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Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride

Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride, October 2011
by Sandra D. Bricker

Abingdon Press
Featuring: Sherilyn Caine
320 pages
ISBN: 1426731604
EAN: 9781426731600
Add to Wish List


"A fun and absolutely charming novel!"

Fresh Fiction Review

Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride
Sandra D. Bricker

Reviewed by Sharon Galligar Chance
Posted March 18, 2012

Christian | Romance Contemporary

As a wedding planner, Sherilyn Caine should be able to pull off the perfect wedding experience, especially for her own wedding. After all, she just landed her dream job at the wedding destination hotel, The Tanglewood, and will be working with her best friend, Emma Rae. The rest should be a piece of cake, especially for Sherilyn's Type-A personality.

But while everything else in her life goes smoothly, her own wedding plans begin to disintegrate right before her eyes. First her dream wedding dress is lost, then her second dream wedding dress is lost, but worst of all -- Sherilyn fears that she has become allergic to her sweet fiancee Andrew. Oh, and throw in a drunken rock star who needs a place to hide out for a while, and the mix just keeps getting wackier and wackier. But, one way or the other, Sherilyn is determined to make everything work out -- even if it kills her.

In ALWAYS THE WEDDING PLANNER, NEVER THE BRIDE, Sandra D. Bricker's second book in her "Never The Bride" series, weddings, brides and lots of fun are in store for readers who are fortunate enough to pick up this hilarious book. Bricker's wonderful sense of humor shines in this story, and her masterful storytelling skills are fully evident in a lively, fast paced and absolutely charming novel that will leave readers wanting more!

Learn more about Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride


As a wedding planner, you'd think she would have the perfect wedding experience...

Sherilyn Caine has left Chicago behind to marry Andrew Drummond IV, an Atlanta native with a family name that tops all the social registers. Landing the job as The Tanglewood’s wedding planner is a piece of cake for someone with a Type A personality; she’s the perfect fit for a wedding destination hotel known for its attention to even the tiniest details.

But when everything else is going along swimmingly, why are her own wedding plans drowning right before her eyes? One way or the other, Sherilyn is determined to make this wedding work—until the latest development threatens to call the whole thing off. Is it possible that Sherilyn is allergic to her fiance?



Sherilyn hadn't been to Roswell in years, but its rustic south- ern charm hadn't waned in the least.

Barrington Hall stood proudly at the highest point in the small town, on the south side of the town square, looking every bit the plantation home with its stately white columns. The shops at Roswell Mill bustled with people, and the crisp scent of fall clung to the sweet breeze wafting over the nearby Chattahoochee River. Leaves had only begun to turn with glimpses of what was to come. Sherilyn knew that, by next month this time, the greens and golds and burnt reds of Georgia autumn would be welcoming her home in color at full mast.

Not that Georgia was technically her home. She'd lived there for five years while attending Emory University and carving out the beginnings of her career, but it hadn't taken long for her to make her way back to Chicago. What were the odds that she'd meet the man of her dreams there, and that he would hail from Atlanta, Georgia?

Her ties to the place, albeit temporary, had been strong ones just the same, and something had always whispered that she would return one day. But to marry, rebuild a career, and settle in for the rest of her life? That, she never could have imagined.

However, if there was one sure thing in Sherilyn's future, Andrew Drummond IV was certainly it. She'd known him just seven weeks when Andy proposed, and Sherilyn couldn't have accepted any faster.

Sherilyn Caine-Drummond.

Mrs. Andrew John Drummond, the Fourth.

The prediction of their marriage had likely been inscribed on her heart long ago; it was only a matter of time before she caught up with it. She'd slipped on the ring and into Andy's life in one fell swoop. In fact, it wasn't until she'd crossed the border into Georgia that very morning that she turned back for a quick glance over her shoulder and asked herself, What am I doing?

The Tanglewood Inn.

