Today's excerpt is from Linger by Melissa J. Crispin, part of the
Summer's Sweet Embrace anthology.
We hope you enjoy today's tease!
“Do you think it looks okay?” I had been lucky to find a dress in my size on the clearance rack at the bridal shop. It didn’t need a stitch of alterations either, which had to be a small miracle in itself.
“The dress? Are you kidding? It’s gorgeous,” Marlene said, fanning out various cosmetics on a nearby dresser. “Come, sit down. I want to help you with your hair and makeup.” I complied. She picked up an eyeliner pencil and applied color beneath my eyes. “Bronze will make those big brown eyes of yours pop. And we’ll add golden tones to your eyelids as a complement.”
“Thanks for helping me get ready.” I meant it more than she probably knew. On a day where Mom would have definitely been around to help, it was nice to have another woman there for support.
Marlene brushed color on my cheeks. “I’m happy to do it. You’re already like a sister to me. After today, it’ll be official.” She fussed with my hair next, twisting it on top of my head, letting soft black curls cascade down to frame my face. "I'm still surprised that you and Noah didn't want a church wedding and a reception.” She wrestled a bobby pin into place. “Hold your breath." The telltale sound of an aerosol can hissed as Marlene sprayed my updo.
I coughed. "I think that's good." Flailing my hands, I waved her away while also attempting to disperse the chemicals in the air around me. "We didn't see the point in spending all that money when we could use it for so many other things." I rubbed shiny gloss on my pouty lips and picked up the waterproof mascara. “And I’m tired of explaining to everyone that I’m not pregnant. I don’t need to spend the evening with everyone searching for my baby bump.” I sighed.
Marlene nodded, a smirk on her face. “See? Told you so.”
“Doesn’t anyone believe in love anymore?”
Many of my friends and Noah’s had reacted to our engagement with furrowed brows, along with the nagging question, “Why?” To which I countered, “Why not?” I looked at it from a different perspective entirely. While they were busy highlighting things we’d be missing, I counted everything we would gain.
A hard knock on the basement door made me jump, jerking my hand to the side and causing me to nearly poke my eye out. It creaked opened.
"Noah, you better not come down here. It's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding." I blotted at the corner of one eye with a tissue, wiping away a dark smudge of mascara. But, regardless of my words, he came thundering down the stairs.
"Nice. Way to ignore the bride's wishes," Marlene said.
"Aw, come on. You girls don't believe in that nonsense, do you?"
I shrugged. "I wanted to surprise you."
When his hazel gaze met mine, butterflies fluttered in my stomach. Eight years of staring into those eyes, and every time still punched me in the feels. "You look beautiful.” He stalked toward me and rested his hands on my hips. “And I wouldn’t be surprised, even if you did make me wait, because you always look beautiful to me."
The corners of my mouth turned up, even though I wanted to pretend to be mad.
“There’s the cute annoying thing again,” Marlene said. She added in fake gagging for good measure.