The Art of Romance (Matchmakers Series #2)

The Art of Romance (Matchmakers Series #2)

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by Kaye Dacus
     
 

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Author Kaye Dacus will ignite your love of romance with book 2 of her Matchmakers series. Dylan Bradley, who once illustrated steamy romances under the name Patrick Callaghan, has moved into his grandparent’s guest house in Nashville. Caylor Evans, having once written titillating novels under the penname Melanie Mason, lives with her grandmother. When their

Overview

Author Kaye Dacus will ignite your love of romance with book 2 of her Matchmakers series. Dylan Bradley, who once illustrated steamy romances under the name Patrick Callaghan, has moved into his grandparent’s guest house in Nashville. Caylor Evans, having once written titillating novels under the penname Melanie Mason, lives with her grandmother. When their lives collide, due to the machinations of meddling matriarchs, the pasts of Dylan and Caylor threaten to derail their futures. Will they accept each other for who they now are—and once were? Or will they never discover the true art of romance?

Editorial Reviews

Fresh Fiction - Viki Ferrel

THE ART OF ROMANCE is truly a delightful blend of art and romance. This inspirational novel explores the way our past creates our present and hopefully molds our future. There are many truths brought to light in this story and valuable lessons to be learned. Kaye Dacus has given us some wonderful secondary characters that truly support Caylor and Dylan in their search for love. This is a story too good to miss!

RT Book Reviews - Angie Howatt

This is the second book in the Matchmaker series by Dacus, and it has a good mix of smart, fun and witty characters. The romance between Dylan and Caylor is genuine and faces everyday challenges that make it even more realistic.
Word Up! - Stacey Dale

This is an incredibly enjoyable novel…especially if you have a love of the creative arts. This book touched a place in my heart that has been dormant for quite a while. Now, I’ve broken out the sketch pad and pencils, inspired by this wonderful story.
Hott Books - Regina Hott

Snazzy! This is one of those books that you must keep lying around the house to grab when you need a comforting old friend. The characters felt so real and so very familiar that it's hard to even explain. I loved the author meets artist scenario but I honestly think that my favorite part is that the characters don't really take themselves too seriously (well, not the main characters). It's really refreshing to see people who have many of the same character traits that I look for when choosing friends. For instance, there is a part in the book when Caylor is with someone who is drinking, quite a lot, I loved how she handled that and how nonjudgmental the players in the scene were with each other. Kaye Dacus writes a refreshing fun romance!!
Power Of Story Blog - Cheryl Olson

I think that Kaye Dacus does a nice job of taking her characters on a journey where they truly do grow and change. They are not perfect people, some more flawed than others, but with God’s help trying to change and grow and become all that they are meant to be. I just think it brings hope to show the process and how they change, as opposed to,” they are perfect from the beginning and have it all together all the time”. Kaye Dacus always throws some cute humor in her characters as well, which makes it fun to read. It’s also a pretty sweet love story with just the perfect ending. So, if you’re in the mood for that sweet Contemporary Christian Romance- then I think you’ll enjoy this book. And the moral of the story- always listen to your Grandma.

I Deal in Hope - Carolyn Scheidies

A story that starts slow, but builds to a satisfying conclusion. With the involvement of meddling grandmothers, humor adds another weave to the story of wounds, romance and second chances.

Fresh Fiction

THE ART OF ROMANCE is truly a delightful blend of art and romance. This inspirational novel explores the way our past creates our present and hopefully molds our future. There are many truths brought to light in this story and valuable lessons to be learned. Kaye Dacus has given us some wonderful secondary characters that truly support Caylor and Dylan in their search for love. This is a story too good to miss!

— Viki Ferrel

RT Book Reviews

This is the second book in the Matchmaker series by Dacus, and it has a good mix of smart, fun and witty characters. The romance between Dylan and Caylor is genuine and faces everyday challenges that make it even more realistic.

— Angie Howatt

Hott Books

Snazzy! This is one of those books that you must keep lying around the house to grab when you need a comforting old friend. The characters felt so real and so very familiar that it's hard to even explain. I loved the author meets artist scenario but I honestly think that my favorite part is that the characters don't really take themselves too seriously (well, not the main characters). It's really refreshing to see people who have many of the same character traits that I look for when choosing friends. For instance, there is a part in the book when Caylor is with someone who is drinking, quite a lot, I loved how she handled that and how nonjudgmental the players in the scene were with each other. Kaye Dacus writes a refreshing fun romance!!

— Regina Hott

Word Up!

This is an incredibly enjoyable novel…especially if you have a love of the creative arts. This book touched a place in my heart that has been dormant for quite a while. Now, I’ve broken out the sketch pad and pencils, inspired by this wonderful story.

— Stacey Dale

Power Of Story Blog

I think that Kaye Dacus does a nice job of taking her characters on a journey where they truly do grow and change. They are not perfect people, some more flawed than others, but with God’s help trying to change and grow and become all that they are meant to be. I just think it brings hope to show the process and how they change, as opposed to,” they are perfect from the beginning and have it all together all the time”. Kaye Dacus always throws some cute humor in her characters as well, which makes it fun to read. It’s also a pretty sweet love story with just the perfect ending. So, if you’re in the mood for that sweet Contemporary Christian Romance- then I think you’ll enjoy this book. And the moral of the story- always listen to your Grandma.

