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A Wedding in Lake Como

Author Jennifer Probst On Tour
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A destination wedding in Italy’s Lake Como brings three best friends back together to face the secrets of the past in this romantic novel from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

Best friends Ava, Madison, and Chelsea made a pact to reunite for each other’s weddings when their careers sent them in different directions. But after one of them makes a choice that tears the group apart, an upcoming wedding might be their last chance to heal old wounds.

Ava is about to marry the man she loves in a lavish ceremony on the shores of Lake Como, but she’s haunted by the mistakes she’s made.

Madison’s made a name for herself as an influencer in the fashion world but is threatened by a scandal impacting everything she holds dear.

And Chelsea has the perfect family she always craved, but her professional dreams have fallen by the wayside.

As they return to Italy’s gorgeous coast, the three women revisit their life-changing first trip to Lake Como during college. When Madison comes face-to-face with the college sweetheart who was at the heart of one of the most pivotal times of her life, can they forge a new way forward?
1

AFTER

I stared at the embossed envelope, fingers gripping the sharp edges with such force, indentations cut into my tender flesh. The wedding invitation blurred before me, my name like a mockery in its perfect gold scrawled font.

Ava was getting married.

The breath left my lungs in a whoosh, so I allowed myself to drop into the kitchen chair. It was a long time before I decided to open the envelope. When I did, my French-manicured nail sliced through the wax seal, but I was beyond caring if the paint chipped. Like doing anything unpleasant in life, I learned to do it fast. Much better to take the hit of pain full force rather than in steady doses over time. I prefer a fast death.

In Ava's usual fashion, the invite was elegant, timeless, and spoke of her signature grace. The heavy stock paper was the color of rich butter, painted in thick gold-leaf brushstrokes that glittered. I skimmed the card.

You are cordially invited to the wedding of Ms. Ava Anastasia Aldaine to Mr. Theodore Roberto Barone . . .

The family invites you to a weekend of festivities at the Aldaine estate in Lake Como . . .

My gaze skipped over the words with greed. I didn't recognize the name of the man she'd finally decided to marry and wondered if it was a whirlwind affair, or if Ava had given in to her father's wishes and chosen a proper husband. Of course, it had been five years since we'd spoken, and I'd been ruthless in my denial of any information. Keeping her name off my social media search bar had been a coping mechanism, though there'd been many nights I wanted to drunken search for any nugget of information about her life. But I'd stayed disciplined. Too bad the success still rang hollow, but the years had taught me not to question the empty space. Better to keep it unfilled and have a life of truth than lies.

Even though lies felt so much sweeter.

I dropped the invitation on the table, but my gaze snagged on a small white card nestled within wispy golden tissue. Picking it up, I noticed it wasn't the usual RSVP card. Black marker bled into the fabric threads with a familiar, bold style I'd memorized long ago. This time, my heart paused in my chest.

Maddie-

Come to my wedding. I need to talk to you.

Please. It's important.

You made a promise.

Ava

I closed my eyes and fought back the whimper of pain that clutched my insides. Memories rushed through me like a stampede-of me and Ava and Chelsea drunken dancing under a full yellow moon with our arms linked; crowded in our dorm room with Harry Styles blasting on repeat, sharing secrets while painting our nails and recording silly TikTok videos, heads mashed together, smiles stretching our lips, the gleam and vigor of youth amid a bubble of love and trust that can only be found in the purest of friendships. Of Ava teaching me how to be brave when the doubts struck. Of Ava choosing me from the group that clamored to be in her magic circle, showering me with long hugs and whispers against my ear in the dark; of the familiar scent of rosemary and mint from her shampoo; of the clasp of her tapered fingers and joyous laughter and dazzling beauty that always made my heart stutter in appreciation and fierce pride that she belonged to me; to us. Ava was ours.

Until she wasn't.

I read the words again, hearing her lilting voice in my ear as if she was whispering to me. And for the first time in five years, the foundation of the wall I'd shored up and carefully built shook. The crack let in just enough of the past to make me question the decision to run and cut Ava out of my life forever.

A silly word, really. Forever. What really lasted forever? Certainly not love. Or youth. Not beauty or lust; dreams or certainty; not even friendship-the only thing I believed would never fail.

What about broken promises? Would this one steal a piece of my soul? Because there wasn't much left. I needed to salvage every bit that remained.

