Exclusive Extract: White Wedding by Carla Luna

White Wedding is a fantastic new read by author Carla Luna. Carla writes contemporary romance with a dollop of humour and a pinch of spice. A former archaeologist, she still dreams of travelling to far-off places and channels that wanderlust into the settings of her stories. When she’s not writing, she works in a spice emporium where she gets paid to discuss food and share her favourite recipes. Her passions include Broadway musicals, baking, whimsical office supplies, and pop culture podcasts. Though she has roots in Los Angeles and Victoria, B.C., she currently resides in Wisconsin with her family and her feisty Siberian cat.

Take one lavish holiday wedding. Add one evil ex and his bridezilla. And toss in a smoking-hot chef from the past. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Victoria Blackwood has spent years trying to redeem herself after falling victim to a blackmail scheme that cost her father thousands. So, when he insists she coordinates a big Christmas wedding at her family’s winery, she can’t say no. Even if the groom is her ex, and the caterer just quit.

For Rafael Sanchez, a last-minute call to cater a huge society wedding is a golden opportunity. If he can prove he’s up to the challenge, his brothers might entrust him with more responsibility in the family catering business. But when he meets Victoria, he can’t believe his eyes. Five years ago, they had a passionate fling that rocked his world. Until she left him with only a fake name to remember her by.

To pull off the perfect wedding, Victoria and Rafael can’t afford to get caught up in the past. But keeping things professional won’t be easy, not when the attraction between them burns hotter than Christmas in July.

When Victoria Blackwood is forced to coordinate her ex-fiancé’s Christmas wedding, her luck worsens when she learns she’ll be working with Rafael Sanchez, the smoking-hot chef she slept with five years ago. Given that she ghosted him after their fling, he resents her—at least until she explains her side of the story. At the start of this scene, Rafael and Victoria have reconciled and are touring her family’s winery where the wedding will be held.

As Victoria surveyed her family’s extensive vineyards, the tension eased from her body. She hadn’t realized how freeing it would feel to confide in Rafael.

“Can I ask you something?” he said.

She turned to face him, curious at the concern in his tone. “Sure.”

“Do you still wish this was your wedding?”

No one had asked her that. Her friends had assumed she was either livid with jealousy or wallowing in self-pity.

“At first I did. When Ben left, it hurt like hell. But the more I see of his nasty side, the more I feel like I dodged a bullet. I doubt he would have been faithful. And…” She grinned, casting aside her earlier reserve. “The sex wasn’t that great to begin with.”

“No?” He gave her a wolfish smile. “You’re saying you’ve had better?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.” She flushed, then looked away. What was she doing? Even if they weren’t enemies, she could not be crossing that line.

Their connection ended when Rafael’s phone buzzed. He pulled it out of his pocket. “Sorry. My cousin Araceli sent me a text, asking for pictures of the grand ballroom. She’s going to help serve at Ben’s wedding.”

“Araceli? Is she the one whose wedding you catered?”

“Yeah. You talked to her on Saturday. She answered the phone at my apartment.” He chuckled. “She always does some goofy bit, like pretending I’m a celebrity chef.”

Oh. “I thought she was your girlfriend.”

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she regretted them. Especially when Rafael grinned in a way that was entirely too smug. “Nope. I’m single,” he said. “What about you?”

She couldn’t help but laugh. “I’m coordinating my ex-fiancé’s wedding, with assistance from you, Chef Hot Pants. Do you think I could handle another man in my life right now?”

Quite honestly, she didn’t know if she could handle Rafael. Keeping him at arm’s length was going to be tricky now that he wasn’t mad at her anymore.

“We should head back,” she said.

He said nothing but walked with her toward the path. Unnerved by his silence, she tried to fill the empty space. “So…umm…over there?” She pointed to a two-story building, done in California Craftsman style. “More Blackwood Cellars offices. Sales and marketing, along with some of our admin staff.”

Rafael nodded but didn’t respond. Was he lost in the past, recalling their escapades in Baja? Or taking pride in the fact that she’d made not one, but two references to his prowess in bed?

She had to stop thinking about him that way. If they were going to work together in a professional capacity, she couldn’t allow herself to fall into temptation.

When they reached the tiled fountain where they’d first begun their walk, Rafael stopped and reached into his pocket. He took her hand and placed a nickel in her palm. The touch of his large, calloused fingers made her shiver. “Make a wish,” he said.

She closed her eyes, flung the nickel into the fountain, and wished without thinking. I wish I could be with you.

A complete waste of a wish. It didn’t matter that they were both single. Or that he was no longer her enemy. She couldn’t get involved with him. Her father would see it as a sign of weakness.

If Ben found out, he wouldn’t approve either. Just because he’d tossed her aside didn’t mean he wanted to see her with anyone else. Not that she gave a damn what he thought. But he’d accuse her of being unprofessional and rat her out to her father.

She couldn’t afford any missteps. Which meant no getting involved with anyone, not until the wedding was over.

But when Rafael touched her arm, ever so lightly, the pull she felt eclipsed all reason. Despite all the years they’d been apart, her desire for him hadn’t diminished. What would happen if she threw caution to the wind and kissed him? The thought of it set her pulse racing.

You can get a copy of White Wedding, here!

%d bloggers like this: