Hey folks, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and there’s a wedding in the wings for the Harts of San Francisco. You’d think a Valentine’s Day wedding would be all hearts and flowers and sweet as can be, but Jenna and Larry’s wedding is anything but …
Please read an excerpt to find out what happens when a wedding becomes a reality show.
“She wouldn’t dare!” Jenna Hart rose to her full height and towered over her baby sister, Melisa. “It’s my wedding, not a reality show.”
Of course, shooting the messenger never worked, but it sure felt good.
“Contract’s already signed.” Melisa made a dour face and slapped a pink manila folder on Jenna’s ironing board. “I’m sorry, but you made a deal and you have to play.”
Last December, both Jenna and Melisa had encouraged their eldest sister, Cait, to take her husband’s surname and start a business. In returned, they had agreed to be her first clients. Hence, Cait Wonder and her business, Cait’s Wonderful Weddings, was born.
Melisa had had a New Year’s Eve extravaganza, which was another story on its own, but now, it was time for Jenna to pay the piper.
“Cait’s gone over the top, completely.” Jenna swept the folder onto the floor, scattering the contents.
Melisa, who usually sympathized with her concerning Cait’s screwball plans, shrugged and twisted her lips. “This will promote your design firm. Think of the visibility you’ll get.”
“I can’t do it! It’s going to be a zoo.” Jenna threw up her hands and paced around the small design studio. She was an independent fashion designer and owned Hart in SF Designs based in San Francisco.
She was also one of a few designers not headquartered in New York, London, Milan, or Paris, and she needed the publicity. At the same time, it was her wedding, and maybe behind the glamour and glitz of the fashion business, Jenna was still an old-fashioned girl who wanted a quiet church wedding—not the media extravaganza her sisters seemed to believe she really, truly wanted and needed.
Melisa calmly picked up the folder and showed Jenna the spec sheet. “You already agreed to the fashion show, right? You also agreed to the assortment of pets each groomsman would escort. You even agreed to the pet adoption after the reception.”
“Yes, yes, and yes!” Jenna tapped her finger on the terms and conditions. “But I didn’t agree to the reality show, especially one where I have to take on-camera dares.”
The popular reality show, She Wouldn’t Dare, was based on goading celebrities to accept challenges during important events—in this case, Jenna’s wedding to her fireman hero, Larry Davison.
They’d met a year ago when the mascot for her Valentine’s Day fashion show, a sweet and gassy basset hound puppy named Harley, was lost and then found by Larry.
A runway show, bachelor auction, and a house fire later, Jenna and Larry fell in love and decided to marry. At the time, it seemed fitting to have the wedding on Valentine’s Day. Romance, hearts, flowers, chocolates, and wedding vows went well with Cupid’s arrows.
But now, after Melisa’s raucous and highly publicized New Year’s Eve wedding, Jenna was tempted to take Larry and their dog, Harley, and elope.
“You’ll have to speak to Cait about the contract,” Melisa said. “I’m afraid you gave her power of attorney …”
“She wouldn’t dare.”
Melisa flipped to the signature page. “She already did. I don’t think you can afford the cancellation clause.”
She definitely couldn’t, and it might be a good idea to do the show. In fact, the exposure could get her name recognition and be a boost to her brand. Hadn’t a marketing guru once told her that all publicity, bad or good, was good publicity?
“When do they start shooting?” Jenna’s eyes darted wildly around her studio, currently in a deep state of chaos with half-finished dresses and material tossed everywhere.
“Camera crews are outside with Cait.” Melisa turned to the double doors and flung them wide open. “Come on in, Jenna Hart is ready to rock and roll.”
Jenna watched in horror as her older sister, Cait, led the camera and sound crew into her tiny studio, followed by the host of She Wouldn’t Dare, actress Amy Suzuki, who’d starred on the now defunct Romancing the Racer reality show a few years back. The show was a flop and cancelled when the motorcycle racer crashed and ended up in the hospital due to being distracted over her and the drama she’d caused.
“Welcome to this episode of She Wouldn’t Dare, featuring up and coming San Francisco fashion designer, Jenna Hart.” The Asian-American beauty spoke to the camera as she positioned herself beside Jenna. “We’re in Jenna’s design studio where she is busy putting together her bridal collection. How are you feeling today? Is the pressure ramping up?”
Jenna was sweaty, her hair was a mess, and she hadn’t put on makeup. She glared at her two sisters and felt every sharp pain of the knives stabbing and twisting in her back.
Gritting her teeth, she forced a smile for the camera. “Everything’s going great. I have these two bridesmaid’s dresses on the forms, and my two wonderfully adoring sisters just happen to be here for a fitting.”
There, that’ll get back at them and give them on camera time. See how they like not having their hair sprayed and their clothes ironed before going on camera.
