The Runaway Bride
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The Runaway Bride is a novel about a woman named Serena who married the man of her dreams at a very young age. Feeling intimidated and threatened by her mother-in-law, Serena runs away to fulfill......

The Runaway Bride is a novel about a woman named Serena who married the man of her dreams at a very young age. Feeling intimidated and threatened by her mother-in-law, Serena runs away to fulfill her dream of going to university to study art. But her plans are soon interrupted by a devastatingly handsome and charming stranger. Now Serena is feeling very confused about what she really wants.

Should she go back to her overprotective husband and endure the icy stares and cold, cruel insults of her horrible mother-in-law, or should she spend the rest of her days living a wild and exciting life with the very sexy Armando?

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  • 1. The Runaway BrideCopyright © 2010 by Christine JohnAll rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmittedin any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic ormechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case ofbrief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial usespermitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author.Email: cjohn@ebookwindow.comWebsite: www.ebookwindow.comDisclaimer:This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents areeither the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Anyresemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.Other Books Written by Christine JohnHow to Start and Run an Online BusinessShort Stories for Teenagers
  • 2. Chapter 1Serena paced back and forth in the bedroom. She felt like a caged animal. She couldnot go anywhere or do anything without her seemingly over-protective husband watching herevery move. She felt like she was suffocating; she could hardly breathe. Serena was trappedin a marriage that she felt incapable of living up to the expectations of her husband or hisparents, his mother in particular.The young woman stopped in front of the full-length mirror and stared critically at herreflection. She wore a long black gown that accentuated her curves. Her shoulder-length darkbrown hair was twisted into a French coil, not a single strand out of place. Tiny diamondstuds sparkled from her ear lobes and a matching diamond necklace circled her slender throat.Her make-up was done to perfection. Judging from her reflection, Serena was a picture-perfect princess.But Serena was not happy. She could see her sadness reflected in her hazel eyes. Shefelt tied down and she needed to escape. She needed to breathe freely. She wanted to run wildand laugh and play. Instead she was forced to act like the submissive wife that Bruce’smother wanted her to be.Serena immediately started to hyperventilate at the thought of facing Bruce’s cold-hearted mother again. She forced back tears that pricked her eyes and fought to control heremotions.“Serena, darling, are you ready yet?” called her handsome husband Bruce as herushed into the room fixing his bowtie. “We must hurry or else we’ll be late for dinner withmy parents.”Bruce glanced at Serena and then looked at her again, suddenly filled with concern.“Serena, are you all right? You look a little…flushed.”The man’s young wife placed a delicate hand against her throat. She closed her eyesand breathed deeply, hoping to slow down the rapid beating of her heart.“Serena?” he said, his concern intensifying.“Yes, Bruce, I’m fine,” the young woman replied breathlessly.Bruce placed his large warm hands on her shoulders and gently turned her to facehim. He tilted her chin so that she could look directly into his eyes. “Serena, did you haveanother anxiety attack?”
  • 3. “Bruce, I’m fine,” Serena assured him, avoiding the question. “I’m ready. We canleave now.”Serena’s husband stared at her suspiciously for what seemed like an eternity. She puton a brave smile to reassure him. He sighed heavily and said, “All right. If you say so.”He started fidgeting with his tie. “How do I look, Serena? Is my tie straight?”Serena took a step back and examined her husband from head to toe. Earlier that dayhe had gotten a haircut and his mustache and beard shaped in the latest style. Standing a headtaller than his wife, Bruce looked handsome, confident and very wealthy in his tuxedo.“You look good,” she said shyly.Her husband smiled in response. He checked the time on his gold wristwatch andgasped. “Serena, we’re late! Let’s go.” The two grabbed their coats and headed down thestairs. They rushed out of the house and drove quickly but carefully to the home of Phillipand Isabelle Anderson, Bruce’s parents.“Bruce! I’m so glad you’re back,” greeted Isabelle Anderson. “I haven’t seen yousince you went on your honeymoon.” She hugged her son happily.He gently untangled himself from her embrace and cleared his throat. He placed hisarm around his wife and said, “Mother, you remember Serena, my wife.” He was careful toemphasize the word ‘wife’.Mrs. Anderson squared her shoulders and raised her chin. She was a few inches tallerthan Serena, so she took full advantage of looking down her nose at her son’s wife. “Oh.Hello Serena,” she greeted in her frostiest voice.“Good evening, Mrs. Anderson,” the young woman mumbled.There was an awkward silence and then Bruce asked, “Where’s father? Is heupstairs?”“No, he’s in the study. He’s talking on the phone. Most likely it’s a business call,”Mrs. Anderson replied. “Why don’t you go ahead into the dining room and I’ll see if I can getyour father to cut short his phone call.”“There’s no need for that, Isabelle,” said Phillip Anderson as he closed the door to hisstudy. He extended his arms wide enough to embrace his son and daughter-in-law. “Welcomehome, you two.”“It’s good to see you, Father,” said Bruce.“So how was the honeymoon?” Mr. Anderson asked Serena. “It looks like my sontook good care of you.”
