LENGTH: 54,034 words | 178 pages
City planner Remy McIntosh and architect Lane Anders are back from the best-selling novel, Just the Three of Us, to plan their Christmas wedding! When Remy married Kate, he’d only done so because it was the right thing to do, as she was pregnant with Braden. This time around, he’s marrying for love, and he wants everything to be just right.
At the time of their engagement, Virginia didn’t allow same-sex couples to marry, so Lane suggests they splurge and plan the perfect wedding in Hawaii. Because the island is so far away, Remy hires someone local to plan everything for them. He hates giving up so much control, but the wedding planner is someone Lane knew in high school, so she can’t be all bad, can she?
Unfortunately, things go wrong right from the start. Remy hopes to spend a week alone at Christmas with his lover in Hawaii before their families arrive for the wedding. But his son is erroneously booked on the same flight as Remy and Lane, and they have to spend their romantic tropical holiday entertaining a nine year old boy. Then the wedding planner disappears for the weekend to participate in a surfing competition.
When Remy decides to obtain a marriage license on his own, he discovers he needs proof of his divorce, which he doesn’t have with him, and Kate’s stuck in Virginia in a freak snowstorm that may ground her plane until after the wedding is scheduled to take place.
As things continue to spiral out of his control, Remy doesn’t know whether to laugh at his troubles or cry with frustration. Will he and Lane get to say “I do” on an Hawaiian island beach? Or should they just throw in the towel and elope back in the courthouse in Virginia?
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One evening Lane had run out to pick up Indian food for dinner when Remy’s phone rang. He glanced at the time -- quarter to seven. Too late to be the real estate agent? He hoped not. But when he grabbed his cell, it wasn’t Lane’s number on the display at all, but Kate’s.
He tried to hide his disappointment as he answered. “Hey, lady. To what do I owe this great honor?”
“Ha ha.” Kate sounded tired, but not upset or angry, so Remy relaxed a little. This wasn’t going to be one of those calls.
Still, he asked, “How’s Brae doing?”
“Oh, he’s fine,” she assured him. “Listen, the reason I’m calling is I got a charge on my credit card for a plane ticket.”
Remy nodded, even though she couldn’t see the gesture. “Okay. You did get the invite, right? You do know I’m getting married?”
With a laugh, she said, “No, I know. But it’s only one ticket.”
Remy grinned. “Well, see, it’s like this. Lane and I decided we were going to cover some of the costs for our families to fly out there, sort of as a way of saying thanks, you know, and as a kind of Christmas present. Then I thought that since you and Braden were in the wedding itself, I’d just foot your whole bill.”
“Aww, Remy!” Kate’s voice practically melted in his ear. “That’s so sweet of you!”
“Mike, though,” Remy said. “Sorry, but we’re not at the gift exchanging level yet, so he’s going to have to pay for himself. Since you only gave me one credit card number, I figured you’d just have him pay you back.”
Kate’s tone turned suggestive. “In some fashion.”
An image of Mike’s pasty skin and flabby stomach flashed in his mind and Remy winced. “Ew! Please, I haven’t eaten dinner yet.”
“So where are these tickets?” Kate asked.
Remy tucked the phone against his shoulder and started rummaging through the papers on the counter. It had become a catchall lately, a place to stash mail and random things he found while packing that he knew he needed to put somewhere safe, but exactly where that might be, he wasn’t sure yet. “I think she sent me something ... hold on ...”
Finally, at the bottom of a stack of old tax documents, he saw the edge of the FedEx envelope and pulled it free. “Here we go. Chell sent me some things a few weeks back. They’re probably in here.”
“You have them all?” Kate wanted to know.
Remy glanced inside. Since Lane had first opened the envelope, Remy hadn’t bothered to look at its contents more closely. Now he cleared off a space on the counter and spread out the documents. Chell’s cover letter was similar in tone to her emails -- in fact, it looked as if she’d written it in her email program and then just printed it out. Here are your tickets and schedules, contracts signed to date, yadda yadda. Anything you need, just LMK! Mahalo!
“Ugh,” he muttered, turning the letter over. “I’m so sick of her fake Hawaiian words. Mahalo this and aloha that. She sounds like a real poser.”
In his ear, Kate asked, “How’d you find this woman again?”
“An old friend of Lane’s, if you’d believe it.” Remy skimmed the next page and saw it was a listing of the contents of the envelope, so he set that aside, too. “Okay, here we go.”
After that came the confirmations for the airline tickets. Their wedding was scheduled for December 28th. Remy’s plan was to arrive in Hawaii a week or so earlier with Lane, and have everyone else arrive after Christmas. His and Lane’s confirmations were first, and the date was right -- December 17th. The price was much cheaper than flying the week of Christmas, and Remy grudgingly admitted Chell had paid even less than the costs he’d seen when he compared fares online.
Then he noticed Braden’s confirmation was on the same page as his. He looked at the flight times and numbers. He looked again.
“Damn it,” he muttered.
“What is it?” Kate asked.
Remy could feel his anger rising. “Oh shit.” Quickly he turned to the next page.
Kate and Mike were on a different flight leaving the next day. Not December 26th, but the next day, December 18th.
“Fuck,” Remy cursed.
Through the phone, his ex-wife asked, “Jer, what? Tell me.”
“This bitch ...” He turned to the next confirmation, and damn it the hell, but Lane’s family was flying out of Newark on the eighteenth, too. And Remy’s parents were coming in from San Diego later the same day. Holding the phone away from his ear, Remy clenched his hands into fists and roared, “God!”
There went his holiday. Again.