Dammit, why now? When I was so vulnerable?

I dropped the note on the table and got up, heading to the wine rack to grab a bottle even though it was only three in the afternoon. The expensive cabernet was bold and rich with burgundy and earth tones, so I sipped it slow, and paced, pondering my options.

The quiet space around me that had once been my fortress felt like it was closing in on me. The expensive loft in Midtown Manhattan had been an indulgence, but I treasured privacy and, instead of hiring a decorator, decided to do most of the interior design myself.

Ebony black wood floors and vaulted ceilings gave the space breath, and the open-concept rooms allowed the furniture to delineate barriers. A spiral staircase led to my bedroom, and massive custom closets were transformed to house my social media shoots. I kept the eggshell-colored walls mostly bare, allowing a few retro art pieces from fashion history. Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Donatella Versace all kept my secrets. The furniture was white and lush; accented with fluffy throw rugs, stuffed pillows, elegant candles, and hand-knit blankets. My kitchen was a trendy dream of clean white-cabinets, marbled granite, subway tile, and tiled floor in black and white invited cooking and lingering, one of my favorite activities since I'd become mostly a loner.

It was a feminine retreat now. I'd made sure after moving back to New York that I'd wiped away any last vestige of the life I'd had before.

I winced and took another sip.

Ava had always had an incredible sense of timing. Almost as if she sensed my weakening and decided to strike. I remembered how she always seemed to anticipate when I'd had enough of the madness-the sucking energy of her need for attention and love-and it was then she transformed into my favorite part of her: the joyful, free spirit filled with a warmth I'd never met in anyone else. She'd always been a mass of contradictions, ranging from drama to a heartfelt supportive mentor that knew exactly what was needed in the moment.

Another reason it was so easy to fall in love with her. But being friends with Ava had consequences. I just hadn't known how big a debt I'd need to pay until it was too late.

Scowling at my dark thoughts, I nursed my wine and eased out on the balcony. New York City was already hot and muggy, the air unable to take flight and breathe, so it stuck on my skin and clothes and clogged my lungs, refusing to budge. I used to love everything about summer in the city. When everyone ran off to the Catskills or Hudson Valley, to beach trips and cool mountains, I'd hunker down and crawl deeper into the city I adored. Walk its streets for hours, explore hidden cafés and art shops, finding fashion treasures that rewarded only perseverance and patience. Getting lost amid strangers was oddly freeing, a balance of anonymity and crowds. It was here I'd first come alive and grown into my real self. Fresh from graduation, drunk on possibilities and dreaming of fame, I was at my most pure before reality hit and threw me onto a different path. One I wanted. One I paid for.

I lifted my head up and stared at the scatter of tall buildings that jammed the sky, housing both power and poverty, depending on who lived inside. How many times had I wondered if I never left for LA if everything would be different? It used to torture me, teasing my sanity, all those what-ifs. I tried to focus on all the wonderful things happening in my career, but I guess I was one of those crappy people who focused on what they didn't have rather than what they did.

One late night, I stumbled on a Tony Robbins seminar and was told life happens FOR me, not TO me. I'd tried to change my viewpoint because it made things easier, but it was hard to keep the momentum up. Daily life and tasks eroded away the positivity, until I found myself waking up at 5 a.m. too many mornings in the same hopeless mood I'd started with.

My mind churned and I drank more wine and the memories pulled me back. I used to think my greatest loss would be my first love.

I should've realized Ava always had more power than him.

2

BEFORE

The first time my gaze landed on Ava Aldaine, I sensed my life would change.

She was sitting on the steps to the lecture hall, surrounded by a crew of laughing girls, all looking similar in subtle designer labels. Small leather crossbody bags, silky T-shirts with theme-driven mottos scrawled across the front, matched with low-heeled ankle boots with strappy gold buckles and heels. Even their carefully ripped jeans held an intention I'd never been able to inject into my own persona, one that screamed significance.

But Ava seemed more than a leader, more important than the typical high school prom queen. She practically glowed from within, pumping out energy to the surrounding crowd the way a guru offers energy shocks to a chanting audience. I paused before the steps, not knowing where to walk, and she looked up at me with extraordinary cobalt blue eyes, a deep dark blue that made you want to look closer. Rich, glossy waves of chestnut hair spilled down her back, and her heart-shaped face tilted upward, her lips stretching into a big smile, as if she'd met a good friend rather than a stranger staring stupidly at the blocked pathway. "Hey, you're in my English class. Madison, right?"

