tagRomanceA Match Made In Heaven Ch. 01

A Match Made In Heaven Ch. 01

byMatch Made In Heaven©

Katherine Banks could feel the hot wind blowing through her hair as she sped along in the red convertible. She couldn’t believe it when she arrived at the airport, the car that her publishing company had rented for her was not her style at all. Something practical and less showy would have suited her far better. But now that she was on the freeway, she could see that everyone was driving convertibles with the tops down, and she could certainly see why. The beautiful California weather would have made it insufferable to be boxed into a tiny little car being blasted with air conditioning. As much as she despised the West Coast and all that it stood for, she had to admit that the temperature was just about as perfect as she’d ever experienced.

After nearly two years, she was coming to claim her inheritance. Well not so much to claim it as to deal with it. She had been avoiding this moment for so long. Katherine remembered, vaguely the day that she had attended her aunts will reading. Her head had been so full of guilt and grief that the day past in a fog.

Katherine had always loved her Aunt Aimee. More than that, they seemed to have a special bond, a closeness that Katherine had never been able to find with her mother, Aimee’s sister. Peal was such a closed off woman, stern and steady above it all. Aimee had been the fun one, the mystical crazy dramatic one who just seemed to bring everything else around her alive. Aimee never had children of her own, and Katherine had a feeling that her Aunt had spiritually adopted her. There was a spark in her as a child, a glimmer of mystery and drama and adventure.

But time and a heavy dose of her mothers influence had drawn Katherine to more practical concerns. After all, following pipe dreams and tilting after windmills had been the downfall of Katherine’s father and the tragic end to his and Pearls marriage. A hard life as a single mother had certainly left it’s effect on Pearl Banks, and she had been careful to impart upon her daughter the that life was an uphill struggle, not a field of wildflowers. She had never been particularly fun or affectionate, but that’s where Aimee came in.

Aimee Blanchard, the spinster aunt, who always took her on adventures of the imagination, who was always so much fun in her childhood, seemed to transform during Katherine’s adolescence into something of a crazy odd-ball. And that, in a teenager’s mind is something to avoid at all cost. No longer was pretending to read each other’s futures or dancing around singing show tunes going to make the grade- literally or figuratively. Pearl had insisted that Katherine dedicate herself to her studies, almost to the exclusion of any kind of social life.

Not that Katherine, a shy but serious teen, had much interest in a social life, or any hope of having one even if she did want one. Katherine found her true friends in the novels she managed to smuggle through along with all of the serious reading matter that helped her get the grades that almost seemed to please her seemingly unreachable mother.

Throughout her 27 years, books had been both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they seemed to indicate to the other kids her age that she was not interested in the same things they were, and on the other as she felt herself increasingly ostracized, they were the best and only comfort she seemed to have. Especially after Aunt Aimee left the cold Midwest to take up life in the carefree coastal life in southern California. Pearl thought that her sister had gone off the deep end, moving out there with all those cooks and reprobates, and Katherine had been inclined to agree. She loved her aunt, but like her mother, she had no use for California or the freewheeling anything goes lifestyle that seemed to flourish there.

Over the years, Aunt Aimee had extended many invitations to Katherine to come and visit her in her lakefront home on Shell Beach. At first, Katherine had her adolescent embarrassment to blame, but as she outgrew that she just seemed to find excuse after excuse to put it off. “Maybe next time” became her mantra. She urged her aunt to come back to Michigan to visit her instead, and Aimee did make an occasional trip, but she often insisted that there was so much of California that she wanted to share with her niece. She spoke enthusiastically about her home, her neighbors and the especially the scenery. Still, thinking of all that she had been taught to believe about the west coast, Katherine found herself literally cringing at the thought.

The last few years, Katherine had had the best excuse of all. Between odd jobs, she was working hard on a novel. She had spent every spare hour either in the library doing research or writing, rewriting and self editing. Her aunt had been extremely understanding and supportive, saying only, “Maybe you’ll come out when it’s finished.”

No one expected Aimee’s sudden death, least of all Katherine. She had always thought that she would see her again. Aimee had kept her illness a secret, preferring that friends and relatives visit her out of joy rather than pity or grief. Katherine had no way of knowing that by the time her book was finished, it would be too late.

