In an effort to try something new and to share it with you- I'm posting the first chapter in my new series – Meryton Matchmakers– right here.
This is a new adventure for me and I don't expect you to take that leap with me without some good faith sharing 🙂 I decided to jump into Jane Austen Fiction because every year I go through a Jane Austen binge watching marathon. So much that this year when kindergartner told her teacher her favorite movie was Pride and Prejudice- The BBC Version ( I think she said that because she's afraid to go against me. Not that I don't like the Keira Knightly version . Just not as much).
Please keep in mind that this is a rough draft. It will be edited severely by a qualified editor and the finished product might slightly resemble this – Just kidding- sorta. They'll be 1st cousins at the very least.
I'd love to know what you think so drop me a comment. This book will tell the love story of Bill Collins and (Charlotte) Lottie Lucas. Friends for years, Lottie harbored a crush that's turned into the real deal. Only Bill's too daft to see it. With the help of her friend and matchmaker, Elizabeth Bennet, Lottie hopes Bill will see what she does- a good and true love.
It will also begin the story between corporate raider, William Darcy, and Elizabeth Bennet. He's been tasked by get Elizabeth and Jane's company- Meryton Matchmakers– into the black through automation but Elizabeth won't have it. She and Jane are determined to show him and his their financial backer- his aunt- that love requires a personal touch.
So anyway…here you go ~~
Lottie stepped from the house and eased the door closed with a quiet click. the dewy air was cool but would soon enough be too warm for her to enjoy the walk to her cafe. The sun, still tucked behind the ending night would soon rise and bring with hit the hint of a summer heavy with oppressive heat. Last year they had two brown-outs. What would this summer bring?
With stun gun in hand, she slung her bag over her shoulder and began her peaceful stroll to work. The stun gun was because Bill forced her to carry in ‘just in case”. She didn;t like to think about what ‘just in case' meant. Instead, she liked to think about the days menu and possible new cupcake creation. Her taste of late has run towards spicy and feisty.
Oh, that rhymed. She should use that as the theme of the day.
“Morning Lott's,” Bill said stepping out from the pasture and onto the walkway beside here.
“Jesus Christ,” she yelled and fumbled with the stun gun. It flew from her fingertips and landed somewhere in the grass. “You scared me to death, Bill. What do you think you're doing walking up on someone in the dark.”
“I announced myself. You know that stun gun has a flashlight. You should use it. I almost couldn't find you.”
“That's the point. I'm not trying to give my location away. Just enjoy the walk to work. Sorry about the-er-using his name in vain.” It's not like he hadn't met her on the walks before. It's that she usually saw him before she heard him. Today, he caught her completely unawares.
Bill flicked on a flashlight, the one she'd given him for Christmas that he carried on his keychain, and started searching the grass. “Some people think it's bad and nothing more to say the Lord's name in vain. I like to think that in a time when you were scared, or at the very least-startled- you weren't saying his name in vain but calling upon him for help. That means a lot coming from an agnostic such as yourself. There's hope for you yet.”
Lottie saw the little power zapper in the grass and snatched it up. She flicked the switch and made it spark.”I prefer pagan,” She teased.
Bill held up his hands. “Pagan then.” He chuckled. “Temptress even. With those wickedly sinful cupcakes. But you will not tempt me. No ma'am.”
“Says the man who has a juvie record.” She clicked off the charge and on the flashlight and shone it on his face.
“Hey,” he blocked his eyes. “Those records are sealed and you are sworn to secrecy. You pinky promised.”
Lottie shook her head. She started walking backward. After all, she did have to get to work. “Who would have thought that you would grow up to join the ministry and I would —”
“You didn;t have my father.” His sigh was heavy.
She knew it wasn't from the weight of his childhood, which has been heavy indeed. But from the outcome.
