The Bridesmaid

 

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The Bridesmaid

Do You Love A Witty Romance and Bridesmaids In Pink?

Get a front row seat for all the behind the scenes drama this catty group of bridesmaids has to dish up!

Kate Michaels is a down-on-her-luck bridesmaid waiting for her life to finally take a turn in the right direction. This country girl trying to make it in the city of Portland, Oregon covers up her shambled life with a web of lies. Her raging credit card debt, unemployed status, and deadbeat ex-boyfriend/tenant become minor league problems when she is cast in her friend Mary’s wedding.

In the days leading up to the nuptials, Kate ends up running interference to protect the bride-to-be from the pretentious maid-of-honor "a.k.a. the sister of the groom" and picking up the slack of the other self-absorbed bridesmaids. She almost forgets about the too-hot-to-handle groomsman fated to escort her at the wedding, except he keeps popping up when she least expects it.

In walks AJ, the dashing manager of Portland's newest dining hot spot. As the wedding craziness unfolds, Kate finds herself confiding in and slowly falling for the down to earth, hardworking manager. Life is looking good for once until the night before the wedding.

What will this truck-driving, boot-stomping, hammer-swinging country girl do when she finds out she’s not the only one leading a life of deception?

Modern, amusing and empowering, “The Bridesmaid” will have you rooting for the underdog all the way to the altar.

 

 

 

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The Bridesmaid Excerpt - Chapter One

 

Everyone knows the color of envy is green and the color of love is red, but what is the color of deceit? Kate Michaels wondered this as she stepped over the streetcar tracks and onto the sidewalk in downtown Portland. If anyone asked her that question today, she would answer ivory. The simple, understated shade of the knee-length dress she wore screamed fraud—but it felt so good to wear something new and fashionable. She reached around and felt for the price tag, making sure it was still tucked beneath her wheat colored hair.

Kate didn’t know when she’d started wearing deception so easily, but she was layering it on as if it were the new trend. The little white lies started out as small half-truths, but they’d grown, taking on a life of their own.

This dress, for instance, with its elegant crocheted overlay and silk lining that brushed against her skin like a whisper, let her hope for once that she wouldn’t feel like the ugly stepsister among the tightly bonded sorority sisters—a group she’d been on the fringe of since freshman year at Oregon State University.

Kate lifted her chin and squared her shoulders, practicing her walk of confidence as she neared the restaurant where she was having lunch with the aforementioned sisters. The sun slipped behind a cloud as she stepped inside. A whiff of new paint rose and then sank under the wave of aromas that came from the kitchen. The interior was dark and sophisticated, gray walls, exposed brick, and dark woods.

A young man dressed in black stood behind a podium and smiled at her. A flash of red stitching on his shirt read: Mike.

“Welcome to Alejandro’s,” he said. “How may I help you?”

“I’m here for the Goodwich lunch,” she told him.

Mary Goodwich, her former roommate and life-saving friend, announced her engagement two days ago and dubbed Kate a bridesmaid. It was the only reason she was here subjecting herself to this lunch.

He nodded and stepped toward the large opening of the black velvet curtains that led to the interior of the restaurant when the main door opened again. He froze. Kate looked over her shoulder and followed his gaze.

In the doorway, silhouetted by the radiant spring light, stood Olivia Fisher—the undisputed leader of the Fierce Four, sister of the groom, friend of the bride, and the queen of mean.

She wore a crisp black shirtdress, smartly tied at the waist. The silver zipper, starting at the dress’s knee-length hemline, stopped short of her bosom, leaving a gape that exposed her impressive cleavage. The wind blew her long, straight, black hair in her face as the door closed behind her. She pushed the hair back into place with her dark sunglasses, settling the frames on top of her head.

Olivia’s eyes landed on Kate, and she smiled apathetically, the toothless curve of her lips conveyed nothing more than tolerance. “Hi Kate,” she said and followed up dryly with, “Great dress.”

