Wedding Date
by Guillory, Jasmine






"A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel. Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist. On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend. From the best man's toast to the bouquet toss, Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible. But before they know it, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other. They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century-or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want.."-





Jasmine Guillory is a graduate of Wellesley College and Stanford Law School. She is a Bay Area native who has towering stacks of books in her living room, a cake recipe for every occasion, and upwards of 50 lipsticks. The Wedding Date is her first novel.





As the assistant to the mayor of Berkeley, Alexa Monroe is a resourceful woman who is prepared for any situation. But when the power suddenly goes out, trapping her in an elevator with a gorgeous doctor, she is unprepared for the sparks that fly between them. Drew Nichols, a pediatric surgeon from L.A., is not in the market for a girlfriend, or a one-night stand. What he needs is a date to his ex's wedding, and Alexa is the perfect combination of sexy and smart who will turn heads and keep him from making a drunken fool of himself. Things get complicated when Drew tells a few white lies about their relationship status and Alexa is expected to act the part of the girlfriend, but their pretense leads to the real thing when they realize they can't get enough of each other. This incredibly delicious meet-cute brings two people together who would not have met otherwise, and though it could have become predictable, Guillory keeps this contemporary romance fresh with well-drawn multicultural characters navigating the perils of long-distance relationships. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.





A fake romance starts becoming surprisingly real.Alexa is a lawyer-turned-chief of staff for the mayor of Berkeley. Drew is a pediatric surgeon from LA in town for his ex-girlfriend's wedding. When the two get stuck in an elevator in a San Francisco hotel, they unexpectedly hit it off, and Drew convinces Alexa to be his plus-one at the wedding, leading to a whole fake-relationship scheme. The relationship may be fake, but Alexa and Drew are very clearly interested in each other. As a one-night stand becomes a two-night stand becomes weekend trips between Berkeley and LA, both are in denial about how important they are to each other. As they face ups and downs, ultimately they must decide if they want to try to make a real relationship work. The writing is fast-paced, jumping between Alexa's and Drew's points of view. The two leads are charming, and both have quirky friends who add flavor to the story. The issue of race comes up since Alexa is black and Drew is white; Alexa is more aware of situations that may turn ugly, and Drew becomes more mindful of his privilege, a timely lesson that adds depth to the story. The book is also unexpectedly raunchy, since Alexa and Drew's connection starts as a purely physical one and they only later develop deeper feelings. The characters never find a situation that doesn't turn them on at least a little bit. Guillory's debut is a mix of romance and raunch that will charm rom-com fans. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.





1

Alexa Monroe walked into the Fairmont hotel in San Francisco that Thursday night wearing her favorite red heels, jittery from coffee, and with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne in her purse. She took out her phone to text her sister, Olivia, upstairs in one of the guest rooms.

Getting on the elevator!!!

It was always good to give Olivia a little more advance warning than most people. It didn't matter that Olivia had just made partner at her New York law firm; some things didn't change.

Oh no, was just about to get in the shower.

Alexa got Olivia's text just as she stepped into the elevator. She laughed out loud as she pushed the number of her sister's floor, the laughter calming her nerves. Alexa couldn't wait to celebrate with her older sister, despite . . . no, maybe because their relationship was still tricky after all these years.

The elevator glided in the air, in that smooth, noiseless way elevators in expensive hotels do, while Alexa checked her purse for the third time to make sure she'd tossed the fancy crackers and Brie in there. They would need a pre-dinner snack to soak up all of that champagne, after all. She wished she'd found the time to make brownies the night before. Olivia loved her brownies.

She spied the cheese and crackers in the corner of her purse, tucked away from the heavy champagne bottle. Just then, the elevator stopped with a jerk. A second later, the lights went out.

"What's going on?" she said out loud to herself.

A few seconds later, a dim light came on, but the elevator stayed motionless. She looked up and around, and jumped to see a man with a suitcase in the opposite corner of the elevator.

"Were you here this whole time?" she asked.

"What am I, a genie?" He grinned back at her.

"I guess you don't really look like a genie." He was a tall white guy, with tanned skin, rumpled dark brown hair, and about a day's worth of scruff where a beard would be. She had a sudden urge to rub her hand on his cheek to see how prickly it was. How exactly had she missed seeing this man get on the elevator with her?

"Thank you, I think. But isn't that what a genie would say?" he asked. "You're not claustrophobic, are you?"

"Um, I don't think so. Why, were you going to bust us out of here with your genie powers if I said I was?"

He laughed.

"I guess you'll never know if I'm a genie now," he said.

"Well, there was that time I got an MRI," she said. "Being inside that tiny machine wasn't much fun. Maybe I am claustrophobic."

"Sorry, you already lost your chance to see my powers." He moved to the front of the elevator and picked up the emergency phone.

"Let's see if they can give us an ETA on getting out of here."

