book spotlight. to me I wed. by k.m. jackson.
Hi Tia, thank you so much for having me guest post during the release week of To Me I Wed, Book 2 of my Unconventional Brides Series. I’m so excited to bring Lily and Vin’s story to the world. Writing these two meant so much to me.
I first got the idea of writing Lily’s story after reading an internet story about a young women who threw a wedding for herself and like so many of the people in the comments section (it always goes down, usually for the worst, in the comments section) I thought the idea seemed wild and farfetched. But when reading more about the confident and together woman throwing her wedding I had so much respect for her and she turned into a romance heroine for me. Suddenly, I wanted to write a story with a woman like that in mind.
Here is a bit about To Me I Wed along with a short excerpt:
Have your cake—and true love too...
Nightmare bridesmaids’ dresses, tasteless fondant icing, budget-busting wedding expenses—some women just aren't about it. They’ll laugh off tradition, make their own rules—and find the most outrageous ways possible to flip wedding day lockstep into true love.
She's done, finished, had it. Between her family’s expectations and being always-a-bridesmaid, Lily Perry is fed up with being nagged to find a husband. She's happy with her life—and tired of being burned by “nice guys” who demand she fit their dreams. So she’s going to settle the issue once and for all: by marrying herself. And celebrated chef Vincent Caro's fabulous restaurant is the perfect place for a big-time, blow-out,
not-hearing-it-any-more wedding. Lily doesn't care if everyone—including Vincent—thinks she's crazy. Especially when his mouth-watering talent and no-commitments style ignites one sizzling, no-strings fling, or two…or more.
But no matter how hard they try to keep things light, their relationship keeps getting hotter. The more Vincent helps Lily tackle unexpected trouble, the more he finds she might be everything he’s ever wanted. Can she afford to forget caution and finally let go? And can they both take a risk to discover if what they have is meant to last long after the dessert course?
To Me I Wed Excerpt:
Successfully having dodged the bouquet during the toss—after catching two she didn’t need to add another to her collection—Lily was moving bits of cake around on her plate when an empanada slid into her field of vision. “Can I tempt you with something hotter?”
She looked up into Vin’s nearly black eyes with a cautious side-eyed glare. “Come on, you can’t be serious with that line.”
He shrugged and eased down into the empty seat next to her, recently vacated by Simon’s brother Stan, whom she hoped was resting off his liberal use of the open bar and not going in for another round. “That depends on if you think it’s funny, corny, cute, or desperate.”
Lily chose to keep her opinion to herself. It wouldn’t do to tell him that she found his tactics cute and sexy, not to mention that the food in front of her looked like it tasted better than the cake she’d ordered, which, to her horror, was dry and crumbly. The baker was new to her and had come highly recommended by Sophie. Although the baker’s skill with decorating was almost unmatched, he seemed to be a disaster when it came to the actual cake under the frosting. Lily was mentally kicking him off her prospective vendor list. But pushing thoughts of the cake aside, Lily gave Vin a slow up and down as she let out a long sigh and picked up the warm empanada he was offering. She brought it to her lips.
Lord, why did you do it?! The dang empanada was delicious! The outer crust was light and flakey, not at all crumbly but melt-in-your-mouth delicious, while the meat-filled center was both savory and sweet with just enough spice to give you a bite back that was a perfect shock to your senses. “No wonder Simon insisted on having these at his wedding.” She opened her eyes wide and looked at Vin, catching the smug half smile on his lips.
“I told you my talents were not on the dance floor,” Vin said from by her side.
Lily nodded as she chewed and swallowed. She wanted to argue with him—no man should be that cocky about his abilities—but she couldn’t. He was right. “You made this?” she asked, almost shocked that he could look that good and still have that type of skill. Lily shook her head.
One brow went up. “Why would I lie?”
He had a point there. Lily gave him a smile. “Well you, sir, are dead wrong for doing it.” She finished the small pie in two bites and would have been satisfied with maybe two more. As if reading her mind, he grinned again and the small action was like a stinger right to her chest. He really should carry a warning with that smile.
“You’re quite sure of yourself, aren’t you?” Lily asked. She then looked around the room. The reception, like all of her family’s functions, was just getting into full swing. Normally after cake, folks would be making their exit, but now was the time for her people to really let loose. She saw a couple of cousins making requests from the DJ and knew that yet another popular line dance was soon to come. Lily glanced from Vin to her sister, who was shimmying with Simon and laughing happily up into his face. She looked so carefree and wide open, as if her heart couldn’t hold all her joy. As Lily watched her sister, she got a brief lump in her throat wondering what that must feel like, must be like, to laugh with such abandon looking at the man you loved and having him look back at you the same way.
