Welcome back to the bridal shop that has connected four women since their teens. Now grown women, they are running the show and are about to embark on a journey of love. Discover what happens as they help one woman plan her dream wedding and introduce us to The Bridal Squad by Samantha Chase.
If you love characters that are real and dialogue that make you laugh and cry, download this book! The characters and relationships Samantha creates are woven together seamlessly and includes all the messiness that makes life worth living.
Do you have friends who judge, feel entitled, or assume they know best? How about a family member who insists that they would do things differently if they were in the same situation? Samantha peels back those delicate layers to show us what really happens when a bride reaches out to the ones she loves to help plan her most important day.
Do perfect weddings equate to a perfect marriage? Life is messy and full of ups and downs. This book captured the emotions of these women perfectly from start to finish. I hope there is more to this series as I can’t get enough of her writing and I’m sure you will too!
I received this ARC for a fair and honest review.
“You remember when I said this was going to be awesome, exciting and the best thing ever?” Hailey asked late Saturday night.
“I do,” Becca said as she slowly sat down with her Frappuccino.
Beside her, Angie and Ella nodded. Ella let out a very loud groan of disapproval as she sat down. Her short blonde hair was completely mussed up and she looked ready to fall asleep.
“I think I was wrong. So, so very wrong,” Hailey said with a sigh.
“I wouldn’t say you’re wrong as much as I’d say you lied. You totally lied. This was brutal,” Angie said around a yawn. “I’m just glad I don’t have to be here as much as you three do.”
“Thanks,” Becca murmured. “That’s helpful.”
“Look, you all get to go home and sleep tonight. I’m going to go home and get woken up at least twice by a very demanding man,” Angie said as she stood, slipping her purse strap over her shoulder.
“Are you talking about Sean?” Hailey asked. “Because you can’t be referring to my sweet and perfect godson. That baby boy is a dream.”
Angie rolled her eyes so hard she almost fell over. “Tell you what, how about we let you and Jack have my dreamy little Connor for a sleepover? I can guarantee you Sean will say yes. We’re both so sleep deprived that I’m sure I could convince him to bring Connor to your house right now.”
Hailey gave her a bland look. “I wouldn’t say yes tonight, but any other night…”
“Tomorrow. Done,” Angie said as she began to move away from the table in Becca’s coffee shop section of the new and improved Enchanted Bridal.
“Wait!” Hailey called out. “You can’t leave yet. We need to discuss a few things.”
They all groaned and Angie sat back down.
“We had a lot of browsers in today and I think that’s a good thing. They gave us some solid leads and with everything we’re able to offer, I don’t doubt that we’ll be seeing several of them back within the next few weeks.”
“Agreed,” Becca said. “I have a few leads on doing food for some bridal showers. I didn’t think people would go for that but…they did!”
“That’s great,” Hailey agreed and then sighed. “Okay, the one bridal party that confirmed today…” She paused and shook her head. “I think we’re going to have some issues.”
“Why?” Ella asked. “That was the small bridal party, right? Bride, matron of honor, maid of honor and one bridesmaid.”
Hailey nodded. “The size of their party is the only thing working in our favor right now.”
“Again, why?” Angie asked with another yawn.
“The bride seemed like a very no-nonsense kind of girl – she knew what she wanted and she didn’t see the need to try on a dozen dresses. If anything, it was almost as if she didn’t really care that much about it, as long as it fit and looked good on her.”
“Sounds like a dream bride,” Becca commented.
“Normally, yes,” Hailey went on. “But it was the reaction from the rest of the party that worried me.”
“Oh, no…” Angie groaned and rested her head on the table.
“The matron of honor…”
“Natalie Walsh hyphen Michaels, you mean?” Ella asked with a grin.
“Oh, right,” Becca said slowly. “You know, I think she’s the first person I ever met who actually says the word ‘hyphen’ when introducing herself! Yeah, she’s going to be a trip to work with.”
“Not only that, but she’s a newlywed who seemed to want to talk a lot about her wedding and how she did things. I know I got annoyed after the first fifteen minutes, and by the look on everyone else’s faces, I can see the rest of the bridal party has issues with that too,” Hailey said. “I think I did a good job of diverting her today, but I have a feeling that’s going to turn into a full-time job.”
“So, we have an underwhelmed bride and a know-it-all matron of honor,” Angie said. “We just need to amp up the enthusiasm of the bride and do our best to keep the matron of honor quiet.” She turned to Becca. “You’ll need to have plenty of muffins on hand on the days they’re here so we can just keep shoving them in Hyphen’s face.”
They all laughed but Hailey quickly cleared her throat. “As fun as that sounds, we can’t just force muffins down people’s throats. We’ll get a bad reputation.”
