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Authors: Janice Thompson

Tea for Two

BOOK: Tea for Two
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Tea for Two


The Bella Novella Collection, Book Two






Janice Thompson

Tea for Two

© 2016 by Janice Thompson


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without written permission of the publisher.


Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, New International Version
, niv
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan.


All characters are fictional. Any resemblances to actual people or events are purely coincidental.

Acclaim for Janice Thompson’s Bella Stories

Bella Rossi is one of my all-time favorite characters in a contemporary romantic comedy, and Janice Thompson is at the top of my list when it comes to must read fiction! When I found out she was writing a series of stories called The Bella Novella Collection, I had them on my wish list before you could say Dean Martin!”

—Deena Peterson, Reader


I'm pretty sure Bella is my favorite book character of all time, and I was more than excited to find out Janice Thompson has brought us back into her life. In this first installment in the novella series, Bella is back to doing what she does best - pulling off impossibly perfect wedding ceremonies. We also get to connect with DJ and the rest of Bella's crazy family. I was excited to see Hannah, Gabi, and Scarlett also included in this series, and know their stories get to continue for us.”

      —Karen, Reader


Bella never fails to capture the reader's attention and pull you in to the chaos of the Rossi family all the while leading you to the One who makes order out of our chaos. Can't wait to read the next installment.”

—McKinsey Jones, Reader


Bella and the Rossi clan are back and I couldn't be happier! Bella is, once again, planning a fabulous wedding to top all weddings. It is to be held the week before Christmas under the stars.....nothing could go wrong........right? When things don't go as planned (but then this isn't surprising when planning an outdoor wedding in December....even if it is in Texas), Bella and all of the Rossi clan step up to the plate to make this wedding a celestial event no one will ever forget. I was so happy to read this book and felt like I was among old friends again....even the Splendora Sisters are back! This is a must read and if you haven't read the other Bella books by Janice Thompson, go grab them right now and get to reading them. They are ALL wonderful. Janice is one of my very favorite authors because I love Christian fiction and she knows how to write it.”

      —Amazon Reader


“Mama Mia, let’s escape! Let’s fall in love! Let’s eat Chicken Parmesan, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Bubba’s down-home barbecue without gaining a pound. It’s all possible when we hang out with Bella Rossi! You’ll root for the Rossi and Neeley families as they break down cultural barriers and rush toward each other, arms wide open.”

—Trish Perry, author,
Beach Dreams
The Guy I’m Not Dating




To Penelope Marie.

Every little princess deserves a tea party welcome!

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

Psalm 22:12 ESV




Love Will Keep Us Together


It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.

Ronald Reagan



There are some holidays that just put a smile on your face. Take Valentine’s Day, for instance. I was always a fan, even before I met my sweetie, D.J. The dreamer in me always believed in Cupid’s arrows and happily ever afters. Of course, the truest “forever” love stories didn’t always start in such a fanciful way. But Valentine’s Day awakened the dreamer in me. Blame it on being in the wedding business.

People always fought to get their weddings scheduled at Club Wed on Valentine’s Day weekend. Sometimes we would host up to four weddings in a two day period. This year we only had two: a smallish Saturday the 13
event for a couple in their golden years, and the big one, a full-out Valentine’s Day tea party themed soiree on Sunday afternoon. On that day Victoria Felicity Brierley—of the Houston Brierleys—was scheduled to marry longtime Texas senator, Beaurgard—aka “Beau”—DeVine, of the Dallas-area DeVines. To complicate matters, the bride’s family insisted she keep all of her names. On the day she married, she would become Mrs. Victoria Felicity Brierley-DeVine. Quite a mouthful, especially for a woman with a husband in politics. No doubt the talking heads would have a doozie of a time with this one.

None of that mattered to me, however. I simply wanted to comply with the bride’s wishes to have the day of her dreams. And that’s exactly what I planned to give her—a Victorian tea party, with all of the frills one would expect at such an event. I had to wonder if Beauregard would balk at the idea of a tea party theme, but it turned out the kindly fellow was an ultra-conservative with true Tea Party leanings. He planned to use the theme to his political advantage. He didn’t seem to mind the wedding’s theme, even after the bride explained that he would have to wear a turn-of-the-century suit and sip hot tea from a porcelain cup with flowers painted on it. Turned out, Mr. DeVine simply wanted to make the future Mrs. DeVine happy and for that I had to give him props.

Planning for a Valentine’s celebration was nothing new. I’d hosted tons of weddings, after all. But, in all my years of putting together themed weddings, I’d never hosted one that involved Victorian gowns, porcelain teapots, hundreds of teacups and imported lace tablecloths, valued at over two hundred dollars apiece.

On the morning of January 11
, a text came through on my phone with a picture attached. Wowza. I’d seen a lot of wedding gowns in my day, but this one looked like it came straight off of the Titanic. I could almost envision Jack and Rose strolling across the first class deck now, arm in arm. Talk about all things vintage and lace. I’d never seen so much of it, in fact. Seconds later, my phone rang. I smiled when I saw the bride’s name on the screen.


“Yes, Bella.” She let out a little giggle. “It’s me.”

“Great gown, girl! Wow. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Thanks. Just picked it up from the alterations lady. I’m in love. I thought I’d send you the picture so you’d have a better idea about the style of lace I’ve been talking about.” She paused and then added, “Hey, how was your cruise?”

“Our cruise?” I spoke the words and sighed. “D.J. and I had the best time ever. I missed the kids, of course, but we video-chatted nearly every day. Mama and Rosa saw to that.”

“You saw the Eiffel tower?”

“We saw everything from Santorini to Spain. But not the Eiffel tower. That’s in Paris. We didn’t make it that far.”

