By Brenda NovakPrequel in the Whiskey Creek Trilogy
You’re invited to a wedding in Whiskey Creek, Heart of the Gold Country Unfortunately, it’s the wrong wedding. Olivia Arnold is arranging the festivities—and it’s the hardest thing she’s ever done. Because she should be marrying Kyle Houseman. They were together for more than a year…. But her jealous sister, Noelle, stole him away—and now she’s pregnant. All their friends in Whiskey Creek know as well as Olivia does that Kyle’s making a mistake. His stepbrother, Brandon, knows it, too. But Kyle’s determined to go through with it, for his child’s sake.
Olivia’s devastated, but surprisingly Brandon—the black sheep of the family—is there to provide comfort and consolation. The intensity between them, both physical and emotional, shows Olivia that maybe Kyle wasn’t the right man for her… But is Brandon?
Olivia Arnold returns home for the most difficult assignment of her life: serving as the wedding event manager for her sister's wedding to her ex-boyfriend, Kyle. She's doing this at her parents' request as her sister, Noelle, will never win an award for being the sibling of the year. Meanwhile, Kyle's stepbrother, Brandon, steps up to help Olivia make it through this awful week.
I'm not a fan of novellas but this one achieved what most do not, which is to tell a great story and create characters that you can relate to. What Olivia was asked to do was one the most painful things you can imagine. Even though her sister's behavior was abominable, Olivia rightly placed the most blame on Kyle, who deeply regretted getting involved with Noelle. I thought it was going to be sort of cheesy to pair Olivia with Kyle's stepbrother but it was done so skillfully it ended up making perfect sense. It was great to see both triumph out of this mess and the story of Noelle and Kyle is yet to be finished. Their parents left a lot to be desired, showing little empathy beyond their own selfish need to maintain family harmony. The friends of Olivia and Kyle were also introduced, just enough to whet my appetite and hope for more of them in future stories.
This is a fine start to a very promising series, leaving me satisfied but still wanting more. There's not much more you can ask for in a short story.
(I received an ARC from NetGalley)