Sharon Bolton Excerpt: “Lacey’s Wedding”

As we count down the days until the next Sharon Bolton novel (Dead Woman Walking is available in the US on September 5th!), we're thrilled to offer you a sneak peak at Sharon Bolton's most recent short story, “Lacey's Wedding,” which answers the very important question asked at the end of the last Lacey Flint story.

Comment below for the chance to win one of three Dead Woman Walking ARCs, plus the full PDF of “Lacey's Wedding”! If you don't happen to be chosen as a winner, you can visit Sharon Bolton's website, upload proof of purchase of Dead Woman Walking, and you'll receive the full PDF.

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. She’s seen the killer’s face—but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe—but it could be the most dangerous place of all…

Chapter One: The Bride

Mark Joesbury was sweating again. He ran a finger around the inside of his collar and stepped to one side of the pub doorway to get out of the way of the constant flow of people. The car park was almost as crowded as the pub, but at least the air was fresher. He put his untouched pint down and pulled out his cigarettes. It took him a couple of attempts to light up, because his hand was shaking, but then he sucked in like a drowning man, blowing the smoke into the air, watching it disperse over the mass of pleated nylon, feathers and netting. He took another drag.

Mark Joesbury did not smoke.

‘All right, mate?’ Someone Joesbury didn’t know, dressed like he was in a tailcoat and apricot cravat, patted him on the shoulder.

‘Sound,’ Joesbury replied, although the bloke had long since disappeared into the pub. ‘Just needed a fag.’

He dropped the cigarette, lifted his pint to his mouth and misjudged. Swearing to himself, he tried to pull the handkerchief from his breast pocket, only to discover it was fake. A tiny triangle of nylon. Not even real silk. The beer stain on his cravat would stay.

Apricot cravats? How had this happened?

He closed his eyes and summoned up the vision he’d been comforting himself with lately: a Caribbean beach at sunset, a woman with fair hair and the simplest of dresses, because her beauty was the kind that needed no ornamentation. Just the two of them, strangers bearing witness, and the sound of the ocean as they promised to love each other for the rest of their lives.

Not that way. Not today.

He opened his eyes again to see that a plump woman packed into a glistening pink dress at least two sizes too small was practically standing on his toes. Not three feet away, a blonde with orange skin wore a dress the like of which he’d last seen on a cut-price Flamenco doll in Magaluf. Another girl, no more than fourteen, wore a similar creation, which flowed like a blue nylon waterfall down her back. All the women tottered in high, white sandals. All had masses of curly hair held up with diamonds, pearls, feathers.

He looked at his watch. Almost time.

Three miles away, Garry Shaughnessy was standing outside a terraced house, watching a white stretch limousine being packed with apricot froth as the bridesmaids – six of them at the last count – squeezed their way inside. Apricot frills spilled out of an open window and pressed forward into the front seats to surround the grim-faced driver.

Immediately in front of the limousine, the Cinderella carriage, pulled by two white horses, stood waiting. One horse pawed the ground. The other took a dump.

The bride might not be Garry’s blood daughter, but no one could say he hadn’t done right by her. Even if the bridesmaid dresses were secondhand, even if her own dress had been worn before. Two hundred people were expected to pitch up in the small Cumbrian town for the wedding and he was footing the bill. There was a lot riding on this marriage, and no one could say he hadn’t done his bit.

A boy of ten, dressed like Garry in tail-coat and striped trousers, came running up. ‘Gazza, the priest says we’re already half an hour late, so we are, and he can’t hang around for ever because he’s got hospital visiting later.’

The priest would wait as long as he was fucking well told to, but he had a point. Garry said, ‘Go inside, tell her to get a move on.’

The boy, who was known as Skippy, because nobody could remember his real name, collided with Garry’s youngest daughter, Gemma, as he raced inside the house. Gemma was the last of the bridesmaids.

‘Dad, you should go now,’ she said. ‘Then you’ll be at church when we arrive.’

Garry glanced over at the Cinderella carriage. ‘I’m going with the bride,’ he said.

She gave him a pitying look. ‘You won’t fit. Remember, with Ariana there was only room for her and the dress? You had to follow behind?’

He’d forgotten. His older daughter, Ariana, had insisted on the biggest, heaviest dress for her own wedding ten years earlier. It hadn’t been possible to squeeze the two of them into the carriage. He’d walked behind. As had the groom after the service. Today’s bride was wearing the same dress.

