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Authors: Sean D. Young

From This Moment

BOOK: From This Moment
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From This Moment

Sean D. Young

Genesis Press, Inc.

INDIGO LOVE STORIES

An imprint of Genesis Press, Inc.
Publishing Company

Genesis Press, Inc.

P.O. Box 101

Columbus, MS 39703

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, not known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying, and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without written permission of the publisher, Genesis Press, Inc. For information write Genesis Press, Inc., P.O. Box 101, Columbus, MS 39703.

All characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author and all incidents are pure invention.

Copyright © 2011 Sean D. Young

ISBN: 978-1-58571-457-5

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition

Visit us at www.genesis-press.com
or call at 1-888-Indigo-1-4-0

Dedication

This book is dedicated to my one and only sister

Shirlonda Nicole Taylor

“Red”

Acknowledgments

Oh give thanks unto the Lord for He’s been good to me. I’m so grateful for His mercy and kindness toward me.

I would like to thank my wonderful circle of friends who prayed, supported, encouraged, read and re-read and even sat down side by side with me, sacrificing their precious time to help me. You are so special and my life has been enriched because you’re truly my friends.

Alicia Thomas: thanks for suggesting that Ivy and Jonathan should be together in the first place.

Deborah Schumaker and the Genesis Press Family: Thank you so much for this opportunity to share my story with the world.

Chapter 1

How could I have been so stupid?

Ivy, her back slumped over her sofa staring at the ceiling, asked herself that same question for what had to have been the hundredth time.

She’d been a wedding planner for more than five years and had created some of the most stunning events the Chicago area had ever seen. Yet, she never imagined her own marriage would take place in an all-night wedding chapel in Las Vegas at 2 a.m. A ceremony she only remembered in snippets that joined her in holy matrimony to Jonathan Damon. Of all people.

Ivy didn’t think Jonathan was a bad guy; from what she knew of him he seemed pleasant enough. He was certainly easy on the eyes. He personified tall, dark and handsome, with his rich dark chocolate skin, soulful brown eyes, clean-shaven face and sensuous mouth.

Funny. Much of last weekend’s events were a blur to her, but she did remember her encounters with that mouth.

She’d had quite a few business dealings with Jonathan, the co-owner of Magic Moments, one of her most preferred vendors. It was an upscale banquet facility in Taylor, Indiana, a town thirty minutes from downtown Chicago. She and Jonathan had shared several meals together with her family, because his brother Marc was married to her sister Rose. And that was it. She didn’t know a whole lot about him.

How had she gone to Las Vegas for a convention and come back . . . married.

The annual Association of Wedding Industry Professionals convention took place over a four-day period every winter in a different city. It showcased the newest wedding looks, trends and designs that would premiere during the upcoming spring bridal season.

The association also recognized leaders in the industry and awarded them.

This year’s convention had had extra buzz, for the association was looking for a local wedding planner in three major cities—Chicago, Los Angeles and New York—to host their new reality TV show,
Here Comes The Bride
. Each week the local planner chosen for these special one-hour episodes would help ordinary couples have a platinum-style wedding on a budget.

Ivy had worked on her video entry for the Chicago spot for weeks, deliberately trying to go with something as imaginative as possible for the wishes of the fictitious bridal couple. She’d been thrilled to learn she’d made the final five. The winner would be announced at the awards banquet.

Even now, Ivy couldn’t help smiling broadly as she recalled hearing her name called as the winner. “Ivy Hart,” the association president announced. It was surreal.

Her heart had pounded in her chest as Jonathan happily embraced her against the background of audience cheers. She remembered thinking this must be how it felt for an actor to win an Academy Award.

She’d gone to the stage to accept, alongside the portly, fifty-something veteran planner who’d won the top spot for New York. Within minutes they were joined by the final winner, a tall, thin young man with bottle-blond spiked hair, who would host the L.A. show. The three of them spontaneously shared a group hug, to the delight of the audience.

What a glorious moment that had been. It was, however, what happened
afterward
that had her in a near-catatonic state.

Now she sat in her living room, alternating between closing her eyes in despair and opening them to glare at the evidence of her ill-thought-out marriage.

Who was she kidding? She’d given her action no thought at all. She picked up the large white envelope that had been given to her at the chapel and pulled out a photograph.

Ivy pressed the photo to her chest, face in. She closed her eyes for a second and said a prayer before looking at it, hoping against hope that it would be some other woman standing beside Jonathan. Of course, that desperate measure was fruitless. There she was, wearing the new royal blue chiffon gown she’d so carefully selected to wear to the banquet and a big smile.

Placing the photo aside she reached inside the envelope again, and this time took out a marriage license.

Tears leaked from her eyes as she studied the document yet again. This piece of paper legally linked her to a man she knew little about and who was now her husband.

The last item inside the envelope was the ring, a plain gold band she vaguely remembered Jonathan purchasing at the chapel’s gift shop. It was supposed to be a symbol of love, faith and devotion between two people. In her case none of this was true.

Ivy felt a steady throbbing in her right temple. She jumped up and quickly pulled the curtains closed to restrict the brightness of the sun. She needed to think things carefully through.

What would she tell her family? His family?
Him?

