Page 20 of Stealing the Bride

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The guy behind me honks again, and I see that it’s a loading truck and he can’t fit. “Fuck, let’s just circle together and come back.”

“I’m in heels and basketball shorts.” She laughs and points to her outfit. “These will fall off of me if I have to walk around the block.” She unbuckles and grabs the door. “I’ll be quick.”

“Vanna!” I call out, but she’s already darting out of the car and into her building. “Shit.”

There’s a line of cars behind me, so I put it in gear and drive on. Glancing at the seat beside me, I see she’s left her cell phone. Great.

It takes me longer to get around the block than I hoped, and I’m on edge by the time I pull up outside her building. I frantically scan the area, but I don’t see her, and when a car up ahead pulls out, I hurry to grab the spot.

After I park, I jump out of my car and jog to her apartment. I don’t like being separated from her, especially after everything that’s happened. The hair on the back of my neck stands up as I climb the flight of stairs to her place and then see her front door open a crack.

“Vanna?” I call out, but there’s no answer as I push open the door. Glancing around, I see her apartment is ransacked, turned upside down, and just when I’m about to call out to her again, there’s movement behind me.

Something stings my neck, and it’s like a jolt of electricity through every inch of me. I seize up, and my knees give out as I fall to the ground and convulse. The last thing I remember as black spots fill my vision is that the woman stepping over me isn’t Vanna.

Chapter Fifteen


As much as I want to fight it, I know I’ll never win. Whenever I’m panicked, my body gives in, and I hate it. It’s always made me feel weak because I should be a fighter. I’ve fought for everything in my life, so why am I not doing it now?

In the face of something big, my body goes into shock, but maybe a person can only take so much. My mind wants to shut down and block out anything that could ever hurt me, including people. In my experience, the greatest pain isn’t physical. When they walk out, it’s the biggest heartbreak.

The last thing I see is Nick standing in my wrecked apartment, his eyes filled with rage. He says something, but I can’t make it out before darkness takes over, and I pass out.

When I jolt awake, Lawson isn’t next to me. He was my hero that had come out of nowhere, but now I’m in bed all alone. I know from the scent alone that I’m at Nick’s parents’ house. I visited a handful of times while we were dating, and I noticed it had a weird old flowery smell to it.

Jerking up, I glance around the overdone room and see that I’m on top of the covers. A glittering chandelier lights up the whole room, and although I’ve never been in this room before, I’m sure it’s one of many in their home. How long have I been out? I rub the back of my head and wince.

I must have hit it when I passed out, and of course Nick didn’t try to catch me. The second I walked into my apartment and saw everything tossed around, I knew that things were about to go bad. I was about to run and find Lawson, but then Nick stepped out of my bedroom. The shock of seeing him made me stupidly think that maybe I’d been robbed. One look in his rage-filled eyes and I could see he’d done this. With each step he grew closer, fear took over because I had no idea what he was capable of. He’s no longer the man I thought I knew, and apparently that Nick never existed.


My heart sinks because I don’t know what happened. Did he show up to my place and think I’d ghosted him? As quickly as I can, I get to my feet. I’m still in basketball shorts, but my heels are gone. I notice one of my suitcases sitting at the end of the bed, and I open it to find my clothes inside.

Pulling on a sweater and jeans, I decide to try and sneak out of the bedroom. My hand freezes on the doorknob because I have no clue what I’m about to walk into. Am I being held captive? I can’t see Nick’s mother doing that, but then again, that woman always gets whatever she wants, and she has to know I’m here.

Slowly I open the door a crack and peek down the long hallway. I may have been here a few times, but the place is giant. It’s more like a place to show off than a home. I mean, who puts paintings that cost more than most cars in random hallways? They often host events here, and the plan was for our wedding to be here too. The thought of marrying Nick makes my stomach turn.