Welcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Tales, the weekly blog hop that lets you peek into the current works of participating authors. This week’s word is FLY, and I decided to let my imagination soar.
My excerpt is from Wedding Bell Blues, my latest contemporary romance. If you’ve been following the story, you’ll know my poor heroine’s adventures have been plagued by one disaster after another, some of them hilarious, others enough to bring her to tears. Things aren’t about to get any better for a while longer. For your tale this week, I pick up where I left off last week.
MJ gasped as the dining room doors opened. The tiered room reminded her of the ballrooms she’d seen in copious historical movies. Below the mezzanine area where they stood with the other diners, the round tables covered in white damask cloths with floral centerpieces were set for eight. Surrounding the exotic flowers, the tea lights in various sized crystal holders flickered. She’d never seen anything more beautiful. At the far end of the room, one long table, reminiscent of the head table at a wedding, complete with a beautiful three-tiered cake decorated with flowers and trimmed with plaid edging, stood beyond an empty space no doubt meant as a dancefloor. A wall of gold curtains hung behind the table.
Around her, animated couples chatted, took pictures of the fairytale setting, and waited to be led to their seats. Servers, both male and female, dressed in traditional Martinique costumes, moved through the crowd offering appetizers and champagne.
“I’m speechless,” she said, accepting a champagne flute. “It’s so … I want to pinch myself to prove I’m awake and not dreaming. I feel like Cinderella arriving for the ball. This is all so much more than I could even imagine.”
Paul grinned. “I don’t mind playing Prince Charming to your Cinderella.” He lifted his glass in salute. “Lucette mentioned the staff had gone out of their way to make the next ten days special. She wasn’t kidding. It’s incredible, but unlike Cinderella, all this doesn’t end at midnight.”
“Don’t be too sure of that. Once Mark and Melena arrive, things will change.”
Paul put his arm around her, sending waves of desire through her. “We’ve got this covered. For the next ten days, whenever we’re in public, we’re two people enjoying our honeymoon. We’ll not only stick it to the Achilles Heel, we’ll have a hell of a good time doing it.”
“I’ll try, but so many things can go wrong—”
“Stop with the negative waves,” he said, squeezing her shoulder. “Nothing will go wrong. The next ten days will fly by, I promise, and when you get home, Mark will be only too happy to give you back every cent he took from you rather than face prosecution.”
“If you say so,” but that waiting for the other shoe to drop feeling wouldn’t go away. “Who gets to sit up there?” She sipped the champagne which she really didn’t need, and used her glass to indicate the head table.
“The bride and groom, of course.”
She almost choked on the mouthful of wine. “You mean this is someone’s wedding reception?”
Paul laughed. “It’s everyone’s reception. Monsieur St Louis explained that to me when I spoke with him earlier. The names of all of the ten-day guests are put in a bowl, and one couple is chosen to be the honorary bride and groom. Three other couples get to join them as their attendants. They’re all given a few perks like gold key service and souvenirs.”
MJ turned at the sound of her name and smiled when Lindsay and Noel made their way over to them. Seeing her new-found friend grounded her. Lindsay had a camera around her neck.
“Isn’t this incredible? Look at the color and the costumes. Absolutely fantastic. I can’t believe they transformed this place in one day.”
Smiling, MJ nodded. “I feel like I’ve walked into someone’s fantasy.”
“Well, if they pick your name, it will be yours.”
Not a fantasy, but a nightmare.
No doubt whoever the lucky couple was, they’d be in the forefront of every activity on the island. Since her luck sucked, and they weren’t registered as a married couple, she could relax.
“If they were to call my name,” Lindsay said, “I’d faint, but since Noel and I are here for seven days, we’re not in the running for that honor, although our name did go in the attendants bowl.”
Before MJ could answer, a bell tinkled and she turned toward the sound.
“Mesdames et messieurs,” Raymond St Louis, dressed tonight in a tuxedo with a plaid cummerbund, addressed the crowd. If the grin on his face were any wider, it would split in half. “In a few moments, you will be led to your tables, seated with members of your treasure hunting party, but first, as is the custom on Paradise Island, we must have an honorary host and hostess. Rosette holds the bowl with the names of all out ten-day guests. Earlier this evening, the name of this week’s Best Man and Matron of Honor were chosen.” He turned to the couple next to him.
The man resembled Rick Moranis. He was short, no more than five foot five, wore glasses, and seemed ill at ease in his white dinner jacket. The woman beside him was shorter still, a touch plump, but looked lovely in her black floor length gown trimmed in sequins.
“May I present Monsieur and Madame Larson, from Toledo, Ohio.”
The crowd applauded. When the clapping subsided, the manager spoke once more.
“Madame will now pick the name of the bride and groom.”
The woman giggled and reached into the bowl, digging as deeply as she could, and handed a small golden envelope to Monsieur St. Louis.
“Your bride and groom, and the hosts for this week’s treasure hunt and festivities are,” he slowly opened the envelope. The tension in the room was palpable, with women, leaning into their mates, fingers crossed, hoping the honor would be theirs. “Monsieur et Madame Paul Davis.”
Lindsay squealed as the room erupted into applause.
No. It isn’t possible. What did Paul do?
She turned to him, unable to mask the panic on her face, somewhat mollified when the surprise on his matched hers.
“And you said nothing could go wrong,” she hissed before Mendelssohn’s Wedding March flooded the room.
That’s it. Come back next week to see how MJ and Paul deal with this latest curve.
Please take the time to check out the other Tuesday Tales.