Shine Not Burn
Author:Elle Casey

Mack grinned at me and began to read.


“I, Gavin MacKenzie, sexy cowboy man of Baker City, Oregon … being of sound mind and hot body … do hereby declare that I love you, Andie Marks, lawyer extraordinaire, and want to be married to you until I’m so old, I either die or my pecker falls off.”


“Holy shit,” I whispered, my face flaming red.


Candice snorted and someone out in the crowd giggled.


Mack continued. “I will have sex with you whenever you want, and I will always give you the option to be on top if that’s what will make you happy. Blowjobs will always be optional but appreciated.”


I dropped my head and bit my lip to keep from laughing out loud. This was nuts. I hadn’t realized until this moment just how off-plan I’d gone that night with Mack, but it was strangely liberating. Mack had set me free somehow, his love unlocking the door to my heart and freeing me to just be myself.


“I will change diapers when called for, both for our children and for you when you’re old and decrepit. I will never spit in public or burp too loudly or say mean things about your friends.”


Candice nudged me with her flowers. “Good one,” she whispered.


“And finally…,” his voice went softer, “I promise never to raise my hand against you in anger or tell you that you’re useless or threaten to hurt people who you love. Ten-four, over and out, happily ever after. Those are my vows.”


I was crying before he got to the end. I’d written the promises of a drunken fifteen year old falling into her first love. I could see myself … a silly girl writing on a bar napkin as she wandered the lonely road of the past, following the beacon of light that she saw as her future. A future with Mack.


“Thank you,” I whispered. I looked out into the crowd to see how badly I’d embarrassed my soon-to-be husband, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. My mom was sobbing quietly into a handkerchief while Maeve wrapped an arm over her shoulders. Grandma Lettie was nodding her head like she was a revival meeting. Praise the Lord.


“And now for your vows,” said the priest looking at me.


“I … didn’t write any. I didn’t know …”


“Just say whatever you want,” said Mack. “Or you can use these.” He waved the napkin between us.


“No thanks,” I said, unable to keep the grin from my face. I cleared my throat. “I can do this.”


“I know you can.” He leaned over and kissed me tenderly.


“Hey, no kissing until after,” said Kelly, tapping me on the shoulder with her flowers.


I pushed Mack away gently and cleared my throat. “Okay. Vows. Take one.” I looked at Mack, trying to express with my eyes how much I loved him in that moment. “I promise to be faithful to you. To always listen to you when you want to talk. To have sex whenever you want, wherever you want.” His eyebrows went up at that, and I continued, a smile refusing to leave my face. “I promise to learn how to cook a mean beef brisket, to rope a calf, and ride a horse. I’ll stick around for as long as you’ll have me. And I promise to be as good a mom to your kids as I possibly can.”


A tear came out of each of Mack’s eyes and his lips quivered just the slightest bit. “Thank you.” He mouthed the words before turning to face the priest.


“Well, I guess that about does it then,” said the man in front of us. “Does someone have the ring?”


Ian leaned in and handed the gold bands to Mack. Mack gave me his and held out mine.


“Please place the bands on your future spouse’s finger.”


A wave of warmth washed over me when Mack slid the band over my knuckle and settled it onto my finger where I knew it would reside until the day I died.


He closed his fingers over mine as I finished pushing his ring onto his finger.


“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride, cowboy.”


Mack grinned and bent down, blocking my view of the guests with the wide brim of his hat. “I love you, Andie MacKenzie,” he said, as he lips came up against mine.


“I love you too, Gavin MacKenzie,” I said, pressing my lips to his.









Elle Casey is a prolific American writer who lives in Southern France with her husband (who sometimes wears a kilt), three kids (who never stop moving), Hercules the wonder poodle (who sleeps next to her side for every word typed), Monie the bouvier (who also never stops moving), and a few other furry creatures (don’t ask). Her favorite things are red wine, pretty much anything with sugar in it, and sexy books. If she has all three around her at the same time, please do not disturb … the writer is busy creating. In her spare time she writes new adult and young adult novels (you can find her Women’s Fiction work under the pen name Kat Lee.) She publishes at least one novel per month and has been accused of being a cyborg for her ability to consistently turn out captivating stories with characters that stay in readers’ heads long after the book is closed. She neither confirms nor denies this accusation.