For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2) - Lauren Layne Page 0,1

quite the urbane sophistication she’d pictured.

But Heather’s resolve had never wavered. In one of her college internships, a mentor had told Heather to dress for the job she wanted, not the one she had.

Heather did that, but she’d also broadened the idiom: Live the life you want, not the one you have.

In this case, that meant saving up enough to cover rent that was more expensive than she could comfortably afford. Yet. More than she could afford yet. Because Heather was close to a promotion from assistant wedding planner to actual wedding planner. She could feel it.

The apartment was going to help her get there.

An apartment in zip code 10128, just east of Central Park.

She’d done it. She’d achieved The Dream, or at least part of it.

And it was . . .

Terrible.

It was two a.m., and she wasn’t even close to anything resembling slumber. Heather’s eyes snapped open after yet another failed sleep attempt. Her nostrils flared in an unsuccessful bid for patience before she turned and banged her palm against the wall over her Ikea headboard.

She’d purposely left the walls of her bedroom white because she’d read it was soothing. The curtains were also white, as were the area rug at the foot of the bed, the flowers on her table, and the lamp shades.

White is soothing, white is soothing, white is soothing . . .

She waited. And waited. There was a pause, and Heather held her breath.

Then: Bum ba-dum bum bum bum . . .

White wasn’t soothing enough for this shit.

Heather fought the urge to scream. Was the music actually getting louder? Was that even possible?

Apparently. Because whoever lived on the other side of her bedroom wall either couldn’t hear her banging or straight-up didn’t care.

Heather closed her eyes and tried to tell herself that it was peaceful. Tried to pretend that the mediocre pounding of the drums and the squeal of some sort of guitar was a lullaby.

Her eyes snapped open again. Nope.

Heather threw back the covers—a fancy new white duvet for her fancy new place—and shoved her feet into her slippers as she pulled a hair band off the nightstand and dragged her messy dark blond curls into a knot on top of her head. She slid on her glasses, threw on a gray hoodie that she didn’t bother to zip, opened the front door of her apartment, and made the short journey to the door of 4A.

The building was old, hence the thin walls, but it was also recently renovated, hence the modern-style doorbell, which Heather pressed firmly with one manicured finger.

And again, when there was no answer.

And again and again and again.

She pressed it until her finger started to cramp, and until—

Whoa.

The door jerked open, and Heather was suddenly face-to-face with a male chest. A shirtless male chest, replete with rippling abs and pectoral muscles that she’d seen the likes of only in magazine ads or on billboards. An upper body so spectacularly shaped that it was downright tacky.

Yes, tacky was definitely what it was.

Not hot. Not hot at all.

Heather ordered her gaze upward and found it meeting the greenish-blue eyes of a dude who looked highly amused for someone who’d nearly had his doorbell torn off.

The guy leaned one forearm—every bit as tackily muscular as the chest—against the doorjamb as the other scratched idly at his six-pack.

“Hi there,” he said, giving her a crooked smile. It was a good smile. It was a good voice, too, but Heather was soooooo not in the mood to be charmed.

“Let me guess,” she said, gifting him with a wide fake smile. “You’re in the midst of a quarter-life crisis, maybe it’s taking a little longer to get the corner office than you hoped, and you decided to scratch the itch by, wait for it . . . starting a band.”

He was seemingly oblivious to her sleep-deprived bitchiness, as his smile only grew wider. “You’re the new neighbor.”

She pointed at her front door just a few feet away. “4C.”

“Nice,” he said appreciatively.

For a second she could have sworn his eyes drifted down toward her chest, but when she narrowed her eyes back up at him, he was all innocent smiles.

“So that’s a yes on the new band, then?”

Instead of answering her question, he extended his hand. “Josh Tanner.”

“Pretty manners for someone with no neighborly consideration,” she muttered as she reluctantly put her hand in his. “Heather Fowler.”

“Heather Fowler,” he repeated slowly, as though trying to decide whether or not her name fit and coming up undecided.

Before she