— Cheryl Olson

I Deal in Hope

A story that starts slow, but builds to a satisfying conclusion. With the involvement of meddling grandmothers, humor adds another weave to the story of wounds, romance and second chances.

— Carolyn Scheidies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781607422310
Publisher:
Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/01/2011
Series:
Matchmakers Series , #2
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
27,102
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

The Art of Romance


By Kaye Dacus

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Kaye Dacus
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60742-232-7


CHAPTER 1

And they lived happily ever after. Period. The end." Caylor put down her favorite pen—the one with the sparkly purple ink—and twisted in her chair until her back popped in several places. She could understand her editor's wanting to get proofing on this book finished before Christmas, but to give her a due date for two weeks after Thanksgiving—which translated into the Friday before finals week—was ridiculous. She'd begged to have the deadline extended a week. Then she could have worked on the galleys while her students took their tests. But her request had been soundly, but kindly, denied.

No use fretting over something that wasn't to be. The work was done, and it would only take her another hour or so to type up a list of all the changes to e-mail back to her editor. And if she got the e-mail sent before midnight, she'd have beaten her Friday deadline by one day, technically.

But if she was going to keep working, she needed sustenance. As quietly as she could, she slipped down the stairs from her loft, skipping the third step from the bottom that squealed like a puppy with its head stuck in a fence.

She turned on the light over the sink instead of flooding the room with the original 1950s fluorescent lights. Opening the first of the three tall cabinets that served as the pantry, she pulled out the basket overflowing with packets of gourmet flavored hot chocolate. She dug through the assorted Mylar bags until she found what she wanted: sugar-free, dark-chocolate toffee. She put a mug of water in the microwave and set it for two minutes. She'd have to stop it before it beeped, lest she wake Sassy.

Next, she opened the middle cabinet. Back behind the multiple canisters of all different kinds of flour, she felt around for the Box. She and Sassy had agreed to keep it hidden behind the flour, because if Caylor didn't see it, she wouldn't want what was in it. At least not every day.

The Box wasn't there. Caylor pulled the flour bins out. Nope. No Box.

"Looking for this?"

Caylor jumped at her grandmother's soft voice, which coincided with the beeping of the microwave. Sassy held an opaque plastic storage bin, slightly larger than a shoe box, in both hands.

"I knew you had a deadline tomorrow, so when Trina, Lindy, and I stopped at Kroger on the way home from coffee this morning, I hit the Christmas candy aisle."

Caylor grinned. "Sass, I knew there was a reason I love you." Before Caylor pulled her mug out of the microwave, she grabbed the brushed stainless-steel kettle off the stove, filled it with fresh water, and put it back on over high heat. Then she fixed her own hot chocolate.

Sassy sat down at the end of the 1950s chrome and Formica table and popped the lid off the Box. Still stirring her drink, Caylor took the chair to her right and examined the booty. All kinds of miniature candy bars wrapped up in green, red, silver, and gold foil wrappers, mixed in with Hanukkah geld, a sentimental favorite Sassy got every year in honor of her Jewish grandmother. But Caylor dug through the stash, knocking at least a quarter of the candy out, until she came to what she knew her grandmother would have put on the very bottom—the chocolate-covered peanut butter Christmas trees.

"I only got a dozen of them," Sassy warned.

"For the twelve days of Christmas?" The kettle shrilled, and Caylor put the still- wrapped candy down beside her cup and got up to fix a cup of instant decaf coffee for her grandmother. "What flavor creamer?" Caylor opened the cabinet above the coffeepot only she used in the mornings.

Sassy squinted and moved her glasses around. "Belgian chocolate toffee."

Shaking her head at their similarities in taste, Caylor pulled down the canister of flavored powdered creamer and stirred two heaping spoonfuls into the double-strong instant coffee. Ever since she'd turned Sassy on to espresso-based lattes and cappuccinos, she'd insisted on having her coffee at home extra strong, extra creamy, extra sweet, and extra flavored.

Sassy took the purple mug with both hands, blew across the surface twice, and took a sip. "Ahh ... hits the spot. I wish the restaurant would decide to serve something other than plain coffee."

"Did y'all try somewhere new today?"

Sassy gave her an incredulous look. "Do you and your friends ever try somewhere new when you get together?"

"So you went to the Pfunky Griddle."

"They have the best banana, chocolate chip, raisin, and walnut five-grain pancakes around. And with peanut butter on top, then drizzled with honey ..." She kissed the tips of her fingers like an Italian. "Delicious."

Caylor wrinkled her nose at the combination her grandmother concocted at the make- it-yourself pancake restaurant. "Sassy, you know you aren't supposed to be overdoing it on the sugars and refined carbs."

She raised one thin eyebrow. "Look who's talking."

Caylor stopped with her teeth half sunk into the chocolate-covered peanut butter tree. She finished the bite, let the salty-sweetness saturate her mouth a moment, and swallowed. "Hey, now, I do this only on rare occasions—and I'm not the one with the blood-sugar issues."

"I know. You've been so disciplined about keeping away from it. I'm proud of you. How much weight have you lost?"

