The Counterfeit Bride(3)

By: Liberty Blake


A moment later she broke into laughter. Theron’s flanks shuddered. No one had ever affected him this strongly, and he did not know her name. Yet.

“My father is right, Padre, I am sorry my outfit is not worthy to be in your beautiful church. I’m afraid there was a problem with our lay-over in Frankfurt. Instead of arriving in time to check into my hotel yesterday, we just arrived a few minutes ago. I didn’t have time to shower or change into something more appropriate. As soon as they released me from customs I boogied right on over here.”

He had to do something. He wanted her to stop smiling at the ancient priest and look at him so he blurted, “Perhaps you should have planned your trip a little better.” Her scorn-filled eyes turned on him. Theos! He felt himself growing even larger as he caught his first glimpse of the most magnificent purple eyes he had ever seen. Her full attention was now focused on him. Christos! The perfection of that face-, he understood why the old priest could not resist her.

“Sir, in these days there are some contingencies which you may think you have planned for, but you can never tell in advance if your plan is going to work.” Her words were slow and sweet sounding, even when they dripped with scorn. “Such as a suspected bomb on our aircraft.”

Was she talking about herself? He thought wickedly.

“Or the eighteen hours spent trying to sleep on the hard floors of the Frankfurt airport.” Her words were losing their soft sibilance. Her voice was taking on some of the clipped sounds of his bride, but without the whine. “They take airport security very seriously, you know. Between the bomb sniffing dogs and the automatic rifles the airport security carried, it was pretty scary.” Her gorgeous violet eyes filled up. “On top of that I had to worry about not getting here on time. I still don’t know if I made it on time. Nobody has answered my question. Have I arrived in time to stop the wedding, or am I married to a stranger?





2





Cassidy Flynn stared at the Greek God that confronted her. He had the rugged face of a man who has had to fight for what he wanted, and won. Cassidy had expected to meet a man who had had everything handed to him on a silver platter, including a beautiful face, courtesy of a plastic surgeon, if not nature. He stood well over six feet, much too tall for her. Now why did that thought pop into her head?

If the eyes were the mirror of the soul, Cassidy shivered, because this man was soulless. His bottomless black eyes never blinked. He looked like he was about to swing her over his broad shoulders and run out the door with her and she wasn’t too sure she would mind. If he wasn’t hiding abs of steel under that fancy jacket of his, then she would dance on the bar when she got home!

If he was the groom, what did he see in Cousin Julia? Julia Jenkins had been a sniveling little sneak thief as a child and it looked like she still wanted everything that belonged to Cassiopeia. However, it didn’t explain why Kelley Flynn and Costas Domides went along with it. There was something dirty going on here, and Cassidy would not leave until she was sure a wedding involving her name was stopped.

Holy moly, she needed to look at something other than Mr. Too Tall and Too Hunky, so Cassidy’s eyes swept the interior of the church. The infamous Kelley Flynn, Cassidy’s birth mother, was hugging and comforting the bride. Aunt Patsy stood nearby, wringing her hands. Julia looked ready to vomit. Whatever scam these people had going on here, Julia would never be able to hold up her end if Aunt Patsy didn’t stay within pinching distance of her. Pinching had been Patsy’s favorite way of keeping her daughter submissive. She had tried it once on Cassidy, but when Cassidy pinched her back the woman freaked.

Julia’s normally mousy brown hair had been dyed a brick red to match Kelley’s.

The sight of Kelley hugging Julia caused Cassidy a pang. She wanted to believe they were from anger, but she had the horrible suspicion they were caused by the hurt an unloved child felt. She put that thought aside with the hope of never revisiting it; she had no time to analyze the emotions now. Cassidy focused on Julia, whose pale gray eyes were wide and scared. Did they look different from when they were kids? Mascara liberally dripped off Julia’s face. Tears streaked black rivers down her cheeks and splashed onto the pristine white confection she wore. The photographer was still faithfully recording the proceedings. Lovely mementos of a wedding that would never be completed; not as long as Cassidy was there to stop it.

Was Mister Tall, Dark, and Delectable in on whatever the scam was? Or was he the dupe?

“Hey, Cassidy. You didn’t tell me y’all were coming to this shindig. You could have flown over with us. Private jets don’t get held up in Frankfurt.”