Callista Brenner refuses to let go of her past. She had her entire life figured out…except, maybe that was only in her mind. Being stood up for her own wedding should be a clue. Regardless, she’s determined to fix this. She just needs a plan and if there’s one thing she’s good at, it’s planning. Her accolades as one of Georgia’s top premiere event planners if proof of that. It doesn’t matter that she’s a whirlwind of clumsy chaos. All she has to do is stay away from the gorgeously irritating Jayce Gilmore and her wedding will be back on track. That’s exactly what she wants. Right? She loves her fiancé. She wants to marry him and start a family. He’s her everything. Or is he?
Jayce Gilmore has somehow let himself be bamboozled. One minute he was enjoying his quiet existence in his home in the outskirts of Victory, NY and the next he was facing his best friend’s wife and promising to be the best man at their wedding, which he also agreed to host at his resort & casino, La Bonne Chance. The introvert in him is questioning his sanity. As if that wasn’t bad enough, his partner has decided he’s taking a three-month hiatus, leaving the business solely in Jayce’s hands. Just when he’s ready to curl into a ball and refuse to leave his room, a chance encounter at an airport has him realizing some things are worth venturing out of your comfort zone for.
Neither of them could have guessed that Callista’s past would decide it wants to be her future and will stop at nothing to make that a reality. Could she accept that maybe her carefully laid plans weren’t as careful as she thought? Will Jayce be able to show her that he’s worth a chance and, together, their oddities can be perfect?
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Part of the All in For Love Box Set!
Six best selling and award winning authors bring you six Sweet to Sensual stories. [Savings of more than 75% if books are purchased separately].
Welcome to La Bonne Chance Resort & Casino!
With thousands of people passing through the casino’s doors on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that a variety of lives and loves are on the line there. It’s said that you’re more likely to lose your heart than a hand of poker at La Bonne Chance. Whether you are the Director of Casino Operations or the guy who created its software, a jilted bride or a black jack dealer, a past guest’s ghost or a sous chef–when it comes to love, the stakes are high.
Thank goodness what happens at La Bonne Chance, doesn’t always stay at La Bonne Chance… Ready to roll the dice?
All In For Love
PERFECT ODDS by LaShanta Charles
Heartbroken and alone, event planner, Callista Brenner believes the only thing she needs in her life is a plan to get her back on track. And to stay away from the devastatingly handsome, Jayce Gilmore, who promises to be exactly what she needs. When her “plan” backfires and threatens her very existence, what will she do to secure her future?
A GHOST TO DIE FOR by Keta Diablo
Unlike Violet, her psychic sister, Rooney Fontaine doesn’t believe in ghosts. Until one shows up in her hotel room begging for help. Headlines in the local newspaper said the man jumped from his seventh story balcony, but Rooney’s truth compass is screaming something far more sinister.
RAISING KANE by Kat Henry Doran
She’s Raisin’ Kane, committed to reporting the truth. He’s Kieran Pollack, master at spinning the facts in favor of the criminal justice system and those who serve it. Truth or fiction: both could bring them to their knees.
AN INN DECENT PROPOSAL by Sharon Buchbiner
Jim Rawlings takes the biggest chance of his life—bidding at auction for a once-grand inn. Genie King attends the hotel auction, never expecting another LBC employee to bid at the sale—much less the guy she had a major crush on in high school. Working together means Jim must share long-hidden secrets. Will Genie reject the man with a past? Or will she love the man he’s become?
FOR MONEY OR LOVE by Margo Hoornstra
He’s a mega-millionaire who covets wealth
She’s a computer genius who covets life
Their money or a life together, which will they choose?
TAKE A CHANCE ON ME by M.J. Schiller
She’s a dealer on a losing streak with love.
He’s a cop who will go all in to save her from the mob.
Can she take a chance on him when this could be her final wager?
