Title: Winning the Wedding War
Series: Tall, Dark and Driven #2
Author: Barbara DeLeo
Genre: Contemporary Small-Town Romance
Release Date: September 18, 2020
Two rival families. Two competing wedding venues. One wedding of the season.
Nick Katsalos has a foolproof plan to save his parents' floundering wedding venue. The last thing he expects is for Erin Patterson, the captivating daughter of his parents' biggest rival, to waltz in and charm the client who could finally get the family business back on track. Nick would be furious--if only he could stop thinking about her.
When Erin and Nick enter into a wager to determine who will win the contract she prepares for the worst ... and is surprised by the glimpses of warmth she sees in the man behind the numbers. But Erin isn't about to forfeit what could be the biggest wedding of the decade to a man as cold as Nick. Especially since securing it means she could finally prove to her father she's just as capable of handling the family business as him.
But as the competition heats up, Erin and Nick must decide what's more important—winning or love.
GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55228688-winning-the-wedding-war
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Enemies to lovers at its best! Winning the Wedding War is an amazing novel. This is book 2 in this series, however, it can be read as a stand-alone. I have not read book 1 and had no problem easily reading this book without feeling like I was missing anything.
What does this book have that I love? Well, I have always loved me a good enemies to lovers romance. Especially when it comes to star-crossed lovers. This book gave me a real "A Pizza My Heart" vibe. If you have seen the movie, then you know what I mean. I really liked that vibe in this book. It was reminiscent of something I loved, yet new and refreshed with these characters and the details of the story.
The writing style in this book was good. I liked the pace of the story. The characters were amazing and had great chemistry. Overall, this was a home run for me!
Writing Style: 5/5
“So, how was the movie?” he asked.
She frowned and looked at him sideways. “Which movie?”
“Pretty Woman. I know you’d have gone and watched it after I told you about all the mistakes.”
Her eyes narrowed. “As a matter of fact I did watch it again and you’re totally, one hundred percent wrong.”
He shrugged. “Am not.”
She put her hands on her hips defiantly and heat flared through him. “Vivian could totally have been eating so quickly that she went from a croissant to a pancake, to another pancake in the place of a few minutes while Edward was talking.”
He smiled to himself. He’d been right. She was competitive enough that she’d want to prove him wrong. “Why would she do that? Unless she wanted a pretty mean case of heartburn.”
“She’d never been in a hotel room like that, not eating breakfast, anyway.” She waved her hands in the air as if she were speaking about a real woman, a friend, someone who she’d talked to at length about this. “Maybe she hadn’t eaten for days. Maybe she’d never seen so much food on the table before and she wanted to eat as much as she could before they took it away.”
“Maybe she’d burned up so many calories when she slept with Edward that she was starving.” He couldn’t resist, and the blush it brought to her cheeks was worth it.
Her eyes flicked to his, then suddenly away, and in that second Nick had never wanted anyone or anything more in his life. He cleared his throat. Living in a wedding hall must have caused his logical brain to stall. He kick-started it just in time. “Or the continuity guy was sleeping on the job.”
She made a growling noise. “I’ve never met someone so infuriatingly cynical.”
“You’re just angry because I pointed out a fact to you and now you can’t unsee it. In fact, you voluntarily watched the movie again, and you’re pissed because you know I’m right.”
She moistened her lips. “You still haven’t proven any of those mistakes, and until you do, I’m not going to believe any of them. Besides, the Rockwell painting is old and so is Pretty Woman. With all the advances in technology, mistakes aren’t going to be a problem anymore.”
He paused for a moment, wondering how far he could push her. No, it wouldn’t be fair, would it? But she was glaring at him, challenging, and he couldn’t resist making an excuse to have the same sort of passionate discussion with her again. “Seen The Fault in Our Stars?”
She spun back to him. “Oh no you don’t! I cried through that entire movie, and I am not going to have you destroy that for me. You’re sick, Nick Katsalos. Sick, sick, sick.”
He grinned. “I wouldn’t dream of telling you if you don’t want to hear. But you did ask.”
As she neared the secluded part of the garden with the paper bag of birdseed in her hand, she stopped still. There was movement behind a tree, and she thought she could see the toe of a man’s business shoe poking out. Her skin prickled. Had someone come here to have a secret cigarette? Had a groomsmen wanted a stolen moment with one of the bridesmaids?
The doves were roosting on the dovecote, so whoever it was hadn’t disturbed them, or else the person had been there for some time. On a hunch, she stayed perfectly still.
One minute went by, then two, the only noise the cooing of the doves and some garden irrigation switching on in the distance. And then the foot moved out, followed by a leg, and then a body. Nick Katsalos in all his perfect, arrogant gorgeousness stood before her. A wave of heat swept through her before she tried desperately to work out why he was here, alone in her garden.
“Oh,” he said as his face dropped, then he took a deliberate step away from the tree. “I thought you’d gone.”
She folded her arms and pressed them close to try and stop the delicious tremble in her body. “Obviously. Please don’t say you were hiding from me.”
He cleared his throat. “Not hiding exactly.”
She swung her shoes by their straps. Enjoying the feeling of having him cornered. “Skulking, then.”
“Skulking. It means wandering around trying not to be noticed, most commonly without good intentions.” She tipped her head on one side. “Were your intentions in lurking behind that tree good, Nick?”
He pulled at the collar of his shirt, and she couldn’t help the burst of satisfaction inside that he really did look like he was squirming. “I thought I’d come over and take a look at what my competition was,” he said, holding her gaze defiantly. “I didn’t jump any fences or run a security patrol, if that’s what you’re asking. Did you bring me some supper?” he said with a grin, nodding at the bag.
He looked so perfect, like he was the prize on “The Bachelor,” and she had to remind herself just why she had to keep her distance. She lifted her chin. “So, you’re cheating then. You’ve come to look at what we’ve got going on here so you can copy it and win? I’m sure Wedding World would be interested in the fact that you’d resort to such underhanded tactics.”
He slid a hand into his pocket and crafted himself into a position of indifference. He looked so hot and in control, and it killed her.
“No, not cheating, either. Any smart businessman will want to have a realistic understanding of how his opposition works. Nothing wrong with that.”
“Then why didn’t you just walk up to the front door like any normal person would and ask to be shown around?”
A dove flew down and started pecking at the ground around their feet. They’d gotten used to her coming at this time of night and would be looking for their food. She threw a handful of seed on the ground.
“Knowing the level of animosity between our families, I didn’t think I’d be welcome. And besides, I wasn’t sure if your father was aware of our little wager and I didn’t want to embarrass you. By the way, you look different to the way you did in the congressman’s office,” he said, his gaze moving slowly over her. “Much less…fierce.”
As his eyes scanned her, every inch of her skin tingled “I’m in the middle of a wedding,” she said, trying to halt her body’s reaction to him.“I like to blend in.” He had some gall. And looked so perfect there in the fading light, his bright white smile shining on his tan face that it annoyed the hell out of her.
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Barbara DeLeo’s first book, co-written with her best friend, was a story about beauty queens in space. She was eleven, and the sole, handwritten copy was lost years ago, much to everyone’s relief. It’s some small miracle that she kept the faith and is now living her dream of writing sparkling contemporary romance with unforgettable characters.
After completing degrees in Psychology and English then travelling the world, Barbara married her winemaker hero and had two sets of twins. She still loves telling stories about finding love in all the wrong places, with not a beauty queen or spaceship in sight.