You May Now Kill the Bride

A Novel

Paperback

May 14, 2024 | ISBN 9780593731536

Ebook

May 14, 2024 | ISBN 9780593731543

Audiobook Download

May 14, 2024 | ISBN 9780593909003

About the Book

The bride-to-be drops dead at her bachelorette weekend, with all of her bridesmaids as suspects for her murder, in this wry thriller full of deadly twists and characters you’ll love to hate.

“I laughed, I gasped, and said ‘I do’ to this chilling romp sparkling with humor, Prosecco, and murder.”—Julia Seales, bestselling author of A Most Agreeable Murder


Who will be left standing when the bouquet is thrown?

Lauren, Saskia, Dominica, Farah, and Tansy have been best friends since grade school. They wonder if that was the last time they all actually liked each other. As adults, their lives have splintered. Tansy runs a vegan café and is preparing for a shotgun marriage to awful Ivan. Farah is engaged and is fast becoming a complete bridezilla. Dominica is a successful divorce attorney with no time for anything but work. Lauren has had a total “failure to launch” in her career and love life, consumed by a man who has spent years stringing her along. Saskia has married into wealth and a different circle of friends in a fancy part of London. Some days it seems that the only thing holding the group together is an event that happened in their youth twenty years ago—an incident they’ve all sworn to keep secret in order to protect one another.

When the group is reunited at Tansy’s bachelorette-cum-wellness-retreat weekend, it doesn’t take long for old grudges to surface. Then the bride-to-be chokes to death on a poisoned drink, and all of the bridesmaids are suspects.

Kate Weston explores the complexities of female friendship in this searingly funny, page-turning thriller. One of these bridesmaids may be a killer, and the group had better watch their sash-covered backs, because your oldest friends aren’t always your closest. . . .
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Praise for You May Now Kill the Bride

“I laughed, I gasped, and said ‘I do’ to this chilling romp sparkling with humor, Prosecco, and murder.”—Julia Seales, national bestselling author of A Most Agreeable Murder
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Excerpt

You May Now Kill the Bride

Chapter One

The black minibus trundles down the tree-­lined Kent lane, weaving between green fields of grazing cows. There’s the occasional farmhouse in the distance, but civilization is fading further and further away. Inside the minibus, Girls Aloud’s “Love Machine,” from the Ultimate Hens Spotify Playlist, blares out over the noise of twenty excited hens, many of whom are still enthusiastically waving inflatable penises about an hour and a half into the journey, despite the early start time.

Saskia sits at the back of the minibus, presiding over the festivities, still hammering away at the WhatsApp group for the very hen party that they’re already on. She can see people ignoring her texts, people who don’t appreciate the importance of running a tight ship. This is exactly how people end up drinking Blossom Hill directly from the bottle on the pavement outside a club they’re too drunk to get into. And that will NEVER happen on her watch. Not again. She cannot associate herself with that behavior now that she’s a businesswoman with two children, a house in Holland Park, and two thousand followers on Instagram. What would it say for her new high-end events planning business if her first hen do in her official capacity is absolutely feral? Especially with this one being so public.

When Tansy’s engagement announcement went viral just hours after posting, it made perfect sense for Saskia—­as one of Tansy’s oldest and dearest friends—­to plan the hen do. Tansy agreed almost immediately, realizing that with Saskia’s elite organizational skills, she was of course the best person for the job. But now that the whole run-­up to the wedding is so high-­profile, with thousands of followers watching on, Saskia needs to make sure it remains classy. At least she knows they’re relatively safe in the woods. No internet connection and no alcohol. The perfect scandal-­free time. They just have to get there without anyone tagging her in pictures of inflatable penises on Instagram.

“Ooh look, I’m quite beautiful!” Tansy pipes up next to her, trussed up in her “Bride-­to-­Be” sash and “Same Penis Forever” tiara. The armor of the British hen do.

“Stun-­ning!” gushes Eva, Tansy’s newest and youngest friend.

Tansy tilts the phone so that Saskia can see the bridal filter they’ve been taking endless selfies with. Not only has it added a veil to her head, but it’s also contoured her cheeks, made her eyes fifty percent larger, and given her fresh lip fillers.

“A natural beauty!” Saskia chimes, without a hint of irony.

“God, I would kill for some lip fillers, but they’re so NOT organic. I mean, everyone says twenty-­six is too young to start on them anyway. But I definitely need to get something done before I’m thirty,” Eva chatters. “Otherwise you just start decomposing, apparently.”

