Luce knows she should be thrilled when Jenna asks her to be bridesmaid – after all, they’ve known each other since childhood and Jenna is the best friend any girl could have. But it’s hard to get excited about weddings when you’re terminally single and the best man is the boy who broke your heart: Jamie, the groom’s dashing and irresistible brother. How can she face the man who dumped her when she’s still so hopelessly in love? Then again, maybe this is the perfect opportunity – after all, where better to get back together than at a wedding?
So Luce has six months to figure out how to win back her ex, but she has plenty else on her plate – from an old friend returned to Newcastle with an announcement of her own, to a youthful colleague who may or may not have a crush on her and a mother who is acting very strangely indeed… and that’s all before a mysterious, handsome American walks into her life.
Sometimes being a bridesmaid isn’t all confetti and champagne…
‘A smarter, funnier Bridget Jones’ Diary for the 2010s – great pithy writing and instantly likeable characters’ Cass Green, Sunday Times/USA Today bestselling author of In a Cottage in a Wood’
I’m so delighted to be the stop on the blog tour for The Bridesmaid Blues today, this sounds like such a fun read, I have an excerpt to share today.
Novel extract – The Bridesmaid Blues, Tracey Sinclair
Luce was late, as usual, but for once Jenna didn’t mind getting to the bar first. She needed a drink before she did this. She’d ordered their traditional bottle of white straight away and, despite her usual restraint, had already managed to gulp down a full glass and she’d only been here 10 minutes. Calm, she thought, just be calm. How bad could it be? Then again, knowing Luce, it could be very bad. Nuclear meltdown, global bio-warfare, imagine-Simon-Cowell-in-hot-pants bad. Cursing herself for own cowardice, Jenna had chosen a table at the back of the pub, so that if Luce did lose it and make a scene, at least there would be fewer witnesses.
She couldn’t believe how stressed she was. She was nearly 40 and a professional woman, for God’s sake. She managed a team of 11 people and could comfortably converse with MDs, CEOs and any number of other impressive initials. Yet here she was, desperately wishing she smoked so that her hands would have something to do other than shake. Nervously, she twisted the ring on her finger, not yet used to it being there. This is ridiculous, she told herself sternly, as she gulped down another mouthful of wine. How hard can it be to tell your best friend you’re getting married?
Pretty hard, as it turned out, although not for any of the reasons Jenna had expected. Of course, with Jenna’s best friend, things were never exactly easy, so why should this be an exception? Luce’s shrieks were so loud that half the pub’s customers were looking round to see what was happening and the staff were nervously craning their necks from behind the safety of the bar, trying to figure out whether they should be calling the police to prevent someone being murdered. And Jenna hadn’t even managed to tell her the actual information
yet. She’d got as far as “I’ve got some news” and Luce had dissolved into hysterics.
“Oh, my God!” she screeched, and Jenna was surprised that none of the glass around them broke. “Oh, my God, you’re sick, aren’t you? Is it cancer? What do the doctors say? Is there anything I can do? Oh, Jen…”
Jenna looked at her friend in sheer, open-mouthed horror. She would have been speechless had there even been a possibility of getting a word in edgeways. She watched Luce continue in this vein for several minutes, helpless to stop her. Finally, seeing an opportunity as Luce took a tear-filled breath to gear up for another round of wailing, she took her chance and jumped in.
“What are you talking about? I’m not ill!” she snapped, louder than she meant to, so that the last three remaining people in the pub who weren’t already looking at them turned around sharply to see what was going on.
“No? No! Thank God! What is it then?” Luce’s expression darkened in sudden fury. “Is Michael having an affair? That bastard, I never liked him!”
“Luce! Of course Michael isn’t having an affair! Why would you even say that?”
“God, Jen, it’s not you? I don’t believe it! Michael is so lovely! How could you?”
Jenna could feel what little patience was left to her rapidly evaporating.
“Luce, for God’s sake! No one is ill. No one is having an affair. Bloody hell. It’s good news.”
“Good news? Good news?” Luce stared at her, affronted. “Then why didn’t you say that? People say, ‘I’ve got good news.’ No one says, ‘I’ve got news’ if it’s good news. ‘Something to tell you’ is always bad!”
Jenna goggled at her friend, amazed. “Who says?”
Luce scowled at her as if she were stupid.
“It’s a universal conversational rule. News-no adjective is always bad. It’s a basic principle. That’s why people always say ‘I’ve got good news’. It’s politeness! You scared the bloody life out of me!”
Jenna took a long, deep breath and tried to banish all thoughts of violence. She loved Luce like a sister, but sometimes she was like the irritating, pigtail-pulling little sister who coloured in eye makeup on your Girls’ World styling head with indelible felt-tip pens and cut
the hair off all your Sindy dolls.
“Luce, you read way too many women’s weekly magazines. Most people, when told, ‘I’ve got something to tell you’ do not automatically start playing Guess The Tragedy.”
Luce opened her mouth to protest but Jenna put a hand up to silence her: let Luce get a word in now and that would be it for the rest of the night.
“Do I get to tell you now then, or not?”
Luce took a deep breath, flapped her hands in front of her face in an ineffectual effort to stop the tears that had sprung to her eyes at Jenna’s opening remark and nodded, in an exaggerated gesture of calm.
“Of course. Go on, I’m excited now. Really.”
Jenna sighed and sat back, taking a moment to compose herself.
“Michael proposed to me. We’re getting married in February.”
There was a long moment of stunned silence, then Luce let out a squeal so shrill that Jenna feared for the hearing of any local dogs.
“Oh! Jen! Jen! That’s great! I’m so thrilled!”
She lunged across the table and enclosed Jenna in a fierce hug, Jenna just managing to rescue the wine bottle that her friend sent spinning in her enthusiasm. Extricating herself from Luce’s embrace, she smiled, placated by her friend’s obvious delight.
“I want you to be bridesmaid, of course.”
“Of course! Of course! I’d sulk otherwise!” Luce clapped her hands in glee. “It’ll be great! Tell me all the details. I want to know everything – the proposal, the venue… show me the ring! And what are you going to wear? What am I going to wear?”
Jenna’s smile wavered. Before her best friend disappeared too far down this path, she knew she had to tell her.
“Will there be other bridesmaids? I get first choice of frock though, right? Something classy and stylish that won’t make me look fat. I mean, I’ve known you longer than anyone, I should get first say…”
“Not that I won’t go along with whatever you want, of course, but I was thinking…”
There was nothing else for it.
The use of Luce’s full name was so rare that it silenced her. She looked at Jenna suspiciously.
Jenna took a deep breath, and when she spoke her voice was carefully kind.
“Honey, Jamie will be there. He’s going to be best man.”
About the Author:
Tracey Sinclair works as a freelance writer and editor.
Her novel and collection of short stories (Doll and No Love Is This, respectively) were published by independent publisher Kennedy & Boyd, and Dark Dates is her second novel and the first in the Cassandra Bick series.
Her work has appeared online and in print in magazines as diverse as Sky, Printer’s Devil, Yours and Woman’s Weekly, and has been performed on the radio. Her first play, Bystanders, was premiered as part of the New Writing Season at Baron’s Court Theatre in 2011 and later staged at both the White Bear and Tristan Bates Theatre.
She is theatre lover and regular contributor to online theatre magazine Exeunt (www.exeuntmagazine.com).