The next book on The Bridesmaid’s Checklist series is coming out on December 22. You can preorder it today for only 99 cents.
UNITE STATES https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MT0ECVP
UNITE KINDOM https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MT0ECVP
Here’s what the book’s about:
Kassandra’s last single friend got married in the summer. But even if she’s the only unmarried girl in the pack she isn’t single anymore. Now that all her friends are married and all the wedding planning is over, she has a chance to concentrate in her relationship with Josh. Or so she thought until Marisol visits her with a major life.changing crisis. Helping her friends plan their wedding was no problem─dealing with an unexpected pregnancy is a whole other thing.
Kassandra is unable to decide the best way to help Marisol, specially when her relationship with Josh starts reaching an amount of commitment that she wasn’t expecting. Both girls will have to remember the past in order to move their relationships forward.
Kassandra is a single, independent woman who prides herself on her own success. Now her life seems complete when Josh─a thoughtful, handsome, and the worst kind of charmer─leaves his womanizing days behind and can’t seem to stay away from her. Kassandra keeps wondering if their single days are really over and they’re ready for a monogamous and committed relationship.
Marisol is a married woman with the perfect life─A wonderful husband and a beautiful son. Life gets even better when her little boy is finally ready for school and Sol can go back to work.
Destiny is full of surprises for both girls, and sometimes the plans that you have aren’t the ones in the path before you.
Join Kassandra and Marisol as they remember how they planned Sol’s wedding while they solve together the difficulties in the present.
Scroll down to read an excerpt 🙂
K.T. Castle loves reading, writing, and painting. She’s on a quest to find the words, forms, and colors to materialize the worlds and people of her imagination. She loves reading Paranormal, New Adult, and Contemporary Romance. She never saw herself as an incurable romantic, but lately, that’s what she finds herself musing about. Love is found everywhere, regardless of whether it comes from a nice person or an ass—mundane or even vampire.
When she’s not busy with work, in front of a computer placing many thoughts in order, she makes her best to be creative or relax with a good TV series and snacks. Some of her favorite characters are Jon Snow, Daenerys, Barney Stinson, Saint, Rome Archer, Rush, Gretchen McKay, and Cinderella.
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Get a FREE copy of The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Laura’s Wedding on Amazon during Marisol’s Wedding launch day.
There’s a Rafflecopter giveaway going on from the 20 of december until the 3rd of January.
You could win a $10 Amazon GC or a signed copy of BCL!
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There’s also another giveaway on Facebook.
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This will run until the 22.
Here’s that link https://www.facebook.com/KTCastle.author/photos/a.986805471361618.1073741827.127145400660967/1312261222149373/?type=3&theater
I hadn’t been sick in a long time. I was usually the healthiest person in the room; I ate healthy and exercised regularly. But somehow I caught some sort of bug and felt like crap.
To my surprise, my grandma decided to visit—something she rarely did. It was actually a very nice surprise. I called her religiously every Sunday, and she was still more demanding than any parent should be. But she loved me dearly, and I loved her back.
Neglecting her was not a situation she accepted, and with my new relationship advancing, I realized I wasn’t paying as much attention to her as I usually did. So she came to check on me. Thankfully, I’d called Josh and told him that any plans we’d made together were cancelled. I wanted to see him, but I didn’t feel well.
“I really don’t feel like eating anything,” I said to my grandma. “Especially not beet soup.”
“You don’t know what you’re saying, child,” my grandmother said. “You might feel like that now, but after eating it, you’ll feel much better.”
“Really, I’m okay. I’d rather have some tea, take a shower and go to sleep.”
“I know you’re an adult and know how to take care of yourself. But sometimes, even you, Kassandra, need someone to look after you.” My grandma eyed me from the kitchen where she cooked. “So keep resting on that couch. You’ll have some tea, and then I’ll leave you alone.”
Then my doorbell rang, and I had no idea who it was. I knew Josh wasn’t coming tonight, and I hoped Marisol was sorting things out with Michael. A month had passed since she’d told me about her unexpected pregnancy, and I hadn’t heard much from her since then. I wanted to check on her soon.
I was about to stand up, but my grandma said, “Don’t stand up. I’ll get it.”
Hopefully it wouldn’t be any of my other friends with some problem for me to fix. I was in no-fixing-anything condition.
