The Counterfeit Bride(5)

By: Liberty Blake

Kelley’s face flushed an angry red. Cassidy mentally snickered at the unattractive color that clashed so badly with her hair. Kelley looked like she was going to respond, but a glance from Costas kept her mouth shut. Gee, Mom, you didn’t even have to ask how high.

Cassidy turned her own face to Theron, the blazing hand print burning her cheek from chin to eye. “I am sorry if you have feelings for your bride, but you must know the truth before you are wed.” Cassidy stopped talking to clear her throat. This wasn’t as easy as she had hoped it would be. “There is a school of thought, in the brilliant legal minds I conferred with, about the legality of such a marriage as well as to whom you would actually be married. You see, that,” she pointed a finger at her cousin, “is not Cassiopeia Dolmides. That is Julia Jenkins, daughter of Patsy Jenkins.”

Patsy rushed into the fray in a froth of mauve chiffon that looked hideous with her red nose. Her hands clawed at Cassidy’s arm. “Julia! Julia, what are you doing? Why are you ruining your dear cousin’s wedding like this?” Patsy turned her mottled face to Costas. “I am so sorry. This is my daughter Julia. She is a deeply disturbed young woman. She has always been jealous of dear Cassiopeia and the generous way you have always provided for her.”

“Aunt Patsy, you are delusional. There is only one fate that is worse than being the child of those two monsters,” Cassidy’s hand swept towards Kelley and Costas, “and that would be having you and Uncle Joe for parents.”

A collective gasp rang around the distinguished church.

Cassidy threw back her head and laughed. It was either that or scream.

Her laugh was coated in honey, but Theron felt the steel core. Was this beautiful woman as disturbed as Patsy Jenkins claimed? He took a careful look at her. He could not believe such perfection had come from a harridan like Patsy nor her fool of a husband. The girl looked like Kelley- the height and the hair color was different, but all the features were the same. Could the similarity in their looks have fostered the girl’s delusion?

“Good try, Aunt Patsy, but I can prove I am Cassiopeia Flynn. Get that? Flynn, not Dolmides. I guess y’all did some finagling to get the last name changed in time for this big, fancy wedding.” The little woman looked him straight in the eye. “I’m sorry, but until I can be assured that this marriage will not impede my freedom, or my life in any way, I will not allow it to go forward. At least not as long as the bride is using my name. If you want to marry Julia Jenkins, then the wedding can proceed as soon as you can get the proper documents.”

The marriage of Cassiopeia Domides to Theron was to ensure the merger of Dolmides Global with Christofides International. This was Theron’s one chance to save the island of his birth. The only terms Costas would agree to included a marriage between Theron and one of Costas’ daughters. The only daughter not already married was the crumpled woman crying on the outside of the circle the Dolmides family had formed in the center aisle. His bride looked ready to collapse and had not uttered one word in rebuttal.

It did not make sense for Costas to perform this enormous hoax. He had nothing to gain by foisting the wrong woman on him.

Kelley Flynn looked shell shocked, her usual poise and beauty crumbling as quickly as the bride’s make up. Patsy and her husband Joe looked wary. Did they have something more than a disturbed child to hide?

Why was he not turned-on looking at his bride but the deranged firecracker had put him into an instant stare of arousal?

“Padre,” Cassidy began.

“You are in Greece, not Spain. Do not refer to our man of God as Padre again,” Costas erupted.

The pyrotechnia mikros ignored Costas once again. “I am sorry, sir. Where I come from calling a priest Padre is a sign of respect.”

The priest picked up one of her small hands in his, her purple nails drawing attention to the action. “It is perfectly all right, my child. Your show of respect speaks well of you. Why do you say the bride is not the real Cassiopeia Dolmides, the real daughter of Costa and Kelley?”

The woman took a deep breath. As she filled her lungs Theron tried to keep his eyes on her face. Even so he could see her chest expand; the fullness of her breasts and a hint of black lace peeped over the low neck of her tight top. He had never felt anything like the physical pull she had on his libido. Too bad the woman’s family claimed she was crazy.

Perhaps giving up his mistress a few weeks before the wedding had not been wise. Surely if he still had Chloe in his bed his reaction to this little ball of fire would not be so intense. Chloe had been a good mistress and willing to remain in his life, but no, he had to be honorable and give the American fruitcake a chance at a happy marriage by giving her fidelity.