“Oh, right.” She laughed. “Silly me. I’m so distracted, Bella. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t . . .” She paused. “What was I saying? Oh yes, I can’t remember what I was saying. Or doing. Is this normal?”

“Four and a half weeks before your wedding day? I’d say.”

“Well, good, because I was starting to feel like an anomaly. I’m not the typical bride, I know. I mean, how many of your brides travel in political circles?”

“Not many, I have to confess. You’re my first, in fact. And just for the record, I’m still jet-lagged, so I’m pretty out of it too. We just got back yesterday. Haven’t caught up to Galveston time yet. And my body still thinks we’re on the ship, so everything’s wobbly.”

“Oh, sorry. You okay to talk or should I call back later?”

“Totally fine.” I did my best to stifle the yawn that tried to sneak out. “What’s up?”

“Well, here’s the deal. Beau-Beau is running for president, as you know.”

“Wait. . .” I paused, thinking I’d heard incorrectly. “President of the United States?”

“Well, of course, silly. You didn’t think I meant president of his fraternity, did you? Anyway, he’s running for president and he’s gaining momentum.”

“When did this happen?” I scratched my head, completely discombobulated by this news. “I mean, I know he’s a senator and all, but. . .president? Like, president, president?”

“Where have you been, Bella? Didn’t you watch the last debate? Beauregard is doing very well with conservative voters. He’s got quite a fan base.”

“Debate?” I hardly found time to watch my favorite TV shows, let alone political debates. And everyone in town knew the Rossis kept their political beliefs to themselves. Well, all but Rosa, who let her passion for Jimmy Carter slip during a recent episode of
The Italian Kitchen

“Right.” She giggled. “Anyway, Beau is soaring upward in the polls. I don’t want to alarm you, Bella, but this means the wedding will require top-notch security. Have you ever had the Secret Service at one of your ceremonies?”

“Secret Service? The guys in black suits and sunglasses? No. We’ve never had Secret Service at one of our weddings. When Brock Benson came we had body guards, but they didn’t wear sunglasses.”

“Then this will be a first. And I can’t believe you got to meet Brock Benson in person.” She let out a little squeal. “Lucky you!”

“We’re good friends. You know they filmed several episodes of his show on the island, right? But let’s go back to talking about your wedding. You’re saying it’s going to be high-level security because Beau is running for. . .president?”

“Yes, and we’ll have to work our schedule carefully. There are a couple more debates between now and the wedding day. In fact, there’s one on the night of the 13
of February.”

“February 13
?” The night before her wedding? Really?

“Are you saying we’ll have to reschedule the rehearsal?” I asked. “Because that weekend is going to be pretty crazy already. We got a small wedding on Saturday, the 13
. I can’t change that.”

“No, no. Wouldn’t matter if we moved the rehearsal to another date. . .he still wouldn’t be there. Things are going to be crazy that week.”

I wanted to ask the obvious:
Do you think you guys should just wait until after the election?
But I didn’t want to get into her business. Not that she let me get a word in edgewise.

“The thing is, Bella, I’m going to be really, really busy. We’ve got the campaign trail, debates, the Iowa Caucus, and then the New Hampshire primary. And Beau’s got to be on-point every step of the way, which means—”

“That you’re in charge of the wedding plans?” I tried. “Don’t worry about that. I’ve coordinated a ton of weddings where the bride did most of the planning without the groom’s direct involvement. Lots of guys just go along with whatever you think, anyway.”

“No, that’s not what I meant at all. The whole tea party theme, well, it’s as much his as mine. What I’m trying to say, Bella, is that I’m really going to depend on you artistically. I won’t have time to think through the finer details of what the cake should look like, what the décor should be. . .all of that. I have some ideas, for sure, and I’ll share them with you. But I want to give you full leeway to take the ball and run with it. I’ve heard so much about you from Justine and I saw her wedding first-hand back in December. What a night! It was spectacular.”

“Still can’t get over the fact that it actually snowed the night of a meteorologist’s wedding, can you?” I laughed.

“Right? But my point is, I feel like I know you because I’ve seen your work. You’ll pull this off Bella. And I want you to know that money is no object. Beau will see to that. This is going to be a grand event. So, don’t feel limited by finances. We’ve got that part covered.”

“Great. That certainly makes things easier. And I don’t mind taking care of the finer points, but I want to make sure I’ve got the theme right. Tea party. Old-fashioned.”

“Right.” She hollered something to someone on her end and then returned to the phone. “Sorry about that. Now, I know we can’t do an outdoor wedding in February, but I want the whole thing to have that sort of feel. Quaint. Charming. Vintage. You know. Like a true afternoon tea in the garden—only inside. At night.”

“I see.”

I’d never really done a tea party themed wedding before, but how hard could it be, really? Vintage lace tablecloths with a two hundred dollar pricetag. At least she’d already taken care of that. Pretty dishes. I’d have to locate some that looked like they came from the turn of the century. An elegant cake. . .and voila! Surely the Rossis could pull this off. I hoped.

Another yawn escaped and Victoria laughed. “Okay, okay, I can take the hint. You go back to sleep, Bella. Let your body catch up to Texas time. We can talk later, once the jetlag has passed. I need to get back to Beau-Beau anyway. He has a television interview in an hour and he’s hopeless without me at his side. You know how men are.”

Actually, I knew nothing of hopeless men. Most of the guys in my life were the hard-working, self-sufficient type. Okay, all but Pop, who depended on Mama for pretty much everything. But luckily he wasn’t running for president of the United States.

Beau DeVine was, though. . .and that pretty much changed everything about the upcoming Valentine’s wedding. I’d better get all of my ducks in a row. . .and then pray they weren’t shot down by some random Secret Service guy. Heavens! Did I ever have my work cut out for me!




BOOK: Tea for Two
2.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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