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Authors: Katherine Allred

Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary

Sweet Revenge (17 page)

BOOK: Sweet Revenge
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“Dom,” she pleaded. “You have to get me out of here. Please?”

“Sorry, Sweetheart. I didn’t come prepared for a jailbreak.” He tilted his head toward Chase. “A nd he’s got the keys.”

“Reverend Mills!” She turned to the minister. “You have to stop this. I refuse to marry him.”

“Chase?” The minister was looking uncertain.

“Where’s A my?” Chase was looking over the heads surrounding them.

“Right here.” Maggie pushed her way to the front, A my beside her.

“Dad, what’s going on?”

“We’re getting married.”

A my’s face lit up and her excited yell had everyone covering their ears as it echoed off the bare concrete walls.

“I refuse to be a party to this fiasco.” Jessie stomped to the bunk and sat down, arms crossed over her chest while she tried not to look at Chase. The kernel of hope that had bloomed in her chest became a lump of misery. There was nothing on Earth she wanted more than to marry Chase, but she’d live alone for the rest of her life if he were only doing it out of a sense of obligation.

Chase nodded at the minister. “Go ahead.”

Reverend Mills cleared his throat, then hesitantly began. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered…uh, here…today to join this man and woman in the bonds of holy matrimony. If anyone objects to this union, let him speak now or forever hold his peace.” Jessie jumped to her feet. “I object!”

“Too bad,” Chase drawled. He glanced back at the minister. “Keep going.”

“Uh, please join… Well, maybe that’s not such a good idea.” The minister sighed. “Did you want the traditional vows or do you want to use your own?”

“Our own.”

“Neither,” Jessie replied at the same instant.

“Our own,” Chase said firmly.

The minister nodded. “Then now would be the time.”

She watched suspiciously as Chase crossed the cell and stopped in front of her.

“A ll I’m asking is that you listen, Jess. If your answer is still no, I’ll let you out.” A fter a brief hesitation, she nodded. “It’s not like I’ve got a lot of choice.” The look in his eyes as he gazed down into her own sent a sudden tingle of expectancy through her, set her pulse to racing and her heart slamming into her ribs. Was it possible he really did love her?

He took a deep breath. “The last time we were in this cell I’d made an idiot of myself. I asked you that day if we could start again, and I promised you I’d try hard to make it work. I broke that promise, Jess. I’ve been worse than an idiot. You see, I knew even then that I was in love with you, but I was too stubborn to admit it. I kept letting the past get in the way of what I really wanted. It took thinking I’d lost you to make me realize that I couldn’t live without you.”

“Oh, Chase,” she whispered, her chin quivering. “Do you mean it?”

He smiled at her. “I’ve never meant anything more in my whole life. But I’m not done yet.” He reached for her hand. “Jessie, I’m asking you, in front of all these people, to marry me. Right here, right now. Give me one more chance. In return I promise to love you, cherish you, protect you and rub your feet every night for the rest of our lives.” He leaned over and whispered in her ear. “A nd I’d promise the same thing even if you weren’t carrying my baby. I love you, Jess. Please say yes.”

Tears streaked down her cheeks. “Yes. Yes, I’ll marry you.”

Cheers erupted from the assemblage in the hall. Reverend Mills wiped sweat from his forehead. “Thank heavens. Is there a ring?” Harley was suddenly patting his pockets frantically. “A ring. Did you tell me to get a ring?” He gazed around the crowd. “A nyone got a ring?”

“Never mind, Harley. I’ll take care of it later.” Chase turned back to Jessie. “Hold out your arm.” When she complied, looking at him in puzzlement, he took off his handcuffs and slapped one end around her wrist. Before she had time to blink, he’d attached the other end to his own arm.

“There. That should work just as well.”

Reverend Mills beamed happily. “Perfect. With the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.” With their linked hands joined, Chase pulled her close and covered her mouth with his. By the time he released her, everyone was laughing.

Stunned, Jessie lifted her fingers to his mouth. “A re we really married?”

“Yes, Mrs. Martin. We’re really married.” He smiled down at her.

Her mouth formed an “O” of wonder as joy exploded though every fiber of her being. “I’m not an outlaw anymore.” His lips touched her ear as he leaned closer. “You’ll always be my outlaw, Jess. Forever.” Eyes misting over, she raised her lips to his. “I love you, Chase.”

About the Author

In real life, I’m Kathy to those who know me, since Katherine has always sounded snooty to my ears. Physically, I’m 5’5” with brown eyes.

The rest of me is subject to change at the whim of my caloric intake, exercise regimen (or lack thereof), and Miss Clairol. I’ve worked at everything from killing bugs to telephone operator. I have a degree in journalism that is stuffed in a drawer somewhere. I’ve been writing for seven years now and have sold seven novels, five most recently to Cerridwen Press. The Sweet Gum Tree won the PA SIC Book of Your Heart contest in 2002 in the single title category. I’ve been a member of Romance Writers of A merica since the day I started writing, and serve as judge for numerous chapter contests. I’ve been married to the same man for thirty-eight years now. We got married when I was two. That’s my story, I’m sticking to it.

Katherine welcomes mail from readers. You can write to her c/o Ellora’s Cave Publishing at 1056 Home A venue, A kron, OH 44310-3502.

Also by Katherine Allred

Second Time A round

The Sweet Gum Tree

What Price Paradise

Cerridwen, the Celtic goddess of wisdom, was the muse who brought inspiration to storytellers and those in the creative arts. Cerridwen Press encompasses the best and most innovative stories in all genres of today’s fiction. Visit our site and discover the newest titles by talented authors who still get inspired—much like the ancient storytellers did, once upon a time.

BOOK: Sweet Revenge
12.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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