The Last Bride
The Last Bride
- Purchase the E-Book Instantly
- Receive Download Link via Email
- Send to Preferred E-Reader and Enjoy.
- Matchmaking Father
- Unexpected Family
- Imaginary love triangle
- Romantic Suspense
- BIL's BFF
Their mutual love of the outdoors brings them together, and it may be the only thing that keeps them alive.
When Gage learned that George DiCarlo thought he would make a great match for his youngest daughter, Gage was not interested. Not even if she was beautiful, talented, kicked butt on hiking trails, and could challenge even his love of skiing.
When Jonquil’s learns about her father’s plans more than a year later, her reaction is exactly the opposite. After watching the rest of her sisters fall in love with the men George hoped they would connect with, she’s curious about the local ski resort owner. But Gage is not making it easy and plenty of problems stand between them: her half-sister, Angela, who seems determined to keep her on her toes and win Gage’s heart for her own.
When threats against Gage’s family spill into their own lives and they come under fire, they have to stick together to figure out who is behind it all before one or both of them end up dead.
Intro into Chapter One
Intro into Chapter One
Jonquil hurried through the crowded Denver airport. Of course, the one time she’s running behind schedule, the plane would arrive early. Wasn’t there a rule against planes running on time or something? She grimaced as she saw her sister waiting at the baggage claim, checking her watch. Angela was almost unrecognizable; her blond hair had been cropped to chin length and dyed black. She pulled out her cell phone and started to dial.
“Hi, sorry I’m late,” Jonquil said as she rushed up. “I got stuck in construction behind a moving van.”
Angela smiled and threw her arms around Jonquil’s neck. “It’s so good to see you. We missed you at Christmas.”
Jonquil ignored the criticism and hugged her baby sister. She had gone home for a few days in January—the only break she’d allowed herself since arriving in Juniper Ridge, Colorado the previous summer. “I know. Things at the hotel have been crazy busy.”
“And all of those weddings in your new family haven’t helped,” Angela agreed. She shouldered her little carry-on and an enormous purse, and then grabbed the handle of one of her bags.
Will you grab the other one?”
Jonquil took the handle of the larger suitcase and attempted to roll it toward the door, but it tipped a little and slid against the floor.
“Sorry, one of the wheels broke off last time I flew,” Angela said over her shoulder, already moving toward the door. “Those baggage handlers are so irresponsible.”
Irritated, Jonquil hefted the bag, which was heavy enough it must have been pushing the weight limit. “So, how long are you staying? You didn’t mention when you had to return home.” She dodged a couple of teenage boys and paused to keep from running into an older woman in a wheelchair, struggling to keep up.
“You’re funny.” Angela laughed.
“What do you mean?” Angela’s response had made Jonquil feel stupid. She hated feeling stupid.
“Come on, I told you I was staying all summer. We talked about how I was doing summer stock.”
Jonquil thought back to their recent conversations as she scrambled to keep up with her new burden. “You mentioned in March that you were planning to do summer stock and sending out video auditions. You never said if you got a part.”
When Angela looked over at Jonquil, the expression was almost too innocent to be believed. “I told you I got hired at the Juniper Ridge theater, didn’t I? Our rehearsals for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying begin this afternoon and run most of every day until we open in a few weeks. I was cast as Hedy La Rue. I sent you an email with all of the details.”
Jonquil racked her brain but didn’t remember a hint of this. “If you sent it, I didn’t get it.”
Angela’s brow curved up questioningly. “No wonder you didn’t respond. Sometimes you just can’t trust those spam filters. They catch the weirdest things.” Angela smiled at Jonquil. “We’ll have the whole summer together. Of course I’ll be working a lot. We have afternoon performances on Wednesdays and Saturdays in addition to the dinner show so I’ll be really busy, but we’ll still have plenty of time to hang out and do stuff together. If I’m staying with you, we’ll see each other all of the time.” Her smile put off about 200 watts. “Well, compared to the past year, anyway. The director will keep us hopping.”
Jonquil managed to keep setting one foot in front of the other as panic took over. Angela was going to join them for the summer? She’d be around a lot? What was she going to tell the others? And then there was the fact that Angela had invited herself to stay in the house for the whole summer. Though Jonquil’s first reaction was to say she couldn’t stay—a stupid, irrational side of herself—she bit her lip and waited until they had exited to short-term parking and she had a moment to assimilate the information.
