For Tuesday Tales, I’m starting out the New Year with a new story. Thyme for Love takes place in Oak Grove Square, the tiny Texas town where Victoria and Toby met, fell in love and lived happily ever after. This time Cupid has another unsuspecting target in mind. Join us to see what happens next …
Return to TUESDAY TALES for more great snippets. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘New Year’.
Thyme for Love
An Oak Grove Square romance
Heather sashayed to the front of the room and pivoted in a move any model would be proud of. “Welcome,” she called to the merchants, in her usual soft, breathless manner.
“I’m surprised she stopped fawning over Hank long enough to attend to business,” Victoria whispered to Marie and Sally, sitting on either side of her. Marie, from Three Tarts Bakery, and Sally, from Crafters Cottage, stifled giggles, especially after Heather turned and glared in the ladies direction.
The usual cast of business owners from Oak Grove Square filled the small conference room at City Hall. Since they’d formed their merchants association after the beginning of the New Year, they’d met regularly since and had a full slate of activities planned to generate interest in their tiny town.
Victoria owned Serendipity, an antiques and collectibles shop on the north side of the square. She was one of the newest business owners, recently moving from California to this small north Texas town. She’d doubted her decision at first, but after falling head over heels in love with Toby when he wandered into her shop one day to sell an old antique trunk filled with miscellaneous treasures, she knew that this move had been for the best.
Marie and Three Tarts tempted the business owners and the entire town with baked goods and delicacies. The scents wafting from the bakery filled the town with yeasty, fragrant aromas. Victoria was not the only one summoned by the delightful whiffs. Many found that their breakfast was a fresh baked croissant, donut or cinnamon roll. To ward off the unwanted pounds, a few of the ladies started walking together before opening for the day.
Sally seemed to be the only one in town immune to the tempting treats at Three Tarts. She rarely indulged in the bakery goods, sweet or savory. But she did enjoy a nice brisk walk, so she began joining the others, usually munching on a fresh apple or pear while they walked.
“I don’t know how you have the will power,” Carmen, from Java Time, commented one morning while they were walking. “If I didn’t have to be at the coffee shop so early, I’d be eating my way through the morning at Marie’s bakery.”
“I’m just not that tempted by sweets,” Sally replied. “Oh, now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a nice soft cookie for dessert every now and then.”
“Yeah, I’ll bet. Every now and then. Like never. Where I’m eating every time I turn around,” Marie said. She pinched a handful of flesh around her belly. “That’s why I have this. And you don’t.”
Sally sighed. “But I’d trade it all in to have a sweetie. Will power keeps me out of the bakery. But it still doesn’t do a thing for me between the sheets. Every time I see Victoria and Toby walking around town holding hands I just want to die. I’d love to have someone in my life like that.”
“You’ll find someone.” Victoria patted Sally’s shoulder. “When the time is right. Hey, I wasn’t even looking. I wasn’t going to get involved with anyone ever again. Until my Toby came waltzing into my life. Don’t look for him. That’s when he’ll turn up.”
“I haven’t been looking. I’ve been so busy getting Crafter’s Cottage off the ground and going that I haven’t had time to look. All my time and energy is spent on this darn business. Creating products, working with vendors in the different booths, and then all the paperwork that goes along with a store and twenty six vendors.”
With a shake of the head, Sally brought her attention back to the meeting and away from the conversation she’d had with her friends on their walk a few days earlier. Business … think about business, not the lack of a man in your life, she cautioned herself.
She brought her focus back to Heather droning on at the front. “So the Council decided that with all the other farmer’s markets in the immediate area, we wouldn’t have enough draw – either from the growers or the customers – so they nixed the idea of a weekly market. However, there was consensus that a one-time summer herb festival may be a viable event.”
“We just need to coordinate so that we’re not in competition with the others,” Carmen advised. “The lavender farm in Gainesville has an annual event in May. And I think May is when the botanic gardens herb festival is. So we’ll want to check on what dates they’re planning their events.”
Marie raised a hand. “We don’t want to do it too late though. By then we’re roasting here and it’s hard to get people to come out in the heat.”
“We’ll need someone to take the lead on this. They can coordinate the date and start looking for vendors. Any takers?”
Without thinking, Sally thrust her hand in the air. “I can. I’ll head up the committee for the herb festival.”
Her friend’s heads swiveled in her direction. “What?” they whispered in unison.
“Hey, when you don’t have a love life, there’s plenty of time for work,” Sally muttered back to them.