FROM CHAPTER ONE:

Logan Reed jammed a finger into the neck of his white oxford and pulled. He needed some fucking air.

What the hell was he doing here anyway?

As he surveyed the church a bead of sweat popped out on his forehead. His breathing had become shallow and quick. He was going to hyperventilate right here and pass out, making a fool of himself in front of everyone.

He realized one of the ushers was speaking to him.

“What?”

“Bride or groom?”

Bride or groom? Did he look like a bride?

All he wanted to do was strip off this stiff shirt, strangling tie, smothering jacket, and throw on a soft, worn pair of jeans and one of his comfortable shirts, sink into his couch, toss his feet on his coffee table and chug a nice, frosty beer.

Ah, now that was a fantasy!

But here he was, standing in a monkey suit in a church about to be struck down at any second by lightning. He blew out a long breath to settle his thumping heart.

Logan stared at the confused usher. Unfortunately, he understood the feeling.

“Neither.”

“Are you okay?”

Logan had vowed to himself to never do this again. Never be in a church again.

But here he was…

He reminded himself he was only here to observe. He didn’t have to participate. But it didn’t help any.

Anyone with as many sins as Logan should be barred from religious houses. That should be a law. But it wasn’t.

This was a wedding, not a crucifixion!

For chrissakes, he had to get a grip.

He had promised his sister he would be here. And even though Logan was a sinner he never broke a promise. Never.

The usher cleared his throat.

“Dude --”

Logan pinned the suddenly flushed, sweating kid, whose suit looked two sizes too big, with a glare. “Dude?”

He watched the late teen’s Adam’s apple bob a couple times before he felt a whoosh of air against him and someone grabbed his elbow. Hard.

“Logan! How nice of you to get here on time.” The female voice was sing-song and syrupy sweet. And held a lot more meaning in the tone than the words.

Logan turned to face his sister. He had to look down since she was nearly a foot shorter. “Hey, Shorty. Good timing.”

The petite brunette gave him a tight smile. “I see that.” She turned to the usher. “We’re with the bride,” she said sweetly. “We’ll just seat ourselves. Thank you.”

The usher looked relieved and Logan almost felt bad. Almost.

The grip on his elbow tightened and without warning he was being dragged down the aisle and over into one of the pews on the left.

Sit down.” Paige’s words gritted through her teeth, even though her face held the biggest smile.

He sat.

She smoothed her dress and tucked it lady-like as she settled into the pew beside him.

“Jesus Christ, Shorty, what the hell is your problem?”

Logan watched the plastered smile falter.

“Logan, you are in a church, for God’s sake. It’s not the best place to take the Lord’s name in vain. And if you keep doing that I might have to move to another pew so when lightning strikes you dead, I’m in a safe spot.” She smoothed her done-up do and gave a pacifying smile across the aisle to the older couple staring at them. Mouths agape.

“Hey, I didn’t want to be here in the first place.”

“I ask you for one favor…”

“One? Hmm. You must have a short memory.”

“Okay, okay. Knock it off. Believe me, I appreciate you coming.”

“And the thanks I get is a bruised elbow?”

“Sorry, I thought you were going to make that guy piss his pants.”

“Well, shit, he called me dude.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s so much worse than you calling me Shorty.”

“I thought you liked it --” Paige elbowed him in the gut before he could say anything else besides “Ooof.”

The Wedding March started and the double doors opened to reveal the bride.

His sister owed him big time.