Negative Eight

Book 2 of Aubree Lane's Fallen Leaf  Collection


Blake stepped beside Melissa. His jaw hung loose, and his green eyes fixated upon his bride.

Melissa nudged his ribs. “It’s hard to believe that woman is my sister.”

A sad smile curved the corners of his lips. “She’s driving herself nuts trying to please my mother. Our wedding is nothing but a big show. I’d be happy having the ceremony out in the vineyard, with just a few guests. It’s beautiful at sunset. Dani and I had it all planned out. Then Mom weighed in and turned it into this massive event. Everyone who’s anyone received an invitation.”

“I’m a nobody,” Melissa snickered. “I’m lucky I made the cut.”

Blake shot her a laughing wink. “It was a tough sell. Good thing you’re bringing Ryder or your name might have made it to the chopping block.”

She was Danielle’s maid of honor. Mrs. Holmswood was stuck with her, whether she wanted to be or not. Melissa’s retort was cut short when Danielle stumbled and tumbled down the last two steps. The beautiful bride crumpled into an angry pile of satin and shouted, “Fuck!”

Blake burst out laughing. “Now there’s the woman I love.” He raced to Danielle’s side. After checking her eyes for any sign of a concussion, he dug around the yards of material and ran his hands down each of her silky calves. He kissed Dani’s forehead. “You twisted your ankle, love. It’s already beginning to swell.”

Danielle frowned and repeated sadly, “Fuck.”

The bridegroom pulled off the expensive designer sandals and pitched them across the room. Then he scooped her up in his arms and carried her off in the direction of the library.

“I’ll get some ice,” Melissa called out.

“No need, dear.” Corinne grabbed her elbow. “The staff is already on it.” Blake’s aunt leaned in close and whispered, “They are a senseless waste of money most of the time, but they do come in handy every once in a while.”

Aunt Corinne grabbed the ice pack from one of the female staff members, waved a dismissing hand, and shooed the young woman away. She carried her ramrod straight back over and handed it to Danielle. “This wedding has gotten completely out of hand,” she huffed. Corinne eased her elderly body into the easy chair next to her nephew’s future wife and asked, “Do any of you know why I’m considered the black sheep of the family, or why my father only left me a small portion of this entire operation?”

Blake adjusted Danielle’s ice pack. “It’s a forbidden topic of conversation, Auntie. None of the cousins have the inside scoop, but we’ve had fun speculating.” He shot Corinne a mischievous smile. “Just how wild were you back in the day, Miss Corinne?”

The old woman chuckled. “Wild? Not so much. Stubborn? Too much for my own good.” She pointed to a nearby chair. “Get comfortable, Melissa, you are about to get the story straight from the horse’s mouth.”

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