IT HAPPENED IN VEGAS.
I can’t be held responsible. Things that happen there are supposed to stay there, right? Right? Yeeeah. Not so much.
Andie’s just days away from tying the knot, but there’s just ooooone little glitch. Apparently, she’s already married. Or someone with her name is married to a guy out in Oregon of all places, and the courthouse won’t issue her a marriage license until it’s all cleared up. Tripping her way through cow pies and country songs to meet up with a man who gets around places on horseback is her very last idea of how to have a good time, but if she’s going to get married, make partner at the firm, and have two point five kids before she’s thirty-five, she needs to get to the bottom of this snafu and fix it quick … before her fiance finds out and everything she’s been working toward goes up in flames.
A dinner of salad and a single breadstick wasn’t exactly a gourmet meal, but with this tight black dress on and the stupid gel-filled boob propper-uppers Candice had forced into my bra, there was no way to fit a normal dinner into my belly, even if I’d wanted to. Thing was, though, I was too nervous to eat that much anyway. I found the firey liquid diet I’d been feeding myself since the haircut was more to my taste right now.
“God, all I had was a stupid salad and I feel like I’m going to bust a seam on this thing.” I was walking on higher heels than I was used to, thanks to Kelly and her having the same size foot as me. “You guys conspired against me with this outfit, and don’t think I’m going to forget it easily, either. We have at least two more bachelorette parties to plan in the future and revenge will be my bitch when that time comes.” I flicked my hair back, trying not to smile. The haircut really did make me feel beautiful. It was totally Jennifer Anniston, and both Kelly and Candice said I was pulling it off well.
“What’s she whining about now?” asked Candice, putting on lipstick using her tiny purse compact.
Kelly hiccuped. “I’m not sure, but I think she’s complaining about the shoes again. Or maybe the dress. I can’t keep track. I lost my brain about an hour and three margaritas ago.” She rubbed her stomach and grimaced. “Can I go to bed now?”
“No, you can’t go to bed.” Candice snapped her compact shut and dropped it into her small handbag. “We’re just getting started.” She rubbed her hands together. “Okay, girlies, where to first? Poker? Slots? Craps?”
“Do you have to go to the potty? Because I do too. Good idea.” Kelly tried to take Candice by the hand but Candice shook her off.
“What are you talking about? No one said anything about going to the bathroom.”
Kelly frowned at her while I laughed silently. I loved watching my harebrained buddies try to have a grown-up conversation. The several cocktails I’d consumed since my haircut was making it even more amusing than usual.
“You said you were going to crap, so call me crazy, but in my world, that means we need to find a toilet.” She smirked at Candice and then looked at me, rolling her eyes.
“If you had a functioning brain cell right now, you’d be dangerous,” said Candice. “I said do you want to play craps, not I have to go take a crap. Jesus, I don’t even use that word. You know I wouldn’t say that, what’s wrong with you?”
I decided to rescue my poor tipsy friend before she got too much dizzier trying to figure out what Candice was talking about. “Craps is a game, sweetie. Gambling. Where you throw the dice across the table and that guy has that hockey stick he uses to push and pull chips around? Like on TV where the guy’s on a roll making a bunch of money and everyone’s standing around cheering for him while he throws the dice?”
Seconds ticked by and then a virtual lightbulb went on over Kelly’s head. “Ooooohhh, you mean the gaaaame craps. That makes waaaay more sense. It’s true … you never say crap unless you’re around people you want to impress and then you say that word instead of saying shit.”
“No, I don’t,” said Candice, looking miffed or maybe a little embarrassed.
“Yes, you do,” said Kelly, completely oblivious to Candice’s mood change. “Okay, let’s play this crap thing. This crappy crapper craps game.” She giggled.
Candice rolled her eyes. “Do I want to get her another drink, Andie?”
“Yes and no,” I said. “Yes, because it’s her bachelorette party and yes we want her to get good and hungover later so she never forgets this trip and how much fun it is to be single … and no, because I hate it when people barf. It makes me barf when I see it. And if she drinks too much more…”
“…she’s gonna barf,” Candice finished for me.
“Waitress!” yelled Candice, running after a barmaid with a tray.
Kelly and I watched her go. “What’s she doing?” Kelly asked.
“Getting us drunk.”
“Aren’t we already drunk?” she asked, scratching her head.