I nodded, still held mute by the strange feelings that rose up within me, a mix of longing and knowing, as if we had known each other before. Later on, I'd remember Ava said the same, and called it kismet. Soul-sisters. I always loved the thought and would pull it tight to my chest when I found it hard to breathe. A reminder I was special.

"Love your outfit."

I tried not to gape. I had no money for top-rated brands, and I was obsessed with fashion. I'd mastered the art of finding cool vintage items or luxury fabrics and putting them together with flair. Unfortunately, my high school classmates mocked me for my crafty wardrobe. This was the first time I'd gotten a compliment. I wondered if she was joking, but her face was bright and open and . . . honest.

"Thanks."

Her crew had grown quiet, looking at me with the familiar judgment I was used to, but Ava only laughed and began to scoot her butt to the side. "Sorry-we're in your way. Procrastinating so we don't have to go in there yet, right, Chels?"

The girl sitting next to her nodded, curly blond hair bobbing at the motion. A slight gap between her front teeth stole my attention when she spoke. "How are we supposed to study poetry, for God's sake? Do I really care what the poet's intention was? All I care about is what we need to know to pass the test." Her big brown eyes rolled. "Why can't I just skip to my finance classes? No one gets a liberal arts education anymore. It's so old-school."

I couldn't help the words that sprang out. "I like liberal arts. It's like going to a buffet, a little bit of everything. Then I can figure out what I want more of."

Some of the girls snickered and I felt myself turning red. Ugh, why did I have to be so awkward? She wasn't looking for an actual answer!

Ava laughed, a bold, robust sound that commanded attention. "Love it. Havisham is really the Golden Corral of universities instead of the steak house it wants to be."

Chelsea laughed with her, and suddenly, everyone was laughing and I didn't feel like such an idiot.

I'd begun to relax, wondering if I could get myself to talk a bit more, when the sharp slap sounded against my eardrums. "I'm glad to see all of you have so much time to socialize and relax before my class. I'll be sure the questions for Friday's exam are hard enough to equal your confidence." Professor Lithman taught English and was known to be tough. She didn't pause, and the girls scrambled to give her a wide pathway, her smart black heels clicking on each of the steps like a countdown to doom. The overall groan made her chuckle just a bit as she entered the double doors.

"Better head in," Ava declared, standing up with an innate grace. Her bulky knit red sweater stopped just a few inches above the waist, flashing her flat belly. Dark wash ripped jeans clung to her curves, then flared out at the ankle. Red flat-heeled boots added the perfect dash of style. I tried not to drool over her ensemble, and her body as she shifted to grab her bag.

Her admirers pressed in around her like a protective layer, and I hurried past, head down. Sliding into my seat in the back row, I watched as students shuffled in, chatting and laughing with ease before Professor Lithman began class. I tried not to stare at Ava and her friends, wondering what it would be like to fit in and make friends easily.

Soon, I got caught up in the professor's lecture regarding Emily Dickinson, losing myself in the words that detailed the poet's struggle and deep emotion. I'd always loved dabbling in writing, finding it cathartic to spill all the crap from my mind onto paper.

"Ms. Davenport, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on Dickinson's poem 'I'm Nobody! Who are you?'"

The attractive brunette who was one of Ava's sidekicks gave an audible sigh. I winced. There was one thing Professor Lithman hated, and it was attitude in her class. "It was a bit confusing to me," the girl offered. "I think she was angry that no one really recognized her since she stayed home all the time. So she was mad she was a nobody and mocked the ones who had fame and fortune since she was jealous."

"I see. Did you like the poem?" Professor Lithman asked.

Ava's friend tittered. "Not really. I find her works boring and stuffy. I wish she'd just say what she meant."

