Will the Big Day actually happen or will he be stuck at the altar?

January 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

It has been a busy week.  Not only am I in the process of writing a new book, I am also editing my erotic romance, The One-Nighter.  Some of you might remember this book from when I posted it on my blog.  Now, I am in the process of “making it pretty” for the editors.   I’m also waiting for the first edits on the sequel to The Pleasure of Sin.   Plus, we are in the process of moving.   And, if that wasn’t enough, next week I’m helping my mom move.  But, on a more positive note, my husband is going to get me an ebook reader!  I couldn’t be more excited 🙂

I hope you all have a great week,

Shauna

Excerpt 21

 

Nick looked around his parent’s room, his blood racing through his veins.  The fact that he hadn’t been able to see her all morning put him on edge.   Thomas and Derek exchanged nervous glances as they watched him pace the length of the room.  Ever since, he found her gone this morning, a sense of dread had taken over.  Even though he knew that she was with his mother, it didn’t seem to pacify his unease. 

His father seemed completely bewildered by his attitude.  Derek, on the other hand, seemed to understand his unspoken fear.  He wasn’t normally the type to wear his heart on his sleeve, but something about Samantha would not allow him to hide.  As much as he told himself he was overreacting, he couldn’t help but wonder if she would show up.  With the way things had been between them lately, he couldn’t even say he blamed her.

A knock at the door broke the tense silence.  Nick’s spun on his heel to face the door.  “Come in,” he said sternly. 

Gladys poked her head around the door, not brave enough to venture inside.  After several run-ins with Nick’s unruly disposition already, even she now seemed to be a little gun-shy.  She cast a worried look at him that let him know that she wasn’t happy that he wasn’t dressed.  He had refused to get into his tuxedo until he knew that Samantha was back.   He wasn’t about to be a schmuck sitting in a tuxedo, while she was on a plane back home.  Everybody around the house seemed sure that it was just a case of the wedding jitters.  Everybody except Derek.  Derek was the only one that seemed to understand Nick’s discomfort. 

“Is she back yet?” Nick barked. 

Gladys had come upstairs several times to check on them, and each time she had informed them that Samantha wasn’t back from the salon yet.  Every time she said the words, the tension seemed to reach another all time high in the room.  The air around him vibrated.  Even though he loved Gladys like a mother, he still had to stifle the urge to throttle her each time he heard her say it.  He held his breath awaiting her answer. 

“Yes, they just got back,” she answered, offering him a warm smile. 

At first, he wasn’t sure he had heard her correctly, despite the audible sighs of relief that came from his brother and father.  “Samantha’s back?” 

She laughed at the pensive look on his face.  “Of course she is back.  Now, will you please hurry up and get ready?” 

Despite himself, Nick had to grin ruefully at his behavior.   He had to admit that if Derek had been acting so strangely, he would’ve probably had him committed to an institution by now.  Thankfully, the rest of his family wasn’t so quick to declare insanity.  He nodded his head at her request, a chuckle escaping deep in his throat.  As he began to get dressed, he chided himself inwardly.  Okay, so maybe he had been overreacting a little bit.  Maybe it was a lot, but the events of the past few months were enough to knock any man off his feet. 

Once they were dressed, Derek came over to pin on his corsage.   He looked into his eyes, smiling as he tacked the flower onto his tuxedo.  “Nervous?” 

Nick stared down at his brother.  He remembered when Derek used to follow him around like an obedient puppy.  Those days were long gone now.  It seemed ironic that after all that had happened between them, Derek had been the one that Nick had chosen to confide in about Samantha.  Nick knew that her reappearance in his life had definitely been the turning point in his relationship with his brother.  Finally, they both had a good reason to get past all of their resentment.  It had helped their relationship immensely.  His only regret was that they hadn’t stopped the stubbornness sooner. 

“Of course not,” he shrugged, trying desperately to deal with the tension that gripped his stomach. 

Derek’s smile widened, as he chuckled under his breath.  “Liar,” he accused playfully. 

He couldn’t help the grin that broke through the austere barrier on his face.  “Maybe a little bit,” he admitted.  “I just hope that everything works out alright.” 

Derek finished placing the corsage on his lapel, before leaning back to admire his handiwork.  “It will.  You two were meant to be together.  Everything will be perfect.” 

Nick watched his younger brother.  For years, their relationship had been strained at best for many different reasons.  Jealousy, competitiveness, Christina.  He had always disapproved of what was happening between him and Chris.  But now, he understood Derek better.  He knew better than anyone what Derek was going through.  He, also, knew that it was just a matter of time before Derek’s steel reserve broke down. 

“It will work out for you, too, Derek,” Nick replied. 

Surprise flickered in his eyes.  “You think so?” 

Nick laughed.  “Hey, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”              

Derek chuckled.  “I guess you’re right.  Maybe I do have a chance after all.  I mean if you found someone…” he trailed off, grinning mischievously.         

“Hey, watch it!  I’m still your older brother,” Nick reprimanded, his tone teasing.

