Today we welcome Bonnie McCune as the author of the second segment of A Blizzard Wedding. Bonnie’s most recent release, Heart-strong, hit the shelves only yesterday and just in time for Valentine’s day. A novella, this little story about thinking too much and feeling too little, is
chock-full of gentle humor and Bonnie’s trademark witty voice. Be sure to check it out!
Now, a drum roll please…
Yesterday’s winner of the $10 gift certificate to Amazon was Gail! Congrats! I’ll be in touch.
Today we are giving away an eBook copy of Bonnie’s novel, A Saint Comes Stumbling In, about a rejected wife who conquers self-doubt, traps a criminal, and wins love. To enter, post a comment on this blog and tell us whether you are headstrong, or heart-strong! Entries must be made before 8 a.m. eastern time on 2/13, and the winner will be announced on 2/13. Good luck!
For those of you who are just joining us, A Blizzard Wedding is a continuation—and the grand finale—of After the Storm and Lightning Strikes.
If you haven’t read these two short stories yet, download them for FREE on our website. They are also available through most of the popular eBook retailers.
A Blizzard Wedding
By Bonnie McCune
A shriek from across the concourse jarred Rachel out of her brooding. A young woman, a near twin to Rachel, barreled down the aisle at top speed and flung her arms around Rachel’s neck. A yellow nylon tote bag dropped on Rachel’s toes and a wheeled suitcase spun away to hit a row of chairs next to them.
“Cousin Ivy!” Rachel crowed, jumped up, and hugged back. Now that her maid of honor was here, everything would be fine. “I was starting to worry your plane wouldn’t get in from Boston before the blizzard settled.”
“Do you think I’d let something as minor as a storm keep me from your one and only wedding?” said the dark-haired gamine. Although her hair, clipped short and shag, was different from Rachel’s, her petite features, flashing eyes, and slim frame were near-duplicates.
The two women stepped back and looked at one another. “You look great!” they said simultaneously.
Rachel tugged Ivy to the side of the concourse to avoid other passengers. “Sit, sit,” she said as she lowered herself back onto the bench. “Did you find a dress you want to wear?”
“Yes, but I still don’t understand why you’re low-keying such a momentous occasion as your wedding.”
“Luke and I love each other. Our relationship is so special that we don’t need all that hoo-haw. That’s why I told you just to find a nice gown.”
“Speaking of Luke…” Ivy’s head swiveled from one side to the other. “Where is the man? I thought you two were inseparable.”
Rachel remembered her earlier concern and began to panic. “I don’t know. He came first to make final arrangements. I thought he’d meet me here, but no dice. I tried the lodge and his cell phone, but no responses. What can be wrong?”
“I’m sure it’s nothing. You know how bad reception can be in the mountains. But I do think we should make our way to the lodge.” Ivy flashed a glance outside where snowfall now was covering the street. “At least we’ll be able to relax and get ready. Isn’t there a shuttle that goes to all the hotels?”
With a flurry of activity, the two shrugged on coats, hats, scarves and gloves, then positioned their pieces of luggage for maximum efficiency. They made their way outside to the transit lane to join a few winter enthusiasts also waiting for transportation. One of these was a tall man toting not only two suitcases but also ski equipment, a guitar case, a laptop carrier, and a cell phone, on which he kept punching numbers with one gloved finger.
“There’s someone who doesn’t know how to pack,” murmured Ivy to Rachel.
As the green-and-white shuttle pulled under the roofed parking lane, clearing a bit of the snow from the road, the man joined the two to wait for the door to open. It swung ajar, and all three attempted to enter at once.
“Excuse me,” the man said with a sweeping bow. “Ladies first.”
Rachel flicked him a smile, but Ivy frowned and whispered, “What a phony.”
As Rachel found two seats near the front of the shuttle, she reproached Ivy. “Come on, Cuz. The guy was being polite. Don’t jump to your usual conclusions.”
The two settled in, and the man passed them in the shuttle’s aisle. His skis knocked Ivy’s shoulder, and he lost a grip on his phone, dumping the instrument into her lap. “Watch it, buster,” she snapped at him.
