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Nobody But You (A Callaway Wedding Novella)

Nobody But You (A Callaway Wedding Novella)

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The Callaways are having a wedding! 

While Emma and her bridesmaids are toasting to Emma's future, Max and his brother, Spencer, make a stop on their way to the wedding and suddenly find themselves in a life or death situation. They go from being worried that they might be late to the ceremony to wondering if they'll make it at all. 

Spencer is used to his younger brother being the hero of the family. But now it's his turn. If he can convince a beautiful stranger with a dark past to put her fears aside and help him, together they can save the day for Emma and Max and perhaps find a future and a love for themselves. 

*NOBODY BUT YOU is a 25,000 word novella (approximately 100 pages). It can be read on its own as well as in conjunction with the series. 

What the readers are saying…

"Even though a short novella, NOBODY BUT YOU is packed full with drama and suspense that you don't want to pass up." Shari - Goodreads

Loved NOBODY BUT YOU! Couldn't put it down! Thanks for sharing more of Max and Emma with us and allowing us to fall in love with Spencer." Ashley - Goodreads

"Wonderful book, very heart-warming. Should have known Max and Emma couldn't get married the easy way!" Landra - Goodreads

"NOBODY BUT YOU is a short easy read that kept me on the edge of my seat - total page turner! Barbara Freethy has done it again! wonderful consistently great storyteller!" Mary - Goodreads



"You're a beautiful bride, Emma," Nicole Callaway said, smiling at her sister in the full-length mirror. 

Emma stared at herself in bemusement. This woman in the lacy white wedding dress wasn't her, was it? She was a tomboy turned firefighter turned arson investigator. She spent her days in coveralls and fire suits. She was lucky if she remembered to run a brush through her blonde hair, much less put on makeup, but today her sisters, Nicole and Shayla, had done her hair and forced her to wear eyeliner and lipstick. She barely recognized herself, but she was impressed. 

"Damn, I look good," she said.

"Like a princess in a fairytale," Shayla said with a wistful sigh. 

Emma turned around to give her youngest sister a smile. At twenty-four, Shayla was the baby of the Callaway family, and while on most days she was a pragmatic, logical, and rather brilliant medical student, today she was obviously caught up in bridal fantasies. 

"Princess?" Emma challenged. "I look good enough to be the queen." 

"Always so ambitious," Nicole teased. 

"I can't help it. I like to be on top." 

Nicole laughed. "And how does Max feel about that?" 

"I wasn't talking about that," she said. "Although, now that you mention it…"

"We don't need any more information," Nicole said quickly. 

"I wasn't going to give you any," she replied. "And I've had to be ambitious. I'm a woman in a man's profession. If I don't fight, I'm done."

"I know," Nicole said with an understanding nod. "And it's not just doing the job well that motivates you, it's Dad's respect." 

That was true. Jack Callaway's respect had been a driving force behind many of her ambitions, which was probably true for most of her siblings. Her father had a big personality and demanded achievement from everyone around him, his coworkers and his family members. But for her, his opinion was even more important, because Jack was second in charge of the San Francisco Fire Department, which technically made him her boss. 

"It's different for me than for you," she said. "I work in Dad's world, and I can't let him down. I have to continually prove I'm as good as the boys." 

"You've already proven that a dozen times over," Nicole said. "And today you're not a firefighter, you're a bride. This is your night, Em. You're the star, and the only one you have to share the spotlight with is Max. I don't think he'll steal your thunder."

"I don't know about that. He's going to look hot in that black tuxedo I forced him to rent," Emma said with a grin. 

"I'm sure you're right, but everyone will still be looking at you," Nicole said with a smile. "If for no other reason than this may be the only time they see you in a long dress."

She tipped her head. "Good point." Her gaze moved to the clock on the bedside table. It was half past four, and the wedding ceremony was scheduled for six at a beautiful church in the presidio, followed by a reception at the San Francisco Yacht Club. "We should get going, don't you think?" 

"I'll check on the limo," Shayla said. "It's supposed to be here now." On her way out of the bedroom, she paused in the doorway. "In case I don't get a chance to say it before the wedding, I'm really happy for you, Em, and I'm even happier that you got us bridesmaid dresses that aren't hideous. Thank you for that." 

Emma smiled, thinking how pretty Shayla looked in the gold cocktail dress. She'd wanted a color to fit her holiday wedding, and what could be better than dresses the color of champagne? "I'm glad you like it." After Shayla left, Emma turned back to Nicole. "This whole day feels surreal. Here we are, standing in the bedroom we shared when we were teenagers, when we used to dream about the guy we were going to marry. Remember all the talks we used to have after we turned the lights out?"

