The sexy British accented startled Alexis out of her thoughts, and she glanced up, both alarmed and intrigued to find that the face that awaited her was every bit as appealing as the voice.
The man was about her age—early, maybe midtwenties—and ridiculously cute. His hair was dark and maybe just a touch too long, as though he intended to get a haircut but kept forgetting. The eyes were brown and friendly, accented by trendy black-framed glasses.
The chunky cable-knit sweater with elbow patches—for real—bordered on dorky, but then, Alexis had always had a soft spot for dorky. He had a bit of the Clark Kent thing going on, which had always been far more her type than the overrated Superman.
“Hi,” she replied quickly, realizing that she’d been staring.
His smile grew wider as he extended a hand. “Logan Harris.”
Darn. Even the name was good.
“Alexis,” she said.
“Does that come with a last name?” he teased, lowering himself to the vacant barstool beside her.
“Not to strange men,” she retorted.
“I could buy you a drink. Get rid of the ‘strange’ part.”
Alexis’s smile slipped as she remembered that romance, even flirting, wasn’t part of her plan. She’d learned the hard way that she could have one or the other—her own business or a boyfriend—not both. And even if she wanted the latter, the latter didn’t want her back.
“No thanks; I’m fine,” she said, letting the slightest amount of chill enter her voice. The ice-princess treatment, Roxanne called it.
Logan shrugged, undeterred. “All right then. May I borrow your menu?”
She nodded, and he picked it up, perusing it for several moments and paying her no attention.
It was both a relief and also a bit of an insult, if she was being entirely honest, to be given up on so easily.
Alexis tried to turn her attention back to her laptop but watched out of the corner of her eye as he finally shut the menu, waiting patiently to catch the bartender’s eye.
“Hi there,” he said, when the bartender ambled back over. “I’d like a Stella, and a maybe bite to eat?”
Alexis didn’t miss the once-over that the bartender gave Logan before the curvy redhead leaned over the bar, displaying perky boobs as she clicked her pen and pulled a notepad out of her back pocket.
“Shoot,” the bartender said flirtatiously, looking a good deal friendlier than she had when she’d spoken to Alexis.
Not that Alexis blamed her. A cute Brit could do that to a girl.
“All right then,” Logan said. “I’d like the burger, medium, with Swiss. Fish and chips, extra tartar, and . . . how’s your chicken club?”
The bartender blinked. “It’s good. But you want all that?”
“I do. Thank you.”
“Suit yourself,” she said, scribbling Logan’s order on the pad.
“Hungry?” Alexis couldn’t resist asking after the bartender moved away.
Logan gave a sheepish smile. “I’m a recovering student. I sometimes get so wrapped up in my day that I forget to eat.”
“A recovering student. What does that mean?”
He turned slightly toward her. “Someone’s showing plenty of interest in a strange man.”
She bit her lip. “I’m sorry if I was rude before. I’m just not really in the market for . . . you know.”
He gave her an easy smile. “Everyone’s in the market for a friend, Alexis.”
She opened her mouth and then shut it as she realized he was right. She could use a friend. She’d spent her entire life in Boston and knew almost nobody in New York. This guy seemed nice and nonthreatening enough—what would be the harm in a little conversation over dinner? It had been too long since she’d had somebody to share a meal with.
Logan seemed to know the moment she capitulated, because he turned more fully toward her. “A recovering student, Alexis, is a recent graduate. One who hasn’t quite absorbed that there will be no more finals, no more requisite all-nighters, and no more dorm sex.”
Alexis laughed. “Undergrad, then?”
He gave her a wry look. “How young do I look, darling? MBA from Columbia. Just finished up end of last year.”
She felt a little stab of relief that he wasn’t twenty-two.
He leaned toward her slightly. “Twenty-five next month, just in case you were wondering. As a friend.”
She tried to hide her smile and failed. “Columbia, huh? You’re a long way from home.”
“Noticed that, did ya?” He winked. “I came out here for undergrad, also Columbia. Always figured I’d go back to London and maybe someday I will, but . . .” He shrugged. “Seems I have stuff to do here first.”
“Such as?” She took a sip of her wine, dismayed to see that it was half-empty.
“Well, this will probably shock you, given my vast amount of brawn, but I’m an accountant. Or at least I will be, once I get my business up and running.”
Alexis was impressed. “Your own business?”
Most twentysomethings, even those with an entrepreneurial bent, opted to get a few years of work under their belts for someone else before branching out on their own.
He nodded. “I’m working out of my flat for now, but I’m hoping to lease some office space soon, get some legitimacy. If nothing else to get my father off my back.”
“He’s not a fan of your plan?” Alexis asked.
Logan’s shoulder lifted, and for the first time he seemed a little sad. “Both parents have had it in their head that I’d come home. Run the family business in London.”
“Which is . . . ?”
He spun his beer glass idly. “Financial consulting firm. My father’s the CEO, Mum’s the COO.”
“Wow, that’s . . .”
“Scary?” Logan supplied.
“I was going to say impressive. That they work together—without killing each other, I mean.”
“They’re in love. It’s atrocious,” he said with a wink. “What about your folks?”
Alexis laughed. “Not in love. They divorced when I was in high school. Dad’s remarried and happy now, I think. Mom not so much.”
“And you?” he said. “Are you happy, Alexis?”
She pursed her lips, surprised and yet not entirely unsettled by the personal question. “It’s been a while since anyone asked me that. Since I even thought about it, really.”
“Think it out. I’ll wait,” he said with a wink.
She didn’t have to think that long. “I’m almost happy.”
“You sound quite confident on that.”
She shrugged. “Let’s just say that I need a few things to fall into place in my professional life, but once that happens . . . yeah. I’ll be happy.”
She’d make sure of it.
To Love and to Cherish by Lauren Layne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the 3rd and final book in The Wedding Belles series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this fantastic series in order.
Alexis & Logan met and became business partners shortly thereafter. He has always wanted more, but her single minded business kept them from pursuing more. Alexis has secrets from her past, and they may be why they are still apart.
Logan has been in love with her for the better part of a decade. Now time has run out. He has to make a decision and make it in a hurry. Can he have both? Does he want one more than the other?
This series nearly ripped me apart! This story was so - gah. How do I describe it? These characters have been throughout the entire series and without spoiling it for you, I finally got my HEA. Then, I got notice that this is the end of the series. Heart crushing, I tell you. I cannot wait for the next book out by this author. She never disappoints!
***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart--cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.
In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.
In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.
For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!