The Engagement Embargo (Meet Me at the Altar #1) - Samantha Chase

Chapter 1

Love is like a hole; once you fall in, it’s hard to get out.


“We have wilting sunflowers over here!” Skylar Jennings called out. “Wilting sunflowers, people!” She looked around frantically. “Can someone please replace these with cheery, non-wilting ones?” With a huff, she continued to scan the large banquet room and felt a sense of pride. The theme for the wedding was country chic–lots of mason jars and sunflowers. It was very rustic and charming. The colors made it feel like you were walking in the mountains during the fall foliage–very trendy. It was the only thing the bride had contributed to the plans.

Wedding planning was her life–even though she had gone to college and graduated with a psychology degree–but it didn’t take long for her to realize it wasn’t her passion. Luckily, she had a plan B to fall back on. After starting up the business three years ago with her two best friends, Josie and Leanna, Meet Me at the Altar Wedding Services had finally started to become a success. Skye loved helping couples plan their big day, and it was always so rewarding to see the look on their faces when they saw how she brought their vision to life and made their day exactly what they wanted.

Today was the first time she found zero joy in it.

“Why are there wilted sunflowers?” a voice called out, and when she turned, she saw one of her partners, Josie, walking toward her.

“I’m already working on it,” Skye assured her. “We have plenty of extras in the cooler so we’ll just swap them out. No big deal.” Then she looked at Josie and started to smirk. “Nice outfit.”

Looking down at herself, Josie frowned. She was in a pair of purple sweatpants, an oversized white buttoned shirt, gray slipper booties, and there were several large rollers in her hair. “We’re in the middle of getting ready and I was too fidgety to stand still so I figured I’d come out and see how things were going.”

“You’re a bridesmaid today,” Skye gently reminded her. “And not one of the wedding planners. We’ve been over this a million times. I’ve got it all under control.”

Another frown from Josie. “This isn’t right.”

Skye looked around frantically. “What? What isn’t right? This looks exactly like the picture Tracy printed out for us from her Pinterest board!”

“That’s not what I mean. This wedding as a whole. It’s just…it’s wrong.” She sighed and looked at Skye sadly. “My brother is making a huge mistake.”

Actually, her brother was on his fourth mistake, but who was counting?

This wasn’t a topic Skye particularly wanted to discuss, so she simply nodded and let her friend talk.

“Think about it,” Josie went on. “We’ve dealt with dozens of brides in the last few years, and when did one ever hand us a picture off the internet and say, ‘Do this’ and then have no interest in anything else, huh? It was weird and it’s wrong and…I just can’t believe he doesn’t see it!”

“I get why you’re concerned, and yes, it was a little strange, but…not every bride is all about the details. Plus, Elliott was more than happy to fill in the gaps and he had enough enthusiasm for both of them.”

“Elliott is an idiot.”

Skye fought a smirk. “That’s your brother you’re talking about, and you know he’s not an idiot. He’s a borderline genius.” She shrugged. “He just happens to be in love with being in love. You can’t fault him for it. Isn’t that something we all want? To be in love and have someone love us back?”

I know I wouldn’t mind that…

“Skye, this is his fourth engagement…”

“But only the first to get to the wedding day, so…”

They were silent for several minutes as they watched their staff scurry around putting finishing touches on the room–including replacing the wilting flowers. “I just don’t like seeing him get hurt.”

“He’s not going to get hurt,” Skye softly replied. “This is what he’s always wanted. If anything, he’s floating on a cloud of happiness right now. This is his day and you need to be happy for him.”


“No maybes about it. Now go and change out of that outfit, put on your gown, and let’s do this.”

And with a small groan, Josie agreed and made her way out of the room and back to the bridal suite.

“Okay, another crisis averted.” And she prayed it was the last.

So far, it had been a fairly uneventful day. It seemed like everyone was on their best behavior today