Bolted (Promise Harbor Wedding) - By Meg Benjamin

Chapter One

Promise Harbor, Massachusetts

Greta shifted slightly, trying to hold her bridesmaid bouquet and at the same time move the Crinolines from Hell away from the backs of her knees. This was undoubtedly the most ghastly bridesmaid dress in the history of mankind. The puke-green flounce around her shoulders stood out in a stiff ruff, while the paler green skirt looked a little like an inverted umbrella, thanks to the Crinolines from Hell. At least the length of the skirt meant that she could wear running shoes instead of the four-inch heels Bernice had originally proposed.

Bernice Cabot was a bridesmaid too, but somehow she’d ended up in charge of the bridesmaids’ wardrobe rather than the bride, Greta’s sister-in-law-to-be. Greta didn’t really know Allie all that well—when they were kids, Allie had spent all her time with Josh, and Josh never wanted to be around his snot-nosed little sister. The age difference got in the way. Greta had a feeling Allie had asked her to be matron of honor just to be polite.

She wasn’t sure why Bernice had chosen the bridesmaids’ dresses rather than Allie herself, but she really hoped it wasn’t because Allie liked Bernice’s taste. They were undoubtedly the worst dresses Greta had ever seen, let alone worn.

She could still feel the crinolines’ bite through her satin slip, even after she’d managed to shift them slightly to the side (and when had she last worn a slip anyway? Middle school?). Gosh all hemlock, weddings were fun! Maybe she should just avoid them in the future. After all, she’d had her own experience with marital train wreck. Maybe she’d developed some kind of wedding jinx.

Her brother, Josh the Perfect, stood at attention as he watched her future sister-in-law, Allie the Even More Perfect, float down the aisle. In contrast to her bridesmaids’, Allie’s dress was gorgeous. Maybe because Allie had managed to choose her own dress instead of turning the task over to Bernice. However, Allie’s shoes were…interesting. They had huge, green, artificial flowers on the toes. Every time she took a step the edge of her dress seemed to catch on them. Just on a wild guess, Greta figured Bernice had had something to do with those shoes. They showed her touch.

Just now Bernice was standing behind Greta, trembling with ecstasy in her very own bubblegum-pink version of the most ghastly bridesmaid dress in the history of mankind as she watched the bridal procession. The woman had a serious Gone With the Wind fixation. All three bridesmaids looked like they were ready for the barbecue at Tara. Or at least a barbecue at Pittypat’s Porch.

For some reason, neither Josh nor Allie looked particularly happy, certainly not as happy as they should have been on the first day of the rest of their lives. Maybe they were both nervous. Maybe Allie’s wedding foundation garments were as uncomfortable as the ones her bridesmaids had been forced to wear so that they’d look more like Miss Scarlett. Those seventeen-inch waistlines were a bitch.

Greta’s mother gave a discreet sniff in her seat at the front of the church as Allie reached Josh’s side and handed off her bouquet to Greta. Greta’s mother had been sniffling for a week. She must have gone through a case of Kleenex by now. Between sniffling and muttering “Lily would be so proud” every five minutes, her mother probably hadn’t had time to notice the atrocity her daughter was wearing.

Greta studied Allie. She could swear her sister-in-law-to-be was swaying slightly. Granted, the bride had had one hell of a bachelorette party the night before, but she couldn’t still be drunk. Could she? She looked really pale, too, so pale her makeup looked a little like a mask.

Josh leaned toward her, whispering. Probably sweet nothings, although judging from Josh’s expression they were more likely to be sour nothings. Or worried nothings. Her brother looked sort of pale himself.

Greta had managed not to drink as much as the other bridesmaids the night before. It wasn’t that she was trying to stay sober, but the stuff they were serving in that bar came in colors not found in nature. And she sort of remembered the bartender from elementary school. Being served drinks by the terror of the dodgeball court didn’t strike her as a good idea.

Rev. Morgan cleared his throat. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to unite this man and this woman in holy matrimony.”

“Oh, hell no.”

What the fuck? Greta swiveled toward the back of the room, along with everybody else