Second Chance Mountain Man Frankie Love ~ Page 2

But seeing her here, all I can do is pray that her broken wings have mended. That she remembers how to fly.

The reception is fancy as fuck, and I shake my head as caterers offer guests the happy couple"s signature champagne cocktail. Where is the damn whiskey"

Smirking, I take one of the flashy drinks. This may not be my scene, but it"s a wedding and, truth is, I"m a romantic at heart.

Why would I still be pining after the girl who got away if I didn"t believe in love"

Honey is with the bridesmaids, she"s in a pale pink dress like the other women, but she stands out from the crowds. She always has. She has a heart-shaped face, raven colored hair, bright blue eyes that are so clear you can see straight to her soul. Too bad she does whatever she can to hide that from the world.

But I see. I see her.

Ever since I met her at the bookstore, two years ago, I knew she was mine. I was looking at hiking books and she was looking up wildflowers and we fell in love between the pages of a guidebook–both of us on a trail that led us home.

Or at least, it should have. I would have built us a cabin next to a hundred year old cedar tree–rooted in place, just like my devotion. The foundation to the house would be thirty yards behind a river running as strong as our passion, honeysuckle growing as wild as my love for her.

I swallow; knowing home isn"t exactly where the path took us. There was a fork in the road and she turned right without me. She left me alone in the woods, watching her run. She was scared but I was steady. I would wait for her.

And I have, all this time. But seeing her again, not knowing if she still longs for me " still thinks of me" It kills me. And it"s taking everything within me not to go over to her and pull her in my arms; ask her to look in my eyes and tell me what she sees. Because even from here, across this ballroom, when I look at her, all I see is forever.

It"s all I"ve ever seen when I look at Honey.

"You"re staring," Mark says, pausing as he passes me. We head toward the photographer who is corralling the wedding party for pictures.

"I can"t help it, I fucking love that girl."

Mark grins. "You should tell her."

I shake my head at my long time friend. He knows it"s the last thing I told Honey before she left. Well that, and the four little words that scared her away for good: Will you marry me"

"She made it clear she didn"t want me when she ran away to Europe, Mark. I"m not gonna beg her for something she doesn"t want."

"People change," Mark says.

"Yeah, if Honey wants me, the ball is in her court."

I run a hand over my beard, setting my glass on a table as we walk outside to join the wedding party. "I was hoping she would be here, but " seeing here" damn, it"s harder than I thought." Trying not to sound too obvious, I ask, "Do you know how long she"s in town""

"Oh, she moved back, this week. Damn, you really are off the grid, aren"t you""

Ignoring the comment, I ask, "Your brother still not here" I feel weird being in the wedding photos."

"Yeah, his flight got all jacked up. He won"t make it. You have to stand in for him, seriously. Besides, I think it"s funny — the only reason you weren"t a groomsman in the first place is because I knew it would be torture making you put on a fucking tux."

I snort. "Well, I"m happy to help. But you"re right, I must really be a good friend to dress up like a penguin for you on short notice." Looking over at Honey I think wearing this tux isn"t the reason today is torture. It"s seeing the girl I love. The girl who doesn"t love me back.

Mark claps me on the back before heading over to his bride. He kisses her easily and I can"t help but wish it were Honey and I standing here.

When the photographer begins arranging the wedding party for pictures, I do my best to ignore the fact that Honey is ten feet away, reminding me of everything I miss. When the photographer asks us to stand together for a picture, I breathe her in like she"s a warm, sunny day. Like we"re on a country road driving at thirty-five miles an hour with the windows down and the gentle wind in her hair.

"Yes, just like that," the photographer says. "A little closer together, yep, a little closer still, okay, perfect."

When the photographer finishes I exhale, knowing everything I want is inches away.

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