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Authors: Jennifer Joyce

The Wedding Date

BOOK: The Wedding Date
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Will you…
date
me?

Delilah James, singleton and smoothie-addict, has six months to find a date for her oldest friend’s wedding. Oh, and to prove to her ex, best man Ben, that she has
totally
moved on since he dumped her out-of-the-blue nine months, eight days and seventeen hours ago…

So, with her two BFFs playing Cupid, Delilah launches herself into the high-tech, fast-paced and frankly terrifying world of dating. Luckily there’s the hot new guy at work, Adam Sinclair, to practice her flirting on – even if, as a colleague, he’s strictly off-limits!

Yet time’s running out and date after disastrous date forces Delilah to tell a little white lie – and invent a fake boyfriend! But will her secret crush on Adam ruin everything? Does she even care about Ben anymore? And is it too late to untangle her web of lies and take a
real
date to the wedding…?

A laugh-out-loud, feel-good romantic comedy perfect for fans of Jane Costello and Mandy Baggot!

Also by Jennifer Joyce:

The Mince Pie Mix-Up

The Wedding Date

Jennifer Joyce

www.CarinaUK.com

J
ENNIFER
J
OYCE

is a writer of romantic comedies. She’s been scribbling down bits of stories for as long as she can remember, graduating from a pen to a typewriter and then an electronic typewriter. And she felt like the bee’s knees typing on THAT. She now writes her books on a laptop (which has a proper delete button and everything). Jennifer lives in Oldham, Greater Manchester with her husband Chris and their two daughters, Rianne and Isobel, plus their bunnies Cinnamon and Leah and Jack Russell Luna. When she isn’t writing, Jennifer likes to make things – she’ll use any excuse to get her craft box out! She spends far too much time on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. You can find out more about Jennifer on her blog at
jenniferjoycewrites.co.uk
, on Twitter at
@writer_jenn
and on Facebook at
facebook.com/jenniferjoycewrites

Thank you to my family for all your support, especially my mum, June and sister, Michelle, who have been patiently listening to me waffle about my writing for quite some time now. I’m not saying I’m going to stop waffling or anything, but thank you.

My husband, Chris is another waffle-listener, so massive thanks to him, especially as he rescued me from dating hell back in 2001. Thank you to our daughters, Rianne and Isobel, just for being you. Thank you to Charlotte Mursell and the Carina UK team for helping me to make
The Wedding Date
into an actual, readable book.

Thank you to the wonderful people I’ve met through social media: Team Novelicious, the authors who take the time to chat to aspiring writers and offer encouragement (it means A LOT. Seriously) and all the book bloggers and book nerds who love to share their enthusiasm for reading.

Finally, thank you to all the readers who have taken a chance on my books. I still can’t quite believe people have plucked my book from all the squillions of books on offer. I only hope you enjoy
The Wedding Date
as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

For Chris, dating-hell-rescuer, and our daughters, Rianne and Isobel

Contents

Cover

Blurb

Book List

Title Page

Author Bio

Acknowledgement

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Epilogue

Excerpt

Endpages

Copyright

Chapter 1

Delilah

Text Message:

Ryan:
My, my, my Delilah. Why, why, why Delilah?

Delilah:
Bog off, Ryan

Ryan:
You and your pussy cat lips!

Delilah:
That’s the wrong song, you dweeb

I hitch up my skirt – why oh why did I choose to wear the tightest pencil skirt known to man this morning? – and scuttle along the pavement as the bus trundles towards the bus stop ahead. At least I’m wearing my ballet flats, as even attempting to run in heels would have been impossible. If I’m honest, the flat shoes weren’t part of a logical, well-thought-out plan. I didn’t know I’d be pelting along the main road, eyes fixed on the quickly approaching bus, as I’d dragged on my pencil skirt this morning, my toothbrush poking out of my mouth as I multi-tasked my getting-ready-for-work. Ah yes. That’s why I’d chosen the pencil skirt. It was the first thing my fingers made contact with as I stuck a hand in the wardrobe, fumbling for an outfit – any outfit – as I brushed my teeth with the other hand. I’d slept through my alarm (not my fault. Totally the responsibility of Dan the Barman for supplying me with drink after drink the night before. I mean, the guy was just doing his job and everything, but he should have known the consequences, really). So I was running late. Majorly late. And the ballet flats were just there, their sequins twinkling at me from the shoe rack. I’d shoved them on my feet before hurling my body into the bathroom to spit (in the sink), rinse and dump my toothbrush in the pot on the side.

So the ballet flats were quite a fortunate choice as I find myself running (as best as I can in the damn pencil skirt) towards the bus stop. I’m almost there. I can make it. As long as the driver isn’t a complete bum-wipe and puts his foot down, I can make it. I just need to –

Waaaah! Wonky pavement! I’m stumbling. Nope, I’m full-on falling. Arms flailing, strangled cry, thud. I’m on the ground. My knee is throbbing like a mother fudger and the bus is sailing past. I look up in time to see the smile twitching at the corner of the driver’s mouth, his eyes glinting in a mean-scumbag kind of way.

‘Oh, for fu–’

‘Are you all right, lovey?’ There’s a hand on my shoulder, which only makes the whole situation worse. Oh yes, it can get worse. Not only am I late for work (and now running even later), I’ve fallen to the ground with a witness. Not only have I hurt my knee (which really is stinging, FYI), I’ve also hurt my pride, which everybody knows is much more painful.