"I do," Nicole said with a soft smile. "We were so worried we wouldn't find the right guys, but we did. I have Ryan, and you have Max. Life is good."

"Almost too good. I feel a little nervous, like this kind of happiness can't possibly last. It's silly to feel that way—isn't it?"

"Yes," Nicole said firmly. "That's just nerves talking, Emma. Love can last forever. Look at our grandparents. And look at Mom and Jack."

"But Mom's first marriage with our dad didn't work out. I'm sure she thought it would. How does anyone really know?"

"You don't know. You have to trust your feelings. Sometimes marriage takes work. Ryan and I have certainly had our challenges. But I believe that real love triumphs in the end." She paused. "Ryan and I lost our way for a while, but when Brandon was kidnapped, all the stupid stuff seemed so unimportant. I never want to lose my perspective like that again."

"Well, you're back together now."

"Stronger than ever," Nicole said with a nod, then she frowned. "You're not really having doubts about marrying Max, are you?"

She quickly shook her head. "No, I'm just jittery, and I don't know why. Max is wonderful."

"And he's the perfect man for you. He's smart and strong, and he'll always protect you and love you, even when you don't want protection and you're being a little too annoying to love," she teased.

Emma made a face at her. "Thanks for that." 

"Seriously, stop worrying and enjoy the moment." 

"You're right. I'm just nervous because this day has taken so long to get here." She had originally planned to marry Max in August, in a double wedding with her best friend, Sara, who, at the time, was engaged to her brother, Aiden. But Sara had gotten pregnant and needed to move up her wedding day. Emma had been forced to cancel the double wedding venue, which she couldn't afford on her own, and had rescheduled her wedding for two weeks before Christmas.  

Now that December had arrived, she was happy with her new date. She loved winter—cold foggy mornings, the drizzle of rain on the window, and the holiday lights that turned ordinary streets into winter wonderlands. This time of the year felt magical, and so did her love for Max. 

She hadn't liked him much at first. She'd met him on the job. She'd been working on an arson case, and he'd been the detective assigned to the homicide that resulted from the arson. She'd found him cocky and annoying and very territorial. It had soon become clear, however, that the sparks between them were not just the result of anger or irritation but also attraction. 

She'd fought against that attraction, because she'd just gotten out of a bad relationship and wasn't eager to start another. And Max had been wary, too. He'd lived through his parents' bitter divorce and wasn't a big believer in marriage. But in the end, the love between them had been too strong to resist. 

They'd fallen hard for each other, and their relationship had become the best possible mix of passion, friendship and respect. Max accepted her for who she was. And she did the same for him. It was the most honest relationship of her life, and today they would make an official and public commitment to each other. She couldn't wait.

"It may seem like the last few months have been really long to you, Emma," Nicole said. "But I think the year has flown by. So much has happened in our family. You and Max fell in love, Aiden and Sara had a baby girl, Drew fell for Ria and is now helping her parent her seventeen-year-old niece. It's been crazy!"

"Don't forget you found Brandon's twin brother, Kyle."

"And we met Kyle's mother, Jessica, who is already starting to feel like a sister," Nicole said with a nod. "We've had a lot of blessings this year." 

Emma saw the moisture in her sister's eyes and felt a little teary herself. "Stop already. You're going to make me cry, and I know you don't want to have to do my makeup again."

Nicole laughed. "Very true. Okay, let's talk about a more practical matter." 

"What's that?"

"I am so touched that you and Max want to include Brandon and Kyle in your ceremony, but I'm worried about Brandon being one of the ring bearers."  

"Brandon and Kyle did fine at the rehearsal last night," Emma reminded her, understanding the concern in Nicole's eyes. Six-year-old Brandon was autistic, but since being reunited with his twin brother, Kyle, Brandon was showing marked improvement when it came to interacting with others, and she thought he could handle the ceremony. "Kyle will be there to help him," she added. "Besides, they're not going to carry the actual rings. Even if they bolt down the aisle or drop the pillows, it will still be fine."

"I just don't want anything to mar your perfect night. I can never predict what Brandon is going to do or what might spook him. He could freeze in the middle of the aisle and start screaming. Or he could run out of the church."

"Don’t worry about it, Nicole. Jessica said she'd stand at the back in case Brandon decides to take off. She'll make sure he's okay. You said she's really good with him."

Nicole nodded, but there was still a little doubt in her eyes. "Brandon does like Jessica, or at least he tolerates her. The fact that Kyle loves her seems to carry some weight with him."

"It's going to be fine. And whatever Brandon does is not going to ruin my night. I want my family around me. That's all that's important. Speaking of family, have you heard from Sean yet?"