"About twenty pounds. I'm fitting back into all of my size 14s now." Though that had less to do with discipline and more to do with the fact that—between teaching, participation in the university's drama productions, and trying to get her latest book finished—the only time she wasn't running ninety-to-nothing to get her work finished was during the very few hours of sleep she got each night. Who had time to eat with a schedule like that? Of course, the healthier selections they'd started offering in the cafeteria at school helped considerably, too.

"Good for you. Now what do you want me to make for you to take to Zarah's Christmas party tomorrow night?"

"You don't have to do that. I can pick something up at the grocery store on my way."

As expected, Sassy looked thoroughly scandalized. Caylor hid her grin.

"No granddaughter of mine will go from this house taking food the likes of that." She stood and opened all three pantry doors, then moved back to lean against the table beside Caylor so she could see the contents of all three cabinets at the same time.

Caylor turned in her chair. "I told her I'd bring dessert."

"Excellent. Dessert's my middle name. Write this down."

Caylor finished off her confectionary tree and crossed the kitchen to pull the small magnetic whiteboard off the side of the fridge. She pushed the Box back and set the whiteboard on the table before resuming her seat.

Sassy mumbled to herself, pointing at things in the pantry. "Okay. Ready?"

"Ready." Caylor hovered the dry-erase pen over the clean, white surface.

"Corn syrup. Confectioners' sugar. Dark brown sugar. Oleo. Peppermint extract. Chunky peanut butter. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate. Butterscotch. Walnuts and pecans—"

"Sassy, there will only be twelve people there. We're not feeding an army."

"Quiet. I've got friends and parties to go to also, you know. Keep writing."

Caylor chuckled and decreased the size of her handwriting to be able to fit the continual stream of ingredients onto the board. When Sassy lost her driver's license shortly after Papa passed away, Caylor had agreed to move in and become her grandmother's companion and primary source of transportation. It had been a difficult decision—Caylor so enjoyed sharing a house with her two best friends, Zarah Mitchell and Flannery McNeill. But in the five years since then, Caylor had come to depend on Sassy as much as Sassy depended on her.

Which was why Caylor had resigned herself to the idea she would never marry—at least, not for a very long time. If she did, who would take care of Sassy?

* * *

Dylan Bradley picked at the dried blue paint on the knuckles of his left hand. He hoped this wouldn't take long—if the canvas dried too much before he could get back to it, the painting would be ruined.

"We're happy you decided to move back to Nashville, to let us and your parents help you get back on your feet. But while you're living in the guesthouse, there are some ground rules we wanted to cover."

Rules, rules, rules. That was all anybody ever wanted to talk to him about. What good were rules when all they did was keep people from pursuing what made them happy?

Though he currently sat at his grandparents' kitchen table, the tense atmosphere created by being in the same room with a retired university president and a retired judge reminded him forcibly of the meeting he'd had just over a week ago with the president of the art college where he taught. Used to teach. It was easy enough for him to think of this as a Christmas break just like every other Christmas break—except he was here in Nashville instead of enjoying the gala art scene in Philadelphia.

Not the way he'd expected his Friday morning to go. Dylan feigned attention as his grandmother reviewed the "agreement" they expected him to sign and abide by in exchange for living rent-free in the converted carriage house behind their large Victorian home. Paying utilities. Blah, blah. Respect the historical integrity of the building. Blah, blah, blah. Find some kind of paying work. Blah, blah, blah, blah. No women spending the night.

Dylan's face burned. He'd never felt comfortable with the level to which his relationship with Rhonda had progressed—though it had been an eye-opening lesson on living outside of the rules; but he'd hoped his grandparents hadn't figured it out. In vain, obviously.

"And you are to attend church every Sunday. You can go to church with us, or you can find another church that you prefer." Perty gazed at him expectantly over the rim of her fashionable, aqua-framed reading glasses.

He should've known—his parents had freaked out two years ago when he admitted to them he no longer attended church regularly. Why wouldn't he expect the same from his grandparents? "And if I choose to go somewhere else, how will you know?"

"Dylan, dear, we're not doing this to make you feel like a child." Perty reached over and wrapped her small hand around his larger one. "We're hoping that by asking you to start attending church again, you'll regain some of the self-respect you've lost over the last couple of years."

The last couple of years? Ha. If his grandparents or parents ever learned what he'd really done to put himself through college and supplement his teaching income the first year or two, they would know he had no self-respect to rebuild.

"We would like for you, as an adult, to determine the best way to show us you're willing to abide by this agreement." Gramps should have been wearing his black judge's robe, as Dylan could not imagine his voice had sounded much different fifteen or twenty years ago when he passed sentences in civil court cases.

"We also think getting involved in church will help you meet people your age who can help you settle in to your new life here more quickly," Perty added.

And, no doubt, act as good influences on him. "Okay."

"Okay? As in okay to the entire agreement, or okay you understand this part of it?"

"Okay as in let's sign the agreement." What was the point in arguing or trying to negotiate? He didn't have a job; he didn't want to cash in his 401(k); and just paying utilities, groceries, and gas would start dwindling his savings account pretty quickly.

As instructed by Gramps, Dylan initialed and dated the bottom corner of each page of both copies of the agreement before signing and dating the last page of both beside his grandparents' signatures. Perty collated the pages and stapled each copy.

