Barefoot in White - Roxanne St. Claire

Roxanne St. Claire - The Barefoot Bay Brides Trilogy #1 - Barefoot in White

Barefoot in White (The Barefoot Bay Brides Trilogy #1)
Roxanne St. Claire


Chapter One

“This one…” Willow sniffed her phone. “Yep, this one smells…” She sucked in a breath so deep it quivered her nostrils. “…like a whole bunch of trouble.”

“Her texts stink?” Gussie looked up from her place on the floor, where she sat surrounded by about a hundred different swatches of fabric.

“Like Limburger in the sun.” Willow exhaled and scrolled through the last five messages from the high-maintenance bride-to-be, clearing her throat to imitate this ass-pain of a bride. “My MOH and I will arrive at Casa Blanca on the fourth to do a full resort inspection and interview the wedding planning team, please include all amenities, especially all spa treatments.”

“So, no groom?” Gussie asked with a derisive snort. “Just the bride and maid of honor to do a resort review and planning session? Sounds like an excuse for a girls’ weekend of pampering and freebies, then they’ll probably end up holding the wedding at a different resort.”

“I doubt she’ll find a place that fast.” Willow kept reading. “Oh, this is my personal favorite. ‘Our villa must have two bedrooms and baths with direct ocean view.’” She rolled her eyes. “Can she not read a map of Florida to see that Barefoot Bay is on the Gulf of Mexico, not the Atlantic Ocean?”

“I don’t know if she can read a map, but I can tell you from the swatches she sent, she’s color-blind.” She waved some flesh-toned material.

“Oh, yeah. How are you doing with her ‘all tones of sand’ color palette selections?”

Gussie lifted a section of pale lace, the material barely covering the purple bangs of today’s colorful wig. “You call this a palette? I call it beige, a dull and dangerous state of mind.”

“Told you. This…” She squinted at the bride’s name again. “Misty Trew is trouble.” Willow locked the screen and set the phone on her desk. “Not only does she come with no referral, but who chooses a destination resort a month before the wedding?”

“Someone pregnant,” Gussie suggested.

“Or someone the last bridal consultant dropped.”

“Or someone”—the third member of the Barefoot Brides wedding planning team popped into the office doorway, her whole face covered by a giant gift basket—“with a mongo budget who can get what they want.” Ari inched the basket to the side, her midnight eyes and jet-black hair contrasting the cream-colored bow around the cellophane wrapping. “Which is why I made this over-the-top welcome basket. Any volunteers to take it over to their villa? Bride and maid arrive in a few hours.”

Willow pushed back and stood. “I’ll go. I need the exercise.”

Ari choked softly. “Says the woman who ran two miles this morning.”

“Should have done four,” Willow said as she took the basket, eyeing the mouthwatering contents. “Especially if I knew I’d be left alone with this box of truffles.” She caressed the cellophane, giving a playful gasp when her fingers found an open seam. “Ooh, easy access, too.”

“As if you’d touch a truffle,” Ari teased.

“I have my moments. And our bride-to-be has a long list of demands, er, requests she sent, so I better make sure Artemisia is fully stocked right down to the Rosa Regale champagne that is, and I quote, ‘The only thing I can possibly drink.’”

“Spike it with Prozac while you’re over there,” Gussie suggested.

Laughing, Willow gathered the basket to her chest and headed out of the Casa Blanca Resort & Spa administration area where Barefoot Brides had its one-office headquarters. The upscale resort hummed with the activity of a typical Friday morning, gearing up for a busy weekend in Barefoot Bay.

Outside, the sun was high enough to make the gulf—not the ocean—sparkle turquoise, the water laced with white froth on a picture-perfect late-April morning. Bright yellow umbrellas spilled over the sand like lemon drops in the sunshine.

Willow chose the shady red-brick path that cut through the resort and led to each of the private villas, all named for different North African flowers in keeping with the Moroccan-inspired architecture. With each tap of her feet on the walkway, she let herself slip deeper in love with this piece of paradise.

They had to make this work, no matter how many high-maintenance brides put them through the ringer. Pooling their individual wedding consultant businesses to form Barefoot Brides had been her idea. The three of them moving here to run destination weddings at Casa Blanca was not only a unique selling point