The day of the will reading, Katherine had vaguely remembered wondering what, if anything had been left to her. Likely, a bracelet or a locket. Maybe a box of old photos. She felt a sense of guilt for even thinking about it when she had wasted her chance to spend her aunt’s last days with her. Did she really deserve to inherit anything? She did want something to help her to feel connected with her memories of Aunt Aimee, although she didn’t believe in an afterlife. She knew she had lost her only chance, and besides anything that was bequeathed her would only remind her what she hadn’t done, but should have. She definitely felt conflicted about the whole thing.

Through her fog of grief and guilt, she remembered being aware that the attorney had said her name, and the next thing she knew, he was telling her that she had inherited her aunts entire house and everything left inside that had not been passed specifically to someone. What? Katherine had thought. Her house? Whey would she leave me her house? It’s too much… it’s too big… it’s too far away!

Afterwards she had spoken to the attorney in a panic. How was she to handle the affairs of the property from Michigan when there was no way she could leave town? The attorney had assured her that everything was being taken care in California until such a time as she’d be able to get out there and not to worry. At least that had been the gist of it, Katherine had felt at the time as though her head were being held underwater. The whole time period was a blur.

Since she had been assured that the house was in good hands, it made it easier to avoid dealing with it. Time past and she had practically forgotten it was even there. She finished the book she had been writing and began sending it out to publishers. It was daunting as publisher after publisher politely rejected it. Finally, instead of the usual, ‘no thank you’ letters she’d been getting, StageCoach Press informed her that they would be delighted to publish her book as part of there new ‘Exotic Adventures’ romance series.

Katherine had been overjoyed. The only caveat, they informed her, was that she would need to be an integral part of promoting the book. And that meant meeting with the publisher and doing some TV spots and print interviews. The publisher, and the media outlets they had in mind were located, where else but California, only miles from her late aunts property.

So now she had the thing she had been dreaming of, coming face to face with the thing she had been dreading. Katherine figured that it was time to tie up the loose ends, and put the house up for sale. In the meantime she would stay there while she took care of her book business and make sure everything really was in order as had been promised.

Katherine could feel herself tensing behind the wheel of the flashy rental car. It was going to be a stressful couple of weeks, and although it seemed success had finally found her, she wasn’t relishing her immediate future. In fact, she couldn’t wait for it all to be over.

Promote the book, sell the house, and get back to Michigan were I belong, Katherine kept telling herself. It will all be over before you know it. She tried to relax as she pulled into the curving drive. At last she had reached her destination and she gave the exterior a cursory inspection.

The sun and the beach lay behind the two story home which cast a long evening shadow over her car. The light of the day was dimming and Katherine herself felt stretched beyond her limits, worn out and ready for sleep. Knowing her aunt as she did, she imagined the inside would be as welcoming and comfortable as it seemed from the outside.

Katherine parked the car and took a deep breath. There’s no use putting it off any longer. She turned the ignition off and removed the keys. Stepping out of the car and approaching the front door, she could hear a voice inside her head pushing her forward. Time to face the music.

After fumbling for a minute or two, Katherine slid her key into the lock and felt the knob turning. The door swung open and she found herself standing face to face with a buff young man with sandy blond hair and ocean blue eyes.

“Who the hell are you?” two voices rung out in unison.

The two of them stood mute, staring each other down. The man seemed write at home, hardly as if he were a burglar. Sandy blond curls fell, Superman style, over his forehead, stopping just shy of his dancing blue eyes, which traveled unabashedly over the entire length of Katherine’s body. His snug jeans hugged the outline of his leg muscles and a white pirate shirt lay untied to expose an equally exquisite chest, covered in a soft layer of golden curls.

He seemed to find her equally acceptable, in her too warm chocolate brown ribbed and short sleeved sweater dress, and matching brown tights and pumps. Katherine knew that she had a decent body, feminine but not entirely overtly sexual. Her breast, but and hips gave gentle sloping curves which could be described as a little more than a handful on all counts. However, she wasn’t really comfortable with the lecherous way that this strange man seemed to be sizing her up.

“I said, who are you?” she repeated in a steely voice.

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