About the Book:Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Before We Say I Do, An Entertaining Angels Short Story.
Chase Sanders and Madison Andrews are about to declare their love for one another in the most sacred of ways. Everything has been going perfectly, especially when an old friend returns to town to stand by Chase’s side on their big day.
But is Zach there to see their union, or is he concealing the truth of why he’s actually back in town? Chase has lived perfectly fine without his father around, but now that his father is divorcing again, he is seeking forgiveness. Chase can’t look at his father, let alone forgive him.
Before Chase and Mads can say “I Do,” Chase must first learn to let go of the past before the dark forces that haunt his nightmares come to life.
My Review: Before We Say I Do is a wonderful heart felt book with an array of different emotions. As I set down to read this book I realized that it maybe a short story but it was in no way lacking in depth or in the power to pull me into it's embrace. Seeing Maddy in my mind the ever nervous jitters before walking down the isle was something special. Chase having butterflies and nerves raw and on edge not only for finally being able to marry the girl of his dreams but then dealing with unresolved issues with his dad on top of it really added to the reality of the story and the everyday life issues that we all sometimes have to face. I fell in love with Maddy and Chase in Entertaining Angels and it did not falter in Before We Say I Do! Emerald Barnes has a magic in her writing that captured my heart. I hope you will go grab a copy of both books and fall in love with them as well.
The day had finally come. I was marrying my best friend. Tears of joy stung my eyes, but I tried to hold them in. I couldn’t cry. Not now. Mom and Mandy would kill me if I messed up my makeup.
I stared in the mirror. I had come a long way in the two years since I’d met Zach. We graduated high school, and I was now working on a degree in counseling. I’d fallen head-over-heels in love with my best friend, and I learned to love myself for who I really was. I won’t lie. It hasn’t been easy for me. Sometimes I would look in the mirror, and I’d see the fat girl from high school. Other times, Chase would wrap his arms around my waist and reassure me that he loved every inch of me – whether I was big or small. It didn’t matter to him. I was beautiful. When he’d say that, I’d remind myself that God had loved me enough to send his angel just to show me that I was important, loved, and beautiful.
Eventually, the way I saw myself began to change. I no longer compared myself to photo-shopped pictures of models in magazines or my friends who were smaller sizes than me, and I began to look at myself as a daughter of the King. God formed me. He knew exactly what I would look like, and as He’d told me before, He only makes beautiful things.
A knock sounded at the door, and Mrs. Cheryl asked, “Can I come in?”
Mom answered the door and let her in. I turned to face her and saw the tears form in her eyes. “Don’t!” I said, “I can’t cry. Mom has threatened me if I mess up my makeup.”
She laughed and said, “I’m so happy that you’re going to be my daughter-in-law!”
She wrapped her arms around me and pulled me close. I could hear her sniffle, but I fought the tears back again. I wasn’t going to cry. Not now at least.
“I’m happy that you’ll be my mother-in-law. I couldn’t ask for a better one.”
She pulled away and smiled at me before wiping away her own tears. I had always felt like Mrs. Cheryl was a second mom. And now, she would be!
“How’s Chase?” I asked.
“He’s nervous.” She laughed. “But he’s excited to finally make you his wife, girly.”
She winked at me, and Mom said, “Cheryl, you won’t do! Don’t embarrass the poor child.”
“It’s better than making her cry, Maggie.”
Mom laughed and said, “I’m going to check on the photographer. We need to start doing pictures as soon as we can.”
I nodded, and Mom left the room.
“Can you help me sit?” I asked Mrs. Cheryl.
She walked over to me and helped lift my train, so I could sit comfortably without wrinkling the dress too much. The beaded bodice felt a little tight, but I wanted to look my best. I wasn’t loosening it at all.
“You look gorgeous,” Mrs. Cheryl said, pulling her phone out of her purse and snapping a picture of me.
“Thank you,” I said, smiling at my future mother-in-law.
