Heat of Passion
Page 5

 Elle Kennedy

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Carson lifted his head, forcing himself to quit wallowing and focus on the vows being exchanged, but a second later his peripheral vision caught a flash of movement and he became distracted again. He shifted his head ever so slightly, seeking out what had snagged his attention. A short brunette stood a few yards away, next to the long buffet table that had been set up for the reception. Her back was half turned, so he only caught a glimpse of her profile, but the black skirt and white blouse she wore told him she was part of the catering staff.
Question was—why did one of the catering staff have her hand down her own shirt?
And was that fondling going on under there?
Carson studied the strange display. No, not fondling. Looked like she was fumbling with…a bra strap? Her hair fell onto her face like a curtain, further shielding her features from him, as she fiddled with the bra in determination.
He squinted. Then choked back a laugh when he realized what was happening. The girl’s bra strap had ripped—and she was attempting to tie the two ends together.
He couldn’t help it. A chuckle slid out of his throat.
Unfortunately, the chuckle came out at the exact moment the preacher demanded to know if anyone had a reason why the bride and groom shouldn’t be together.
Garrett and Shelby instantly swiveled their heads in his direction, shock clearly etched in their faces.
“What? No,” Carson said quickly, keeping his voice low. He turned to the preacher. “No. I’m not speaking. I’m forever holding my peace. These two belong together. Please, just go on.”
“I’m going to kick your ass for this,” Garrett muttered before turning his attention back to the ceremony.
Shelby just glared at him.
Fuck. Wonderful. Now everyone and their mother would think Carson objected to this union. Damn caterer and her broken bra.
He forced himself not to glance in that direction again, instead concentrating on the end of the ceremony and then applauding after Garrett and Shelby locked lips. The newly married couple walked down the sandy aisle, hand-in-hand, immediately swarmed by well-wishers and teary-eyed relatives.
Carson shoved his hands in the pockets of his crisp white Navy uniform and followed the rest of the wedding party down the aisle. As they headed for the reception area, he glanced over at the buffet and sought out the bra-challenged waitress.
There she was. Talking to a curly-haired blonde and gesturing wildly.
His eyes suddenly narrowed as she turned her head. That face…green eyes…pouty lips…Jesus, he knew that face.
He took a few steps closer, bewildered, a tad angry, still focused on the familiar pixie-esque features, the long brown hair, the round little bottom…
The brunette latched her hand on the other waitress’s arm and proceeded to drag her toward the steps leading away from the beach. A second later, the two were out of sight.
But not before Carson caught another glimpse of her face, which confirmed what he already knew.
The mysterious Jessica had made another appearance.
And this time, there was no damn way he was letting her get away from him again.
“What am I going to do?” Holly Lawson wailed, waving her ripped bra around like a matador taunting an irate bull.
Zoe Shickler grinned. “You go without, that’s what you do.”
“This shirt is white, Zoe. And it’s see-through. Vanessa will freak.”
“Vanessa will be too busy bustling around and making sure the guests are enjoying themselves to notice her assistant’s tits,” Zoe answered.
“I’ll notice! And so will all those Navy SEALS. In an hour or so they’ll all be plastered and making cracks about my ni**les.”
“So? If you’re lucky, maybe one of them will offer to suckle you for a bit.” Zoe’s grin widened. “Did you see the best man?” She promptly began fanning herself.
“I’ve been too busy setting up the buffet to notice the best man, Zoe. And this isn’t a joke,” Holly grumbled. “I can’t serve drinks topless.”
“You’re wearing a shirt, for God’s sake.” Zoe rolled her eyes and rose from the cab of the pickup truck she’d been sitting on. “Come on, we should head back. I shouldn’t have let you drag me here to begin with. That Vanessa will freak about.”
Holly sighed. “You go ahead. I need time to gather my courage.”
She watched as the other waitress crossed the gravel parking lot and headed for the narrow concrete staircase that led down to the beach. The lot was crammed with cars, all belonging to the sixty or so people who would soon get a very candid eyeful of Holly Lawson’s braless br**sts.
God, this entire day had been a disaster from the second she’d opened her eyes. She’d woken up to the shrill ringing of her telephone, answered it to hear the shrill voice of her older sister, and proceeded to spend the morning re-dyeing Caroline’s hair after her sister had accidentally dyed it purple the night before. Apparently there had been some sort of communication breakdown between Caroline and her Korean hairdresser, but who the hell knew. Despite the fact that she was twenty-nine—five years older than Holly—Caroline always seemed to get herself in one mess after the other. Somehow Holly was the one who got stuck cleaning it.
And she didn’t even want to get started on the rest of her siblings. Twenty-five-year-old Todd was as scatterbrained as Caroline, as well as the other reason she’d had such a crappy day—he’d forgotten he had a college exam to write tomorrow morning and coerced Holly into spending the afternoon quizzing him. And after she’d left Todd’s dorm, her eldest brother Kyle called with an emergency of his own. He’d locked himself out of his car and needed her to drive over with the spare keys. Her keychain was heavier than a brick, thanks to all the spare keys she had clipped to it, all belonging to her idiot brothers and sister who couldn’t seem to do anything for themselves.