Simply taking her best friend’s place at a European wedding carries enormous consequences for Jill Owens. Now her husband and daughter think she’s lost her mind and Jill’s not so sure herself. One week she’s throwing dinner parties for her husband’s law partners, the next she’s running away from home and toward her best friend’s favorite cousin, who happens to be both a hottie and a married man himself.
Besides her new Irish lover, only one man on earth supports Jill unconditionally – her son. He knows all about the secret life of super-successful Arizona attorney Scott Owens’ bored and lonely housewife. Ryan can be counted on to drop whatever he’s doing and meet his mom for margaritas, take her out for birthday dinners or pick her up from the airport. Scott’s been pretty much MIA for the last 15 years, skipping Jill’s birthdays in favor of out of town depositions, but making it home every time for those law partner dinner parties, where he berates Jill for the slightest infraction of dessert selection.
Jill felt elated. It was crazy, she told herself, but she was going to go to Ireland for this wedding. She just had to figure out how to swing it.
As she saw it, she had three options. She could tell Scott about the trip and ask his permission to go. She could tell him that she was going and not solicit any permission. Or she could just go.
The first option was probably the best option if she wanted to stay married. Bit did she want to stay married? She had not asked herself that question, not seriously anyway. There were plenty of times when she wanted to flee out the door and never look back. However, she had never really considered doing it. What would she do? How would she do it? She never got past those questions and to the one about her marriage to Scott. Mostly, it had seemed impossible, particularly when the kids were younger and still in the house. Even until today, it had seemed impossible.
She stood up and went into the family room. The room was one of her favorites, where she and the kids had spent many hours watching television, playing games, working on class projects, and hanging out. She had her best conversations with them in this room. There was a large screen television on one wall, with two large comfortable and unstylish couches facing it. A dark wooden bookcase ran the length of one of the walls. Scott had built it when they had first moved into the house when the twins were small.
She rummaged around on the bottom shelf of the bookcase, finding her wedding album. Sitting on one of the couches, she opened the album to the first page, which was an 8×10 print of them running back up the aisle at the church right after being declared husband and wife. They were laughing, her head thrown back and her short veil trailing in the air behind her.
When her college roommate Mary begged Jill to take her place at her cousin’s wedding in Ireland, Jill thought there was no way she could do it. After the wedding, while waiting for her return flight to be called, Jill reads Mary’s prepaid plane ticket stub, and her life begins to take off in an entirely new direction. Mary’s handsome cousin Coyle picking her up at the airport is already a more than friendly face.
I’ve read this book at least a dozen times in the two years I’ve owned it. Each time through, I find fresh inspiration for more honest decision-making in my life: choosing what’s right for me, not necessarily what others think I should do. If you’re at a crossroads of change in your life or just want a truly great romance novel to read on the beach or in hospital, this is The One. I highly recommend The Replacement Bridesmaid by Laurie Ralston.
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Belinda Y. Hughes is the author of Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2 and Living Proof. She recently submitted a paranormal scifi short story to HDWP Books for consideration in their New Myths Theme-Thology. Her current projects include LGBT erotica and poetry. Belinda enjoys beading, reading, writing, cooking and hiking in the woods with her old dog.