‘Yes. Thank you.’ I’m willing the owner of the voice to leave. Just go. Take your concern and skedaddle. Nothing to see here, ma’am. Nobody fell and humiliated themselves. ‘I’m fine. Ow!’ I’ve attempted to stand but it turns out hurt pride isn’t more painful than physical injury after all. I stumble as pain shoots from my knee, causing a little bit of swearing to escape my lips. But sod it. This hurts.

‘Come on, lovey. Come and sit down for a minute.’ A hand on my elbow steadies me and guides me towards the bus stop (which is only a tiny little hobble away. I would have made it if I hadn’t tripped over the chuffing pavement). ‘Oh dear. You’ve cut yourself.’

I look down at my knee. She’s right. My tights have ripped at the knee, displaying a bloody patch. My knee starts to sting even more now that I’ve seen the damage.

‘Let me see if I have a plaster.’

My Good Samaritan is an elderly lady with wispy white hair and sagging jowls. She must be at least ninety and it takes her a good thirty seconds just to pop the clasp on her handbag with her gnarly fingers. She smiles at me as the bag opens and it’s a kind smile. As witnesses to my mortifying pavement-hugging go, it could have been worse. A lot worse. What if it had been Katey-Louise who’d seen me fall? She wouldn’t have helped me up and she wouldn’t have been rifling through her handbag for a plaster. At this moment in time, she’d have been busily uploading the footage from her phone to YouTube.

‘Hmm, let’s see.’ Items are removed from the handbag and placed on the bench in between us: a navy blue umbrella with white polka dots, neatly folded and secured with the Velcro tab, half a packet of Polo mints, a mini pot of Nivea cream. ‘I’m sure I have some. You never know when you’ll need a plaster.’ Keys, jangling with a million keyrings, a mobile (blimey, it’s an iPhone. Go, super-tech Granny), a hairbrush with wispy white hair caught up in the bristles. ‘I’m sure…’ A bingo marker (red) and a biro (blue). ‘No, sorry, lovey. No plasters. I don’t even have a clean tissue for you.’

‘It’s ok. Really.’ I stretch out my leg, wincing and gritting my teeth with the pain that follows. Blood is oozing onto the non-ruined part of my tights. ‘I’ll be fine.’

‘Are you sure? That was quite a nasty fall.’

Like I need reminding. I was there. It hurt. A lot.

‘I’m sure. But thank you.’ I feel a bit bad for being so grumpy. It isn’t this sweet old lady’s fault I’m such a doofus. ‘Would you like me to put your things back into your bag for you?’

‘Thank you, lovey.’ She smiles at me again. ‘My hands aren’t so good any more.’

I put the items back into the handbag carefully, not throwing them in like I would with my own. The old lady chats away as I do so, introducing herself as Maude and telling me about her three cats, Daisy, Fluffy and Pickle. Which reminds me. I should probably introduce myself to you. I’d have done it sooner but I was a bit caught up with the whole bus-run-splat saga. You know. You were there.

So, I’m Delilah James, middle child of Raymond and Nancy James. I’m twenty-four and, for reasons beyond my control (mostly financial), I still live at home with my parents and younger brother, Justin. I meant to move out, really I did. I couldn’t wait to spread my wings and fly the nest, but life doesn’t always work out the way you planned it. For example, when I was ten my life plan was to audition for Pop Idol when I was old enough, win (obviously), become a famous pop singer and marry Mark from Westlife. Which didn’t work out at all because:

a) I hurt my own ears when I sing;

b) The show stopped after two series; and

c) Mark from Westlife is gay, which is the only reason he wouldn’t marry me, obviously.

Still, you pick yourself up and move on. Or not, in the case of my residential status.

I was supposed to move out of Mum and Dad’s as soon as I left school. My best friend Lauren (more about her later, I promise) and I had it all planned out. We’d get part-time jobs to fit around college and we’d move into a little flat together. It would be so much fun. There would be no boring old parents to boss us around and tell us to eat vegetables and stuff. We could laze around in our pyjamas all day (when we weren’t at college, obviously) and have Friends marathons every weekend. And, best of all, I wouldn’t live with my annoying little dweeb of a brother.

Perfect!

At least it would have been perfect if we’d managed to find jobs to fit around college. Who knew there was so much work involved in A Levels? Plus, people can be pretty snooty about hiring sixteen-year-olds and paying them a fair wage. Lauren and I decided to postpone out flat share until after college. It was the proper, grown-up thing to do. Except Lauren went one step further in the proper, grown-up decisions and went off to university, leaving me – and our flat share plans – behind. She returned of course, but by then I was loved up with Ben (more about him later, unfortunately) and I assumed we’d do the whole getting-married-and-living-together thing. We didn’t and yet I’m still living at home with the parents instead of flat sharing with Lauren. And why? Because I’m a fool, that’s why. Ben and I split up nine months ago but there’s a stupid part of me that’s still clinging onto the hope that sometime soon he’ll come to his senses, realise he’s been a complete pea-brained imbecile in dumping me and we’ll get back together and live happily ever after.

BOOK: The Wedding Date
7.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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