Professor Lithman nodded, though I could tell she wasn't too keen on the girl's answer. "Remember, Dickinson was commonly termed the poet of paradox. Any other ideas on Dickinson's intent or frame of reference for this popular poem?"
"A reminder of the golden days of youth and a testament to the lasting power of forever friendship, A Wedding in Lake Como is Jennifer Probst at her finest. Readers will be swept away by this powerful story of loss and redemption that proves it’s never too late to carve a new path, chase a new dream--or fall in love all over again. A breathtaking Italian setting is the icing on the cake. Don’t miss this enchanting novel!"—Kristy Woodson Harvey, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Summer of Songbirds

"Glorious. A perfect story told with so much heart. Plus the food and the clothes. And Italy!! You'll be delighted."—Susan Mallery, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Book Club

"Part coming of age and part found family, A Wedding in Lake Como beautifully illustrates the impenetrable bond and enduring power of invincible friendships. Readers will travel alongside the characters as they embark on an emotional journey full of heartfelt developments including the healing power of an apology and a second chance with the one that got away. This is a true gem of a novel."—Tracey Garvis Graves, New York Times bestselling author of The Trail of Lost Hearts

“Jennifer Probst wields her pen like a magic wand. Her latest novel is an ode to love, friendship, and new beginnings. With its gorgeous prose and endearing characters, A Wedding in Lake Como is not to be missed!”—Xio Axelrod, USA Today Bestselling author of Girls with Bad Reputations

“If there’s one thing Probst is going to do, it’s convince readers that Italy is where they’ll find themselves…. A Wedding in Lake Como is a novel about the dynamics of female friendship amid a backdrop of self-discovery that fans will enjoy.”Booklist

“This book comes with discussion questions and is great for those who enjoyed Jodi Picoult novels or Ann Brashares’s "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” series. Will make a great addition to library shelves and book clubs this summer.”Library Journal


© Matt Simpkins Photography
Jennifer Probst is the New York Times bestselling author of the Billionaire Builders series, the Searching For . . . series, the Marriage to a Billionaire series, the Steele Brothers series, the Stay series, and the Sunshine Sisters series. Like some of her characters, Probst, along with her husband and two sons, calls New York’s Hudson Valley home. When she isn’t traveling to meet readers, she enjoys reading, watching “shameful reality television,” and visiting a local Hudson Valley animal shelter. View titles by Jennifer Probst

Discussion Guide for A Wedding in Lake Como

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About

A destination wedding in Italy’s Lake Como brings three best friends back together to face the secrets of the past in this romantic novel from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

Best friends Ava, Madison, and Chelsea made a pact to reunite for each other’s weddings when their careers sent them in different directions. But after one of them makes a choice that tears the group apart, an upcoming wedding might be their last chance to heal old wounds.

Ava is about to marry the man she loves in a lavish ceremony on the shores of Lake Como, but she’s haunted by the mistakes she’s made.

Madison’s made a name for herself as an influencer in the fashion world but is threatened by a scandal impacting everything she holds dear.

And Chelsea has the perfect family she always craved, but her professional dreams have fallen by the wayside.

As they return to Italy’s gorgeous coast, the three women revisit their life-changing first trip to Lake Como during college. When Madison comes face-to-face with the college sweetheart who was at the heart of one of the most pivotal times of her life, can they forge a new way forward?

Excerpt

1

AFTER

I stared at the embossed envelope, fingers gripping the sharp edges with such force, indentations cut into my tender flesh. The wedding invitation blurred before me, my name like a mockery in its perfect gold scrawled font.

Ava was getting married.

The breath left my lungs in a whoosh, so I allowed myself to drop into the kitchen chair. It was a long time before I decided to open the envelope. When I did, my French-manicured nail sliced through the wax seal, but I was beyond caring if the paint chipped. Like doing anything unpleasant in life, I learned to do it fast. Much better to take the hit of pain full force rather than in steady doses over time. I prefer a fast death.

In Ava's usual fashion, the invite was elegant, timeless, and spoke of her signature grace. The heavy stock paper was the color of rich butter, painted in thick gold-leaf brushstrokes that glittered. I skimmed the card.

You are cordially invited to the wedding of Ms. Ava Anastasia Aldaine to Mr. Theodore Roberto Barone . . .

The family invites you to a weekend of festivities at the Aldaine estate in Lake Como . . .

