W Parks Brigham visits today and shares the first two chapters of her latest release, It's Never Too Late for Love.
Delana Crawford was livid with her twin brother’s news. She couldn’t believe after thirty plus years as a widower, he was in love and planned to get married. At fifty-eight years old, please! There was nothing wrong with having a friend and companionship, but marriage? She just didn’t understand. Why, after all this time?
Yes, that was how she felt until the wedding and she bumped into a gorgeous, sexy gentleman by the name of Charles Johnson. Fine syrupy brown, six-feet plus, mingled gray, HUNK with a firm handshake and a smooth baritone voice.
After meeting the savvy handsome Charles Johnson, sister girl is now singing a different song.
But why is she being so hard-nosed and difficult at fifty-eight years old? Somebody please tell me?
Delana Crawford was still upset as she kicked her shoes under the bench in front of her queen-size bed and turned on the television. She had just returned from a much-needed walk to clear her head after she heard her twin brother’s other disturbing news. It was bad enough he was getting ready to upset both of their lives. But he had the nerve to ask her to coordinate his wedding and wanted her to meet with both families who were on their way over. She wished she would spend her Sunday evening talking about a wedding after he’d turned their simple and carefree life upside down. As far as she was concerned, they were living the good life after all the sacrifices they’d made over the years. The girls were now happily married with families and successful careers, living the American dream, even if they were running the family businesses. What was also surprising was his girls encouraging him, saying it was time for him to marry, again. The ungrateful traitors, they were supposed to have her back. Instead, they accused her of being a hater and said she needed to find herself a man. Well, they could help their father and future stepmother have a wedding. And she was not jealous, just didn’t feel up to pretending she was in the mood to plan their upcoming nuptials.
Her nieces even had the nerve to give her a lecture on trying love again. She had done that and been there. As far as she was concerned she was too old to be caught up with all of that foolishness. The men in her age bracket were looking for someone who was capable of taking care of them and she was not the one…Humph, wash your own clothes, fix your own dinner, and please pick up behind yourself, she thought. Okay, Delana, get back to the real matter at hand, she scolded silently. Everything was to take place in two weeks. She couldn’t believe Rhonda Kaye Mason actually wanted to be a July bride and her brother and nieces were doing everything in their power to make it happen. That was why they were having it the last day in July, on a big Tuesday morning; what a joke!
What was the rush? Demit his soul, thought Delana, opening a bag of her weakness, miniature Snickers. And yes, she might eat the whole bag if she wished and add some extra pounds to her two hundred and three-pound frame. Humph, just as long as the scales did not go past the ten mark. She popped a chocolate delight in her mouth. Humph, he even had the nerve to tell her there was no need in her thinking about moving. Humph, she popped another. Dee, we can all live here together. We’ll still have our separate and private spaces. Yeah, right, she wished she would live with him and Rhonda Kaye Mason. She ate another. And she didn’t care if they’d only been in their new residence three short months; she unwrapped another.
He was right about it being enough room, in spite of them calling themselves downsizing. Together, they had the ideal home built to their specifications not far from the girls and the church they attended. They each had a beautiful apartment that fit their personal needs, an adjoining family room, patio, and two-car garage they shared. His space included extra handicapped modifications which were clearly put up for his fiancée, no doubt, along with a few other suggestions she made. It was now crystal clear. Hers included a customized closet for her extensive wardrobe and a wonderful spa bath to die for.
Huh-uh, he never intended to live alone and had been contemplating marriage the whole time. As far as she was concerned he was ruining a good thing behind thinking he was in LOVE. Please, at his age! She popped another as she recalled his one-way conversation, during which she remained silent since she didn’t have a decent word to say.
After thirty-plus years, he was in love and planned to get married. She just didn’t understand. Why, after all this time? They were now on easy street, didn’t have to answer to or worry about anyone, going and coming as they pleased since he was retired and she, semi-retired. There was nothing wrong with having a friend for companionship, but marriage? What in the world was Deleon Crawford going to do with a wife at fifty-eight years old? To top it off, he was marrying Rhonda Kaye Mason who struggled with a cane just to get around. She should be on a walker or one of those riding toys, Delana thought with a smirk, eating another one. Now really, what good was she going to be to a vital, healthy man like her brother? Regardless of Rhonda Kaye being two years younger than Deleon, she already had a serious case of arthritis. One thing was for sure, he was going to have to take care of her by himself. She would move out as soon as she found something suitable.
Yeah, right she thought, looking around her beautiful living room, dang his soul. Delana knew she was only blowing off steam. She was happy in her new home and didn’t want to start over. Moving was a headache even if you did have someone to do it for you. You still had to supervise the job. Yep, she was stuck like Chuck!
Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on her door. “Aunt Dee, can I come in?”
“Sure niece.” She knew what she wanted, but her heart just wasn’t in it. This was going to be her first solo job; she just didn’t know it. It was true that Delana was well-known for making many a plus-size bride of all ages’ special day from the wedding ensemble to the last detail extraordinary. She had a gift for choosing the perfect gown for any body type and had put a smile on a many faces because of her expertise in fashion, period.
