As I promised last week, I am using my blog to promote a scene from The Bride’s Choice, my full-length novel, which is in the anthology A Groom’s Promise. Apparently, this promo thing was slipped into the contact without me realizing it. (Note to self: read all contracts carefully in the future.) The characters were threatening to delay the publication of the book if I didn’t fulfill my part of the deal.
So…since it looks like my dreams of being an actress are shattered, I have nothing better to do with my time than this promo.
The Promo Spot for Jack and Maybell
If you don’t like the person your parents are trying to fix you up with, here are some nifty tips from my story in A Groom’s Promise to help you make that person run as far away from you as possible. This way you don’t have to look like the bad guy when things don’t work out as your parents hoped.
The tips are in bold. The parts of the dinner scene from the book are used as examples for this post. You can read the entire scene if you click here.
Tip #1: Cook a meal and slip something gross tasting (but harmless) in their bowl or plate. It’s important the food looks good. (I’ll explain why later in this post.)
Maybell mashed the small rue leaves in her mortar and pestle. As long as they were too small for Hugh to see in his bowl, that was all he needed. It was a stroke of luck a traveling merchant happened to be selling unusual medicines in town.
The rue herb, he’d said, would be good for stomachaches, though it might make her sleepy if she took it. He’d also warned her it had a bitter flavor to it, and that was what she was after—at least for this dinner. And if it made Hugh go to sleep shortly after eating…well…there was no harm in a little sleep.
Tip #2: Remember to only put the nasty (but harmless) ingredients in that one person’s bowl or plate. Doing it to everyone will make your plans backfire in a huge way.
When the leaves were mashed into tiny fragments, she poured the steaming stew into the bowls. Hugh’s bowl was the one with the small chip in the side. No one would notice the distinction, but she would. She put the rue into his bowl then stirred it.
Tip #3: People like to be with attractive people. Make yourself as unattractive as possible.
She loosened her bun and shook her hair until it was one big mess. There. That should make her look unappealing.
She unfastened the top three buttons then refastened them so that they were uneven. Then, for good measure, she went to the worktable, took a bit of parsley, and stuck it between her two front teeth. If that didn’t help dissuade Hugh, nothing would.
Tip #4: If one of your parents suggests you aren’t attractive, take the offense.
Her pa was the first one into the house, which wasn’t unusual since Jack often came in a couple minutes later. When he took in her appearance, he frowned. “What are you trying to do, Maybell?”
Sitting at her spot, she said, “I made something to eat, just like I always do.”
“But your hair…and your clothes…”
“Are you saying I’m not pretty?”
Tip #5: If your parents persist on bugging you about your appearance, remind them that it takes more than a beautiful face to secure a sustaining relationship. (Remember, you can’t be super hot all the time.)
He shook his head. “You know very well what I mean. Why are you trying to look unattractive for Hugh? He’s a good man. He’ll make a good husband.”
“If that’s true, then he won’t mind my appearance. He’ll accept me as I am, faults and all.”
Tip #6: If your parents are still persistent about your appearance, tell them this:
“This is a test, and a good one at that. A man who can’t accept me at my worst doesn’t deserve my best.”
Tip #7: If you have parsley between your teeth, don’t let your parents see it.
Recalling the parsley between her teeth, she put her hand over her mouth so he—and her pa—wouldn’t see it.
Tip #8: If this person is late, remember to be super polite and sweet so your parents don’t suspect a thing. (But don’t freak anyone out by smiling too widely.)
Setting her napkin aside, Maybell stood up. “I’ve been keeping your food warm. You set yourself down and I’ll bring it in.”
She brought in his bowl of stew and set it before him. God willing, that rue herb would do the trick. If men were as concerned about eating tasty meals for the rest of their lives as Ada said, then it would.
“Thank you,” Hugh told her. “I appreciate you keeping this hot for me.”
Hopefully, that would be the only thing he’d appreciate this evening.
“Maybell?” her pa called out, turning her attention to him.
“Yes, Pa?” she asked.
“Why don’t you take what’s left of your stew and sit beside Hugh?” With a sly grin, he winked. “You two need to get better acquainted.”
“But Pa…” She tried to think of a way to argue with him without arousing Hugh’s suspicions. It had to be his idea things would never work between them. She couldn’t very well do that if she didn’t do what her father wanted.
To her horror, Hugh stood up and pulled out the chair next to him. She glanced at her pa again who waved her over to the spot. Then her gaze went to Jack, noting the way his brow furrowed in confusion.
Unfortunately, she didn’t have a choice. She had to do this. She sat down next to Hugh and smiled at him, showing him her teeth—and the parsley—in all its glory.
Tip #9: Remember why you only wanted to put the nasty (but harmless) ingredient in the person’s food? Because then you can do this…
She bit her lower lip. Did she put in enough rue? Was it as bitter as she hoped?
He quickly swallowed, grabbed the glass, and drank most of it down in several large gulps. He coughed, shuddered, and downed the rest of the water.
She breathed a sigh of relief. Good. It was as bitter as she wanted!
“This is my best stew yet,” she told him. “I used my special recipe. What do you all think?” she asked her pa and Jack.
“It’s good, as always,” her pa replied.
(Side note: See? Now your parents think you’re wonderful, and this person is the one with the problem.)
Tip #10: Follow up Tip #9 with this technique to let the person know this will be repeated for as long as you both live unless the person bails out of this relationship…
Gesturing to his bowl, she asked, “You’re going to finish it all, aren’t you?”
Hugh’s mouth hung open for a moment, and she could swear he gasped at the thought.
“It’s very important that the man who ends up with me enjoys what I make.”
“Maybell prides herself on her cooking,” her pa said. “As she should. She did outdo herself tonight. I hope she makes this more often.”
“Oh, I will, Pa,” she replied. “I promise.” She turned her gaze back to Hugh. “I just might make this every week from now on.”
Tip #11: Remind the person how repulsive you are. This works especially great if you’re next to them and no one else can hear or smell you.
Then, for good measure, she smiled again, showing him her teeth, and let out a belch so low that only he could hear it.
Those are the awesome tips you’ll find in The Bride’s Choice by me (Ruth) in A Groom’s Promise. 🙂