THE WEDDING CRASHER Book Three
– Lana Malloy Paranormal Mystery Series
Lana Malloy is marrying the love of her life, Tony Calabria. The night before, she has a vision of a disturbing wedding and wonders if it’s a premonition of her own. Feeling silly for thinking that, she proceeds with her plans as scheduled.
During their honeymoon in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Lana has visions of a young woman abducted by a madman, who will be forced to marry him if he isn’t stopped. She senses marriage isn’t the worst thing that could happen to this woman as she feels the threads of death circling her. She believes this isn’t the first woman the man has abducted and murdered; he’s killed before. Lana can’t ignore her visions. Will Tony understand this isn’t an obsession, but a calling, and Lana has to do whatever it takes for this young woman? Will she find the victim in time? If she doesn’t, life will never be the same.
Excerpt Chapter One:
As Lana walked down the aisle, Tony’s love filled her heart and a tear trickled from her eye. She was finally here after realizing there was nothing to be afraid of—nothing at all. So why did she want to turn around and run—run from the church and run for her life? But she wouldn’t. She couldn’t be a runaway bride.
Her footsteps slowed. She felt like she was trudging through deep mud. Then her legs wouldn’t move at all. She looked hopelessly at Tony. The smile left his face and he looked horrified. The look of horror changed to disgust.
She yanked and pulled at her feet without success. What was going on? She tried to cry out, but not a sound escaped. She pulled her long wedding dress up to her knees, and tried to jerk her fashionably heel-clad foot from the carpeted floor. It was impossible. This couldn’t be happening, at least, not on the most important day of her life. She moaned and grunted. She yelled, “Tony!” Her voice sounded as if it came out through a vacuum in slow motion.
Next, she looked around and everyone froze as if paused with a remote control. Everyone except Tony, who gave her a nasty look and walked quickly past her, through the back door, and out of the church. Someone was in his place, but she couldn’t tell who he was. As if someone pressed play again, her feet began to move freely. The crowd became active once more, smiling and whispering. Tony’s brother still stood up as best man to the right of the other man. He smiled at her as she reluctantly made her way to the altar. She couldn’t stop walking; although, all she wanted was to turn around and run after Tony.
When she reached the front of the church where the man she loved should’ve been, the man turned and took her arm, but his face was blank. Who was he? She still had no idea. Lana twisted around to gaze into the crowd. She yelled for help, but everyone just continued to smile at them lovingly—as if this was the most natural thing in the world. Tony even sat with the crowd now, smiling at her. The scene fast forward and it was all over. Everyone rushed to where they stood and wished them happiness.
Tony hugged her and said, “This was the right thing to do. You’ll be very happy with Myles. I won’t hold it against you.”
Lana jerked awake and looked at her clock. It was four in the morning, and she’d slept for an hour. Her bridal shower hadn’t ended until two. This was to be her wedding day and she’d just had the worst nightmare about a wedding anyone could have. What was she supposed to do now? Call it off? Did this mean that marrying Tony would be the worst mistake of her life? Was her life partner supposed to be this Myles person? Who the hell is Myles anyway!
Nerves? Cold feet? That had to be it. And if it weren’t for her psychic ability, that’s all it would mean to her too. But she did have premonitions and her dreams normally meant something but figuring out what they meant always proved to be the hardest part. Lana wished her aunt Lucy would appear.
The windows blew open. A cold draft swooshed the curtains aside. Lana ran to the window and closed it, then pulled the curtains together.
“You called?” Lana jumped. Lucy, her ghostly great-aunt floated around the room smiling. Although Lana had helped Lucy move on a little over a year ago, she still popped back into her life from time to time.
“Lucy … ah, no. I wished for you. You can read my mind now?”
“I always could, honey. So what’s the problem?”
“You don’t know? I thought you could read my mind.” Lucy floated to the bed, crossed her legs and hovered over the covers as if sitting on the sheets. “Well, it’s more like a sense. I can sense when you need me sometimes. Your mom and dad say hello, by the way, and they both send their love.”
“You’ve seen them? How are they?” Lana sat beside her.
“They’re both well. Better than when they were alive. But back to you. What has you so upset?” Lana told her about her dream. “What could it mean?”
“Cold feet perhaps?”
“I thought of that already, but I think it means something more. You know how my dreams are. They usually lead to something I’m working on during a job. But I’m not working on anything at the moment. I put everything on hold until after the wedding.”
“That’s true. I’m happy you’re not backing out of the wedding though.”
“I didn’t say that.” Lana was up and pacing the floor in front of her dresser.
“You’re kidding, right? You’ve dragged your feet on this way too long already. You’re not going to break poor Tony’s heart.”
“Of course not. I’m just wondering if this is a warning. Am I marrying the right man?”
“How can you ask that? Remember your premonition about you, Tony and the baby.” A few months ago when Lana had completed a job, helping a ghost move on who didn’t want to leave and didn’t want the owners of his house living in it, she touched the door handle of her car and the premonition hit her. She realized what her heart knew all along—Tony was the love of her life and she would be stupid not to set the date for their wedding.
Yes, she did remember. Tony had to be the right man for her, she was sure of it. “But what else could the dream mean?”
Lucy placed a finger to her chin. “I got it. This dream has to have something to do with a case you’re going to work on. It’s another premonition. It has to be.” Then she floated over to gaze at Lana’s wedding dress hanging in the plastic bag outside her closet door. “Gorgeous dress. I bet it cost a bundle.”
