As part of the MTW blog tour, it is with great pleasure
I present to you author – Khristina Atkinson. Below you can read a little extract from Khristina’s current novel How to Capture Kate.
Kate Collins encountered Dmitriy Ivanov while on her first assignment with the FBI, while partnered with Special Agent Nathan Reed. Ivanov was a person of interest, and she tailed him to the Royal Regency Hotel. She accosted a handsome stranger in the hallway to keep her cover from being blown, and he followed her to the bar located downstairs. After having a glass and a half of wine with Clay Carlisle, she ended up in his bed with no recollection of how she got there.
A little over a year later, she has another encounter with Ivanov. He orders her to marry Clay and threatens the people she loves if she refuses. She has no choice but to follow through with a ceremony.
Excerpt from How to Capture Kate: Undercover Romance Series, Chapter Ten / The Faux Bride (a few words have been changed or taken out as to not give away any of the plot):
After eating breakfast, Meredith insisted Kate approve of the great room that had been decorated for the wedding. A red velvet rug ran the entire length for Kate to walk down. It reminded her of the red carpet for actors, but she was no star. Gold chairs with red velvet cushions were lined on either side of the rug. There were at least a hundred. She couldn’t ideate why their ceremony would require so many.
Ornate pillars had been placed around the room and flower arrangements made up mostly of red roses and Casablanca lilies were sitting on top. A round table had been placed where the couple would be standing and was covered with a golden silk material. Red roses and baby’s breath were attached around the center of the pedestal. The gold fabric draped to the floor along with some greenery. A large white candle between two thin white candles in gold candle holders were sitting on top, surrounded by the same red roses and baby’s breath.
The ballroom, where the reception would be held, contained round tables covered with gold-colored silk tablecloths. The back of every chair had a custom-fitted white cover with a cursive letter “C” embroidered in gold. The chairs were a golden metal with white cushions. A crystal champagne flute with gold trim was at every place setting along with a gold charger and white china plate. The silverware was also gold-plated. Beautiful crystal vases, filled with calla lilies, served as a centerpiece for each table.
Large cherub statues flanked the room with greenery cascading down the sides of them. At the head of the room was a long, narrow table for the bride, groom, and their families to sit. A space had been left clear for dancing.
Meredith had spared no expense and actually outdid herself. Kate had to admit the decor was stunning. Her prevailing thought was how much her mother hated red roses, and they were everywhere. There was no reason to obsess about the flowers. The wedding wasn’t real. She had to believe that one day Nathan would be the one standing across from her when she said “I do”.
Kate trudged upstairs to lie down for a little while. The ceremony was at six that evening and didn’t seem very far away. As her mind contemplated what was in store for her, she was having trouble keeping her breakfast down.
She didn’t have long to rest before Meredith was knocking on the door. The cosmetologist had arrived. Let the fun begin.
They both had their nails done first, and then Marjorie started on their hair. Meredith wanted most of Kate’s hair in a loose chignon updo of her natural waves, but to have natural-looking curls accentuating her face and several more hanging down her back. When she was satisfied with the stylist’s creation, she helped her future daughter-in-law with the headpiece and declared everything was perfect.
Kate stared in the mirror at her hair adorned with the tiara and all the white diaphanous material, cascading down behind her. She looked exactly like a princess, but this was not her idea of an enchanting wedding at all. Nathan was her knight in shining armor, not Clay.
The time had come to slip into the dress. The bodice plunged deep, exposing the tops of her breasts. and had a floral lace pattern that was encrusted with jewels that appeared as if they were diamonds. Kate wondered if Meredith had paid for the real stones. The sheer cap sleeves were also beaded, and the diamond flower patterns trailed down the dress stopping just above her knees. The fabric starting at her hips had an A-line silhouette. The ball gown became so full at the bottom; she couldn’t even see her feet. She imagined falling backwards when the long train was attached and almost giggled out loud.
Meredith presented Kate with two large velvet jewel boxes she boasted Clay had purchased as gifts for his future wife. The first contained an elaborate diamond necklace that perfectly paired with the dress. The second held the matching earrings. Her soon-to-be mother-in-law made a huge fuss over helping her put them on.
Nathan knocked firmly on the door and called out, “It’s me.” When Kate answered that they were ready, he asked to be alone with her for a few minutes. Meredith didn’t seem too thrilled about leaving the room. He hastily guided her out the door.
His eyes took in the image from her gorgeous hair to the bottom of her extravagant gown. “Angel, you’re the most glorious creature I’ve ever seen in my life. I just now thought I’d died and gone to Heaven.”
“I hate the way I look, Nathan.”
“I thought you hand-picked everything. Isn’t this your dream wedding?”
“No. I picked out the things I thought most women would want. This isn’t me at all.”
Nathan was intrigued by her outburst. “How would you describe your dream wedding, my angel?”
Kate was frustrated and replied curtly, “Do you really want to know?”
He took hold of her hands in a loving gesture. “Of course, I do.”
