Wednesday, December 08, 2010

HIS RUNAWAY BRIDE

Running through the books that Harlequin is re-releasing as eBooks, I'm choosing this one because it is the very beginning of my "Upper Haughton" adventure.   These are the characters who started it all when their wedding plans hit the skids.  Big time.



Her ghostly reflection stared back at her from the car window. On the surface, everything perfect. Her dress, her hair, her make-up.


'Nearly there, Willow. All set?'


She turned to father, distinguished in his morning suit, his top hat resting on his lap as the car, ribbons fluttering, drove in slow state towards a church filled with friends and family, all gathered for her big day. What would they do, she wondered, if she didn't turn up.


'Did you wonder? Before you married mum? Whether you were making a terrible mistake?'


'It's a big step. Nerves are to be expected.' Then her father frowned. 'Or is there something more?'


'I don't know. Maybe. ' Then, 'If I hadn't been offered that wretched job ...'


The letter to Toby Townsend lay on the hall table. She'd kept putting off posting it. She'd meant to do it last night, along with the thank you letters for wedding presents; like the juicer, the clock to count the hours that she'd spend dusting a house she'd loathed on sight.


She'd had to smile and smile to keep her feelings bottled up, so as not to hurt Mike's father. Not to hurt Mike, who'd been so overwhelmed by the generosity of the gift of the house that he'd been quite lost for words. And somehow the letter hadn't quite made it into the box.


'Tell me, Willow, if Mike had rung last night and said "let's forget the wedding", how would you have felt?'


'Relieved.' The word, blurted out without hesitation, shocked her. She said it again. 'Relieved.' And this time she knew it was true. Not because she didn't love Mike, but because she didn't want this life. As the car began to slow she said, 'Don't stop!'


The driver grinned. 'You girls do like to make a man suffer. Once more round the block is it?'


'Yes, once more round the block. Dad, I can't do this to Mike. Can I? He's in the church now, waiting for me --'


'If you're really that unsure, my dear, then I think you must.'


'Mother will never forgive me.'


'This has nothing to do with your mother. This is your life.'


'But the reception --'


'It won't be wasted. People will still need to eat.'


Was that the only reason she was going through with this? Concern about wasting some food, upsetting her mother? 'Tell Mike --' She stopped. What? That she loved him? That she loved him but she couldn't marry him? Better to say nothing ...


'Leave it to me, sweetheart.' He squeezed her hand. 'Drop me off at the corner, driver, and then take my daughter home.' He got out, held the door for a moment. 'Willow, about your mother ... Maybe it would be a good idea to disappear for a few days.'


*   *  *


Was that why he was doing it? Going through with the wedding? Taking on the Chronicle? Not to disappoint his father.  One life, Cal had said.  He had one shot at getting it right. He didn't have time to waste it living other people's dreams.


And Willow? What about Willow? He loved her. She was the best thing that had happened to him in years, but she wanted a career. He wasn't stupid. She'd been aching for him to say she should take that job at The Globe. He'd seen it and part of him had wanted to say, go for it, don't waste a minute of your life. But there was another, darker side that was all screwed up, that reminded him that she was the one who'd insisted on marriage. Well, she'd got it. She couldn't have it all.


What kind of start was that? How soon before they'd both be wishing they were somewhere else?


Out of sight someone was playing the organ, quiet incidental music, a counterpoint to the quiet rustling as the wedding guests took their places, exotic hats surreptitiously angled as women glanced sideways at him, tipping close as they whispered to each other.


The sun was shining in through the stained glass, spattering the marble steps with red and blue and gold. But he felt cold and the scent of flowers in the vast arrangements either side of the aisle was making him feel slightly nauseous.


How much longer? He glanced at his watch. Willow was late. Last minute nerves? Suppose she didn't turn up? How would he feel? Devastated or just relieved?


'Don't look so worried, Mike, I haven't lost the rings.'


Relieved.


'Cal, what would you say if I told you I don't want to do this?'