She spotted the sign and made a hard left into the large circular drive. Enormous glass doors glistened, and an invit- ing lobby filled with greenery and sunlight beckoned from the other side.

Sherilyn swallowed around the lump in her throat, and she drew in a long, deep breath. While she did want to fling open those doors and run inside to find her old friend, the angst that held her to the seat of the Explorer won out. She closed her eyes and tilted back against the headrest.

Forty-eight pounds.

That's how much weight she'd gained since the last time she saw Emma.

And if the photograph she'd found online, taken the night of The Tanglewood's grand opening, was any indication, Emma Rae Travis had stopped aging the very day she graduated from culinary school.

"You practically have the job before you even arrive!" Emma had gushed over the telephone the week prior. "Oh, Sher, I'm so happy you're coming back to Atlanta. And the timing couldn't be more perfect. We're just days away from placing an ad for a wedding planner to join the staff. All you have to do is impress Jackson and Madeline, and I predict you have that in the bag."

Sherilyn pulled the keys from the ignition, dropped them into her bag, and drummed her fingers on the door handle. She swallowed past the clump of anxiety one more time, took the bull by the horns—Well. The door by the handle! —and yanked it open.

One foot on the ground and the other on its way, and Emma's voice sang in her ears like church bells. "Sher! You're here! Sher!"

Emma slammed into her and enveloped Sherilyn in her arms, kissing her several times hard on the cheek.

"It's so good to see you! How was the trip?" "Long."

"Any trouble finding us?"

She shook her head and smiled as Emma turned toward the uniformed boy emerging from the lobby. "This is Sherilyn Caine, Bobby. She'll be staying with us for a while. I have her booked in room two-ten." Turning back toward Sherilyn, she added, "It has the sweetest little balcony that overlooks the courtyard." And before Sherilyn could reply, Emma had spun back to the bellman again, producing a key from the pocket of her navy blue pleated trousers. "Take her bags up for her?"

"Yes, ma'am."

He reached for the laptop case slung across Sherilyn's shoulder—pale pink with a bright neon orange, yellow and pink flower emblazoned across the front— but she braced it close and shook her head. "I'll keep this with me."

"And return the key to my office?" Emma asked him. "Will do."

Emma looped her arm through Sherilyn's and grinned at her. "If he calls me ma'am again, there's going to be trouble." Sherilyn giggled. "I have tea and snacks set up for us. Then I'll take you on a little tour of the hotel on our way up to Jackson's office."

"I'm not supposed to meet with him until tomorrow morning."

"Not for a meet. Just a greet."

"Oh. All right. I don't look too—" "You look beautiful, just like always." "Liar."


"Come on," she said with a chuckle as they crossed the entry and sailed through the doors leading to a beautiful courtyard. "You can say it. I look like you-know-what."

"Yes, I know what. Like my college roommate with the peaches-and-cream skin, silky strawberry-blonde hair and those great big turquoise-blue eyes."

"Accent on big?" "Sher. Cut it out."

"You still look like you did the last time we were together, Emma. And I look like I ate the girl you knew."

"Sherilyn! Stop that."

Emma pointed at a wrought-iron bistro table set with china and linens, and the two of them took their places on either side of it.

"You always warned me that my metabolism would catch up with me," Sherilyn said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "And did it ever overtake me!"

Emma tilted her head to one side and smiled. "You've always been the prettiest girl I've ever seen close up. That hasn't changed, Sher."

She sighed. "It's so good to see you, Em."

Emma reached across the table and squeezed Sherilyn's hand. "Tell me everything. Start with Andy."

The corners of her mouth were suddenly attached to invis- ible wires like a marionette, and Andy controlled the crossbar. Just the mention of his name, and the grin bubbled up from somewhere deep inside of her, plastering itself across her face.

"He's spectacular."

Emma laughed. "Well, he must be. I owe him a huge debt of thanks when I finally meet him. I've always wished you'd stayed in Atlanta."

