This month for Teaser Tuesdays I am going to be giving you bits and pieces out of my upcoming new release, The Widowmaker, the fifth installment of the Stan Brookshire series.
Here is your first taste! Enjoy!
She looked so lovely walking down the aisle. He looked so handsome. They were picture perfect together: the blushing bride with her groom.
It should have been him up there. He did not deserve her. She was his. She would always be his.
Focus. His mind reeled. He knew that he had to keep a grip on reality. He was here for a purpose. He had a job to do.
But he couldn’t help but think about the fact that he should be the one standing there beside her, not the groom.
It should have never ended up this way. They’d had a fairy tale romance. They had been made for each other. They had grown up together, had been high school sweethearts. Everyone had thought that they were going to be the one couple that made it through the long haul.
So when they had decided to get married half way though their college years, there had been a cheer from the residents in their small hometown. Their Golden Boy was marrying The Golden Girl.
It was a bright spring day that they had chosen to get married. The weather had been perfect. The sun had been shining, a light breeze ruffled the leaves in the trees and there wasn’t a dark cloud in the sky.
Almost everyone in their small town had shown up. The tiny church had been packed to standing room only. Everyone had been smiling.
He remembered looking down at his watch, standing beside the priest at the altar, and seeing that there were only a few more minutes left before his beautiful bride walked down the aisle and he married her.
They had even decided to write their own vows. They would have the conventional ones in there to appease the rest of their family but they’d had their own things that they had wanted to say to each other. And he had spent the last of those minutes of waiting going over the words that he had prepared for her.
He remembered the door at the back of the church opening. He remembered the look on her father’s face as he walked down the aisle.
He remembered the feeling in his chest. The constricted way his lungs seemed to close up on him. He remembered feeling the way his head spun and he had almost passed out when he heard the words that her father had spoken to him.
“She is not coming.”
They all had tried to soothe his pain, but in that moment, his heart had shattered on the floor of the church and there was nothing that any of them would ever be able to do to put it back together again.
From the bits and pieces his broken mind had gathered, she had found someone else. She had met the other man many months before. Apparently what she’d never told him was that she’d had doubts about marrying him since she’d met this other man.
She told her father that she believed that she was doing the right thing; that she did not want to marry someone if she wasn’t positive it was love.
It did not make sense to a lot of the people there that day. And it most certainly had not made any sense to him either. It had done little to stop the bleeding in his soul and soothe the ache in his broken heart.
He had left the church in the arms of his mother. The one woman he had always been able to count on through thick and thin. There had never been a doubt about her and her loyalty to him. His father had left his mother when he was just a toddler. When his father walked out on stormy night, she had turned all her love and devotion on her little boy and had sacrificed everything she had had in order to give him the best that life had to offer.
She was the one that he could count on and from the moment that thought had come to him he decided that he would never love again. He followed his mother in her beliefs that God had done this for a reason. He soon believed that there was a higher purpose to his life and that was the reason. He went to church every day and prayed for the knowledge and the guidance to know the path that he was to take. He prayed to know God’s will and to understand the reasons for the way that things went in his life.
And as he prayed the answers became clear. He was to become a member of God’s house and to teach the world His words. He was to transform from just a simple member of the congregation to a teacher of the congregation. He was to become a priest.
When he told his mother of God’s wishes, she had become elated that God had chosen her son to lead the church and had supported him in any way he had needed, just as he had known she would. She had bought him his airplane ticket to the seminary school and had carefully packed his bags for him.
At the airport she had hugged him fiercely as he prepared to board the plane and she’d been there waiting for him when he disembarked years later as a priest. He had decided that he would be the one to take over for the priest that was leaving the church that had had gone to as a child. It was something that he knew that he knew would make his mother very proud.
Coming back into the present, he realized that what had seemed like an hour lost in his own memories was only a few precious moments in reality and that the bride had just barely made it up the isle to stand before him at the altar.
At least she made it to his side.
Pushing back his thoughts as he stared at the woman, he couldn’t help but notice how much she looked like the woman he was supposed to have married. Her hair was long and blonde, with a slight wave to it. Just as his bride’s had been all those years ago.
He started the ceremony just at that moment, trying to push out the thoughts that were running through his head.
They had their own vows to say. Just like he had had so many years ago.
His chest was starting to tighten as he pushed onward through the prayers, the hymns. He had to get out of there or he was going to pass out right there at the altar.
Oh, dear God! She looks so much like the woman who was to be mine! His mind screamed at him as he spoke about the vows that they had undertaken: the vows of holy matrimony and the sanctity of marriage.
And then it was over.
“And you may now kiss the bride.” His voice cracked as he spoke. He reached for the glass of water that had been brought up for this very reason, and he drank it down in a matter of a few seconds. It still did not do any good to cool the waves of emotions that washed over him like tidal waves in the grips of a tropical storm.
As the new couple walked back down the isle hand in hand, smiling and waving at everyone they passed, he took it as his chance to leave. As he passed one of the sisters in the hallway, he instructed, “Please tell them that I am not well and please see to it that no one disturbs me.”
She nodded, “Yes, Father. Is everything alright? You look like you have seen a ghost.”
“I will be fine. I just need to rest and to think on things for now. Thank you for seeing to the things that I have asked.”
And without another word, he turned and walked the rest of the way down the hall to the sanctuary of his rooms, shutting the world around him out as he closed the door behind him.
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