Book links here:
I nibble on my thumbnail as I watch the other travelers, clad in the makings of a summer vacation t-shirts and shorts, moving to and fro. Hot pink backpacks and black rolling cases bob and weave in a sea of commuters. Our flight is on the second call of now boarding all passengers and Cameron has yet to show up or answer my calls. Scanning the crowd, I search for his clean-cut, freshly shaved face, but come up empty. He’s still not here. A roiling ball of dread settles into the pit of my stomach. Something must have happened to him. It’s the only explanation I can think of that would lead to him not being here.
A toddler wobbles past me, blonde pigtails bouncing as plump legs struggling to support the carefree attempt to run, and stepping aside, I smile down at her as she chants “uh-oh.” How freaking cute is that? I bet she gets into all sorts of shenanigans. A woman, with identical blonde curls and green eyes, rushes after her and scoops her up before giggling ensues. She plants a smacking kiss on the child’s chubby cheeks before pointing and encouraging the child to say “da-da.” A smiling man with unnaturally white teeth approaches with his arms stretched out and the child squeals and squirms as she nearly jumps from the woman’s arms. You can’t witness such a scene and not smile. Two more years and that’ll be me with my own family—number three on my list of priorities. My phone vibrates, startling me out of staring at the trio. Relief envelops me like a warm blanket when I see the picture of Cameron on the screen.
“Where are you? They’re boarding everyone now. I’ll go ahead and let them know we’ll make it,” I answer, my phone cradled between my shoulder and ear.
“I’m not coming,” he says.
I pause in making my way to the attendant station. Surely, I heard him wrong.
“Hang on a sec, let me ask them how long we have before they can no longer wait. If you’re here already it shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll need to hurry. Like, sprint through the airport or maybe get one of those guys on the carts to give you a ride somehow.”
The attendant flashes a smile at me and holds her hand out for my boarding pass. Her two front teeth are chipped and it makes me think of the time Cameron chipped his tooth while playing basketball last year. He got it fixed immediately, so I wonder why she’s chosen to leave hers like that. I move to give her the passes, but hear Cameron speaking again.
“Cali, you’re not listening. I’m not there. I’m not coming either.”
Pulling my boarding pass away from the chipped tooth attendant, I force a smile and step away for privacy. “What are you talking about, Cameron? I’m here waiting for you.” As if he doesn’t know that. He helped me load our luggage into the car before I left this morning. Is this some sick joke he’s pulling right now?
“Didn’t you hear me, Cali? I said I’m not coming,” Cameron repeats, his voice harsh and grating.
I stare numbly at the ‘now boarding’ screen above the attendant. I heard him the first two times. It makes as much sense now as it did then—none.
“I don’t understand. You can’t not come, we’re getting married. I can see if they’ll schedule us for a different flight. I’m sure it’s not too late. We’re getting there early enough one day won’t really matter,” I tell him.
He lets out an exasperated sigh. He’s annoyed? We’re four weeks away from our wedding and I’m at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, sans fiancé. I woke up at some ungodly hour, battled an hour and a half of bumper to bumper traffic to get here and get us both checked in two hours early, lugged all our suitcases—overweight, I might add—only for him to call when it’s time to board the flight to New York and tell me he’s not coming. Yet, he’s the one who’s annoyed?
“I don’t know what else to say, Cali. I’m trying to do right by you here. We both knew this wouldn’t end well. This was a mistake. A huge mistake and you’re only making it harder. I can’t do this right now. For once, let something go.”
I don’t even know how to respond to that. A mistake? What part of this is the mistake? One of the biggest occasions in my life—number one on the list—is a huge mistake for him? Try as I might, I can no longer speak. ‘We’ didn’t know this wouldn’t end in anything but a marriage. ‘Do right by me?’ How is standing me up for our wedding doing right by me? I didn’t ask to marry myself. I didn’t insist on us having a short engagement or me moving in with him.
I watch as the attendant lifts a phone to her mouth and smiles. A few seconds later I hear her disembodied voice over the PA system.
“This serves as a final boarding call for Delta Flight 1762 with service to Buffalo New York. All ticketed and confirmed passengers should report to Gate C23 for immediate departure.”