What, no notary public? No case number and surety just in case he broke the agreement?

All right. This over-the-top cynicism was starting to get to him. He put down the pen and flexed his left hand against a sensation of his skin's being too tight and not stretching correctly. He looked down. Blue. He needed to get back to his painting.

"Is that everything?" Dylan drummed his thumb against his thigh.

Gramps raised his eyebrows, but before he could speak, Perty reached over and squeezed his arm.

"I suppose," Perty said, her blue eyes twinkling, "it would be too much to ask you to cut your hair."

Dylan reached up and touched the bush of curls held back from his face with an elastic band around the crown of his head. He'd started growing it out when Rhonda mentioned how much better she thought certain male celebrities looked with long hair.

"Don't worry. We don't want to put too many unreasonable demands on you." Perty handed him his copy of the agreement. "Oh, but that reminds me, if you have your curriculum vitae ready, I can pass it along to Sassy Evans's granddaughter who teaches at James Robertson University. Caylor says they're always looking for adjuncts, especially in the art department."

Perty's suggestion surprised him. As an alumna, former professor, and the first female president of JRU, Perty could have simply made a phone call to one of her many contacts at the college and ensured Dylan the choice of any course he wished to teach.

"Maybe I should take it out myself tomorrow." Last thing he wanted was to have everyone at the college believing he'd gotten the job simply because of his grandmother's connection to the school. He was tired of taking handouts.

Perty reached around to the kitchen breakfast bar behind her and grabbed a notepad from one of the open shelves below. She scrawled something and handed the top sheet to Dylan. "This is Caylor's office number. Give her a call, and I'm sure she'd be happy to give you a tour of the campus and introduce you around."

I'm not a child, Perty. I can figure out how to get around a college campus on my own, thanks. He didn't even want to know why his grandmother had this woman's office phone number memorized. He tucked the note into his shirt pocket—where he'd probably forget about it until his next load of laundry came out with little bits of paper all over it.

He looked at them with raised brows. He shouldn't have to ask his question again. I've eaten all my brussels sprouts. May I please be dismissed? Actually, he liked brussels sprouts, especially the way they made them at the little German restaurant and biergarten near the art school. Oh how he would miss hanging out there with his graduate students after studio on Thursday and Friday evenings.

"If you don't have any questions for us"— Perty looked at Gramps then back at Dylan—"you can go do whatever it is that we took you from earlier. And you know you're welcome to join us for lunch at noon."

He graced them with a single nod of his head and left the table—only to turn back after two steps and snatch his copy of the agreement to take with him. If he was going to have to depend on his grandparents' charity for his temporary living arrangements until he could figure out where he wanted to go from here, at least he had the carriage house—set back about fifty feet from the museum-like Victorian he'd always hated visiting as a child, from being told not to touch anything. Back then, the upstairs of the carriage house had been nothing more than a big open space where he and his younger brothers could run around to their hearts' content in bad weather. Now it boasted an apartment any of those hoity-toity patrons of the art school would have been jealous of. Almost nine hundred square feet, granite and stainless kitchen, wood floors throughout, and big, airy rooms. An apartment like this in Philly would have been far out of his price range. Thus his primary reason for ignoring his conscience and moving in with Rhonda.

He entered the outbuilding through the side door. He supposed he didn't mind having his grandparents' Mercedes and Lexus as his downstairs neighbors. He crossed the garage and stepped up into the workroom—the workroom that was now his art studio.

The canvas on the easel taunted him, as if it knew what he'd just been through.

Blue. Gray. Green. No. All wrong.

He grabbed the tubes of lemon yellow and cadmium red, streaked them together on his palette, and slashed yellow-orange-red across the boring fades of blues and grays. He stepped back, dipped into the puddle of swirled brightness, and went a little Jackson Pollock on the canvas, enjoying the stark droplets of brightness against the somber background as he flicked and flung his brush to splatter and drip the paint onto the image.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus. Copyright © 2011 Kaye Dacus. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Kaye Dacus is a graduate of Seton Hill University’s Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. She is an active member and former vice president of American Christian Fiction Writers and current president of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers. Her Stand-In Groom was a Christy Award finalist in 2010.