‘Where is Ariana?’ he asked, as he walked Gemma to the white limousine.

Lord’s sake, the ruddy car would explode if one more were squeezed inside it.

‘Still upstairs, I think.’ Gemma looked up and down the road. ‘No, her car’s gone. She must have gone ahead to help Mum.’

Skippy had reappeared. ‘She’s on her way down,’ he said. ‘Do I have to go to church, Gazza? Can’t I just wait outside?’

Garry aimed a blow that they both knew was designed to miss. ‘I’m not telling you again,’ he said. ‘Now get yourself down there, and don’t get oil on that suit.’

Skippy sauntered down the path and picked up his bike.

***

Copyright © 2017 Sharon Bolton.
 

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton & the full PDF of “Lacey's Wedding”!

To enter, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

Dead Woman Walking Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/stories/2017/06/sharon-bolton-excerpt-qlaceys-weddingq beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) June 22, 2017. Sweepstakes ends 11:59 a.m. ET June 30, 2017. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

 

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Sharon Bolton is a Mary Higgins Clark Award winner and an ITW Thriller Award, CWA Gold Dagger and Barry Award nominee. She lives near London, England. Sharon Bolton was previously published as S.J. Bolton.

Comments

  1. John Smith

    I would like to win the teddy bear thing, too!

  2. MaryC

    Love the blurb for Dead Woman Walking!

  3. Pat Dupuy

    I really like this series, so how did I get behind? I need to grab a copy of Here Be Dragons and catch up.

  4. lasvegasnv

    different

  5. Rhonda Stefani

    I absolutely must read this one, have been quite excited about it! Would so love to receive a copy and be able to change shelf want-to-read to currently reading!
    Thank you for the chance!

  6. Terry Pearson

    This one is on my to buy list but winning it would be phenomenal!

    Good luck everyone.

    #thrillerjunkie

  7. Pearl Berger

    Sounds captivating and intriguing. Thanks.

  8. Tad Ottman

    Looks good. I’d love to give it a read!

  9. Susan Neshick

    Looks like a great read

  10. Vernon Luckert

    Looks like a good read.

  11. Sue Leonhardt

    I would love to read Dead Woman Walking and Lacey’s Wedding. I was just checking out Dead Woman Walking out today, so I am very intrigued to read and review this novel. Thank you for the chance.

  12. pat murphy

    Hope to win , looks like something I would like .

  13. Tracy Peters

    Would love to win!

  14. Jeffrey Tretin

    Thank you. Want to win 🙂

  15. pearl berger

    Thanks for this fascinating feature.

  16. Barbara Lima

    It sounds like fun! I hope the bride doesn’t die.

  17. Jackie Wisherd

    I would enjoy reading this book.

  18. Barbara

    I like the plot synopsis and would love to read this book.

  19. Connie Fischer

    Oh my goodness! Both of these stories sound delightful! Would love to read and review both of them. Thanks for the chance.

  20. ellie lewis

    Thanks for this fabulous giveaway. Greatly enjoyed the background.

  21. MARY PRIMORAC

    looking forward to reading this book

  22. Clydia DeFreese

    So many good books to read; so little time. Thanks for all your suggestions.

  23. Karl Stenger

    I love Sharon Bolton’s books.

  24. Rena

    I’ve read several of Sharon Bolton’s books and can’t wait to read the rest of Lacey’s story.

  25. Mame Coyle

    Love this series!

  26. bill norris

    would love to read this

  27. Nancy Pate

    The suspense is killing me –just like in a Sharon Bolton book! Can’t wait to read Lacey’s Wedding and Dead Woman Walking.

  28. Janice Santillo

    Intriguing excerpt, would love to read the whole thing

  29. Marybeth Mank

    I echo what I said before about reading previews…I want some more, pretty please!!!

  30. Jeana Keller

    Thanks for the chance to win.

  31. teresa sopher

    Count me in please. Thanks a lot

  32. Marlyn Beebe

    I LOVE Sharon Bolton’s books!

  33. Melissa Freeman

    Sounds exciting!

  34. Patricia Nicklas

    I’ve added this latest Sharon Bolton novel to my to-read list. Thanks for the review

  35. Karen Terry

    I love her and can’t wait for her new book.

  36. Vivian Gross

    Can’t wait to read it.