Lana watched the white-haired woman and thought how short her aunt’s attention span was. “Never mind that right now. So what should I do? Should I postpone the wedding until I find out what this is all about?”
Lucy flew across the room and stopped in front of Lana. “You’ll do no such of thing. You’ll marry that wonderful man today and be happy about it. Just shut the terrible dream from your mind until you return. You’ll only be gone on your honeymoon for a couple of weeks. Whatever it is can wait until you return.”
“Yeah. You’re right.”
“Ain’t I always, honey.”
Lana laughed. “You bet your …?”
“You bet your what? I’m still your aunt and I won’t hear any nasty words coming out of your mouth.”
“Buns. You bet your buns was all I was going to say?” They both laughed.
The two women, one auburn-haired and the other gray blew kisses and Lucy was out of sight again, leaving Lana to a sleepless night of tossing and turning.
* * * *
The next morning at sunrise, Lana walked onto her front porch with a cup of coffee, gazing at the cloud-covered sky and hoping the weather would change soon to the predicted forecast of sunshine for their wedding. She sat in her great aunt’s rocking chair where she liked to meditate. Rocking helped her to clear her mind. The thoughts of the dream threatened to return, so she looked for something else to concentrate on.
Her 1972 yellow Volkswagen Super Beetle and her great aunt’s 1965 red Ford Mustang set in the covered carport. She had inherited the Mustang from her parents who had inherited it from Lucy. Her family loved the older car styles, always stating they had more character than the newer ones. Lana had been so excited when she was finally able to restore them to their original glory. She leapt from her chair and walked outside to get a closer look. The restoration had turned out so well.
She ran her fingers over the now bright Saturn yellow hood of the Volkswagen that had all new windows, black vinyl seats, whitewall tires, and chrome rims. The rear engine had been completely rebuilt. The Mustang went through the same upgrades, but she’d had it painted candy-apple red. Her heart filled with pleasure at being able to refurbish them. She made a mental note to put them in the garage before the wedding. Tony suggested the renovations when she’d asked him for his opinion on good investments. Of course this was only one of his suggestions and the most fun. Always the business man, he’d also suggested investing in a 401K and a retirement fund.
As she decided to take a short walk around the block, her train of thought took her to their living arrangements after they married. Of course, she would live with Tony in the Calabria mansion, but she would keep her beach house exclusively for her PI office. She’d already renovated most of it to a more professional level—not too professional though, liking the cozy feel of it.
Before long, she was on the beach front near her home, and her thoughts wandered to the house Tony had purchased for their wedding present—a getaway home on John’s Island—the home to Angel Oak, one of the largest living trees believed to be almost 500 years old. Their new house set on over two acres of wooded privacy with a stunning carriage apartment, dock and boat ramp that accessed Bohicket creek, and shared a community with eleven other homes.
As you approached the front of the house by the winding driveway, you were met by the double-decker, full-length front porches. There was also a large screened back porch. Balconies were a part of all the bedrooms except for the master where a second-floor porch stood. The porches, especially the back porch, and the deck were Lana’s favorites, as well as the in-ground swimming pool for exercise where she planned to swim laps during the summer to relieve stress.
The house had three spacious bedrooms and two full baths. The master bedroom included a large walk-in closet with a separate shower and garden tub. There were three more bedrooms upstairs with ample closet space. Lana also loved the built-in bookcases framing the den/study area. The open kitchen’s roomy design would be an excellent place to entertain friends. There was a downstairs swing space that could be an option for a fifth bedroom, home office, or study. If they turned it into a home office, she and Tony both could work from home when they didn’t need to drive back to Charleston—maybe a wall bed if more beds were needed. Probably not, and it was a bit overwhelming to think about with everything else going on in her mind.
Yes, Lana thought the house was a little too much for a getaway right now but once they had children it would fill up fast. Plus, Tony bought it for an excellent price so she couldn’t really protest too much. And they could live there for extensive periods of time since it was only twenty-three minutes from Charleston. Getting to work would take no time at all. In reality, she preferred this house for everyday living rather than Tony’s family mansion; although, the mansion was more convenient for Tony as it set on the outskirts of Charleston, closer to his downtown office. The new house was much less intimidating, large but still small in comparison.
Perhaps . . . could she . . . should she . . . would she be able to talk Tony into living on John’s Island full-time and use the mansion only for large business parties? That would be so nice.
Other Books Available in the Series
In book one, HAUNTED HEARTS, Lana sets out to solve her first case—the twenty-year old cold-case and double murder of her great aunt and her great aunt’s fiancé. If she succeeds, they’ll spend eternity together; if she can’t, they’ll be stuck as Haunted Hearts. With the help of the ghosts and a new love interest, she is able to find the murderer.
In book two, GET OUT OR DIE, the success of Lana’s first case has spread throughout the local Charleston area and her business is booming. At one pro-bono job, Lana helps a widow communicate with her late husband where she learns of a frightening new ability—an ability that could give the next spirit, an angry ghost, the upper hand if she’s not careful.
In the fourth book, CHRISTMAS CRUISE, Lana boards a cruise ship haunted by dead women who were brutally murdered. While aboard the ship Lana has an experience that mentally injures her. Once she recovers, she’s more determined than ever to find the murderer.
About Kim Cox
Kim Cox is an author of Paranormal, Mystery, Suspense and Romance. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her chain saw artist husband, their West Highland White Terriers–Scooter and Harley, and a Yorkie mix, Candi. Kim is published in novels, short stories and articles.
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