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Art of Romance 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
girlsmama More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a nice, contemporary, romantic, Christian fiction novel with an artistic flair... and meddling Grandma's, then this is the book for you. "The Art of Romance", by Kaye Dacus starts us out with 2 plotting Grandmas "Sassy" and "Perty"- don't you love them already?- who have decided that it's time for a little matchmaking for their respective Grandkids Caylor and Dylan. As these Grandma's are a part of a larger group called collectively the "matchmakers" (this is Book 2 in The Matchmakers Series), Caylor and Dylan stand no chance. After all these Grandmas are in a race for Great Grandchildren! This story involves an accomplished and Tenured English Professor and author Caylor Evans and the struggling,in more ways than one, artist Dylan Bradley. Dylan Bradley is coming off of a bad and dominating relationship with an old colleague at a former college in New York and trying to heal from his past mistakes and start over in a whole new place, his home town of Nashville, Tennessee. He is doing this by moving in with his Grandparents to try and get his life back in order. He has a lot of work to do, in terms of his relationship with God, his parents , brothers, etc., because his former relationship was incredibly toxic in his life, not exactly a time to meet someone new and start a relationship. But, in time, they do and there are many hurdles to overcome during this story. A part of the story that I really loved was one involving Dylan and his 3 brothers- they all come together via a Skype type of interlude- and I don't want to spoil it, but- I just loved how the author incorporated that into the storyline because it is just so "now". It turns out that Dylan is not the only one with a skeleton in his closet, it appears that Caylor has one of her own. So both of them need to be honest and have "some esplainin' to do"( Imagine Ricky Ricardo accent here). I think that Kaye Dacus does a nice job of taking her characters on a journey where they truly do grow and change. They are not perfect people, some more flawed than others, but with God's help trying to change and grow and become all that they are meant to be. I just think it brings hope to show the process and how they change, as opposed to," they are perfect from the beginning and have it all together all the time". Kaye Dacus always throws some cute humor in her characters as well, which makes it fun to read. It's also a pretty sweet love story with just the perfect ending. So, if you're in the mood for that sweet Contemporary Christian Romance- then I think you'll enjoy this book. And the moral of the story- always listen to your Grandma. Disclosure-I was graciously provided with a digital copy of "The Art of Romance" by Kaye Dacus , published by Barbour Books through the Netgalley program. The opinions I expressed are my own and I was not obligated to write a positive review .
Homesteading More than 1 year ago
Kaye Dacus' The Art of Romance is....well...romantic! She has written such a sweet novel with well developed characters. (You have to love the grandmother's. They are meddling and competitve but so adorable!) Caylor is a strong and strikingly generous female lead. I love how she interacts with her grandmother and has such a great sense of family. Her faith seems such a natural extension of who she is, it is never in-your-face, but prominent all the same. Dylan is rich in depth and sincerity. He's made a serious error in judgment and his brothers have such an unconditional love for him. He could easily have dismissed his brothers advice and suggestions but he showed great strength by being willing to admit his errors and seek counseling. The imagery used in this book is phenomenal. Kaye paints such realistic pictures with her words that I had no trouble visualizing anything in this book. As for the ending...well my heart melted! This is Book Two in The Matchmaker Series. I highly recommend this book to all readers of contemporary fiction. The Art of Romance releases on May 2, 2011 so I don't want to give away the plot but suffice it to say...Get this book! 5 stars for absolutely wonderful! I received this advance reader copy book galley from Barbour Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Carol-M More than 1 year ago
Kaye has a knack for developing quirky, loveable characters. This is no exception. The grandmothers are ones we’d all wish to have [minus the matchmaking perhaps]. I love that Caylor is an author. I love that Dylan is a painter. Two artists will understand each other in ways most others won’t. I love Caylor as a real person – insecurities and all. She is good at what she does and is confident in who she is – to a point. Everyone has that point. The areas where they feel confident and competent and other areas where they feel insecure and incapable. The read is lighthearted and fun and will leave you smiling long after you finish it. This is the second book in the series [I read the first one, Love Remains, after I read this one], but I had no trouble picking up on what I needed to know. Book 3, Turnabout’s Fair Play, comes out in November. I’ll be picking it up. 9 out of 10 stars *Thanks to the author and publisher for a free review copy*
AKValleyGirl More than 1 year ago
Personally I love the way Kaye writes. Her characters are real - with spiritual issues, emotional issues and everyday struggles. Their lives are not perfect and neither are their friends and families rather they deal with the same stuff the rest of us deal with. Kaye shows her readers that through all of the trials God is still with us and He will carry us through to what He has for us if only we will trust. Thanks for more great reading. =)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GHott More than 1 year ago
Snazzy! This is one of those books that you must keep lying around the house to grab when you need a comforting old friend. The characters felt so real and so very familiar that it's hard to even explain. I loved the author meets artist scenario but I honestly think that my favorite part is that the characters don't really take themselves too seriously (well, not the main characters). It's really refreshing to see people who have many of the same character traits that I look for when choosing friends. For instance, there is a part in the book when Caylor is with someone who is drinking, quite a lot, I loved how she handled that and how nonjudgmental the players in the scene were with each other.
Jutzie More than 1 year ago
