The Silver Linings Wedding Dress Auction: Available October 1, 2021 (Women's Fiction, Romance.)
The Silver Linings Wedding Dress Auction: Available October 1, 2021 (Women's Fiction, Romance.)
Everybody loves a wedding, Leslie more than others. From one mishap to the
next readers will join her journey to happy ever after (or everlasting love.)
#romantic #humor #fun!
CAUTION: Reviews are consistent, this book is unputdownable!
Two weeks before her wedding, a tragedy takes place and Leslie Westcott becomes a
single woman once again. The pain of it all is palpable and the need to move
forward in life takes time. But over the next few years, Leslie has no problem
meeting Mr. Almost Right and accepts their proposal. After all, with the loss of her
one true love no one would ever fill that void. Leslie must change what she wants
with each new relationship, but what about love?
Fortunately, the thought of settling for less stops her, always in the nick of time.
Though the result is a closet full of unworn wedding dresses and an aunt who
owns a bridal shop and decides to have a charity auction to benefit a local women’s
shelter. Join Leslie as she relives each voyage to love and decides which dresses
she is ready to cast away. And what about her true love?
Maybe the love of her life has been there all along — she’ll have to look past the
sparkle of her engagement rings and into the heart and soul of a good friend.
2017 – Five days before the Auction
“Now, with a sweet story of happy endings, let’s go to Hannah who is shopping until she drops at the Portland landmark, Trudel’s Wedding Boutique. Hannah, take it away!” the news announcer with the too bright teeth said as he set up the story for his reporter in the field.
“Thank you, Jeff. I’m so excited to be here so bright and early to bring you this story that is bound to have fifty happy endings!”
“Well Hannah, that is a pretty tall order,” Jeff replied with a wink.
“Jeff, it is all but guaranteed,” Hannah announced with a big toothy grin. “On Saturday night, Trudel’s Wedding Boutique will be hosting a wedding dress auction in the ballroom at the Portland Art Museum like nothing ever seen before in our city. Benefiting Rachel’s House the local battered women’s shelter, this large wedding dress auction will be raising money for a great cause. Before I show you a couple of the dresses up for grabs, I want to introduce someone special.
“We are here with Trudel herself. We are surrounded by the most beautiful wedding gowns you’ve ever seen,” the reporter said, turning to Trudel, a small statured woman who was dressed as usual in a black dress and large pearls. “Trudel, I want to thank you for getting up so early to meet with us this morning to talk about your first Silver Linings Charity Auction.”
“Thank you, Hannah, I’m happy to be here with you showcasing this fabulous event.”
“Great, great! Now, tell us how you came up with this fabulous idea.”
“Well, you know that love is not a straightforward journey for everyone. And sometimes a beautiful wedding dress is the collateral damage that sometimes gets left behind. A gorgeous gown can become a bride’s arch nemesis after a broken engagement, which is such a waste.”
“Have you seen that happen a lot over the thirty years you’ve been running your boutique here in downtown Portland?”
“Most of the time, everything goes off without a hitch. But there are those times when everything that can go wrong does go wrong. That is how I came to have such a glut of beautiful inventory. And in some cases, people have beautiful gowns they will never wear again or give to another family member to wear. Well, the gowns aren’t doing anyone any good just hanging in the closet! But they could! That’s when I got to thinking that an auction could help those who aren’t lucky in love and end up in situations where they don’t have a place to go. Rachel’s House was the natural choice. These dresses should go to helping out other women who find themselves in unfortunate positions.”
“That’s so great,” Hannah said as she smiled at the camera.
“That’s right. I have several dresses I will be putting in our sale for a lady who hasn’t made it down the aisle yet!” Trudel confirmed.
“Wow, now that sounds like a good story.”
Trudel shook her head, her smile turning to a grimace. “She is a very sweet person, but she has been engaged many times…And she is like a niece to me, so she knows the importance of ordering a dress at least six months in advance. Unfortunately for her, several times, just when the dress was ready for the first fitting the engagement was a thing of the past.”
“So it was this reluctant bride that gave you the idea?”
“She gets a lot of men to close the deal by proposing, but it is never the right one. On some level, she was my motivation for the Silver Linings Wedding Dress Auction. It is just so sad to see all those wedding dresses hanging in her closet. It isn’t like I can resell all of her dresses because they’ve been altered to fit her. But she is curvy, with generous curves,” she admits as if she is divulging a dirty little secret, “So her dresses could fit a lot of smaller women who aren’t as curvy.”