“And who are you?” I heard my grandma say from the doorway.
“I’m Josh. How are you doing this evening?”
I was more concerned about Josh meeting my grandma right now than I was impressed with his usual charm. This was actually a situation I’d wanted to avoid. Not because I didn’t want my family to meet him. Not because I didn’t want him to meet them. What concerned me was that my grandmother had always expected me to introduce her to my boyfriends a month into the relationship, as part of our Russian customs.
I was actually proud of myself for holding it back this long. Now the moment had come.
“May I ask who you are?” Josh asked sweetly. I couldn’t imagine what he might be thinking—a nurse, my housekeeper, a neighbor, a friend…. I was sure he wouldn’t guess that she was my grandmother. The woman and I were so different. The caramel color of my skin totally contrasted to her whiter-than-white, pale tone. My golden brown curls were the complete opposite of her straight, ash-blonde hair. I was the perfect combination of my mother’s Russian ancestry and my father’s African American.
Not at all easy to see any resemblance.
“I’m Kassandra’s babushka.”
“And what exactly is that?” Josh asked again.
“My grandmother,” I explained from the living room.
“Of course. You have the same eyes,” Josh said matter-of-factly. It was probably the only feature the old lady and I had in common.
“May I call you ba-boo-ska as well?” Josh charmingly said.
“Who are you?” grandma asked Josh.
“Kass’s boyfriend. So, can I?”
My grandma grunted in response and walked back to the kitchen to stir her soup concoction.
Josh shrugged as he smiled at me from the entrance, placing his light jacket on the entrance organizer near the door. Then he walked to my kitchen counter and set down a white paper bag full of containers. I couldn’t tell what they were, and the bag didn’t give any indication, either. If I had to guess, I was almost sure he’d brought me takeout, but the smell of my grandma’s cooking drowned out any other smell in the apartment.
“What’s inside the bag?” she asked as if reading my mind.
Josh took the white half-liter containers out of the bag and responded, “Kass told me she wasn’t feeling well, so I brought her some chicken soup.”
“Kassandra is not having that for dinner,” the old blonde stubbornly said. “Neither are you.”
“What’s there for dinner, ba-boo-ska?” Josh asked as he approached her.
“Babushka,” she corrected.
“Ba-boo-sha,” he tried once more.
“Babushka,” I said.
“Better,” Grandma said. “We’re having borscht.”
“I’m not even going to try to say that word,” Josh said with a big smile. “It looks like soup.”
“Of course it’s soup,” my grandma said. “It’s a Ukrainian soup, but we eat it also in Russia. It’s made with beetroot, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage. I usually cook it with beef, but I don’t want to upset Kassandra’s stomach.”
“Now I understand why it’s pink,” Josh said as he walked away from babushka and closer to me. “It’s made for the princess.”
“Kassandra is by no means a princess,” my grandmother said. “She’s a fighter.” For the first time since Josh’s arrival, she smiled.
“She sure is.” Josh sat by me and gave me the most tender kiss on the tip of my nose. “How are you feeling, little fighter?”
“Better,” I said.
“Liar,” he whispered, as if he knew it was our secret to share. It amazed me how he could be so in tune with my needs and feelings.
“Dinner’s almost ready. I suggest you go wash before coming to eat,” my grandmother said. She was a fan of everything being clean and neat. She always sent me to wash before any meal, no matter how formal or informal it was.
“I’ll go with you to wash up, too.” Josh walked beside me, and I was thankful. I was feeling a bit dizzy, and him walking with me to the restroom made me feel safer. Besides, I was sure grandma had implied that he needed to clean up a bit too.
Josh took my clammy hand and accompanied me to the restroom near my office. I led him there instead of the one inside my bedroom—the one we always used. Even if my grandmother could imagine that I was old enough to have a boyfriend staying over with me, it was a completely different thing to see. I washed as quickly as I could, just to keep her from getting suspicious, and took advantage of the cold water to refresh myself.
Beautiful blond Josh held my waist from behind and looked at me through the reflection in the mirror. When I finally met his eyes, he smiled at me and kissed my neck. “You’re warm,” he said. “Do you know exactly what you have?”
