Secret Weapon Spouse - By B. J. Daniels
Trouble. Samantha Peters knew it the moment she saw the bride-to-be. Caroline Graham looked upset but trying hard not to show it as she stepped into Samantha’s office, followed by a man who was clearly not her fiancé.
“Thank you for making time to see me today,” Caroline said, then seemed to remember she wasn’t alone. “This is my brother, Alex.”
Samantha came around her desk to shake his hand. He was tall, broad in the shoulders with light brown hair—almost blond—and intense eyes that at first she thought were blue but on closer inspection found they changed color with the light. Right now they were more green and flecked with gold.
As her hand disappeared into his large one, she found his touch dry and warm, his grip strong, self-assured. But Samantha wouldn’t have expected anything less from one of Caroline Graham’s brothers.
Alex, she recalled from her research, was the fire-man. In her business, Samantha made a point of knowing as much as she could about her client’s family.
As she shook Alex Graham’s hand she told herself he could just as easily have been the brother who ran the Graham financial empire instead of the black sheep of the family. He looked completely at home in the expensive pin-striped gray suit that fit him perfectly.
Her eyes locked with his for just an instant. He seemed distracted, his sister Caroline nervous. Samantha couldn’t help but wonder why Caroline had called, insisting she had to see her—let alone why she’d brought her brother with her today instead of her fiancé.
“Please sit down,” Samantha said as he released her hand. She pushed her tortoiseshell-rimmed glasses up and braced herself for the worst.
She’d been in this business long enough not to jump to conclusions let alone panic. Cool under pressure. That was Samantha Peters. Some said ice water ran through her veins. They had no idea. But if there was one asset she brought to her job as a wedding planner, it was unruffled composure. The same went for her other job—the one that took place in the hidden soundproof room upstairs over the shop.
At Weddings Your Way, Samantha was the detail person. She was the one who saw that each client’s wedding came off without even the tiniest snag. It was one of the reasons she was paid the big bucks.
“Is there a problem?” Samantha asked when Caroline and Alex had taken their chairs. Normally, she would have pulled up a chair, as well, making the meeting more informal, more personal.
Today, Samantha chose to sit behind her desk. That alone should have told her something.
The thing about brides was that they often panicked for all kinds of reasons: family arguments that required a change of setting at both the wedding and reception; the loss or gain of too much weight before their final dress fitting; bridesmaids who got pregnant, broke their legs, cut their hair or dyed it a hideous color before the wedding. The list went on and on.
It was Samantha’s job to pacify all parties and solve those problems if possible before the big day. She wasn’t too worried even though the Graham-Wellington wedding would be one of the largest affairs Weddings Your Way would handle this year and that was saying a lot given their clientele. Also Samantha had been working on this wedding for more than six months and still had six months to go since Caroline wanted a Christmas wedding and it was only June.
“How can I help you?” she asked looking up from her desk at the bride-to-be. Caroline Graham was tall and willowy, blond and beautiful with a grace born of good genes and unlimited money.
“There might be a problem,” Caroline said, fiddling with her engagement ring. Another bad sign.
Alex shifted in the plush chair provided for clients, his gaze lingering on his sister, a frown furrowing his brow.
Samantha could feel the tension in the air, a high-pitched electric inaudible buzz. He looked at Samantha as if he didn’t have any more of a clue than she did. She felt an unexpected jolt as he continued to probe her gaze for…for what? She had no idea.
She’d already pulled out the Graham-Wellington file and gone over the details after Caroline’s call. But she opened it now and picked up her pen, concentrating on the checklist form in front of her to regain her balance. She had a gift when it came to hysterical brides and grooms with cold feet. She would have taken either right now. There was something