Cal looked at him as if he was about to say something flippant, then he frowned. 'Is that a serious question?' His face must have been answer enough, because he said, 'For the last week you've looked like a man on the way to the gallows. I thought it was the Chronicle --'


'It was. That and Josie's juicer.'


'What has a juicer got to do with it?' He waited, but when no further explanation was forthcoming he took in a deep breath. 'You'd better make up your mind what you want, Mike. The minute Willow steps foot in this church you're committed.'


'I'm already committed. I can't --'


'For heaven's sake, if you've got real doubts you must. Get out of here. Now.'


'Tell her ...' What? What could he possibly say? That he loved her? But that this life was not the one he'd ever wanted to live. 'Tell her father that I'll pay for all this ...'


'Sure. Now go. I've got things to do.'

What happens when two people love each other, but want completely different things from life?  Download HIS RUNAWAY BRIDE and find out what happens next.  Or leave a comments and you might the lucky one to win a paper copy If you do, don't forget to come back next week and check to see if you've won!

15 comments:

Joanna St. James said...

yay! I would love to win a paper copy.
its a good thing to see all your books coming back out.

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks, Joanne. It makes me pretty happy, too :)

Caroline said...

Ohh can you enter me in for a chance to win "His Runaway Bride"? It sounds fab. I've just finished MISTLETOE AND THE LOST STILETTO and thought it was a lovely, lovely book. I've never tweeted before but after reading your book I just might! Stay warm. Caroline xx

Nas Dean said...

It is good to see all your books being re-released. And HIS RUNAWAY BRIDE sounds an interesting read!

But it's just not the bride even the groom is running away!

Jan Jones said...

I've never read this one! Liz, have you been sneaking back in time to write brilliant-sounding books?

And if so, can I have a loan of your time-turner, please?

Oh, and a copy of the book? Pretty please?

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks so much, Caroline!

Liz Fielding said...

You have to read the opening of the book to see how they got themselves into that mess. :)

Liz Fielding said...

I wish, Jan! Sneaking back in time to use up all the time I've wasted, to start writing earlier, and maybe learn the trick of not staring into space for hours - but going off and doing something else while I think about the next scene. (I'd have a much cleaner house!)

Vince said...

Hi Liz:

I just saw 43 results for a search of your titles on Amazon for the Kindle. This is great because over a career an author will hit some 5-Star home runs and they should not just go away after a month or two.

I think everyone should read: “City Girl in Training” and “A Wedding at Leopard Tree Lodge” and I’d love to know what you consider your best 5 or 10 books. Do you think it would make sense to make a list or would that be like saying which of your children you like best?

Vince

P.S. One of my favorite themes is “Runaway Bride”. Yours is on Kindle.

Liz Fielding said...

Oh, Vince, you are so good for a woman's soul!

A list - it would feel a bit like saying which of your children you love best, but obviously there are some stand out books.

Books that have sparked the strongest reaction include -

City Girl in Training
The Bridesmaid's Reward
The Marriage Miracle
A Family of His Own
The Bachelor's Baby (I'll be featuring that one next, since it follows on from His Runaway Bride)
The Best Man & the Bridesmaid (not available as an eBook, but my first Rita winner and one of Isabel Swift's favourite books) and
A Wedding at Leopard Tree Lodge

Michele L. said...

Hi Liz,

That is so cool to have your books reissued. I have missed out on your first ones. Now I can catch up! I definitely would like to read this one. It sounds heavenly! I love a good romance!

Happy Holidays!

Tamsyn said...

Don't they communicate? Really talk to each other? Great story line! Wonder what will happen now?
Happy Holidays!

tamsyn5@yahoo.com
international

Judy T. said...

Hi Liz,

Congratulations on having your books reissued as Ebooks! After reading the blurb now I want to know how it all turns out :)

Liz Fielding said...

I've drawn the winner and it's Tamsyn!

Thanks everyone for taking part. I will be offering other books from my backlist over the coming weeks, so do drop by again. And in January there will be copies of all four of the new Riva series on offer from the authors - together with guest posts and excerpts. Not to be missed!

Sunnymay said...

Put me in the running for your book, His Runaway Bride. I love the teaser you gave as an excerpt.