“Some kind of bug. I’m sure it’ll go away by tomorrow.” It had to be that. I couldn’t think of anything else. Being lucky enough to work mostly from home, I didn’t have the disadvantage of getting sick with something a coworker brought to the office. Plus, I always believed that with healthy eating, exercising, and the right vitamins, all illnesses could be avoided.
“You should’ve gone to the doctor,” he said. Concern looked cute on him.
“It’s fine. I’ll be all right in the morning.”
“I hope so.”
My grandmother was waiting for us in the kitchen when we returned. Josh pulled out a stool for me at the kitchen island. Babushka had already served the borscht in the white ceramic dishes I rarely used; they were meant to be used when entertaining guests. Well, in a way I guess I did have guests, even if they were entertaining themselves.
Josh waited until my grandma sat next to me on the same side of the island, so he chose the stool across from us. The space wasn’t that big, but we had enough room to eat our soup comfortably.
“Bon appetite,” Josh said. “The pink soup smells wonderful.”
Grandma snorted again.
It was easy to misinterpret her reactions; she wasn’t one to express herself emotionally. It was a Russian trait—one I’d definitely inherited.
My parents died in a car accident when I was five years old, and my Russian grandparents took me in. They’d immigrated from Russia after the war and settled in California because they enjoyed the sun. I’d never lived outside the U.S.A., although, on my sixteenth birthday, I was sent to stay with a relative in Omsk, Russia for a summer instead of going to Florida with all my friends.
In my short stay in my grandparents’ country, I learned that Russians were unpredictable. It was very difficult to know how they were going to respond to anything, and even though I’d known my grandparents very well for a long time, they still surprised me with their reactions. I learned that it was always better to be myself and be respectful. They were very passionate people, and when they cared deeply about something, there was a tendency to be fairly intense in offering a solution, advice, or comments—even if there were better words to express the same sentiments in a much kinder way.
“Josh, tell me why you haven’t visited Kassandra’s bahba and dzed?” Right to the point, grandmother of mine.
Josh courteously smiled at my grandma and said, “Visited who?”
“Grandma and grandpa,” I offered, trying to concentrate on my soup.
“Yes,” Babushka said. “I know you and Kassandra have being dating for a while, and I asked her to invite you over. She told me how busy you always are.”
“I have been busy.” Fortunately, he didn’t rat me out, saying that I’d never passed along the invitation. He’d actually been making comments about me meeting his family or us visiting my grandparents before, but I wanted to avoid it for a little longer. Being in a relationship was a big enough step for me, and I wasn’t quite ready for it to feel that official. Meeting each other’s families seemed particularly official. And when there were cultural differences between both families, problems could arise. I had seen Marisol go through that before. It wasn’t something I wanted to experience, and I knew how people could misunderstand my old folks. “But I’ll make sure to make some time soon to visit.”
We ate our soup and the conversation stopped for a short moment. I didn’t really know what to say, and in all honesty, I was sick and didn’t want to participate in any kind of meeting-the-family pleasantries.
“My little Kassandra here is a gem, and if she chose you to be part of her life, I need to make sure you’re good enough for her,” my grandmother explained. “You’re good-looking, and Kassandra told me you have a good job, although I don’t like many people who work in the media.”
“I’m surprised Kass talked to you about me,” Josh replied, not even mentioning or responding to her negative comment.
“We talk every week, and lately, most of her conversations are about you.” Apparently, Grandma was the one ratting me out today. “My Kassie is always kind and works hard to get everything she deserves and help the people around her. Dzyedooshka and I need to make sure she’s not making a mistake.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” Josh said, and for a moment I was afraid of how the conversation would proceed and finish. Now it was Josh’s turn to surprise me. “She’s always helping someone out, no matter how big or small the situation might be. She pays attention to every single detail—eyes like a hawk and everybody knows it.”
I could hear them talk in my daze, agreeing with each other over how much they each praised me. I tried to eat as much soup as I could, but I felt nothing like eating. Borscht or not. Their conversation was actually lulling me to sleep.
At some point during their conversation, I was sure that I was actually in bed sleeping and all of this was only a dream. My grandmother wasn’t here, Josh wasn’t having dinner with us, and I was alone in my apartment. I felt really, really terrible.
“I’m sorry, Babushka, but I better help Kass into bed,” Josh said at last. “She looks like she’s going to fall off that stool.”