She didn’t want anyone to know about what she’d done. As for what she’d have to say to Jonathan, Ivy had no clue, but she had to come up with something fast. She’d invited him over this morning to talk about their situation. He’d be there any minute. Slowly she got to her feet and went to clean up. She’d made a terrible mistake.

How could I have been so stupid?

* * *

Jonathan Damon deliberately parked his SUV down the street and out of sight just in case Ivy Hart was looking out for him. When he knew what he wanted to say he’d pull up closer to her condo, but right now he needed time to get his thoughts together.

Jonathan flipped the visor over the steering wheel down, then opened the plastic cover to reveal the lighted mirror concealed inside it.

Did his embarrassment show? Maybe if he studied his reflection as he rehearsed, it might help him figure out what he was going to say to his wife.

“Wife.” Just the sound of the word coming off his tongue made him nervous. He dropped his head.

What have I done?

It had taken him thirty minutes to get to his destination; a trip he usually made in half the time. Ivy lived in the same condominium complex in Shaker Village that his brother Marc had, at least until he married Rose.

Jonathan continued to stare in the mirror as though his speech was written there. Yet, he still couldn’t get past, “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

Marc had always warned him about acting on impulse. Jonathan had wanted to get to know Ivy, but he may have just destroyed any real chance of getting close to her...by marrying her, of all things.

But he had to face her. He could no longer avoid seeing her because no amount of rehearsing could prepare him for whatever it was awaiting him.

He got out of his car, remembering that his attraction to Ivy started several years before at a relative’s wedding. The bride, Ivy’s cousin, had hired her to coordinate the event.

They’d talked during breaks at the rehearsal and exchanged numbers. The day of the wedding, he’d been sick with some kind of flu thing, but, fortunately his duties as the best man were pretty much over by the time of the reception. He’d thought it was sweet when Ivy had called him the next day to make sure he was okay.

Her youngest sister, Lili, called her an ice queen, but Jonathan didn’t believe it.

How could a woman who created some of the most magical, breathtaking fantasy-themed weddings to be seen in the Midwest not want a romantic relationship for herself?

After that initial meeting, he and Ivy often had a chance to work together on the details of ceremonies and receptions held at Magic Moments. Some of their conversations concerning mishaps, blunders and outlandish requests gave them an opportunity to share a laugh.

Then they’d kissed.

He would never forget the way she felt in his arms the evening of the Magic Moments grand opening. After the event ended and all the guests, photographers, critics, prospective brides and the local newspaper reporters had gone, Ivy had come to congratulate him.

And they had continued to work together. Jonathan loved the passion and excitement he saw in her. He imagined Ivy showing those same emotions toward the special man in her life, and more than once he daydreamed of being that man.

Many times Jonathan had to caution himself to keep his distance from her as they discussed room setups and other details. The scent of her perfume and the memory of her soft lips against his made him want to move closer; to touch her.

Yes, she had fine physical attributes, but he wanted to get to know the real person on the inside. But Ivy would never allow him to get that close. Except for that one kiss, it was always business with her. And then, three days ago, just like that, they’d gotten married.

Once back home, he’d left countless voicemail messages and when she didn’t return his calls, he decided to wait to hear from her.

He understood the situation was a lot for her to process and he would never forget the astonished and reproachful expression on her face the morning after when the young woman from the front desk of the hotel called his room to inquire if the newlyweds needed anything.

How had this happened? Ruining her life certainly hadn’t been in the plan. He’d gone to the convention in Las Vegas to network and to discover new trends that would help his business thrive. Running into Ivy at Midway Airport and learning they were on the same flight had come as a pleasant surprise.

The usually efficient, businesslike Ivy Hart was surprisingly relaxed that afternoon. He thought her comfort level had to do with them being acquainted and right away he began flirting with the idea of transforming their relationship to something more personal.

Ivy had offered to guide him around the convention, suggesting the seminars which would benefit his business and the ones to stay away from. He appreciated this. It was his first time there, and she knew it.

They went to many of the seminars together.

Jonathan felt buoyed when she invited him to sit with her at the awards banquet, and of course he accepted.

He’d never seen Ivy so excited and happy. She simply glowed with pride when she won the honor of co-hosting the association’s first reality TV show.

Once the awards were over, there was a media blitz. Ivy had asked him to come along with her as she did her interviews and posed for the cameras with the winners from the other two cities. She even introduced him to the show’s producers. Everybody wanted to get a picture of the newest reality TV stars and Jonathan was proud of her.

They went to an after-party sponsored by Maggie Sottero, one of the biggest bridal gown designers in the United States.

The music was bumping and the dance floor was filled with people. The party was well attended with others standing around talking or sitting at little tables.

Jonathan and Ivy had been celebrating all night, dancing, drinking and having an all-around good time. He noticed that after a couple of drinks, she was a different person.

Jonathan was so enthralled with Ivy that when he suggested they get married, he was only half joking. He just knew she was going to throw the rest of her drink at him, slap him or laugh in his face, but she stunned him by saying yes. He knew he should have known better than to go through with something like that, something so permanent - but they were living in the moment.

This
moment.

He’d reached her door. She opened it before he could ring.

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