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Matilda Geoffrey risked it all for love. She left Australia to be with Barrythe man who had swept her off her virtual feet. Now, wearing a wedding dress, she's alone on Main Street in small-town Wisconsin, and things aren't working out exactly as planned
In town for his annual family visit, Marc Olsen had never seen a bride quite like Matildastaring into a storefront window, holding a tottering wedding cake, and looking desperately in need of a groom. He may not have any warm feelings for his hometown,but meeting Matilda just as she discovers she's been scammed by her online "fiancé" stirs something in him.
Matilda is not the kind of woman Marc imagined himself with, and Marc is anything but the romantic hero that Matilda has always dreamed of. But as unlikely circumstances throw them together, can they let go of their misconceptions and risk their hearts for love?
The petite bride stood stock-still, her chapel-length beaded train sagging in the damp gutter while her white fingers clutched a two-tiered wedding cake. She stared long and hard into a vacant store window.
It wasnt a usual fall sight in Hobin, Wisconsin. Brides tended to marry in spring. Even then, Hobin was hardly the bride capital of the state or the United States. Hawaii took that prize with its tropical sandy beaches and swaying palm trees, surprisingly acing Hobins snowbound winters and late-spring flowerings.
Still, in the last one hundred and fifty years, many a local bride had stood in the old log church but none that Marc Olsen could remember had stood alone on an almost deserted Main Street, late on a Sunday afternoon. But then again apart from his annual Thanksgiving visit, hed been gone from Hobin a long time and things might have changed.
He glanced up and down the familiar wide empty road with the same shop fronts that hed known as a kid. Nope, nothing had changed. The realization both annoyed and soothed him. He took a second look, this time casting his gaze around trying to locate the groom. A stray bridesmaid or ring bearer. Anyone?
He was used to odditieshed shed his small-town boyhood years ago, moving to New York City where a bride alone on a street wouldnt even make a ripple in the bustling Broadway crowd. But in Hobin it was more than odd. The bride wasnt moving. Perhaps it was performance art. In Hobin? Nah.
Completely intrigued, he gave his curiosity free rein. It was all about curiosity and had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that investigating the lone bride would further delay his cross-six-state journey and postpone his arrival at his sisters house. He knew that once he stepped over Loris front stoop, the snare of family would clamp on to him like the grip of a Denver boot, which was why for the last twelve years hed always arrived with a set departure date.
He crossed the street in a few brisk strides, with the chill of the air easily penetrating his light cotton shirt. He regretted not grabbing his cashmere sweater from his Porsche.
The bride had her back to him and as he got closer he realized the wedding dress hadnt come off the rack, but nor was it a Vera Wang creation. The faint sepia color hinted that many years had passed since it had first elegantly draped itself over a bride. Now the dress hung from sharp and narrow shoulders which seemed undecided about their posture, hovering between rigid and rolled back, and decidedly slumped.
On hearing his footsteps, she swung around, the unusual cake with its delicate lace icing wobbling precariously on its sugar pillars.
He grinned, deciding she was a cross between the bride in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Miss Havisham. The round neckline of the dress sat flat and puckered as if seeking breasts to give it the form it deserved and a strand of uneven-sized pearls graced a slender neck which moved into a pointed chin. Stray wisps of wayward auburn hair stuck to hollow cheeks, and a smattering of freckles trailed across a snub nose that some might at a pinch call cute. Black smudges hovered at the top of her cheeks but it was hard to tell if they were caused by fatigue or the remnants of day-old mascara.
Hed never seen a more homely bride in need of a makeover. This was definitely performance art. It seemed a shame that shed gone to all this trouble on the one day of the week country people spent at home with their families.
"You seem to have lost the chapel." He extended his arm indicating the direction. "Its another mile down the road."