*happy sigh* I love Excerpt Wednesday. (Although how did it get to be Wednesday already?) It means I get to share a bit of my work with you. So without further ado, here’s a snippet – a very important snippet – from Trail of Hope, coming November 24th!
Reverend Joseph stumbled through a few passages from the Bible, using a smaller, thinner one instead of his own that he’d dropped earlier, then got straight to the point.
“Do you, John Rye, take this woman, Callie Lewis—”
“Callysta Lewis,” John corrected him.
“Um, yeah. Right, right. Callysta Lewis, to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
John remembered candles and incense. He remembered the Latin blessing that had been spoken over him and Shannon. He remembered Shannon’s fiery red hair, but he couldn’t remember the shape of her nose.
“I do,” he said with a catch in his throat. At least for now.
“Good, good.” Reverend Joseph nodded and turned to Callie. “And do you, Callysta Lewis, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
Callie met John’s eyes with a blend of resignation and determination. She would do what she had to do to survive. Knowing that brought a smile to John’s face. He admired her more than she would ever know.
“I do,” she stated firmly.
“Then by the power invested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife,” Reverend Joseph finished up the ceremony. He’d forgotten half of the vows and fumbled through the rest of it at best, but John supposed it was good enough for God. “Oh. You may kiss the bride.”
A hitch caught in John’s chest. Callie stood before him, without wearing a veil, her eyes full of shy expectation. It would do no harm to kiss her. Just a little. She was his wife now. Shannon would forgive him. He leaned into her, taking her hands in his, and touched his lips to hers.
A rush of warmth spread through him. There was nothing passionate or romantic about the kiss, but it was still a promise. Callie softened under his touch, so trusting. He found himself lingering longer than he should, surprised by the taste of mint on her lips, the warmth and the gentleness with which she met him. He wanted to slide his arms around her, hold her close to see how she felt against him. His heart thumped in his chest as if it had forgotten how.
When he stepped back, Callie’s friends were clapping. Emma wiped a tear from her eye and turned bright red when Dr. Meyers noticed and smiled at her. Cade watched Lynne with a look of admiration that only a blind man would misinterpret. Elton Finch, who had actually had the nerve to show up for the ceremony, smiled as though he had gotten his way after all.
None of it penetrated past one simple fact in John’s mind. Once again, he was a married man.
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