For Katy Hart Matthews, all her life-every successive year
of her adolescence, every season of pain or joy, all the lonely days
and weeks and months without love-had only been the path
that led her to the here and now, her honeymoon with Dayne
With every breath she was convinced that this brilliant moment
in time would shine forever like the brightest star in the night sky
of her memory, a time that would always make her certain that
this-this man and this time and this shared faith-was the reason
she'd been born.
Dayne had surprised her with a two-week trip to the Bahamas.
They'd spent the first week in a secluded beachfront bungalow not
far from the well-known Atlantis resort and this second one on a
private island a thirty-minute ferry ride from Nassau.
Wilma Waters, the wedding coordinator, had handled the details
so Katy and Dayne had a personal staff complete with a chef, a
cleaning crew, and a recreation coordinator in charge of providing
scuba gear, Jet Skis, and whatever else the couple might need.
Only Wilma and Dayne's agent knew the phone number at the
bungalow, and both had promised that, short of an emergency,
they wouldn't call.
It was the third day of the second week, and Katy woke next to
Dayne, amazed as she had been every morning since the wedding
that this was her life, that she and Dayne were forever going to
wake up this way.
Sunshine streamed through the sheer curtains and shone across
the white, downy comforter. Katy drew a long, slow breath and
looked at her husband . her husband. The word still made her
feel like they were pretending. The idea had felt impossible for so
long; through every brief visit and every long good-bye, while they
fled the paparazzi and while Dayne recovered from his car accident,
they'd agreed time and again that love could never work for the
two of them. Would never work.
But somehow here they were on a brilliant blue day, sharing a
bed and a brand-new marriage and a love that simply could not
be denied. Not for any reason.
Katy rolled onto her side and studied the man beside her, the
gentle rise and fall of his chest. Whatever his past, it was behind
"Fifty years from now, I'll look back on this time," he'd told her
during one of their walks on the secluded sandy shoreline, "and I'll
know that my life didn't really begin until now. With you."
Dayne didn't spout pithy lines or tired phrases. So when he told
her his life only really started on their wedding day, he meant it.
Since their first night together, each whisper and quiet conversation
over a candlelit dinner had been marked by words that crossed
his lips the moment he thought them, words that seemed to take
even him by surprise in their depth and intensity. When he took
her in his arms and kissed her, when their bodies came together
in a show of love Katy hadn't known possible, she was convinced
she was meant for this, to find her way to Dayne Matthews. And
so the honeymoon was more than Katy could've imagined because
she had never known love like this. Overnight her ability to feel
seemed magnified a thousand times over. That's what loving Dayne
had done to her. She could only imagine what love would become
as they shared the months and years, as they journeyed through
the seasons of life together.
Dayne stirred and took a deep breath. He rolled onto his side,
facing her, and slowly opened his eyes. "Mmmm ." A slow smile
filled his face even before he was fully awake. "Good." He reached
for her hand. "It's not a dream."
Katy was about to tell him that no, it wasn't and that she'd had
to remind herself of the same thing when she first woke up, but
before she could say a word, the phone on Dayne's bedside table
rang. The sound of the ring was foreign after so many days without
an interruption from the outside world.
Dayne frowned and sat halfway up. "This better be big." He
picked up the receiver, and as he pressed it to his ear, he slid closer
to Katy, erasing the inches that separated them. "Hello?" He paused,
his expression serious. "That's okay. What's up?"
Katy watched him, waiting for his reaction. Since Wilma and
Dayne's agent had been instructed to call only in case of an emergency,
she felt her breath catch in her throat. It could be her parents
or one of the Flanigans or the Baxters . almost anything.
"And he needs to know in an hour?" Dayne raked his fingers
through his hair and rolled onto his back again.
Katy breathed out and felt herself relax. Whatever the news,
it wasn't tragic. Based on Dayne's reaction, it was probably
After throwing on a robe, she climbed out of bed, slid the curtains
over, and opened the window. She drew in a long breath of
ocean air and gazed at the sandy stretch outside their room. The
beach looked like something from a calendar, so beautiful that no
camera could ever really do it justice. Behind her she could hear
Dayne wrapping up the call.
"Right. I've seen the show." Dayne didn't sound short, but he
wasn't happy either. "I don't know I mean, do we need that sort
of publicity?" He sighed, and for a while he said nothing. "Okay
. I get it. I'll talk it over with her and get back to you."
