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Authors: Kaye Dacus

The Art of Romance

BOOK: The Art of Romance
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The Art
of
Romance

K
AYE
D
ACUS

O
THER
B
OOKS BY
K
AYE
D
ACUS:

B
RIDES OF
B
ONNETERRE SERIES

Stand-In Groom
Menu for Romance
A Case of Love

T
HE
M
ATCHMAKERS SERIES

Love Remains

© 2011 by Kaye Dacus

Print ISBN 978-1-60260-990-7

eBook Editions:
Adobe Digital Edition (.epub) 978-1-60742-231-0
Kindle and MobiPocket Edition (.prc) 978-1-60742-232-7

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.

Cover design: Lookout Design, Inc.

Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, OH 44683,
www.barbourbooks.com

Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses
.

Printed in the United States of America.

Dedication/Acknowledgment

To Julia Katherine Caylor McLellan and Edith Bradley Dacus, my grandmothers.

Thanks to everyone who helped me with ideas for this book. For my wonderful blog readers who helped me brainstorm story ideas: Regina, Ruth, Sarah R., Pattie, Sylvia M., Leah, Audry, Sherrinda, Amee, Tammy, Krista, Jennifer F., and Patricia. And Liz Johnson, who helped name the character Emerson Bernard. Y’all rock!

Prologue

C
eleste “Sassy” Evans might have had her driver’s license revoked for poor eyesight, but she could clearly see something was wrong. She added artificial sweetener and creamer to her coffee and studied the faces of the two women sitting across the large table from her.

So far, only she, Trina Breitinger, and Lindy Patterson were here—because the three of them had come together.

“So they’re really not getting married?” She hadn’t earned the nickname Sassy in college for keeping her nose out of other people’s business.

Trina’s dark brows furrowed. She exchanged a glance with Lindy before answering. “Oh, they’re getting married all right. Just not anytime soon.”

“Apparently they think they need more time to get to know each other before they set a wedding date.” Lindy dunked her tea bag in and out of her cup in a slow rhythm.

“Wait. We’re talking about Zarah and Bobby here, right? The ones who were practically engaged when they were younger. Correct?” Two weeks ago at Thanksgiving dinner, Trina’s granddaughter and Lindy’s grandson had announced their engagement—and told the story of how they had met and dated many years before.

Sassy figured since they’d known each other for so long, the engagement would be short and the wedding soon. “What about our pact? What about our agreement that we would work to get at least one of our grandchildren married so that we have a great-grandchild before…a certain other person in the senior adult group?”

Trina arched an eyebrow. “Lindy and I aren’t the only ones with unmarried grandchildren.”

“No, but at least yours are engaged. Caylor doesn’t even go out on dates anymore. If it weren’t for me—and Zarah and Flannery—my granddaughter would have no social life whatsoever. How am I supposed to work with that, I ask?”

Trina and Lindy were saved from answering by the arrival of the other two-fifths of the group: Helen “Perty” Bradley and Maureen O’Connor. Sassy was about to catch them up on the conversation so far then changed tacks when she caught sight of Perty’s expression.

“Why the long face, Perty? I swany, between you, Trina, and Lindy, people will think we just came from a funeral.”

Not even Sassy’s teasing put a smile on Perty Bradley’s face. “My oldest grandson has moved into our carriage house. I know, I know, that should make me happy. But from what little he’s told us, there was some big scandal when the art college learned he was romantically involved with one of the deans or something. I can’t get a straight answer out of him about exactly what happened. But whatever happened, he makes it sound like it’s going to be nearly impossible for him to get another professorship somewhere.”

The server arrived with their pitchers of pancake batter and ramekins of fruit and other toppings, the same thing they got every week when they descended upon the small, kitschy eatery in the Berry Hill neighborhood of Nashville. It had taken them awhile to settle on a regular place for their Thursday morning get-together once the coffee shop they’d been going to down in Franklin had closed. But after their first visit to the Pfunky Griddle, they’d been hooked.

“He teaches art doesn’t he?” Sassy asked, lifting the jug of whole-grain batter. Perty nodded. “Caylor said something the other day about Robertson having trouble filling their adjunct positions. Get a copy of his résumé, and I’ll have her pass it along to the appropriate people.”

Perty smirked. “Have Caylor pass it along? All I’d have to do is pick up the phone and make one call, and he’d be hired. I was the first female president of our alma mater, if you recall.”

Lindy, Trina, and Maureen exchanged looks Sassy wasn’t sure she liked. More than sixty years ago, the three of them had come up with the nicknames Sassy and Perty for Celeste and Helen—nicknames that had stuck so hard even their grandchildren had picked them up and used them.

“What?” Sassy and Perty asked at the same time.

“Well, I know we’re not limiting the search for partners for our grandchildren to each other’s grandchildren.” Maureen leaned forward to sprinkle sliced strawberries on her pancake. “But Sassy, Caylor
is
single. And Perty, your grandson—Dylan—is single. As is Dylan’s younger brother. Aren’t both of those boys college professors? Surely Caylor would like one of them.”

Sassy shook her head. “Caylor met Paxton at the family cookout in October. Said he was a nice guy but far too young—at twenty-five, he’s almost ten years younger than she.”

Perty shook her head, too. “With Dylan just coming out of a relationship that cost him his job, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Sassy adopted her most serious expression. “We should work on getting the already engaged couple to the altar. And Perty and I”—she looked to her best friend, who nodded in agreement—”will do what we can with our offspring. If we put our minds to it, we can accomplish anything. After all, we are the Matchmakers.”

Chapter 1

A
nd they lived happily ever after. Period. The end.” Caylor put down her favorite pen—the one with the sparkly purple ink—and twisted in her chair until her back popped in several places. She could understand her editor’s wanting to get proofing on this book finished before Christmas, but to give her a due date for two weeks after Thanksgiving—which translated into the Friday before finals week—was ridiculous. She’d begged to have the deadline extended a week. Then she could have worked on the galleys while her students took their tests. But her request had been soundly, but kindly, denied.

No use fretting over something that wasn’t to be. The work was done, and it would only take her another hour or so to type up a list of all the changes to e-mail back to her editor. And if she got the e-mail sent before midnight, she’d have beaten her Friday deadline by one day, technically.

But if she was going to keep working, she needed sustenance. As quietly as she could, she slipped down the stairs from her loft, skipping the third step from the bottom that squealed like a puppy with its head stuck in a fence.

She turned on the light over the sink instead of flooding the room with the original 1950s fluorescent lights. Opening the first of the three tall cabinets that served as the pantry, she pulled out the basket overflowing with packets of gourmet flavored hot chocolate. She dug through the assorted Mylar bags until she found what she wanted: sugar-free, dark-chocolate toffee. She put a mug of water in the microwave and set it for two minutes. She’d have to stop it before it beeped, lest she wake Sassy.

BOOK: The Art of Romance
7.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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