Four best friends, one risky business, and a chance to say "I do" one more time. . . With their fledgling business Second Chances facing its first big break, four best friends turned wedding consultants face second chances-and challenges-of their own. For always-practical, always-predictable Elaine, it's a time for a total makeover . . . but is the new "dream-her" really her For Lily, the free-spirited, free-spending sprite, it was the chance to find the one thing missing from her life that not even money could buy. And while Sarah, the self-reliant artist, faces a crisis that proves just how much she needs her friends, ex-publicist Jo is tantalizingly closer to true love than she can ever possibly imagine.
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March 28, 2005
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Excerpt from Twice Upon a Wedding by Jean Stone
It was one of those smiles.
It was secretive, mischievous, almost happily naughty.
It was not the sort of smile Andrew would have expected of Elaine. Especially on the day she should have been married. Especially as she wore the gown of a bridesmaid, not a bride, and stood on the top of a grassy slope, overlooking the magnificent grounds of a magnificent estate, watching a wedding reception that should have been hers.
He crossed the lawn and moved next to her. She stood apart from her friends--Lily, Sarah, and Jo--yet was dressed like them in Vera Wang gowns of oyster and pearl. On Lily the dress looked like sassy haute couture; on Sarah, mysteriously earthy and sensuous; on Jo, heart-thumpingly gorgeous. On Elaine, it simply looked like a nice dress, more palatable than the clash of colors she often wore, more fashionable than the stretch pants and big shirts of the carpooling, PTO-president mom.
Elaine turned to Andrew, her smile unflinching. He knew that the past weeks had been tough, that she'd risked her future security, her children's happiness, and the success of her best friends' new business when she'd broken her engagement to Martin because "I just have to," she'd said.
"Lainey," he asked, "how are you doing?"
She tipped her head toward the crowd, her lacquered brown hair rigid in its French twist, as she'd called it ("An updo," Lily had corrected). "Fine," Elaine said, "or at least I will be."
"When this wedding is over?" It was the celebration of Jo's mother's marriage to Ted, the West Hope, Massachusetts, town butcher. It was also the debut event for Lily, Sarah, Jo, and Elaine, once college roommates, now partners in Second Chances, second-wedding planners for second-time brides.
Elaine looped her arm through Andrew's and stood a bit taller. "I'm tired of being ordinary, Andrew. I'm tired of having a predictable life."
He kept his eyes on her. She didn't waver. "There's nothing wrong with being predictable, Lainey," Andrew said, because so many times he'd longed for just that.
"But my kids are practically grown and I'm unattached. I'm forty-three years old and I want excitement. I want pizzazz."
"Pizzazz," was an old-fashioned, Elaine kind of term, like "French twist," Andrew supposed. "Well," he replied, because, despite months of working to untangle the puzzle, he remained quite clueless about how a woman's mind worked.