Time for Cake!




Holly's Big Bad Santa was released in December 2009 from Black Velvet Seductions

This is my "happily ever after" moment, which I sooooo love to play with.

Jared had been in war zones where he’d been certain he wouldn’t survive. He’d risked his life time and again for some rich guy he hadn’t even actually respected, but protected. Yet the most difficult thing he’d ever done was stand here in the front of the church and wait for Holly to appear.

“You’re starting to look like maybe we need to nail your feet to the floor,” Axel taunted from beside him.

“You that scared of getting married?” Troy asked. “If so, why the hell are you doing it?”

Jared turned his attention away from the sanctuary packed with family, friends, neighbors, and a whole lot of people he didn’t know. It seemed that the entire town of Danville knew Holly and loved her. But they didn’t love her near as much as he did, which was the entire reason he stood here instead of fleeing for his life.

“When your time comes to face this moment, you’ll understand,” he stated. It wasn’t getting married or being married that had him fighting hard to be patient. He’d survive the wedding ceremony and looked forward to a half century or so with Holly. It was feeling like he was on display for all of these people. He worked behind the scenes, specialized in not being seen.

He reached up to readjust his tie yet again, feeling strangled. Ties and tuxes were not his thing.

“Leave it alone,” Jason loudly whispered from the other side of his partners. When Jared glanced at him, his oldest brother gave a small smile of understanding. They’d finally made peace a couple of days ago. His brothers had helped him with a legal matter, buying the building Holly had rented for years to give to her as his groom’s gift to his bride. He’d also bought the building attached to it to use as a base for his new background search business, a branch of the security firm that he’d agreed to continue with as a partner.

The organist switched to the wedding march. All three men standing next to him straightened and turned their gazes to the back of the church. Jared’s stomach churned, panic tried to creep through him, but he forced it back. The time had come! Could he really do this? Yes! Hell, yes! He probably needed to clean up his language—even his thoughts—here in the church.

His skin felt clammy, knees weaker. But he straightened his shoulders and faced the doorway. Her bridesmaids, Jocie and Bridget, walked slowly up the aisle in dark green, calf-length dresses. Both women were beaming. When Bridget drew opposite him, she winked at him. She liked him, fully approved of him marrying her boss. He liked her, too, and was secretly arranging a college scholarship for her.

Kandee entered the room next. Her gaze went straight to Jason and she smiled. She’d forgiven him—Jared, too—for interfering with her buying Holly’s shop, which was no longer for sale. Jason had agreed to her at least working part-time there. The only person who wasn’t aware of any of this was Holly. She still didn’t know what Jared had decided about his partnership, which would affect her shop.

The music picked up in tempo and finally the wedding guests stood to watch James Danville step up to the aisle with Holly on his arm. His dad looked as proud of her as if she was his own daughter. She’d been part of their family already for a long time. But it wasn’t his dad he’d been waiting to see.

So beautiful. So damn beautiful. His heart raced, like it did every time he first looked at her. She was finally going to belong to him. No. She’d made it darn clear that she wasn’t a possession, not something or someone to belong to anyone. They would simply be sharing the rest of their lives, supporting one another, loving one another. All of that was acceptable, but, truthfully and secretly, she would belong to him. He just wouldn’t tell her that.

Their gazes met and she smiled only for him. He grinned back, only for her. He wanted this ceremony done and behind them. He wanted the reception done with as well. Most of all he wanted to get back to their home, Holly’s cottage—their cottage—and strip her down to nothing but soft, creamy skin. Then he’d see how many of those 1,001 positions they could manage tonight. She didn’t know that he’d found the book in her nightstand when he’d been adding some fun little body lotions to the drawer. But he’d never been so pleased with a discovery. She was a constant surprise, his Holly.

The next fifteen or so minutes passed by in a haze. The minister who’d watched him grow up, witnessed the problems in his youth, seemed to think this was a good time for a brief sermon. People were squirming in their seats, wondering—like he was—when the actual Do You and I Do stuff would happen.

Finally, Axel nudged him in the side. “Your turn.” Evidently he’d missed the actual start of the ceremony.

He blinked back to the moment and glanced at Holly. Her pursed lips told him he’d been caught not paying attention. She’d probably grill him later, try to get him to repeat what the minister had said. He was in trouble with her already.

If that was the case, then he might as well do something to really get on her bad list. He motioned for the minister to hold up and stepped right in front of Holly. Gasps from his breaking wedding ceremony rules, or whatever, flew around them. His mother’s eyes widened and she seemed to prepare herself for him to do yet something else to make him fodder for the gossip mill. His father merely grinned. Holly, apparently, didn’t know how to react and just stood there.

He tossed the veil over her head, pulled her close, smashed the bouquet between them, and kissed her. He’d needed this kiss, bad. It wasn’t a simple peck on the lips, either. He kissed her.

Way before he was ready to end it, Axel tapped him on the shoulder. “You’ve skipped a few steps here, buddy. The crowd is getting hostile. They want the whole works: I do’s, the pronouncement, etc.”

Instead of being upset with him, Holly gave him a final kiss of her own. Then she took his arm and tugged him with her until they stood together right in front of the minister.

“Okay, the short version, Reverend,” she said boldly. “We’ve got places to go, things to do…if you know what I mean.”

His face reddened, but he smiled. He looked at her. “Do you?”

She nodded. “I do.”

He looked at Jared. “Do you?”

“To loving Holly, honoring her, protecting her, and anything else for the rest of my life…I definitely do.”

The reverend gave a curt nod and looked at the guests. “We’re done here. Time for cake!”

8 comments:

Reese Mobley said...

Very nice. Very romantic. Is this part of a short story or a novella? Loved it!

Becky A said...

Ahhh, you've got to love those rebels, especially when they are vulnerable! My husband was shaking so much during our ceremony that I leaned over and asked him if he was ok. Then he kissed me so thoroughly that the pastor turned red! Your scene brought that vividly back to my mind. Thanks, a great way to start my day.

snwriter52 said...

WOW Starla. Great story.
Sharon.

Joan Vincent said...

You really caught the emotions, the reality of a wedding here, Starla. And all the romance!
Great job.

Roxann Delaney said...

Love it! The passion, the emotions AND the humor. Hurray for Starla!

Starla Kaye said...

This was a quickly written Christmas novella and I loved working with these characters. So I'm glad you all enjoyed it, too.

Yes, weddings can be a trial. We got married in my husband's church, by a young minister friend of his who decided to turn the ceremony into more of a sermon. Bad enough, but we were wearing long, velvet gowns. My maid of honor nearly passed out.

Nina Sipes said...

Beautiful. 'Let's have cake' is now a part of my secret family language--right next to 'good stuff'.

Penny Rader said...

Oh, Starla, I don't know whether to sigh or cry or laugh out loud. So I guess I'll do all three. Loved it!