“Sure, sure,” my grandma said. “Poor child. I better stay here tonight to make sure that she rests well.”
Josh held me up and tried to carry me before I stopped him.
“There’s no need for that, bahba,” I told her. “I’ll be fine. I just need a good night’s sleep.” I tried to walk on my own, only to fail. My body felt so heavy that I couldn’t move on my own.
“Nonsense, I’m staying here.”
“If you don’t mind, ma’am,” Josh added, “I would like to stay, too. If it’s fine with you.”
What exactly was Josh trying to do? My grandma would never let him sleep with me in the same room, not on her watch. Especially because when she spent the night, she did in my bed with me.
“Where are you thinking of sleeping?” Grandma asked.
“On the couch, of course,” Josh smartly explained. “I just want to be here in case you need to rush to the pharmacy, or she needs help moving… With all due respect, she isn’t exactly light,” he added with a charming smile.
If I’d had the energy to be mad, I would have been. But at that point, I only wanted to go to bed and get some sleep. I needed Josh to carry me.
I could hear bahba’s loud laugh at Josh’s comment. “She certainly isn’t light. She’s a woman after all, and I’m an old lady, so I appreciate your offer. Help me put her in bed, and then I’ll come back to fix the kitchen and make some tea.”
“Don’t worry about the kitchen, I’ll clean it up. Though tea sounds wonderful.”
That was probably when my grandmother decided she approved of Josh. “Then I’ll fix you a cup before I go to sleep.”
“Kass, what’s going on?” I heard Josh’s drowsy voice from somewhere behind me.
I couldn’t even turn around to give him a decent answer before I started hurling again.
“Shit, Kass.” He was next to me in a second, holding me from behind and making sure to get my hair out of the way.
Pink vomit covered the inside of my white porcelain toilet, and all I could think about was how much this would upset my grandmother.
I’d woken up what felt like ages ago. My stomach was completely upset, and I knew vomiting was inevitable. Unfortunately for me, my babushka was sleeping tranquilly next to me. I didn’t have it in my heart to wake her up—not just to tell her how sick I felt. Not with the noises I knew would be coming from my bathroom. I’d eventually wake her up, only for her to find me turning my stomach inside-out. I decided I had to leave my room and go to the guest restroom on the farthest side of my living room.
During my very long walk there, I accomplished the herculean feat of not throwing up on my wooden floor or creamy carpet. I didn’t even notice Josh sleeping on the couch; he could’ve helped me get there sooner. Then again, my intentions while almost crawling my way across my apartment were to not disturb my grandma’s sleep, which in a way included not disturbing anyone else’s.
“Are you done?” Josh asked as soon as he saw that my heaving stopped for a few minutes.
“I hope so.”
“Stay here,” he said. As if I could move anywhere else. He returned quickly, accompanied by a warm, humid cloth and a glass of fresh water.
I couldn’t express my gratitude enough.
Josh sat on the floor next to me. “Why didn’t you let me know you were this sick?” he asked.
I could understand his confusion. If he was ill, I would expect him to tell me so I could help take care of him. It would have made a lot more sense if I’d used my own bathroom. “I didn’t want bahba to know I was sick,” I confessed. “And I totally forgot that you spent the night.”
He grunted his disapproval and demanded, “Are you ready to go back to bed?”
“Not really.” That only made him grunt again. “I’d rather go with you to the couch, if that’s okay.”
“Totally fine.” While his words were a bit cold and cutting, his touch felt warm and caring. Josh carried me back to the couch with him. I rested in his lap for a little while and relaxed back to sleep.
What felt like seconds later, I felt movement underneath me. I opened my eyes and stirred a bit before I heard Josh’s soft whisper. “I think your grandma woke up. I just want to put my pants back on.”
I mumbled an okay and sat up straight. If my grandmother was coming out of my bedroom any minute, I needed to look as healthy and awake as possible.
A few moments later, Josh had managed to clean up the living room—and possibly the restroom—place some tea in the pot, and get ready for the day. I imagined he and my grandma had to leave sometime soon. I guessed I could fend for myself. I was almost sure the worst was over.
“Good morning,” Babushka said as she came out of my bedroom looking well-rested.
“Good morning,” Josh and I answered almost simultaneously.
