Marina Frances had been in love with Jettson Frame from the moment she had lain eyes on him eleven years earlier. But Jettson had never noticed for drooling all over Flame, who had noticed him for the same length of time it took her to dump him and marry another man. Then Jettson had moved out of the state and Marina hadn’t seen nor heard of him in six years. Plus, she had gotten on with her life to the point of becoming engaged to marry her attorney boyfriend of a year and a half and the marriage was six weeks away. Now Jettson was back in her life busily chasing after her divorced Cousin Flame while trying to foist her off onto his nerdy Cousin Berry: all just like old times. How was Marina supposed to cope with her imminent marriage knowing she was still in love with Jettson, a man who didn’t know she was alive in that way and a man who could never seem to get her name straight?
Nervously Marina marched down the aisle on her father’s arm Monday evening after her succession of bridesmaids. Her mother had been seated at the front of the church by one of Harvey’s groomsmen, an impatient look on her
face as if the wedding wouldn’t take place fast enough for her. Harvey’s parents had been seated across the aisle from her, Harland Jr. and Amy Lennox looking on at her entrance with interest. But Marina barely took note of any of them
as her gaze fixed on her fiancé as he stood tall and proud before the Reverend Ansley with Ty Wallerstein officiating as his best man.
It was only a wedding rehearsal and Marina was a total mess, her heart thudding in her chest like a jackhammer. Harvey was a good man—her mother had been right about that—and he loved her very much. Marina would be a fool
not to marry him in light of his newfound status at his law firm.
By the same token, how could she possibly marry him knowing she was in love with another man? What guarantee did she have that she would learn to love him after they were married when it didn’t work for her Aunt Nadine three
times? And how did Marina know that Harvey wouldn’t be able to detect by her marital frigidity that she didn’t love him in the true sense of the word?
She should be telling Harvey right now that she could not marry him because she was not in love with him. But by the same token, she wanted to marry him because she would be a fool to let a great catch like him go. She was torn wanting
him, but for all the wrong reasons.
Marina fought to get a grip on herself as she and her father neared the altar. Perhaps if she recalled the playful banter that had taken place between her and her bridesmaids out in the lobby before the rehearsal had started. Simone
joking about how eldest son Drancy had gotten in a fight with a neighboring child that day and how Azar had beat his behind when he’d arrived home that evening.... Gale telling her something about Darnell having returned home from his weekend business and their plans to get together later on that evening.... Shawna telling her something about being voted employee of the
month at one of her jobs.... And Flame laughing about how Jettson had taken her to Six Flags Over Georgia for the day on Sunday and how she had gotten him to spend all of his money on her.... So, what else was new...?!
Yet as her mind lingered on thoughts of him, Marina had to fi ght the urge to scream. JETTSON FRAME! He was the cause of all of her problems, the cause of all of her doubts concerning Harvey.
Marina just did manage to pull herself together as her father deposited her at Harvey’s side. She forced warmth to her expression as she met the expectant look he turned on her.
“...And at this point, I will say, ‘Who gives this woman to be with this man?’ And you will say...?” the Reverend Ansley prompted her father.
“...I do,” answered Orin Francis.
“And then, you will give your daughter to Harvey and tur