The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus Book 2 of the Matchmakers Book 1: Love Remains Book 3: Turnabout's Fair Play What an enjoyable book! Nosy grandmother's determined to be the first ones who get the prized great grandchild... but first they have to marry off their grandchildren. So why not take a grandson from Perty and add a granddaughter from Sassy and kill two birds with one stone! At thirty-five and six foot tall Caylor Evans don't have any hope for a future love. She thought she had that ten years ago, but someone came between them. She is a Professor, Author, involved in her churches ministry and most important she moved in with her grandmother, Sassy, five years ago after Papa's death. Sassy needs her and that is good enough, or is it? When she meets the handsome grandson of her Sassy's best friend Perty she has second thoughts... Dylan Bradley has been through the wringer. At one time he loved his art work. Doing portraits and even some book covers to work his way through college. He was a disappointment to his parents, his other three brothers were getting all kinds of degrees but Dylan enjoyed his artwork, so his parents refused to pay his college. He had left God way behind after high school although his conscience often niggled at him when he knew he did wrong. As a Professor in Philadelphia his superior was Dr. Rhonda Kramer. She took him into her world and changed his art style, clothes and than his morals when he moved in with her. When he finally realized how she was running his life, and he stood his ground, he lost his job. Now he is back in Nashville, living in his grandparents carriage house and given a list of rules to follow. At age twenty-eight he was still treated like an immature child. This is a great story, Dylan needs to come back to the Lord and forgive himself for his past mistakes. He can't judge all women to be like Rhonda and he has to see the love his grandparents have for him and that they truly care, unlike his parents. He has been separated from the love his family and misses the close relationship he had with his brothers. He starts seeing how he let Rhonda run and ruin his life. And when he starts to heal he hopes a beautiful redhead will give him a second chance at love. Or will she run when she finds out his past secrets? Caylor has the love of her family, although there are huge issues with her sister, Felicity who now wants to be called Sage. She has her two close friends to help her through life as well, Zarah and Flannery. And she has Sassy. Can she tell Dylan her secret from her past without losing all hope of losing any chance with him? **Received through NetGalley for Review
angelmom1165 More than 1 year ago
Kaye has done a wonderful job of making an large cast of characters easy to keep up with and care about. She is a very detailed writer and you get the full picture of what is going on throughout the book. The grandmother's are a wonderful bunch of ladies, old friends who care so much about their grandchildren they want to see them happily married. Three of the grandchildren are best friends and they are the center of the three books in this series. This book points out that we make mistakes as we grow and then learn as we get older that we need to make different choices because it is how God wants us to live. We all have to come to different growth periods where God is growing us up in something that we didn't see as wrong at earlier times in our lives. God grows us little by little until we are ready to see what needs to be changed. This book also reminds us that we need to understand that what a person did in their past is part of that past and that if they are in Christ then they have been made new in Him. We are not to judge because we all have things that we have done things we shouldn't have. We have to learn from those mistakes and more foward.
spcovey More than 1 year ago
Kaye Dacus has created a cast of characters that are like "real" people-from meddlesome grandmothers to interfering siblings all seeking to hurry True Romance along. With her portrayal of both setting and characters, I moved right in and tagged along as if I were a part of Caylor's and Dylan's family gatherings adding my "think-so's" to their conversations. This wonderfully written, light-hearted romance leaves you happy and content. I highly recommend THE ART OF ROMANCE!
Evangeline_Han More than 1 year ago
Twenty-eight year old Dylan Bradley is an artist and an art professor who has just moved back to Nashville, Tennessee after losing his job due to an affair. Thirty-four year old Caylor Evans is an English professor who writes novels when she is not lecturing. Unbeknownst to them, their grandmothers are scheming to bring them together. When their paths cross, they are attracted to each other but push away those feelings due to their hidden pasts. Both Dylan and Caylor must learn how to face the pasts that they are ashamed of and overcome them if there is ever going to be any hope for a relationship. Kaye Dacus did a marvelous job in creating an aura of mystery surrounding Dylan Bradley and Caylor Evans. Reading THE ART OF ROMANCE was enjoyable as little bits about the characters of Dylan and Caylor are slowly unfolded throughout the book. Just as it seems that a reader knows everything that needs to be known about Dylan and Caylor, a surprising event happens and the plot takes another twist. But, some scenes in the book seemed over-narrated and certain descriptions are only understandable to those living in United States. For example, the scene in which Caylor decides to take a certain highway route might be confusing to those not living in Tennessee or United States. THE ART OF ROMANCE is the second book is the Matchmakers Series. Many helpful hints and explanations were given when issues touched in the first book, Love Remains, were dealt with in THE ART OF ROMANCE and I did not need to refer back to Love Remains for more information. I found THE ART OF ROMANCE a thought-provoking read as it touches on the issue of an age gap between partners in a relationship, especially when it is the female character being older than the male character. Although I am not an avid fan of relationships whereby the female character is older than the male character, reading THE ART OF ROMANCE has been a pleasant experience for me as the grammar and descriptions were good. There is a third book in the Matchmakers Series, TURNABOUT'S FAIR PLAY, and I am looking forward to reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
K.Harris More than 1 year ago
The Art of Romance is my favorite book so far in Kaye Dacus's "The Matchmaker" series! I enjoyed the "creative" career choices of the characters. The characters were well-drawn and true-to-life. I especially loved the generational dynamics between Caylor and her grandmother--and between Dylan and his mother.
darcher More than 1 year ago