I smoothed down the hair that was sticking up as a result of her confusion. “You are and I’m nearly there. But this is your party, little sis, so you must drink until you fall over or until you kiss a stranger.”
Kelly looked at me in horror. “I did not come to Las Vegas to cheat on Matty!”
“Then you better start drinking,” I said, handing her one of the cocktails Candice brought over.
“How’d you get these so fast?” I asked her, looking down into the glass, wondering if I was drinking something she found next to a slot machine.
“What can I say? Cleavage works.” Candice raised her glass high. “Here’s to winning big tonight and possibly getting laid in Vegas!”
“Here’s to getting married!” said Kelly, raising her glass.
“Here’s to getting getting married and laid in Vegas!” I said, clinking all of their glasses and downing my drink in one, giant, three-swallow gulp session.
Candice looked at Kelly. “Do you think she knows what she just did?”
“Nope.” Kelly giggled, sipping on her straw.
“Shut up, buttheads. You know what I meant.” As if I’d drink to getting married in Vegas. Shuh, right. That totally didn’t fit into my lifeplan or my personality.
As soon as I finished my drink and put the glass down on a nearby shelf, we locked arms and walked into the casino area of the hotel. Having my girlfriends on either arm made walking in Kelly’s ferocious heels way easier, so I was all for it, even though it made quite the barrier for people trying to get by. Whenever anyone scowled at us, I smiled big and said, “She’s getting married. To a mortician. This is her going away party,” and they’d turn their frowns upside down. It was like Vegas magic or something. It was impossible to be cranky here.
As we left the restaurants and lobby behind, we entered a darker area of the huge facility. The casino. Bells were dinging all over the place, lights of every single color of the rainbow were flashing and blinking, and thousands of people milled around. There were slot machines in groups with small passageways between them to get by and chairs filled with butts. People were dropping quarters like there was no tomorrow, pulling one-armed bandits as fast as the money clanged into place.
A group of tables were across the aisle from the slot machine section, all of them with green felt on top. The very first thing I noticed when we walked in that direction was a cowboy hat. And it had the most beautiful man I had ever seen sitting right under it.
“Oh. My. Good. Ness,” I said, caught in some kind of tractor beam, unable to look away. My foot lifted up, trying to walk that direction, but Candice held me back.
“I don’t feel so good,” said Kelly, pulling away from me. I let her go without a thought.
“Oh, shit.” Candice let go of me too, leaving me to wobble a little on my own. “Come on, Kelly, come with me. I don’t want you to barf on their nice carpet. Please don’t yack. I hate it when you yack, you’re so loud about it.”
My brain barely registered what they were saying. I only had eyes for the god sitting on the stool just twenty feet away from me. Jeans, dress shirt, cowboy hat, five o’clock shadow beard, muscles visible just below his rolled up cuffs, bronzed like he spent most of the day outside. “Be still my heart,” I said, talking to no one, to the wind, to the goddess of love who I was pretty sure had just shot an arrow into my chest cavity. I reached up and touched my hair, hoping it was perfect.
“Stay here while I take care of her,” ordered Candice, her voice getting fainter as she got farther away. “I don’t want you watching her and getting sick too or my whole night will be ruined.”
“Yeah, okay,” I said absently, walking towards the card table so I could get a closer look at the cowboy who’d taken my breath away and sent my brain on a vacation to Mars.
A cocktail waitress walked up to me when I was almost there and offered me a drink that someone had paid for but never picked up. I nodded and drank half of it down before I got to the table, hoping it was an offering from the gods, concocted specifically for the purpose of giving me the courage I’d need to say hello to this mystery man. He looked like he’d just stepped out of a magazine ad for Levis or a Bowflex or something.
I was nearly to his spot at the table when the toe of my borrowed heel caught something on the carpet and sent me flying forward. I watched in horror as my hand went out to help find my balance, sending the contents of my glass out in a stream right at the man who’d stepped out of my lustiest of dreams.
I was thrilled when we were asked to review Shine Not Burn by Elle Casey! I am a country girl at heart and I was excited to get to read about a cowboy. This story is about Andie and Mack and what happens in Vegas when fate brings them together.
Andie was a girl with a plan, a very detailed and well thought out road map to her future. When her girlfriends call on her to attend a bachelorette in Las Vegas she is not thrilled. She was a former party girl as part of the past that she left behind.