Becca grinned. “Not if the muffins are really good…”
“That’s my girl!” Angie said as she sat back up. “Can I go now?”
“Not yet,” Hailey said, holding up her hand. “The bride’s sister. Did anyone catch her story?”
“Three broken engagements,” Ella said sadly. “I really feel bad for her.”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Becca said. “She got dumped three times? Please tell me none of them were at the altar!”
“No, they never made it that far,” Ella replied. “From what she said – and it wasn’t much – she just knew none of those guys were the one.”
“Couldn’t she figure that out before she accepted the proposals?” Angie asked with more than a hint of sarcasm. “I mean, it’s okay to date, but why would it take getting a ring on your finger for you to figure out they weren’t the one?”
“I have no idea, but I think she’s going to be a bit of a handful too,” Hailey said with a sigh.
“She was quiet enough,” Hailey said, looking at her notes. “But the mother kept dropping little zingers about the whole thing. A few times I heard her say things like ‘Remember when we started looking for your gowns?’ and ‘Was it wedding number two or three when you were thinking of the blue silk for the bridal party?’” She shrugged. “I feel like we’re going to have to deflect a bit on her behalf.”
“You know it’s not our job to do that kind of thing, right?” Becca asked as she got up and went and snagged a small bag of cookies. “I mean, it’s okay to have some sympathy for them, but our job is to find people their dream dresses and help them plan amazing weddings. If we need a psychologist on staff, then that’s fine with me, but I can’t keep up.”
“I don’t think we need a psychologist,” Hailey said with a hint of annoyance. “I’m just saying that with each of us having our own strengths and weaknesses, if we understand the people we’re working with, we can help them. And if we make the whole experience as painless as possible by dealing with the difficult ones so the bride doesn’t get upset, that’s going to help business too.”
“I don’t remember your mom having to play therapist like this,” Becca murmured.
“She did that and more,” Hailey replied. “Trust me. I spent a lot of time here in the shop growing up and it used to amaze me how she had a way of knowing who to separate and who to distract. It was like a gift.”
“Then maybe we need to bring her in for this group,” Angie said.
“Normally I’d agree, but her and Dad are finally leaving on their cruise so we are officially on our own and this wedding will be our first.”
There was a collective groan around the table.
“Did anyone get to talk to the bridesmaid, Kayla?” Becca asked. “That chick has the most amazing job! She travels around the world doing nature photography. She freelances for a bunch of different magazines and she’s just so damn cool! I can’t wait to tell Max about her. I saw some of her pictures…”
“On her phone,” Angie said. “Although I was pretty damn impressed. I can only imagine what they look like in person as a full-size print.”
“That is so cool!” Ella said. “So she just decides where to go and takes pictures and sells them?”
Becca shook her head. “From what she was saying to me, she gets a lead on certain weather conditions or events and just goes. Most of the time it’s spur of the moment and she has to leave in the middle of the night or without any real notice. She said she keeps a suitcase by the door at all times. How crazy is that?”
Hailey frowned. “Very, because it means she could get called away during the wedding or before. I know she talked about it a bit and Julianne – the bride – kept saying how the odds were low that Kayla would miss the wedding. But I know I’d be pissed if one of my bridesmaids missed my wedding.” She gave a pointed look to each of them.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it,” Angie said with a huff. “We all know you’re getting married next year and no one is planning on leaving the country in the middle of the night and missing it.”
Hailey beamed. “Thank you.” Then she looked at the two carat solitaire on her finger and smiled even more.
“Ugh, she’s doing it again,” Becca groaned.
“Leave her alone,” Ella said. “It’s very sweet.”
“You were just as bad when you and Dylan got engaged,” Becca said, “so of course you’re going to defend her.”
“And when you and Max get engaged, you’ll be the same way,” Ella countered.
Beside them, Angie cleared her throat. They all looked at her. “In case any of you have forgotten, I didn’t do that.”
“That’s because you were never engaged properly,” Ella said sweetly. “You and Sean just ran off and got married.”
And then in a very un-Angie-like move, she blushed. “Yeah we did. And check out the rock I got! Two of them in one day!” She waved her left hand to show off her own wedding ring set which was stunning.
“See? You do it too,” Hailey said. “You just get the two-for-one version and therefore have more to brag about.”
“I do enjoy that,” Angie replied with a sassy grin.
“I do have a suggestion,” Becca said hesitantly.
“About bragging about our rings?” Ella asked.
“No, um…last night after the show, Penny Blake came and talked to me.”
“Oh, no,” Hailey said wearily. “Is she quitting the shows? Because I have to tell you, she has been a lifesaver! She helps with everyone’s hair and makeup and she looks great in just about anything we put on her.”
