Kiss the Bride
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Date of Publication: June 29, 2013
Number of pages: 140
Herman Edward Heckley knows all about drywall, concrete, and nail guns. So what's he doing fighting off taffeta in a bridal salon? He’s maid of honor for his best friend, Caroline Oakenfeld, in her wedding to a pencil-necked geek. But the closer he gets to the ceremony, the more he wonders if he's been missing out all this time.Excerpt:
Caroline has been missing out, and she knows it. She’s been in love with Heck forever, but frittering her life away until Heck wises up isn’t part of her life plan. She’s agreed to marry her boyfriend so she can move on with her life. But the closer she gets to the ceremony, the more she realizes she has to resolve her feelings for Heck.
For better or for worse.
“Would you relax?” Heck shut the passenger door of his truck behind Caro. Last-minute prep for the wedding had included overseeing the janitorial service that had spruced up the outbuilding on his property and finding a new photographer. Mindy Lou Meyers, Tallwood shutterbug extraordinaire, hadn’t recovered as expected from a certain elective enhancement surgery and would not be able to perform her duties. “Mindy Lou bailing on you isn’t the end of the world. Though if you want to cancel the wedding…”
He watched Caro’s face to see if she looked like she was considering it.
“Oh, shut up, Heck.” She crossed her arms and glared. She looked like she was considering something, all right, but it was probably kicking him in the shin.
They hadn’t talked about the incident in the bridal salon, but he’d been thinking about it. About her. He needed to bring it up and so far hadn’t found a good opening.
He didn’t have one now, either, but he was running out of time. He’d have to crowbar an opening. Here in a bit.
Heck placed a hand at the small of Caro’s back to escort her across the hot aggregate driveway to the front door of their destination. “James Jones says this guy’s good. He’s new in town so he’ll probably give us a discount to build up his clientele.”
“Tallwood networking.” Her shoulder brushed him as they walked. “Can’t beat it.”
He had found himself wanting to touch Caro more and more after his realization in the salon. While he hadn’t deciphered what it meant, he knew some of it was lust, some of it was not wanting Caro to leave, and some of it was—
Nope, that was all he’d come up with.
The man they were here to see, a friend of Sally’s photo-bug brother, responded quickly to Heck’s knock on the white storm door of the cookie-cutter, ranch-style home.
The skinny black guy’s gaze fell on Caroline first. “Miss Oakenfield? I’m Nathan Grimes. Nice to meet you.”
Caroline, dressed in her normal uniform of bright T-shirt and jeans, shook his hand. Then Heck did. They followed him into the house, which didn’t have much furniture. A bunch of framed photographs covered the walls.
Heck didn’t know squat about art, but they looked pretty good to him. Not a fingertip or a blurry face to be seen.
“This your work?” He didn’t actually give a shit if the guy was talented. The Oakenfield-Pencil Neck wedding wasn’t one he considered a Kodak moment.
“Most of it.” Grimes indicated some chairs beside a coffee table and took one for himself. “I understand you two are in the market for a wedding photographer and your big day is this Saturday. Congratulations.”
Heck and Caroline exchanged a glance. As they’d run around like chickens missing their heads these past weeks, tons of folks had mistaken him for the groom. People who didn’t know them. People who’d known them a long time.
At first it had amused him. Then it had confused him. Right now, it was giving him the oddest sensation, making him feel belligerent and possessive. He slid an arm around Caro’s shoulders.
“Thanks. Took me forever to convince her to settle down. She’s a wild one.”
“Ignore Heck. I’m not marrying him.” Caro didn’t smack his hand like he figured she would. She leaned against him and grinned. “He’s my maid of honor.”
“That’s cool.” Grimes shuffled some paperwork on the table. “As it happens, I have Saturday open.”
He handed Caroline some rate sheets, and they deliberated groups and singles and posed shots and casuals until Heck worried he might fall asleep. The whole time, Caroline let his arm remain around her shoulders.
His arm, and their closeness, felt wrong and right at the same time. He and Caro weren’t touchy-feely. She wasn’t the kind of person who was always rubbing on people and hugging their necks, and neither was he.
For example, he’d never seen Dan and Caroline share a kiss. Certainly he’d felt the urge to coldcock the guy, but that was for fun. If he’d seen Dan kiss her, he may have gone through with the punching.
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Jody Wallace grew up in the South in a very rural area. She went to school a long time because there was always something new to learn and ended up with a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. Her resume includes college English instructor, technical documents editor, market analyst, web designer, and general all around pain in the butt. She currently lives in Tennessee with her family: 1 husband, 2 kids, 2 cats. One of her many alter egos is "The Grammar Wench", which should give you an indication of her character. She is a terrible packrat and likes to amass vintage clothing, books, Asian-inspired kitchenware, gnomes, and other items that threaten to force her family out of the house. She also likes cats. A lot.
Ms. Wallace's approach to writing is to tell as many outlandish lies as she can get her readers to swallow. Her dream is to be moderately well-paid for this service. She is active in RWA and occasionally conducts writing workshops. Among topics she's been known to cover are training sessions for contest judges (she coordinated her local RWA chapter contest for many years), point of view, dialogue punctuation and creativity enhancement.
Her headshots were taken by Cindy Sarlo Photography of Dixon, TN.
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