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Raleigh Bound


by Rita Rose

Raleigh Bound

Sometimes you have to move away to move on...

Logan Shaw has sworn off men. Being left at the altar will do that to you. She spent years living in a town she hated, slogging through a demanding, dead end job. But once her fiance left her on their wedding day, Logan took her life into her own hands. She found a better job and a better life in Raleigh, NC. Everything was going great, until she met Alex.

Alex is everything she's ever wanted. He's handsome, kind, funny and passionate. Will she be able to keep to her pledge to stay single forever? Or will she succumb to the love that grows between them? How do you fall in love when you're afraid of getting of hurt?

Can he save her from herself or is she destined to live in the shadow of her failures for good?

 


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Release Date: July 24, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

White Satin Romance


Excerpt

Chapter One

 

“What do you mean the chicken’s spoiled?” Logan asked. She pressed the cell phone tighter to her ear as her mother flitted about the room searching for Logan’s wedding veil.

“Well,” Chef Jean, the very expensive and very annoying caterer, began in what Logan suspected was his phony French accent, “you see, madame, we have had a, um how do you say, catastrophe. Our, um, freezer where ze chicken was kept went on ze fritz last night.”

“How spoiled are we talking about here?” Logan asked.

“Oh dear,” her mother said, her rump in the air, the rest of her body under the uplifted chez lounge. “Where did that box go?”

Is that what my ass is going to look like in twenty years? Logan wondered. Not that her mother’s rear end wasn’t attractive, it was quite nice for a woman in her early fifties. It was just a touch larger than Logan wanted, and a bit more spread out. Or is that my ass now? she wondered. She angled her body until she got a good view of her butt in the mirror. Damn it, that’s my ass now.

“Ze chicken iz spoiled enough where if we try to serve it, we could possibly kill someone,” the chef said. It sounded as if he was having a whole host of troubles on his end of the line, judging by the yelling in the background. Most of the screams were coming from his feisty, American wife. Logan could make out the words “no good” and “dirty louse” and “big dummy.” She suspected that maybe Chef Jean had caused the catastrophe somehow.

“Would it kill a lot of people? No, scratch that. Of course we can’t have the chicken.” If someone died at her wedding then that’s all anyone would remember, including her and Ed.

“It’s not up here!” her mother called from her precarious position on a stack of chairs. Logan wasn’t quite sure why her mother thought the veil would be on top of a photo case, but her mother was nothing if not thorough.

Logan covered the phone with her hand. “Mom, just call dad and have him check the car. I’m sure we left it in there.”

“In the car, dear?” her mother said, her hands on her hips, staring down at Logan from her chair tower. “Don’t be silly. What kind of fool would leave something as important as a veil in the car?”

“The same fool who would leave a veil on top of a photo case.”

Her mother shook her head as she began climbing back down, careful not to upset the delicate balance of the chairs. “The bride’s room is always a mess.”

Logan shrugged and went back to her phone conversation. She’d call her father, if she ever got off the phone with Chef Jean. “So, what options are we looking at here?”

“How doez pizza sound to you?”

Logan took a deep breath and started counting back from ten. How was she supposed to keep from murdering someone today? Surely there was a trick.

“Mademoiselle Shaw? Hello? Are you still zer?”

“Yes, Chef Jean, I’m here. Pizza is unacceptable. This is a wedding, not a keg party. The service will begin in half an hour. We will be at the Old Hickory for the reception in an hour to an hour and a half. When I get there, I had better not see any pizza or anything resembling pizza. I don’t care if you have to spend every penny I paid you on take-out food but there better be something at my reception to eat that I can at least pretend that I’m proud of. And remember to include a few vegetarian and gluten-free options.” She tacked on the last bit for her cousins, every one of whom had decided to try a new diet the week of her wedding.

“Oui, Mademoiselle Shaw,” Chef Jean said miserably.