My gaze skipped over the words with greed. I didn't recognize the name of the man she'd finally decided to marry and wondered if it was a whirlwind affair, or if Ava had given in to her father's wishes and chosen a proper husband. Of course, it had been five years since we'd spoken, and I'd been ruthless in my denial of any information. Keeping her name off my social media search bar had been a coping mechanism, though there'd been many nights I wanted to drunken search for any nugget of information about her life. But I'd stayed disciplined. Too bad the success still rang hollow, but the years had taught me not to question the empty space. Better to keep it unfilled and have a life of truth than lies.

Even though lies felt so much sweeter.

I dropped the invitation on the table, but my gaze snagged on a small white card nestled within wispy golden tissue. Picking it up, I noticed it wasn't the usual RSVP card. Black marker bled into the fabric threads with a familiar, bold style I'd memorized long ago. This time, my heart paused in my chest.

Maddie-

Come to my wedding. I need to talk to you.

Please. It's important.

You made a promise.

Ava

I closed my eyes and fought back the whimper of pain that clutched my insides. Memories rushed through me like a stampede-of me and Ava and Chelsea drunken dancing under a full yellow moon with our arms linked; crowded in our dorm room with Harry Styles blasting on repeat, sharing secrets while painting our nails and recording silly TikTok videos, heads mashed together, smiles stretching our lips, the gleam and vigor of youth amid a bubble of love and trust that can only be found in the purest of friendships. Of Ava teaching me how to be brave when the doubts struck. Of Ava choosing me from the group that clamored to be in her magic circle, showering me with long hugs and whispers against my ear in the dark; of the familiar scent of rosemary and mint from her shampoo; of the clasp of her tapered fingers and joyous laughter and dazzling beauty that always made my heart stutter in appreciation and fierce pride that she belonged to me; to us. Ava was ours.

Until she wasn't.

I read the words again, hearing her lilting voice in my ear as if she was whispering to me. And for the first time in five years, the foundation of the wall I'd shored up and carefully built shook. The crack let in just enough of the past to make me question the decision to run and cut Ava out of my life forever.

A silly word, really. Forever. What really lasted forever? Certainly not love. Or youth. Not beauty or lust; dreams or certainty; not even friendship-the only thing I believed would never fail.

What about broken promises? Would this one steal a piece of my soul? Because there wasn't much left. I needed to salvage every bit that remained.

Dammit, why now? When I was so vulnerable?

I dropped the note on the table and got up, heading to the wine rack to grab a bottle even though it was only three in the afternoon. The expensive cabernet was bold and rich with burgundy and earth tones, so I sipped it slow, and paced, pondering my options.

The quiet space around me that had once been my fortress felt like it was closing in on me. The expensive loft in Midtown Manhattan had been an indulgence, but I treasured privacy and, instead of hiring a decorator, decided to do most of the interior design myself.

Ebony black wood floors and vaulted ceilings gave the space breath, and the open-concept rooms allowed the furniture to delineate barriers. A spiral staircase led to my bedroom, and massive custom closets were transformed to house my social media shoots. I kept the eggshell-colored walls mostly bare, allowing a few retro art pieces from fashion history. Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Donatella Versace all kept my secrets. The furniture was white and lush; accented with fluffy throw rugs, stuffed pillows, elegant candles, and hand-knit blankets. My kitchen was a trendy dream of clean white-cabinets, marbled granite, subway tile, and tiled floor in black and white invited cooking and lingering, one of my favorite activities since I'd become mostly a loner.

It was a feminine retreat now. I'd made sure after moving back to New York that I'd wiped away any last vestige of the life I'd had before.

I winced and took another sip.

Ava had always had an incredible sense of timing. Almost as if she sensed my weakening and decided to strike. I remembered how she always seemed to anticipate when I'd had enough of the madness-the sucking energy of her need for attention and love-and it was then she transformed into my favorite part of her: the joyful, free spirit filled with a warmth I'd never met in anyone else. She'd always been a mass of contradictions, ranging from drama to a heartfelt supportive mentor that knew exactly what was needed in the moment.

Another reason it was so easy to fall in love with her. But being friends with Ava had consequences. I just hadn't known how big a debt I'd need to pay until it was too late.

