Authors: Kathleen Brooks
Allegra closed her eyes and threw the bouquet as hard as she could. The pink flowers tied with white satin ribbons disappeared over her head. She turned and saw the bouquet sailing through the air. Hands were reaching up for it, but it flew over them. It was a GBM, guided bouquet missile, and was aimed for the one person not reaching for it.
Allegra cringed as the bouquet suddenly plummeted from the sky and hit Mallory on the head before rolling off and into her arms. The group of excited singles on the dance floor groaned their disappointment while Mallory looked like she’d just stepped in a cow patty. Her nose wrinkled and her lip went up in a snarl as she looked down at the bouquet in her hands.
Finn came to stand next to Allegra and laughed. “Mallory looks thrilled.”
“I’ve never seen that look on her face before. She’s had her society smile plastered on all day. I guess she just doesn’t like weddings.” Allegra shrugged and then turned to her husband. “You aren’t going to do anything embarrassing when you remove my garter, are you?”
“Who, me? Why would you think that?” he asked a little too innocently.
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because Terrell and Shirley pulled you over a minute ago, and Shirley bared her teeth and shook her head as if attacking something with her teeth.”
Finn and Allegra both looked at Shirley, standing next to Terrell. Her walker was decorated in white tulle and a banner reading
I’ll be your Wedding Hook-up
“Okay, so maybe she suggested I detour from the traditional garter removal.”
“Hmmph. Be good down there,” Allegra hissed as she took her seat in a chair on the dance floor.
“Sweetheart, I’m always good down here.” He smirked before running his hand up her leg.
Allegra’s faced flushed as his fingers skimmed their way up to her garter. His finger hooked under it and rubbed back and forth before sliding it down.
“When can we leave?” Allegra asked in a whisper.
“As soon as I throw this blasted thing.” Finn stood up and tossed the garter.
“Nice throw, Williams. Still think you’re in baseball?” Allegra teased as the garter went flying.
Finn turned around, and Allegra slipped her hand into his. Jasper Hale, the new owner of the Golden Eagles, neatly sidestepped the garter sailing through the air. Jasper had turned out to be a lot like Drake. He was quiet, rich, and not out for attention. He’d become friends with the family after renegotiating Kane’s contract with Finn. Meanwhile, Terrell made a flying leap for the garter. It hit his finger and slingshot to the man downing a shot of amber liquor. Allegra squeezed Finn’s hand as she watched the garter nail her brother in his face.
“Oh, this should be very interesting,” Allegra murmured as the wedding coordinator pulled Mallory and Reid from the crowd for their obligatory dance.
“Maybe we should stay for just a few more minutes,” Finn said as they hurried from the dance floor. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t hook up with you in the shadows.”
“I’m definitely good with that. Look at how well we're doing. We are going to rock at this marriage business,” Allegra joked as they slid into the shadows, her hands already reaching for him as the music started up.
Mallory refused to move. “Come on. The woman who catches the bouquet has to dance with the man who catches the garter,” the perky coordinator said as she tugged at Mallory’s arm.
“If she’s too afraid to dance with me . . .” Reid shrugged and tossed back another drink.
“Too afraid?” Mallory shook off the coordinator and grabbed Reid’s hand in hers as Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” started playing. It had to be this song. Could it get any worse? But she would never back down from a challenge and certainly not one issued by Reid Simpson.
Mallory felt his hand cup hers and his other wrap around her waist. “No, you were never afraid of anything. Or at least that’s what I thought. But then again, it goes to show—you can’t win every hand.”
“Not now, Reid. We’re at Allegra’s wedding. You didn’t want to hear what I had to say before. Do you really want to hear it now?”
“Nope. I’ve learned not to believe a single word from your luscious lips.”
Mallory forced herself to swallow as she looked out into the crowd watching them. She smiled serenely and let him lead her around the floor. Let’s get it on, indeed, she thought. Heck, there were lots of attractive men here tonight. It just wouldn’t be Reid who she went home with.
“You look tan,” Reid said so quietly she almost missed it.
“I’ve been in the Caribbean for the past month. I was meeting with contacts and such.” This was the most normal conversation they’d had in fifteen years.
“I’m visiting my European holdings before the hotel here opens in March.”
“I know. Your mother told me,” Mallory said as the song neared the end.
“I don’t want you there. This is the last time I’ll have to see you. No more weddings, no more family moments where you intrude. This is it, Mallory. It would be great if you took another extended business trip. Atlanta isn’t big enough for both of us, and this is
family, not yours.”
Mallory felt a pain in her chest. He couldn’t take away her family. But what he said was true. The Simpsons weren’t her real family, even if they were more of a family to her than her own. The pain in her chest pulsed. She reached into the top of her bra and pulled out her phone as the music ended.
I have something you'll want. The plane is waiting for you.
Mallory looked up from the text from Ahmed, the former head of security for the Prince of Rahmi, a small island country in the Middle East. They had a history together that looked as if it were about to repeat itself. “Well, it looks like you got your wish.” Mallory stepped out of Reid’s arms and walked off the dance floor. She didn’t look back as she left her life behind her once more.
To be continued in
Destined for Power
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If you are new to the writings of Kathleen Brooks, then you will definitely want to try her Bluegrass Series books set in the wonderful fictitious town of Keeneston, KY. Here is a list of all of Kathleen's books in order:
Bluegrass State of Mind
Bluegrass Brothers Series
Secret Santa: A Bluegrass Series Novella
All Hung Up
Rose Sister Collection coming mid-to-late 2015
* * *
Women of Power Series
Chosen for Power
Built for Power
Fashioned for Power
Destined for Power
- coming April 6th, 2015
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathleen Brooks is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. Kathleen’s stories are romantic suspense featuring strong female heroines, humor, and happily-ever-afters. Her Bluegrass Series and follow-up Bluegrass Brothers Series feature small town charm with quirky characters that have captured the hearts of readers around the world.
Kathleen is an animal lover who supports rescue organizations and other non-profit organizations such as Friends and Vets Helping Pets whose goals are to protect and save our four-legged family members.
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