As she hung up, she heard the chef’s wife screaming, “no good louse, I told you to check the—” As irate as Logan felt, she knew she couldn’t compete with his wife’s anger. Good. Let someone else deal with him, as long as her guests had something decent to eat at the reception.

Everyone had told her to expect one disaster the day of her wedding, and this was it. Dinner would be a complete surprise and possibly terrible. But there would still be plenty of booze and music so people would end up happy no matter what. And it was something she and Ed could laugh about later. Much later.

“Any luck?” she asked her mother who was half hidden in a closet.

Her mother’s muffled voice floated out to her. “I just don’t know where the darned thing could have run off to.”

Logan dialed her father’s number. She moved to the far end of the room, hoping to spare her mother’s feelings.

“Why hello, darlin’,” her father said when he picked up his phone. Hearing his southern drawl always made her feel better. “Decided to run away and join the circus?”

Logan faked a chuckle. Her father asked that same question any time Logan had a big event in her life. He’d asked her if she’d run away to join the circus when she’d graduated high school, college, and was off to work on her first day at Dale Media. Ugh, she wished she’d joined the circus instead of Dale Media, at least elephant manure could be shoveled away, unlike the crap the sales agents sold their customers.

“No, Dad, I still plan on getting married.”

“Well that’s good, Sugar, cause your momma and I already bought you a gift.”

“Hey, Dad, can you check in the back of the truck for my veil? It’ll be in a white box with off-white lettering.”

“Uh oh, sounds like the queen’s misplaced her crown.”

“Just temporarily.” I hope. Logan bit her lip, then reminded herself to check her lipstick before heading down the aisle. She didn’t want to scratch off a chunk of it with her worrying.

“All right. I’ll go fetch it. Has your momma torn apart the room looking for it yet?” her father asked, lowering his voice.

Logan gave her bridal room the once over. The smaller pieces of furniture had been moved or overturned. Her mother sat crouched on her hands and knees looking up the chimney. “Yep.”

“Be right there.”

Logan felt calmer as she hung up the phone. A few moments on the phone with her dad had done what pre-wedding champagne could not: relieve her stress.

“Mom, I don’t think my veil’s in the chimney.”

“I know that.” Her mother stood and wiped a smudge from the hem of her skirt. “But I figured you and your father would get a good laugh if I took a peek up there. Was I right?”

Logan beamed at her mother. Her cheeks were warm with laughter. Logan knew she’d be lucky to be half as pretty or happy as her mother was by the time she turned fifty.

“I didn’t tell him. I thought I’d spare you the jokes later.” She gave her mother a playful wink. “But yes, I did think it was funny.”

“Well, then, my job here is done. Awww, honey, you look gorgeous. Why would you want to hide behind a veil, anyway?”

Logan took a quick sip of champagne. She’d started the morning off with mimosas, but they’d run out of orange juice some time ago. She’d needed a stiff drink during the hair and make-up session. The stylist had made her look like a princess but had left her feeling like the wicked witch of the west. “The veil looks nice with the dress. If we can’t find it, no big deal.” But it was a big deal. Logan had wanted a veil since she was a little girl. She’d always wanted her husband to lift the veil and smile in delight.

The door creaked open revealing her sister, Meredith, blowing her nose into a faded red handkerchief. “Oh good, you’re still here,” she said in a nasally voice.

Logan tried to hold back her annoyance, generally the only emotion she ever felt when interacting with her sister. “Nowhere to go until the wedding begins.”

“Huh, right.” Meredith’s voice was thick with snot.

Their mother ran a hand over the ruffles on Meredith’s shoulder. “You look so nice in your bridesmaid’s dress.”

Logan smirked. “Nice ruffles.” She’d told her sister that she could wear any dress she wanted as long as it was teal. Her sister had picked a dress with more ruffles and frills than Scarlett O’Hara would’ve worn.

“It’s chic,” her sister said between sniffles. “Are we almost ready? The guests are practically dying out there.”

