Sunday, May 16, 2010

Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the EM website! Below is a snippet from my story ALL ABOARD. I love to share beginnings and hear what you have to say, so please leave a comment and let me know :) Enjoy!

Chapter 1

“And now as an expression of your hearts linked together in love, join your hands.” The minister’s voice carried from the altar to the back of the church.
“Blake, do you take Hilary to be your wedded wife, to live together in marriage? Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her, so long as you both shall live?” The minister paused, before looking at the couple. “Now, of course do not answer that today, Blake. We’ll save the official answers for tomorrow.”
A few laughs filtered through the room. Cayley Summer’s heart was a tight lump in her throat. Tomorrow it would be official. Blake would marry Hilary. She let out a deep breath and focused on Blake. He was so gorgeous in his jeans and collared golf shirt. The man could wear a burlap sack and still give her chills. God only knows what he’ll look like in his tux. A single tear slid down her cheek, and she wiped it away with the back on her hand.
“Do you need a tissue dear?” a voice whispered beside her.
Startled, Cayley turned to the older lady sitting in the pew beside her, and gratefully took the Kleenex she held out.
“Thank you,” she said, dabbing her cheek.
Cayley sighed. So it was over. Well, almost. Tomorrow would be the best day in Blake’s life and the worst in hers. Her heart broke in two and for the umpteenth time, she wanted to kick her own ass for falling in love with him. Stupid! Stupid! She gave her forehead a mental slap.
She watched like a muted robot as Hilary and Blake continued to get instructions from the ministry on how things would unfold. They stood behind the signing table, and someone from the wedding party snapped a few pictures.
Blake looked up from the table, and his eyes swapped from the gathering of friends and family until they settled on her. One eyebrow arched high, that adorable way he had of asking a question without speaking. She held up a manila envelope containing paperwork from the office needing to be signed before he left on his honeymoon. He gave a nod and wink before turning his attention back to something the minister was saying.
“Tomorrow I will lead the happy couple to this point on the stage and say ‘it gives me great pleasure to present, for the first time ever, Mr. and Mrs. Rigney’. Pictures can be taken at this moment. ”
The church erupted in applause and a lone cat-call whistle that spurred a few laughs. But Cayley didn’t feel like laughing.
“Do you know the bride or groom, dear?” the elderly woman asked, smiling up at Cayley as they retook their seats.
“I work for Blake.” At least for now. She’d been mulling over the idea of looking for a new employer. Yup, the day Blake announced his engagement to Hilary, the old resume came out and started getting a spruce up.
“Sorry about this,” Cayley said, pointing at the next place on the page requiring Blake’s signature. “They came in late this afternoon.”
“No worries.” Blake grinned up at her, given her one of his trademark smiles that always made her knees wobble together like a teenager girl with a secret crush. “Are you coming to the rehearsal dinner?”
“No.” The single word slipped out more abruptly then she wanted. Getting through the wedding and reception tomorrow was going to be hell enough for one lifetime.
He leaned his hip against the pew and studied her. “You okay? You’ve seemed a bit distracted all week.”
His cell phone vibrated, and he pulled it free from the clip on his belt. A moment stretched on as he scrolled through a text message. Blake’s brows knitted together, and his eyes flashed from sky blue to dark and stormy in an instant.
“Is everything okay?”
A look of surprise flickered across his face like he’d forgotten she was there. Her fingers reached out and rested on his forearm. The tense muscle quaked under her touch, wound as tight and hard as a piece of steel.
“I hope so.” He snapped his phone closed and shoved it back into the holder. “It’s nothing to worry about.”
Cayley swallowed, trying to keep her nerves in check. Her hand dropped back to beside her waist. She put on a well-practiced smile, the same one she’d been using for the last six months. “I’m not sure I’m the one who’s been distracted, boss.”
“Cayley, it’s nice of you to join us.” Hilary’s voice intruded their private moment.
She turned toward the soon-to-be Mrs. Rigney. The old expression that all brides are beautiful held true for Hilary. Actually she was beautiful any day of the week and today she was drop dead gorgeous—being the center of attention really agreed with her. Heaven knows tomorrow, she’ll be the picture perfect bride. She wore a short black satin dress painted on her trim figure. Giving Cayley another reason why her size eight ass hated Hilary’s size two ass.
“Congratulations, Hilary,” she said with a smile pasted on her face.
“Thank you.” Hilary shifted her attention to Blake. “We really need to get going, honey, if we are to have dinner served on time.”
Cayley had been effectively dismissed. Bitch. She smiled at Blake to let him know everything was fine and waved him away.
He mouthed “Thanks”, as Hilary’s claws wound around his arm and pulled him toward the front of the church. She watched them disappear down the steps until they were swallowed by the darkened night.
“Shit.” He hadn’t signed the last page. A frustrated breath blew up her nose. Looks like she’d be going to the dinner after all.