Must admit, the cover grabbed me, but it was the romance and character development that kept me turning these pages. The Art of Romance is not a book that a reader can easily dismiss. There are distinctive issues emblazoned onto the pages that every woman has encountered whether she's fifteen or fifty. Every woman struggles with her flaws. So does the main character, Caylor. It's how she deals with them that made this book so enticing - well that and the paint-brush wielding hot artist that she encounters on the stair well. Their romance is one that is layered and not easy. She has secrets. He has secrets. Am I gonna tell ya? Nope. Where would the fun be in that? Whip in a dash of meddling grandmothers and their shining sense of humors and it doesn't take long to figure out that one is holding a great read. About half way through I began slowing down - not because I was bored, but because I realized that I would truly miss Caylor, Dylan, and the secondary cast of characters when I reached the last page. I'd miss the witty conversations, the REALISTIC problems plopped out there on the page and the suave and classy way Ms. Dacus handled them. Will I read another Dacus book? You bet! This is Christian Romance at it's best. Realistic, sassy, hot and the kind every woman wants. Way to go, Kaye Dacus!
TexasTami More than 1 year ago
This is my first Kaye Dacus book, but it won't be my last. I loved this story! Kaye Dacus is a wonderful writer. She tells this story with wit and honesty and believable characters that you just can't help but love. Dylan, a handsome artist with a "secret" and Caylor, a tall, statuesque writer with a "secret" meet, with a little help from their meddling grandmothers. Dylan and Caylor are certainly not perfect. They're real, with faults and pasts that include bad decisions (don't we all have those?) that challenge both of them. Add a wonderfully sassy and meddling grandmother (her name is Sassy) and you have a read that you just don't want to put down. A barometer for me of a good book is this: when I do have to put it down because life calls me to get something done, I think about it and can't wait to get back to it. That was the case for me with "The Art of Romance". If you want a book that makes you smile, laugh out loud, think long and hard about past mistakes, and gives a satisfying conclusion to all the twists and turns, then get this wonderful book. I highly recommend it.
steelergirl83 More than 1 year ago
4 out of 5 stars If you are a fan of "fluff" romance than The Art of Romance probably isn't what you're looking for but if you like your books to feature realistic heroines with well-researched storylines I highly suggest picking up a Kaye Dacus novel. Having read all of her previous contemporary romances it's safe to say that she's got the smart, independent, educated lead down pat. There are no "too dumb to function" heroines to be found and yet they are not without flaws. In this, the second installment of the Matchmakers series, we once again meet Caylor Evans, a thirty-something English professor by day and romance writer by night and struggling artist, Dylan Bradley. Neither Caylor or Dylan are looking for a relationship, Caylor having to take care of her aging grandmother and Dylan having just left a disastrous relationship with a former colleague, but God and grandmas are a team that will not be thwarted. Where Love Remains didn't include a lot from the meddling grandmas, this book more than made up for it. From setting up a "fantastic" kitchen remodel to painting daisies in an art class for seniors Sassy and Perty were unstoppable and I loved them. If anyone knows about grannies concerned for their still single grandkids, it's me and these two matriarchs were right on target. As much as I loved the Sassy, Perty, and Caylor, Dylan wasn't my favorite hero. I definitely liked him towards the end of the book when he learned to be a little more assertive. I guess I am so used to the big, strong, alpha male heroes that Dylan came as a bit of a shock allowing his ex-girlfriend and his family to have so much control in his life. Not only was he a bit diffident but also a lot younger than Caylor. That said, I really appreciated Ms. Dacus breaking the mold so to speak with this story and making it reflect modern day trends, I just have to get used to it I think! Altogether, The Art of Romance is a terrific book and perfect for today's Christian reader. * I received my copy from the publisher in exchange for posting my thoughts on the book for the author.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KVictoriaChase More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Art of Romance. Kaye Dacus writes in a way that utterly draws a person into the world of intelligent, mature, and well-rounded characters. I honestly felt as if I were experiencing the story in the middle of a warm Southern kitchen with her descriptions of pies, cookies, and chocolate in almost every chapter. As my mouth watered and the smell of fresh baked bread floated from the pages, the story of the prodigal son returning and the woman who unknowingly loves him, came alive through humorous circumstances crafted by sprightly grandmothers. "Mr. Fantastic" had me laughing at loud. Who is he? You'll have to read the book to find out! The plot twist in the story is stuff of daydreams and creates a sweet romance between Caylor and Dylan. Don't forget your favorite dessert as you indulge in this wonderful new romance from Kaye Dacus.
Bobbie6 More than 1 year ago
Another unforgettable story by Ms Dacus! The characters are well-developed and the reader learns more about them gradually - making for a great friendship. It makes the book hard to put down. The grandparents, parents and siblings are expanded and interact very naturally. I especially enjoyed the intervention by the brothers. Dyland is a great example that even men can be emotionally abused and I cheered him on as he emerged from that abuse to live a full life again. I appreciated the subtle ways Ms Dacus showed the effects of the abuse and how he changed when not under that cloud - the ability to carry a conversation. This book should win another award for Kaye Dacus.
HeidiMain More than 1 year ago
The Art of Romance grabbed me from the first page and held me captive until the last. Kaye has a way creating three dimensional characters that are so flawed and so likeable. The plot she weaved was very simple, yet felt complex. I loved the dynamics between the three friends : Caylor, Zarah and Flannery-I wanted to be their fourth friend! And the grandmothers, Sassy and Perty. They mettled yet it was clearly out of love, so the characters didn't mind in the end.
onedesertrose More than 1 year ago
