Home > Never More (The Gray Court #6)

Never More (The Gray Court #6)
Author: Dana Marie Bell

Chapter One

Amanda Pierson tapped the papers against the kitchen table, lining them up precisely. “All right.” She eyed the couple across from her, gauging their taste by their clothing and mannerisms to come up with something that would appeal to them both. It was part of her job as a party planner for Fantasy Events, and Amanda was damn good at her job.

But these two? These two were going to give her fits, she just knew it. Why had she allowed Ruby to talk her into taking this job?

Oh, right. Ruby, her BFF since kindergarten, was married to Amanda’s boss, Leo Dunne. Therefore, what Ruby wanted, Leo demanded and Amanda delivered. At least on the party planning front.

Stupid nepotism. The vacation of shopping malls and spa trips she’d envisioned with Ruby was deteriorating into a work trip. Leo so owed her for this one.

Hell, he still owed her for setting up Ruby for one hell of a fall. If Amanda hadn’t literally pushed Ruby into Leo’s arms, they’d both still be silently pining after one another. Once this wedding was done, she planned on cashing in on that favor. Maybe she’d drag Ruby off to Tahiti, just the two of them? Work had been a pain right up until her little vacation, and her ex, the Viking with the tiny spear, couldn’t seem to get it through his thick skull that their relationship was so dead Charon was holding out his hand for his payment to take it down the river Styx.

Shaking her head, Amanda got back down to business. At least these two were amusing, even if she could already tell they’d drive her nuts.

The redheaded groom hovered protectively over his smaller, dark-haired bride, his blue eyes gazing at her adoringly. The brunette was all smiles and bounces, eager to discuss their upcoming wedding.

A wedding that was mere weeks away.

Thanks, Leo. Thanks a lot.

Amanda plastered on her best smile. It was never easy taking over the planning of a wedding. Usually another planner had things in place, people they were used to working with who were aware of the planner’s choices and the bride’s likes and dislikes. Even worse, Amanda was from out of town and didn’t have the contacts another planner would have. But the bride and groom had been planning their wedding on their own and gotten bogged down by work. They needed help, and thanks to Ruby and Leo, Amanda was the one they were turning to. “First things first. Ruby told me who you are, but I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Amanda Pierson, and I’m a party planner with Fantasy Events.” Amanda kept her gaze on the bride, knowing where the real client was. As much as a wedding was a celebration of two people coming together as one, it was really the bride’s day. Most of what was going to happen would come from her first.

“I’m Michaela Exton, and this is my fiancé, Robin Goodfellow.” Michaela held out her hand and Amanda shook it, as well as Robin’s. “We’re really excited to have you help us with this. Ruby told us you are the best of the best.”

“Leo’s recommendation was also stellar,” Robin added. It was the first words she’d heard from the man since she got here. His voice was smooth, with a tinge of humor to it. “He’s very well respected amongst his peers.”

Leo Dunne was CEO of Fantasy Events. He was looking to expand beyond D.C. and into the national arena. Why he’d chosen to start in Omaha, Amanda didn’t know, but she was ready to ask for a transfer just so she could see her BFF Ruby more often. Amanda missed her more and more with each passing day.

This could be the opportunity she’d been looking for. If she could pull this off, maybe Leo would approve a transfer. Amanda straightened her shoulders, ready for the party-planning battle of her life. “I’m glad my boss is pleased with me.” Amanda winked. “Now, I’d like to show you some pictures of weddings I’ve done in the past. That will give me an idea of what you like and what you don’t.” She put the binder on the table, watching Michaela’s reactions as she went through it. She seemed especially drawn to the more fairytale-style weddings. Robin watched, smiling whenever Michaela cooed.

When Michaela reached the end of the binder, Amanda pulled out her notepad. “Okay. Let’s get started. Ruby says you’ve already got your guest list and invitations.”

“We do.” Michaela pressed one into her hands. Done on white vellum with gold lettering, it fit Michaela perfectly down to the scrolling font.

“And the caterer and cake?”

Michaela shook her head. “Nope. Or my dress. Or the bridesmaids’ dresses.”

Amanda hid her wince. Getting a decent dress took months, but she didn’t have that kind of time. Hopefully the gods of good weddings were smiling on Michaela, because it was going to take a miracle to get the dresses on time. “That’s going to be difficult, but we’ll figure it out.”

Robin’s eyes flashed, and she could have sworn they turned green for just a second. “Worry not, my dear. It will be taken care of.”

Michaela grinned up at her flamboyant boyfriend. Really, who dressed like that other than cosplayers? The man wore a dark purple shirt buttoned all the way up. Over that was a notched lapel leather vest in black, with bright silver buttons. His pants were tight leather biker pants in the same black, with silver runes running down the outside seams. On his feet were dark purple boots with black heels. At his waist was a thick, matching purple leather belt with silver grommets. The belt buckle was in the shape of a tricolor triskelion. The bottom two spirals were white and black enamel, but the upper spiral, the one above them both, was done in pure, shining silver, the arms of the spiral reaching down to touch the white and the black, blending into them. His long red hair was held back with a clasp in the shape of that same triskelion, colors and all. On his wrist was a bright silver cuff with an emerald-cut amethyst in the center.

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