Thirty-­four-­year-­old bride-­to-­be Tansy says nothing. She simply continues beaming into the camera with the sort of contented smile that can only come from someone unaware that macramé is afoot. She met Eva—­a content creator and the reason her engagement post went viral—­six months ago at an ayahuasca retreat, where they developed such a powerful bond that Eva tells anyone who’ll listen that she considers it more of a soulmate situation than a friendship. Since then, they’ve hung out together at Tansy’s successful vegan café nearly every day.

Looking at Tansy’s face IRL, Saskia thinks she could certainly do with a wellness break before the big day. She thought a plant-­based diet was supposed to be good for your skin, but Tansy’s definitely looking a little pallid these days. It must be the stress of the wedding getting to her. In Saskia’s opinion, everyone should have a meditation teacher like she does.

She glances down the bus at the other women she and Tansy grew up with. Lauren, Farah, and Dominica are all slumped in their seats, glued to their phones but ignoring her messages, just like she knew they would. They’ve been friends for over thirty years, but Saskia is definitely proof that nature trumps nurture. They all had almost exactly the same upbringing and spent every day of their childhoods together, but look at how much higher she’s flown. Sometimes she pictures herself as an eagle, soaring above her friends in the world of upper-­class bankers’ wives and boutique business owners. At least Tansy’s marrying someone with a trust fund and his own vegan brand, an entrepreneur. And she’s definitely keeping better company with Eva, aka @evabliss, who’s got hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers and the type of skin Saskia pays forty thousand a year for.

Dominica, a divorce lawyer, is getting into the spirit of the weekend by frantically trying to send as many emails to her clients as possible before her phone signal disappears. Today couldn’t be a worse day for her to be going away somewhere phones are banned. One of the celebrity divorces that she’s currently working on broke in the news this morning when a mystery woman came forward with a story about the footballer husband’s addiction to buying strangers’ knickers online. And now Dominica feels the kind of restless excitement she always gets when she knows she’s about to take half of everything a cheating arsehole has earned. She’ll be extra pissed off at Saskia and Tansy if she misses a chance to get even more money out of the wanker.

She’s tried to be pleased for Tansy, but every time she’s met Tansy’s fiancé, Ivan, he’s been a massive dickhead. As someone who considers herself an expert on divorce, Dominica predicts that their relationship will be ripe for one around three months after the wedding. Especially as they’ve only been together for four months. They met at Tansy’s café, where it sounded very much to Dominica like Ivan simply harassed her into both stocking his vegan produce and going on a date with him. Then he proceeded to propose out of the blue on their three-­month anniversary. Tansy says the rushed wedding is because “he’s just so passionate,” but Dominica can smell an entitled love-­bomber a mile off. It’s just so Tansy to throw herself into a legally binding contract without considering the consequences.

Dominica secretly hoped it would never get as far as the hen do, but now that it has, she doesn’t understand why they can’t just have a normal one, with strippers and cheap wine. Sure, there’s no guarantee that everyone’d still be on speaking terms at the end of it, but that’s the nature of the beast. Why should she be punished just because Tansy lost it two years ago and decided to live a pure and vegan existence, declaring alcohol a poison for her body? Somehow they’ve all been conned into spending a fortune on a weekend at some wanky wellness retreat, giving a month’s worth of wages to some spaced-­out rich woman who set up a business on her estate but won’t give out the Wi-­Fi code.

At the top of Dominica’s screen, another message from Saskia pops up, which she tries desperately to ignore while she carries on with her emails.

URGENT MACRAMÉ QUESTION! Does anyone have an allergy to hemp cord?

This whole weekend is going to be both joyless and irritating.

“I will happily strangle myself with the hemp cord if she sends any more texts,” Farah mutters behind her, making Lauren in the next seat along snort.

“The fact that she thinks she can boss us around when she hasn’t even bothered with our Christmas Day walk the last two years is frankly insulting,” Dominica complains.

Every Christmas since they were fourteen, the friends have snuck out after Christmas lunch to drink, smoke, or do whatever it takes to make the rest of the day with their families bearable. It’s become a cherished tradition.

“She does have her own children now. The whole point of the walk was to get away from our parents and get inebriated enough to survive the day. Can’t really do that if you are the parents,” Farah points out.

“I don’t care! It’s sacred!” Dominica whispers sternly.

This year it was weed gummies ingested in a hailstorm at the local park, the only notable effect of which was Lauren finding the King’s Speech disproportionately hilarious.

The women return to their phones. Lauren stares at hers, her brow furrowing, but what’s on her screen isn’t business, it isn’t time-­sensitive, and there are just two sentences that she keeps reading over and over again, trying to find a hidden meaning.

Heya, this is your weekly check-­in! How are you doing? Jx

About the Author

Kate Weston
Kate Weston is the author of the YA novels Diary of a Confused Feminist and Murder on a School Night. More by Kate Weston
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