Scowling at my dark thoughts, I nursed my wine and eased out on the balcony. New York City was already hot and muggy, the air unable to take flight and breathe, so it stuck on my skin and clothes and clogged my lungs, refusing to budge. I used to love everything about summer in the city. When everyone ran off to the Catskills or Hudson Valley, to beach trips and cool mountains, I'd hunker down and crawl deeper into the city I adored. Walk its streets for hours, explore hidden cafés and art shops, finding fashion treasures that rewarded only perseverance and patience. Getting lost amid strangers was oddly freeing, a balance of anonymity and crowds. It was here I'd first come alive and grown into my real self. Fresh from graduation, drunk on possibilities and dreaming of fame, I was at my most pure before reality hit and threw me onto a different path. One I wanted. One I paid for.

I lifted my head up and stared at the scatter of tall buildings that jammed the sky, housing both power and poverty, depending on who lived inside. How many times had I wondered if I never left for LA if everything would be different? It used to torture me, teasing my sanity, all those what-ifs. I tried to focus on all the wonderful things happening in my career, but I guess I was one of those crappy people who focused on what they didn't have rather than what they did.

One late night, I stumbled on a Tony Robbins seminar and was told life happens FOR me, not TO me. I'd tried to change my viewpoint because it made things easier, but it was hard to keep the momentum up. Daily life and tasks eroded away the positivity, until I found myself waking up at 5 a.m. too many mornings in the same hopeless mood I'd started with.

My mind churned and I drank more wine and the memories pulled me back. I used to think my greatest loss would be my first love.

I should've realized Ava always had more power than him.

2

BEFORE

The first time my gaze landed on Ava Aldaine, I sensed my life would change.

She was sitting on the steps to the lecture hall, surrounded by a crew of laughing girls, all looking similar in subtle designer labels. Small leather crossbody bags, silky T-shirts with theme-driven mottos scrawled across the front, matched with low-heeled ankle boots with strappy gold buckles and heels. Even their carefully ripped jeans held an intention I'd never been able to inject into my own persona, one that screamed significance.

But Ava seemed more than a leader, more important than the typical high school prom queen. She practically glowed from within, pumping out energy to the surrounding crowd the way a guru offers energy shocks to a chanting audience. I paused before the steps, not knowing where to walk, and she looked up at me with extraordinary cobalt blue eyes, a deep dark blue that made you want to look closer. Rich, glossy waves of chestnut hair spilled down her back, and her heart-shaped face tilted upward, her lips stretching into a big smile, as if she'd met a good friend rather than a stranger staring stupidly at the blocked pathway. "Hey, you're in my English class. Madison, right?"

I nodded, still held mute by the strange feelings that rose up within me, a mix of longing and knowing, as if we had known each other before. Later on, I'd remember Ava said the same, and called it kismet. Soul-sisters. I always loved the thought and would pull it tight to my chest when I found it hard to breathe. A reminder I was special.

"Love your outfit."

I tried not to gape. I had no money for top-rated brands, and I was obsessed with fashion. I'd mastered the art of finding cool vintage items or luxury fabrics and putting them together with flair. Unfortunately, my high school classmates mocked me for my crafty wardrobe. This was the first time I'd gotten a compliment. I wondered if she was joking, but her face was bright and open and . . . honest.

"Thanks."

Her crew had grown quiet, looking at me with the familiar judgment I was used to, but Ava only laughed and began to scoot her butt to the side. "Sorry-we're in your way. Procrastinating so we don't have to go in there yet, right, Chels?"

The girl sitting next to her nodded, curly blond hair bobbing at the motion. A slight gap between her front teeth stole my attention when she spoke. "How are we supposed to study poetry, for God's sake? Do I really care what the poet's intention was? All I care about is what we need to know to pass the test." Her big brown eyes rolled. "Why can't I just skip to my finance classes? No one gets a liberal arts education anymore. It's so old-school."

I couldn't help the words that sprang out. "I like liberal arts. It's like going to a buffet, a little bit of everything. Then I can figure out what I want more of."

Some of the girls snickered and I felt myself turning red. Ugh, why did I have to be so awkward? She wasn't looking for an actual answer!

Ava laughed, a bold, robust sound that commanded attention. "Love it. Havisham is really the Golden Corral of universities instead of the steak house it wants to be."

Chelsea laughed with her, and suddenly, everyone was laughing and I didn't feel like such an idiot.