Was there any legitimate reason she shouldn’t let Angela stay with her? There was plenty of space at the house now. Most of the bedrooms were empty, since four of the six sisters had married and moved out. And maybe it would give Jonquil a chance to understand her flighty little sister a little better. Stop being so selfish. She’s part of your life every bit as much as the others are. This will be good for you.
She hoped it was true, anyway.
Jonquil hadn’t exactly been thrilled with the prospect of moving to Juniper Ridge the previous summer. Her father’s will had insisted she live with a bunch of half-sisters she didn’t know and work with them to open their father’s latest hotel. When they’d learned about each other at the reading of the will, she had been as shocked as everyone else to find out her father had so many daughters, but things had turned out okay, hadn’t they?
Then Jonquil realized something Angela hadn’t said aloud. “You don’t have a car. That theater is clear across town from the house.”
Angela looked over. “I know you live close to work. I hoped I could use your car or get a ride if I need it. I might be able to get rides from people I work with too. I mean, most of them live in the provided housing for the cast and crew, but there are so many of us in a couple of tiny barracks and I keep hearing about how you have that big place with lots of extra space. You don’t mind putting me up, do you?” She all but fluttered her eyelashes as she gave Jonquil her most hopeful, wistful expression.
Jonquil should have guessed. As long as she could remember, her sister had depended on others to take care of things for her. She got herself the job, great, but now Jonquil was going to end up playing taxi. She held in the irritation that zoomed through her. “We’ll see what we can work out. There’s always a bicycle.” She shouldn’t have said that; there was no way she’d make her sister ride a bike down that busy road to the theater. But she wasn’t feeling quite as generous about the situation as she could have been.
She rubbed her forehead, trying to massage away the headache that inevitably appeared whenever she spent much time with this particular sister. They were seven years apart in age, but sometimes Jonquil thought it may as well have been seventeen. She remembered helping to change Angela’s diapers, babysitting and later wishing they were closer. When Jonquil had been seventeen, the youngest of her siblings seemed far younger than ten. Her own self loathing hadn’t helped as she watched Angela be praised for her quick mind and adorable smile. The flighty way Angela acted as she grew up, always switching from one project to the next, changing her major every semester and never seeming to settle on anything, made Jonquil wonder if Angela would be any more settled at thirty-one than she was now at twenty-one.
“So, it’s just you and Delphi in the house now, right?” Angela asked. “Do you ever see the others outside of work?”
“Yes, to both questions. And Delphi’s not always there anymore.” Jonquil smiled a little as she thought of how happy her sister had been that morning at their executive meeting. “She got engaged over the weekend.” They stopped at the back of Jonquil’s silver Kia Rio and she popped the hatchback to put the bags away.
“Wow, they’re dropping like flies. Doesn’t that leave you as the last one?”
“Yep, but don’t count on me hooking up anytime soon.” The guy she was most interested in seemed to think she was pond scum—and how twisted was it that she liked a guy who obviously disliked her so much? It was another example of how stupid she was sometimes. She told herself that she would find someone else who could appreciate her talents. Such as they were. “The others wanted to meet you tonight, if you’ll be back from rehearsals before too late.” The anticipation of the introduction had left Jonquil anxious, but she knew Angela would have many more opportunities to spend time with everyone during the summer. That was worse.
“I should be done around nine. Will they bring their hot husbands with them?” She wiggled her brows and grinned. “And do any of them have hot single brothers?”
“The guys usually are there.” Had Jonquil mentioned that the husbands were all extremely good looking, each in their own way, or had Angela just assumed? They hadn’t really talked all that much since Jonquil had moved the previous summer—or all that much in the years prior.
“So you’re not dating anyone?” Angela asked. “You usually have no trouble attracting the men and it seems like you DiCarlo girls are all finding your perfect matches.” Angela set the last of the bags in the back and shut the trunk. She shot Jonquil a sideways glance the other woman was not sure how to interpret. “Can we stop for something to eat on the way to your home? I’m starving!”
“Sure.” Angela’s barbed comments about being dateless stung a little and Jonquil wondered if she was being overly sensitive. She forced her thoughts to the flower arrangements she’d left her staff to complete. When Angela had called with her flight arrangements the previous afternoon, Jonquil had been shocked that she was actually following through on the invitation to visit during the summer—there had been no comment about when she’d leave or reference to staying at Jonquil’s for months. The fact that she’d had to rearrange her schedule at work to pick Angela up was not a big shock, though.
Jonquil weaved her way through traffic, headed for the interstate. “So, tell me how things are going back home.” There was no point getting upset until she knew how things were going to go, but it took all of her energy to keep her insecurities at bay.