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As she stood in the church foyer awaiting her cue, she clutched the beaded bodice of her gown and leaned forward, shoving away the cascade of white netting and pale blond curls that fell over her face with the motion. “Oh, Daddy, I think I’m going to be sick,” she whispered to the man who grasped her arm to keep her erect. “You’ve got to let me sit down for a minute.”

Daniel Mason tugged at the too-tight collar of his rented tux and eyed his daughter anxiously. “You’ll be fine, sweetheart. Just fine. You can’t sit down because all those people in there are waiting for you to make your entrance.”

Ooh,” she groaned.

You don’t want to disappoint your mother, do you?”


And Nick?”


What will he think if his bride walks down the aisle all hunched over like Quasimodo?”

Daddy, please.”

Now, come on, Natalie, take a deep breath…”

He inhaled vigorously himself, showing her how it should be done, then gestured for her to do the same. Natalie forced herself to stand up straight and mimic the action, but all she was able to manage was a little gasp.

There, that’s my girl,” her father said. He patted her on the back and did his best to rearrange her veil. “You know your mother and I hate to see you go,” he continued jovially as he urged her toward the entry to the chapel. “You’re the last of our six girls to leave the nest after all. Yessirree, it tears us up knowing our little baby is going out the door. But we know you’re in good hands with Nick Brannon. We’ll talk on the phone all the time after your mother and I get settled in Pensacola—moving van’s coming next week, you know. Now, let’s get on with this wedding.”

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