Read the first chapter
The beer in her hand was as warm as the tears on her cheeks were cold.
Pounding at the door had her taking another sip of the beer, certain that the lock would hold and that—if it didn’t—surely the fact that this was a church would keep them from breaking it in.
“Come out! Please.”
She didn’t even answer. Just sipped the beer. The mounds of tulle around her made it look as if she were in an insanely frothy bubble bath. Oh, the irony.
Each time, it was longer and longer between visits. Longer and longer between when they tried to coax her out. Maybe they were learning that they couldn’t.
The guests had to have all gone home now. Maybe they’d eaten the food and had a grand party, or a solemn one, while her heart broke. Damn, she’d missed the baked salmon and the chocolate cake.
That fucking chocolate cake was supposed to celebrate the happiest day of her life, not this shit.
She sipped at the beer again.
Kicking off the insane white pumps she’d bought just for this—of course it was just for this—brought a soft clank. Sucking in a sharp breath, she almost dropped the beer in a mad scramble through the tulle. She had to find that penny. She’d forgotten she’d tucked it into her shoe this morning when Gamma had given it to her.
Her heart pounded. She could not lose that penny!
Gamma would be so disappointed with all of them if she ever found out. But Brandy managed to snatch the penny just before all her shuffling around made it slide down the drain. So much for good luck. Hers had been the exact opposite.
Heart rate slowing, she leaned back again, sliding down until she lay in the tub the way it was intended. Though probably not in the dress.
One fist held the penny tightly now, the other still clutched the beer.
Her eyes fell closed—her puffy, red, irritated eyes. How long could she stay here? She didn’t know . . . but she might try to find out.
She was almost asleep when the pounding came on the door again.
“Let us in!” the feminine voice pleaded.
Nooope. She never wanted to hear that voice again.
Then his voice. “Please, at least let us know you’re still alive.”
Barely, she thought. They’d ruined everything. Her mother had come by asking what had happened and in that moment, as Brandy had opened her mouth to spill everything, she’d snapped her jaw back shut.
They’d broken her heart. But if she told, she would completely destroy her family.
Had her heart stopped beating? She’d given her mother enough trouble for one day. So, she’d lied through her clenched teeth then and with a false calm said, “I’m okay, Mama. I just can’t do this.”
But these two would keep bothering her until she said something.
Still, they could wait while she took another sip of this nasty, warm beer. It tasted as bad as the day.
They pounded again and she sucked in a deep breath before calling out in her most irritated voice. “I’m alive!”
No thanks to either of you.