Ain’t Love Grand?, by Dana Taylor
They first meet when he tackles her to the ground. All Persephone Jones was doing was trying to stop the bulldozer from destroying the herb garden she planted on property adjoining hers. But her new neighbor, Jason Brooks, was not only building a beautiful new house, but also a landing strip over her garden. Persephone and Jason couldn’t be more different. He is a well-known, high-powered defense attorney with money to burn. She’s the illegitimate daughter of a flower child, and dispenses wheat-grass smoothies as well as herbal remedies from her modest shop. And neither of them can understand their mutual attraction. In spite of appearances, Persephone doesn’t abide by all hippie principles. For instance, when Jason suggests that they make their relationship more intimate, she demurs. For her sex is an important step, indicating that marriage is on the horizon. He feels differently, but love will have its way in this charming tale of opposites attracting. Maria Hatton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Setting: Peeler, Oklahoma. Big city lawyer, Jason Brooks, has just moved next door to herbalist, Persephone Jones, with his mother and daughter. Scene set-up: Jason’s mother wandered to Perse’s house for a neighborly visit and helped herself to a little too much wine.
Trotting in his direction, I hollered, “Mr. Brooks! I need to talk to you.” I gasped for breath.
He nodded to his mechanic and headed in my direction with a kind of John Wayne thing going in his walk. Suddenly, I felt self-conscious of my ratty clothes and wild hair.
I stopped about three feet in front of him, panting, pushing curls out of my face. He gave me an amused grin. “Good evening, Ms. Jones. Is this a social call?”
“It’s your mother…” gasp, pant, gasp.
His expression changed instantly to one of concern. “Oh, God, what now?”
“She’s alright. She’s at my house. Asleep, sort of. She came over for a visit, and I was cleaning the kitchen and she asked for a glass of wine and…”
Without waiting for further explanation, he struck out for my property. I ran beside him to keep up. He shot me a disgruntled look. “How much did you let her have?”
“I only poured her one glass. But evidently, she poured herself a few more.”
“She’s an elderly, frail woman taking a medicine cabinet full of drugs. Do you know what alcohol does to her?”
“Well, I do now. She caught me unawares, and then she started crying and telling me how you gave away all her things. She was just so unhappy. How could you sell everything out from under her like that?”
He stopped in his tracks and towered over me. “Not that it’s any of your business, but did she mention the fire?” I backed up a little. “Well, yes, she did mention a small kitchen fire.”
He reared back his head and laughed. “Yeah, it started in the kitchen but spread to three more rooms before they got it out. What didn’t burn was either smoke or water damaged. Did she mention that?”
Chagrin crept over me. “Actually, no. I guess she doesn’t have a clear grasp of the facts.”
He started moving again. “My mother doesn’t have a clear grasp of reality, especially when she’s sauced.”
We ran the rest of the way home, and I kept my mouth shut. He headed up my porch steps, yanked open the screen door, and then turned to me in disgust. “I’d think someone who supposedly helps the public stay healthy would know better than to tank up a seventy-five year old woman.”
I crossed my arms in a defensive stance. “I did not tank her up. She arrived uninvited and requested alcohol. I was trying to be a polite hostess.”
He stood over her, hands fisted on hips, shaking his head sadly. “I hate the thought of having to put her in a nursing home some day.”
Okay, he got me with that one. I melted and sighed. “If you’ll carry her to my truck, I’ll take you both home.”
He nodded. “Yes, I guess that’s the most practical course of action.” He reached down for her. “Come on Mama, time to go home.”
Ain’t Love Grand?, by Dana Taylor