She tried not to stare at him in the dim lighting, but she couldn't miss the opportunity to check out his butt in his perfectly fitted jeans. It was as good as the rest of him. She tried to wipe the grin off her face in case he turned around.

Stuff like this never happened to her. Not the stuck-in-the-elevator thing-her life was full of minor crises like that. No, it was being stuck in an elevator with a hot guy that was the unusual part. She was always the one sitting on an airplane next to a chatty toddler, or a knitting grandma, or a bored college student; never a hot guy to be found.

After about a minute of him saying, "Okay . . . okay," in progressively tenser tones, he hung up the phone.

"Well . . ." He paused and smiled at her. "Wait, I don't even know your name, my new elevator friend."

"Alexa, and you, Genie?"

"Drew. Nice to meet you, Alexa."

"Drew, it's a pleasure, but . . ."

"Right, these circumstances are not ideal. So, the bad news is that there's a power outage in the whole hotel."

Her phone lit up just then with a text from Olivia.

My power went out. Where are you??

"Ahhh, yes, I was just alerted to that." Alexa held her phone up before she texted Olivia back.

Whole hotel, I'm stuck in the elevator.

"At least that means they were telling the truth," Drew said. "The good news, or so they tell me, is that they have generators, so the elevators should start moving shortly."

She slid down to the floor, placing her purse gently beside her. It would be a tragedy to break that champagne bottle.

"We might as well wait in comfort," she said. Her favorite red heels were relatively comfortable for the first five hours, but she'd been wearing them for nine plus.

He shrugged off his leather jacket, gifting her a glimpse of his stomach muscles as his gray T-shirt shifted. Mmmm. Hot, funny guy who occasionally flashed his abs. Was it her birthday?

"So, are you a guest here, Drew? Where are you coming from?" she asked him so she wouldn't stare.

"Just flew in from L.A. And you?" He sat down next to her.

"Oh, I live here. Well, over in Berkeley, anyway. I'm just in the hotel visiting someone."

He glanced at her phone, her shoes, and back up at her.

"A pretty special someone, with those shoes on, and all of that smiling you were doing when you didn't even notice someone else got on the elevator with you."

"A very special someone," she said, and his grin got wider. "Wait, no, not that kind of special someone! My older sister! She's in town from New York for work."

Yep, this was how she usually acted around hot guys. Scared to make eye contact, stared at his abs, said something awkward.

"Ahhhh." He laughed. "Okay, yes, I did think it was that kind of special someone. Do you two have a hot night in the city planned?"

She crossed her legs and adjusted her black wrap dress so she didn't accidentally flash her underwear at this dude on top of everything else.

"Sort of. We're celebrating. She just made partner at her law firm!" Alexa smiled down at her purse full of treats before looking back up at him. Not even cheese could compete with this dude.

He narrowed his eyes at her. Light brown eyes, with a really dark rim around them. His eyes were so pretty that she looked away again. Thank God her brown skin meant her cheeks couldn't get too pink, otherwise he'd be able to see them glow in the dark.

"Okay, I'm happy for your sister, but what is in that bag? You keep looking at it like it holds the Holy Grail."

She laughed.

"Just champagne and a few snacks. The plan is to drink the champagne here and then go out to dinner . . . Well, that was the plan, but we'll see how long we're stuck in this elevator."

Drew scooted closer to her and looked in her purse. Alexa pushed it toward him, so he could see better in the dim light. She never let people poke around in her purse, but hey, this was a cute guy and a weird situation.

"Okay good, we have sustenance if we're stuck here for hours. Champagne is so convenient because no corkscrew is needed, and then we've got . . . Oh, look at that, cheese and crackers, the perfect stuck-in-an-elevator snack."

She leaned back against the wood-paneled wall.

"Have you been stuck in an elevator before with a variety of snacks and been able to determine which ones are best for this situation?" she asked.

"No, but come on, cheese and crackers are obviously the best possible option here. First of all, you had the foresight to bring a soft cheese, so we won't need a knife to cut it; we can just use the crackers to pull off bits and spread it with our fingers. And second, have you ever not enjoyed cheese and crackers? Ever not thought, 'Oh boy, these cheese and crackers are exactly what I need right now'?"

She considered for a moment.

"Stop, no, stop even thinking about it," he said. "You know the answer is no. Cheese and crackers are objectively the perfect snack."

She laughed and pried his fingers away from the box of crackers.

"Okay, fine, you're right. But you didn't manage to talk me into sharing Olivia's you-made-partner cheese and crackers with you, you know."

He stretched his legs out along the floor and took another glance into her purse.

"I was afraid of that. Well, I can only hope we'll be here so long that you'll take pity on me."

She slipped her shoes halfway off, just enough to relieve the pressure on her toes.

