“I’m telling you, this ship is cursed,” Richard said as we stood on the dock switching out our
boat-approved sandals for shoes.
“Be quiet,” I whispered to him as I peeked up at the ship. Mandy stood two levels above us on the rear deck so I gave her a final wave and she waved back. “Someone might hear you.”
“I’m with Richard.” Kate slipped her pink kitten heels back on. “This boat gives me the creeps.”
“It’s not the ship that’s the problem,” Richard said. “It’s that awful stepmother and her Guy Friday.”
I looked up again at Mandy, hoping she was the only one who’d heard that, but she was too engrossed in a conversation with Captain Hammer to notice us. It looked like the Captain wasn’t too pleased about something as he shook a finger at her. I hoped we hadn’t caused problems for Mandy since she’d been one of the few people onboard who’d been nice to us.
“Well, we’re going to have to deal with both of them,” I said. “You heard what Mrs. Barbery said.”
Our audience with the bride’s stepmother had been brief and chilly. With Jeremy Johns standing behind her and grinning like the Cheshire Cat, Mrs. Barbery had announced that we were to incorporate his vision into the wedding because Kristie was too young to know what she really wanted.
“Platinum Weddings doesn’t feature weddings that are simple and elegant,” she’d informed us in a slightly nasal voice that managed to be grating and snooty at the same time. “And they don’t care if a color has positive vibrations.” She’d used air quotes on this as if we had any doubt what she thought of her stepdaughter’s ideas.
“Now I’m going to go back and finish my massage before someone else falls down a flight of stairs or breaks something and I have to fire everyone onboard.” She’d flounced back into her stateroom before we could argue, and Jeremy had blown us a kiss as he slammed the door behind them.
“I heard her,” Richard said. “But what are we going to tell the bride?”
“You mean if we ever find her?” Kate started walking down the dock still looking over her shoulder.
“Watch where you’re go . . .” I called out as Kate walked smack into a guy who looked like he’d stepped out of a Ralph Lauren ad. She really did have all the luck.
The man held Kate by the shoulders to keep her from falling over. “Are you okay?”
She nodded as she looked up at him but couldn’t seem to be able to speak. I’d seen Kate look at a guy like more than a few times before and it wasn’t good.
I couldn’t exactly blame her, though. The guy was gorgeous. Sandy blond hair that fell over his face just a little, muscled arms with enough of a tan to indicate he wasn’t from D.C., and eyes that were blue enough for me to notice a few feet away. His khaki pants were perfectly creased and his lightweight white sweater was pushed up to his elbows. I fought the urge to knock Kate into the water and take him for myself.
“Did she seriously just meet someone on the docks?” Richard said to me under his breath.
“You’re just jealous,” I whispered back.
Richard raised an eyebrow. “Aren’t you?”
I felt my cheeks flush. I hated that Richard knew me so well.
“Did I hear you say you’re looking for a bride?” the man asked. When none of us did anything but nod, he continued, “I may be able to help you.”
Kate’s face fell. “Are you the groom?”
The man laughed. “No. I’m the bride’s brother. Well, technically stepbrother.” He held out his hand. “I’m Brody.”
Kate melted into a smile again. Richard and I both shook his hand and introduced ourselves while Kate just held onto his other arm.
Brody snapped his fingers. "So you're the wedding planners that Kristie has been raving about."
Richard cleared his throat. "Well, technically, I'm the caterer but I help a lot with . . ."
"Of course. Richard Gerard. Kristie told me how much she loves your food. She's so excited that you get a lot of your food from nearby farms. We're both very into eating locally."
Richard blushed. I had to give Brody credit, he was smooth. His mother could take lessons.
“You know where we can find Kristie?” I asked, trying to catch Kate’s eye and motion for her to detach from the bride’s brother.
“I passed her when I was just pulling in to the parking lot.” Brody motioned over his shoulder. “She waved but she didn’t look happy. I guess she had another fight with my mom?”
Richard and I just looked at each other and didn’t say anything. Kate continued to stare up at Brody, and I was pretty sure she wasn't hearing a word we said.
He waved a hand. “You don’t have to worry about me. I know how crazy my mom can be. She’s never really understood Kristie or me. That’s probably why Kristie and I always got along so well. We’ve been like best friends since our parents married.”
Despite the fact that he was prettier than me, I really liked this guy. It helped that he was nothing like his mother.
“You don’t know where she might have been headed, do you?” I asked.
“No.” He pulled a cell phone out of his pocket and punched a speed dial number. “But I know someone who might.”
“Her fiancé?” I asked.
“No,” Brody said. “Mine.”
Kate dropped her hand from his arm. “Your what?” So I guess she had been listening.
“Kristie and my fiancé are good friends. Yasmine is actually one of the bridesmaids.”
Yasmine. I remembered the name from the bridal party information that Kristie had sent us. Just the name sounded exotic and gorgeous, and I knew Kate would despise her on sight.
“Just think,” Brody smiled at us as he waited for Jasmine to pick up. “If this wedding goes well, you’ll get to plan mine.”
Kate looked at me and mouthed the words “I quit.”