My series about the various members of a large Hispanic family involves the Reyes and their friends. The first book, Never Too Old For The Game Of Love,Â wasn’t meant to turn into a series, but it involved a divorced mother of 2 pre-teens who isn’t looking to fall in love.Â But she does.Â By the end of that book she’s pregnant and the father, a confirmed bachelor, is happily anticipating something he thought he’d never want…his first child!Â The second book, Recipe For Love, involves Tegan’s best friend, also a divorced mother of 2 pre-teens (their kids are best friends from their early days in a playgroup together).Â She decides to branch out of just doing the cooking for their party-planning business and opens a small cafe.Â Of course she agrees to cater her best friend’s wedding, but Tegan also wants Patti to be her maid of honor! Realizing she can’t do everything alone, Patti advertises for a cook to help her out, and the only viable candidate is a tall, bald, bearded and tattooed, Romani Harley rider who goes by the name of J.T.
Here is the excerpt from Recipe For Love and Tegan’s wedding:
Many hours later, Patti sighed with pleasure as she sat back in a comfortable wicker chair on the back porch and kicked her shoes off to wriggle her hot, tired toes. She had resisted J.T.â€™s orders to sit and rest the first few times he had tried to get her to relax. But finally, when he gently pushed her into a chair and handed her an open bottle of champagne along with a glass, she realized just how tired she was. She sat down to watch as he organized the kids into a mass â€œclean-upâ€ army. She was amazed to see her own kids, as well as Teganâ€™s, Juanitaâ€™s and even the out-of-town visiting cousins all helping. They all liked J.T. and wanted him to see what a good job they could do. Kids who normally would argue about why cleaning even needed to be done when it would just get dirty again were now racing around trying to clean up more than each other. Patti shook her head in wonder, and leaned back in her chair with her feet up on the step stool in front of her. She thought over the events of the day trying to figure out which part had been her favorite.
The cooking in the early morning hours had been fun, despite the stress of knowing just how many people were going to be eating the food. J.T. was a good companion in the kitchen. They chatted amiably, or just worked in harmony quietly, and the food was quickly and efficiently prepared. They had gotten it delivered to Tegan and Alexanderâ€™s house, figured out where they were going to put everything and gotten it all set up for serving. Then the guests had begun to arrive and the speed of the day picked up immediately.
Tegan was beautiful, but a mass of nerves, and it took all of Pattiâ€™s skill at calming her friend down to get her to stop quivering with excitement. Patti had repeatedly reminded Tegan how much in love she and Alexander were and how happy they already were together. Patti was exhausted from the mental strain by the time the music signaled she was to follow Katie down the aisle between the folding chairs. The huge expanse of two backyards had been decorated for the occasion with fall flowers and streamers.
When Patti saw Teganâ€™s face, as her father walked her slowly down the aisle, and her eyes were only on Alexanderâ€™s face, she knew all her work in calming her friend down was worth the effort. The light of love that illuminated Alexanderâ€™s face was so warm with hope and anticipation she knew anything she had done to help bring these two people together was something to be proud of. They had both spoken their vows clearly, looking only at each other. When they put the rings onto each othersâ€™ fingers, they had both started to cry, as if it was a moment they had been waiting for their whole lives, and now their joy was become the reality of total bliss. It was so obvious to everyone there these two people belonged together, that the cocoon of love they created had made everyone else feel warm and loved as well. In fact, after they had kissed, Alexander had turned and addressed the gathering, in both English and Spanish, thanking everyone for contributing to the joy he and Tegan felt by coming to witness their marriage. Then he had welcomed everyone to their home and invited them all to â€œeat, drink and make merry.” The thunderous applause that followed allowed for a catharsis of emotions, as the union of these two people made family of everyone who was there.
J.T. and Patti had moved into high gear then, with Patti immensely grateful for J.T.â€™s experience in serving such large crowds of people. They had been a good team, each anticipating the otherâ€™s needs, and looking to lend a hand, when needed, in order to keep the serving dishes full and the food available. They had been too busy to do much talking, but once again, they worked together so well, Patti felt relaxed enough to have a few glasses of wine, allowing her to join in many of the frequent toasts to the newlywedsâ€™ future happiness.