  • 4. Serena blushed as she remembered how Bruce made love to her for the first time on asecluded beach in Bermuda. “It was every girl’s dream come true, Mr. Anderson. Bruce tookme shopping and to the beach. We really enjoyed it.”“Yeah, we did,” Bruce agreed.Mrs. Anderson sniffed and curled her bottom lip in disgust. “All right. That’s enoughtalk about the honeymoon. Dinner is getting cold. Let’s go into the dining room and beseated.”She walked away stiffly and the others followed in silence. Bruce took his wife’shand and kissed her softly. “Don’t worry,” he whispered, “she’ll come around.”As comforting as his words were, Serena did not agree with her husband. IsabelleAnderson was against their marriage since the day Serena’s father died and left explicitinstructions in his will that Bruce and Serena must get married a month after his death.Steven Taylor was a hopeless romantic and had always dreamed of his only daughtermarrying Bruce Anderson. He knew that Bruce was a strong, capable young man who wouldtake care of his daughter if anything ever happened to him. Mr. Taylor, with the help ofBruce’s father had tried to get nineteen year old Bruce to show a little more interest infourteen year old Serena, other than brotherly love.Serena had a huge crush on Bruce. He was handsome, intelligent, charming, andambitious. She had often sat on the swing in her backyard and dreamed about becoming Mrs.Bruce Anderson. She never thought that it would ever come true because Bruce was fiveyears older and Mrs. Anderson was completely against Serena’s relationship with Bruce.Isabelle Anderson had such high hopes for her only son. She wanted Bruce to goaway to college, as far away from Serena as possible, and become a doctor. She had hopedthat with Bruce so far away, he would forget about Serena and become romantically involvedwith a beautiful, wealthy young woman closer to his age.When Steven Taylor was diagnosed with cancer Mrs. Anderson was outraged to findout that Bruce had chosen to attend a local college close to home rather than going to one outof state. She blamed Bruce’s choice in colleges on Serena. In fact, whenever Bruce disagreedwith any of the plans she made for him, which happened very often, she always blamedSerena. Isabelle Anderson believed that Serena was not good enough for her precious son.The years passed swiftly and Bruce chose to study law instead of attending medicalschool and got a job in his father’s law firm. Serena also went to a local college and studiedmusic and art. She grew up to be a beautiful, vivacious young woman and her father was veryproud of her.
  • 5. Steven Taylor’s health was deteriorating at a rapid pace and he knew that he did nothave much longer to live. He frequently called on Phillip and Bruce Anderson to talk to themprivately. On days when he was strong enough he would take a leisurely walk to the parkwith his daughter.Eventually, Mr. Taylor passed away peacefully in his sleep. Funeral arrangementswere taken care of by Phillip Anderson and Bruce never left Serena’s side. He comforted herand sat with her during the funeral service and stayed with her at her father’s home until shefell asleep.When it was time to read the will Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, Bruce and Serena gatheredtogether in the living room at the home of the late Steven Taylor. According to Mr. Taylor’slast will and testament, he had left Serena a sizable income to live on comfortably for the restof her life. The house and all other assets such as stocks and bonds now belonged to her.There was a particular section in the will that shocked everyone. Steven Taylor hadleft explicit instructions in his will for Bruce and Serena to get married on the condition thatboth parties were willing to accept.“But she is only a spoiled child!” Isabelle Anderson cried when she heard the readingof the will. “Serena Taylor knows nothing about marriage or raising a family. She willdestroy my son’s life!” She collapsed into a chair and sobbed hysterically into herhandkerchief.“Now Isabelle, stop crying,” Phillip Anderson pleaded with his wife. “Bruce andSerena are good kids and I’m proud of how they both turned out. Serena loves Bruce and shewould do anything to make him happy. And Bruce will always take care of Serena andprotect her. This was Steven Taylor’s last wish before he died and I think we owe it to him tocarry out what was instructed in his will.”Mrs. Anderson jumped out of her chair, nearly knocking it over. “No! That little bratwill not marry my son! I will not stand for it!”“That’s enough, Mother!” Bruce yelled, shielding Serena in his arms. “I will not allowyou to talk that way about the woman I’m going to marry!”Serena gasped and looked up at the man she dearly loved. “Bruce? Do you reallymean it?”He looked down at her, his kind, brown eyes glowing in warmth. “Yes, Serena. I wantto marry you. That is, of course, if you will have me.”“Yes, Bruce, of course I’ll marry you,” she replied excitedly.
  • 6. “No! I will not allow it!” Mrs. Anderson roughly pushed the couple apart and threwSerena against the wall.The young woman crumpled to the floor and stared at Mrs. Anderson in sheer terror.Her heart started beating faster and she began to hyperventilate.“Isabelle, what are you doing?” cried Mr. Anderson as he grabbed his wife, stoppingher from attacking Serena. “Get a hold of yourself, woman!” he exclaimed as he fought tokeep his wife under control. “Come along, Isabelle, we are leaving.” He dragged hishysterical wife towards the door.“You’re not good enough for my son!” Mrs. Anderson yelled. “You will destroy hislife! Twenty years of planning for my son’s future…Wasted! You will pay dearly for takingmy son away from me!”Those were the last words Serena heard before she collapsed into Bruce’s arms.Sample Chapter of The Runaway Bride by Christine JohnThe Runaway Bride is a novel about a woman named Serena who married the man ofher dreams at a very young age. Feeling intimidated and threatened by her mother-in-law,Serena runs away to fulfill her dream of going to university to study art. But her plans aresoon interrupted by a devastatingly handsome and charming stranger. Now Serena is feelingvery confused about what she really wants.Should she go back to her overprotective husband and endure the icy stares and cold,cruel insults of her horrible mother-in-law, or should she spend the rest of her days living awild and exciting life with the very sexy Armando?If you enjoyed this chapter from my book The Runaway Bride you can buy it now fromAmazon. It is also available for download from my website in PDFformat.