  37. Linda A

    There is always a witness.

  38. Marisa Young

    Would like to win.

  39. Carl

    I’m so looking forward to Dead Woman Walking, thanks for the chance to win it!

  40. Charlotte Orth

    The Lacey’s Wedding piece was just getting good! I want to read the rest of it and win a book!

  41. Kim Salmi

    definitely would love to read this ….intriguing !

  42. Kim Salmi

    definitely would love to read this ….intriguing !

  43. Michael Carter

    Please enter me in this sweepstakes.
    Thanks!

  44. Patrice Gottfried

    Love Sharon Bolton! Look forward to each new one.

  45. Darlene Slocum

    I like mysteries and this sounds like a good one.

  46. Don McClure

    It’s on my to read list.

  47. susan beamon

    The book sounds interesting. I could read it.

  48. Esther Whatley

    This sounds like a good one. Would love to win.

  49. Bianca Assim-Kon

    Winning two books for one comment, sounds too good yo be true. Hoping today is my lucky day #KeepingMyFingersCrossed

  50. Ruth Wojtkiewicz

    Love the Lacey Flint stories and books.

  51. Shiela Edwards

    I would love to win this. I like what I read so far.

  52. Carole Knoles

    It’s a fact! Girls of all ages love weddings (including reading about them). Good, bad, beautiful, disastrous it doesn’t matter. Just give ’em to us.

  53. Robin Weatherington

    [b]Looking forward to it![/b]

  54. Laurent Latulippe

    Riveting. I want to read this.

  55. Andra Baley

    would love to win this.

  56. Daniel Morrell

    sounds interesting

  57. Diane Pollock

    Sounds very interesting, would love to win!

  58. Diane Pollock

    Sounds very interesting, would love to win!

  59. Dan Carr

    count me in!!!

  60. Susan Robinette

    Sounds very good– I’d love to win!

  61. Jamie Whitten McCauley

    Pick me….pick me 🙂

  62. Renee Rousseau

    Thank you for sharing these must reads! Count me in!

  63. Meredith Miller

    I’d love to read these! I’ve never read anything by this author before.

  64. Beth Talmage

    Now here’s a series I need to catch up on…

  65. Padams57

    I love reading Sharon Bolton’s books. 5 Star reads.

  66. samantha cox

    Can not wait to read this

  67. Elaine Roberson

    Sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  68. Crystal Blackburn

    I’d love to win!

  69. Susan Nygren

    Would love to read this book

  70. Anita Yancey

    It sounds like a great book, and I love the setting. Thanks for this chance.

  71. Kyle Johnson

    Sounds good!

  72. Tawney Mazek

    The excerpt got me hooked, sounds good.

  73. Chris L

    Would love to read this book!

  74. vicki wurgler

    read the excerpt thanks for your giveaway

  75. Amanda Smith

    I’d love to read this book!

  76. Kris Kaminski

    For some reason I have a craving for a good book and a beer!

  77. Kris Kaminski

    For some reason I have a craving for a good book and a beer!

  78. Karen Hester

    Sounds interesting – thanks for the chance to win.

  79. Karen Hester

    Sounds interesting – thanks for the chance to win.

  80. Karen Salyer

    Love this series! And a wedding story, too.

  81. Karen Salyer

    Love this series! And a wedding story, too.

  82. Angie Stormer

    Pick me, please. This book is going to rock!

  83. Susan Mahaffey

    Great beginning of this book. Want to read and finish the book! Thanks!!!

  84. Alyson Widen

    I giggled reading Mark Joesbury say, “Apricot cravats,” after polkadotting his tie, which just elevated his stress to another level. Not understanding the humor at first, I had to read it a few times and saying, “Bloody Mary,” wouldn’t be as dramatic.

  85. Polly Barlow

    I do believe I’d enjoy reading “Dead Woman Walking”. Thanks for a chance of winning a copy.

  86. Patrick Murphy

    I need to read some of Sharon Bolton’s work

  87. Sally Cadagin

    I’m hooked: good start

  88. L Peters

    sounds like a great read – can’t wait to read it. thanks

  89. Theresa

    I def want to read this book!!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  90. Dawnby

    Oh wow – another book that grabs me — hope i can win it to read!!!

  91. John Meixner

    Sounds great!

  92. miranda summerset

    love these types of books!

  93. Nagehan

    I want lacys wedding

Comments are closed.