Authors: Shelly Davis
“Yeah, I’m ready,” I said, turning to my brother and best man. Cade stood in the doorway and smiled. “It’s about time then. Dad’s already waitin’ in the front and Momma’s waitin’ for you to walk her down the aisle. I’m gonna head to the front with Jules.”
“Tell Momma I’ll be there in just a moment.”
Cade stepped forward and hugged me tight. “I’m happy for you brother. You deserve a good woman, and Mia’s definitely a good woman.”
“Thanks,” I muttered, hugging him back. Without another word Cade left me alone to collect my thoughts. I couldn’t believe all this had happened so quickly. I felt like the luckiest bastard on the planet.
My mother stood at the back of the church, waiting for me. Her long gray gown made her look so much younger than her fifty years. “Hey momma. You ready for this?” I walked up to her, smiling.
Her dark blue eyes, just like mine and Cade’s, were red and rimmed with unshed tears. She smiled a watery smile and nodded her head just once, indicating she was ready. I walked up to her and she reached up and adjusted my tie.
“Look at you. My handsome boy. I can’t believe you’re gettin’ married.” She paused then her eyes became sincere. “Are you happy?”
I let out a long sigh. Of course my mother would want to know I was sure before she let me go. “Yes, momma. I’ve never been happier. Mia’s my other half. She’s the only woman I’ve ever loved, ever wanted. I love her with everything I am.”
“Good.” She smiled. “Mia’s a good girl. She’s taken care of you, just like you take care of her. She is your match in every way.” I drew her into a hug. This was my mother, giving me her blessing and letting me know she was proud of me. When she pulled away, tears had escaped and were making tracks down her cheeks. She dabbed them with a handkerchief. “Well, let’s get you married.” She grabbed my arm and together, we walked down the aisle to where my father stood and waited. He hugged me and the two of them sat as one in the first pew.
After several minutes, the music started, Canon in D minor echoed through the church as Monique, and then Toni marched down the aisle. Their floor-length red, strapless gowns looked gorgeous on them both. And when the music changed my heart leaped.
Everything stopped for just a moment as the huge doors in the back of the church opened and there stood the most gorgeous woman I’d ever seen in my life. How could I be so lucky as to make this woman my bride? She looked like an angel, sent down from heaven just for me. And when her eyes met mine and she smiled, I almost melted right there on the spot.
Mia walked toward me, her long white gown flowed all around her. The full skirt of the dress was complete with a tight, off-the-shoulder top, covered in lace and shiny opalescent stones. My heart swelled when I realized she was mine; my bride, my wife, my life.
I couldn’t stand the anticipation I felt as she walked down the aisle flanked by her mother and Mike. In that moment, I felt more love than I’d ever felt in my life.
When she was finally in front of me, her mother lifted her veil over her face and placed a kiss on her cheek, then Mike kissed her. They both turned to me, Mike shook my hand and Rosie hugged me tight.
“We’re so happy for you,” she whispered. Then Rosie placed Mia’s hand in mine.
I focused on her dainty hand and was sure I could feel her whole life vibrating with mine. Our eyes locked and the love that flowed between us warmed my heart. The love I had for her was the most powerful thing I’d ever felt in my life. It was more than familial love, more than the love I had for her just yesterday. The feeling floored me.
I gazed down into her eyes and smiled. Her eyes, more green today, held so much love and happiness in them. “You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. How did I get so lucky?”
“How did I?” she asked. Her smile widening.
The preacher started to speak and I couldn’t tell you one thing the man said through the entire thing. Toni stepped up to the podium and spoke of love and friendship lasting a lifetime. And when it was finally our turn to speak, the love just poured out of me as I declared my eternal love and devotion to Mia and she did the same.
By the time we both said “I do” I couldn’t wait any longer, all I wanted to do was kiss her. I wanted to lose myself – eternally – in her mind and body. She was the only woman I ever wanted, and now she was mine.
When I met Jake’s eyes at the end of the aisle, I could breathe. Jake was handsome – jeans, gym shorts, and t-shirts, it didn’t matter, he looked good in anything. But seeing him in a black tux tailored to his broad shoulders and narrow hips, I was in awe. How did I get so lucky? We’d had a rough road full of misunderstandings and broken hearts, but we’d found our way back to each other and our lives were just beginning.
The moment I said “I do”, Jake was kissing me. No chance for the preacher to announce us husband and wife, no time for him to say you may kiss the bride. Jake kissed me long and hard, almost to the point I could’ve forgotten where we were. Over the past couple months, we’d kissed millions of times. But none compared to this kiss. It was different somehow, more real, truer in its intentions. This kiss bonded us together more than any piece of paper or announcement from any mortal man. This kiss was what made us husband and wife.
When he finally released his hold on me, I was breathless and barely able to stand on my own. A collective cheer erupted from our friends and family who had gathered to spend this day with us.
“I present, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob and Mia Hanson.” Another round of cheers sounded and we were rushing down the aisle to the back of the church with Toni and Cade and Monique and Julius behind us.
The entire day as a blur – a surreal blur full of love, laughter, and happiness. So much happiness I couldn’t contain it. I couldn’t believe how far my life had come. I had a career I adored, amazing friends, and I’d found the only man I’d ever genuinely loved. And now, that man was my husband.
We danced, ate, and celebrated our love. It was a perfect night full of all the things every girl waits for her whole life.
Once upon a time I believed that true love was for little girls who believed in fairytales. I now believed in fairytales … and Jake was my happily ever after.
If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, help is available:
•National Domestic Violence Hotline
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To my husband and children. Thank you so much for supporting every endeavor I undertake. You are my inspiration and my reason for being. I love you all.
Next, to Lora, thank you for being my first reviewer and a great support for Victory Lane. I hope you enjoy this book as much as you enjoyed that one.
Lisa, Thank you for being my friend and sounding board, for setting things straight when I needed it, and for all of the time and support you gave me through the writing process. You kept me sane when I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish.
Next to Rachel, Thank you so much for your amazing skills. I look forward to working with you in the future.
Next to Jessie, Thank you for your amazing book cover skills. I love it, it’s beautiful!
To Joanie, your editing skills are great. Thank you.
Finally, to the Readers, Thank you for taking the time to read my work. I write because I love it. If you love it too, that is just an added bonus.
About the author
Shelly Davis is a writer and teacher in Western Pennsylvania. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, she is the oldest of six children. Shelly attended California University of Pennsylvania, earning a Bachelor of Arts in education. She loves teaching and working with children. When she was nineteen she was bartending when a guy she’d noticed several times before came in with friends. Before he left for the night, he asked her out and the rest is history. Twenty years later, they have four children. Shelly loves 80s movies, history and crime TV shows, and NASCAR auto racing. She has a hidden love for working on and rebuilding old cars.
Victory Lane (Shady Falls #1) is the first book in the Shady Falls Series, published autumn 2015. Please look for Drive Me Crazy (Shady Falls #3) in 2017.