“Awesome,” Amy chirped. “I see the two dresses are different in terms of cut and style. Why is that?”
“My two sisters are very different animals.” Jenna kept herself from growling. “Cait, the eldest, is efficient and very bossy. She favors clean lines and bold statements. She also has a figure which presents many design challenges.”
“How so?” Amy shifted her glance from Jenna to Cait’s waistline.
“I have to be careful with balance and form. For example, drawing the eye away from problem areas to provide the illusion of a slender femininity.”
“Rawrrr …” Amy made a catty noise as she place the mic in front of Cait. “We all know how difficult bridesmaid dresses are. Do you have confidence Jenna can tackle all of the problem areas, as she puts it, and make you a truly memorable dress?”
“I have no doubt. My sister is capable of anything.”
“Do you like your dress?” Amy asked. “After what Jenna said about her design goals?”
“Yes, I do.” Cait crossed her arms. “She captured my personality and style fabulously.”
“That’s why she’s the star.” Amy focused on the form holding together the pieces of Melisa’s dress, a lacey, frilly concoction of tulle and soft curves. “Tell me about your younger sister, Melisa.”
“She’s always been a sweetheart,” Jenna said. “Until now.”
“Oh, do tell. Is that why her dress is so juvenile?”
Jenna couldn’t help smirking at the frown which flickered across Melisa’s face. “She’s the baby of the family, almost, and she follows Cait around like a little duck.”
“I do not.” Melisa put her hands on her hips and stamped her foot. “I may be nice, but I’m no pushover.”
“Do you like the dress she designed for you?” Amy ran her fingers from the beaded lace bodice down to the poufy tulle skirt.
“No, it’s too fairy tale.” Melisa wrinkled her brow. “The problem with Jenna is she underestimates me. I don’t believe this dress reflects who I am.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that,” Amy said. “If Jenna had time for a do over, would you want her to make you another dress?”
“Of course.” Melisa jutted her chin at her designer sister. “I’m no longer that dreamy little girl she thinks I am.”
“Cait, Melisa, tell me something.” Amy chuckled in an annoyingly saccharine voice. “Is there anything Jenna wouldn’t dare?”
“Nothing whatsoever.” Cait bobbed her head as if she were an expert on Jenna, having bossed her around since she came home from the hospital. “Jenna has no circuit breakers. She’ll try and do anything.”
“Jenna’s brave. She always did her own thing,” Melisa said. “I looked up to her, and I still do.”
“Wonderful.” Amy turned to the camera. Her assistant handed her a pair of scissors. “Jenna Hart, you are five weeks away from your wedding. For your first dare on the She Wouldn’t Dare: Wedding Edition show, I dare you to cut up Cait’s dress, the one she likes, and replace it with one that isn’t so businesslike.”
“Can I cut up Melisa’s dress instead?” Jenna’s heart took a flying leap. There was no way she could redo both Melisa and Cait’s dress.
“No, the dare is to cut up Cait’s dress. She’s going to be in a wedding, not a presidential cabinet meeting. Up for grabs is a home remodel worth fifty thousand dollars.” Amy put the scissors in Jenna’s hand as the countdown clock began to tick.
“Does it have to be a remodel or does new construction qualify?” Jenna’s parents’ house had burned down earlier in the year, and they were having a new one built.
“New construction is okay as long as it’s within the budget. Do you take the dare? You have ten seconds left.” Amy turned to the camera and said, “She wouldn’t dare, or would she?”
Jenna swallowed and bit her lips, computing time and material estimates in her head. She owed her sister-in-law, Nadine, a dress, and her mother’s dress needed alterations. As for her own gown, she had a bad case of designer’s block, and it was still on the drawing board.
“Four, three, two,” Amy counted down.
“I’ll do it.” Jenna slashed the scissors across the satin lapel of Cait’s dress and ripped in the bodice.
“No!” Cait lunged to the form and put her arms around it, almost getting cut. “I love this dress. I love it, I love it.”[End of Excerpt]
To read more, please PRE-ORDER Valentine Wedding Hound for a special pre-order price of 99c! Be sure to check out the other Have A Hart stories including:
Valentine Hound Dog, #2 [when Jenna and Larry meet]
I hope your Valentine’s Day is all hearts and flowers and everything sweet! Kisses, Rachelle
Rachelle Ayala is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her foremost goal is to take readers on a shared emotional journey with her characters as they grow and become more true to themselves. Rachelle believes in the power of love to overcome obstacles and feels that everyone should find love as often as possible, especially if it’s within the pages of a book.
Her book, Knowing Vera, won the 2015 Angie Ovation Award, A Father for Christmas garnered a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, Christmas Stray received a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, and Playing for the Save got the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in Realistic Fiction.
She is also a writing teacher and founder of the Romance In A Month writing community. She lives in California with her husband and has three children and two birds.