Sherilyn pulled her bright pink laptop from the sleeve of its case and slid it open. In a matter of a couple of clicks, a screen-sized photo of Andy smiled at her. She shifted the lap- top toward Emma and waited for her reaction.

"That's him?"

"Yep," she beamed. "That's my Andy." "He's a regular Clooney!"


"Sher, really. He's adorable." "I know!"

Sherilyn's attention was drawn away toward the woman approaching them with a tiered tray, grinning at her over the bridge of square black glasses. Her ebony hair, pulled back from her face into a messy little bun, was punctuated by bangs cropped short. A tiny silver hoop pierced her nose, and one arm sported a sprawling, colorful garden of a tattoo.

"Oh good!" Emma exclaimed. "Fee! I want you to meet my college friend, Sherilyn Caine. Sher, this is my right arm, Fee Bianchi."

Fee set the tray down at the center of the table, wiped both palms on her apron, and extended a hand toward Sherilyn. "Let me shake the hand of the woman who set the bar on friendship with Emma Rae Travis."

Sherilyn giggled. "It's not easy, is it?"

Fee squeezed her hand. "You said a mouthful."

"Hey!" Emma cried playfully. "That's enough of that."

Fee snickered. "Who's the honey?" she asked, nodding toward the laptop screen.

"Sher's fiancé."

"He looks like McDreamy."

"Well, he is pretty McDreamy," Sherilyn returned with a giggle.

"Way to pick 'em," Fee congratulated Sherilyn. Gazing at her over the top of her glasses, she said, "Emma says you're a shoo-in as Madeline's replacement."


"Oh, that's Jackson's sister. She's been coordinating all of the weddings since we opened," Emma explained. "But she's ready to get back to her life now. When Jackson said we needed some- one superhuman to replace her, I thought of you right away." She turned toward Fee and grinned. "Sher is David Tutera and Colin Cowie all rolled into one. She's a phenomenon."

Sherilyn felt her confidence shrink back a step. "I hope you didn't tell Jackson all that."

"I did."

"And more," Fee added. "Oh my."

"She's the Queen of the Themed Wedding," Emma explained. "This one time, she—"

"All right, all right," Sherilyn cried, poking Emma in the arm with her finger. "Cut it out."

Emma chuckled and puckered up her lips to toss Sherilyn an animated little kiss.

"I've got crumb coat calling my name," Fee announced. "You two enjoy your lunch. It was great to meet you, Sherilyn."

"You too, Fee."

Sherilyn waited for Fee to go before she turned to Emma. "Crumb coat?"

"Oh, yeah," she said with a chuckle. "You know how, when you bake a cake, sometimes crumbs get all jumbled up in the frosting?"

"And that's a bad thing?"

Emma shot her a look before continuing. "When you bake something that doesn't come in a mix from Betty Crocker, and especially when you're baking it for someone else, you try to make it as pretty and tasty as possible."

Sherilyn giggled before nodding. "Oh. I see."

"Crumb coating is when we apply a thin layer of icing to the cake just after it's cooled to seal in the moisture."

"Mmm. Moist cake. Got any of that here?"

Emma chuckled as she set about the business of filling two plates with little finger sandwiches, and she added two flower- shaped butter cookies from the tiered tray to Sherilyn's plate as she prodded, "Let's get back to Andy. Tell me all about him."

"Well, he's fabulous," she replied, accepting the plate. "He's beautiful and brilliant. He loves the Falcons—

"Of course!"

"—and the Blackhawks—"

Emma turned up her nose and shrugged. "Hockey? Okay. I guess."

"—and he's an orthopedic specialist."

"Wait! You're marrying . . . You never told me that. You're going to be Dr. and Mrs. Andy—" She paused, waiting for Sherilyn to fill in the blank.


"Dr. and Mrs. Andy Drummond?" Sherilyn beamed and nodded. "Yep."