“Andie the party girl did not fit into my plans of making partner, getting married, and having two point five kids by the time I’m thirty-five.”
Reluctantly Andie puts her life on hold and decides to let loose, to forget about the jerk she was seeing, and to spend time with her friends. Andie is quite a character. She is beautiful, knows what she wants, and is quick witted. I laughed out loud so many times at her antics that my husband questioned whether or not I was really reading a schmexy book.
When she meets Mack for the first time I could feel that there was an instant connection. He was in Vegas for his brother’s bachelor party and Andie literally stumbles upon him at the black jack table. When she spills her drink on him he remains calm and is a complete gentleman. They bond over booze and gambling and wind up back in Andie’s room for some extra curricular activities. Like I said, there was an instant connection and Andie once again made me laugh when she thinks
“I really liked this cowboy. Mack. But I don’t know a single thing about him other that the fact that he down’t wear underwear and he’s gor a big cock-a-doodle doo that he definitely knows how to use. Yee haw.”
We are left hanging, not really knowing how their night ends. Mack says he has a surprise for her and the next thing we read about is Andie waking up with no recollection of the night, although she does remember some of it. I mean really, how could anyone forget a giant cock-a-doodle foo ;) We fast forward 2 years and Andie is back on track with her plan. She is ready to be married to a man (douchebag) from her office and everything is in order, except for the fact that she can’t get their marriage license because she is already married!
Unaware of the depth of the situation Andie is determined to keep this a secret and take care of it quietly. What she doesn’t expect is that her whole world is about to change. She heads to the middle of nowhere to find this supposed husband and ask for a divorce. The city girl does not get off to a great start way out in the country. One of the first people that she meets is described, by her, as
“a giant man-bear-pig”
…and this is where my water came spewing from my mouth as I laughed hysterically! Andie is welcomed into a world of ranchers and is treated like family. The rudest person to her is Mack…he is apparently harboring some pent up anger and is set on making Andie sweat this out. Needless to say Andie is not pleased by this.
“Dumbass jerk butthead cowboy redneck sexy person. God, why does he have to be so sexy!”
I loved the interactions between Andie and Mack. The back and forth and banter was great. Mack refused to give Andie a divorce. He was intent on regaining what they had in Vegas, and making Andie remember it all. Poor Andie was so confused and torn between her fiancé back home, her plan, and this sexy cowboy who claims to love her.
Elle Casey has given us a wonderful story about what love truly is, it is not mapped out for us and it finds us when least expected. This is a must read, especially if you love cowboys!
“Love is what it is and love does what it does to survive. It’s an instinct.”
Welcome to Schmexy Girl Book Blog Andie and Mack! We are so excited to have you here with us. Let’s get started!
It wasn’t until the damn thing started to unravel. Ha, ha. Seriously, like many women before me, I’d deluded myself into thinking all was well, even when every sign that I passed by told me the complete opposite. Control is a demon. It gives you false hope and a false sense of direction. Mack’s helped me loosen up on the need to have everything just so.
I would say yes, if it didn’t make me sound completely not humble. But I do like making people laugh, that’s a fact.
Oh yes. Trust.
Being wild and free and completely unhooked from the real world. And then finding out later that I was actually for the first time, hooked into the real world. Most of my life I’d been living a plastic fantasy. My life with Mack is the real deal.
Like I’d lost my best friend. But at the time, I fully expected to hook back up with her within hours, so I wasn’t yet on that road to heartbreak I eventually ended up on.
I’ve never considered doing anything else. Getting my MBA was for the sole purpose of expanding our family operation, running it more efficiently. I’d never want to do anything else, but if I had to, I could. Sometimes we make sacrifices for the ones we love.
She made me laugh at the same time she made me want to get her naked. I never experienced that before.
Her big ole butt, but if you tell her I said that I’ll be sorely disappointed in you. I’ve always been an ass man.
Andie & Mack
Andie: Holy shit, he’s way hotter than I remember.
Mack: Damn, she’s going to break my heart all over again, isn’t she.
Andie: What shower scene?
Andie and Mack at the same time: Together.
Elle Casey is a full-time writer of New Adult and Young Adult titles in several genres, including romance, urban fantasy, sci-fi dystopian, and action-adventure. She’s an American girl who’s been living in southern France with her husband and three children since 2010. She loves chatting with her readers, so feel free to drop her a line.
Connect with the Author