The Wedding Audition
(Runaway Bride 2)
Catherine Mann and Joanne Rock
The tabloids call her the Hit and Run Bride after reality show star Annamae Jessup walked out on Atlanta’s favorite baseball player on cable television. Eager to escape her notoriety, Annamae takes a road trip to find the grandmother she’s never met and winds up discovering a whole lot more than a band of back woods relatives. There’s no escape from reality TV, even in Beulah, Alabama, population 3000.
The last thing Wynn Rafferty needs in his new life is a spoiled television princess who can’t even know his real name. He’s in temporary witness protection as an apple farmer after his undercover work put his life in danger. He needs to lay low until the heat dies down from his last case— even if he sucks at growing apples as badly as he sucks at relationships. But Annamae turns his new town into a media circus, unwittingly threatening the lives of him, her and most of Beulah. Wynn is an expert at keeping the world at arm’s length, but when it comes to Annamae, the only way he can keep her safe is to keep her very, very close.
She’s a reality TV star, he’s under Witness Protection program. Her face is plastered in front of the TV, he tries hard to hide himself from everyone else. She just dumped her fiance through a live radio show, he wanted his neighbors to stay away from him. She uses her stepfather’s name in showbizness, he uses an alias in hiding.
She’s Annamae Jessup aka Annamae Smith. He’s Wynn Rafferty aka Heath Lambert.
Two strangers, both yearn for privacy, hounded by paparazzi and soon bound by their love of animals. A perfect setting, but a dangerous combination. For one is bound to get ridiculed and get doomed over her choices while the other one is destined to die if his whereabouts were publicized.
The Wedding Audition is a fast fun and light read. Imagine Annamae as one of the Kardashians (whoever is the shyest one) but picture her as the sister who wanted out of the reality show. We learn that reality TV doesn’t live up to its name, because all we see are pretenses and masks and glamour. Annamae doesn’t really want to be part of all this hullaballo, and when she finally gets the chance to set things straight, she gets my attention and respect. She escapes the cameras, she adopts a dog (she names it Bagel and is soo cute) and she doesn’t waste time talking to people she needs the most.
On the other hand, Wynn Rafferty is a recluse, but a reasonable one. His life is at risk after witnessing the death of a boy while he was undercover. He strives to stay away from public, but everything disintegrates when he meets Annamae. His decision to lie low is threatened. And both their lives are going to be endangered.
This was quite short but the story has full impact. No need for elaborate steamy scenes, no need for extreme high-octane action scenes. Just light, romantic, engaging and sparkly kind of wedding story sure to warm your heart and get you sappy and giggly.