Read Dreaming in Technicolor Online

Authors: Laura Jensen Walker

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Dreaming in Technicolor

Praise for Dreaming in Technicolor

“I love Phoebe—her foibles, honest truths, fun, and laughable antics! And this time, Phoebe's taking planes, trains, and automobiles—watch out world!”

—Cindy Martinusen, author of
The Salt Garden

“Ever longed to shop at Harrods or indulge in high tea? Live vicariously through the faboo Phoebe Grant and her pals in this super-fun, romantic romp through England. Like me, you'll giggle a lot, sigh some, and experience a wild urge to brew some fragrant tea and rent some beautiful chick flick starring Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson!”

—Lorilee Craker, author of
We Should Do This More Often
When the Belly Button Pops, the Baby's Done

“Phoebe rides again! With her usual humor and slightly-wrinkled style, our plucky heroine finds depth and delight in her relationships with her family, her friends, and her God.”

—Gayle Roper, author of
Winter Winds
Autumn Dreams

A witty and charming tale that offers a forgotten truth—journeys can actually be enjoyed.”

—Denise Hildreth, author of
Savannah from Savannah
Savannah Comes Undone

dreaming in technicolor

Also by Laura Jensen Walker

Dreaming in Black and White
Reconstructing Natalie
(Available September 2006)


A Kiss Is Still a Kiss
When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Ice Cream
Girl Time
This Old Dump
Thanks for the Mammogram
God Rest Ye Grumpy Scroogeymen
(With Michael Walker)

© 2005 by Laura Jensen Walker

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail [email protected]

Except as indicated below, Scripture quotations in this book are from HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The Scripture quoted at the end of chapter 15 is from The New English Bible, © The Delegates of the Oxford University Press and The Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, 1961, 1970.

Scripture quoted during the York Minster scene in chapter 16 is from the New King James Version © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers.

Publisher's Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Walker, Laura Jensen.
Dreaming in technicolor : a Phoebe Grant novel / Laura Jensen Walker.
p. cm.
ISBN 0-8499-4524-0 (trade paper)?
1. Motion pictures—Appreciation—Fiction. 2. Obituaries—Authorship—Fiction. 3. Overweight women—Fiction. 4. Single women—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3623.A3595D743 2005


Printed in the United States of America

05 06 07 08 09 RRD 6 5 4 3 2 1


chapter one

chapter two

chapter three

chapter four

chapter five

chapter six

chapter seven

chapter eight

chapter nine

chapter ten

chapter eleven

chapter twelve

chapter thirteen

chapter fourteen

chapter fifteen

chapter sixteen

chapter seventeen

chapter eighteen

chapter nineteen

chapter twenty

chapter twenty-one

chapter twenty-two

chapter twenty-three

chapter twenty-four


For Michael, the love of my life and my fellow Anglophile.

We'll always have England . . .

A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment.

—Jane Austen,
Pride and Prejudice

[chapter one]

One Kiss Is Worth a Thousand Words

he time had come, and we both knew it. We were ready. I looked into his Clark Gable eyes as he drew me close and saw the tender love in them, the deep fire of restrained passion.

I watched his lips—those beautiful, expressive lips—as they slowly drew near.

I closed my eyes, felt his warm breath, knew the soft touch of his lips on mine.

Time melted away in the eternity of that kiss. Our first kiss, long awaited. I could almost hear music soar.

It was Bogie and Bacall, Scarlett and Rhett, Rick and Ilsa, Wesley and Buttercup, Belle and her Beast. Of all the wonderful kisses since the beginning of time, it was one of the best. It was not to be forgotten.

It was . . . it was definitely

I pulled back from my reverie and gazed across the table at my date. And sighed.

Those lips. Those eyes. That mouth. Those gorgeous Gregory Peck
Roman Holiday
closing in on an industrial-sized cinnamon roll.

I sighed again. I know that old song says a kiss is still a kiss. But when you're not being kissed at all, who cares what Sam the piano player says?

“. . . thought we could hit Macy's first.” Alex Spencer put down his roll and blew on his cappuccino with those wonderful, full lips before taking a sip and giving me a questioning look across the café table.

“Sounds good.” I gulped my mocha, noticing as I did a trace of foam on his adorable mouth.
Is this man
going to kiss me?

Alex and I had been dating for three weeks now. Twenty-two days, actually, but who's counting? And things were going well. Quite well, in fact, considering our love-hate, mistaken-motives history. And the fact Alex was my new boss. And the whole kissing issue, of course—not that I'm obsessing about it or anything.