“Are you nervous?” she asked, taking a seat beside me.
“Yeah,” I answered, honestly. “Not the marrying Chase part. That I’m okay with, but I’m afraid I’ll trip or mess up my vows or something.”
I laughed, praying that what I’d just spoken wouldn’t come true at all. I don’t suppose it mattered. I was about to be joined with Chase forever in our very own happily ever after. I knew not all marriages were perfect, and I didn’t expect ours to be any different. I did hope that we would have a beautiful marriage as close to perfect as possible. I knew that if we put God first, we could get through anything; however, the wedding night was what really made me nervous. I just didn’t want to tell Cheryl that.
Chase and I had waited until marriage. It was what was right to do according to the Bible. We wanted to be each other’s firsts and each other’s lasts. At least we were both new at it. I wondered if that was why he was nervous, too. I mean, I certainly understood that.
“Is that all?” she asked, staring at me knowingly. I briefly wondered what all Chase might have told her. This might be awkward. I didn’t even talk to my own mom about stuff like this.
I hated to lie, but I didn’t want to have this conversation. I nodded and said, “Yeah. I guess.”
She patted my leg and said, “There’s nothing to worry about, dear. You two will learn each other’s rhythms before you know it.”
Oh my gosh. Was she really talking about this with me? “Uh. Yeah. I know.”
She laughed. “You don’t have to be so shy. I’m not your father. I’m not in denial about what happens on the honeymoon.”
I felt the blood rushing to my cheeks, and I was thankful for the pink blush already coloring them.
“Are you worried about what he may think about your body? I know that’s always been a concern of yours.”
“Well, partly, but I know he loves me for my flaws and all.”
“Honey, you don’t have flaws. You’re perfect. Have you forgotten what God has done for you?”
I shook my head, biting the inside of my cheek. I wasn’t going to cry now. “No,” I said, “I’ll never forget what he’s done. Zach’s here too.” I added on that last bit to distract her from the conversation she seemed wanted to have.
“Is he?” She smiled broadly. “I always loved him. I knew he was special from the start.”
“I was blind,” I said. “I thought I might actually have a crush on him. Boy was I glad when I
decided that I wanted Chase! How awkward would it have been to fall in love with an angel?”
Cheryl let out a deep laugh and said, “It could be worse. You could’ve fallen for a man like Chase’s father.”
Her smile faded at the mention of him. She rarely brought him up, but I couldn’t blame her for that. He’d left her for another woman and ignored them for the first seven years he’d been away. He’d only just started talking to Chase again two years ago. Even Chase didn’t want to tell his dad about our union, so we kept it a secret from him. I didn’t know if that would work or not, but Chase really didn’t want him ruining the day. I wasn’t going to force him to invite his father to our wedding, though. It was entirely his decision.
“We didn’t invite him, you know,” I said.
“I know. I told Chase to, but he refused. I don’t blame him.”
“Nor do I, but he may have seen the announcement in the paper.”
“Well, then he’ll understand that his son doesn’t want anything to do with him. He shouldn’t have left us, Mads.”
I didn’t know what else to say. I hated that Chase had such a rocky relationship with his dad. I couldn’t imagine not having Dad around, but then again, Dad didn’t cheat on Mom and have a new family while ignoring me completely for the first few years of his new life.
Mom pushed the door open and said, “Come on, Mads. It’s time for pictures.”
I looked at Mrs. Cheryl and gave her a big smile. She stood and extended her hand out to me.
“Let’s go, Mads. It won’t be long until you’re officially part of the family.”
I wrapped my arms around her in a tight hug after she helped pull me off of the chair I sat in. She kissed my cheek, and we walked out of the room and into the sanctuary where we were about to take pictures. It was now a little over two hours before I officially became Mrs. Chase Sanders.
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When she isn’t writing or proofreading novels, she’s spending all of her time with her nieces and nephews. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd, avid reader, and TV watcher. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.
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