Saving Grace

By: Kristen Proby

For Holly

chapter 1

~ Grace ~

You have to come with us,” Cara Donovan exclaims over her third glass of Moscato. “Seriously, Gracie, it’s going to be so fun.”

“I’m not a skier,” I remind her dryly.

“There will be a lodge and hot ski instructors and a spa,” Jill Sullivan reminds me.

“I plan to take advantage of that spa,” Lauren Cunningham agrees.

“To spas and hot ski instructors!” Jenna Hull raises her wineglass in a toast.

I sit back in my seat and stare at my four friends assembled in Jill’s living room. They’re all beautiful, fun, wonderful women.

“Seriously, a bachelorette weekend in Aspen?” I ask with a frown. “Couldn’t you choose somewhere tropical? I probably won’t drown from a chaise longue by the pool.”

Jill tips her head back, her dark hair falling down her back in waves. “Cara likes the snow.”

“This is Montana. We live in the snow,” I reply stubbornly. “Didn’t you have a say?” I ask Lauren.

Both Cara and Lauren were recently engaged, and to celebrate, the five of us are going to take a weekend trip away. I was all in when I had visions of palm trees and cabana boys, but now . . .

“I think it sounds fun,” Lauren replies with a grin. “We chartered a plane and everything.”

My jaw drops and my gaze travels from Lo to Cara in disbelief.

“You chartered a freaking plane?” Jenna replies with a squeak. Jenna is stunning. Classically beautiful, reminding me of Grace Kelly with her perfectly coifed blond hair and startling blue eyes. Not to mention her perfect figure.

If she wasn’t so incredibly sweet, we might all hate her.

“Hey, this is a celebration,” Lo reminds us and sips her wine, tucking a strand of her auburn hair behind her ear. The ring on her finger winks in the candlelight.

“Guys, you know I’m totally on board for celebrating your engagements. I couldn’t be happier for you.” I swallow the last sip of wine in my glass and bite my lip. “But we all know what a colossal klutz I am. I won’t survive the trip.”

Jill refills my glass as Cara shakes her head.

“We have a surprise for you,” she says.

“A sumo wrestler suit I can wear while skiing so I don’t break every bone in my body?”

“No,” Lo replies with a laugh. “A night on Whitetail Mountain.”

I frown, not understanding. “The ski resort, Whitetail Mountain?”

“The same,” Jenna replies smugly. “Grace, it’s time you learned to ski.”

“I’ve lived at the base of this mountain for six years,” I remind them as my stomach sinks. “I’ve never been on a pair of skis for a reason.”

“Don’t be silly.” Jill waves me off and pushes an envelope at me. “We’ve booked you for Friday night. It’s a half day at school for you, so you can make your two o’clock lesson time.”

“You’ll stay the night at Snow Ghost Lodge, have another two-hour lesson Saturday morning, and then a massage at the lodge’s spa, just in case.”

“I don’t think it’s safe to massage broken legs,” I mutter.

“Grace, Aspen won’t be the same without you.” Cara bats those big hazel eyes at me and I know I’ll cave. She’s one of my closest friends. How can I say no?

“Okay,” I agree softly and swig my wine. “I’ll go learn to ski.”

“You’re going to love it,” Jenna assures me. “And my place is nearby, so if you need me, just call.”

“Why don’t I just stay at your bed-and-breakfast?” I ask. “We could have a sleepover.”

“I’m booked for the season,” she replies with a wide grin. “Business is good.”

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