But in that moment the music changed and, just as she feared, hands started to clap, feet stomped, and the slide was queued up. Multiple cousins pointed at her, and in a quick panic to avoid cha-cha-ing for the next twenty-five minutes, Lily grabbed Vin’s hand and tugged him up. “Save me. Please.”
He looked at her, wide eyed for a moment.
“I’ll do anything to not slide left then hop right for three songs straight,” she said by way of explanation, tipping her head toward the dance floor. They both turned to look, and there was Aunt Ruby leading the charge. Her ample hips swayed left, then right, to the heavy beat of the song’s bass while the singer rapped the steps and DJ R-Town mimicked his words, his mouth too close to the mic so his voice came out deep and statically.
Vin squeezed Lily’s hand and let her lead him. “Consider me your knight,” he said as he followed her out to the deck and onto the stairs that led to the parking area below the VFW. Once there they encountered a couple of the busboys on a break having a smoke. Lily’s instinct was to speak up and get on them about finding other things to do when they were on her—well, her sister’s—clock, but she was currently on her own escape grind so thought the better of it. Besides, she had just taken off to do who knew what with a guy she knew she had no business being with, so who was she to lecture anyone at the moment? She pulled up short then, as better judgment threatened to seep in, causing Vin to stop between cars and stare at her. “You all right? Where are we going?”
Lily let the question weigh on her for a moment while she thought it over. Where was she going? She hadn’t thought things through. In the moment all she wanted to do was get out from under her family, away from the suddenly oppressive feeling of overwhelming revelry and joy and get away with the dangerous and delicious-looking and, now she knew, extremely talented in the kitchen Vincent Caro. He looked her up and down, his eyes raking over her body in that way of his that had her feeling exposed in the best and most heated of ways, when she suddenly knew the answer to her question. She made a mental note to send Thomas a thank-you for his no-show once she got home. Giving Vin’s hand a squeeze, she pulled him behind her once again. “Just follow me.”
They rounded the building and followed a small path on the back side of the hall to an old utility hut. It was locked, as Lily knew it would be. But she stepped carefully to the back of the hut, where there was an old wooden bench that she remembered from her childhood days of playing hide-and-go-seek with the cousins. This spot was wooded and hidden, but the view from this point was almost as good as from the VFW balcony high above them. You could see past the woods, down to the beach and the magnificent ocean beyond.
“How did you know about this?” Vin asked, his voice low and closer to the back of her neck than she had anticipated. Lily turned to him and smiled, trying to keep it casual while feeling anything but.
“I used to play here as a kid. When my dad would come to the VFW. We didn’t care much for hanging out inside.”
He nodded. “That’s funny. I thought I knew just about every hidden spot on the island.”
It was her turn to nod. “And that’s funny; I thought I knew just about every hidden chef, but here you are.”
Lily took a step forward and came chest to chest with Vin, looking up into his onyx eyes. “So, are you going to tell me your recipe for those empanadas? I have quite the influence, you know. I could steer some business your way.”
He grinned at her, only slightly but enough to make her want to ease forward and lick at the upturned corners of his mouth.
“Your influence is quite welcome, Miss Perry, but I’m not one to cook and tell.” His tone was dark and teasing and set all her nerves to tingling.
Feeling slightly heady on her wedding toast wine and pulled into the haze of his deep eyes, Lily eased forward to finally get a taste of his full lips. They were soft. Softer than she remembered, and it surprised her from a man who was as hard and angular as he was. She tipped out her tongue and let it gently lick at his fullness. When he let out a low growl and snaked his arm around her waist, pulling her in close, he let her know he wasn’t nearly as soft or tame as his lips let on.
Pick up your copy of To Me I Wed wherever books are sold or click on any of these e-tailers.
A native New Yorker, K.M. spent her formative years on the ‘A’ train where she had two dreams: 1) to be a fashion designer and 2) to be a writer. After spending over ten years designing women’s sportswear for various fashion houses this self-proclaimed former fashionista, took the leap of faith and decided to pursue her other dream of being a writer.
An award winning contemporary romance writer, K.M.’s self-published novel, Bounce won the Golden Leaf for best novel with strong romance elements from the New Jersey chapter of Romance Writers of America. She was also named Author of the Year by the New York Chapter of Romance Writers of America.
K.M. currently lives in a suburb of New York with her husband, twins, and a precocious terrier named Jack that keeps her on her toes.
You can find K.M. Jackson here on the web:
KMJackson.com : http://kmjackson.com/
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Follow K.M. on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/KwanaWrites