Teaser (Excerpted from Chocolate for Two by Maria Murnane (April 2013). Reprinted with permission from Amazon Publishing)
I lost track of time as I stood there. Trying to stay calm. Trying to believe that Jake’s mom wasn’t intentionally trying to hijack out wedding.
Don’t be upset.
You don’t have to do things her way.
Jake will stand up for you.
The sound of a man’s voice startled me.
“Why, hello there. What are you doing down here all by yourself?”
I turned around and saw Jake’s dad standing about ten feet away, a cigar in one hand.
“Oh, hi, Mr. McIntyre. I was just, um, taking a little breather.” Please don’t ask me what’s wrong.
If he knew I was upset, he didn’t let on. “I don’t blame you one bit, young lady. That’s a lot of people to handle at once. Why do you think I came down here myself? You stole my idea.”
I laughed and looked over at the water.
“Quite a view, isn’t it?” he said.
“Mesmerizing.” I gave a slight nod toward the end of the dock. “Is that your boat?”
“Sure is. Would you like to see it?”
“I’d love to.” Anything to keep me away from the party a few more minutes.
When we reached the end of the dock, he smiled and held out his arm game-show style.
“Waverly, meet my pride and joy.” The boat had a mahogany finish and pristine white leather seats. The back of it said The Macmillan.
Why does that name seem familiar?
“What does the name mean?” I squinted at it as I tried to remember where I’d heard it before.
He took a puff of his cigar. “It stands for Father McMillan.”
I stiffened. Somethin Jake’s mom had said the night before came rushing back. Father McMillan has already agreed to perform the cremony.
Before I could speak, Jake’s dad continued. “He offiviated our wedding nearly forty years ago…and later…he helped us through a difficult time.”
I couldn’t think of anything to say, so all I sadi was, “Oh.”
Jake’s dad picked up a rock from the deck and skipped it out into the water. “Father McMillan married me and Ava back when we were barely out of college.” He gave me a knowing smile. “Of course, that seems way too young to get married now, but it was a different time then…”
He tossed another rock into the water. “Before Ava had Jake, she became extremely ill. Did Jake ever tell you that?”
The hair on my neck stood up. Jake’s mom nearly died? He never told me that. I wanted to know more but knew it wasn’t my place to ask, at least right now, so I just shook my head. “No.” I whispered.
“It was touch and go for a while there, and Father McMillan, well, I guess you could say he helped us…keep it together. We were practically babies ourselves back then, you know. And we already had Brett and Natalie, who were both just toddlers. It was a rough time, and we leaned on him a lot.”
I didn’t reply, knowing he had more to say.
Jake’s dad bent down to pick up another rock from the deck. “Granted, I am far from what you would call religious, unlike Ava, who grew up very Catholic, but I’ll always be grateful to that man.”
I offered a weak smile.
“He officiated Brett and Natalie’s weddings, and he baptized all three of our kids, and now their kids. That’s why Ava is so devoted to him. He’s a good man. He would have been here tonight, but he’s a bit under the weather. He’s nearly eighty now.”
He tossed the rock into the water and nodded towards the house. “Should we get back? The belle of the ball can’t be gone too long before people start asking questions.”
I smiled, suddenly feeling like I was going to cry. “Good point. Let’s go, then.”
I froze. Please don’t ask me what’s wrong. “Yes?”
“Last night, when Ava talked about your wedding, about having it here in Florida…”
He cleared his throat. “I just want to make it clear that we would never want to push you into anything you’re not comfortable with. I know Ava can be a bit much sometimes, but her heart is in the right place, I promise you that. And at the end of the day, it’s your wedding, not ours. Okay?”
I glanced at the boat. What did he call it? His pride and joy? And he’d named it after the aging, ailing pastor who had baptized his three children and officiated two of their weddings?
I looked back at him, sincerity written all over his kind face, and thought of everything mean I’d said to Jake about his mom.
I suddenly felt like a huge bitch.
Hello there Waverly and all of your wonder! You are now an engaged woman, a TV personality, and an entrepreneur! What do you have to say for yourself? Oh, I know….. Believe me I know. Welcome more mishaps and stress…. Just what someone wants. Being newly engaged with a giant diamond on your finger should make you smile to high heavens…. So why so glum? Wait…. Where is your ring? Uh Oh? No… Don’t cry…. I understand that it must just be getting sized….. Just take a deep breath…. So when is the big day? Where will it be? What will you wear? Oh no…. Did I ask something wrong? Why are you hyperventilating? Just take a deep breath! Ok, I will start smaller… How is Jake’s family taking to the engagement? OH MY! No tears pleeeeease! Oh I give up! Let me see, how is the TV show? EEEEK! Is there anything you can answer me without needing a shrink to bring you down from your current state which seems to only worsen every time I open my mouth? Hmmmm, how is Paige and her pregnancy? (Throwing my hands up in the air in defeat) Ok, I totally give up! Has Jake at least moved in with you…… Ugh, ok, how about you just sit down and tell me from the beginning, I mean the proposal beginning. It can’t really be all that bad, can it?
This book had me from the first page! Maria Murnane sure knows how to keep a story going! Waverly has turned over a new leaf and is being pulled in many different directions while trying to get used to being engaged to Jake. She is trying her best to be forthcoming and honest, all the while, her future mother in-law has seemed to take a hold over Waverly she can’t seem to escape. Mishap after mishap. Life changing decisions to be made aside from trying to plan her own wedding. I could feel Waverly’s stress…. Can’t we all? My heart was warmed throughout the book. And, as always, the wit and humor did not disappoint. Funny, charming and heart-warming, this book has earned all 5 hearts! This book is the perfect continuation of Honey on Your Mind. If you haven’t read the first three books in the Waverly series, you just don’t know what you are missing out on.
After her amazing boyfriend, Jake, pops the question, talk-show star and entrepreneur Waverly Bryson vows to plan a low-key wedding. Of course, anyone who knows Waverly knows that drama follows her wherever she goes–even down the aisle. Now, before she can marry the man of her dreams, Waverly must go head-to-head with his high-society mother, find a replacement for her pregnant retail partner, wrangle with a meddlesome TV producer, and convince her best friend, Andie, to confide a very big secret. And as the clock ticks down to her wedding day, Waverly can’t help but wonder: Is her perfect world getting ready to come crashing down? Or can she really have it all?
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