Follow Your Heart (Catalina Cove #4) - Brenda Jackson
“KAEGAN AND BRYCE, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Kaegan, you may kiss your bride.”
Victoria Madaris swiped at the tears in her eyes as she watched the couple at the front of the church seal their marriage vows with a kiss.
Kaegan Chambray and Bryce Witherspoon—now Bryce Witherspoon-Chambray—made a beautiful couple. You could see the love in their eyes when they’d recited the vows they’d written. When Kaegan, a member of the Pointe-au-Chien Tribe, had spoken to Bryce in his Native American tongue and she responded in that tongue in kind, it had been the most touching thing. Although Victoria was certain she wasn’t the only one who hadn’t understood what they’d said, the important thing was that they had understood.
A handkerchief was suddenly shoved in her hand. “Here. I can’t believe you’re carrying on like this at a wedding, considering your fate.”
Victoria fought the urge to glare at her brother Corbin. Today was Kaegan and Bryce’s day. It had been such a beautiful ceremony. Everything had been perfect and romantic. Even the weather had cooperated. Although the forecasters had predicted rain, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Today had been a totally awesome February day in Catalina Cove, Louisiana.
“Honestly, Corbin, do you have to be so negative? There’s nothing wrong with falling in love and getting married,” she said as people began exiting the church. When she’d received a wedding invitation for the same weekend he’d planned to visit, she’d invited him to be her plus-one.
“So says the woman whose single days are numbered,” her brother grumbled. “Glad it’s you and not me.”
Victoria decided not to point out that he better be glad it was her, otherwise it would indeed be him. “I’m going to tell you the same thing I told Nolan. I have no problem with our great-grandmother finding me a husband if she’s inclined to do so. Mama Laverne has an astounding track record as a matchmaker, and whomever she chooses will be well vetted. It will certainly save me the time of trying to figure out if the man is worth my time and attention.”
“You honestly want a husband?” Corbin asked, as if appalled at the very thought.
“No, but if Mama Laverne has chosen one for me, I’ll take him. I trust her judgment. She’s the best.”
It was a well-known fact that at ninetysomething, the matriarch of the Madaris family was determined to marry off her great-grands before she left to go with the Lord. It bothered Victoria whenever Mama Laverne would say such a thing because Victoria couldn’t imagine a world without her great-grandmother in it.
Over the years, Victoria had seen her work her magic on some of the staunchest bachelors in the family. They had fought her all the way. But then the next thing she knew, they had fallen in love with the women Mama Laverne had chosen for them.
The last match had been Victoria’s brother Nolan, and everybody knew that Nolan had had no intention of ever getting married. He was singing a different tune these days with Ivy. The two would be celebrating their second wedding anniversary soon, and people suspected a baby was on the way. Victoria hoped so. She was looking forward to the day that she became an auntie.
“This is a pretty nice town, Victoria.”
She glanced around when they reached her brother’s car. “Yes, it is. I love it here. It’s so peaceful and the people are friendly. Mom and Dad came to visit last month and said the fishing here was great.”
“So I heard, but don’t get too attached to the place. You’re a Texan. Remember that.”
Victoria rolled her eyes. Like there was any way she could. The Madaris family had settled in Texas seven generations ago, back in the 1800s, after acquiring a ten-thousand-acre Mexican land grant. At a time when most newly freed Blacks were still waiting for their forty acres and a mule from the United States government, Carlos Antonio Madaris, half Mexican and half African American, along with his wife, Christina Marie, were shaping their legacy on land they used to raise cattle. A parcel of land they named Whispering Pines. Today Whispering Pines was a huge cattle ranch run by her uncle Jake.
“Now tell me why you’re living here and not in New Orleans when that’s where your job is,” Corbin said as he pulled out of the church’s parking lot.
Victoria knew he’d heard the reason from their parents, but if he thought there was another version that he hadn’t gotten