by Bette Lee Crosby
The problem with humans is they’re in love with love. Even worse, they’re determined to find it themselves. They stumble in and out of relationships that simply were never meant to be and then wonder why it didn’t work. Females are infinitely more complicated than males. Lindsay Gray for example, she’s dead-set on doing this her way and four times she’s ended up with the wrong male. She’s the kind of female who makes my job a nightmare.
Contrary to popular belief, love isn’t a result of me shooting an arrow into some human’s heart—that whole bit is a lot of hooey. I get my orders from Upstairs. The Boss gives me a rundown of matches then it’s my job to make sure the male and female get together. When things go wrong I’ve got to come up with a Plan B. Unfortunately Lindsay Gray has already used up B through E, I’m now working on Plan F and she’s dangerously close to being reclassified as Love-Challenged.
Her problem is she can’t tell love from lust. She sees a pair of heavy-lidded dark eyes, or a rippling muscle and thinks she’s in love. This started when she was only ten years old and caught sight of the boy who lived two doors down. The lad was twelve and wanted nothing to do with her, but that didn’t stop Lindsay from developing a preadolescent case of lovesickness. She followed that poor boy around like a faithful puppy until she saw him kissing Sara McLachlan. Once that happened she swore she’d never love again and she didn’t, until she was eleven.
Lindsay’s mistaken love more times than I can count, and every time it ended in a disaster. She can’t understand why this keeps happening to her, but the answer is obvious—humans with do-it-yourself determination are not equipped to identify true love. They inevitably mistake passion for love. Elizabeth Taylor is a perfect example. She refused to let me handle things, so eight times she got married and seven times she got divorced. One poor chap was killed in a plane crash before she had a chance to divorce him—that was not my doing, that unfortunate event came from Life Management. Not one of those gents was included in Elizabeth’s plan which goes to prove what I’ve been saying.
But I’m digressing, so let me get back to the subject at hand.
One of the advantages of this job is my ability to see the future and I can tell you Lindsay’s got a lot of problems ahead of her. Problems far worse than her bad boyfriend choices. Most of those problems are coming from the guy over in Life Management. Me, I’m a lovable fellow. But Life Management—well suffice it to say he handles things like car crashes, bankruptcies and heart attacks.
Right now my primary assignment isn’t Lindsay—it’s her father and Eleanor Barrow. But if I don’t step in and take control of Lindsay’s life, she’ll ruin theirs. Eleanor and John deserve better, they’ve been waiting a long time.
This isn’t the first time for Eleanor and John Gray, they were a perfect match back in high school. If Eleanor had gone to Penn State instead of Kentucky, she and John would have had four daughters and a lifetime of happiness. I set up that first match, but once she left the North East, she was out of my region. Raymond, the fellow she married was from Seattle—North West region—and they met at the University of Kentucky—Central region. You probably know where this is going, right? She was out of my region, Raymond was out of his and my counterpart in Kentucky was busy fending off the nineteen girls who thought they were in love with the same basketball player, so Eleanor and Raymond got married and became what we call an MM. (Migratory Mistake)
Despite the fact that I’d let her down, Eleanor made the best of it. If you were standing on the outside looking in, you’d actually think she was happy. Of course I knew the truth because I go to the inside of a person’s heart—I have to, it’s my job. Eleanor was a good wife and a good mother—a bit overindulgent with Ray Junior maybe, but still a good mother. Papa Raymond was another story. It was bad enough that he had an eye for the ladies, but he also had a great fondness for beer and the business sense of a turnip. An insurance salesman who sold life insurance to everybody but himself, how crazy is that?
When Life Management stepped in and did their dirty work, Raymond got an illness nobody wants and it was two years before they finally gave the okay for him to die. Eleanor took care of him that whole time and once he was gone, she worked two jobs so Ray Junior could go on to college.
Eleanor’s a woman with a big heart, lots of grit and steadfast determination, which is fortunate because when it comes to dealing with Lindsay Gray, she’s gonna need all of it. If Eleanor’s got a flaw it’s that she’s blind to the faults of those she loves, which is why Ray Junior is such a problem.
Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.
Born in Detroit and raised in a plethora of states scattered across the South and Northeast, Crosby originally studied art and began her career as a packaging designer. When asked to write a few lines of copy for the back of a pantyhose package, she discovered a love for words that was irrepressible. After years of writing for business, she turned to works of fiction and never looked back. “Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”
Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since that, she has gone on to win several more awards, including another NLAPW award, three Royal Palm Literary Awards, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal and most recently the 2011 Reviewer’s Choice Award and Reader’s View Southeast Fiction Literary Award.
Her published works to date are: Cracks in the Sidewalk (2009), Spare Change (2011), The Twelfth Child (2012), and Life in the Land of IS (2012). Life in the Land of IS is a memoir written for Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as the world’s longest living quadriplegic.
Crosby newest novel Cupid’s Christmas is scheduled for release in early October and following that, What Matters Most will be released in early 2013.