denise Grover Swank.
Megan Vandemeer meant to tell her parents about her broken engagement, but a month and a half later she finds herself boarding a plane home to her wedding. Having stretched avoidance to its limits, it’s time to come clean–a terrifying prospect since her mother is sure to blame her rather than her cheating, emotionally frigid ex. A couple of drinks and two Dramamine later, Megan finds herself spilling her sob story to the tall, dark, and handsome stranger in the seat next to her.
With only one week left to save his business, Josh McMillan boards a plane to Kansas City in a last-ditch effort, leaving the details to chance. An unexpected answer is delivered in the form of the beautiful brunette beside him. Though she’s completely loopy, her honesty, openness, and humor charm him. So when she passes out before landing, he helps her off the plane–a good deed that leads to a colossal misunderstanding. Her parents assume he’s her fiancé. In a twist of fate, the mix-up might help Josh save his business, so he plays along, figuring he can help Megan too. All he has to do is stage a public break up convincing enough to appease her mother.
Josh is only supposed to be a substitute groom, but the more time he and Megan spend together, the more their pretend engagement starts to feel real…and the less they want to break it off. Can a relationship that began as a farce turn into happily ever after?
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“Let’s go back to the part where you told him you were here!”
Josh sat back down and leaned his elbows on his knees. He looked up at her, pleading. “I told him that I was helping you. He wanted to know how exactly I was helping you—”
“I bet he did,” she said sarcastically.
“—so I told him you were in a desperate situation.”
“You told him that you were posing as my fiancé?”
He nodded, unable to look her in the eye. “Yeah. I’m sorry.”
“Didn’t he want to know why you were helping me?”
He took a deep breath, then looked up at her. He needed to tell her the truth. Or at least the part of it that directly impacted her. “Look, I wasn’t lying when I said I never meant for this to happen. Your mother heard me say I was your fiancé. I wasn’t myself…you saw me on the plane when I boarded. So when your mother assumed I was Jay, she swept me along in her cloud of…Knickers-ness… Well, the next thing I knew, I was still carrying you and we had wandered to baggage claim. How could I correct her at that point? I was in dire straits with my business, and like I told you, I’d decided to hand it all to fate, so I figured if I did a good deed, the cosmos would do one for me in return. Stupid, I know.”
She turned to the side and he could feel that he was losing her. “Megan, this isn’t coming out right.” He groaned in frustration, then stood and moved in front of her. “When I decided to go through with this, I admit I did it for selfish reasons, but then I got to know you.” He slowly lifted his hands and placed them gently on her upper arms. “As stupid as this sounds, I like you. Like really like you. I’ve never fallen for someone this quickly, and while it kind of freaks me out, I’m not ready to end this yet. At least not like this.”
She looked up at him, still defensive. “You’re doing all of this because you like me?” She took a step back, her arms dropping to her sides. “That’s not a reason.”
He stopped in front of her, lifting a hand to the side of her face. “It’s the oldest reason under the sun.”
Her body relaxed and she pressed her cheek into her palm.
Encouraged, he lowered his head, his lips hovering over hers. His tongue ran along her lower lip, and her breath was hot on his face. “Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy does anything he can to impress girl.”
She lifted her face and pressed her lips to his.
He wrapped an arm around her back and pulled her against his chest. Before he even registered what he was doing, his tongue parted her lips and plunged into her mouth as she opened to him, so lush and soft and… Her hands lifted to his head and she held him firmly against her mouth, bringing their kiss deeper. Wanting to be even closer, he tangled one hand in her soft thick hair.
It took him a couple of seconds to realize someone was knocking on the door. He dragged his mouth from hers, lifting his head as he tried to gather his senses.
“Megan,” her mother called out as she knocked again. “We need you downstairs.”
She groaned and closed her eyes. “I’ll be right there.”
“Don’t dawdle like you usually do.”
His hand was still in her hair, holding her inches from his face. She opened her eyes and looked up at him, her gaze dreamy. “What is this, Josh?”
He gave her a lopsided grin. “What? You’ve never made out before?”
“You know that’s not what I meant.”
“I thought I was demonstrating the lengths to which I’d go to impress you.”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks.
She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity.
Or so she leads you to believe.