Kate’s Challenge Excerpt
A friendly elbow nudged her in the ribs, before a voice, close to her ear whispered, “Don’t you think he looks a little like Rocky and sings like Ronan?” She laughed in a way, which could only be described as best-friend-cooking-up mischief and didn’t give Kate a chance to answer before she added, “Just the type you like! And I am going to get you introduced.”
The carol finished and the community broke into applause. Up until now, it had been the perfect pre-Christmas evening. The sky was clear, the Southern Cross sparkled above them and most of the villagers had come for an evening of picnicking and carols at the annual carol service. Kate had been loving life! Well, her return from living in Australia, anyway.
Ballinger Bay may not be Sydney or Melbourne when it came to carols in the domain. It had none of their flashy performers and lights, but there was nothing like attending carols at the village domain, under the tall poplars and beside the hundred-year old church to make her realise how much she’d missed the little Kiwi village she’d grown up in.
But that realisation didn’t stop her from spinning around and glaring at her best friend and owner of the assaulting elbow and evil laugh. “Since when did our night at the carols turn into a bachelor hunt?”
Trixie shrugged and gave a knowing smile. “Why let an opportunity pass?”
Why indeed? Kate thought as she tried the assertive approach to warn her off, “Don’t you dare! I don’t want an introduction.” But she may as well have saved her breath. Trixie had that look in her eyes that clearly stated, I’ve got a good idea and I’m going to act on it. Beware.
Kate groaned. She’d seen that look a million times over the years, and it spelt nothing but trouble, which might make for great tales around a bonfire, but right now Kate was here to help her sister. Not find herself a man. A man, for her, could wait. She was good at waiting. She was twenty-five, completely unattached, completely ready to hold fast to her ideals.
Her sister’s predicament couldn’t wait. Losing her husband and then finding out she was pregnant was one blow too many. Kate didn’t want to be a sister who cared, but was never there. Life was too short and her sister too broken, she couldn’t wipe her tears and give her coffees with an ocean between them. So she’d packed up and come home. She didn’t know how long she’d stay. She figured she’d know when Fi was back on her feet and coping. And then she’d see what was next.
But she was going to have to act fast, the Trixie she knew was going to make good on her statement and nothing would stand between her and Trixie brazening out an introduction. That was the trouble with small towns, finding out who knew who, and who could share the necessary information was not really a challenge for Trixie. Especially when you came from a family as old and established as Trixie did. Someone would know someone and want to help the minute she asked. And since Trixie had found her Italian stallion and was happily married and mum to three gorgeous bambinos, as she called them. She believed it was nothing short of a sign from the heavens that Kate had returned unmarried, and her role as best friend was to find Kate the perfect husband.