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Fleur de Lis Brides, Book 1
Perfectionistic Branna Lind has found true love with James Newbern, but the winds of Hurricane Katrina push their wedding date into an uncertain future. She can’t wait on Fleur de Lis to be restored to marry James. They need to wed pronto, before she reveals news sure to shock her family.
James is determined to protect Branna. Since their engagement, his gun toting ex-fiancée has been dipping into crazy. He’s certain she’ll settle down after the wedding, but when she steals Branna’s heirloom pearls—her something old for the wedding—James takes matters into his own hands. And despite Branna’s ranting, he’s not agreeing to a quickie Vegas wedding. His fiancée will be a Fleur de Lis bride, just as tradition dictates. Or he’ll die trying.
The path to “I do” is more challenging than Branna and James ever imagined, but they’re determined to get their happily ever after.
Page Count: 104
Word Count: 24190
“No!” she screamed. Folding her arms over her chest, she rocked forward and back. “No.” Her words mixed with sobs. James wrapped his arms around her. She noted his nearness, his warmth, the kiss on the top of her head, but shock overwhelmed her mind.
“Who would do this?” she wailed.
Bed linens, scooped from the bed, were piled in a heap on the floor. The mattress, ruined by a large X from corner to corner, looked naked and raw. A bedside lamp had been smashed against the wall. A gaping hole in the drywall sprouted pink insulation.
“Miss Lind, do you have any enemies? This appears to be a threat or a message rather than a burglary. Can you identify anything taken?”
James stepped away. She ran to her dresser, her heart thudding faster than racecar pistons. She yanked on the top dresser drawer. A moment of hope shot through her as she reached for the dark blue velvet box.
The string of perfectly matched, white pearls was gone. Her wedding would be incomplete without that special something old. The thief had robbed her unborn child of a precious family heirloom. “Oh, God.”
A wave of nausea chugged up her chest to her throat. She ran to the bathroom to rid herself of the rising bile. After a moment, she sank to the floor and rested her back against the tub, her head pounding. Hot fuzzy sensations covered her cheeks.
James handed her a cool, damp washcloth. “Are you okay?”
She waved him away.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry you came home to this. Take an inventory when you feel up to it. Maybe tomorrow,” the policeman said. “I know it’s tough, but the sooner we know, the sooner we can contact pawnshops and further the investigation. Do you have someplace to stay tonight? We’ll have a patrol keep an eye on your house, but whoever did this, I believe, was sending you a message.”
“She’ll stay with me, Officer,” James said. “Branna, sweetheart, how about you sit in the chair?” He helped her up and then led her to her bedroom.
He grabbed a blanket from the floor, draped it over her shoulders, and gently helped her to the wooden rocker, the only undamaged chair in the house. Entombed in numbness, she sat.
“Officer, may I have a word with you in the hall? Branna, I’ll be right back. Then we’ll go through and see if anything else was stolen.”
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