Hustled To The Altar

By: Dani Collins



“Just a minute—” Outrage choked off Renny’s defense.

“If you’re referring to your grandmother, Renny spoke to me about the situation.”

“And she’s eaten up by guilt, isn’t she? I really should give her the opportunity to make it up to Gran—rather than fire her, I mean.”

“You can’t fire me,” Renny interjected. “I resigned.”

“You didn’t have to quit over one mistake, cookie. Gran thinks the world of you. She’ll overlook it.”

“I quit when I accepted Jacob’s proposal because we’ll be living in Minneapolis. I’ve been working out my notice for the last three weeks. You knew that. It’s why you had to be back today.” Take that, smart aleck.

“You don’t feel any remorse at all?” he asked.

“Of course I do.” Renny folded her arms. “I feel horrible.”

“Then you owe it to yourself to help sort this out.”

Renny pressed her eyes closed. It was like playing three-card monte. She didn’t know in which direction his argument would go or where it would end up.

“I told you I called the police. They’re investigating, but since there’s no real evidence against Felix—”

“Who is Felix?”

“Felix Newman was the name on the card, the one with the number for the florist in Detroit. Felix’s description will be posted with a warning, for all that’s worth. He could change his looks and keep doing what he’s doing,” she grumbled.

“So you don’t think Gran is the only person he’s suckered?”

“I think he’s making a tidy living with this scam of his, but Mona’s the only one who’s lodged a complaint.” Renny didn’t want to imagine how many others had blithely allowed their money to be stolen. “I checked with the hotel and it was the first they’d heard of it, too.”

“Would you recognize him if you saw him again?”

“Of course, but there’s no guarantee he’d stick around once the police put out their warning.”

“You called them this morning?”

“Just before I came here.”

“You probably spoke to a night clerk. They won’t get their act together before this afternoon at the earliest. We can sort it out ourselves.” Con opened the door of his Spitfire. “Let’s go.”

He could be such a rat sometimes, tempting her like a seasoned carny worker to the roller coaster ride that was time spent in his company. But she was no longer the impulsive woman who would have leapt into that seat and whooped as he pulled away. “I can’t leave my wedding plans and go back to Deception Springs right now.”

“It’s only an hour away. Surprise and speed. That’s how you gain the advantage over your opponent, cookie. Strategy 101.”

“I’m not going back to Deception,” she repeated.

“You don’t mind, do you, Jacob? You’d be helping a lovely old lady. Have you met my grandmother?”

“I’m staying with her while Renny works out her notice.”

“Is she keeping her teeth in? Gran, I mean.”

“Uh, no, actually.”

“That’s great. It means she likes you.” Con slapped Jacob’s shoulder.

“I have things to do,” Renny argued. “Hair, nails, facial—”

“Cut, polish and wax? Quit fishing for compliments.” He turned to Jacob. “Five G’s is a blow to Gran. She’s on a fixed income, you know.”

“Right. But I understand you recently liquidated an asset. Did Renny mention I sell mutual funds? Let me give you my card.”

“Jacob—” Renny put up a hand, stalling his sales pitch. “Con, I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do. I'm getting married tomorrow.”

Con considered her as he slipped Jacob’s card into his wallet, then pushed his wallet into his back pocket. “We’ll take Jake’s car, all go together.”

“Jacob, please tell him we can’t.”

“We could talk investments on the way,” Con suggested.

Renny shot Con a dark look.

Jacob shrugged at Renny. “I know you’re bothered by this whole thing. Would you feel better if you located the man and identified him to the police? There are salons in Deception.”

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