The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus is a humorous story about two matriarchal match-makers. It's a wonderful romance story, but not the gushy, unrealistic type. It's based on real issues that are current to today's culture. Dylan has been fired from his position as an art professor due to a betrayal by his ex-girlfriend and colleague, is currently unemployed and living in his grandparents' loft in their old carriage house, and is definitely not ready for a new relationship. When he moves back to his home town, there are rules behind his living with his grandparents, and he tries to abide by them. Caylor is a tenured English professor and established romance writer who lives with her grandmother, escorting her to events and shopping after her husband passed away. Due to her living arrangements and a past relationship, she, too, is not in any hurry to get married. Sassy Evans and Perty Bradley have different plans for Dylan and Caylor. However, they don't know the painful and embarrassing secrets both Dylan and Caylor are hiding. This is my first book by Kaye, and it was an absolutely delightful read. The issues she brings about are so relevant for today's culture. She paces the drama and character information in a manner that keeps the pages flying. The romantic sparks and conversations between Dylan and Caylor are very realistic--the shyness of flirting without trying to overdo or pushing the relationship. The age factor comes into play as well, which society relates to differently. That issue is handled very well, whether you agree or disagree. The relationships of friends and siblings really touched my heart, especially those of Dylan's. You'll find that love, trust and faith in each other and God are the building blocks of the relationships and marriages, young and old, with a few exceptions. For a fun read about conniving matriarchs and the hearts of two broken people being mended, this is a book you will not want to miss. But don't be fooled, this book is not a simple plot of boy meets girl. This book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review. My gracious thanks for a delightful read!
barbarahartzler More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with the characters in this story. Caylor Evans is a thirty-something English professor living with her grandmother. She's on the right track, but nowhere near snagging a man. Dylan Bradley escaped a troubled relationship and ruined a promising career with his mistakes. He returns home to live with his grandmother, and piece his life back together. These two have more in common than they think, including secrets that won't stay in the past. Dacus does a great job of fleshing out each character. I loved the quirks and foibles of Caylor. Like how she couldn't rest until she wrote down people's annoying habits for her upcoming book. I can totally relate to that! I appreciated the honesty and sincerity of the way Dylan dealt with his struggles. In many novels characters avoid dealing with their deep issues and magically regain normalcy by the next chapter. But Dylan's journey to God develops from a natural and sincere place as he worked with his counselor. It really tugs at your heart. Both Caylor and Dylan had their own unique flaws, and some similar hangups, which made them come alive on the page. Since both characters are professors, the language of the book is a bit more complex. There are lots of long sentences, em dashes-and of course big words. But I do enjoy big words and love to look them up. So if that's your kind of thing too, you'll enjoy this book. The plot in The Art of Romance was well-developed-the action always arising from a character's decision. Events happened at a natural, flowing pace making it easy to follow, but still interesting. The character drama felt like it belonged right where it unfolded. The Art of Romance is a good read, and I look forward to the final book in the series.
GingerS219 More than 1 year ago
"The Art of Romance" - When I first read the title, I was unsure about what to expect since I've never read a Kaye Dacus book. I was pleasantly surprised. The title fits it so well. Caylor, English Professor and writer, gave up her independence - her life - to help take care of her grandmother, Sassy. Not that she had a life anyway. Dylan, artist extraordinaire, had a life, but it was yanked away from him when he walked out on a bad relationship, one he should have never been in to begin with. In come Sassy, and Perty, Dylan's grandma - matchmakers. They want great-grandkids before their friends. Will it be with Dylan and Caylor or will they have to wait for Paxton, Tyler, Spencer, or Sage? Will Dylan's and Caylor's secrets keep them apart? Or will romance be created? This was a fun book, clean and entertaining. Life after 30 can be romantic. :) I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Ginger
ChristianRomanceReader More than 1 year ago
3-1/2 stars. From a technical and editorial standpoint, Kaye Dacus's newest book cannot be faulted. However, as an avid contemporary romance reader, I found the lack of true romantic moments in this book and the inordinate focus on all things food-related to be annoying and less than satisfying. Even the heroine's sister is named Sage (and the overabundance of odd or unusual names was distracting). The preoccupation with food made me groan aloud toward the end of the novel with this line, "Caylor used her teeth to scoop out the soft inside of the spear first, then bit into the firmer exterior." Nearly every other page involves either eating, thinking about eating, talking about eating or food preparation of some sort. I say this not to be nit-picky, but to say I'd rather Ms. Dacus focused on the actual romance and gave me characters to care about instead of making me crave a Monte Cristo sandwich. I admire the author's obvious desire to step out of the mold and create characters (especially her hero, Dylan) who have feelings of insecurity and doubt, and a somewhat checkered past. Not to mention his longer hair, unshaven stubble, leather jacket and even a tattoo (and younger than the heroine, to boot). Both the heroine, Caylor (I love that this unusual name came from the author's grandmother) and Dylan spend way too much time thinking about each other and admiring each other from afar. But it quickly grew tiresome reading how handsome he is and how tall and statuesque she is, and how cute and sensual her crooked smile with the adorable chip in her front tooth. Both harbor secrets the author makes pretty obvious from the start (coincidence, anyone?). Their insecurities stemming from their pasts keep them from having a serious, mature adult conversation instead of pursuing their mutual and growing attraction. The matchmaking grandmothers are endearing overall, but it gets cloying when they discuss which one of their grandchildren will produce the first great-grandchild, as if it truly is a "contest." I hope in her next "romance" that Ms. Dacus puts the focus where romance readers live - in the "heart" of developing the romance between her two main characters, the true "art" of romance, indeed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago