More Than Friends (Kingsley #4) (34 page)

BOOK: More Than Friends (Kingsley #4)
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Chapter Fifty-Five

She was right, and Michael sighed as he allowed Renee to pull him from the shadowed alcove. Downstairs, they took their places among the tables scattered throughout the room, with Renee to his right and her sister seated beside her. Chelse
a’
s boyfriend Nick sat to her right, and the last seat at the table was taken by Clay, one of Xande
r’
s friends. Michael nodded at Nick and Clay as he held Rene
e’
s chair out for her. She sat, and her face flushed hotly as Chelsea leaned over to whisper something in her ear
.“
Shut up
,
” she whispered
.“
And I do
n’
t know yet
.

 

Quirking an eyebrow, Michael watched the twins from the corner of his eye, Chelsea teasing and Renee still pink-faced with embarrassment over whatever had been said. Underneath the table, he could feel the flurry of movement as the twins exchanged teasing kicks, and Chelsea began to hum the tune of the wedding march that had been played upstairs during the ceremony. Renee elbowed her sister in the side and the humming stopped, but Michae
l’
s curiosity had been raised; even as he stood and made his wedding toast to Harmony and Xander as Xande
r’
s best man, his thoughts were on the exchange between the twins.

 

It was a wedding, after all, he thought later, leaning slightly to the side as he allowed a catering waiter to settle a salad plate in front of him. And he and Renee had been friends for a very long time. It made sense then, did
n’
t it, that if his family had been waiting for them to get together, maybe her family had, too? And now they
were
together; it had been just over a month since their first kiss. He could
n’
t believe how much had changed in that short tim
e
– but then again, not much had changed at all. She was by his side, just as she had been almost since the day the
y’
d met, his best friend and the source of his courage to hope. And she had
n’
t been surprised when h
e’
d said h
e’
d loved her; no, she had only smiled and said
,

I
t’
s about time you noticed
.

 

Chatting with Clay about what it was like to work with Xander and Harmony as a wrestler, Michael glanced over at the bridal table, where the newlyweds sat in a romantic cloud of happy oblivio
n
– he watched the light wink off the ring on his siste
r’
s left hand, watched her smile at her new husband as he moved closer to press a tender kiss to her forehead. Michael had spent most of the day with his clothes full of jewelr
y
– Harmon
y’
s rings in his breast pocket, Xande
r’
s ring there with them. But there had been one other, a ring that even now burned a small circlet of heat against his thigh, a small band of shining white gold, wrapped with curling slivers of rose and yellow, adorned with a simple diamond surrounded by tiny rubies. He had found it by chance only two days before, tucked into the corners of the jewele
r’
s display when he had gone to pick up the wedding rings for Harmony and Xander.

 

It had reminded him of Rene
e’
s earring, the one she had left at his house, now sparkling daintily in the lobe of her ear as she tucked her hair away from her face, and he had stood staring at it for so long that the jeweler had had to touch his arm to get his attention. He had bought it then, and had carried it with him these past two days, unsure of what to do with it, whether to wait or not, what would be the right words to say.

 

She had
n’
t said it back; she had
n’
t said that she loved him, too. But he believed with all his heart that she di
d
– she must, to have smiled so at his words, as if she had already known them before Michael himself had even thought them. She had been glad for them; he had felt her seem to swell softly against him as h
e’
d told her he loved her. But no, she had
n’
t needed the word
s
– she had already known. Maybe theydid
n’
t need words now, either. Clay had turned to Nick, asking him about his job on the local police force, and Michael lifted his wine glass, drinking deeply. No, maybe he did
n’
t need words at al
l
– Renee had always understood him. Would she understand him now?

 

Shifting in his seat, he slipped his left hand into his pocket, catching the band of the ring between his fingertips. He halted though, as the ring caught slightly against the threads of his slack
s
… was this really the right time? It was his siste
r’
s wedding day, and he had no desire to spoil that or to take the light from her on what should be the most beautiful day of her life. Beside him, Renee and Chelsea had made up, and they laughed together as dinner was served. Renee leaned softly against his shoulder, making room for the server to put her plate down.

 


Having fun
?
” he asked, the ring still clenched in his fingers as he turned to drop a kiss on the top of her head. He slipped his right arm around her shoulders, squeezing briefly before releasing her, and she looked up, smiling.

