Wedding of Death came about in a strange way for me. Originally, I wrote an ending scene for a writing contest. I loved it despite it's lack of a happy ending so I hung onto it, figuring I'd make something of it one day. The opportunity came when I offered to write a story for an anthology without happy endings. I never imagined it'd go the route of a historical paranormal, much less a vampire story. It's truly an experience I enjoyed.
As a single short story, it's been revised to have a happy ending. I hope you'll enjoy it.
Stunned, her eyes rose. She attempted to pull her hand back, but he held on. It was difficult to comprehend all put upon her: kidnapped, her mother leaving without a search for her, and now this man thinks she is going to marry him.
"Come, let's toast to our official engagement."
He led her to the other side of the room where he poured champagne while her mind whirled. She hadn't noticed the bar where other liquor bottles set. Handing her a glass, she took it with shaky fingers all the while worrying if it might be drugged.
"To our time, our love, and our health."
Love? His glass clinked when he touched it against hers. It was barbaric. He couldn’t possibly expect me to marry him when I’m engaged to another man.
The meager distance between them disappeared and his lips brushed her brow. She shivered and tried to fight the urge to lose herself in him.
"Look at me," he whispered.
Serenity raised her eyes to his. "This is a mistake. I already have a fiancé," she pleaded.
He grabbed her arms. "I'm your only betrothed."
"No you're not," she said, keeping her voice even and gentle. The strength he gripped her with set her nerves on alert. It didn’t frighten her, but further aroused her need to kiss him again.
He took her hand and laid it against his heart. "You will accustom yourself."
She pulled her hand from him and set the glass down. Sitting down on the sofa, she squeezed her eyes shut, took a long, deep breath, and then opened them. No, it wasn't a dream. Tears welled up in her eyes. "This is all a horrible
nightmare," she said more to herself.
When she looked around for the man, he had gone to stand near the fire. She went to him. "Please. I don't know your brother. I don't know anything about what you brought me here for. I implore you to see reason and let me go."
He faced her. "The man who put this ring on your finger," he said, lifting her hand to finger the antique ring of sterling silver and diamonds, "is my brother. This ring has been in our family for generations. As the eldest, it's my betrothed who shall wear it. He was to present it to the woman who meets my specifications. He chose you, then neither told me, nor brought you here to me."
Serenity couldn't believe her ears. This couldn't be right. Ramon couldn't be this man's brother, much less have forged his relationship with her with under false pretenses. He was generous, caring, considerate, and…honest. Trembling started deep within her, but she refused to let it surface. She needed to be strong if she was going to save herself. Reginald obviously believed in what he says, and that could make him dangerous if she wasn't careful.
"Come, let's walk."
With a hand on her lower back, he led her through the door behind the drapes similar to the ones in the bedroom. Glancing around, she attempted to take in her surroundings in the darkness. There was no moon, no stars, not even garden lights one would expect to light paths.
As if her mind had been read, lights came on lighting three areas. They weren't enough to see everything, but enough to see where you were going which was their purpose.
"I know the garden so well I often forget there are lights," he said. "You can relax now. These gardens are centuries old, full of colors and plants I'm sure you'll find peaceful in the daylight."
They walked along in silence until he stopped. The shadow of something large loomed before them. She looked up. Her breath hitched. She jumped back.
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