Katy turned and dropped into a chair near the bed. "Your
"Yes." Tension was written across Dayne's brow, a tension that
hadn't been there since their wedding day. He sounded tired and
uncertain. "Word leaked out that you took the part in But Then
Again No. I'm sorry, Katy."
"It's not your fault. They would've found out."
"This is a little different." He hesitated, almost as if he didn't
want to finish his thought. "For Real wants to feature us in a
twelve-episode segment. It'd run once a week when our movie
Adrenaline shot into Katy's veins, and her heart skipped a beat.
She blinked and stared at the tile floor. For Real was one of the most
watched reality shows on TV. "You mean like . follow us home
and camp in our living room?" Reality shows had done that with
other celebrities, usually with terrible results.
"No." Dayne sat up and leaned against the headboard. "They'd
stick to the set." Doubt flashed in his eyes. "My agent thinks it
might make the whole movie thing easier for us."
Katy gripped the arms of the chair. She couldn't shake a sudden
surge of fear. "Having us the subject of a reality show?" The idea
was enough to make her change her mind about the part.
Over the next few minutes, Dayne explained the offer. The camera
crews would document Katy and Dayne working together, giving
the country what it would so desperately want anyway-an
inside look at Dayne Matthews and his new bride.
"Sort of like my idea." Katy was starting to understand. "Smile
for the cameras rather than run from them."
"Right. Only on a much bigger level." The fine lines around
Dayne's eyes were proof he didn't like the idea, but his tone said
he understood where his agent was coming from. "Make the story
more available and because of that less desirable."
Katy stood. A reality show? About the two of them? She turned
and walked out onto the balcony. Behind her, she could hear Dayne
climb out of bed, hear him slipping on his shorts. The touch of
his arm as he came out and stood beside her sent chills down her.
For a while neither of them said anything. Then Katy rested her
elbows on the railing and met Dayne's eyes. "Think it'll work? Take
the heat off?"
Dayne looked at her, and the weight of their decision colored
his expression. "My agent thinks so."
"What about you?"
"Maybe." A warm breeze drifted up off the gentle surf. "The
producers want a commitment from us in an hour. They need to
put together a package and present it to the network execs."
Katy didn't want to make the decision. Too much rested on how
it went. "If we do it, what's the worst thing that could happen?"
"The press could get more interested." He narrowed his eyes,
concentrating. "But I've only seen that when the crews follow celebrities
A fine layer of salt lay on the railing, and Katy dusted off a section
with her fingertips. "It isn't a long commitment, I guess."
Again they were quiet, and Dayne slid his bare foot next to
hers. He breathed out long and hard and stared into the clear, blue
sky. "We don't really have a choice. They'll follow us one way or
"It'd be good publicity for the movie." Katy still felt slightly sick
at the thought, but Dayne was right. If they turned down the offer,
they would be dodging paparazzi every hour of the day. At least
with a reality show, there was a good chance the story would feel
overplayed. The press might find another, more secretive, celebrity
to focus on.
"Exactly." Dayne allowed the hint of a smile, his first one since
the phone call. "That's what my studio's saying. Obviously."
In the end, they prayed together, and when neither of them had
a sense of peace over the proposition, Dayne tried to call his friend
Bob Asher, who worked as a missionary in Mexico. Bob always
seemed to have the right answer for Dayne, but this time Dayne
couldn't get ahold of him.
His last attempt was a call to John Baxter, his dad. The call didn't
last long, and afterwards Dayne sat in the chair near the phone,
his expression more confused than ever. "He said the idea worried
"It worries me." Katy went to him and put her hand on his
shoulder. "So what should we do?"
He stood and eased his arms around her. His eyes searched hers.
"We have no choice about the scrutiny. They'll take pictures with
or without our permission."
At the end of a restless hour, Dayne and Katy agreed. Letting
the paparazzi have full access to them during the filming of the
movie was the lesser of two undesirable situations. They would
have nearly one month to savor their privacy, to return home from
their honeymoon and help Katy move into their lake house. They
would have quiet mornings overlooking Lake Monroe and dinners
with the Baxters, and come early May, they would fly back to Los
Angeles, roll up their sleeves, and get to work.
Dayne made the call. His voice still held some of the doubt from
earlier. "We'll do it." He gave Katy a wary look. "The cameras can
only be on the set, and it will only be for twelve episodes."