I'd begun to relax, wondering if I could get myself to talk a bit more, when the sharp slap sounded against my eardrums. "I'm glad to see all of you have so much time to socialize and relax before my class. I'll be sure the questions for Friday's exam are hard enough to equal your confidence." Professor Lithman taught English and was known to be tough. She didn't pause, and the girls scrambled to give her a wide pathway, her smart black heels clicking on each of the steps like a countdown to doom. The overall groan made her chuckle just a bit as she entered the double doors.

"Better head in," Ava declared, standing up with an innate grace. Her bulky knit red sweater stopped just a few inches above the waist, flashing her flat belly. Dark wash ripped jeans clung to her curves, then flared out at the ankle. Red flat-heeled boots added the perfect dash of style. I tried not to drool over her ensemble, and her body as she shifted to grab her bag.

Her admirers pressed in around her like a protective layer, and I hurried past, head down. Sliding into my seat in the back row, I watched as students shuffled in, chatting and laughing with ease before Professor Lithman began class. I tried not to stare at Ava and her friends, wondering what it would be like to fit in and make friends easily.

Soon, I got caught up in the professor's lecture regarding Emily Dickinson, losing myself in the words that detailed the poet's struggle and deep emotion. I'd always loved dabbling in writing, finding it cathartic to spill all the crap from my mind onto paper.

"Ms. Davenport, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on Dickinson's poem 'I'm Nobody! Who are you?'"

The attractive brunette who was one of Ava's sidekicks gave an audible sigh. I winced. There was one thing Professor Lithman hated, and it was attitude in her class. "It was a bit confusing to me," the girl offered. "I think she was angry that no one really recognized her since she stayed home all the time. So she was mad she was a nobody and mocked the ones who had fame and fortune since she was jealous."

"I see. Did you like the poem?" Professor Lithman asked.

Ava's friend tittered. "Not really. I find her works boring and stuffy. I wish she'd just say what she meant."

Professor Lithman nodded, though I could tell she wasn't too keen on the girl's answer. "Remember, Dickinson was commonly termed the poet of paradox. Any other ideas on Dickinson's intent or frame of reference for this popular poem?"

Reviews

"A reminder of the golden days of youth and a testament to the lasting power of forever friendship, A Wedding in Lake Como is Jennifer Probst at her finest. Readers will be swept away by this powerful story of loss and redemption that proves it’s never too late to carve a new path, chase a new dream--or fall in love all over again. A breathtaking Italian setting is the icing on the cake. Don’t miss this enchanting novel!"—Kristy Woodson Harvey, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Summer of Songbirds

"Glorious. A perfect story told with so much heart. Plus the food and the clothes. And Italy!! You'll be delighted."—Susan Mallery, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Book Club

"Part coming of age and part found family, A Wedding in Lake Como beautifully illustrates the impenetrable bond and enduring power of invincible friendships. Readers will travel alongside the characters as they embark on an emotional journey full of heartfelt developments including the healing power of an apology and a second chance with the one that got away. This is a true gem of a novel."—Tracey Garvis Graves, New York Times bestselling author of The Trail of Lost Hearts

“Jennifer Probst wields her pen like a magic wand. Her latest novel is an ode to love, friendship, and new beginnings. With its gorgeous prose and endearing characters, A Wedding in Lake Como is not to be missed!”—Xio Axelrod, USA Today Bestselling author of Girls with Bad Reputations

“If there’s one thing Probst is going to do, it’s convince readers that Italy is where they’ll find themselves…. A Wedding in Lake Como is a novel about the dynamics of female friendship amid a backdrop of self-discovery that fans will enjoy.”Booklist

“This book comes with discussion questions and is great for those who enjoyed Jodi Picoult novels or Ann Brashares’s "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” series. Will make a great addition to library shelves and book clubs this summer.”Library Journal


Author

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Jennifer Probst is the New York Times bestselling author of the Billionaire Builders series, the Searching For . . . series, the Marriage to a Billionaire series, the Steele Brothers series, the Stay series, and the Sunshine Sisters series. Like some of her characters, Probst, along with her husband and two sons, calls New York’s Hudson Valley home. When she isn’t traveling to meet readers, she enjoys reading, watching “shameful reality television,” and visiting a local Hudson Valley animal shelter. View titles by Jennifer Probst

Guides

Discussion Guide for A Wedding in Lake Como

Provides questions, discussion topics, suggested reading lists, introductions and/or author Q&As, which are intended to enhance reading groups’ experiences.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)