Proofreading Test/July 1990

FALLING IN LOVE

“Niagara Falls is too corny for words, but it’s totally appropriate for what we’re doing,” she said to the slim brunette beside her on the bus.

“Oh, I know, a singles weekend in a romantic old hotel with a dozen eligible men, it’s so, I don’t know, exciting! Actually, I met my last husband on a trip like this, only it was to Buffalo. I guess I should’ve picked a more romantic tour.”

Daynah Elisis winced at the woman’s bluntness. She had never been part of a group who willingly labelled themselves “singles”, and hoped this conversation wasn’t a taste of things to come.

Daynah’s practical side had put her here. She wanted an out from the endless unsolicited matchmaking inflicted on her by well-meaning friends and loved ones. She didn’t want to become a man-hunter, either. That left the scientific approach: organized, orderly singles affairs—such as this one, called Falling in Love—done in a low-key, tasteful way.

“So it’s corny, that’s part of the fun of it.” The woman’s high, musical voice drew Daynah’s attention again. “My last husband always said you can’t really dig into anything until you start calling a spade a spade….”

Daynah had to smile. More wincing at the woman’s flamboyance would make no impression on her, and besides—she was right.

Daynah had asked for this, she supposed, by not having the nerve to sit beside the extremely rugged and handsome-looking man two rows ahead. He had smiled at her and motioned to the seat beside him—what possessed her to move on and mumble that lie about “sitting with a friend”?

Two seats directly ahead of her, a bemused Chuck Resno wondered the same thing. That willowy blonde was a knockout, her voluptuousness barely concealed by the tastefully cut shorts and blouse whose delicate hues accented her flawless, healthy skin tones. Her brief, wide-eyed glance had held a powerful mix of challenge and vulnerability in its emerald depths that had left his heart unexpectedly, uncontrollably erratic.

Her voice filtered through the seats between them, an assured, throaty purr. Her conversation was friendly enough, but it was obvious to Chuck the other woman was a new acquaintance, not a friend. No, the “friend” line was a barely-concealed cold shoulder.

Chuck’s professionalism clicked into play. As a reporter, probing beneath surfaces was instinctual. But as a man, he had to admit that sultry woman aroused questions of an excitingly personal nature. Lucky for me, he thought with a wry grin as he slitted steel-blue eyes into the lowering sun, I just found the perfect woman to base my story on.

By the time the Falling in Love singles had de-bussed and found their rooms in the Early American cosiness of the Jolly Porter Lodge, there were at least two of their number whose jitters had been soothed by an executive decision—who they’d try to meet, and why. Neither knew it , of course, but, by luck or fate, Daynah and Chuck had become each others’ secret mission.

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