True Connections
    Lia stared at the buffet set out before her. Roasted chicken, potatoes, green beans, and salad. She’d stopped by Nanna’s for a quick visit, only to be wrangled into dinner when Dina had arrived home early from her ski trip. She’d met the new boyfriend, Henry Walders, the CEO of some pharmaceutical company—rich, emanating power, and a sense of unwavering confidence. Just like all the men her mother dated.
    Just like Max.
    He’d been on her mind all day, and they hadn’t spoken since the luncheon. She’d been sending the date information to his secretary so she wouldn’t have to talk to him. She’d set him up on three blind dates. It had been a hard decision, when she’d taken the time to personally match their profiles. Part of her hated each woman she’d picked for him, but her business came first. And if he did end up dating or falling for one of those women, she hoped they made his life hell. What right did he have to kiss her? Then flirt with Trina right in front of her?
    For the past two days, she’d hid in her office, anticipating Steve or Mindy showing up. Then all would hear how she’d been dumped for her best friend. The town would know the real reason for her return—that Lia had once again failed. And of course, they’d had to call her when she refused to reply to their note and wedding invitation.
    “Don’t be silly. You’re too skinny.” Nanna heaped another helping of potatoes onto her plate before settling back in her seat.
    “So, Lia, Dina tells me that you’ve opened a matchmaking business in this part of town.” Henry lifted his wine glass and gave her a smile, his eyes darting between the three women, no doubt picking up on the tension that bloomed anytime Lia and Dina were in the same room.
    Lia shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She hated these dinners—meeting her mother’s current fling, having to act the proper lady, and forcing herself to play nice. “Yes, Mr. Walders.”
    Dina’s eyebrow lifted, as if waiting for her to say more. The look of disapproval and disappointment made Lia draw in a deep breath.
    With a smile, she gave her autopilot speech, the one she’d used on her clients over the years. “True Connections caters to the busy folk who do not have time to meet other working individuals, like them, on their own. My business offers many venues and opportunities for singles to interact and, hopefully, meet their perfect match.”
    “Impressive. I’m sure the town could use such services, considering we do live in one of the wealthy areas of the country. And don’t call me Mr. Walders. That’s my father. Henry will do.” He chuckled and took a sip of his wine. “I’m sure my kids would love to meet you. Maybe you can talk them into signing up with your business. I wouldn’t mind having a few grandkids myself.” He gave her mother a warm look, reaching over to pat Dina’s hand.
    Lia stifled her shock when her mother smiled shyly, a content gleam shining in her eyes. She’d never seen that expression on Dina’s face.
    “I’d be happy to help, if they’re interested in my services.”
    Dina turned her attention to her daughter. “I think that’s a great idea.”
    Lia’s heart stuttered. Her mother hated the decisions she’d made in life. From the color of her clothes to the choice of school, there was always criticism. Only Max’s mother and their grams dared to stand up for her when Dina McEvers’s possessive and anal opinions got out of hand. It wasn’t Lia’s fault her father had left with another woman; it wasn’t her fault her mother had gotten pregnant with her at such a young age. And now her mother openly approving of her business left Lia reeling.
    Nanna rang the bell for the housekeeper. “Well, it looks like everyone is finished. Let’s go on into the living room, and I’ll have Flo serve the amazing apple pie she baked today.”
    Henry stood and helped Nanna pull out her chair. The respect and tenderness toward her

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