"No offense, Drew, but my goal is not to be stuck in this elevator with you all night." Although those abs . . . No, remember Olivia? Her sister? Right, Olivia, okay, yes, Olivia. Time to ask him another question so she'd stop staring. "Don't you have plans tonight? What are you doing here in San Francisco for the weekend anyway?"

He made a face.

"Wedding."

She made a face back at him.

"Don't say it like it's a prison sentence."

He slumped against the wall.

"If prison sentences lasted for a weekend, this one would qualify. Okay, fine, a prison in a cushy hotel, but still."

She looked around at the dim, still elevator.

"Not so cushy right now. What's so terrible about this wedding?"

He threw his hands in the air.

"Let me count the ways." He held up one finger. "One: it's my ex-girlfriend's wedding."

Alexa winced. She'd been there. Exes' weddings were always a trial, even in the best circumstances.

Second finger. "Two: she's marrying one of my best friends from med school."

Alexa covered her eyes. Okay, he maybe had a point.

"Were they . . ."

"No, she wasn't cheating on me with him, but . . . let's just say I wasn't particularly pleased about how it all happened, shall we?"

"Ouch. Well, I understand why you-"

He held up a third finger. "THREE."

She sat up straight.

"There's another one? A third finger?"

"Oh yes." He waved his middle finger in the air. "As a matter of fact, this is the worst of the fingers. Three: I am a groomsman."

She swung around and faced him, mouth wide open.

"Are you kidding me? A groomsman? What? Why? How?"

"Yes, you are asking the important questions. The ones that Josh, Molly, and I all should have asked before this nightmare of a wedding weekend started. What and why indeed. What could have possibly inspired him to ask me to be a groomsman? Why would he do that? Why would she allow it? WHY would I say yes? How did this happen? All of those questions should have been asked, and yet, here we all are."

"Oh my God, Drew. That's almost enough for me to give you some cheese."

He patted her shoulder. Cheese? Hell, if he'd let his hand linger there for a few more seconds, she would have given him a lot more than cheese.

"Alexa, I'm touched. I truly am. And then"-he waved another finger in the air-"there's four."

"Oh good Lord, what could four possibly be? Are your divorced parents coming to the wedding with their spouses, too, or something?"

He laughed.

"No, but good guess. What a nightmare that would be. No, four is that I am not only a groomsman in the wedding of my ex-girlfriend and former best friend, but I am a dateless groomsman in the wedding of my ex-girlfriend and former best friend. My date bailed on me at the last minute, so I'm going to look pathetic, and I'll probably get drunk and hit on a bridesmaid-the whole thing is going to be a nightmare."

She brushed that off with a wave of her hand.

"Oh please, you'll be fine. Weddings are great places to meet people. It's better that you're without a date. As my friend Colleen always says, 'Don't bring a sandwich to a buffet.'"

He let out a bark of laughter.

"I'm definitely going to steal that saying. And while in most situations I would say that your friend Colleen is totally right, this is that five percent of situations where a sandwich would save me from all of the food poisoning in the buffet. I'm going to get so many pitying looks, you have no idea. And the worst part is that I RSVP'd with a plus-one, so there's going to be an empty seat at the head table. And lots of 'What happened to your girlfriend, Drew, couldn't make it?' And I'm going to have to smile and take it, but there's like a thirty percent possibility I'm going to have one too many glasses of bourbon and go rogue."

She touched his hand and tried not to linger there.

"Okay, yes, sometimes a sandwich is a necessary security blanket. I'm sorry that yours bailed on you."

He looked down into her purse again.

"Alexa, I'm going to need you to stop talking about sandwiches if you don't want me to steal that cheese."

She grabbed her purse and moved it to her other side.

"Now temptation is farther away. Isn't that better?"

He looked at her, at the purse, back at her. She smiled and kept her hand on the strap.

"So, Drew. What happened to your girlfriend?"

He narrowed his eyes at her, and she laughed again.

"Okay, first of all, Emma wasn't my girlfriend. We were just hanging out, that's all."

Alexa frowned at him. This guy had to be in his thirties like her. Hadn't people stopped "just hanging out" with people by their thirties?

"Don't look at me like that! I'm not a girlfriend kind of guy! And when I could tell that she might want something more serious, I ended it. I was nice about it! I don't do girlfriends. I haven't had a girlfriend since . . ." He sighed. "Molly. Anyway. Except I forgot that I needed a date for this damn wedding."

Alexa pointed to the fourth finger that he'd raised in the air.

"Wait," she said. "How, exactly, is that your date 'bailing' on you?"

He shook the finger at her.

"Don't do that! Don't blame this on me. It's not my fault. It's not her fault, either-she was going to come to the wedding with me anyway, but her dad's having surgery tomorrow, so she couldn't come." Those ab muscles moved in a lovely way when he sighed. "And, of course, I'm sorry about her dad. I don't blame her for that at all. I do, however, think this is just more evidence that I've been cursed when it comes to this wedding."






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