After the phone call, Dayne and Katy tried to put the news
behind them, tried to find their way back to the easy laughter of the
past few days. But they compared notes several times that morning.
All they could think about was the reality show and whether
agreeing to it had been the right decision.
An hour after breakfast, they walked out to the sandy shore and
toward the supply box stationed near a pair of beach chairs. They'd
arranged to snorkel today, and even with so much on their minds,
Katy couldn't wait to hit the water.
Positioned at either end of their private beach were lifeguards
with radios. Their first role was one of safety and protection, but
they were also available if Katy and Dayne needed anything from
a box lunch to towels or additional gear.
Dayne held Katy's hand, their legs brushing against each other
as they walked. When they reached the wooden box, he stopped
and turned to Katy. A breeze blew in from the ocean and swirled
around them. "For the next few hours, there's no thinking about
movies or reality shows or paparazzi." He crooked his finger and
placed it gently beneath her chin. He seemed to find a deeper place
in her heart. "Too soon we'll be headed home." He leaned close
and touched his lips to hers. "We didn't come here to talk about
She felt the corners of her lips lift. "Okay." She shifted her gaze
to the white, sugary sand and the blue-green water beyond it.
Honeymoons came once in a lifetime, and a honeymoon like the
one she was sharing with Dayne Matthews was beyond anything
she had ever dreamed. She kissed him again and grinned. "The
gear's in the box?"
"Let's see." Dayne released her hand and lifted the lid. The hinges
creaked, and as he opened it all the way, a pair of moths fluttered
free and drifted toward a bright pink hibiscus. He reached inside
and pulled out a snorkel, a mask, and a pair of fins. He handed
them to Katy and took out another set for himself. "All we need is
a little water."
Her laugh mingled with the sound of the surf. The ocean
spread out as far as she could see. "I don't think that's going to be
They slipped on their gear and moved into knee-deep water.
Dayne pointed toward an area fifty feet out. "There's a small reef
Then without saying another word, they eased into the water
and started swimming. The water was clear and warm and silky
against Katy's skin. Neither of them was in a hurry. Even before they
reached the reef, they spotted schools of fish, some of them as large
as Frisbees with orange and black and white stripes.
Dayne took Katy's hand, and the feel of his body moving through
the water beside her did what nothing else had been able to since
the phone call from Dayne's agent. It made her forget about the
They spent most of the next two hours along the shallow reef,
marveling at the coral and stopping to study brightly colored exotic
fish. A ways off, they spotted a four-foot shark moving slowly along
the reef. Their personal guide had told them that the sharks in this
part of the ocean were small and had plenty of food. Even so, Katy
felt her heart skip a beat. She reached for Dayne's hand, and he
gave hers a couple of reassuring squeezes.
Before they finished for the day, a trio of dolphins swam past
them and jumped out of the water in unison. The moment took
Katy's breath, and she and Dayne hovered at the surface, watching
the threesome swim in playful circles, breaking the surface a
number of times before they left the area.
Not until they were back on the beach eating lunch did Katy
even remember the phone call and the commitment they'd
"You're quiet again." Dayne set his fork down and studied her.
"Thinking about the show." She took a long breath. The air tasted
faintly of seawater. "I can't decide if we made the right decision."
They talked again about the pros and cons, about giving the
press what they wanted and avoiding the sort of situation that had
led to Dayne's car accident. And they talked about privacy and how
they wouldn't have any with a reality show following them around
the set. They agreed that since the interest was limited to the filming
of the movie, maybe it wasn't a bad choice.
The conversation faded, and they stretched out on their beach
chairs along a shady section of sand beneath a cluster of palm trees.
Katy thought about what lay ahead. Other couples had broken up
after being the subject of a reality show or dropped out before the
full run of episodes in an effort to salvage what remained of their
By the time they sat down to prime rib that night, Katy had
warmed a little more to the idea. It wasn't as though they were
committing to a twenty-six-week season, after all. And it would
certainly give the press what they wanted without a chase. Which
made the show a good choice all on its own. Anything to keep
Dayne and her from always running.
Along the way they might even have the chance to share their
faith, the beliefs that now drove both of them. God would use the
next season in their lives, because while Katy and Dayne might be
newly married, they weren't like other Hollywood couples. They
would grow closer through the experience. A reality show wouldn't
hurt their relationship; it would make them stronger.
Katy was sure.