The MIA Groom by Teri Riggs
The MIA Groom
by Teri Riggs
After waiting nine months for the perfect chance to infiltrate the Russian Mafia’s sex slave operation, former Navy SEAL, Tucker Abrams, gets his chance. There’s one slight problem. At the same time he’s going deep undercover, he’s supposed to be at the church, marrying the love of his life.
Jillian Gilmore’s wedding day has arrived. Unfortunately, her groom has not. After surviving three months of hurt and humiliation as a jilted bride, her missing in action groom returns, wanting to pick up where they left off.
Can Jilly forgive Tuck and move on? Will she ever be able to trust him again?
The MIA Groom
-Beautiful weather with plenty of sunshine… Check.
-Wedding planned and paid for… Check.
-Sexy new bikinis packed for honeymoon… Check.
-Four hundred family and friends gathered in the church… Check.
-Bride dressed in gown of her dreams… Check
-Veil in place, hair and make-up perfect… Check.
-Father of the bride nervously holding her hand… Check.
-Groom waiting at the altar for his bride… That would be a no. A. Big. Fat. No.
Jilly, four weeks later…
YEP. I BECAME one of those brides a month ago. I have become the woman everyone whispers about when I walk into the room. The puffy-faced, red-eyed girl people pity and pat on the back as I move past them, clutching my box of tissues with numb fingers. The bride with a broken heart.
Excluding movies and books, how many women are actuallyleft standing at the altar on their wedding day and never knowwhy? I, for one, have no idea why he bailed. Nor do I have a clue where my groom has run off to. Is he hiding from me, ormore likely running from my father—who is all about strangling my missing betrothed?
Tuck seems to have vanished off the face of the earth withoutthe courtesy of an ‘I have cold feet,’ ‘I met someone new last night and fell madly in love with her,’ or even a ‘your father offered me ten million dollars to disappear from your life and I always wanted to be a millionaire’ kind of explanation. No call. No text. No Dear Jane letter. Not even a mortifying publicFacebook breakup. Nothing. Nada. Zipola.
If any of his friends or family in attendance knew anything, they were not sharing.
And they say Navy SEALs are honorable. Hmph! Shouldn’t matter that Tuck joined the civilian ranks a little over a year ago. He still had the heart and work ethic of a SEAL. According to Tuck, he always will. I guess the expression ‘Leave no man behind’ doesn’t cover women.
My family refers to my wedding disaster as the MIA groom incident. The humiliation and hurt from my missing-in-action man have begun to fade a bit, only to be replaced with anger anda gut-wrenching fear. I’m having trouble reconciling with the way Tuck left me. It isn’t reflective of his character. No matter how badly he may have wanted out of the engagement, he would’ve told me in person. After Tuck opted out of the Navy, he took a job with the CPD Bureau of Organized Crime. Though he may be a tough guy on the outside, on the inside he has a gentle heart. He would never hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it—and when I say ‘deserve it,’ I’m talking about the worst types of criminals Chicago has to offer. Child molesters, serial killers, rapists, human traffickers… the list goes on and on. With the BOC, he’d seen it all.
I want to look him in the eyes and give him a piece of my mind. At the same time, I’m worried about him. I have so manyquestions I won’t find answers for if I can’t reach Tuck. What if he’s fallen out of a tree, hit his head, and is a John Doe lyingunconscious in a hospital? Or been thrown from a speeding trainand is dead, toe-tagged, and residing on a slab in the morgue?What I’m getting at is, he may’ve been injured somehow andlost his memory. Or he could be dead. The thought of Tucker dead turns my belly into sludge.
Still, in my new role as an embarrassed almost-bride, I liked these possibilities considerably more than the ‘he’s a lying dickhead’ option. Blaming death or physical incapacity for my unfortunate abandonment in front of four-hundred-plus guests sounds much better than the jilted woman-he-probably-never-loved scenario. Yep, I can work with death. Besides, if I find out Tucker put me in this situation for any reason other than he has no memory or he’s dead as a bag of rocks, I will kill him slowly and painfully. And when I finish, I will feed his body to the fish in Lake Michigan.
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