The Bridesmaid ain’t all white lace and a wing-ding 1880’s bacherlorette bash. There’s a woman drowning in a well.
Except the well is dry...
So how on earth did that image start a story? I guess there’s a twisted bent to me after all. The Bridesmaid is my first-ever creep-fest, and this horror-romance is one of those stories that practically wrote itself. When Prairie Rose Publications put out the call for the Cowboys, Creatures and Calico Halloween anthology a year ago, the woman dying in a dry well just popped into my head. Lydia and her dreams needed to become real on the page.
I tied together some things I truly love--Colorado, cowboys, and weddings, and added some hints of mayhem: the bride Milly wants a Jack O’Lantern on the altar and has picked heroine Lydia a violently-orange bridesmaid gown. And what’s that theme of missing shoes? Definitely not Cinderella.
When I got to “the end” of the story, I realized I wasn’t finished after all. The character-plot mash-up that finishes the story truly got sent to me from another plane of existence. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha.
I hope you like The Bridesmaid, now available as a single. It’s short, sweet, and scary, all three. And if you wonder how a happy ending can emerge after serial murders, well, cuddle up with your Kindle and find out!
Four nights in her dreams, a handsome cowboy tries to kiss her...letting Lydia think she's close to finding true love. Off to Colorado for her friend Milly's wedding, she's stunned to realize her cowboy is...Milly's bridegroom.
She's standing right in front of him, the beautiful woman Garner has ached to kiss for four long nights. Milly's bridesmaid. Can he betray his bride...even as his love for Milly turns to terror?
The scent of pine trees on the air. My long red hair dips deep into the well as I lean over with a shiny cup. Surprise, shock swamp me. Looking up at me through the shimmering water, a face, a young woman’s pretty face. A face I do not recognize. Eyes wide in terror, mouth moving. Then her white hand thrusts up through the dark cold in supplication. For rescue. Grabs my long braid, pulls me down into the black, wet abyss...
Help me. But the voice isn’t mine...
Lydia snapped awake. The sound in her throat spelled no letters to make a real word. Her heart hammered in rhythm with her head as it bounced against the back of the bench seat. Ouch.
That word she knew. The stagecoach hauling her through Colorado had hit every pot hole it could find.
“You were calling out help. Are you all right, dearie?” Her elderly seatmate patted Lydia’s hand.
Panic slithered, snakelike, down Lydia’s spine one more time. She rubbed her eyes with shaky hands. “No, uh, I’m fine. Just a bad...daydream.” She forced out the words. And a smile. “I’m not used to long travel. I fear I’m a bit overwrought.”
Overwrought. Was that the reason for the other dream? The same one, four nights in a row? The delicious dream of a man with a brown Stetson raising her face for a kiss with a gentle but callused hand.
She licked her lips. She was thirsty in the close confines of the stagecoach. Of course. That’s why she’d daydreamed of holding a cup at a well. But her lips also reminded her of the other dream. How it always ended just the split second before his mouth touched hers.
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