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«Sushi for One?», Camy Tang

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The first book in the Sushi series, 2007

To Captain Caffeine. I love you.

You’re worth a billion of those espresso makers.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Thanks to:

Wendy Lawton, for being the best agent in the entire world.

Sue Brower, for looking past the fact I messed up my pitch and for seeing the potential in my story.

Rachelle Gardner, for your encouragement and enthusiasm in editing my manuscript.

David Robie, for being among the first to believe in me.

Sharon Hinck, gifted writer, awesome friend, generous mentor, encouraging prayer warrior, and feeder of my stamping obsession.

Pamela James, Heather Tipton, and Cheryl Wyatt, for being my friends, sisters, faithful cheerleaders, and prayer team.

Meredith Efken, for staying up way too late talking, for 2 a.m. fire alarms, and for surviving the flying termites with me.

Mary Griffith, for the hilarious stories you tell, the fabulous courses you teach, and for your help along this writing path.

Meredith Efken, Sharon Hinck, Ronie Kendig, and The Critique Boutique, for your fabulous, speedy critiquing.

The San Jose Christian writers group – Shelley Bates, Kristin Billerbeck, Marilyn Hilton, Lisa Kalenda, Dineen Miller, MaryLu Tyndall – for keeping me sane.

Dave Kawaye, for the cheesy Star Wars pickup lines. Muah to Mirtika Schultz for the Cuban Spanish translation. The ACFW loop, for your horrific bridal shower game stories. Robin Caroll, for your self-defense class expertise. Kayoko Akaogi, for helping me with my Japanese translation.

Stephanie Quilao, for your wealth of experiences, enthusiasm, and fount of fabulous ideas.

My blog readers, for making me feel not so alone in cyberspace.

The Nikkei Volleyball League, without whom Lex and Aiden would have no one to play with.

American Christian Fiction Writers, for being such an amazing group of encouragers, teachers, mentors, helpers, and cheerleaders.

Mom, for encouraging me to read, and Dad, for letting me monopolize the Apple IIe. My family, for being supportive and happy for me.

My husband, for letting me pursue my dream.

Lord Jesus Christ, I would be nothing without You.

 

ONE

Eat and leave. That’s all she had to do.

If Grandma didn’t kill her first for being late.

Lex Sakai raced through the open doorway to the Chinese restaurant and was immediately immersed in conversation, babies’ wails, clashing perfumes, and stale sesame oil. She tripped over the threshold and almost turned her ankle. Stupid pumps. Man, she hated wearing heels.

Her cousin Chester sat behind a small table next to the open doorway.

“Hey Chester.”

“Oooh, you’re late. Grandma isn’t going to be happy. Sign over here.” He gestured to the guestbook that was almost drowned in the pink lace glued to the edges.

“What do I do with this?” Lex dropped the Babies R Us box on the table.

Chester grabbed the box and flipped it behind him with the air of a man who’d been doing this for too long and wanted out from behind the frilly welcome table.

Lex understood how he felt. So many of their cousins were having babies, and there were several mixed Chinese-Japanese marriages in the family. Therefore, most cousins opted for these huge – not to mention tiring – traditional Chinese Red Egg and Ginger parties to “present” their newborns, even though the majority of the family was Japanese American.

Lex bent to scrawl her name in the guestbook. Her new sheath dress sliced into her abs, while the fabric strained across her back muscles. Trish had convinced her to buy the dress, and it actually gave her sporty silhouette some curves, but its fitted design prevented movement. She should’ve worn her old loose-fitting dress instead. She finished signing the book and looked back to Chester. “How’s the food?” The only thing worthwhile about these noisy events. Lex would rather be at the beach.

“They haven’t even started serving.”

“Great. That’ll put Grandma in a good mood.”

Chester grimaced, then gestured toward the far corner where there was a scarlet-draped wall and a huge gold dragon wall-hanging. “Grandma’s over there.”

“Thanks.” Yeah, Chester knew the drill, same as Lex. She had to go over to say hello as soon as she got to the party – before Grandma saw her, anyway – or Grandma would be peeved and stick Lex on her “Ignore List” until after Christmas.

Lex turned, then stopped. Poor Chester. He looked completely forlorn – not to mention too bulky – behind that silly table. Of all her cousins, he always had a smile and a joke for her. “Do you want to go sit down? I can man the table for you for a while. As long as you don’t forget to bring me some food.” She winked at him.

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