“If it hadn't been for The De Bourghs and the church I wouldn't be walking my pretty friend to work. I'd be walking the yards. Doing time. Deep within me, Lott's there's a dark criminal. An evil—”
She punched his shoulder. “Oh, please. How ever do you get your fix? Are there mass graves of abducted dogs behind the seminary school or are you a cat burglar we haven't heard of yet?”
“Deep within you Billy was a scared kid who'd lost his mother and was stuck with a butthole father. You're no more evil than I am.”
They nudge each other with their shoulders a couple of times and continue a few steps in silence.
“Hey, I forgot to ask. How's the sermon writing for Pastor Rasch going?”
Bill chuckled. “Can I make a confession?”
She nodded but knew he didn;t need the affirmation from her. They told each other everything.
“I'm not sure I want the church when he retires. Have you seen the congregations? They're so old!”
“Bill!” She nudged him harder. “You could turn it around. Bring in the younger people.”
He shrugged. “Sounds like a lot of work. I like teaching at the seminary school. And as for the sermons. Let's just say he doesn't appreciate my humor.”
She stopped and looked at him. The street lights that lined the sidewalk cast just the right glow that she could see the large smile on his face. “What did you do?” She couldn't wait to hear this story. By nature, Bill was a needler. He liked to poke the soft spots of others in a gentle way. He claimed that until one knew where their weaknesses lie they would never be fully strong.
“You know the story of Abram? Writing out the sermon I put – The Lord appeared before Abram and said his bit. You think Abram said OMG? Wasn't he startled?”
“And of course, he didn't say that in the sermon.” She would have heard about it immediately from her father, a strict and pious man in his own right.
“I wrote a rap about Jesus dying on the cross.”
“You did not.” She couldn't hold back her laughter.
“I certainly did. Dr. Dre, Puff Daddy. They've done it. What a better way to spread the word than through a song that sticks. Know what I mean?”
Of course she did. This was not a new idea from him.
“You're a nut,” she told him.
“Takes one to know one.” He flung an arm around her shoulder. “Want some help making the donuts?”
“I don't make donuts and you know it.” She looked up at him. “You know I always like the help. But what are you avoiding? What's going on here?”
If he tried to deny it she would stick her elbow into his ribs. That always worked.
Bill wiped his free hand down his face. “My fair lady is coming to town. She's bringing her nephew, Darcy.”
“But you love when Mrs. De Bourgh comes.”
“Yeah, but this time its about the Matchmaker business and I think it might not be good. I can't decide what I should do. If I share my fears with the sisters and I'm wrong then I caused worry for no reason.”
Lottie stepped closer. The sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, were her roommates. Was she expected to keep this from them as well?
“Just be honest. When does she come?”
Bill shrugged one shoulder. “She wasn't specific she just said this week.”
The arrived at the back door to Lottie's shop. She turned over the locks and stepped into the dark back room. It smelled like vanilla and sugar. Bill flicked on the lights and the brightness forced her to cover her eyes.
“I love coming here,” He said while locking the door behind him. “It feels like how a home should feel.”
She smiled up at him. “That's one of the best compliments I've ever been given.”
They stared at one another, smiling. She wondered if he was thinking about all their escapes they shared as children. Or if maybe he remembered the quiet times in her treehouse where he would read to her.
Lottie remembered those times too. But that's not the first thing she thought about when she looked at Bill. Nope. Her first image was the one that was burned in her brain and haunted her at night. When she looked at Bill she saw him like she had a few months past, working in his garden, his shirt off. If looks could sear she'd burn his shirt right off to get another tasty look at his well-defined chest.
“What the theme for today?” The apron he slipped over his head was the one with the bare, sculpted male chest.
Lottie's mouth began to water.
“Lotts? The theme?” He waved a hand in front of her face.
“Surprise.” She gulped. “The theme is ‘surprise'.”
So that's chapter 1 🙂 Stayed tuned for chapter 2!
Thanks for coming by. Stay cool and enjoy these summer days.