Logan rolled her eyes. She would not let Meredith bother her, not today of all days. “The wedding isn’t even supposed to start for another twenty minutes. We have plenty of time.”

“Uh huh, is that why Ed hasn’t shown up yet?”

Logan waited for her sister to blow her nose before responding. Meredith had been born with horrible sinus troubles and despite medications and even an operation, they hadn’t gotten much better. Being the maid of honor at an outdoor wedding in Virginia was playing hell with her nose. Logan was sure Meredith had skipped taking her allergy medication just so she would spend the entire service sniffing and snorting.

“Ed’s still not here?” her mother asked with a worried look.

Logan shot her sister a glare, one of many that day. “His buddies took him out for golf. I told them he had to be at the church by four o’clock precisely. He has twenty minutes.”

Meredith sniffed loudly. “Maybe he’s too drunk to make it.”

“Meredith, that was one time. He drank too much wine at one Christmas. Let it go.”

“Sure, I’ll let it go, when I get the red vomit stains out of my table cloth.”

“He did you a favor, that tablecloth was hideous.”

“Girls,” their mother said, stepping between them. “Now is not the time to rehash old arguments. Meredith, today is Logan’s special day.”

Meredith mumbled an apology into her handkerchief.

“It’s okay,” Logan said, more for her mother’s benefit than her sister’s.

“Why don’t you go see what’s taking your father so long?” Mrs. Shaw said to Meredith.

Logan watched as her sister slunk out of the room. “Why is she always so gloomy?”

“I’m sure she’s upset that you’re getting married first.”

“That’s not my fault. I didn’t tell Bob not to propose to her.” Logan had lowered her voice for the last part. Meredith had been dating Bob since sophomore year of high school and the fact that they were nearing thirty and he still hadn’t proposed was a sore spot for her sister.

“How much champagne have you had?”

Logan gave her mother a guilty look. “Two glasses?” No need to worry her mother. That was the problem with a mom who didn’t drink, she thought one glass would send you over the moon.

Logan thanked her lucky stars when she heard someone knocking at the door. Finally, her veil, and, if she was lucky, her father would keep Meredith busy until the ceremony began.

“I’ll get it,” her mother said. “No one can see the bride until the ceremony. You only get one chance to make a grand entrance.”

And only one chance for your wedding to go kaput, Logan thought. That wasn’t true. There had been multiple chances today and she’d sailed through them all. Her mother had glued the heel back onto her shoe after Logan had snapped it off showing her cousins a dance move she’d wanted to bust out later that night. Her allergic reaction to the new make-up the stylist had used had been relatively light and the rash on her neck was mostly hidden. At worst, it might look like she had a couple of pimples.

Her mother opened the door and exclaimed, “Ed, why aren’t you dressed yet?”

Uh oh, now Ed’s lost his tux. One disaster after another.

“It’s a long story,” Ed said.

“Oh, no, you can’t come in here.” Her mother moved to block what little room there was in the barely opened door.

“It’s okay, Mom, Ed’s already seen the dress.” She stood on her tippy toes to look over her mother at her husband-to-be. Her anxiety didn’t exactly melt away, but his presence there made her think that everything was going to be okay. Ed was here. She could lean on Ed a bit. He’d still love her, rashy neck and all. His brown eyes were bright, and alert and the sun hadn’t burned his tan skin. That was a small miracle. Ed usually managed to burn his ears when he went golfing.

“What?” Her mother spun around to face Logan. “You let him see your dress?”

“I didn’t want to buy a dress that my husband hated. The wedding pictures are forever.”

“Well, I can’t believe—” her mother started.

Ed cleared his throat and gave her mother his best puppy dog eyes. Logan’s heart melted a little. No one did puppy dog eyes like Ed. “Please, Mindy, I really need to speak with Logan.”

Her mother, with a shake of her head and a mumbled, “Okay, honey,” moved out of the way and let Ed enter the room.

