Friday, March 13, 2015

The Christmas Wedding Ring by Susan Mallery

Lovely Christmas story. 14 year old Molly had a crush on her older sister's boyfriend, Dylan. She felt so bad for him when Janet married Thomas instead. At the wedding, Dylan gave molly the wedding band he bought for Janet and told her if she ever wanted an adventure when she grew up to find him and give him the ring.
14 years later, Molly has had a bad week and she is leaving town for a bit. She finds the ring and wonders what became of Dylan. She mentions him to Janet and she tells Molly that he lived an hour away, she thought. So Molly looks him up. He hasn't changed in looks but now he is a successful businessman. He too is at a crossroads in life. They decide to take off on his motorcycle together.
What do you think happens?

From the author:
In her youth, Molly Anderson couldn't help crushing on gorgeous bad boy Dylan Black—even though he only had eyes for her older sister. When things didn't work out between them, he said goodbye to Molly as well, vowing they'd have a great adventure when she grew up. Years later, dumped by her fiancĂ© just before Christmas, she's finally ready to take Dylan up on his promise.

A guarded Dylan always had a weakness for Molly, and when she waltzes back into his life—grown-up and gorgeous—he's stunned. So why not whisk her away for some no-strings-attached fun?
Laughter-filled days and late-night kisses are changing Molly's life, for good. The only gift she truly wants now is Dylan's love, but when he discovers the secret she's been keeping, she may lose him again…this time forever.

Fourteen years ago – December 22

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and this company..."

Molly Anderson tuned out the minister's words and sighed impatiently. She wasn't interested in being gathered together or standing through what promised to be a long, boring ceremony. She didn't want to be here, and if the truth be told, her sister, the bride, didn't want her here, either. But their mother had insisted.

"Whatever will people think if little Molly isn't in the wedding?" her mother had asked. "Janet, make her one of your bridesmaids. You're going to have so many that she won't be in the way. If Molly is at the end of the line, she'll be up against the wall of the church. No one will even see her."

Molly raised her chin slightly. She knew she wasn't supposed to have heard that conversation. She hadn't really been eavesdropping. She'd just sorta been walking by the dining room. And it was her house, too, even if everyone seemed to forget that she lived there! She tightened her grip on her spray of ridiculous poinsettias. Poinsettias! Janet could’ve gone with red roses for her Christmas-themed wedding, but no, she had to choose poinsettias, which were already looking droopy, and the wedding had barely begun.

It didn't matter, she thought grimly. Janet hadn't wanted her to be in the wedding, and she, Molly, was only here because she'd been threatened with "severe punishment" if she didn't cooperate.

She shifted until she was able to lean against the wooden paneling of the church wall. The service continued. Molly watched without a whole lot of interest. This wasn't her idea of a romantic wedding at all. If nothing else, the bride and groom should be in love. But Janet was marrying Thomas because he was a successful lawyer and his family owned a huge law firm in San Francisco. Thomas was marrying Janet because she was beautiful. Janet got nearly everything because she was beautiful.

She made a stunning bride. Even Molly was willing to concede that. The silk-and-lace gown accentuated Janet's model-thin figure and sleek dark hair. She would look perfect in every picture. It wasn't fair, Molly thought as she tugged on the waist of her too-tight tea-length gown. Green, of course. Her least favorite color in the whole world.
The style didn't suit her at all. For one thing, it was too sophisticated. At fourteen she was the youngest of the bridesmaids. She was also the shortest. Janet's friends were tall and willowy, like Janet herself. Molly didn't consider five foot four short, but compared with the rest of the family, she was practically an elf. Just one more reason she didn't fit in the family with—

The skin at the back of her neck prickled. Molly straightened, then turned to glance over her shoulder. A shadow moved into view at the rear of the church, backlit by the soft lights on the tall Christmas tree in the foyer. The shadow became a man, and her breath caught in her throat. Dylan! He was here!

She'd wondered if he would show up to see Janet marry someone else. Was he tortured by the ceremony? Did he want to stalk up the center aisle and claim Janet as his own? Molly was torn. Although she would have loved the drama of the event, she didn't want dumb old Janet marrying anyone as wonderful as Dylan. He was too... everything.

Knowing that her mother was going to kill her and figuring it would be worth it, Molly slipped down the side aisle toward the rear of the church. She moved quietly, and as far as she could tell, no one noticed her departure. As she stepped into the foyer, she saw Dylan had already walked out into the afternoon.

"Dylan," she called as she hurried after him. When she reached the stairs leading down to the sidewalk, she skidded to a stop.

His black motorcycle was parked at the curb. There were compartments on either side and a bundle tied onto the area behind his seat. Realization dawned, and with it, a piercing pain in her chest.

"You're leaving." It wasn't a question.

He heard her and turned. "Hey, kid. What's up?"

She clutched her poinsettas and stared at him. "You're leaving," she repeated. "Why?"

Read more here.

Pages: 331
Published: re-issue 2014 - original 1998

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