Wedding Date RescueBy: Sonya Weiss
Once again, for the minions and for Ski-the original climber.
Getting dumped at the altar five minutes before her wedding had set tongues wagging. Most of the town had witnessed her humiliation as Dominic had run out of the church’s side exit without so much as a “sorry.” Here it was four months later, and Casey Bradford was pacing back and forth in the empty reception area of Finding Mr. Right, the matchmaking service she owned.
The fallout from her failed wedding had caused a shift in how people viewed her company. If she didn’t do something soon to restore the public’s belief in her, she was going to be up panic creek without a paddle. She’d lose everything, including not being able to continue helping her maternal grandmother financially. Her grandmother was embarrassed over the situation and had made her promise she wouldn’t mention to the rest of the family how bad things were.
Casey stopped pacing and stared out the window. The business overlooked Main Street, and from where she stood, she could see the water tower in the distance. The streets were lined on both sides with a variety of locally owned businesses. No big franchises here. Just a slow-paced, fried chicken on Sunday, sweet tea on the front porch kind of living.
She loved every inch of Morganville and considered herself a Georgia girl through and through. Growing up riding four-wheelers with her brothers, fishing in the lake with them and all their friends, she’d always thought she’d had a great childhood. Every summer, dressed in faded blue jeans and a T-shirt, she’d run around with the boys from the time the sun rose until it set.
Though she hadn’t outgrown her childhood friends, she now spent the majority of her days wearing cute little dresses and killer heels. The changes had made some of her guy friends act weird around her. Her brother’s best friend, Kent Wakefield, had acted like she’d sprouted alien antennae the way he’d stared the first time he’d seen her in a dress.
Casey traced the black lettering on the window with her index finger. It didn’t matter what Kent or any of them thought. She didn’t care if they didn’t like the changes. She was happy with her life. Check that—except for this latest upheaval, she was happy.
Casey bit the side of her thumbnail, then stopped. It was a nervous habit she was trying to break. At least a dozen butterflies danced in her stomach and had been there since she’d received an ominous email from one of her investors saying they needed to discuss the company in light of “recent events.”
The front door swung open, and Brandon Jones walked in carrying a laptop. He greeted her with a curt hello. She’d attended school with Brandon from elementary school on up. He was the son of a wealthy man and had been cut off from the family fortunes the minute he’d married a woman the family deemed unworthy. He’d chosen love over money, worked hard, and was now part of a group of successful businessmen who invested in start-up companies like hers.
“Would you like a cup of coffee?” Casey indicated the machine and the stack of cups beside it.
“No. Let’s get this over with.”
“Then, right this way.” Casey led the way to her office. Each step she took, her heels sank into the carpet along with her hopes. The expression on Brandon’s face didn’t quite have that “let’s save this business” look. She’d guess he had more of a “pull the plug” one. And good grief, could her heart beat any harder, any faster, and she not keel over?
As soon as they were seated, he cleared his throat and drummed his fingers on her desk. “I am truly sorry about you getting left at the altar,” he said, his voice holding a touch of sympathy. “But unfortunately, the gossip and publicity surrounding your failed wedding are bad for business, which in turn impacts the ability to recoup my investment.”
Casey’s heart squeezed, and she pressed her hand to her chest. “It’s a small town and people talk. As soon as something more interesting happens, I’ll be yesterday’s news.” She knew how quickly the tides could turn when something new hit the tell-a-friend chain.
His expression softened. “Believe me, having been there, I understand that.”
He hesitated, then placed the laptop on the desk. He typed a few keys, then turned it around to face her. “These are today’s comments.”
Casey leaned forward to see what he was talking about. He’d pulled up her company’s social media site. It was littered with comments. She read one of them out loud. “‘Can’t keep a man herself. How can she help me find one? I’d never recommend this matchmaking service.’” She brushed off the sting from the hurtful words. “You know you can’t trust everything you read online.”