But they were going so well that in just a few minutes we were going to cross an important dating threshold: Alex was taking me shopping. In San Francisco. And since we'd never shopped together, I was a trifle nervous.

What if Alex turned out to be like most men, who loathe women's favorite sport?

That's why I'd already had a long talk with my shopping self and stressed that she behave with decorum and restraint. And she'd agreed to be on her best behavior. Unless we went into a shoe store. Then all bets were off.

Something you should probably know about me. I've had a love affair with shoes ever since I bought my first pair of Candies in high school. And although I'd had a spiritual epiphany of sorts a couple of months ago about scaling back and keeping things simple, that epiphany hadn't reached all the way down to my feet yet.

Or to my mouth. Or to my kiss-obsessed brain.

I was trying, though. I knew that the minute my lips locked with Alex's, there would be no scaling back. Also that my drooling might stain his leather bomber jacket, which, I might add, fit him extremely well and gave him a rakish, Brandoesque charm. So in an attempt to keep my smitten self in check, I resumed our favorite sport.

“Okay, Filmguy, what's the first Technicolor movie to win an Oscar?”

He shot me a smug grin as he set down his gooey cinnamon roll.

Gone With the Wind
, in 1939. The same year of
The Wizard of Oz,
where they also made use of that innovative color change. But
with the Wind
swept the Oscars, and the
only won a couple.”

“Brat.” I stuck out my tongue at him. “Your turn.”

“Right, then,” he said with that competitive gleam in his eye that I knew and loved.

Whoops. Did I just say the L-word? No, no. I meant to say
. It's not the L-word yet. How could it be? We've only been dating a few weeks. Every single woman worth her romantic salt knows you can't say the L-word until he does.

Note to self: Do not even think the L-word. Otherwise, might blurt out
unexpectedly at inopportune time

Alex continued with our movie-addict game, seemingly unaware of my romantic inner turmoil. “Okay, Miss Movie Lover, which actress holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations?”

Now it was my turn for a smug smile. “For years, that honor was held by Miss Katharine Hepburn, with twelve nominations. Meryl Streep bypassed her a few years back. But the great Kate still holds the record for the most Best Actress Oscars—four.”

“Didn't she win for
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
with Spencer Tracy?”

I nodded but was thinking,
Spencer . . . the perfect segue
. Maybe now I could finally pin Alex down on his background.

Though not exactly the strong, silent type, my gorgeous date had proved remarkably reserved—evasive, even—in supplying personal information. And I had to admit I was curious.

I knew he was rich and successful—heir to the Spencer publishing dynasty, no less. He'd been a big corporate muckety-muck before deciding to downscale and become a small-town newspaperman—in my hometown of Barley, California, no less.

I also knew he'd been raised in England but wasn't really English. That bit of mystery had slipped out in conversation with my niece. But he'd never mentioned it again.

I absolutely knew he was a good Christian man—woohoo!—with an athletic build, beautiful dark eyes with killer lashes, and delicious, kissable lips. He was one of the few people I'd ever met who knew more about movies than me. Beyond that . . . well, I just needed to know. And what was the point of being a reporter if I couldn't ask questions?

“Speaking of Spencer,” I began innocently, spreading low-fat cream cheese on my bagel. “I've been wondering . . . what's your favorite color? And, uh, when's your birthday?” Then, quickly—“Oh, and what was your childhood like?”

His dark eyebrows lifted beneath his curly Jude Law hair. “That's three questions—none of them relating to movies.”

“True. But I figure it's high time I learned a little more about
, Mr. Close to the Vest.” I licked cream cheese from my fingers.“It's really not fair. You already know all about me—born and raised in Barley, joined the air force, got my journalism degree, worked in Cleveland and now California. But what about you, O corporate man of the world?”

Alex started to respond, but I interrupted him with a teasing smile. “Wait. Let me guess; you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth to a family of old money in New York. Or Connecticut—which would account for your upper-crust diction. And your grandmother was English, which is why you spent time there growing up.”

Or maybe it was your whole family, and they own half of the British—

Alex took another bite of cinnamon roll and wiped icing from his mouth.

Darn, I'd been hoping to take care of that for him. There can't be too
many calories in one lick, right?

“. . . was born in a blue-collar area of Pittsburgh, and the spoon was wooden, not silver. My mom cleaned houses, and my father was a steelworker—when he worked, that is.”

I gaped at him. “But then how did you wind up rich and in England?” My inner Emily Post sighed.
You can dress her up, but you
can't take her out.
“Sorry. I mean . . .”

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