The Wedding Bargain. Yvonne Lindsay
“Take me away,” Shanal implored.
It was the last thing Raif expected the bride to say in the middle of her wedding ceremony.
“Take me far away, right now.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“Just, please, get me out of here,” she begged, her bewitching pale green eyes shining with unshed tears.
It was the tears that undid him. A taxi rounded the corner. Raif secured Shanal’s small hand in his and pulled the runaway bride to her feet.
“C’mon,” he said, as he bolted for the sidewalk, towing Shanal along behind him.
He raised his hand to get the cabbie’s attention. Eyes round as saucers and his mouth hanging open, the cabbie stopped and Raif yanked open the back door and guided Shanal inside.
Shanal sat next to him, pale but finally more composed, as they pulled away from the curb and down the street.
Raif cast one look through the back window. The crowd on the sidewalk outside the cathedral had grown.
In its midst stood the groom, his eyes fixed on the retreating cab. Even from this distance Raif felt a prickle of unease. Burton, understandably, did not look happy.
But Raif was getting exactly what he wanted.
* * *
The Wedding Bargain is part of The Master Vintners series: Tangled vines, tangled lives.
The Wedding Bargain
A typical Piscean, USA TODAY bestselling author YVONNE LINDSAY has always preferred her imagination to the real world. Married to her blind date hero and with two adult children, she spends her days crafting the stories of her heart, and in her spare time she can be found with her nose in a book reliving the power of love, or knitting socks and daydreaming. Contact her via her website: www.yvonnelindsay.com.
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I don’t often get the chance to tell my editor how much I appreciate her, but I want to do it here and now. E.M., you are amazing and I feel privileged to work with you.
Thank you for making my work shine.
“We are gathered here today...”
The priest’s perfectly modulated voice filled the cathedral as sunlight filtered through the stained-glass windows, bathing the hallowed space with jeweled tones. The heady scent of the gardenias in Shanal’s bridal bouquet, imported specifically at Burton’s request, wafted up to fill her senses—and left her feeling slightly suffocated.
“...to join together Burton and Shanal in matrimony...”
Was this what she really wanted above all things? She looked across to her groom. Burton Rogers, so handsome, so intelligent, so successful. So rich. He was a good guy, no, a great guy. And she liked him, she really did.
Like. Such an insipid expression, really.
“...which is an honorable and solemn estate and therefore is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently and soberly.”
Words she’d spoken to her best friend, Ethan Masters, only a year ago, echoed in her mind. You have the chance to have the kind of forever love that many people can only dream of. I envy you that because that’s the kind of love I want from the man I marry, if I ever marry. And you can be certain I’m not prepared to settle for less than that, ever.
They’d been brave words, spoken before her world had begun to crumble around her. Before she’d chosen to sacrifice the chance to find true love. Before she’d latched onto the opportunity to give her parents a secure retirement after their lives had been torn apart.
Was Burton her forever love? No. Was she settling for less? Most definitely.
Everyone in the lab at the viticulture research center had said it had been a lucky day for her when she’d caught Burton’s attention. They’d teased her about finding love in their clinical environment and she guessed, on the face of things, they had a point. As her boss, Burton had a reputation for expecting excellence in everything around him. Clearly, she had fallen within that category. And on the face of it, she’d agreed about how fortunate she was—faking joy amongst her colleagues when he’d proposed marriage and offered to solve her problems. She’d convinced