Forever in Cape May

Page 3

“I think that’s a good idea,” Fake Thor said. “Let’s not embarrass ourselves.”

The nosy bridesmaid—Willa—gave a sneer. “You can’t talk yourself out of this one. I knew you’d get caught again one day, and Susan has finally had enough of your filthy lies!”

“Stay out of this, Willa,” Fake Thor warned.

Pierce appeared like a Prince Charming and smiled at the cheater. “Hey, why don’t we take a short walk and get out of the spotlight?” He slowly walked forward so Fake Thor was forced to back up. Taylor did the same with Susan, and a few precious feet were finally put between them.

She could do this. Get them to the private room, where they could blow up or break down. As long as it wasn’t in front of the wedding couple and their guests.

Susan stiffened, her gaze swiveling to lock on Willa’s. “What do you mean ‘get caught again’? Did you know he’d been cheating on me?”

Willa flinched. Two spots of red flushed her cheeks. “I suspected.”

“Shut up, Willa,” Fake Thor hissed. “You’ve always been jealous of Susan. Always been trying to break us up. Come on, baby. Let’s go talk alone, and I’ll show you there’s nothing to worry about. You’re the only woman I love.”

“Liar,” Willa mumbled. “You’ve said that to everyone.”

“Yes, let’s go talk, this way,” Taylor said, gently guiding Susan another step away.

Susan shook off her arm, her voice strengthening. “I want to know right now what’s going on! Who else did he say that to?”

“No one!” Fake Thor swore. “Just you.”

“Willa, did you sleep with my husband?” Susan demanded, her hands shaking. “Tell me now. As my friend.”

Tears gathered in Willa’s eyes. “It was before you got married, I swear. He said he’d always been interested in me but was afraid to back out of the wedding and hurt you. But he lied, to both of us. I found out later he was sleeping around with someone else.”

“She’s the liar, Susan! I’d never cheat on you with her—she’s jealous,” Fake Thor proclaimed.

Ah, shit.

Taylor shot a look at Pierce, and they recognized it was like trying to bail out the Titanic, because the entire wedding was at risk of going down with this sinking ship.

Pierce grabbed Fake Thor’s arm. “Let’s go before you get into more trouble, buddy,” he said in a man-friendly tone, like a co-conspirator. “You’ll have time to explain. This way.”

Fake Thor followed, apparently realizing that shutting his mouth was a good idea.

Taylor put her arm gently around Susan, her trembling body evidence of the traumatic event, which elicited a flare of sympathy. “Come on, let’s go where it’s quiet. It’ll be okay.” She murmured a litany of useless words meant to soothe Susan and get her moving. Taylor shot a deadly glare at Willa to remain there and not follow.

The bridesmaid began to sob dramatically. “I’m sorry, Susan. Please forgive me.”

It happened just a few feet away from the door of safety.

A warrior cry burst from Susan’s lips, and she dove for Fake Thor. He jerked out of Pierce’s grasp as she tackled him, and in slow motion, Taylor watched them both crash into the table, collapsing it on one end.

The three-tiered chocolate buttercream cake with cherry-soaked rum sponge slid off the pedestal.

Taylor and Pierce both dove for it, and for a brief shining second, she believed they’d catch it midfall, just like in those wedding rom-com movies her sisters loved to watch.

But this was Friday the thirteenth.

The cake splattered to the ground.

Susan and Fake Thor lay on the floor in a twisted tangle of limbs.

Willa began to scream.

And Taylor swore she’d never be dumb enough to get married.


“Well, that was fun. Why do you have Michelob Ultra in your fridge? Please tell me you’re not on some kind of diet.”

Pierce laughed and took down a bag of pretzels from the cabinet. “Carter wants to lose a few pounds before the wedding, so he switched beers. Your Raging Bitch IPA is on the door section.”

“Thanks. God, I hate wimpy beer. It should be illegal.” Taylor grabbed a bottle for her and a Goose Island for him, using the refrigerator magnet to flip off the cap. Then she handed him his beer while she dropped onto one of the padded stools by the high granite countertop.

Pierce’s house was like her second home. She liked the no-nonsense decor of black and muted gray with pops of red for color. The leather sectional was oversize, worn, and reclined; the television took up an entire wall; and the kitchen had an open concept with bar seating and a generous counter so she never had to sit at a real table. He was a minimalist, but the real beauty was the collection of photographs that hung on the walls—gorgeous shots of Cape May beaches, vibrant sunsets, wedding couples in the throes of love, and the occasional moody ocean shot that made people ponder their life choices.

“I can’t believe Carter is worried about looking good for the wedding. I thought it was just Avery.” Her oldest sister and future brother-in-law planned to marry in October, just four months away.

Pierce ripped open the bag and sat across from her. “Avery wants to lose five pounds. Carter tried to talk her out of it, but she’s stubborn, so he decided to join her and lose weight, too.”

She shook her head. “He’s so damn sweet. She’ll never make it a week without a chocolate croissant. Speaking of pastries, I’ve never lost a wedding cake before. Have you?”

“Nope. But technically, it didn’t happen to me. I’m just the photographer.”

She crunched on a pretzel. “I’ll never live this down,” she said glumly. “Susan asked if I knew a good divorce lawyer, like I keep business cards to distribute after I plan perfect weddings. We’re going to get killed on reviews for this one.”

“Not necessarily. You replaced the cake pretty quickly, so they were able to cut something. Hell, the bride even smooshed it in the groom’s face. I got a great shot.”

She groaned and took another slug of beer. “Thank God Pretty Tasty Cupcakes had a huge inventory. Saved my ass.”

“It was good thinking in an emergency.” His gaze lifted, and his familiar sea-green eyes met hers. “It’ll be a huge loss for your sisters when you go.”

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