The Art of Romance

The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kaye Dacus
his elbow on the door and watched the expensive houses along Granny White Pike roll by. He wanted to know why Caylor hadn’t driven her grandmother to church this morning, but he didn’t want to show undue interest in her. No, it was bad enough his own brain wouldn’t leave him alone about her. He didn’t need to give their grandmothers any reason to suspect he’d even noticed her turquoise eyes with the slight uptilt at the outside corners, her patrician nose, her full lips, her seductively asymmetrical smile.
    Gramps pulled the luxury sedan into the small parking lot behind the contemporary, redbrick church. Dylan unfolded himself from the backseat and stretched.
    “Do you want me to help you find the Sunday school room?” Perty cradled her Bible in the crook of her elbow.
    Dylan ducked his head back into the car to retrieve the one she’d given him. “I think I can manage, thanks.” He slid the thick Bible under his arm. “I did grow up in this church, remember?”
    “I know, I just—” But whatever Perty “just” remained unsaid. “Have a good time. We’ll see you afterward.”
    Dylan raised his hand in farewell and headed for the main entrance.
    “Do you think he’ll…”
    The woman in front of Dylan sneezed, drowning out the rest of Gramps’s question. According to the rest of the family, the only thing Dylan had ever done right was to get a full-time professorship at a college with a prestigious reputation—even though it was just an art school. Would there ever be a time when he didn’t have to worry about what everyone else in the family was saying about him behind his back?
    Trying to put that lifelong insecurity out of his mind, he walked up to the hotel-check-in-style welcome center, part of the expansion building project that had nearly split the church apart his senior year of high school—which had started him on the road to disillusionment with organized religion.
    “Welcome to Acklen Avenue Fellowship,” a perky, middle-aged woman greeted. “Looking for a Sunday school class?”
    He couldn’t remember if they’d called it by a specific name Friday night. “Yes—the class for single adults.”
    She picked up a thin white binder. “Hmm…singles? Let’s see…Oh—here we are. How old are you?”
    Yeah, he definitely didn’t want to get stuck with the thirty-and forty something Left Behinds. “Twenty-eight.”
    “Okay, you’re looking for the Young Professionals class. Take the stairs here up to the second floor and go to the second room on the right—number 226.”
    “Thanks.” Well, they hadn’t called it by that name, but it had to be the right one. He jogged up the stairs and found the room easily—surprised by the large size of the space. In the middle were chairs set up in rows, lecture style, and on either end of the room were six circles of eight or ten chairs.
    A few people milled around a table with pump-top coffee dispensers and boxes of doughnuts. A big guy—bigger even than Bobby Patterson—moved toward him, hand outstretched.
    “Hey, I’m Patrick Macdonald.”
    Dylan shook the meaty hand. Though Patrick wasn’t but an inch or so taller, he must have weighed at least seventy-five to a hundred pounds more. “Dylan Bradley.”
    “Welcome, Dylan. This is my fiancée, Stacy Simms.”
    She was the complete opposite of Patrick—thin and short with dark hair to his bulky, tall, and blond. But she had a handshake almost as firm as his. When he returned his hand to his side, Dylan flexed it to make sure all his bones were still whole and in the right places.
    Patrick ushered him over to the registration table, where Dylan filled out a visitor information slip, and then over to the food and beverage table.
    “Are you new to the area, Dylan?” Patrick motioned toward the coffee and doughnuts.
    Dylan raised his hand to decline. “I grew up here. In this church, actually.”
    Patrick eyed him. “Really? So did I, and I don’t remember you. When did you

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