Thomas stepped between them.  “Boys!  No fighting is allowed today.  It’s Nick’s wedding day.” 

Derek backed away carefully, his hands held up in defeat.  “Well, I can tell when I’m not wanted.  I’m going to go check on the girls,” he explained, heading toward the door. 

“Hey, you can’t see my bride before I do.  Come back here,” Nick called out to him, as Derek opened the door. 

“That’s the breaks, big brother,” Derek taunted, giving him a devilish grin as he walked out.

Nick turned back to face his father, who was staring at him.  “Well, son, this is it,” he said, eyeing him with concern. 

“Yep, I guess so,” Nick replied, thinking about all the things that had brought them back together, here, on this day. 

“You know, if you still aren’t sure about this, you don’t have to go through with it,” Thomas prodded gently. 

The look he gave his father told him everything he needed to know.  “Dad, I’ve never been more sure about anything in my entire life.  She’s the one.” 

His response seemed to take the weight off his father’s chest, because he exhaled heavily.  He offered Nick a warm smile, as he nodded his head.  “Good.  Well, I guess that we had better get down there, then.”

Nick followed his father down the hallway thinking of the events to come.  Tonight she would be his wife.  He had never expected to feel the emotions that assaulted him as he made his way to the room where he would vow to love her forever.  Once, he had thought that he would feel boxed in if they married.  But now, he realized how wrong he had been.  He didn’t feel boxed in.  He felt lucky.  Extremely lucky that he was about to marry the only woman he had ever loved. 

Now, if she would see things the same way, everything would be perfect.

 

Margaret and Christina helped Samantha into her dress before starting to get ready themselves.  Samantha placed small pearl drop earrings in her ears and a pearl drop necklace around her neck.  Her mother had always loved pearls, which was why she had chosen to wear them on her wedding day.  She looked down at the diamond engagement ring that Nick had purchased a few weeks ago.  Questions raced through her mind.  Were they doing the right thing?  Or were they making a huge mistake? 

Only time would give her the answers. 

She twisted the ring nervously on her finger wondering what their life together would be like.  Margaret must have sensed her indecision, because she came to stand behind her looking at her reflection in the mirror.  She put reassuring hands on Samantha’s shoulders to provide the comfort she sought. 

“Everything is going to be fine.  You’ll see,” she assured her. 

Samantha smiled, hoping beyond hope that she was right.  A knock sounded at the door.  “I guess it’s time,” Margaret said brightly, as she went to answer it. 

Her stomach churned.  She wasn’t ready yet.  She still needed more time. 

“Hey ladies, it’s almost time.  Were you going to join us or were you going to stay in here all day?”  Derek asked, poking his head around the door. 

“Oh, Derek,” Margaret chided, as she scurried out of the room with Christina at her heels. 

Samantha stared down at the ring on her finger, her stomach tight with nerves.  What if she really was making a mistake today? She loved Nick, but was her love alone enough to make their marriage survive?  What if one day he hated her for trapping him into this marriage?  Thoughts raced through her mind making her dizzy. 

“Hey, don’t look so scared,” Derek warned, coming behind her to grin over her shoulder. 

She took a deep breath, trying her best to give him a rueful smile.  “You’re right,” she replied softly. 

He turned her to face him, taking her hands in his, and squeezing them gently.  “Of course I am.  This was meant to be.  Things are going to work out fine.  Just remember to put one foot in front of the other on the way down the aisle,” he instructed jokingly. 

She laughed, despite her nerves.  “I’ll do my best,” she replied, letting him lead her into the hall.  The doors to the banquet room seemed much larger than they were the day before.  They also seemed to be approaching way too fast. 

“I’ve got to go, but I’ll see you soon,” he offered, giving her a playful wink.  He leaned over giving her a chaste kiss on the cheek.  “By the way, you looked absolutely radiant.” 

Samantha smiled at his compliment.  “Thank you,” she replied, as she watched him walk inside.  She walked over to join Margaret and Christina where they stood patiently awaiting their cues.  The music started and Samantha’s heart lurched in her chest.  She wasn’t ready.  Thoughts raced through her mind.  Her stomach tightened, then rolled.  She took a deep breath, trying to still the feeling that she would soon pass out. 

Margaret started down the aisle, leaving Christina and Samantha alone.  Christina turned to face her.  “Don’t worry, everything will be fine,” she assured, before starting down the aisle herself. 

She was left alone outside.  Everyone kept telling her that things would be all right.  It was the kind of thing people said even when they didn’t believe it.  She just wished that she felt the words were true in her heart.  She tried to regulate her breathing as her head fell back.  The ceiling loomed overhead.  The music signaled her that it was her turn.  She gripped her bouquet in an iron lock grip, took a deep breath, and followed Derek’s advise by putting one foot in front of the other. 