Most importantly, she wanted the ceremony to be with him. “Do you plan to be the one marrying me?”
“So, you want me as the groom?”
He only managed to provoke her. “You didn’t answer my question.”
“Angel, I would marry you today if I thought you were ready. Now tell me. What would your dress look like?”
His answer pleased her. If she had one wish, it would be to marry him today instead of his brother. “I want to wear a comfortable white sundress.”
“A sundress? Can I assume the wedding will be outdoors?”
“Yes. On the beach. We’ll both be barefoot and casual. I only want you, me, and Julian to be there.”
He enjoyed her concept and foresaw only one problem. “Don’t we need two witnesses?”
“Okay. We’ll include June and Robert.”
Nathan could visualize Kate in that white sundress. She would be equally as exquisite as she was standing before him in the designer dress. Probably more so. His mother was wrong when she thought material possessions could make a person happy. His true love looked miserable adorned in the expensive gown with the gaudy necklace and earrings. He wanted to take them off of her and give her the fantasy wedding on the beach. They had to be patient only a little while longer.
Meredith rapped several times on the door and her voice conveyed a self-imposed urgency. “Katherine, we need to get downstairs and start.”
Nathan didn’t want to let her leave. “I would kiss you, but I don’t want to mess up your make-up.”
“It probably wouldn’t look right if I covered your face with my lipstick right now. What would your mother think of me?”
Nathan opened the door and escorted Kate out into the hallway. She had extreme difficulty negotiating the steps and wasn’t exactly acting as if she was an elegant lady. Meredith tried to insist she wear heels, but thankfully she had fought her. Walking in them was much too awkward with the dress being so full at the bottom. If Meredith had won that battle, she probably would have broken her neck on the stairway.
Nathan had to put his hand over his mouth to keep from laughing at the sight of Kate on the stairs. Her fancy ball gown was hiked up with both hands as she gingerly tread downward, trying not to fall. His angel was no royal beauty that could gracefully descend the staircase in such attire, but he adored her anyway.
Meredith led Kate to the entrance of the great room. Kendra and an assistant were already waiting with the train for her dress. They began to attach the trailing material and spread it smoothly behind her. When Kate placed her hand around Edward’s arm, Nathan slipped inside and took his place on the front row.
The traditional “Wedding March” was being played by a chamber orchestra. The double wooden doors were pulled open by two of the agents who had been placed inside to guard them. Everyone stood up. Kate didn’t know any of the people that turned into her line of sight. Perhaps they were business associates of Clay and her grandfather. They were all staring at her, so she put the brightest smile she could muster on her face as she and her grandfather made their way forward.
When Kate looked straight ahead, she caught her first glimpse of Clay. He was standing at the end of the aisle, looking very stylish in the tux she had picked out. He had to be the most debonair man she had ever seen. His golden hair, deep blue eyes, and bronzed complexion were only enhanced by the formal attire.
Clay was very pleased with the lovely vision of his bride as she made her way toward him. His smile was genuine. She hadn’t taken her eyes off him, and his gaze was intently fixed on her.
Nathan was fully aware of the focus on Kate. He didn’t approve of the way he was eyeing his woman. He glared at him in an attempt to make him stop, but Clay could only see his future wife coming closer.
He would give anything for her to fall for him. She was a force of nature, and he could only imagine how passionate she was in the bedroom. She would surely be loyal to him. His mind could easily imagine them being perfectly content together. He would have no problem remaining faithful. She would be all he needed.
Edward placed Kate’s hand in Clay’s and stepped away. The wedding was a sham, but he wanted to slap some sense into the pompous jerk. The man had some nerve coming to his home and endangering the lives of his family with an unscrupulous two-bit thug. He could only hope the men he hired would find the gangster soon.
Nathan could feel his blood pressure rising as Kate stood in front of him with Clay’s hands possessively surrounding hers. They both loved to be outdoors, and their skin tone was a lustrous tan. Clay’s hair had only small traces of light brown and was almost completely blonde with all the gold the sun had woven through it. Kate’s hair was only a slight shade darker with golden highlights spun down her long locks. Their eyes were almost the same deep color blue. They were both tall and in excellent shape. Kate was as beautiful as Clay was handsome, and they looked so perfect together. Appearances were deceiving though, and he should be the one standing next to her instead of his brother.
The phony wedding, unfolding before his eyes, resembled something out of a story book. However, the wedding was no fairy tale. This was real life, and Kate loved him.
The Backstories: Undercover Romance Series (Character Short Stories)-FREE on Kindle February 14 through February 21, 2017: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GG7RL52
How to Capture Kate: Undercover Romance Series (Book 1)-99 CENT Deal on Kindle February 14 through February 21, 2017: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GDC1EC6
Obsession of Mine: Undercover Romance Series (Book 2)-available for pre-order and released February 10, 2017: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M3XRHAU
Check out all my books on Kindle: www.amazon.com/author/khristinaatkinson
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