 


A ton
,
” Renee answered softly, her left hand slipping over to rest on his thigh
.“
I told you,I love weddings
.

 

Decided, Michael grasped the ring and pulled it from his pocket, his eyes still locked on hers as he turned her hand over and placed the ring in her palm. Under the shelter of the table, he pressed the little golden circlet into her skin so that sh
e’
d know what it was; above the table, he watched the shift of her eyes over his face as she realized what he was doing. She closed her hand over the ring, taking it into her own lap, and Michael took a deep breath, waiting.

 

Renee kept her eyes lowered for a long time, the quiet of their stolen moment covered by everyone else attending to the variou
s
– and progressively drunke
n
– toasts still being made throughout the room. Finally, Michae
l’
s eyes were drawn to his parents as his father stood, taking his glass in his hand, and began to speak. Adam spoke about the sanctity of marriage, the wonders of love, and the hope of a strong union that could stand the test of time.

 

“… And so
,
” he ended, raising his glass in salute to his daughter and his brand new son-in-law
,“
we wish you both the best, with many happy day
s
… and many,
many
sleepless nights
.

 

The room erupted into laughter and as Michael watched Harmony cover her face in embarrassment, Rene
e’
s hand slipped once again into his lap. She squeezed his thigh gently, and he felt the press of the ring.

 

On her finger.

 

A Letter From The Author

There is no force on earth as powerful as fea
r
– except maybe for love, and the hope that love can bring into our lives. Sometimes it takes us a while though, to see wha
t’
s right in front of us. Sometimes we have to spend a while mired in the quicksand of our own personal drama before we can make our way out and learn what i
t’
s like to live again.

 

For Michael Kingsley, divorce was a major personal tragedy that sent him into a tailspin of hurt and self-doubt. We come into Michae
l’
s story after h
e’
s spent a few years drinking too much, a few years having too much random and meaningless sex, and more time than he could care to admit feeling sorry for himself. I
t’
s a little melodramatic, maybe, but i
t’
s huma
n
– this is what we do. We wallow, and we sometimes fall into a rut we are
n’
t sure we can ever get out of.Sometimes we cope with too much sex, sometimes i
t’
s drugs, sometimes i
t’
s drink.

 

For many of us, ther
e’
s one special person who, more than anyone else, holds our heads above the waters of life. Sometimes they know it, sometimes they do
n’
t. In Michae
l’
s case, he had Renee Keaton, a girl who met him by chance and loved him by choice, first as a friend and then as something much more meaningful.

 

There are so many things in life that drag us down, that break our hearts and smother our spirits, and i
t’
s easy to get pulled into depression we ca
n’
t get out of. I
t’
s easy to let sadness turn us into something w
e’
re not. But there is always hope, and there is almost always support from our friends. So remember today to support
your
friend
s
… you never know when they might need it, and what magic might come from the most simple gesture.

 

As always, with much love and my heartfelt thanks for reading,

B.

 

Thanks For Reading!

Did you like this book?
I’
d really love for you to leave a revie
w
– authors love very few things as much as they love feedback from their readers! I know it takes a few minutes of your time, but I really appreciate hearing back from my readers, so if you can spare a moment,
I’
d be so grateful.

About The Author

Brandi Kennedy is an American writer who is finally living her childhood career dream as the author of the Kingsley Series, the Selkie Trilogy, and the Freedom Series.

 

As a child, books were her worl
d
– and through adulthood, that love of words has never changed.  A woman of varied interests, Brandi loves photography, music of all kinds, knitting, crochet and of course, mothering her two young daughters. Currently, she finds her home in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee, among the mountains and the members of her extended family, where she spends her days at the computer, bringing fresh and incredibly real characters to life.

Follow Brandi On The Web

To find notes, news, and a list of Brand
i’
s social media presences, please explore: 
http://authorbrandikennedy.blogspot.com/
, where you can also sign up to receive updates by email.

Other Titles By Brandi Kennedy
The Kingsley Series

Fat Chance, Book One

Prescription For Love, Book Two

Wrestling Harmony, Book Three

More Than Friends, Book Four

 

The Selkie Trilogy

Selkie, Part One

 

The Freedom Series

Fighting For Freedom

 

Stand-Alone Titles

Courageous: A Short Story

BOOK: More Than Friends (Kingsley #4)
2.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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