Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Excerpt from *Something Old, Something New*/*Brides and Bouquets 2007*...

Hey! My title box is working again. Yes, small things often make me happy. ;)

The following is the first chapter from my latest release from By Grace.

Something Old, Something New by Laura Hamby


Liza Dearborne took a bracing breath and adjusted her shirt to lay smoothly over her hips before she opened the door to MJS Catering. She jumped when a shrill timer sounded as she entered a large, well-lit room.

Overhead fans whirled idly, stirring up the hot, sweet-smelling air.
“May I help you?”

Liza stared at the woman who wore a white shirt with the name “Allie” embroidered in red. She licked her parched lips. The remnants of her plum-colored lipstick left an oily residue on the tip of her tongue.

“I need to cancel.”

Allie blinked. “You do? What, exactly, are you canceling?”

“Catering for my wedding,” Liza whispered.

“Um, gee,” Allie said, her hesitation clear. “We’ve never had such a request before. I’m not sure what to do. Marcus!”

Liza winced when the woman shouted the name. Swinging doors, accessible on the other side of the long, narrow, stainless steel counter, crashed open to reveal a towering white-clad man.

“Trying to wake the dead again, Allie?”

“She needs to cancel.” Allie jerked her head in Liza’s direction.

Liza wished she could blend into the decor as the man she assumed to be Marcus turned his quizzical, almost-black eyes to her.


“I didn’t ask.”

“The wedding has been indefinitely postponed,” Liza admitted. Okay, completely off, not happening, about as likely to happen as a resurgence of dinosaurs. All would be more accurate than the delicate euphemism she’d decided to use.

After all, her groom had eloped with another woman— Liza’s greatest childhood nemesis, Gwendie Tuttle. A blow that did more than hurt. It destroyed her. For all of ten whole minutes.

“The Daniels-Dearborne wedding,” Marcus rumbled. “Allie, cancel the event, and send a bill for fifty percent of the quoted price to Greg Daniels.”

Allie’s mouth formed a perfect “o” shape. Her fingers flew over the keyboard on the counter. “There. Bill being generated as we speak.”

Liza twined her fingers together, feeling more than a tad awkward. Canceling everything for the wedding might have been easier to do over the phone, but when she’d tried that, she’d been tongue-tied. The words just wouldn’t come.

“Thank you.” What else could she possibly say? Sure, she was aware of the curiosity brimming in Allie’s eyes. The other woman looked like she wanted to ask questions, but didn’t dare.

Marcus’ gaze hardened a moment as he continued to regard Liza. She wondered if perhaps she’d sprouted a ginormous zit on the tip of her nose. Her fingers feathered across the tip of her nose, brushing at whatever might be there, causing the scrutiny which now made her feel a tad... well, noticed.

As a woman.

How weird. It irked her no end that Greg’s eloping with Gwendie Tuttle a week before the wedding now forced her to play the injured party.

Truth of the matter was, she’d been thisclose to calling the whole thing off herself. Sure, her parents loved Greg Daniels— thought he was the best thing since Robert Redford. Too bad Liza had come to the conclusion he was the worst thing since Brad left Jennifer for Angelina.

“Better to find out before the wedding, than after,” Marcus finally said. “Although, between us three, ol’ Greg traded down for Gwendie.”

With that astonishing statement, Marcus pivoted and pushed through the swinging doors, leaving Liza and Allie to gape at each other.

“Don’t mind him.” Allie flapped a hand in the general direction Marcus had taken. “He and Greg go way back. Sworn enemies since that day at the park, when Greg dumped a bucket load of sand over his head, then cried when Marcus hit him. Poor Greggie, getting beat up upon by that mean bully Marcus Sutton.”

“That would explain why Greg was less than thrilled that I picked MJS Catering for our wedding.”

Allie nodded, her lips pursed together. “Just bear in mind that you’re better off without Greg Daniels. Really. You dodged a bullet there.”

Liza mumbled something unintelligible, gave a weak wave, then let herself out of the store. Just more confirmation, as far as she was concerned, that this entire mess wasn’t the Big Tragedy her parents were making it out to be.

She knew, deep down within her heart, that a marriage to Greg meant she was settling. Giving in to the pressures of her family to find a good man, get married, and get down to the business of making babies.

Liza decided that she didn’t want a good man.

She wanted a bad one.

(c)2007 by Laura Hamby

Available NOW from By Grace Publications.

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