Kate felt the tug of a smile. It worked. She’d been noticed. And praised, not gushingly, but the dress had been acknowledged instead of rebuffed—the reaction her outfits usually evoked from the leader of the pack. As Olivia’s espresso-colored eyes drew down the length of Kate’s body, the heavy weight of her guilt washed away. Then Olivia’s eyes reached her shoes, and the tweakish pull of her beautifully glossed lips told Kate she’d failed inspection.

Kate shuffled her feet. She looked down and saw her comfortable black loafers through new eyes. The little scuff marks and the inside stitch coming loose sang a different song than the sophisticated dress she was wearing, but it’s not like her closet was stocked full of choices. She had enough fashion sense not to wear her paper-thin flip-flops, running shoes, or even her manure-speckled boots she sometimes caught flack for.

These were the most decent shoes she owned. Of course, she wished she could have bought the sandals on display at the boutique, the ones that matched the dress perfectly, but her credit card surely would have been declined with both purchases. Besides, the store’s thirty-day return policy wouldn’t apply after she wore them on the street. The dress was a different story.

Olivia dismissed Kate with her eyes, as if she no longer had time for her. Mike, still standing like a statue, watched as the goddess Olivia approached him.

“I’m here for the Goodwich party,” Olivia said with all the grace and authority one would expect from a second year associate at one of Portland’s largest law firms and a former Delta Gamma Sorority President.

“Ri…right this way,” Mike instructed. His face bloomed into a full blush after his voice cracked on the words.

Olivia seemed unfazed and Kate followed in her shadow. She kept her eyes down, drawn to the rustic, wide-planked gray hardwood floor as they passed through the lunch crowd and into a private room, partitioned by more black velvet curtains.

The bride-to-be and Madison Richards, freshly tanned from her honeymoon in Florida, sat hunched over a three-inch notebook Kate instantly recognized.

Both women jumped from their seats, and that’s when round one of the squeals began. Olivia joined them, her high-pitched trill piercing Kate’s ear. Olivia bent her knees and extended her arms to receive Mary and Madison. The three of them linked together and bounced up and down in a three-way hug. Kate decided long ago that this was the ritual greeting of all sorority sisters, whether they hadn’t seen each other for ten minutes, ten months, or ten years. Kate stepped to the side, clearly not a part of this reunion.

When the three broke formation, Olivia reached out and snatched Mary’s hand to look at the ring.

“Nice,” she commented, holding Mary’s hand by her fingertips. “I told Tony to go with the two carat diamond, but does he ever listen to me? He’s too cheap for that, isn’t he? But I guess this one does look pretty on your delicate fingers.”

“Oh, I think it’s just perfect.” Mary the Good Witch, whose fair hair, permanent smile, and propensity to wear pink earned her the nickname after Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz, let Olivia’s snobbish words float right over her. Kate, from her sideline position, wished for the umpteenth time in her life that she could kick Olivia with her worn out loafer right where the sun don’t shine. But before Kate finished her thought, Mary reached out and pulled her into a hug.

“Kathryn Michaels, it’s so good to see you. It has been way too long.” Mary squeezed her tight, and Kate offered a sincere congratulations. Mary released her and held out her hand to show off the ring.

“Beautiful,” Kate responded, but the word was submerged under a new round of squeals.

Michelle, a fashion merchandiser for a kid’s clothing shop—not her first choice, but she had big plans for moving up to Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue any day—and Brandi, a former Miss Oregon contestant and certified aerobics instructor at The Downtown Gym, had just arrived. The Fierce Four, the name Kate gave to the four girls, was now complete. Mary became a peripheral member of the group when she joined the Delta Gamma sorority house. It wasn’t until she became seriously involved with Olivia’s older brother that she was spliced in as one of them.

Kate took the opportunity to slide into a chair at the table next to Mary and the notebook. The first time Kate saw the notebook was in the dorm room she shared with Mary during freshman year. At that time, it was only a half-inch thick. Over the years, Mary collected pictures from bridal magazines, kept invitations and notes about weddings she attended, and cataloged them for the day she would tie the knot. Mary had been planning her wedding since she was twelve.

