To Love & To Cherish (To Have or To Hold Book 3)
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What the mind forgets, the heart will remember...Starting out as a married couple is never easy, but the extra threat of an unknown danger looming over both Becca and Jace can make things unbearable. When an accident occurs, Becca finds herself vulnerable to the secrets that Jace has been keeping, and it suddenly falls to her to keep them both safe and find out what has truly been going on behind the scenes. But all is not what it seems, and with a new secret of her own to hide and protect, it's imperative to keep pushing forward until the truth is exposed. The past is revealed, and a sinister turn of events awaits, in the last installment of this romantic suspense series. The truth can't hide forever. "
CHAPTER 1 – Awake
With hazy vision, my eyelids fluttered open as I woke up on the bed. Once my eyes were fully open, I saw that Jace was sat next to the bed on a chair, holding my hand and looking concerned. Then my eyeline switched to my parents who were stood in the backdrop – peering forward while wearing their finery.
Hang on – what day was it?
“Thank goodness you’re okay,” Jace whispered, stroking my hand with his fingertips.
“What happened?” I asked, slowly shifting myself to sit up.
Looking down at my attire, I was in my wedding dress. It was my wedding day!
“You passed out,” my dad filled in.
“We were so worried,” my mum voiced.
“Your dad came and got me,” Jace spoke, sitting next to me on the bed and placing his hand on my back.
“Are you okay now?” my mum asked, stepping forward.
“She’ll be fine, Jackie. Come on, I think they need to talk,” my dad answered, ushering my mum out of the bedroom door.
Watching my mum’s concerned expression leave the room, the door clicking shut behind my parents alerted me to us now being alone.
“What happened?” Jace asked, breaking up the silence of the room.
“I… I don’t know. I was getting ready, and me and my dad were talking, and then as we were about to leave, I got a text message from you, and…” I trailed off at the end, lost in the memory of sheer panic that had overtaken me in that moment.
“And did you read the text message?” he asked.
“No.” I sighed, shaking my head.
“I think you should,” he spoke, rising from the bed and going to retrieve my mobile phone from the dressing table.
Handing my phone to me, I unlocked it and saw the unopened text message from Jace staring back at me. Opening up the message, it read:
I love you with all my heart. I can’t wait for you to be Mrs. Morgan. From your true love, Jace xx
My heart melted with every word I read, and I realised how stupid I’d been. I’d let all of the pent up anxieties about my wedding day build up inside of me, and as a result, had panicked and fainted on what should’ve been the happiest day of my life.
“I wanted to erase the previous memory you had about getting married, and replace it with a memory you can treasure,” Jace voiced, sitting down next to me on the bed again.
“I’m so sorry.” I sighed, placing my phone down and looking at him.
What I hadn’t realised in my confused state, was that Jace was wearing his beautifully tailored grooms suit, complete with the baby blue cravat and handkerchief, and he looked so handsome.
“You were going to marry me,” I whispered in thought, scanning him over.
“Of course I was,” he soothed, taking my hand once more. “And I’d still like to marry you, Miss. Miller.”
“Where is everyone?” I wondered, with the sudden realisation dawning on me, that there were guests, my bridesmaids and page boy, and a vicar dotted about the house, and goodness knows what they were thinking right now.
“Downstairs. Everyone is waiting for your arrival.” He paused, sighing and looking me over. “Do you still want to marry me?”
I watched as a flurry of emotion ran through his eyes, and in all honesty, I didn’t know what to feel about anything.
“Are you sure that you want to marry me?” I croaked, realising how much my throat had dried up at being asked that question.
“And you say I turn questions around.” He lightly sniggered, standing up and walking over to the window.
I shuffled over to the edge of the bed and placed my feet on the floor. “No, seriously, you say you want to marry me, but I saw you at the wedding rehearsal, Jace. You looked as distant as I felt.”
He whirled around on the spot to face me, “And you think that because of that, I don’t really want to marry you?”
“Well, yes. I can see you have your reservations.”
“I have reservations about everything that I do in life, Becca, and that’s just the way I operate. If I hadn’t have thought over everything carefully, then I wouldn’t have what I have today. But just because I ‘looked distracted’, doesn’t mean anything about you.”
“But you always said that you shouldn’t have done half of the things you have with me, so why is this so different?” I asked, standing from the bed.
“Are you trying to talk me out of marrying you, or are you trying to convince yourself here?”
With his eyes piercing into mine, that was a question that caught me off guard.
“Don’t turn it around, Jace,” I huffed, lowering my eyeline away from him.
“I’m doing exactly what you’re doing,” he spoke, walking forward to me. “You make out that you can read my mind, with no real evidence of any of your theories being correct, whilst looking like you want to run away.”
“I don’t want to run away,” I urged, looking up at him.
“Really? You passed out before even getting to the altar! That doesn’t bode well for a supposedly happy bride.” He chuckled.
“I had my reservations due to my previous, disastrous, wedding day. It all got too much. I’d let everything pile on top of me, and I suppose my stupid head had to shut down and give myself a break. It wasn’t anything deep-rooted in the thought of going through with this wedding.”
“Was it not? Then why are you trying to talk me out of marrying you?”
Suddenly there was a knock on the door, and it snapped us both to attention.
“Mr. Morgan, the vicar is wanting to know what’s happening. Should I give everyone a drink while they wait?” the muffled voice of Esther radiated through the door.
“Yes!” Jace snapped, before sighing and lowering his head. “Yes, Esther. Please provide drinks. We’ll be down shortly,” he called back to her in a calmer manner.
“Very well,” came her voice, as the sound of her footsteps shuffled away.
I turned back to Jace. “You would’ve been married to your ex-fiancée now, if she hadn’t have done whatever it was that she’s supposed to have done. So am I a rebound?” I blurted, with everything now starting to spill out.
“What?” he hissed, leaning into me. “How in the world did you find out that I had been engaged before? I could say the exact same about your situation! You would’ve been married to your ex now if he hadn’t have cheated on you with your friend! Am I a rebound?”
“Stop doing that!” I snapped. “If I ask you something, just answer me first! Anything else you want to know can come after!”
“I want to know how you knew that I had been engaged before!”
“I have my sources!”
He sighed, running his hands through his hair and then looking back at me. “Come and sit down.” He ushered toward the nearby two-seater, as I sat down on it.
Seating himself next to me, he took my hands in his. “I’ve spoken about fate in the past, and while I don’t necessarily agree with how life can deal certain cards, I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Maybe we’ll never know some reasons, but it wasn’t to be that I married my ex, same as I like to believe that you weren’t meant to marry yours. We found out their true colours before we properly committed to them. Yes, it’s left me with even more trust issues than I previously had, and believe me, that’s no easy feat,” he chuckled, “but I would like you to be my wife. I can’t force you to agree with me, but I like to think that we love each other enough to see things through. Where has this all come from?”