“No, no, no,” Becca said with a small laugh. “She asked if we were looking for help here.”
They all stared at her blankly for a minute.
“Like…here? At Enchanted?” Ella asked.
Becca nodded. “Uh-huh.”
“Did she say in what capacity she was looking for work? Did she want to work with you doing the coffee shop or with Ella doing the nursery or assisting here in the shop?” Hailey asked.
“I think she’s looking to work wherever we need her,” Becca said. “And personally, I think she would be awesome helping you up front with the dresses.”
“Why?” Hailey asked, but she had a knowing smile on her face.
Becca, Angie and Hailey all turned and looked at Ella with big smiles on their faces.
Ella’s smile was bright as she let out a happy giggle. “Because I’m pregnant and won’t be able to assist Hailey as much as I normally do once I get further along!”
“I have no objection to hiring Penny,” Hailey said.
“Just like that? You’re not even going to interview her?” Angie asked.
“Why would I? She’s been modeling for Enchanted for over a year, she’s a whiz with helping out behind the scenes for the shows and have you ever heard her talk about how many weddings she’s been in?”
“Something like a dozen already,” Ella commented.
“Damn…that’s a lot of weddings,” Becca said.
“Screw that,” Angie said, “that’s a lot of dresses! And she’s only, what…twenty-five?”
“I think it’s safe to say that she knows a thing or two about wedding dresses and bridal parties. I think she could be a great asset to us and if we work on finding where her strengths are, we can all breathe a little easier knowing she can help us with some of the tasks that drive us crazy,” Hailey said logically. “So? What do you think? Everyone in agreement?”
There was a round of yesses and praise for another pair of hands to help them out.
“And if she makes it through this first round of difficult bridal parties, we’ll know she’s a keeper!” Ella said with a grin.
“Here, here,” Becca agreed.
“Excellent,” Hailey said. “I’ll call her on Monday to tell her the good news and see what her schedule is like. Hopefully she’ll be free on the weekends since that’s when we need the most help.” She looked at Becca. “Penny didn’t happen to mention her availability to you, did she?”
“No, but she’s familiar enough with what we do to know when we would need her. And I’m in total agreement with you – let’s get her directly involved with Julianne and her party.”
“Done and done,” Hailey said.
Angie stood up. “Sounds like a plan. Now if you’ll excuse me, I don’t care about any more bridal parties. They’re going to be a handful but they’re our first official wedding as owners of this crazy business and we are going to do an awesome job! Who’s with me?” She put her hand down in the middle of the table.
Hailey, Becca and Ella each slammed their hands down on top of hers.
“Okay,” Hailey said with a big grin, “here’s to Julianne and her bridal party…”
“I think we need to change that up,” Becca said.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, bridal party is the proper term but this little group deserves something fun – like something we can call them to make them feel special,” Becca said excitedly.
“You mean like a nickname?” Angie asked.
“Exactly! Julianne said they’d be coming in on Saturday mornings because of their work schedules and so maybe something to incorporate that?” she suggested.
“Saturday morning…party?” Ella asked.
“Doesn’t sound like a party to me,” Angie murmured.
“No, no, no…we can do this,” Hailey said. “They’re young and they’re all really close and when you take the negative stuff away, they seem to have a lot of fun with each other. I heard them sharing some great stories about things they’ve done together.”
Becca nodded. “Definitely. I kept hearing Julianne talk about her Zumba classes and then saying something about squad goals. God, I have always wanted to try Zumba but I’m not coordinated enough. She tried to explain how it’s not so hard once you get the moves down, but I keep picturing me dancing left when everyone else is dancing right. Ugh. They really…”
“That’s it,” Angie said, pulling her hand from the pile. “That’s who they are!”
“What’s it?” Ella asked. “Who are they? Is this about Zumba? Are we going to refer to the Zumba classes?”
“No,” Hailey said with a growing smile. “Squad, right? That’s what you were thinking?”
“This quirky little bridal party is going to be our Saturday Morning Squad!”
Three e-books of The Bridal Squad are up for grabs. Tell us — Were you ever in a Bridal Party where the request to do something was just over the top? Brides – did you let your bridesmaid’s pick out the dress or did you plan ever detail?Are you a wedding day dreamer or elopement adventurer?
Three winners will be randomly drawn from all comments. Winners will have 5 days to claim their prize or a new name will be drawn. Contest ends 5/15/17 at 11:59 PM.
** To leave a comment for Samantha and/or the giveaway be sure to click the Title of the post – Happy Book Birthday The Bridal Squad by Samantha Chase. You will then be able to comment. **
Get your copy here: