Two irrepressible matchmakers meet for a weekend of Christmas shopping. The result? Divinely Lusty Magic!
“Could we stop at Lusty Appetites before we leave?” Grace Warner asked as she secured the shopping bags on the back seat of her Escalade. “I have a craving, and it’s just down the street.”
Kate Benedict chuckled. “This wouldn’t have anything to do with Tracy’s crème puffs, now would it?”
With a giggle, Grace checked her watch. “It’s the perfect time for a snack, and there are several Divine men who would think kindly of me if I brought them crème puffs as a surprise.”
Kate took the elbow Grace offered and they began the short jaunt down the block. “You should take whatever crème puffs Tracy has already made, so you’ll have enough. Just make sure you leave a few for my grandson Henry Kendall. He gets cranky when there are no crème puffs.”
Ginny Kendall greeted Kate and Grace with hugs when they stepped inside Lusty Appetites. “Come on over here and get comfortable. Do you ladies want menus, or are you in for a snack?”
“Just a snack, sweetheart,” Kate said. “Before we head off to Divine. I’ll have a cup of hot tea. Grace would like coffee.”
“And a crème puff each?” Ginny asked.
“You know me well,” Kate said, and then placed Grace’s sizable crème puff to-go order with Ginny.
Ginny nodded. “That’s not a problem. Tracy came in early and has been baking up a storm.” She delivered the beverages and returned a minute later with two saucers bearing scrumptious-looking crème puffs. Grace couldn’t stifle a moan as she sampled the delectable treat.
Grace noticed the gleam in Kate’s eyes and once she’d taken a sip of her tea, she leaned forward. “So? Tell me about your friend, Presley Ann? How is she? It must be nearly time for that baby to arrive.”
Grace set her coffee cup down and said, “Presley Ann is a dynamo, getting ready for the baby. I’d worry about her working so many hours but everywhere she goes, someone is keeping an eye on her, whether she likes it or not.”
Kate lifted a brow. “And those two delightful firefighters you were telling me about? Any chance of them moving to your area? They seem just the type to take good care of a new mother and her baby.”
Grace nodded but rolled her eyes. “I know, right? I pointed that out to Presley Ann. It’s obvious Kendry and Jared care for her, judging by the way they seek her out when they visit. Leah, James, and Vincent are awesome but they aren’t the only ones pulling Kendry and Jared back to Divine. And she can hardly take her eyes off of them when they’re around. But Presley Ann doesn’t see it. She asked why two handsome single guys would saddle themselves with a scatter-brained burden like her. It’s as if she doesn’t think she deserves happiness. Given her rotten luck lately she deserves a little good fortune.”
Kate nodded. “Presley Ann seems intent on punishing herself for her mistakes. Perhaps if someone were to aid Kendry and Jared in finding a nice home for themselves in Divine, she might be persuaded otherwise.”
Grace let an evil chuckle escape. “You know…I happen to have a realtor friend who likes crème puffs. So, tell me what’s going on in Lusty. Any new developments?”
“Your Presley Ann seems to have a lot in common with Veronica’s brothers, Jesse and Barry. I know hard working men when I see them, but those two seem intent on tearing themselves down to their very foundations, judging by the steady diet of crow they’ve been living on for the last year.”
“Are you talking about the younger twins? The ones who were so hard on Veronica when she was growing up? She dreaded seeing them last Christmas at her binding ceremony. They’ve changed?”
Kate patted Grace’s hand. “Like night to day, sweetie. I think that evening was a major wake-up call for them—it was the first time they realized that they’d been bullies. And the cosmos must approve of the changes because it looks like they’ve found love.”
Grace gigglesnorted. “I don’t suppose you had anything to do with that, did you? Who is it?”
“I plead ‘no comment’ on my responsibility. She’s a friend of yours.”
Grace abandoned her pastry. “Who?”
Kate savored her pastry and then took a leisurely sip of tea, amusement twinkling in her eyes. “A lovely woman by the name of Charlotta Carmichael.”
“Get out of town! Really?”
“Mmm-hmm, she’s a clinical psychologist now. I understand she’s good friends with your Camilla Parks who owns the Twisted Bull.”
Grace paused, unsure about saying more. If Kate didn’t know about Charlotta’s former career as a dancer, it wasn’t for her to tell tales.
Kate smiled warmly and forged on. “And yes, I know how she paid for that degree. Without the support of her parents she attended college and graduated debt-free. I admire her for that.”
“Do Jesse and Barry know?”
Kate mulled the question over and shook her head. “That is yet to be revealed. I’ve been encouraging the boys to visit Veronica in Divine. Perhaps they will, during the holidays. It would be nice if they could rebuild their relationship.” Kate took another sip of tea, and ate the last of her crème puff. “Do you suppose when we get to Divine we could visit that little shop located downtown? Violet’s Emporium? And possibly Stigall’s?”
“We could. And if Presley Ann is there I could introduce you.”
“I’d love that. I have a good feeling about her and those handsome firefighters.”
Grace nodded. “I’m pleasantly surprised to say I’m feeling the same way about those grandsons of yours.”
Kate giggled good-naturedly. “Those rascals just needed a proper nudge. Perhaps Presley Ann needs the same. You never know.”
Grace was just collecting her boxes of crème puffs when Adam and Henry Kendall walked in and greeted them. After they’d kissed Grandma Kate on the cheek, Henry said, “I was in the mood for a crème puff.”
“You’re always in the mood for a crème puff,” Adam said. “I, on the other hand, came to kiss my wife.”
After Kate parted ways with her grandsons and rejoined her, Grace looked down at the boxes and said, “When you placed the order, did you have them save any back for Henry?”
Kate snorted and ushered Grace down the sidewalk at a spry clip. “I did. They had plenty of the sugar-free ones left over.”
The preceding was written by Morgan Ashbury and I, and originally appeared as a feature on Siren BookStrand’s Facebook Page the week of 12-11-14, marking the impending release of (my) Absentminded Angel and (her) Love Under Two Outcasts. We hope that you enjoyed it.
For further info about titles in the Lusty, Texas series, please follow this link.
For info about titles in my series, the Divine Creek Ranch Collection, please follow this link.