Also, I realized not all of my books are available in print editions, and of the three that are, only two are up-to-date. Collin and I have been preparing the new and updated print editions through Create Space (and hopefully to be followed by digital audiobooks in the near future. In the meantime, here's another peek at An Army of Angels, once again through the viewpoint of the female protagonist, Robyn Cantwell-Stewart....
My new tablet--with wallpaper featuring my favorite
character from Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon!
We were married on the beach at sunset. Unlike traditional weddings, everyone wore white, and we were all barefoot. Instead of the traditional bridal theme, Mattie played Wedding Song on his guitar as my father walked me to Alex and the preacher.
We spoke vows we’d written ourselves. “Nothing about our love has been what anyone could call normal,” I told Alex, “but it’s always been what’s right for us. May we always live our lives outside the box.”
He took my hands in his. “My life began the night I met you,” he said softly. “I was lost, without hope. You were my miracle. I give you my heart, my soul, all that I am.”
At the end of the ceremony, we kissed as our wedding party greeted us with wild cheering and whistling. We made our way to the SUV in a hail of birdseed--no rice, as it was harmful to birds that might eat it.
Paulie turned to Mike as we passed them. “April Fool’s Day,” he said, shaking his head. “Appropriate. And by the way, you owe me fifty bucks.”
“For what?” Mike wanted to know.
Paulie grinned. “They didn’t make it to the wedding night.”
Mike’s eyes widened. “You mean--”
“You were spying on them?”
“Of course, you idiot.”
Everything was set up for the reception by the time we returned home. There were brightly-colored lanterns hanging from the trees, stereo speakers positioned on the back porch to provide the music. Several picnic tables were set up. On one was the food, a potluck meal provided by the guests--and at the center, the wedding cake, made by my mother. Instead of the traditional bride and groom topper, the couple at the top of this cake were Beauty and the Beast.
“It fits,” Alex told me.
I made a face. “This was probably Paulie’s idea--and if it was, I’m the Beast.”
Alex hugged me. “Nah--I don’t look as good in a dress as Jeri does.”
I rolled my eyes. “I really didn’t know he was going to do our wedding in drag.”
Alex laughed. “That’s going to be one strange wedding photo.”
I kissed him. “Yeah,” I agreed. “Wearing white just made Elroy’s hair and piercings stand out more.”
“You know, I felt like a freak when I came to L.A.--but in this family, I actually feel normal.”
“Normal? What’s that?”
“I’m surprised the critters didn’t eat all this stuff while we were gone,” Alex said, looking around. The dogs and cats were conspicuously absent.
“Mike locked them all in your studio just before we left.”
“Relax,” I told him. “None of them like the taste of paint and canvas.”
The sounds of car horns and shouting broke the silence as our wedding guests arrived. They parked down near the studio and came up to the yard on foot, ready for a celebration. J.J. put the music on and announced the bride and groom’s first dance.
Alex took me in his arms and we danced to Shania Twain’s From This Moment On. For a brief moment, Alex seemed to forget anyone else was present and focused all of his attention on me. “You’re improving,” I whispered. “You haven’t stepped on my feet once.”
He nibbled my earlobe. “Song’s not over yet,” he reminded me.
We danced, oblivious to the crowd watching them--until the music abruptly stopped. “Karaoke!” someone shouted.
I knew what was coming. “Oh, no.”
“All right!” Mike immediately set it up. “Paulie, Matt, Dave, J.J.--you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”
“I doubt it,” Paulie said. “You’re the only one of us who’s had a do-it-yourself lobotomy.”
“C’mon,” Mike urged. “We all know how much Robyn loves Manilow.”
“Oh, no,” I whispered.
“What?” Alex asked.
“Got any earplugs?”
Too late. My brothers had lined up, arms around each other’s shoulders as they sang Can’t Smile Without You--off-key--and danced in a chorus line.
“We should have eloped,” I told Alex.
At the end of the song, Paulie jumped up on one of the picnic tables, microphone in hand. “Can I have your attention, please?” he silenced the guests. “Whoever had April first in the wedding pool, come get your winnings. I think there’s about seventy-five dollars here.”
“They had a pool to predict when we’d get married?” Alex asked.
I shook my head. “They’ll have a pool for anything. They once had one to predict when Dad would pass a kidney stone.”