“Glad to see you’re doing better, Kassandra.” After all that vomiting, I’d probably lost some weight, too. “It was good to stay with you and help you recover.”
“Would you like some tea, Babushka?” Josh asked the old lady.
She approached the teapot and said, “It’s only chamomile tea, but I guess it’ll do. Do you need me to fix some breakfast before I go?”
“I took the liberty of boiling some eggs for Kassandra as soon as she’s ready for them.” Eggs were probably the last thing I wanted to eat at the moment. “A friend of mine will be here any minute with sour bread from the bakery in case either one of you want some.” Bread sounded more appealing—or saltines. I thought I had some in one of my cabinets.
“Eggs for me. Kassandra, do you want some?” my grandmother asked.
“Tea is fine, thank you.”
“Good. If you get hungry, Josh has managed to prepare a half-decent breakfast,” she said. “I guess that since you’re sick, there isn’t much else that might be good for you.” Grandma fixed her egg with some mayonnaise and paprika. Their interaction was a nice distraction from how horrible I felt. Somehow, I’d managed to convince my grandmother I was doing much better, and she concentrated her attention on my boyfriend. Her gaze constantly followed his movements, probably contemplating the ease with which he moved around my place. Josh’s eyes constantly returned to me, searching my face, his composure oddly rigid. But it wasn’t because he felt uncomfortable under my grandma’s eye; he kept looking at me, as if he wanted to ask some question—that was, when babushka wasn’t talking to him.
“Josh, can I cook something for you?” she asked.
“I’m doing fine with my coffee, Babushka. Thank you.”
It didn’t take her long to finish her light breakfast and comment, “It seems there’s nothing much for me to do. I better call a cab so I can get back to your dzed.”
“I would offer to take you, but I’d rather stay with Kass for the rest of the morning,” Josh said. “But I’m sure my friend Mindy will be happy to take you home. She’s the one bringing us the bread.”
“Oh, nonsense. I wouldn’t want to impose,” the stubborn old lady answered.
“Really, babushka, please. It will make Kass and me feel better,” Josh explained, “Besides, Mindy loves driving and today she’s driving my car. You would be doing her a favor.”
“Well, if it’s a favor for this girl, then I accept.”
Josh stepped into the hall outside my apartment, probably to call Mindy and inform her of the new task she’d been given. Not so long ago, I’d been really jealous of this Mindy character. She was one of the most beautiful twiggy blonds I’d ever met, and during Laura’s wedding preparations, I’d noticed that she was always hanging around Josh. He later explained that she was actually his PA. I felt a little embarrassed after learning about their relationship, although I still kept my eyes open in case she decided to make a move on her boss.
My grandmother approached me. I hadn’t moved from the couch since Josh had helped me there. “He’s a good man,” she said. “Your Dzyedooshka should meet him. Soon.” She patted my leg and kissed my cheek. “Bring Josh home soon.”
“Mindy’s downstairs waiting for you, Babushka,” Josh announced. “Let me walk you to the car.”
We said our farewells and my grandma made me promise that I would call her that night to let her know how I was doing. I would agree to anything in that moment just to get her to leave. I could feel the dizziness and nausea coming back at me. I could do with Josh leaving, too. I was alarmingly embarrassed given he had witnessed me vomit over and over again in the night.
As soon as they left, I rushed to the bathroom inside my bedroom. Kneeling before the porcelain toilet, I heaved and heaved, leaving only water and tea. I wondered then what I could have done to deserve something like that. Where and how could I have gotten this sick?
Josh was soon with me again, hovering over me and making sure I was all right. I insisted he go home, but he wouldn’t listen. He stayed with me all day, taking care of me as if I was a baby. He fed me when I decided I was going to try and eat something. Saltines and sour bread with some butter was the only thing I could keep down. He helped me shower and put me to bed, too. Our day was spent between trips to the restroom, showering, and sleeping. We didn’t talk much. Josh had been extremely sweet by staying and taking care of me. Thankfully, my stomach’s antics had stopped at some point around noon.
Later that night, I remembered I’d promised to call my grandmother, and I shamelessly told her I felt much better. When we were finally in bed, Josh hugged me tenderly from behind. He kissed my bare shoulder and told me as I was falling asleep, “I may have managed to knock you up.”
That comment was enough to keep me awake for most of the night.