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Authors: Kirsten Osbourne

Tags: #Romance, #Romantic Comedy, #Western, #Westerns

Kissing in Kansas

BOOK: Kissing in Kansas
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Kissing in Kansas

Book Five in At the Altar

by Kirsten Osbourne

Copyright 2015 Kirsten Osbourne

Kindle Edition, License Notes

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Samara Royal feels like life is passing her by.  A bookworm who prefers to spend her free-time curled up with a good novel, she doesn't have a lot of opportunities to meet men.  Watching her boss, Dr. Lachele, match up happy couple after happy couple only makes matters worse, so she goes to Lachele and puts her love life into the good doctor's hands.

Henry Crider has a five year plan, but inheriting his brother's four year old twin daughters throws the plan all out of whack.  He needs a nanny, housekeeper and cook all in one, so he approaches Matchrimony about finding him a bride.  He can't fall in love for at least five years, so he needs to harden his heart.  Surely his bride will be happy to be exempt from bedroom duties.  When he sees Samara walking down the aisle toward him, he knows that she is what his heart needs.  Will he be able to keep his vow of celibacy?  Or will they fall for each other despite his plans?

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Chapter One

 

 

Henry Crider sat in his living room, staring despondently at his feet.  Now that he'd lost his brother, he felt like he had no one left.  His brother, James, and his sister-in-law, Bobbi, had died in a boating accident, leaving him with their two young children.  He was thankful he'd offered to keep his nieces that day, so they hadn't been lost as well. 

Of course, now he had to figure out what to do with them.  Abigail and Avery were the sweetest children he knew, but they were still so young.  At four, the twins were a handful, and he had no idea what he should be doing with them.  What did he know about raising small children?

The only answer he could come up with was marrying someone who could be a mother to them, but he wasn't dating anyone.  He couldn't just flip through the yellow pages and find a bride, as much as he wished he could.

As soon as the thought crossed his mind, he walked to his computer and googled matchmakers.  Everything else was on the internet; why not that?

He was amazed at the number of people offering their services, and the cost of said services.  He owned his own business, constructing custom homes, but he was far from wealthy.  Scrolling through the pages of ads, he became more and more amazed at what people were willing to pay for a good matchmaker.  Maybe he should just search for a nanny service, but really, he didn't want to have a live-in nanny as a single man.  He was a Christian and believed in waiting until marriage for sex.  No way would he invite an uncomfortable situation.

Finally, after scrolling through four pages of matchmaking services, he found the one he was looking for.  Matchrimony.  As he read through the fine print, he grinned.  "You will not be allowed to meet your potential mate until you are at the altar."  Yes, that would suit him just fine.

 

*****

 

Samara Royal picked up the phone to call another client for Dr. Lachele Simpson.  Her job as the good doctor's assistant required her to make follow-up phone calls, as well as doing anything else Dr. Lachele needed done. It wasn't uncommon for her to have dinner with Lachele and her husband, Sam, or even just spend her days off shopping with her employer.  She loved her job, and she loved her life.  She just wished she had someone to share it with.

One of the occupational hazards of working for a successful matchmaker was feeling lonely after every new match, and after every wedding.  She'd been toying with the idea of approaching Lachele for her own match for a while, and she realized it was finally time.  She was usually such an upbeat person, but she was feeling down.  It was going to start affecting her job performance if she wasn't careful.

She'd been thrilled to spend time in Wisconsin for Cissie's wedding to Bob, but it was her turn. 

Putting the phone down, she decided the call could wait, but she couldn't.  Dr. Lachele was between her counseling clients.  It was time.

Samara didn't bother to knock on Lachele's door, knowing her boss didn't stand on any kind of formality when she wasn't in session.  "Lachele?"

"What's going on, Samara?  Did you get those calls made?"  Lachele slipped her glasses off and laid them on the table, immediately making the transformation from working professional to friend in Samara's eyes.

Samara shook her head, plopping down into the seat across from Lachele.  "No.  I didn't.  I want you to find me a match."  There was no reason to beat around the bush.  She always felt like Dr. Lachele could read her mind anyway.

