Every bride wants her wedding day to be
perfect. It's a showcase for her dreams of true love and a
But sometimes the perfect day has a few little glitches.
Many years ago I was the maid of honor in a wedding with a beautiful outdoor setting, and absolutely perfect weather. Just as the bride handed me her bouquet, so she could hold her groom's hands while repeating her vows, a bee flew up the back of her waist-length veil. Fortunately it didn't sting her! But it buzzed at the top of her veil throughout the rest of the ceremony. I tried to subtly lift the back of her veil to show the bee the only way out, but it wouldn't cooperate. I couldn't be more forceful about extracting it since the wedding was being videotaped, and I didn't want a permanent recording of their perfect day marred by me whipping her veil up and down to dislodge the bee.
In my contemporary romance, I Do. . .or Die, releasing today, the heroine Shelby has been the maid of honor for her best friend Alexa on three previous occasions. Shelby is not a fan of weddings, yet she can't say no whenever she's asked to be part of the wedding party again. This wedding has a little glitch, but it ends up being the best thing to happen to Shelby's love life:
You just don’t expect to see gunfire at a wedding.
I know, because I’ve been in a lot of weddings, despite my well-known aversion to them. “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” is not just a cautionary adage, it’s my personal credo.
Having a gigolo for a father might have contributed something to that philosophy. Who really knows for sure?
Today Alexa, my best friend since grade school, glided down the aisle of the chapel to the accompaniment of a string quartet playing an elegant Handel air. For this wedding, she wore a white strapless dress, complete with tulle and beaded embroidery that made all the women sigh as she passed. The low v-back and body-hugging mermaid shape, along with her icy blonde beauty, provoked quite a different response from the males in the congregation.
I clutched my single calla lily, watching her entrance with a mixture of awe and disbelief. How had Alexa persuaded me to be her maid of honor, again?
And yet again.
I’ll probably be her bridesmaid when we’re bunkmates in the nursing home, although by then I’ll be adjusting the tapes of her adult diaper, rather than the tiers of her lace-edged wedding veil.
I agreed to be her maid of honor this one last time.
Of course, I didn’t realize when I made the promise this would be Alexa’s final chance to stand at the altar.
At the minister’s signal, Alexa handed me her bouquet of cascading white lilies and then she faced Jordan, ready to promise to love, cherish, and obey the (fourth) man of her dreams. She beamed at him, eliciting a few more wistful sighs behind us at the evidence of true love. Or maybe it was for the handsome groom in his single-breasted designer tuxedo, beaming right back at her.
Reverend Deering asked Alexa to repeat the vows she most likely had memorized several ceremonies ago. I had heard them often enough that I could have stepped in to recite the words if either of them were prevented from completing their duties.
“I, Alexa, take thee Jordan—”
A ray of June sunshine chose that moment to burst through the chapel windows, highlighting the promise contained in the newlyweds’ expressions. Even I felt swept up in the optimism that accompanied each and every one of Alexa’s weddings. My heart beat with hopefulness, and I wondered if someday I would—
Out of nowhere, gunfire erupted, a quick succession of pop, pop, pop.
Screams quickly followed, along with the frantic sounds of the congregation scrambling for shelter under the wooden pews.
“Sonofabitch!” I tossed the bouquet over my shoulder, as I’d seen Alexa do millions of times, and darted toward my suddenly bleeding best friend, knocking her to the floor to prevent any further harm.
I looked up and saw the minister cowering under a pew, tugging at the tulle swag that moments ago had been decoration, not flimsy protection against wayward bullets. My heart pounded while my brain struggled with two wildly different thoughts.
One, the blood spurting from Alexa’s shoulder ensured I would never have to wear this peach-yogurt-colored dress again.
And two, who could possibly hate weddings more than I did?
“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” is Shelby Atwood's personal credo. She’s managed to avoid commitment all her life – no pets, no plants, not even a long-term lease. Heck, she’s had colds last longer than her romantic relationships. How could she be any other way when she has a gigolo for a father?
But then gunfire erupts at the latest wedding she’s agreed to be in, and it ends up being the best thing to happen to Shelby’s love life. Detective Ryan Nichols is assigned to the case, and when the shootings don’t stop, he becomes her 24-hour bodyguard. Shelby wouldn’t mind except Ryan is too appealing, too sexy, and too happy to remind her of the raucous bachelorette party when she mistook him for a stripper.
Shelby’s plan is simple: find the shooter, have a fling with Ryan, and return to her non-committal life. Unfortunately, the shooter is very elusive. Shelby’s feelings for Ryan are way more than adrenaline-fueled lust. And returning to her normal life is now impossible since, despite her lifelong resistance, she’s managed to put her heart smack dab in the line of fire.
I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.
I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.
Where to find me:
Crimson Romance: http://www.crimsonromance.com/upcoming-releases-romance-ebook/i-do-or-die/
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