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By: Sierra Kincade


Chapter One


Amy displayed the dresses hanging on the back of the break room door at Rave Salon with all the flourish of a punk rock Vanna White. In her plaid Catholic schoolgirl skirt and lacy black corset, she unveiled the first from behind the plastic sheath. It was an off-the-shoulder teal number that clung around the hips and then fanned out near the knees. She’d tacked a thin swatch of netting over the opposite shoulder, and fastened it on the side with a seashell brooch she’d picked up at an antique shop.

“Oh, um...wow,” said the black-haired gypsy across the table, looking up from her most current wedding magazine with raised brows. For the last few months Anna had been tearing out pages and placing them into piles. One she’d entitled “Cool Ideas.” Another, “IF I DON’T HAVE THIS I WILL DIE.” The last was stacked with pictures of lingerie and ads for sex toys. She called that pile her “Lucky Alec” pile.

He was lucky. He was the luckiest guy in whole damn world. Amy’s BFF had gone through the wringer and was the best girl she knew. If he fucked with her, Amy was going to stab him with a sharp pair of scissors.

“Okay, next,” said Amy, pulling back down the plastic cover.

“No, wait,” said Anna, closing the magazine. “I like it, it’s just...” She tapped her bottom lip with one finger.

“It’s the seashell, isn’t it?” asked Amy. “Too mermaidy.”

“A little too mermaidy,” Anna agreed. “Even for a beach wedding.”

“Agreed,” said Amy. “Next.”

She rotated the hangers to the next cloak bag, and stepped to the other side, giving a big dramatic wave of her arm before revealing the next dress.

“Ooh!” Anna clapped her hands, bringing a smile to Amy’s face. The dress was sunshine yellow, layered with crinkly chiffon, and gathered around the neck by a braided string of pearls Amy had just finished gluing together last night. It was a little shorter than she normally wore—her ex would have had a thing or two to say about that—but he wasn’t here and she didn’t care. It was fun and flirty, and that was who she was now.

“I love it,” said Anna. “Love, love, love. And Mike’s going to love it, too.”

The heat crept up Amy’s neck at the mention of Alec’s best man, and her current roommate. At least forty-seven times a day she imagined they were more, but facts were facts. Any chance she’d had with him had blown up a month ago when he’d kissed her, and she’d made a grand escape into his closet.

Anna was cackling. “You’re going to look hot. Just try not to upstage the bride.”

Amy snorted. “I’ll try not to.”

Drawing the attention away from Anna would have been impossible. The girl stepped into a room and every face turned her way. Sometimes people did that with Amy, too, but usually because she was wearing something outrageous, like the pigtails with pink extensions she wore today. It didn’t bother her that she wasn’t as naturally beautiful as her best friend. Amy knew where she stood. She was a furnished condo on the scale of shack to mansion, and there was nothing wrong with that.

“Do I get to see the next one?” asked Anna.

“But of course.” Amy shifted the dresses again, and pulled back the plastic covering on the third dress. It was a conservative, plain black shift, only decorated by a chunky white belt.

“Um, isn’t that your funeral dress?” Anna asked.

“Yes,” said Amy. “I really wanted you to choose one of the other two. This is me helping you narrow down your options.”

“That’s so nice of you.”

“I know,” said Amy. “You’re welcome. I’m an excellent bridesmaid.”

“Maid of honor,” corrected Anna.

“I’ve never been a maid of honor,” said Amy, trying to look distinguished. It didn’t matter if Amy had been designated as such because she was the only person on Anna’s side, she was going to make her friend proud. “I’d like a badge to avoid any confusion. Preferably something silver, gold doesn’t really do me any favors.”

Anna snorted. “Your mom will love that.”

“Oh yeah she will,” said Amy, rolling her eyes. “Why did you invite her again?” Her mother wasn’t exactly the relax-at-a-casual-beach-wedding type. Even with the date now rapidly approaching, she continued to ask why Anna hadn’t reserved the yacht club.

Because Anna didn’t walk around with a stick up her ass, Mom, that was why. And because money didn’t grow on trees for everyone, Amy included.

Amy tried to imagine what her mother would say if she found out Amy and Paisley were staying under Mike’s roof. She felt tired even thinking about it. If there was any way to avoid that conversation, she was going to take it.

“Candace isn’t that bad.” Anna chuckled. “Okay, she’s kind of that bad, but still. She’s my best friend’s mom.”

“Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Anna tucked all her magazine pictures in a large envelope, putting the Lucky Alec ads on top. Her mouth quirked into a little grin that made Amy’s eyes turn a slightly darker shade of green.

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