Ed, thank goodness. Logan threw her arms around him and hugged him to her. She needed to be held right now. He’d spent the day with his friends as her idea of a dream wedding had turned into a nightmare.

“You okay, Logan Bear?” he asked, his deep voice tickling her ears.

“I’m better now.” She drew in a deep breath, hoping to breathe in the cologne Ed always wore. It smelled like summer and sunshine. But all she smelled was man-musk and sweat. “Ed, you haven’t showered yet?” she asked as she pulled away.

“Sorry.”

She looked up at his beautiful brown eyes and the one lock of his curly brown hair that always hung down onto his forehead. It was difficult to stay mad at someone you found completely adorable.

“You better hurry,” she said, giving him a shove toward the door. “The wedding starts in fifteen minutes.”

“I don’t think there’s going to be a wedding.”

The laughter came out of nowhere. Logan didn’t even know it was her laughing until a few moments had passed. Ed’s set jaw and wet eyes were what finally made her focus. “Are you serious?” she asked when she was able to control herself again.

“I’m afraid so.” Ed kept his gaze aimed at the floor, too ashamed to look up at her.

“Ed, it’s our wedding day. We’ve been planning this for over a year. I switched my wedding colors to match your complexion. You picked our honeymoon spot. I—”

“I’m sorry.”

“Sorry? What do you mean? What’s happening here?” Logan tried to keep her voice in check, but she was yelling anyway. This could not be happening. The ceremony was about to start. “Sorry. I don’t understand. Are you sick?”

She laid her hand on his forehead, but he didn’t feel feverish. Maybe he had some sort of intestinal bug?

Ed gave her a sheepish smile as she pulled her hand away. “No, I feel fine. Great even.”

The words landed on her ears but didn’t make sense. How could he feel great? She felt miserable. Her stomach was so knotted that she thought she might’ve caught a bug. “Is someone in your family dying?”

“No.”

Logan sat down hard on the couch. Her legs felt weak. She’d spent the last year of her life planning and tasting and shopping. She’d met with caterers, DJs, event planners and had even sat through an uncomfortable lunch with Ed’s mother to discuss their future as a couple, aka, when could his mother expect some grandkids. This was Ed. They’d been together since freshman year of college. They were Ed and Logan. They’d moved to Northern Virginia for his first job and then stayed there so he could further his career. She hated Northern Virginia, but she’d lived there for him. How could he leave her now?

Ed’s voice floated down to her. “I meant to go through with it, I really did. I thought maybe once we were married we’d fall in love.”

Logan looked at him through tear-filled eyes. “Fall in love? But we’ve been in love.”

Ed sat beside her, his broad shoulders slumped. His cute, baby-boy face was full of shame and regret. “No. Logan, you’ve been in love with me. You’re my best friend and I love you. I love all the time we spend together, but I’m not in love with you.”

“But we’re a couple.” Words wouldn’t come to her. She could barely focus. The world was washing away in a flood of misery and the one person who could save her was holding her head under water.

“I’m so sorry. When I was hanging out with my friends today, all I could think about was how it felt the exact same as hanging out with you. I don’t want that. I want a spark. I want passion. I want to be in love with the woman I marry.”

“You’re not in love with me? Really? After all this time?”

Ed couldn’t look at her. He could only stare at his shoes. The shoes she’d bought him for his birthday. “I’m sorry.”

Tears dribbled down her cheeks. “Please leave.” The words barely made past her lips. There was too much pain and fear to speak. She wanted to rip his head off and to hug him as hard as she could at the same time. She wasn’t sure what she was liable to do.

“Logan. Please don’t hate me.”

“Go,” she said and buried her head in her hands. She didn’t hear him leave, didn’t hear anything until her mother sat down beside her.

“Honey, I am so sorry.”

Logan fell into her mother, let herself be held like a child, and cried.

 

 

 

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