“Look, I can hear them in the background. You shouldn’t be at the airport alone. Go back to your parents’ place and we’ll talk more about this later. I have to get back to work,” Cameron says.
My parents’ place? He’s kicking me out? And why is he at work? We’re supposed to be leaving. Like, right now! I open my mouth to speak, not entirely sure what I’ll say, but I’m cut off by someone roughly bumping my shoulder. Silently, I watch as my phone crashes to the ground and bounces once before landing, screen up. It didn’t shatter, but the screen is dark. Cameron probably thinks I hung up on him. It’s much less than he deserves at this point.
“Sorry, didn’t see you there.”
Story of my freaking life. Destined to fade into the background where no one sees me. Number two on the list—stand out more. This guy’s apology definitely didn’t sound sincere. I look up to see a startling shade of blue staring down at me. Cold. I don’t like it. Blue is my favorite color, but I like warm blues. Blues that make you think of a tropical oasis. Definitely not blue like this stranger’s eyes. This shade of blue makes me anxious and . . . sad? Scared? Why the hell am I thinking about shades of blue when my life has just ended? Stupid stranger not looking where he’s going. He’s a jerk, like all men in the universe.
“I’ll get it,” he declares, grabbing my phone from the floor.
Before I can tell him to leave me alone, I hear the attendant speaking again.
“Ms. Brenner?” she pauses and looks expectantly at the bearded man standing next to me.
“Gilmore,” he supplies as he takes a step away from her.
We both turn to give her our attention, although I really don’t want to. I want to stand here and wallow in my misery. I want to reach out and pull this guy’s thick beard, cause him a little pain so I don’t suffer alone. What the hell does Cameron mean by ‘I can’t do this right now’? Was I just . . . dumped? Is Cameron breaking up with me or does he just not want to marry me? Is there really a difference at this point in our relationship? Can we really stay together if he basically rescinds his proposal?
I’m a cliché of epic proportions. I want the fairytale wedding with a princess gown and a horse-drawn carriage. I want a wedding that will resemble a forest at dusk with stars twinkling in the sky and a sensual melody playing in the background. I stop my train of thoughts when the attendant speaks again.
“We need you to board now if this is your flight. We really need to close the gate now.”
“Our apologies for being late,” Mr. Gilmore grumbles before turning to me and gesturing toward the gate. “After you.”
I’m slightly pleased his apology to her seemed even less sincere. There was also much more annoyance in his voice. I think. Plus, I wasn’t even late. I was very much so on time. I was where I was supposed to be and checked in like I should have. Just . . . not with whom I’m supposed to be with. Tears well in my eyes fall quicker than I can blink them away. The attendant clears her throat nervously and a horrified look crosses Mr. Gilmore’s face.
“Ma’am, we really need to close the gate now,” chipped tooth says.
I’m not only crying, but I’ve given them no response this entire time and I’m holding up the flight. Cameron and I were supposed to be going on this trip to New York as a vacation—and pseudo-honeymoon since it came before the ceremony, and end it with our wedding. Except now, he’s not here and he’s not coming.
“Allergies,” I lie with a forced smile. I hand over my boarding pass and soon enough, I’m on my way to La Bonne Chance Casino Resort, solo.
LaShanta Charles was born and raised in the small town of Orangeburg, SC. She has always been an avid reader of all genres, but Romance has always been her true love and is what inspired her to pursue a writing career. In high school, she began letting her classmates read the short stories that she would write and based off of their feedback, her passion for writing pushed her to become a published author. She published her debut novel, Lovely Lies, in 2013 and released the sequel, Lovely Lies 2, in February 2014. Her third novel, Splitting Karma, was released in October 2014. She lives in Yelm, WA, with her husband and three children and also serves in the US Army. She’s a home body who enjoys SLEEPING, reading, SLEEPING, eating, SLEEPING, white chocolate mochas, SLEEPING, sexy alien romances, and of course, writing. Oh, and she hates spiders; they’re extremely creepy, why do they need eight legs??