“Aunt Dee, I wanted you to look at the portfolio I put together for Ms. Rhonda. She didn’t want a lot of frills, just something nice and modest for a woman her size and age. And I had to take in consideration she can’t stand a long time too.” You can say that again, thought Delana.
“Let’s see what you have.”
While she viewed the slide presentation on her tablet, Barbriel went into her personal plea. She wanted her to have a change of heart about their father remarrying and participate in the planning. Delana knew her brother and other nieces had put her up to it. They’d always said she had a soft spot when it came to her youngest niece, but she, too, could forget about her changing her mind.
“Niece, looks like you have everything under control. Your selections are quite lovely and I know Rhonda Kaye will be very pleased.” Delana was bubbling with pride; once again her niece had truly displayed her remarkable talent. Her protégées had done outstanding jobs and never ceased to amaze her. Their performances were better than ever. All three were chips off the old block in the line of fashion with their own personal expertise. Ma’Shawn, the oldest, had a phenomenal flair for marketing and designing along with skillfully implementing Passion Lanier’s individual blueprints for beauty and fashion; Barbriel for coordinating, organization, and presentation using technology; and Kieran, their chemist, had developed their line of beauty products thanks to her major stock holder, Passion Lanier. Besides Delana’s Boutique and Glamour Salon & Spa, they also had an impressive and extensive website and online retail business catering to women worldwide with emphasis on the plus-size woman.
“Auntie, won’t you please join us? You don’t want to offend Ms. Rhonda. We’ve never seen Daddy act this way and she’s responsible for that. After all these years, he’s found someone who fills the empty void he has had for such a long time.” Barbriel paused for a few minutes to let her last statement sink in before she continued. Her niece was right and had a valid point, thought Delana. The sisters down at the church his age and younger had tried for some time to march him down the aisle. Many had tried getting close to her and his girls for that matter, thinking they could get a hook-up, especially once they saw he had eyes for Rhonda Kaye.
“Auntie, out of all the women, she’s the one he has chosen to spend the remainder of his life with. And between you and me, he had a hard time convincing her to accept his proposal. She had all kinds of reasons why they should just remain friends. Aunt Dee, she even doubted her worth as a woman because of her handicap and size. Now you know we believe just the opposite. She is such a beautiful woman inside and out with a spirit to match and Daddy is crazy about her.”
Once again her niece was really throwing it on thick, thought Delana as she listened.
“If we were searching for a woman to represent what we are about business wise, she would be the perfect sister. She’s everything you’ve based your business on and made sure it was imbedded in us. Our motto: Every woman is beautiful; it’s up to her to accept and accentuate her best features. Auntie, you would think this was his first time, and now they are both spilling over with happiness and excitement.”
“Okay, case well presented. You should have been a lawyer. I’ll be out in a few minutes; go ahead and get started.” They sent the right one to soften her up, including getting her to go back on her every word. Barbriel was a bigger romantic than she was and was definitely in the right department. She was the wedding consultant and could make it happen with any budget. Delana smiled as she popped one more chocolate morsel before leaving her apartment…
Barbriel had a satisfied grin on her face as she joined the family; once again she’d broken the hardnosed Delana Crawford down. Oh, but she had a surprise for her, too. She and her sisters had been scheming big time along with their friend, Jazper Collins…
Delana could hear voices as she entered the hall that led straight to the spacious family room.
“Here she is!” Her twin was up and giving her the biggest hug. “Thanks Sis,” he whispered. She felt low as an ant. How could she not see the change in him since Rhonda Kaye said yes? He wasn’t this thrilled the first time.
“Dee, come sit by us,” said Rhonda Kaye, patting the space beside her. “The girls have done a wonderful job and they’re going to design a website using us for couples over fifty.”
All eyes were on her, including Rhonda Kaye’s son, daughter, and their spouses. Smile, Delana.
Two weeks later
The guests will be arriving shortly, thought Delana as she and Libby took one last walk-through in the well-decorated fellowship hall. That was where the ceremony was going to take place, instead of the auditorium. Libby was a new consultant and director in-training and Delana was inclined to believe she, too, had great potential. She did a wonderful job implementing their plans. Delana was pleased the hall was exactly as she envisioned, a beautiful summer wedding with cream-covered banquet tables and chairs which had dusty rose sashes tied around the back. Two rows of chairs were placed in the front, separated by a short aisle for the couple’s children. In the middle of each table were lovely wicker-basket centerpieces of summer flowers. Decorative figurines holding mints were on each side. Where the bride and groom were to stand and say their vows sat a huge wicker planter with overflowing, fresh greenery and summer blooms. Dusty rose accent ribbons were wrapped around the handle and ended in cute curly bows. On the other side stood a unique gunmetal candle stand with running green vines, cream candles, and floral wreaths. Rolling carts were tucked away with a three-layer butter cream cake trimmed in little candy pearls of dusty rose, a chocolate caramel sheet cake, and a fountain which would be pulled out at the proper time.