Another round of oohs and aahs filled the room while Mary showed off the ring one more time. With shepherding arms, Mary guided everyone back to the table. Only Brandi, who took the chair next to Kate, said hello.

“Okay, first things first,” Mary said, flipping to a forward section of the notebook.

Kate could see a hand drawn diagram with X's and O's, much like a football playbook. Mary’s level of organization bordered on the edge of compulsive, but Kate imagined it served her well at the small women’s business law firm where she worked.

All eyes were on Mary as she graced them with one of her most genuine smiles and said, “Thank you all for being here, and thank you for agreeing to be part of my wedding.” Tears sprang into her eyes, and she pulled the black cloth napkin from the table to dab at them.

A moment later, with her emotions in check, Mary consulted the drawing in the notebook again. “Olivia has graciously agreed to be my maid of honor, and my little brother Gabe will be the best man.” Everyone smiled at Olivia, who feigned humility with her own smile—she loved attention anyway she could get it.

“It’s only for you, Mary, and my brother that I would walk down the aisle with a man so many years younger than me,” Olivia said.

Mary’s brother, ten years their junior, would be the only one in the wedding party not toasting with champagne, but Kate was glad her friend planned to include her brother.

“Well, you only walk out of the church together, and then there’s just one dance at the reception that you’re obligated to dance with him,” Mary said, trying to reassure her soon-to-be-sister-in-law. Olivia shrugged as though the effort may kill her, but she would somehow bring herself to make the sacrifice in the name of matrimony.

“Bridesmaid Number One is Madison, and she’ll be paired with her lovely new husband Zackary.”

Madison smiled. Her wedding, which Kate had not been invited to, was held last month at a winery, The River’s Gate. Mary described it as a romantic venue even though they were kept indoors by the torrential rain and winds coming off the Columbia River.

“Michelle and Leo will be next in line.” Michelle rewarded herself with a tiny golf clap, obviously pleased with the pairing. Rumor had it, she and Leo had a little rendezvous after Zak and Madison’s wedding, something she was probably hoping would continue.

“Brandi and Tyler are next in line,” Mary said after another consultation of her diagram.

“He’s on loan,” Olivia said. Her sharp tone sliced through the light mood of the table and pulled all the attention back to her. Her brows were knit together in a scowl meant only for Brandi, who had an unfortunate habit of forgetting to keep her hands off unavailable men. Olivia and Tyler, an item for the last two years, had reached the status of serious, and Kate was sure Olivia would be the next to wed as long as Brandi didn’t get in her way.

The sharp lines of Olivia’s face quickly faded to a smile as though her warning had been in good fun. Mary fastened a tight smile on her lips before she returned to the chart in front of her, sweeping Olivia’s outburst under the table.

“And Kathryn and Alejandro will be the final bridesmaid and groomsman in line.”

Alejandro, Kate thought as she searched her memory bank. The name was familiar, but she couldn’t place it.

“He’s a friend of Anthony’s from USC,” Mary continued. “They’ve stayed in touch over the years, and now that he has just opened up this fabulous restaurant, we’ll be seeing a lot more of him. He even offered to hold the reception here for us.”

“That’s wonderful,” Kate replied, hoping she sounded like more of an eager bridesmaid than she felt.

“And you’ll just love him,” Mary gushed.

“He’s not your type or anything,” Olivia’s voice shot out from across the table. “He’s lived in California his whole life. Grown up around movie stars and everything. His mom is a makeup artist and works on the sets in Hollywood. He’s used to dating models, you know, really high caliber women.”

Got it, Kate thought, interpreting Olivia’s words, Alejandro prefers brainless bimbos to redneck country girls, and she should keep her shitkickers in the closet.

us, it didn’t include Kate—she wasn't a member at their gym.

Why was the wedding happening so fast?

“I smell a shotgun,” Brandi said, a devilish gleam in her eye.

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