The Goodbye Bride

By: Denise Hunter



“She’s hurt. I’m helping her, that’s all. I’ll have her home by—”

“Helping her?”

“—tonight, if all goes as planned.”

“She left you!”

“She has a concussion! And memory loss. What do you expect me—?”

“That’s what that phone call was about? She just calls you out of the blue, after all she did, and you go running—”

“Oh, here we go.”

“—to her rescue?”

“She has memory loss—or did you miss that little piece of the puzzle?”

Beau plunged his hands deep into his khaki pockets. “I don’t care if she has malaria. What problem is that of yours? She lost the right to call on you for help when she deserted you with an entire wedding to cancel. With a broken heart, in case you forgot.”

“I haven’t forgotten anything! She’s the one who’s forgotten. She doesn’t even remember leaving Summer Harbor. She woke up on some bathroom floor with a knot on her head and the past seven months gone.”

Beau studied him intently, as if he were trying to piece it all together.

Good luck with that. He hadn’t even gotten to the wedding dress.

Beau walked to the sofa and sank down across from Zac, his elbows planted on his knees as his eyes narrowed knowingly. “She’s playing some kind of game, Zac.”

“Believe me, my mind went there too. But I took her to the hospital. She has a concussion. It’s true.”

“How do you know she’s not faking the memory loss?”

“I just do.”

“Come on, Zac, don’t be so gullible.”

Okay, now that smarted. He glared at Beau. “I’m not freaking gullible. What do you want, a medical report? I sat right there and listened to the doctor say she has amnesia.”

“Because she said she didn’t remember? Come on, man. You know she’s your weak spot. After what she pulled, I wouldn’t put it past her.”

“You didn’t see her last night. Didn’t see how upset she was. She went to the hospital. You know how hard that is for her. Besides, why would she lie? She’s the one who left me.”

“Well, maybe she’s changed her mind. Maybe this is some devious play on your sympathies so you’ll—”

“She was in a wedding dress, all right?”

“What?”

“She was wearing a wedding dress. And some other dude’s engagement ring. It was her flipping wedding day, and she can’t even remember who she was marrying.”

Beau’s brows pulled together in confusion. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Well, I’m going to figure it out. I’m going to find her—people—and get her home ASAP. She’ll be gone before you know it.”

“Where was she at?”

“Portland.”

Beau shook his head. “It just doesn’t make sense. It’s only been, what, six months since she left?”

“Seven.” And eighteen days. But who was counting?

“And she’s not only moved on, but she’s ready to walk down the aisle with some other dude?”

Zac shrugged. It stung, he wasn’t going to lie. Here he was, forcing himself to date other people, and she was about to take the plunge.

“You think she was cheating on you before?”

“I don’t know.” He thought back to last fall. They’d been so happy. Or so he’d thought. “It didn’t seem like it. Everything seemed fine.” As Beau’s eyes met his, the silent words filled the gap between them. Obviously it wasn’t.

“I don’t even want to think about it. I just want to find her fiancé, hand her over to him, and forget she was ever here.”

“I’m not sure it’s going to be that simple.”

“I’ll make sure it is. In the meantime maybe you can keep this to yourself. I really don’t feel like having a bunch of people slapping my shoulder again and asking me how I’m doing. Or worse, gossiping about what a gullible fool I am.”

“People are going to see her, Zac.”

“I’m closing the restaurant today. And I’ll have her back in Portland by tonight if it’s the last thing I do.”





Chapter 6

Lucy loosened the edges of the eggs with the spatula and with a quick jab of her wrist flipped the omelet. She liked to cook at the Roadhouse. The walk-in was always well stocked, and the pans were top of the line.

Had it really been seven and a half months since she was here? It didn’t seem possible. It went against everything her mind was saying.

She couldn’t forget the way Beau had looked at her upstairs. Like she was the last person he’d expected—or wanted—to see. She couldn’t help but feel she was missing some part of the equation, some critical piece of the past.

After being chased from Zac’s apartment, she took a quick shower and slipped back into the loose jeans and T-shirt she’d been given from the hospital lost and found. Her stomach growling, she’d scrounged up some fresh ingredients. They’d both perk up after a nice breakfast.

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