Delana was thankful the couple had decided to have a morning ceremony with no attendants. The exchanging of vows would be over within fifteen minutes, a catered light brunch would be served, and everyone would hopefully be able to beat the rain storm that was expected after twelve if they didn’t linger. The couple’s wish was to have their ceremony quick and to the point. And their job was to please. Of course, she wouldn’t have chosen a Tuesday, but so be it. Everything was going according to schedule for the loving couple including the plans to travel the countryside for their honeymoon. Even though heavy rain and possible floods were expected, the newlyweds would be driving in the opposite direction of the bad weather.
Text: Aunt Dee we need u.
Delana sent Libby to get the men while she checked on the problem. She couldn’t imagine what was wrong while heading in the direction of the ladies’ lounge. Whatever, they needed to hurry; cars were pulling up which meant guests were beginning to arrive.
“Aunt Dee, you look pretty,” exclaimed her oldest great niece.
“Thank you, sweetie, where’s baby girl?”
As if she knew she was being summoned, the little tyke skipped through the doors and stood beside her big cousin.
“My goodness, don’t Auntie’s girls look beautiful.”
They both said thank you with the youngest being excited for two reasons. She was dressed like her big cousin and she had been allowed to miss a day of nursery school. Libby approached the girls; it was time to put them on their post. Again, Dee started to the foyer and met her nephew.
“Wow-wee, Aunt Dee, you trying to give the bride competition,” declared Ma’Shawn’s husband, Todd. She did look good and was proud to say she was in the best of health and could still wear three-inch heels. Thanks to her dark flawless complexion, people found it hard to believe her age when she told it in spite of the gray hair. She’d even had some people to think she had the gray put in.
“No, nephew, just representing,” she said, patting his face and adjusting his tie. The berry suit she had on was sharp and becoming for a woman in her age range. The jacket had a jeweled modesty panel and button closure with crystal stones on the satin pleated shawl collar and waist. Of course, she had her trademarks, a matching handbag and pillbox hat with elaborate jeweled clusters.
“Are they ready back there?”
“I don’t know, Aunt Dee. They just said they need you. Aunt Lucille is outside with Great-Aunty and Uncle; she needs help.” They smiled because Lucille was a character. But one thing for sure, she’s taken excellent care of her ninety-plus-year-old parents. Darwin and Bernard are with Dad. He’s one overly-anxious groom,” he said, grinning.
“You hold it down while I check on things,” instructed Delana. She then made a quick turn to walk to the back and bumped into a gorgeous, sexy gentleman with Nathan Collins. They both wore appreciative smiles.
“Excuse me,” said the older gentleman in his smooth, baritone voice.
Mmmm! Dang, every one of her nerve endings was spitting fire. “No, please, excuse me,” she replied sizing him up. Humph, men do it all the time.
“Delana, let me introduce you to my father-in-law, Charles Johnson.” She knew exactly who he was with all the talk she had heard at the salon. Poor Jazper was always flooded with questions whenever she came into the salon or boutique by people of all ages.
“It’s my pleasure, Delana,” he said, taking her hand.
She expressed it was nice to meet him as well, while she admitted silently that he was something to behold close up. And whoever said he was a bag of chips should have said a family size. Ba-bee, Charles Johnson was a fine syrupy brown, six-feet plus, mingled gray, HUNK with a firm handshake. And it was quite evident he knew the effect he had on women. But just like she overheard Jazper tell her nieces, when they called themselves playing matchmakers, he was not interested and neither was she.
About the Author:
W Parks Brigham would like to invite you into her world of love and romance. She has penned some of the most delicious tales with plus size women as the heroine, touching your every emotion. Her heroines are attractive, educated, and sophisticated with high self-esteem. They are not looking for a man to validate their worth…just love them for who they are. Drama, the element of surprise with lots of twists and turns, romance, love, and semi-steamy intimacy are featured in each story.
Besides being a writer of AA romance and women fiction; W Parks Brigham considers her stories in a class all by themselves Contemporary Christian Romance since she includes intimacy. Remember, she was first to tag her stories in what she’s sure will be a new category in the near future.
W Parks Brigham Author Page: www.amazon.com./-/e/B00G4IPAMU
FB Author W Parks Brigham
Available books by W PARKS BRIGHT:
DESTINED TO BE….REIVISED
WHO AM I SUPPOSED TO LOVE
SURVIVING THE STORM
YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME (ALLANVILLE’S MATCHMAKERS BOOK #1)
YOU BELONG TO ME (ALLANVILLE’S MATCHMAKERS BOOK #2)
NO STRINGS ATTACHED (ALLANVILLE’S MATCHMAKERS BOOK #3)
YOU’RE THE ONE FOR ME (ALLANVILLE’S MATCHMAKERS BOOK #4)
WE BELONG TOGETHER (ALLANVILLE’S MATCHMAKERS BOOK #5)
A New Series…The Golden Years
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE FOR LOVE (The Golden Years Book #1)
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE FOR LOVE (The Golden Years Book #1)