Bonus Scene: Connor and Liss’s Wedding

The following scene is for readers who have read Brokedown Cowboy, and want a little more Liss and Connor. Their wedding scene came between their book and Bad News Cowboy, so I had no home for it. And now it lives here! I hope you enjoy. 🙂

**********************************************************************************

Connor Garrett hadn’t figured he would ever get married again. But standing here on the day it was impossible to compare this moment to the first. He was a different groom, a different man entirely. 

And he was waiting for a different bride. For Liss. His best friend, the woman he loved more than anything else in all the world. 

It had been a long journey to this moment. A lot of heartbreak and pain, hard won changed forged in the kind of trial he wouldn’t wish on anyone. 

But through it all, he had become the man he needed to be. To love Liss. To be a man worthy of her love. As empty as he had been for all those years, he was full to bursting now. 

Standing on the edge of the river where they’d swam together as kids, where they’d made love as adults, surrounded by their close family and a few friends who might as well be family, Connor had never been so happy in his entire life. 

No, happy was the wrong word. Happy was too simple. This…this ached, it healed, it made him smile. Made him want to cry. 

This, the love he felt for Liss, was everything. Deeper and stronger than anything he’d felt before. 

Fire destroyed things, that was true, but it left behind ash. And what grew from the ashes was — in his experience — more beautiful, stronger, and faster growing than anything planted on ground that had never before been scorched. 

There was no music accompanying the wedding, nothing but the sound of the wind through the trees, skimming over the water. That was what she’d wanted. And if it was what she wanted — Connor wanted it too. 

Mostly, he just wanted to marry Liss. So the rest didn’t matter at all. 

Eli leaned in, nudging Connor slightly, and Connor looked up, just in time to see Liss, walking down the sandy trail toward him. 

Her red hair was loose, spilling over her shoulders, the waves shimmering in the waning sunlight. Her dress was cut low, the flowing fabric fluttering in the breeze as she moved. The skirt parted with each step, revealing lace trim beneath the top layer of fabric — and a healthy amount of leg, which was the most interesting part in his estimation. 

She looked up at him, barely suppressing a smile. Her eyes glittering with emotion and mischief and a pure joy he felt he didn’t really deserve. 

“Hi,” she said, when she reached the end of the aisle. 

“Hi back.” 

“It’s not a pink prom dress, I know,” she said. 

He laughed. “That’s okay.” 

Pastor John started the ceremony, and Connor took hold of Liss’s hand, looking into her eyes as the older man spoke. Of love. Of commitment. 

Connor knew about both of those things. He knew about loss too. About the cost of binding yourself to someone. About how it destroyed every piece of you. 

Looking at Liss he knew he’d risk that and more, everything he was, everything he had, everything he would be, to love her. To have her love him. 

“Connor and Liss have written their own vows,” the pastor said. “If you would like to read them.” 

Liss smiled, then reached fished a folded piece of paper out of the top of her gown. She looked at him, raising her brows. “I didn’t have pockets.” She cleared her throat. “Connor, I’ve loved you in so many different ways. As a friend, as a lover, now, I’m going to love you as a wife. I’m so grateful I got the chance to love you in so many different ways, for so many years. I’ve seen you in the best of times, and the worst of times, and I’ve loved you in all of them. I promise to love you through the rest, always and forever.”

Connor looked at the woman he was about to pledge the rest of his life too, and he was overtaken with a sense of certainty so deep, he was sure the roots ran right through him, straight down into this land. This land he had worked all of his life, with this woman who had seen him through most of it. 

“Liss,” he started, his throat tightening, “I’m not very good with words. Unless they’re swear words, I’m pretty good with them. But I’ve never been the best at saying how I feel, or even knowing how I feel. Life is uncertain. Not a whole lot of people know that more than I do. But I’ve always been sure of you, Felicity Foster. I want you to be sure of me. I love you now, and I’ll love you until my dying day. I’ll protect you with my life, protect our children too.” He took a deep breath, trying to ease the pressure in his chest. “I’m kind of a mean son of a bitch, I know. But if you’ll have me I’ll spend the rest of my life showing you how much I love you.” 

“Yeah,” she said, smiling through her tears, “I think I’ll take you.” 

“Fool,” he said, leaning in and kissing her on the nose. 

They went through the rest of the service, saying their traditional vows. And when it was time for Connor to take Liss into his arms and give her a real kiss, he gave it everything he had. All the layers of their love. His friendship, his desire, his commitment. His need. He wasn’t so good with words. But this, he was pretty damn good at. 

The pastor introduced them as husband and wife, a pronouncement that earned cheers from the small group of family and friends. Connor held Liss’s hand tight. Their guests gathered around them, offering hugs and congratulations and Connor did more smiling than he’d done in the past decade. 

Gradually, the crowd thinned, headed back to the barn where a reception had been set up by Alison and the women who worked at her bakery. They were having wedding pie, which suited both he and Liss just fine. 

Liss started to head toward the path, but he tugged her back. They were alone now, standing by the river. 

“Hang on just a second,” he said. 

“Why?” she asked. “I want pie. Don’t pie block me, Garrett.” 

“I don’t intend to, Garrett,” he said, making the most of the fact they had the same last name now. “But I do want you to sit on the swing.” 

He gestured to the rope swing that hung from a tree branch, extending out over the water. “Married for two minutes, and you’re already suggesting we become swingers? That bodes ill, Connor.” 

He laughed. “This swing has history. We used to swing here when we were kids. You told me you went down here and cried when I married Jessie. And I know this is where you went after I broke your heart a few months back, like the dumbass I am. I want a new memory. Not to erase the old ones. They’re important too. But…just to add another layer.” 

“Now you’re going to make me cry.” 

“No, don’t do that, this is happy.” 

“Well, they would be happy tears.” 

“That I can accept. Maybe.” 

She bunched the fabric of her skirt up and moved around to the front of the swing. He held it steady as she got on, releasing hold of her dress and taking hold of the ropes. “Okay,” she said, “I’m ready.” 

He pulled the swing back, bringing her in close, inhaling the sweet scent of her hair, her skin. As the sun dipped low over the mountain, bathing the water in gold, casting a glow over Liss’s face, her hair, he released his hold. 

The wind whipped through her hair, her skirt blowing up around her. She let her head tilt back, and he could just barely see the smile on her face. When the swing came back, he grabbed hold of it, hanging onto her for just a moment. 

“Connor Garrett,” she said, “if I fall, you’re going to have to catch me.” 

“Always,” he said. “Always.” 

Recent Releases