“I’m curious, just how many dresses does she have in her closet?”
“I think she has at least a half dozen!” Trudel exclaims with a laugh.
“My goodness, what does she do that she meets so many men who propose to her?”
“She is a Realtor, they just meet everyone,” Trudel says with a sarcastic laugh. “I can tell you she has a Mark Zunino, and several Monique Lhuillier’s, who I think is her favorite designer. We are excited to have nearly fifty dresses from almost every major name in bridal fashion.”
“They should raise a lot of money for Rachel’s House.”
“That’s what we are hoping!”
The reporter looked into the camera and said, “Now if you have a dress you don’t want, it doesn’t need to be a Mark Zunino, but you know who to call. They should call you, shouldn’t they, Trudel?” she asks turning back to Trudel.
“Yes, or they can just bring the dress by the shop. We are known for our designer gowns, but as long as the dress is in good shape and only worn once or not at all, we will take it. We are hoping to have enough gowns for a second auction next spring.”
“So, if you have a story similar to Trudel’s honorary niece, I’m sorry her name escapes me,” the reporter said.
“Leslie Westcott,” Trudel blurted out, and looking only into the camera with large, frightened eyes as the realization hit much like a cornered rabbit looking up the long barrel of a hunter’s gun.
“Yes, if you have a story like Leslie Westcott’s, Trudel of Trudel’s Wedding Boutique would love to hear from you. Okay, thank you, Trudel, again for getting up with us so early in the morning. Now, in our next half hour, you’re going to see me in one of the dresses from the Silver Linings Auction. Who knows? Maybe it will be one of Leslie Westcott’s cast offs. Okay, see you in a bit. I’ll send it back to you Jeff in the studio.”
“Thank you, Hannah, great story,” Jeff said. “Let’s hope Leslie Westcott’s dresses bring a lot of money for a great cause. Now, we’ll turn to Rhonda for the latest in traffic.”
Leslie Westcott stood naked in the bathroom doorway with a towel wrapped around her wet hair and a toothbrush dangling out of her mouth as she watched the morning news in horror. First, she was Trudel’s niece, but since Leslie’s mother had died, Trudel always treated her like a second daughter. That honorary stuff was crap. This woman, who had just blurted out her name on the morning news, was her blood relative.
Second, they had all agreed that if Leslie decided to participate her dresses would go into the auction anonymously. She knew when she’d mentioned this last, important detail that Trudel hadn’t been listening or as the family liked to think of it, she was projecting, but not receiving.
Aunt Trouble strikes again!
Had Leslie believed this whole charity auction wouldn’t come back to bite her in the ass? No. She just hoped it wouldn’t be so personal. Aunt Trudel had been so crazed with auction details it had been hard to be around her.
Leslie stepped back into the bathroom and rinsed her mouth. She held onto the edge of the granite counter and counted to ten, reminding herself to breathe. As the words Aunt Trudel had said repeated again and again in her mind, Leslie cringed, her stomach doing flip flops.
This was going to be trouble. She couldn’t murder Aunt Trudel. She didn’t need the hassle with the police, but then she had connections in the police department and a good lawyer, but still, it wasn’t worth it. And it wasn’t like Trudel meant any harm. She was a very sweet person with an open heart and the attention span of a gnat.
Her cell phone began buzzing as a number she didn’t recognize registered on the display, and then there was a chirp and a second number appeared, and this time her caller id snared the caller, the news station that had just interviewed Trudel. No doubt they wanted Leslie for a follow-up story. Not going to happen.
And, just to be clear, she had not yet agreed to put any of her wedding dresses in Aunt Trudel’s Silver Linings Dress Auction. No, all the garment bags holding clues to her torrid, tumultuous, and controversial past were still in the guest room closet like white encased corpses. And she was quite content to have them stay there.
Leslie’s sweet Vizsla dog, Daisy raised her head off the bed, her amber eyes big and tender, as Leslie dressed. If she could talk, she’d no doubt be saying, “Are you mad at my Aunt Trudel? Is she coming for a visit? She gives me treats even when you tell her to stop. Where are you going? How can you leave me like this?”
“You sweet girl,” she said as she placed a kiss on her dog’s head. “Be good while I’m gone. I’ll try to be home early. Got to run, got a closing. Got to keep you in doggy biscuits. Take care of the house.”