Hustled To The Altar

By: Dani Collins



Renny jerked him to a stop and broke free of his grip. “She isn’t my only concern right now. Jacob’s waiting for me.”

“Who?”

“My fiancé, Jacob.”

“He’s here?” He pointed toward the front door. “Outside? Right now?”

She folded her arms, instantly defensive. “Yes, outside, right now. I figured I owed you a face to face, since the scam happened on my watch. Now that I’ve told you, Jacob and I can finish preparing for our wedding.”

“Introduce us.”

Renny couldn’t think of anything worse. If Jacob hadn’t insisted on driving, she would have left him at Mona’s, but she supposed it was inevitable. She allowed Con to march her up the aisle between the racked pool tables and through the door. The sunshine blinded her. She squinted to bring the jagged Rockies and solid blue sky into focus.

Greenbowl’s Main Street materialized in all its small town cuteness. Renny had always liked it and knew she’d miss it. She was friends or friendly with virtually everyone, through Con and Mona. Given that, Con should have realized the only stranger on the street would be her fiancé, but he veered away from where Jacob leaned against his Mercedes halfway down the block.

Jacob sent her a questioning look.

Renny shrugged and followed Con as he approached an elderly man tucking a newspaper into the basket on his bicycle handlebars.

“Jacob!” Con exclaimed, startling the old man. “You’re not at all how Renny described you.”

Here we go, Renny thought, and rolled her eyes.

“I’m not in the mood for games today, son.” The man balanced the bicycle between his thighs, ready to push off.

“Right,” Con said. “You’re anxious to get the wedding planned. Is there a reason you’re in such a hurry to get married?”

“Really, Con, another time,” the man said.

“Are you pedaling or riding the handlebars?” Con asked Renny.

“Don’t be a poor loser.” She swung him to face Jacob.

“I haven’t lost yet. Oh, that one,” he said in a false tone of discovery.

“Yes, that one. Doofus.”

“Hello, Con.” Jacob held out his hand as he walked toward them.

Con shook hands. “Of course, you’re the fiancé. You look more like Renny’s type.”

“I have a type?” she began to say, but she stopped herself as she realized how much Jacob resembled Con. She had thought the resemblance superficial when she had met Jacob. Now she saw it went beyond the dark coloring and six-foot height of both men. They both wore their hair long enough to swoop across their foreheads; they both had squared-off jaws, quick smiles and blue eyes. Jacob wore suits and Con avoided them, but that was the most significant difference.

“It’s nice to meet you, Con, but I expected something more original,” Jacob said with amusement.

“So did I.” Con measured Jacob with a glance.

“I beg your pardon?” Jacob asked.

“You should. I was here first.”

“You misunderstand me.” Jacob gestured toward the old man pedaling away. “I meant I expected you to be more original than greeting the senior instead of me. Cary Grant did that in His Girl Friday. The next time you try to insult me, use your own material.”

“Renny, you found yourself a smart man. He knows there’ll be a next time. I underestimated you, Jacob. I guess that means I insulted you after all.”

“Con,” she said through her teeth.

“Renny warned me you might see our engagement as a challenge.” Jacob drew her to his side.

“She’d be disappointed if I didn’t.”

“I’d be astounded,” she assured him. “C’mon, Con. Surprise me by behaving yourself.”

“It’s all right, darling,” Jacob said. “From everything you’ve said about him, I know Con can’t stand losing. He can take a few shots at me if his pride demands it, but nothing he does will keep me from marrying you.”

Renny stiffened. “You can’t say things like that. He takes it as a dare.”

“Jacob and I are trying to reach an understanding,” Con said, nudging her aside and reaching his arm across Jacob’s shoulders, all buddy-buddy like. “Tell me, Jacob, what do you think of a woman who lets a gullible old lady in her care be swindled, then tries to skip town?”

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