Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love #2) - Sarah Morgan


Sleeping Beauty didn’t need a prince. She needed strong coffee.


SHE’D EXPECTED HEARTS, flowers and smiles. Not tears.

“Crisis unfolding, two o’clock.” Frankie tapped her earpiece and heard Eva respond.

“It can’t unfold at two o’clock. It’s already five past three.”

“Not the time, the position. Crisis is unfolding ahead of me and to the right.”

There was a pause. “You mean by the apple tree?”

“That’s what I mean.”

“Then why not just say ‘by the apple tree’?”

“Because if you’re going to make me wear an earpiece and look professional, I’m going to sound professional.”

“Frankie, you sound more like the FBI than a floral designer. And how can there be a crisis? Everything is running smoothly. The weather is perfect, the tables are pretty and the cakes are looking stunning if I say so myself. Our bride-to-be looks radiant and the guests will be arriving any minute.”

Frankie stared at the woman crumpled against the tree trunk. “I hate to tell you this but right now the bride-to-be isn’t looking radiant. We have tears. I am the last person to make an observation on the psychology of weddings and all the fluff that surrounds them, but I’m guessing that’s not the usual response. If they reach this stage, it’s because they think marriage is a good thing, am I right?”

“Are you sure they’re not happy tears? And how many tears exactly? One tissue or a whole box?”

“Enough to cause a world shortage. She’s crying like a waterfall after heavy rain. I’m starting to understand why they call it a bridal shower.”

“Oh no! Her makeup will be ruined. Do you know what happened?”

“Maybe she decided she should have gone with the chocolate ganache instead of the orange sugar icing.”


“Or maybe she saw sense and decided to get out now while there’s still time. If I were about to get married, I’d be crying, too, and I’d be crying a hell of a lot harder and louder than she is.”

A sigh vibrated in her ear. “You promised to leave your relationship phobias at the door.”

“I closed the door, but they must have sneaked in through the keyhole.”

“The mood for this event is sunny optimism, remember?”

Frankie stared at the bride-to-be, sobbing under the apple tree. “Not from where I’m standing. It’s been a dry summer, though. The apple tree will be pleased to be watered.”

“Go and give her a hug, Frankie! Tell her everything will be okay.”

“She’s getting married. How can everything be okay?” Sweat pricked the back of her neck. There was only one thing she hated more than bridal showers, and that was weddings. “I will not lie.”

“It’s not a lie! Plenty of people live happily ever after.”

“In fairy stories. In real life they sleep around and get divorced, invariably in that order.” Frankie made a huge effort to smother her prejudices. “Get out here now. This is your area of expertise. You know I’m no good at the touchy-feely thing.”

“I’ll handle it.” This time it was Paige who spoke and who, moments later, strode across the neatly tended lawn, cool and composed despite the New York heat and humidity. “What was she doing immediately before she started crying?”

“She took a phone call.”

“Could you hear any of the conversation?”

“I don’t listen to people’s conversations. Maybe the markets crashed or something, although judging from the size of this house it would need to be a big crash to make a difference.” Frankie pushed her hair away from her sweaty forehead. “Can we do these events indoors from now on? I’m dying.” It was the sort of day that made your clothes stick to your skin and made you dream of iced drinks and air-conditioning.

She thought longingly of her small apartment in Brooklyn.

If she were home now she’d be fiddling with cuttings, tending the herbs on her windowsill and watching the bees flirt with the plants in her tiny garden. Or maybe she’d be on the roof terrace with her friends, sharing a bottle of wine as they watched the sun set over the Manhattan skyline.

Weddings would be the last thing on her mind.

She felt a touch on her arm and glanced toward her friend. “What?”

“You’re stressed. You hate weddings and all things bridal. I wish I didn’t have to ask you to do them, but right now—”

“Our business is in its infancy and we can’t afford to turn them down. I know. And I’m fine with it.” Well, not fine exactly, Frankie thought moodily, but she was here, wasn’t she?

And she understood that they couldn’t be choosy