The trip to the ski lodge gave the cousins time to giggle over the upcoming Valentine’s Day wedding, Rachel to expound on Luke’s many virtues, and Ivy to provide an update on her latest adventures on the dating scene. She’d been the survivor in her mid-twenties to a short-lived marriage to a jerk, and now had plunged into a whirl of new acquaintances to shake off the effects of her bad experience.
“So that’s my report,” Ivy sighed. “All the men out there are hopeless. Most have no jobs or lousy ones, they were raised by wild animals, they rarely bathe, and all they’re interested in is reality television shows and sports. You’ve got the only good one. If he is, indeed, what he seems to be.”
Rachel got annoyed. “I’ve told you how wonderful he is; and you’ve met him twice when you came into town for business.”
“Sure. That’s why he met us at the airport,” Ivy said.
“Enough, enough. I know you were burned, but stop with the snide comments.”
The rest of the short drive was silent. In front of the lodge, the cousins got off and collected their luggage. They paused momentarily to look at the front of the ski lodge, a charming interpretation of a Swiss villa, surrounded by evergreens and decked with miniature flashing white lights around the eaves.
“Nice,” Ivy said.
“Yes, and small enough to be intimate and friendly. Let’s check in.”
At the registration desk, Rachel stepped forward. Before she could sign in, she heard Ivy behind her. “Oh, no. Look who’s followed us here.” Their fellow shuttle passenger had dumped his things at the side of the desk and stood a few feet from them.
Rachel turned back to the clerk. “Checking in for Rachel Harmon and Luke Ashton’s party. Two of us.”
“Make that three of us.” The man from the bus stepped forward. “You must be Rachel,” he continued. “I’m the best man, Joshua Muro.”
“Oh, Luke’s told me so much about you. I’m happy to finally meet you. And this is my maid of honor and cousin, Ivy Tower,” Rachel answered.
“We’ll have time for pleasantries later,” said Joshua. “Right now I need to talk to Luke. I’ve tried his cell so often, my finger’s sore. Where is he?”
“I don’t know,” said Rachel. “You mean you haven’t heard from him either?”
“Pardon me, miss,” the clerk said. “May I finish your registrations?”
Rachel nodded and returned to the duty at hand. “Has anyone else from our party arrived? In addition to my fiancé, I mean.”
“Sorry. I know we’re expecting eight or ten more, but the weather maybe delaying them,” answered the clerk.
Ivy and Joshua backed off and continued to chat in low tones. As Rachel finished and bent to collect her luggage, she couldn’t believe what she was hearing and seeing.
Ivy leaned forward and waved an index finger under Joshua’s nose. “And let me give it to you straight,” she was grousing in a low but strong tone. “If your friend gives my Rachel a minute of doubt or discomfort in this marriage, I’m coming after him myself.”
“Right back at you,” answered Joshua through clenched teeth. “If it turns out your wonderful cousin is getting married because she’s a gold digger or an overly ambitious writer, I’ll see to it that Luke drops her like a hot potato.”
“Excusssse me,” Rachel said to the combatants as she pretended she hadn’t overheard the accusations being tossed around like salad. “Are we ready to go to our rooms?”
Why the instant hostility between the maid of honor and best man?
Where is the rest of the wedding party?
What impact will the blizzard have on the happy event?
Most importantly, where on earth is Luke and why is he missing?
And don’t forget to check out Bonnie’s new release, Heart-strong!
Headstrong. Rachel Kinsey fits the description perfectly. The divorced soccer mom may be ditzy and as sympathetic to losers as a charity, but she knows what she wants. A man completely different from her unreliable ex-husband and the outrageous characters she’s usually doomed to attract.
Enter Jim Landers, the ideal candidate. An accidental encounter introduces her to the tall, dark attorney who loves soccer and kids. The only problem? He’s not prepared for a ready-made family and a woman as comfortable as a beloved sweater rather than a beauty queen. A woman whose kindness, enthusiasm for life, and unguarded honesty may disturb a man who values order, perfection, and serenity. Jim turns to the flawless yet distant Donna as a substitute for Rachel.
She should show him how much he means to her, but rejection from an absent father and a capricious ex-husband may have ruined Rachel’s ability to connect to Jim Will she risk herself, her son and their future by revealing how much Jim means to her?
A touching, tender tale full of gentle humor, about thinking too much and feeling too little. Rachel must learn to be heart-strong in order to find her soul mate.