Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love #2) - Sarah Morgan Page 0,1

about their clients.

She, Paige and Eva had started their event-and-concierge business, Urban Genie, only a few months earlier after they’d lost their jobs at a large Manhattan-based events company.

Frankie gave a little smile, remembering the giddy excitement and sweaty fear that had come from starting their own company. It had been terrifying but there had also been a powerful feeling of liberation. They had the control.

It had been Paige’s brainchild, and Frankie knew that without her she would very likely be out of a job right now. Which would mean no way to pay her rent. Without the money to pay her rent, she’d have to leave her apartment.

Unease rippled through her, as if someone had thrown a pebble into the quiet, smooth pond that was her life.

Her independence was everything.

And that was why she was here. That and the loyalty she felt toward her friends.

She pushed her glasses back up her nose with the tip of her finger. “I can cope with weddings if that’s what comes our way. Don’t worry about me. She—” Frankie nodded her head toward the woman under the apple tree “—is your priority.”

“I’m going to talk to her. If the guests arrive, stall them. Eva?” Paige adjusted her earpiece. “Don’t bring the cakes out yet. I’ll let you know what’s happening.” She walked over to the bride-to-be.

Frankie knew that whatever the problem was, her friend would deal with it. Paige was a born organizer with a gift for saying exactly the right thing at the right time.

And she possessed another gift, crucial to the success of events like these—she believed in happy endings.

As far as Frankie was concerned, people who believed in happy endings were delusional.

Her parents had separated when she was fourteen, when her father, a sales director, had announced that he was leaving her mother for one of his colleagues.

And as for everything that had happened since—

She stared blindly at the ribbons fluttering in the breeze.

How did people do it? How did they manage to ignore all the statistics and facts and convince themselves they could find one person to be with forever?

Forever didn’t exist.

She shifted restlessly. Paige was right. There was nothing on earth she hated as much as weddings and all things bridal. They filled her with a sense of foreboding. It was like watching a car driving along the freeway, heading toward a pileup. There was a hideous inevitability to it all. She wanted to cover her eyes or shout out a warning. What she didn’t want to be was a witness.

She saw Paige put her arm around the sobbing woman and turned away. She told herself that she was giving them privacy, but truthfully, she didn’t want to look. It was too raw. Too real. Looking stirred up memories she preferred to forget. Fortunately, her job wasn’t to manage the emotions of the clients; it was to provide a floral display that reflected the tone and mood of the event.

The mood was supposed to be happy, so she’d chosen creams and pastels to complement the beautiful linens. Celosia and sweet pea nestled alongside hydrangea and roses in glass pitchers chosen to satisfy the bride-to-be’s request for simplicity.

Of course, simplicity was a relative term, Frankie thought as she surveyed the two long tables. Simplicity could have meant feasting from picnic baskets, but in this case the tables gleamed with silverware and the shimmer of crystal. Charles William Templeton was a lawyer with a famous clientele and sufficient funds at his disposal to ensure that his only daughter, Robyn Rose, could have any wedding she wanted. The Plaza was booked for the following summer. Frankie was relieved Urban Genie wasn’t involved with that event.

The brief for the bridal shower had been garden elegance with a touch of romance. Frankie had managed not to wince as Robyn Rose had mentioned Flower Fairies and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Thanks to Eva, who had no trouble turning their clients’ romantic visions into reality, they’d more than met the brief.

They’d rented chairs and customized them with ribbon that coordinated with the table setting. Handmade silk butterflies were artfully positioned around the garden, and acres of lace created the feel of a fairy grotto. You could almost believe you were in a fairy tale.

Frankie gave a half smile.

Only Eva could have thought it up.

The only nod to simplicity was the mature apple tree currently sheltering the sobbing bride-to-be.

Frankie was bracing herself to start holding off guests when Eva appeared by her side, her cheeks pink