Valentine’s Vows

by Helena Stone

Valentine's Vows - Helena Stone
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 2.99 USD
ISBN: B084FJBZGN
Pages: 83

Ty O’Malley and Ben Cronin joyfully invite you to help them celebrate their marriage on Valentine’s Day!

Two weeks before the big day, Ty and Ben can relax. With the ceremony planned and the party venue booked, they’re looking forward to counting down the moments until they are husband and husband.

Then…disaster strikes.

After the hotel cancels their reception booking, Ty and Ben resign themselves to a wedding day without a big celebration. That is, until their ever-impulsive friend, Claire, offers to organize a party for them without revealing what she has in mind. Out of options, the grooms-to-be allow Claire to take the reins.

But with no idea what awaits them and many surprises in store, will Valentine’s Day turn into an unmitigated disaster or the best day of their lives?

Valentine’s Vows is the third title in the Valentine’s Love series and best read in sequence.

Excerpt:

“Sorry, guys, I think I’d better take this.” Ty looked up from his phone and glanced at us.

The frown on Ty’s face combined with the concern in his voice took me by surprise, but it wasn’t until he got up from our table in the pub and made his way outside that my curiosity turned into disquiet.

“What’s up?” Claire asked, clearly as bemused as I. “It’s not that noisy here. Surely he could have answered the call without leaving?” She smirked at me. “Unless he’s keeping secrets or planning surprises, of course.”

I rewarded her observation with a half smile without taking my eyes off the door through which Ty had disappeared. Whatever was going on and whomever Ty was talking to, I was pretty sure it had nothing to do with Ty wanting to keep me in the dark about anything. For starters, it had been blatantly obvious he hadn’t expected the call.

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When I reached for my pint, Dylan caught my eye. “I’m sure it’s nothing,” he said. “Your prewedding jitters are probably getting the better of you.”

Jacob chuckled. “It’s probably his mother. Didn’t you tell us she’s been calling several times every day?”

“Yeah. She does.” My answer was automatic, while I tried to make up my mind whether or not I should follow Ty outside.

“Well, then,” Jacob said, as if that explained anything.

I forced myself to focus on our friends for a moment. Jacob, Dylan, Claire, and her boyfriend, Mark were all staring at me.

“He wouldn’t feel the need to take a call from his mother in private,” I explained. “She does call us all the time, but her questions and suggestions are never so serious Ty wants to be alone while talking to her.” Despite my growing concern, I smiled. “Did you hear about her latest suggestion?”

“Probably not?” Claire’s uncertain answer didn’t surprise me. Ty’s mother, Joan, had come up with an astounding number of weird ideas ever since we announced our wedding. We’d indulged some, embraced one or two others, and discarded everything else. Her latest proposal had amused us greatly before we’d dismissed it.

“She thinks we should spend the night before the wedding in separate houses and definitely not in the same bed.” I laughed as I remembered her shocked expression when we told her there was no way we’d stick to that particular tradition.

“What’s so bad about that? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?” Claire sounded serious, but her lips trembled, and her eyes sparkled before she burst out laughing too.

“Stupid rules like that are just another reason why weddings don’t make sense.” I wasn’t surprised to hear those words from Jacob. His sarcasm about love and marriage in particular had mellowed quite a bit since he’d connected with Dylan, and he’d been unwavering in his support of Ty and me whenever we needed a willing ear or a second opinion. But deep down, he was still the same cynical Jacob I’d first met in college.

“Love doesn’t make sense if you think about it. So why would weddings be any different?” Dylan asked.

Jacob squinted at Dylan and opened his mouth to share what would almost certainly be a sarcastic comeback, but my attention drifted back to the door. There was still no sign of Ty.

What’s going on? What’s taking so long?

I wasn’t sure why I was so edgy. Ty could be talking to anybody about literally anything, but I couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong.

“Sorry, I’m just going to see where he is.” I barely glanced at our friends as I spoke, my gaze still glued to the entrance, and if they reacted, I didn’t hear it.

I stood and had taken a few steps when the door opened and Ty walked in, his features slack and his eyes wide but unfocused.

Fuck.

Obviously, I’d been right to be worried.

“What’s wrong?” I asked as soon as Ty reached me.

“You’re not going to believe this. I don’t know what we’re going to do now. We’ve only got two weeks.” The words exploding from his mouth explained nothing but cranked my anxiety right up.

“Ty?” I waited until he looked at me. “You’re not making sense. You need to calm down and tell us what’s wrong.”

“Wait.” Claire, who’d apparently followed me when I got up, interrupted before Ty could answer me. “I’ve got a feeling this is going to call for reinforcements. Give me a minute.”

Before I could object and tell her I didn’t want to wait, she stalked off in the direction of the bar.

I focussed on Ty, who looked shell-shocked, as if he wasn’t sure what to do next.

“Come.” I reached for his hand and squeezed it until he looked at me, his eyes still wide, although anger appeared to be replacing the earlier confusion in his gaze. I walked back to the table, pulling Ty along. “Sit.”

I returned to my chair, and a heartbeat later, Ty lowered himself until he sat next to me again, without relinquishing my hand. If anything, his grip on my fingers got stronger. My earlier unease had blossomed into deep-seated concern. Ty’s reactions to unexpected situations could be a bit extreme at times, but I’d never seen him as distraught as he clearly was at that moment.

Torn between demanding answers and knowing it made sense to wait until Claire was back—if only to spare Ty the ordeal of having to repeat his story, whatever it turned out to be—I glanced over my shoulder. I heaved a sigh of relief when I spotted Claire approaching us, carrying a tray holding six tumblers containing an amber liquid I suspected was whiskey.

“Drink some of this.” Claire placed a glass in front of Ty as soon as she reached us. “I haven’t seen you this shook up in years, not since that bastard abandoned you.”

“Thanks.” Ty’s voice was soft, barely a whisper. He reached for his glass and drained half of the double shot.

I copied his movements, convinced that I would need the liquid courage in a matter of seconds.

“What’s wrong?” Jacob asked when Ty remained silently staring at the table. “Surely it can’t be that bad.”

Jacob’s question almost made me smile. After all, he was normally in a league of his own when it came to pessimism. His words did manage to pull Ty out of his thoughts, though.

“You’re right. It’s not that bad. It’s worse.” Ty turned to me. “I’m so sorry. I’m not sure we can fix this.”

Apprehension made my skin itch. “Why are you sorry, and what needs fixing?” My tone of voice was much harsher than I meant it to be.

“That was the hotel,” Ty said.

The words “what hotel” burned on my lips until the realization sank in that he could only mean one place.

“What did they say?” I knew I didn’t want to hear the answer with as much certainty as I knew I had no choice.

“That storm last night destroyed part of their roof. They’re flooded and are closed for renovations.” Ty took another sip from his whiskey. “For a month.”

“A month?” I almost shouted the question. “But we’re getting married in two weeks. What are we supposed to do now? Did they come up with an alternative location?”

Ty shrugged. “They assured me they tried, but that every conceivable venue in Dublin is booked and has been for months.” Ty’s eyes glistened when he met my gaze. “I’m so sorry. We can still get married, but I guess there won’t be a party.”

COLLAPSE

About the Author

Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.

The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.

Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.


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