When the doors opened, the first thing she saw was Nick standing at the end of the aisle.  His eyes brightened as her gaze met his.  She grinned realizing that she had worried for nothing.  The way he was looking at her made her truly believe that things would be okay.  When she reached him, she handed her bouquet to Christina.  He took her hands in his, infusing her with his warmth and strength.  The minister began to speak, but she barely heard the words.  All she could do was stare into Nick’s eyes with all the love she felt in her heart for him.  Yes, everything would be okay.

 

She had never looked more lovely.  Did every groom think that of his bride on their wedding day?  He wasn’t sure.  All he knew was that his bride looked ravishing.  The look in her eyes made his heart beat a little bit faster.  His breath caught in his throat.  He knew that he would remember this moment for the rest of his life, no matter what happened between them.  The day she became his wife.  He repeated the words the minister instructed, without really hearing them.  All he could do was stare into eyes as blue as the ocean, eyes that were sometimes stormy, and other times crystal clear.  Eyes that never failed to express everything she felt.  Looking at her now, he knew that he would do whatever it took to keep her by his side. 

Losing her was no longer an option.   

His heart seemed to stop as she repeated the words that pledged her life to his forever.  The minister talked about the sanctity of marriage, and the vows that the two of them had just spoken.  He had heard the ceremony through two full rehearsals, but today he didn’t hear it at all.  All he could do was stare into the eyes of the woman who was becoming his wife.  A crystal tear hovered in the corner of her eye, before sliding down the length of her cheek. 

His eyes followed its path.  He ached to kiss it away.  He wanted to taste the saltiness on his tongue.  Words couldn’t begin to express how relieved he was that she had stayed with him.       “Now, you may kiss your bride,” the minister said, beaming at him. 

He turned to look at him for the green light, before bending down to brush his lips against hers.  He couldn’t help but allow himself a small taste of her lower lip.  He smiled down at her, when he pulled back.  Then, he turned his new flustered bride to face their guests, and led her slowly down the aisle.  Her hand automatically curved around his elbow, as if it was made to fit there. 

Once outside the doors, he pulled her into his arms, and kissed her with a passion that promised much more that night.  When he felt that she was sufficiently breathless, he led her into the side room while they waited for the guests to enter the tent his mother had erected in the back for the reception.  She was truly his. 

Nick was watching her make the rounds thanking everyone for attending, when Derek came up to slap him on the back. 

“Well, you finally did it,” Derek said.  He handed him a glass of champagne, and they both turned to look at the woman who had changed their lives. 

“Finally,” Nick repeated, smiling wistfully.

“I’m happy for you.”

“Thanks,” Nick replied, taking one last look at Samantha before turning to face his brother.  “Now, what about you?” he prodded ruthlessly. 

Derek scanned the crowd, his eyes inevitably straying to Christina before turning back guiltily.  “Maybe some day I’ll find someone that makes me as happy as Samantha makes you,” Derek relented, taking a sip of the champagne. 

Nick looked at Christina, noticing that she couldn’t help but glance at Derek every so often.  “Maybe that person is closer than you think,” he suggested. 

Derek’s gaze shot up to collide with Nick’s.  Surprise registered, before becoming quickly guarded.  “I don’t think so,” he denied in an icy tone. 

Nick put a consoling hand on his shoulder.  “You know, I know what it’s like to try to shut out the woman you love.  I’ve done it more often than I care to admit, but all it does is make you miserable.” 

Derek brushed off his arm, giving him a stern glare.  “You’re the one who so graciously pointed out the problems with such a match,” Derek replied curtly, motioning Christina’s way. 

He sighed deeply.  His brother was right.  He had been a big part of the reason that Derek and Christina had stayed apart.  When he was younger, he just couldn’t see past the fact that Christina was supposed to be their sister.  Unfortunately, he had never let Derek forget that fact, either.  Now, after what he had been through with Samantha, he knew that what they had didn’t come around often.  And when it did, you had to jump on it.  People weren’t always able choose the person they fell in love with, he knew that now. 

“Derek, I’m sorry if the things that I said influenced you.  Don’t listen to me.  Look at how long it took me to admit my feelings for Sam.  Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is you should do what makes you happy, because I want that kind of happiness for you.  If it’s Christina, then I think you should go for it.  It’s obvious how you two feel about each other.” 

Derek stared at Nick, as if trying to judge the sincerity of his words.  When he realized that the words were genuine, the tension in his body seemed to ease.  “It’s more complicated than that, but I appreciate what you’re saying,” Derek said solemnly.         

Nick glanced over, noticing that Samantha had taken her seat at their table.  “Well, at least, let me offer you one last piece of advice.” 

Derek looked up expectantly.  “What?” 

“Don’t let the woman you love walk away.  You might not get another chance.” 

With that last thought, he left Derek and went to take his seat by his wife.  Just thinking those words made him smile.  His wife.  He would’ve never thought that he could be so content with marriage.  But here he sat, next to his wife, and he couldn’t have been happier.  Now, all he had to do was convince her that married life would make her happy too.  And, he planned to. 

In fact, he was going to start tonight.

Stay Tuned for more of Lake of Lies…

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