Emma raised her hand above the center of the table, and

Sherilyn clapped one time hard against it with her own. "And you're sure?"

"Not a doubt in the sky."

"After just a few weeks," Emma stated, and she shook her head. "For a planner like you, that's a little bit of a miracle."

"Tell me about it, but no doubts at all. He's absolutely the one for me."

"After everything you went through—"

"No," Sherilyn snapped, holding up her hand. "No talk of the past."

"I didn't mean anything by it. I just think it's so great, after what happened—"

"Em, please. I don't want to talk about past relationships. In fact, I don't want to even think about anything or anyone that came before Andy."

"Even me?"

"You know what I mean."

"All right," Emma said with a nod, passing her a steaming cup. "Orange pekoe. Try it with cream."

"What about you and Jackson? How are things on that front?"

"Smooth sailing," Emma replied, and she glanced up at Sherilyn with a timid smile. "I've never known anyone like him."

The two of them exchanged contented grins.

"Check us out," Emma said on a sigh. "Happy. Who knew?"

"Hey, Susannah," Emma greeted the sixtyish woman with the salt-and-pepper bun who poured coffee into a large black mug. When she looked up at them over wire glasses, she reminded Sherilyn of a coiffed version of Mrs. Butterworth.

"Good morning, Emma."

"Susannah Littlefield, meet Sherilyn Caine." Turning toward Sherilyn, she added, "Susannah is Jackson's executive assistant. Translation: She runs the place."

Susannah popped with a chuckle. "You and I both know it's

Georgiann who runs this place." Emma laughed. "Too true."

"Welcome to The Tanglewood, Sherilyn. Emma's been sing- ing your praises for weeks."

"Is Jackson in his office?" Emma asked. "I was just bringing him his coffee."

Emma took the mug from Susannah's hands and gave Sherilyn a quick nod to follow her through the door into the main office.

Jackson Drake was far more handsome in person than in his photographs. She remembered Emma relating her first impression of him the day that he walked into The Backstreet Bakery where she used to work.

"He was wearing a fine Italian suit, polka-dotted with rain- drops," she'd said, "but he still looked like he'd just stepped off the front cover of GQ."

Minus the raindrops, Sherilyn thought he still did.

When he spotted Emma, his smile lit up the room. She set the coffee down in front of him, and they exchanged a quick, modest brush of hands.

"How's your day going?" she asked him. "Much improved right now," he replied.

"Well, I'm about to make it even better. I want you to meet

The Tanglewood's next wedding planner."

When he stood up from his chair, he unfolded into more than six feet of handsome leanness. "You must be Sherilyn."

"And you're Jackson," she returned, extending her hand to meet his.

"Welcome back to Atlanta."

Sherilyn grinned. "Thank you. It's good to be back. Your hotel is gorgeous."

"I'm going to give her the grand tour," Emma told him. "You'll have your official interview with her tomorrow. I just wanted to give you a chance to say hello."

"I'm glad you did," he said, and his dark chocolate eyes glistened.

Emma leaned in toward him. "I've got brownies cool- ing downstairs. There's a couple of them with your name on them."


"I'll bring them up after I get Sherilyn settled in her room." Jackson beamed.

"Do you want to join us for dinner?" she asked him. "I thought I'd introduce her to the culinary artistry of Anton Morelli."

"I've got men's group tonight with Miguel." Emma nodded. "I forgot. I'll see you later then." "With brownies."

"With brownies."

"Sherilyn, we're really happy to have you here," Jackson told her. "I look forward to talking to you more tomorrow."

"Me too, Jackson. Have a good afternoon."

They crossed through Susannah's empty office and strolled down the hall toward the elevator. Emma pressed the call but- ton, and they both faced front, staring at the closed door until Sherilyn finally broke the silence.

"So that's Jackson." "Mm-hmm."

"Well, no wonder." "Yeah. I know." "He's—"

"Hot, yes?" "Oh, yeah."

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