Title: To Have and to Hold
Series: The Wedding Belles #1
Author: Lauren Layne
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: 26 July 2016
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true…but their own.
Discovering her fiancé is an international conman just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Burke’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet, if slightly spoiled, hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse springs.
Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister’s fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?
To Have and To Hold is a very different basis for the emotional baggage surrounding the characters. Can you imagine anything more humiliating than being duped by an international conman and making the discovery moments before taking your vows? I guess finding out moments after could have been worse. My heart went out to Brooke, however, it is soon apparent that the relationship was a little too smooth raising red flags straight away but Brooke was more concerned with the appearance and magic than taking a closer look below the surface. Carried away by the fairytale I don’t think anyone could have imagined this type of implosion. Leaving everything behind, Brooke embarks on a new phase in her life in New York, resurrecting her career while burying her emotions. By not dealing with the residual emotional damage, Brooke is holding onto the pain and heartache while creating additional barriers to finding happiness in her life.
Seth has his own issues, aside from shouldering the responsibility of the family business and being the rock in his family since his father’s sudden death; Seth has his own buried emotional baggage stemming from a previous relationship and feelings of inferiority, surprising for such an outwardly confident alpha 😉 When his younger sister, Maya, announces a surprise and very fast engagement, Seth is understandably suspicious. Taking his brotherly duties to the extreme, he enlists the help of the wedding planner to uncover the secrets he is sure the groom is hiding. can you guess who the wedding planner is??
There are an instant and intense attraction between Brooke and Seth from the very first meeting, however, due to their emotional baggage neither knows what to do with this amount of chemistry leading to more than a little friction. Can anyone say PASSION, because that is what Seth and Brooke have in spades (such a strange saying but I am going with it). There are a lot of personal and professional barriers in the path of Seth and Brooke’s happiness but it was a fascinating journey watching them navigate their way around the obstacles and simultaneously dealing with their personal issues they have been avoiding.
I really enjoyed how the plot mirrored some of the situations Brooke and Seth had previously found themselves in, giving them the chance to take an objective look at the impact it has had on their lives providing the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience. As well as being able to help others avoid the same pitfalls.
To Have and To Hold provides glimpses of the other characters in the series adding to the curiosity of uncovering more of their secrets. I do love getting into the minds of the characters and Lauren Layne provides a banquet for the imagination with her characterisations. I felt I got a two for one package deal with To Have and To Hold on the happily ever after front – want to know what I mean – then you need to read it 😉 The epilogue will leaving you swooning 😘