Author: Linda Howard
Publication: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (August 10, 2010)
Description: Jaclyn Wilde is a wedding planner who loves her job—usually. But helping Carrie Edwards with her Big Day has been an unrelenting nightmare. Carrie is a bridezilla of mythic nastiness, a diva whose tantrums are just about as crazy as her demands. But the unpleasant task at hand turns seriously criminal when Carrie is brutally murdered and everyone involved with the ceremony is accusing one another of doing the deed.
The problem is, most everyone—from the cake maker and the florist to the wedding-gown retailer and the bridesmaids’ dressmaker—had his or her own reason for wanting the bride dead, including Jaclyn. And while those who felt Carrie’s wrath are now smiling at her demise, Jaclyn refuses to celebrate tragedy, especially since she finds herself in the shadow of suspicion.
Assigned to the case, Detective Eric Wilder finds that there’s too much evidence pointing toward too many suspects. Compounding his problems is Jaclyn, with whom he shared one deeply passionate night before Carrie’s death. Being a prime suspect means that Jaclyn is hands-off just when Eric would rather be hands-on. As the heat intensifies between Eric and Jaclyn, a cold-blooded murderer moves dangerously close. And this time the target is not a bride but one particularly irresistible wedding planner, unaware of a killer’s vow.
My Thoughts: Eric Wilder and Jaclyn Wilde meet when she is at the police station to pay a speeding ticket. She literally runs right into him. They are attracted but go on about their day. Eric is a police detective and Jaclyn is an event planner. They meet again later that evening when she happens to stop into a cop bar to get a drink to unwind from a tough day. Sparks fly, the conversation flows, and, ultimately, they wind up having a one-night stand. He leaves in the morning promising to call her in a week of so when her stretch of six weddings in five days is over.
Jaclyn has a meeting with one of the worst bridezillas ever the next day. Carrie Edwards is marrying the son of a state senator and is determined to have a perfect wedding. Unfortunately she is just mean and seems to delight in throwing everyone else into chaos. She wants new bridesmaid dresses custom made with only a month to go. She doesn't like the flowers. She won't make a decisions about the food. Jaclyn has to try to soothe the venders and pacify the bride. Carrie has a tantrum, slaps Jaclyn across the face and fires her company. Jaclyn is angry and upset. Not about being fired, because she has hated working for Carrie and knows that they will still be collecting most of their contracted fess, but because she so badly wanted to hit Carrie back.
Next thing she knows, someone has killed Carrie by stabbing her with multiple kebob skewers and she is the number one suspect. Eric is assigned to the case and has to act professionally to clear her name which makes her very angry and hurt. Eric doesn't want the investigation to put a stop to their new romance and thinks that the quickest way to get back to the romance is to clear her name as convincingly as possible.
It turns out the Jaclyn saw the probable murderer as she was leaving the meeting with Carrie. She was so upset and angry that she didn't really notice him other than that he was a grey-haired man driving some kind of silver car. Eric investigates Carrie's murder by interviewing her family and friends and discovers that quite a number of people want her dead. His fears that the murder will come after Jaclyn for fear that she recognized him are realized when Jaclyn becomes a near victim of a drive-by shooting.
Besides the intense action, there are some really nice moments of humor in this one. Eric has had the recent bad luck of stopping for coffee two mornings in a row and foiling attempted robberies at each location. In neither case did he take down the criminal with his gun. More humor comes when Jaclyn is doing wedding planning for a hillbilly wedding and trying to help the mother of the groom keep it from being a complete fiasco.
This was a fun and intense romantic suspense novel. I enjoyed it very much.
The sharp twist of pain in her chest both surprised and dismayed her. She didn't want to feel hurt. It was stupid. Intellectually, she knew that Eric was doing his job, knew she couldn't expect him to say anything else. They had no ties. They hadn't even dated. There was nothing between them other than a one-night stand.I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.