Lachele's face lit up.  "I have someone picked out for you already!  I was about to approach you about him.  You'll be so happy!"

"But...you haven't interviewed me or put me through the psychological testing."

"Good gravy, girl, I know you like I know myself!  You don't think I can pick a man for you?"

Samara grinned.  "Oh, I know you can.  I just figured you'd make me go through what everyone else does.  And he's willing to relocate to New York? Or he's already here?"

Lachele shook her head.  "No, he's not.  You'll need to go to him.  You'll travel for work some, but most of what you do for me can be done telecommuting."

"I can't make you coffee from another state."

"What do you think interns are for?  Besides, if I can't make a good cup of coffee at my age, I don't deserve to have any."

Samara smiled. "So where are you sending me off to?"

Lachele smiled.  "We'll fly out together, and you'll see once we get to the airport.  How does two weeks from now sound?"

Samara's jaw dropped.  "You seriously expect me to be ready to marry in two weeks?"

"Well, more like fifteen days.  We'll plan it for two weeks from tomorrow.  I'll call him now."  Lachele waited for Samara to leave her office, and when Samara didn't, she made a shooing action with her hand.  "Go on!  I need to let your groom know when we're coming."

Samara got up and walked from Lachele's office in a daze.  She'd expected to have months to think about it, but Lachele never did anything halfway.  She should have known.

 

*****

 

Two weeks later, Samara taped up the last box. Lachele would ship all her things to her on Monday morning, after she'd arrived back in Manhattan from the wedding.  Her small apartment was bare.  There were boxes everywhere, a suitcase by the front door, and her wedding dress hanging on a hook.  That was all she could see.

She sighed.  All of her pots and pans were packed, and now she was hungry.  "I need to eat," she said to herself, walking to the phone.  She dialed a number, waiting for it to be picked up.

"SamiSunflower!  I was just going to call you to insist we go get something to eat.  Are you hungry?"

"Starving, and I've packed up my kitchen."

"Well, let's go eat then.  Sam is out of town on business this week, so it's just you and me."

"Why don't we meet at that little Irish pub on Broadway that we both like so much?" Samara asked.  She was hungry, but she needed the celebratory atmosphere that she knew the pub would provide.  She was getting more nervous with every passing day!

As she walked to the pub, she watched everyone around her. Would the man she married be like the one in front of her, holding hands with his girl, or like the one who was walking toward them, his arm wrapped protectively around a girl's shoulders?  Would he be sweet or gruff?  She had no idea. She knew she should quit worrying and wait to see, but it was hard.  How could she trust someone else to find the ideal man for her?  Why had she thought this was a good idea?

By the time Samara stepped into the pub, Lachele was waiting for her at a small table in the corner.  She slipped into the seat across the table from her boss.  "Tell me about him. The wait is killing me!"

Lachele laughed and shook her head.  "You know as well as I do that I don't work that way."

"At least tell me what state I'm moving to.  That's not too much information, is it?"

Lachele sighed.  "I won't tell you the exact state, but I will tell you, it's in the Midwest." 

Samara frowned.  She wanted the exact state, of course, but she'd gotten more than she'd expected from her employer on the subject.  "It's cold in the Midwest."

"It can be. It's cold in New York too, though, so don't whine about it.  Just marry the freak."

"He's a freak?  Why would I want to marry a freak?"

Lachele grinned.  "When you meet him, you'll understand why I chose him for you.  Oh, Sami, you are going to be the happiest woman alive!"

"That great, is he?  I'm getting nervous about meeting him.  The way you make him sound, I'll never be good enough."

"Good gravy, Samara, you know I don't make bad matches.  Trust me!"

Samara sighed, leaning back in her chair.  "Fine.  I'll trust you.  Don't make me regret it!"

Lachele laughed.  "So you trust me as an employer and not as a matchmaker?  Very sad, Sami.  Very, very sad."

Samara groaned.  "I trust you.  I just—it's hard to trust someone else when your heart is on the line.  What if I meet this man you found for me and don't like him at all!"

"You'll love him.  I've listened to you talk about your perfect man for months.  You don't think I pay attention to you?  I met this man, spent ten minutes with him, and knew he was your dream man.  It took me many hours more to be certain you were his dream woman."

