Thu
Jun 22 2017 11:00am

Sharon Bolton Excerpt: “Lacey’s Wedding”

Sharon Bolton

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.

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92 comments
John Smith
1. jsmith2jsmith
I would like to win the teddy bear thing, too!
MaryC
2. maryc
Love the blurb for Dead Woman Walking!
Pat Dupuy
3. Pat D
I really like this series, so how did I get behind? I need to grab a copy of Here Be Dragons and catch up.
Rhonda Stefani
5. RStefani72
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!
Terry Pearson
6. hippiechick1955
This one is on my to buy list but winning it would be phenomenal!

Good luck everyone.

#thrillerjunkie
Pearl Berger
7. Sunshine
Sounds captivating and intriguing. Thanks.
Tad Ottman
8. tottman
Looks good. I'd love to give it a read!
9. Susan Neshick
Looks like a great read
Sue Leonhardt
11. coccotoro
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.
pat murphy
12. pwhitby
Hope to win , looks like something I would like .
13. Tracy Peters
Would love to win!
pearl berger
15. beach
Thanks for this fascinating feature.
Barbara Lima
16. barblima
It sounds like fun! I hope the bride doesn't die.
Barbara
18. braeuber@sbcglobal.net
I like the plot synopsis and would love to read this book.
Connie Fischer
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.
ellie lewis
20. italia
Thanks for this fabulous giveaway. Greatly enjoyed the background.
MARY PRIMORAC
21. mprimo1
looking forward to reading this book
Clydia DeFreese
22. clydia
So many good books to read; so little time. Thanks for all your suggestions.
Rena Sollish
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!
Nancy Pate
27. patebooks
The suspense is killing me --just like in a Sharon Bolton book! Can't wait to read Lacey's Wedding and Dead Woman Walking.
Janice Santillo
28. themommazie
Intriguing excerpt, would love to read the whole thing
Marybeth Mank
29. Gr8chefmb
I echo what I said before about reading previews...I want some more, pretty please!!!
33. Melissa Freeman
Sounds exciting!
Patricia Nicklas
34. pmernick
I've added this latest Sharon Bolton novel to my to-read list. Thanks for the review
Karen Terry
35. bblol65
I love her and can't wait for her new book.
37. Linda A
There is always a witness.
Carl
39. Carl Scott
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!
Kim Salmi
41. Coffeebean
definitely would love to read this ....intriguing !
Kim Salmi
41. Coffeebean
definitely would love to read this ....intriguing !
Michael Carter
42. rubydog
Please enter me in this sweepstakes.
Thanks!
Patrice Gottfried
43. pkg427
Love Sharon Bolton! Look forward to each new one.
Darlene Slocum
44. darandsam
I like mysteries and this sounds like a good one.
susan beamon
46. susanbeamon
The book sounds interesting. I could read it.
Esther Whatley
47. ewhatley
This sounds like a good one. Would love to win.
48. Bianca Assim-Kon
Winning two books for one comment, sounds too good yo be true. Hoping today is my lucky day #KeepingMyFingersCrossed
49. Ruth Wojtkiewicz
Love the Lacey Flint stories and books.
50. Shiela Edwards
I would love to win this. I like what I read so far.
Carole Knoles
51. carknol
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.
Diane Pollock
56. blacksnake
Sounds very interesting, would love to win!
Diane Pollock
57. blacksnake
Sounds very interesting, would love to win!
60. Jamie Whitten McCauley
Pick me....pick me :)
Renee Rousseau
61. reneejr
Thank you for sharing these must reads! Count me in!
Meredith Miller
62. meredithfl
I'd love to read these! I've never read anything by this author before.
Beth Talmage
63. wordygirl
Now here's a series I need to catch up on...
64. Padams57
I love reading Sharon Bolton's books. 5 Star reads.
Elaine Roberson
66. elainehroberson
Sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
Anita Yancey
69. rosewood780
It sounds like a great book, and I love the setting. Thanks for this chance.
Tawney Mazek
71. tmaze
The excerpt got me hooked, sounds good.
72. Chris L
Would love to read this book!
vicki wurgler
73. bison61
read the excerpt thanks for your giveaway
Kris Kaminski
75. kjkski
For some reason I have a craving for a good book and a beer!
Kris Kaminski
75. kjkski
For some reason I have a craving for a good book and a beer!
Karen Hester
76. rosalba
Sounds interesting - thanks for the chance to win.
Karen Hester
77. rosalba
Sounds interesting - thanks for the chance to win.
Karen Salyer
78. KES
Love this series! And a wedding story, too.
Karen Salyer
79. KES
Love this series! And a wedding story, too.
Susan Mahaffey
81. Smbirds
Great beginning of this book. Want to read and finish the book! Thanks!!!
Alyson Widen
82. Sunnymay
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.
83. Polly Barlow
I do believe I'd enjoy reading "Dead Woman Walking". Thanks for a chance of winning a copy.
Patrick Murphy
84. Ditch
I need to read some of Sharon Bolton's work
L Peters
86. leepcat
sounds like a great read - can't wait to read it. thanks
Theresa
87. theresajs
I def want to read this book!!
Thanks for the giveaway!
88. Dawnby
Oh wow - another book that grabs me -- hope i can win it to read!!!
89. John Meixner
Sounds great!
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