"Not since yesterday."  

Emma frowned. "I texted him an hour ago, but he didn't reply," she said, worried that her younger brother wouldn't make the ceremony. Sean was a touring musician, and he'd been on the road the past six months with his band, but he'd promised to drive down from Seattle for her wedding. Unfortunately, he'd gotten caught in a snowstorm on the California-Oregon border, so he'd had to pull off the road for a few hours. "He should be here by now." 

"He'll do everything he can to make it," Nicole reassured her. 

"I hope so. But we both know he's not big on family events."

"Your wedding is different. Sean will be here."  

"I just hope nothing has happened to him."

Nicole shook her head. "You're not normally a worrier, Emma. Where is the icy calm you display when you run into burning buildings?"

"It seems to be on vacation," she admitted. "I keep feeling an odd chill run through my body, and I don't know where it's coming from."

"Limo is here," Shayla interrupted, returning to the room with Emma's other two bridesmaids, her best friend and sister-in-law, Sara, and Drew's girlfriend, Ria. Emma had a feeling that Ria would be the next to get engaged, but Drew and Ria were pretty close-mouthed about their plans these days. 

Her bridesmaids were certainly an attractive group of women, she thought. Her sisters, Nicole and Shayla, were both pretty blondes. Ria had wavy light brown hair with gold highlights, and Sara was a gorgeous brunette. 

"First a toast," Sara said, handing Emma a glass of champagne. "To a fantastic friend and an incredible sister. We wish you nothing but happiness, Emma." 

"To Emma," the others echoed. 

"Thanks you guys," she said, blinking away another tear as she looked around the circle of females. "You all mean so much to me."

"You mean a lot to us, too," Sara said. She set down her glass and picked up Emma's bouquet of white roses. "Shall I carry these for you?"

"If you don't mind," Emma replied.

As the other bridesmaids picked up their bouquets and bags, she took one last look at herself in the mirror. 

"You're gorgeous, Emma," Ria said, coming up behind her. 

"Thanks." She gave Ria a sheepish smile. "I feel a little vain. I haven't looked at myself this much in years, if ever."

"You're entitled. You're the bride."

"I can only use that excuse for a few more hours."

"So where are you going on your honeymoon?" Ria asked as they headed toward the door. 

"Max is surprising me. He wouldn't even let me pack my own suitcase. He had Nicole do it."

"Then you must know where they're going, Nicole," Ria said.

"Not really. I only know what clothes she's taking," Nicole replied. "Max was afraid Emma would use her interrogation skills to break me, so he only told me as much as I needed to know." 

"I don't care where we go," Emma said. "And I'm not even worried about what's in my suitcase, because I'm not planning on wearing too many clothes, if you know what I mean."

Nicole laughed. "Let's go get you married."

"Finally," she said. 

As she followed her sister out the door, she tried to ignore the anxious flutter in her stomach and the goose bumps running down her arms. Everything was going to be fine. It was her wedding day. What could go wrong?

The Callaways are a family born to serve and protect, many as firefighters. Set primarily in San Francisco, the series features a blended family, with each member in the family getting their own book.

Each book stands alone with a complete story. No cliffhangers! But reading the entire series will give readers a chance to spend more time with this

amazing family!

The books feature romance, mystery and family drama with popular storylines featuring alpha heroes, firefighter romance, girl next door, love at first

sight, enemies to lovers, opposites attract, grumpy sunshine, meet cute, and second chance at love.

I love to write complex books that provide reading pleasure, a mystery to unravel, characters to fall in love with, and a story that will keep readers turning the pages. Start reading the Callaways today!

Don't Miss Any of the Callaway Novels:

  • On A Night Like This (#1)
  • So This Is Love (#2)
  • Falling For A Stranger (#3)
  • Between Now And Forever (#4)
  • Nobody But You (#5) A Callaway Wedding Novella)
  • All A Heart Needs (#6)
  • That Summer Night (#7)
  • When Shadows Fall (#8)
  • Somewhere Only We Know (#9)

Callaway Cousins

  • If I Didn't Know Better (#1)
  • Tender Is The Night (#2)
  • Take Me Home (#3) (Callaway Novella)
  • Closer To You (#4)
  • Once You're Mine (#5)
  • Can't Let Go (#6)
  • Secrets We Keep (#7)

Callaway Series Box Sets

  • Callaways Box Set, Books 1-3
  • Callaways Box Set, Books 4-6
  • Callaways Box Set, Books 7-9
  • Callaways Complete Box Set, Books 1-8
  • Callaway Cousins Box Set, Books 1-4
  • Callaway Cousins Box Set, Books 5-7