It is definitely raining men up in here. Jada Jenkins wove in and out of the small groups of people, stopping periodically to greet some of the guests at her cousin’s wedding. She took special note of the handsome and hopefully single men hanging out near the bar at the reception.
“Girl, where did you find all of these gorgeous men?” Jada yelled over the deafening music pumping through the speakers a couple of feet away. She handed her cousin, Toni Jenkins, now Mrs. Toni Jenkins-Logan, a glass of ginger ale and claimed the seat next to her.
“You have Craig to thank for that.” Toni sipped from her drink. She squinted and scrunched up her face. “Goodness this soda is strong.” She took another small sip. “As for the gorgeous men, it turns out Craig has a lot of friends, and you’ll be glad to know many of them are single.”
“Hmm, that is good to know. I’ll have to talk with my new cousin-in-law, but right now, I still can’t believe you got married before me.” Jada crossed her legs, a coral five-inch rhinestone embellished sandal dangled from her foot revealing the red bottom. “I’m the one who spends an arm and a leg making sure I look like someone from Life Styles of the Rich and Famous. Yet, you’re the one who lands a Prince Charming. Hell, you didn’t even want to get married.”
Toni laughed. Her gaze landed on her new husband who stood across the banquet hall talking with the groomsmen. Jada didn’t miss the way Toni’s face lit up each time she glanced at Craig, and she couldn’t ever remember seeing her cousin this happy.
“It’s not that I didn’t want to get married, I just thought I never would.” Toni’s gaze dropped to the table where she absently fingered a cloth napkin and then lifted her sparkling eyes to Jada. “This has been a long, exhausting day, but
it has been one of the best days of my life. I’m so excited that I get to spend the rest of my days with the most amazing man I’ve ever met. It’s like a dream. Add having his baby to the mix, and I feel as if I’m living someone else’s fantasy.”
Jada reached over and squeezed Toni’s hand. She was happy for Toni, or TJ as most of the Jenkins family called her, but she couldn’t help but be a little envious. TJ was three months pregnant after believing she could never have children, and now she had married cutie-pie Craig Logan, an all-around great guy who was madly in love with her cousin. Jada wondered if she ever would experience the type of love and joy that radiated from Toni.
“I wish you years of happiness, Cuz.”
“Thank you.” Toni leaned over and hugged Jada. “And thanks for all you did pulling the wedding and reception together. Everything turned out wonderful.”
Jada shrugged. “My pleasure. Just be ready for my big day, whenever that might be.” Jada returned her attention to the small group of men standing with Craig near the bar. “I guess it’s true what they say. Beautiful people hang out together.” All the men were as tall as Craig, at over six feet, and just as good looking in their black tuxedos sporting cummerbunds and bowties that matched the bridesmaid dresses.
“It looks that way doesn’t it?”
Jada nodded and then turned to Toni. “Okay, answer this. What do I have to do to get a man as fine as yours, one who worships the ground I walk on, and is crazy wealthy?” She rolled her neck and slapped her hand down on the table. “I’m talkin’ stinkin’ rich as in lunch on the French Riviera and dinner at La Vague d’Or in Saint Tropez.”
Toni shook her head, and a wide grin tilted the corners of her rose-colored lips. “I know suggesting that you lower your standards is out of the question. So I won’t bother. I will say though, when the right man comes along, it’s not going to matter if he’s downright fine and stinkin’ rich. All that’s going to matter, or should matter is that he treats you right and loves you unconditionally.”
“Uh, well, yeah, it is going to matter if he’s fine and rich because if he isn’t he won’t be able to hang with me.” Jada ignored the way Toni’s perfectly arched eyebrows slanted in a frown. “Now what’s the scoop on the hunks who just walked up to your new hubby? The one on the far right looks as if he could carry a small car on his back.”
“Those are the guys he grew up with. Actually, today might be your lucky day.” Toni perked up, a mischievous glint shined in her eyes as she adjusted the hem of her beaded lace wedding gown. “Craig’s bringing Zack over.”
“How does that make it my lucky day?”
“Because he’s single and he’s gawking at you.”
Jada sized him up as he approached. At least six-one, broad shoulders that tapered down to a narrow waist, dark, spiked hair, and a powerful stride - he was a walking billboard for everything masculine. “Mmm, I don’t think so. He’s definitely a cutie in that Channing Tatum kind of way. But I like my men like I like my chocolate – dark and exceedingly rich.”
“Is that right?” Toni placed her soda on the table and sat forward in her chair, her elbow on the table and amusement danced in her eyes. “Well, did I happen to mention that he’s a professional football player who plays for the Cincinnati Cougars and has just renewed his contract for nine-point-five-million?”
Jada’s mouth dropped open.
“Oh, and that’s only for one year.”
“Damn!” Jada smoothed down the front of her bridesmaid dress that stopped just above her knees and ran her fingers through her long auburn streaked curls. She quickly pulled a tube of lipstick from her strapless bra and ran the Coral Berry over her lips, and then took another glance at Craig’s friend. “It’s a good thing I’m switching over. I hear white chocolate, like milk, does a body good.”
“What?” Toni narrowed her eyes. “I’ve never heard that before.”
“Oh, hush up and tell me if I have any food in my teeth.”
Toni shook her head and laughed. “Girl, you’re a mess!”
“Hey, baby, are you feeling better?” Craig bent slightly and brushed Toni’s bangs away from her forehead. “Did the soda help?” He extended his hand to help her rise to her feet and rubbed his large palm over her barely-there baby bump.
“Between the soda and the crackers you hunted down for me earlier, I’m feeling much better. You take such good care of me,” Toni said in a baby-like voice.
“That’s my job. I plan to spend the rest of my life taking very good care of you, Mrs. Logan.” Craig lowered his head and his lips brushed against Toni’s.
Jada rolled her eyes when the newlywed’s lip-lock grew more intense and Toni’s arms snaked around her husband’s neck.
“You guys have a lifetime to play kissy-face.” She stood and turned her gaze to the man standing next to her cousin-in-law. He was even sexier up close, and then he smiled. Her knees weakened. Oh my God, he has dimples. A sucker for a man with dimples, the once steady beat of her heart now pounded double-time. Her hand hovered over her chest as she struggled to fill her lungs with air. Okay, just breathe. She told herself over and over again.
“Are you all right?” the sexy gift from God asked, his palm at the small of her back sent a spark of desire shooting through her veins. “Can I get you something to drink?”
“Uh, no. No, I’m fine.” She definitely had to pull herself together. Never has a man seen her sweat and she sure as hell wasn’t going to let a cutie with a nine-point-five-million dollar contract see her off her game.
“Evidently we’re invisible,” Craig’s friend said and removed his hand from her back. His voice intoxicatingly deep sent an exciting shiver up her spine. “I’m Zack Anderson.”