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Rachel Kinsey fits
the description perfectly.
The divorced soccer
mom may be ditzy and as sympathetic to losers as a
charity, but she knows what she wants.
A man completely
different from her unreliable ex-husband and the
outrageous characters she’s usually doomed to attract.
Enter Jim Landers, the ideal candidate.
encounter introduces her to the tall, dark attorney who
loves soccer and kids.
The only problem?
He’s not prepared for
a ready-made family and a woman as comfortable as a
beloved sweater rather than a beauty queen.
woman whose kindness, enthusiasm for life, and unguarded
honesty may disturb a man who values order, perfection,
Jim turns to the
flawless yet distant Donna as a substitute for Rachel.
should show him how much he means to her, but rejection
from an absent father and a capricious ex-husband may
have ruined Rachel’s ability to connect to Jim
Will she risk
herself, her son and their future by revealing how much
Jim means to her?
touching, tender tale full of gentle humor, about
thinking too much and feeling too little.
Rachel must learn to
be heart-strong in order to find her soul mate.
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Rachel Kinsey always met men.
Frequently unsuitable ones. Buskers whistling on pan pipes or
thrumming drums. Winos old and young. Patched-up homeless with
shopping carts asking for a handout. But also construction
workers, computer techs, teachers. She related to all sorts,
always inherently able to identify the human element in each.
Her universal appeal to them was a
sympathetic outlook and an open, trusting demeanor, the result
of her big hazel eyes fringed with curly lashes and her
teddy-bear rounded cheeks. She may not have been the most
gorgeous female in town, but she oozed empathy, compassion for
their problems, understanding about their clashes with friends
Their universal appeal to her was a
human connection with the male of the species. Men of all
shapes, sizes, and colors fascinated her. She considered them as
nearly a separate class of creatures. Lacking brothers, cousins,
uncles and assorted other men in her family, and robbed of the
weak connection she’d had with an emotionally distant father
when he divorced her mother, she made males the subject of
informal but intense scrutiny. She knew this weakness for fellow
mortals, even unreliable or penniless fellows, caused many of
her personal problems. But the failing, which had culminated in
a defunct marriage with an infrequently employed handyman, also
had brought her son Scott, now ten, so she loosed her curiosity
Late one afternoon in August she
announced to her sister, “I met a man today.”
“You’re always meeting men. Usually
unsuitable ones,” her sister snapped back.
“I don’t know if he’s unsuitable, but
he was tall and had the brownest eyes. I’d know him if I saw him
again.” In her musings, she tilted the water pitcher somewhere
in the vicinity of the glasses.
Sharon turned from the stove where she
was wafting spoons of spaghetti sauce through clouds of steam
and tomato splatterings. “Rachel,” she whooped and jumped across
the kitchen to rescue the pitcher before the water spilled. “Was
he another one of your weirdoes?” Sharon asked as she put the
pitcher on the counter.
“Oh, no. None of those. He was just a
regular man. Had a decent haircut. Even wore a sports jacket.
Although he did look...a bit ragged around the cuffs. And his
tie was off-center.”
“So a touch of vulnerability. Where did
you meet him?”
“Outside Super Shop “
“What does he do?” asked Sharon.
“I don’t know.”
“Where does he live?”
“I don’t know.”
“What’s his name?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t
know. All I know is I want to see him again.”
“Well, you realize the chances of
that.” Sharon moved the spaghetti pan to the sink and began
“Yes, slim and none,” Rachel recited
Sharon’s standard philosophy.
* * *
He could remember what she looked like.
Just like the sketch he was attempting from memory. She’d made
such an impression, he could almost see her sitting over there
in the corner, her honey-colored hair matching the rays of the
setting sun that filled the room, picking up the color of the
potted mums and the warm tones of the oak dining table. Yes, not
only was Jim a weekend artist, albeit a serious one, but also he
was a romantic who’d absorbed his values in great gulps of
popular culture—love songs, sentimental films, novels several
decades past their initial popularity.
Jim hadn’t noticed her at first outside
the grocery store. They both had been looking at the ad taped to
the window listing weekly specials. Outrageous, he’d been
thinking, apples for two ninety-nine a pound. “Criminal,” she’d
said and turned toward him. “Criminal. Apples at two ninety-nine
looked up and up, and he’d looked down and down. She’d blushed.
He’d flushed, never having felt such an instantaneous
camaraderie with a woman before. He couldn’t, wouldn’t analyze
the response, but figured her candor as well as her rounded
figure and her understated attractiveness had something to do
with it. He wished he’d thought fast enough to introduce
himself, or ask her a question, anything to extend their time
But he’d been too flustered.
He usually went for blondes, but this
little lady had an indefinable spark, as if she enjoyed every
moment of life and shared that delight with those around her.
Probably she loved to cook—her appearance at Super Shop and her
familiarity with prices of produce indicated as much. Jim was so
bored with the frozen, canned, and dried selections he juggled
for meals, he could puke. And eating out, even with friends, was
costly and, he admitted to himself, sometimes boring with their
constant conversations about sports or excessive drinking.
The woman he’d run into probably could
discuss current events and art and had educated opinions on
both. She certainly had decided judgments about costs of food.
He wished he could get to know her better.
Jim thrummed the eraser end of the
pencil on the counter. Maybe she was his dream woman. Too bad he
couldn’t translate his feelings into an adequate work of art. He
sighed, laid the pencil down, shoved the drawing in a stack of
miscellaneous papers, picked up the can opener and went to work
on the two cans of spaghetti destined for his dinner.
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