At some point, the DJ, who was one of Alexanderâ€™s cousins from Aurora, had begun playing music. At Alexanderâ€™s request, the first song was Santanaâ€™s â€œGame of Love,” and since Patti knew just what kind of games Tegan and Alexander had played with each other during their courtship, she was probably the only spectator to really understand just why that was their song. They started out doing a simple slow dance, but it didnâ€™t take long for their passion to make them forget their audience, and there were many cheers, whistles and catcalls when Alexander held his new wife close and kissed her repeatedly while they moved to the music.
After that song, everyone joined in dancing, even the smallest children and the oldest grandparents got up to celebrate by moving around the dance floor. Patti found herself being grabbed by one man after another as the music had them all anxious to show off their dancing skills. But the biggest surprise was when Patti turned to see who her new partner would be and J.T. took her hand and led her in a spirited polka to the mariachi band music that was blaring out the speakers. She was so out of breath afterwards she collapsed into a chair and gratefully drank the large glass of ice water J.T. poured for her.
â€œI had no idea you were such a good dancer,â€ Patti panted while she tried to catch her breath.
J.T. smiled, â€œWe Romas learn to dance before we learn to walk. And polkas are one of our specialties. Anything else and I could have resisted the urge to join in, but I love to hop around to a good polka beat, and besides Polacks, no one does polka music like a good mariachi band.â€
J.T. patted Pattiâ€™s hand, â€œSo thanks for indulging me, boss. You sit and catch your breath and Iâ€™ll get back to refilling the food for this ravenous crowd.â€
The rest of the reception was taken up with more eating and drinking, more dancing and finally, cutting of the cake and tossing of the wedding bouquet. Patti tried to duck away from the crowd of single women that urged Tegan to, â€œAim for me!â€ and â€œMake me lucky!â€ But Chelsea and Jake pushed her back into the crowd and she had to dodge to avoid the bouquet she was sure Tegan threw directly at her. It was caught by Rosa, who had just turned fifteen and she blushed when her father, Alexanderâ€™s brother Edgar, started to lecture her on how she had better not be the next one in the crowd to get married. His cousins then crowded around him and reminded him just how old Juanita had been when he met her while they were still in high school. Much teasing and laughing followed, and when Rosaâ€™s boyfriend caught the garter, Patti suspected a fix, since she knew Alexander had known about Rosaâ€™s boyfriend before her dad did.
Tegan and Alexander had gone into their house to change for the drive into downtown Chicago to the hotel they were staying in for the night. When they emerged quite a while later, looking sheepish, they were once again teased unmercifully. Everyone went out front to wave to them as they drove off to start their married life together.
That was when J.T. pushed Patti into the chair, handed her the open bottle of champagne along with a glass, and encouraged the children to show him just who could do the best job cleaning up from the crowd. As she sipped the sparking wine, Patti was suffused with feelings of happiness. Her best friend was now happily married to the man of her dreams, who was also the father of her baby due in three months. The children were doing so much of the cleaning there wouldnâ€™t be too much to finish up tomorrow. The guests who were still there had finally stopped eating everything in sight, so Patti didnâ€™t have to worry anymore that they would run out of food. And she had her feet up and a bottle of chilled champagne to drink. Life was good.
As she watched J.T. joking around with all the kids who were trying to impress him, Patti thought about how glad she was he had walked into her kitchen, and how much he was adding to her enjoyment of life lately. She decided, as she caught his eye and he smiled back at her, that life was possibly going to be even better in the very near future.
Find out more about this book and the others in the Reyes Family Romances series, at my website: http://www.fionamcgier.com
Leave a comment telling me what was the most memorable wedding you have attended…maybe yours? What made it so different?
I’ll choose a comment next Tuesday, July 8th, and that reader can choose an eBook from the Reyes Romances.
So entertain me with wedding stories!