"But you're sure?"

Lachele sighed.  "For the fiftieth time, I'm sure.  I couldn't be more sure!"  She shook her head.  "I should have had Cissie and Cindy fly out here to take your mind off things."

"Why didn't you?"  Samara had been a little hurt that her Wisconsin friends weren't there to help them prepare for her wedding day.

"They'll be at the wedding.  I didn't think they should have to travel all the way to Manhattan for tonight and then back to the Midwest for tomorrow afternoon."

"Are you serious?  They're really going to be there?"

Lachele nodded.  "I was going to surprise you, but you seem so upset tonight, I figured I should tell you.  Why
are
you upset tonight?"

"I don't know!  It just feels so weird to be leaving everything I know and everyone I love to marry a random stranger who lives in the Midwest.  I don't even know what
state
I'm going to live in!"

Lachele simply grinned.  "Just breathe."

A couple of hours later, Lachele walked Samara home.  "Are you all packed?"

"Yes, but it doesn't seem real.  Are you sure I'm doing this?"

Lachele shook her head at Samara.  "What you need is a good boobie bump."

"I do!"  Samara hugged Lachele tightly.  "I'm scared."

Lachele smiled.  "Of course you are.  You'd be stupid not to be, and you're anything but dumb."  She raised her hand to hail a taxi.  "I'll see you tomorrow.  I'm going to grab a taxi and be here about ten.  We'll go to JFK together."

Samara nodded. She'd rather go to the airport with Lachele as long the older woman wasn't driving. "That will help.  A little."  She unlocked the front door of her apartment building with a wave.  Her last night as a single woman.  Who'd have thought it would come so soon?

 

*****

 

Henry paced back and forth in the back of the church.   He'd left the children with their weekday caregiver, hating it.  He wanted them with him, but he didn't know how his future bride would feel about having two young children running around the church before their wedding.  Betty was as close to a grandmother as the two would ever have, but they were still his responsibility.  If James and Bobbi had wanted them to live with Betty, their will would have had her name in it and not his.  They'd be at the reception though. 

He knew the bride's room was occupied by his future bride, and though he wanted to know what she was like, he didn't feel compelled to go sneak a peek at her.  Whatever she looked like was fine as long as she was a strong Christian woman, willing to help him raise the twins the way they should be raised.  Nothing else about her mattered.  He didn't expect to have some great love with the woman, just a helper for the twins.  If they were attracted to each other eventually, that would be a plus.

He didn't really have time for a family and marriage, which was why he'd wanted a nanny so badly.  The wife was more for financial reasons than anything else.  She could work from Kansas, according to Dr. Simpson, which would work well for him.  He didn't know what it was the mystery woman did, but he'd thank God every day for her ability to move to him. 

He sat down, entirely alone in the groom's room.  Four months ago, his brother would have sat in the chair opposite him, giving him advice about how to treat a woman.  Of course, if his brother was sitting in that chair opposite him, he certainly wouldn't be getting married.

There was a knock on the door, and he called out, "Come in!"

Lachele Simpson herself, purple hair and all, walked into the room and took a seat.  "You ready for this?" she asked.

He shrugged.  "I think so.  I cleaned out half my drawers and three quarters of my closet.  I even built a rack for shoes, so she can have as many as she wants."

She chuckled.  "I was thinking more mentally ready than physically, but I may need to see that shoe rack."

He smiled.  "I just hope she likes shoes."

"Of course, she likes shoes!  I'm not matching you up with an insane woman!"  Lachele shook her head.  "How are those beautiful twins of yours?"

His heart warmed at the mention of Abigail and Avery.  "They're doing well.  Still wake up in the night crying for my brother and his wife at times, but I think that's to be expected."

"There'd be something wrong with them if they didn't.  Will they be here today?  I haven't gotten to meet them yet."

"They'll be at the reception but not the wedding.  I didn't think we should be inflicting small children on an entire congregation of people."

Lachele chuckled.  "Probably not.  Your bride could handle it though.  You're going to be thoroughly amazed with her."

BOOK: Kissing in Kansas
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