Spotlight: The Wanted Bride by Sylvia McDaniel

The Wanted Bride
by
Sylvia McDaniel
Genre: Short Contemporary
ISBN: 978-1484122204
Number of pages: 232 pages
Word Count: 60,000
Cover Artist: Kat Baldwin
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She’s a Runaway Bride
Valerie Burrows is running from a wedding, her attorney fiancé and the law. Pampered Valerie takes a bus to nowheresville, where she learns her cash and credit cards have been stolen. Left with only her designer clothes and luggage she takes on a new identity and must learn to be self-reliant. She swears off men, especially attorneys, only to find the one man who refuses a one night stand and wants a relationship.
He’s Looking For A Wife
Matt Jordan, the Colorado Crusher, is the most successful liability lawyer in the state. After the death of his brother-in-law, he realizes he’s ready to settle down with a family of his own. His only requirements are intelligent, great-looking, wants more than a hook-up and doesn’t lie. After witnessing the lies his father told his mother, he demands complete honesty. Yet Valerie Brown shows him sometimes in order to find yourself, you must become someone else. Even if that means lying.

“I need a one-way ticket to anywhere,” Valerie Burrows commanded the girl behind the bus counter in downtown Dallas. A charred piece of her wedding veil sagged onto her face. Impatiently, she flipped the singed lace away, her throat closing off the tears that threatened her vision.
 
On what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, she reeked of smoke, not flowers, saw red not white, tasted bile not cake.
 
Glancing up from the counter the clerk’s eyes widened, making Valerie acutely aware of her appearance. On what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, she felt traumatized, not joyous.
 
“Whe…re do you want to go?” the clerk stammered.
 
“Anywhere, as long as I leave in the next five minutes,” Valerie insisted, wishing people would stop staring. So she looked like a crazy woman. After this morning maybe she was a little loco.
 
“The bus to Amarillo is loading now,” the agent advised, her large brown eyes riveted to Valerie. “I have one seat left. The one-way fare is sixty-five dollars.”
 
Though she preferred to travel by plane, there was no time or way to get to the airport. She could take the bus or stay and face the consequences of her actions.
 
Valerie dug the cash out of her Bottega Veneta purse and handed the money to the ticket agent. “I’ll take it.”
 
Dirty lace from her wedding veil fell onto her face again, so she yanked the offending garment off her head and threw the veil on top of her matching Louis Vuitton luggage. The beautiful lace of her Vera Wang wedding gown was streaked with gray and black. Burn streaks made a crazy pattern on the silk that didn’t accessorize the seed pearls.
 
The heel of one of her Stuart Weitzman pumps had snapped several blocks ago, and her feet were blistered. And yet her heart beat on it spite of her ruined wedding.
 
The clerk handed her the ticket, sympathy in her dark eyes. “The bus is ready. You’re the last one to board.”
 
Not even time to change. Head held high, spine locked in place, she limped to the white steel carriage, her suitcase trailing behind.
 
There, she handed her two suitcases to a gawking young man. He opened his mouth to speak, but she held up her hand. “Just load my luggage.”
 
She glanced up to see faces pressed against the glass windows of the bust, gaping at her like she was a freak show.
 
Hadn’t these people ever seen a runaway bride in real life before? Julia Roberts may have made the movie, but she didn’t own the copyright to wedding disasters.
 
With her carry-on bag hanging from her shoulder, Valerie marched up the steps of the waiting bus as if she walked around in a wedding gown every day. The babble of sixty voices ceased as she handed the driver her ticket.
 
He mumbled, “Lord, I need to retire.”
 
Her silk dress pressed against her legs and swished as she made her way to the only empty seat on her getaway bus. Thank God she’d ditched the petticoats in the Corvette.
 
A gray-haired woman glanced at her as she put her luggage in the overhead bin.
 
“Hm hm hm, I can’t wait to hear this story,” the elderly Hispanic woman said. “Are you all right?”
 
Valerie plopped in the seat, her ruined silk gown making a mighty swish. She exhaled loudly, her heart aching, her eyes blurring with unshed tears. For the last hour she’d been holding her breath while making her escape.
 
But now, now all the pain she’d carefully controlled broke free and she chuckled. Hysterical laughter rumbled from deep inside her, echoed through the bus. A single tear rolled down her cheek.
 
“I am now.”
 
Sylvia McDaniel and her very supportive husband Don, the love of her life, live in Texas with son Shane, Putz the klutzy dachshund and Ashley our shy dachshund. During the day, she works for a small insurance agency, helping clients with their commercial insurance coverage. The weekends are spent working out in the garden until the temperature climbs above ninety degrees. Currently, she’s written fourteen novels. Her novel, A Hero’s Heart, was a 1996 Golden Heart Finalist. Sylvia is the President Elect of Dallas Area Romance Authors.

 

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