Monday, November 2, 2015

Aloha to Lynnette Austin and THE BEST LAID WEDDING PLANS

Top 5 Reasons Magnolia House is 
the Perfect Wedding Destination

White roses, tulle, and lace. Beaded gowns and champagne. Jenni Beth Beaumont wants to spend the rest of her life up to her neck in weddings. And Magnolia House, her ancestral home, is the perfect venue—or it will be once she finishes it. Brides will come from all over to marry here. First, though, she has to restore the once stately, now crumbling, antebellum home to its original glory. To do that? She’ll have to accept help from Cole Bryson, the man she’d loved, the man who’d broken her heart. An architectural salvager, he has different plans for her home.

“You know, sugar, I could make us all a fortune from that place.”

“No. You tear down the houses you buy. Sell them off piece by piece.” She lowered her voice. “You’re not getting so much as a nail out of Magnolia House to sell to some yuppie who wants an—” She waggled her fingers to indicate quotation marks, “‘authentic piece of history’ in his upscale renovated city loft.”

“You done?”

“Yes, I am.” Hot color warmed her cheeks, as she grabbed her purse and dug through it for money to pay her bill.

Cole reached across the table and snatched it from her. “Hold on. No need to get your panties in a twist.”

“My panties are none of your business.” She all but hissed the words.

“They could be.”

Her heart squeezed. There it was again, rearing its ugly head. That silly crush she’d developed when Cole and her brother had run around together. She’d been so sure Cole was the love of her life.

And later...

Stuff happened and the crush ended.

“In case you’ve forgotten, you and I, Cole? We’re history. Your decision.”

Casually, he stretched his legs out in front of him. “Actually, I beg to disagree. But that’s not what I came to discuss.”

She stared at him, open-mouthed. How could he say something so preposterous, and then just...just table it. Stick it in his back pocket for later. No. She jerked herself back. A head game. Cole Bryson was toying with her.

So what is it that makes Magnolia House the perfect wedding destination? Here are the top five reasons:

1. What girl doesn’t want to get married at an authentic Southern plantation? Haven’t we all watched Gone with the Wind and wondered what it would be like to say our vows at Tara? Since General Sherman spared much of the Savannah area, most of Magnolia House is original. Any bride would want to walk down the magnificent, sweeping staircase to her groom.

2. The rose garden. Maybe the bride’s soon-to-be husband hasn’t promised her a rose garden, but Magnolia House does. Many of the fragrant bushes date back to her great-great-great-grandma’s mama as did their silver.

Her mother held up a silver cake server and gravy ladle. “These are part of the house’s original set.” She traced a finger along the intricate design on the cake server. “The Beaumont servants wrapped them in heavy felt and buried them in the rose garden in case any Yankees came snooping around.”

What better place for an outdoor wedding, surrounded by the scent of the roses, with the renovated antebellum home as a backdrop?

3. The stately oak trees draped in Spanish moss. Doesn’t this photo say it all?

4. The architecture of the house itself. Cole, with his architectural salvage company, Traditions, is able to dig up the columns, hardware, and whatever else Jenni Beth needs to renovate the house. When she decides to turn the old brick carriage house into her office, Cole finds the most incredible chandelier for it. It’s a…no, I think I’ll keep that a secret. You’ll see it when you read The Best Laid Wedding Plans!

As part of my research, I visited Pinch of the Past in Savannah. They deal in architectural salvaging, and, if you’re ever in town, you really owe it to yourself to stop in and take a peek. This photo shows one little corner of this incredible store!

While I was there, I found a great doorknocker for my office. It’s the yellow chicken!

5. The love that has been poured into Magnolia House. Jenni Beth and her family have loved this home for generations.

Jenni Beth and her father made their way slowly across the yard, her grandmother’s gilt-edged mirror between them. Maneuvering it through the door, they rested it against the carriage house wall. Beside it, on the window ledge, Ms. Hattie’s African violet was lush with deep purple blooms.

Her dad draped an arm around her waist and together they stared at their reflection. She leaned her head on his shoulder.

“Love you, Daddy.”

“I love you, too, sweetheart.” He kissed the top of her head.

She moved back to the mirror, reached out to run a finger along the edge, and imagined she saw her grandmother’s face staring back at her.

“Thanks for this, Gram,” she whispered. “The house will be full of life and love again.”

Surrounded by that much love, any Magnolia House bride and groom will be sure to take some of it with them into their new life!

::Sigh:: I’m tempted to call Jenni Beth. Maybe I can talk my husband into renewing our vows at Magnolia House! Wouldn’t that be fun? The Best Laid Wedding Plans!


Jenni Beth Beaumont left her broken heart behind when she took her dream job in Savannah. But after her brother's death, Jenni Beth returns home to help mend her parents' hearts as well as restore their beautiful but crumbling antebellum mansion. New dreams take shape as Jenni Beth sets to work replacing floors and fixing pipes to convert the family homestead into the perfect wedding destination. However, some folks in their small Southern town are determined to see her fail.

