Home > Love You Fiancee (Love You, Maine #5)

Love You Fiancee (Love You, Maine #5)
Author: Julia Kent

Chapter One






His lemur was limp.

And it was all his fault.

His and his alone.

That’s what Kell got for ordering a lemur costume online instead of finding a store and trying one on, or having one made to order. Two-day shipping was the biggest selling point, and though he’d bought the most expensive option, there hadn’t exactly been a plethora of choices.

Of all the bungles: He’d planned his marriage proposal down to the last detail, but forgot about the lemur costume until it was almost too late.

Leo the Limp Lemur would have to do.

For the last two years, Kell had been spellbound by love. Rachel Hart had returned to his life after five years of nothing but pain. Nowadays, he could admit to himself–and others–that he’d walled himself off from too much of the world, his pride so sore it practically wept. Right after college, when he and Rachel had been fellows at an environmental think tank in Washington, D.C., a co-worker he’d dated had hurt him. He’d thought Rachel was in on the Let’s Make a Fool of Kell campaign.

Turned out he was wrong.

He’d hurt Rachel in the process.

And hurt himself, too.

“But that’s all over now,” he muttered as he slipped his bare foot into the polyester costume, the chemical odor of newness making him hold his breath. Did they dip this thing in pesticide or what?

Finding an adult-sized lemur costume, especially one that fit his six-foot-plus frame and his lumberjack’s body, had been nothing short of a miracle.

Except, as he struggled with the zipper, he wondered if this was actually more of a nightmare.

The idea to propose to Rachel during the I Will Always Love You festival had come to him on a whim, a flash of aha! that made him chortle, but he waved it away in his mind.

Then he’d found the silly thought returning over and over, until it took root.

A plan began to form.

Rachel had no idea that he’d reached out to her parents and asked them, as well as her only sibling, Tim, to come to Luview for the big festival. Kell Luview was a descendant of the town’s founder, so where better to propose to the love of his life than in Luview–“Love You”–Maine.

The town where Every Day is Valentine’s Day.

Rachel’s mother was no stranger to the town, having filmed a reality series there years ago. Portia Starman was a famous 1980s television actress, while Rachel’s dad, Stan Hart, was one of the top Hollywood entertainment lawyers.

Her brother, Tim, was an Air Force pilot, well on his way to becoming an astronaut.

Kell was marrying into a high-achieving family, but he didn’t care about achievement.

He cared about Rachel.

Who had no idea that later today, her parents and Tim would suddenly appear at the festival as Kell proposed to her before hundreds of people under a smiling sun. Planned out to the tiniest detail, this proposal was going to be perfect on top of perfect, a stroke of genius that would show Rachel–and their families, as well as the townsfolk–just how much he loved her.

As long as he could get this stupid shabby polyester lemur to cooperate.

“Soap,” he said to himself as he struggled with the cheap metal zipper, which wouldn’t budge.

It was the color of brown mustard, dyed to blend in with the fake fur. No bits of cloth were caught in it. It was just cheap and stubborn, like Lyle Morgenstern, the town drunk.

And right now it was ruining his plans.

Just like Lyle sometimes.

Kell liked to wing it through life.

But he knew Rachel didn’t.

“If this damn zipper destroys my perfect proposal, it’s going to be your funeral,” he informed the lemur costume’s head, a grotesque approximation of what a real live lemur actually looked like. Bulging eyes with black pupils, enlarged whites of the eyes, and a strange orange found only on fast food signs, the orbs looked like someone was squeezing the lemur so hard, it was about to pop.

And die.

Transported back seven years to the offices of Earth Endangered Coalition, the non-governmental organization where they’d met, he smiled. It wouldn’t be their first lemur funeral.

Leo the Lemur was responsible, in part, for this entire elaborate proposal.

A knock on the door of the cabin made Kell look up, startled. He and Rachel had moved to the old camp his brother Luke had bought with various levels of help from the rest of the family, and Kell had chosen one of the bigger but more run-down cabins. With some help from Jake Forsythe, a local handyman, he’d constructed walls for a bedroom and a bathroom, and Rachel was champing at the bit to decorate.

Extensive renovations had to happen before that, but it was all a process, moving step by step to the finish line.

Just like life.

Right now, the front porch was an excavation project, the small roof over the entryway propped up by long two-by-fours, the area under the steps nothing but rocks, dirt, and the occasional groundhog that tried to take up residence. Half the siding had been replaced with new, but the cabin was unpainted.

One bathroom was gutted, copper pipe everywhere, wires where bulbs and fixtures should be.

But it was theirs. A work in progress, but a diamond in the rough.

Just like him.

“Kell?” His mom was at the door. “You there?”

“Come in, Mom.”

Deanna Luview looked like she’d won the lottery, seen the Loch Ness monster, and discovered the truth about Area 51 all in one day. Radiant with happiness, she was even more effusive than normal, which meant his dad, Dean, needed to tether her to earth.

Warm eyes met his. “You’re really doing this! I can’t believe it!”

He tugged again on the zipper and frowned. “What do you mean, you can’t believe it? You’ve been pestering me to do this for the last year!”

“Oh, psssh,” she said with a wave. “My baby is getting married.” She patted his bearded cheek. Had to stand on tiptoe to do it, too.

Baby, huh?

“I’m your second kid to get married, and Luke’s about to do it again, so chill, Mom.”

“My baby. You’re my baby and you’re getting married. Married to the perfect person for you.”

Kell softened at that. “She really is.”

“I knew you two were meant for each other when I met Rachel over FaceTime all those years ago. Knew it. Too bad it took you so long to get over yourself.”


“You’re right! I know. I’m just going to bask in all this joy.”

“You mean you’re going to milk it for all it’s worth that you were right.”

“Same thing.”

“Great,” he muttered. “While you’re basking, any ideas on how to make a stubborn zipper work?”

“A lemur costume? You look like a bear that mated with a zebra and found a half-rotted raccoon head to attach at the neck.” She tilted her head. “I think I’ve seen something like this hanging on the wall at the Elks Lodge.”

“You’re not inspiring confidence here, Mom. This was the best I could do. Rachel will know what it is.”

“Everyone else watching your public proposal will think you went to old Jeb Goldman and had some roadkill patched together to make this – ” She waved her hands without words.

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