Cole Bryson was once the love of Jenni Beth's life, but the charming architectural salvager has plans of his own for the Beaumont family home. As the two butt heads, old turmoil is brought to the surface and Cole and Jenni Beth will have to work through some painful memories and tough realities before they can set their pasts aside and have a second chance at their own happily ever after.

The luxury of staying home when the weather turns nasty, of working in PJs and bare feet, and the fact that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged, are a few of the reasons middle school teacher Lynnette Austin gave up the classroom to write full-time. Lynnette grew up in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Mountains, moved to Upstate New York, then to the Rockies in Wyoming. Presently she and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A finalist in RWA's Golden Heart Contest, PASIC's Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers' Maggie Contest, she’s published five books as Lynnette Hallberg. She’s currently writing as Lynnette Austin. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody...and all their business, for better or worse.

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Sourcebooks offers an excerpt from THE BEST LAID WEDDING PLANS ...

Her experienced gaze scrutinized the scene, took in both the setting and the people, alert for any problems. The arbor, with its draping of wisteria, had turned out beautifully and smelled like heaven itself. The bride’s family, the groom’s family—both wore expressions of happiness mixed with a touch of relief.

Jenni Beth’s eyes drifted to the flower girl. Daniella was antsy, her little fingers busily plucking the lace from the basket that held rose petals. And what in the world was Ricky, the ring bearer, doing to his shoelaces? Her eyes narrowed. Had he tied them together? Oh, boy.

As the sun set, the minister announced the newly joined Mr. and Mrs. Talbot, and Jenni Beth clapped with the rest of the guests while checking to make sure the walkway remained clear. The music began on cue, and the happy couple started down the aisle, hands laced, smiles bright.

When the ring bearer tripped, the best man scooped him onto one shoulder, diverting a minor catastrophe. She’d have to remember to thank him for the quick thinking.

If the reception went as smoothly, she could congratulate herself on a job well done.

While the bride and groom funneled their guests through the receiving line, Jenni Beth bolted to a separate section of the garden to make sure the cake, the bubbly, and the band were in place. She did a last-minute check on table settings, place cards, candles—the list was never ending.

The music started, the bridal party wended their way to the area, and the celebration began.

As the evening wore on, Jenni Beth relaxed.

A familiar voice whispered in her ear. “Dance with me.”

Cole Bryson. She hadn't seen his name on the guest list.

Shivers raced down her spine, and her heart stuttered. It had been too long, not long enough. “No.”

She wouldn't turn around, wouldn't meet those mesmerizing eyes.

His hands settled on her bare arms, and she nearly jumped. As the work-roughened hands moved over her skin, her stomach started a little dance of its own.

“I'm working, Cole.”

“Nothin' needs doin’ right now. Come on, sugar.”

Knowing she shouldn't, she turned to face him. Mistake. She always had found him irresistible, and that hadn't changed. He'd perfected that slow Southern drawl, had the sound of a true gentleman. But the twinkle in his eyes gave him away. Revealed the bad boy tucked not far below the surface.

Right now, dressed in a dark suit and tie, the man looked like every woman's dream. He appeared smooth and debonair, but beneath lay the wild.

He took her hand, and, God forgive her, she followed him, weak-kneed onto the portable dance floor, telling herself she didn't want to, that she only did it to keep peace. Knowing she lied.

A full moon shone overhead and candlelight flickered. When he drew her into his arms and pulled her close, she sighed. One hand held hers, the other settled south of her waist.

“You smell good, Jenni Beth. You always do.”

His voice, low and husky, sent goosebumps racing up and down her arms. Despite herself, she rested her head against his chest, seduced by the strong, steady beat of his heart, the illusion he could make everything and anything all right.


Other books from Lynnette Austin


  1. I loved my wedding....outside, near the water and boats, at the end of December. But if I were to renew my vows I think a beach on Tahiti would be very nice.

  2. The wedding I had....small and held outside with family and friends.

    1. Small, intimate settings are never a mistake. The first wedding at Magnolia House is very small and very beautiful--IMHO!

  3. This sounds like a fun read - added to the TBR!

  4. My daughter just got married in Disney World - it was magical!!

    1. Every girl's dream--to be a princess on that special day!

  5. loved my wedding and reception--people still talk about it (in a good way) 23 years later.


  6. For the most part, I had my dream wedding. It was outside at the shrine where I loved going to church. It is on the side of a mountain overlooking Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains of VT and the White Mountains of NH. The younger cousins wore long dresses which weren't yet the style, in honor of their crazy older cousin, me, who wore them frequently. The weather was perfect. The only thing that would have made it perfect would have been my mother being there. She died about 10 months earlier.