I’m single and not looking for a relationship. In fact, I write a blog that is about helping single women in all aspects of their lives. I do that because, for the most part, I enjoy being single. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy romance. I love watching it, reading it, writing it, and seeing it with my friends and their families.
To me, romance is that special feeling of knowing you belong, that you have someone in your corner. I may not have the traditional romance of having a partner, but I do have people in my corner, friends I can depend on. One has even promised to paint my eyelids a garish blue if I cross over before she does. But then, I’ve promised to give her a clown’s grin with lipstick if she goes first. Isn’t friendship wonderful?
I’ve been writing romance for thirty-four years, and while I’ve veered off into suspense and young adult, I know I’ll never give up the wonder of romance. The journey of two souls finding their way to one another is timeless and irresistible. I can enjoy that without needing it in my life…at least not right now.
You never forget your first true love. I never believed those words until the day I saw Sam again. And just like that, twenty years evaporated, and we were standing together by the cannons in WhitePoint Gardens.
He’d held my hand, promised we’d see each other again, but I’d known then it was a promise he probably couldn’t keep. Sam never knew when he’d be able to return…or if he could. Then he’d kissed me, just a gentle touching of our lips, and he walked away without looking back.
I’d tried to forget him. Had even moved on and gotten married, but it hadn’t worked out. For the past ten years, I’d stayed away from men because they couldn’t be trusted not to break your heart.
But there stood Sam, and my heart didn’t listen to that voice inside my head telling me to walk away as fast as I could. Then it was too late. He’d seen me.
“Victoria?” His raspy voice reached out to me across the distance between our cars. Now frozen in place, he was half in and half out of his silver Lexus.
I clutched my purse. “Hi, Sam.”
My response spurred him into action. He straightened, closed the car door, and came toward me. “Hi? After all this time, that’s what I get?” Without waiting for permission, he swept me up into a tight hug, and the moment his arms closed around me, my heart soared.
It shouldn’t. I wasn’t a twenty-five-year-old unemployed mother anymore. I’d matured and had raised two kids with lives of their own now. My heart had no business soaring because a man I hadn’t seen in two decades was holding me.
But I held him, too, breathing him in and absorbing the warmth of his body close to mine.
All too soon Sam let me go and looked down at my face. “Have you been here all along?”
“At the bank?” I knew what he meant, but I needed time to compose myself so I wouldn’t start peppering him with questions. Stupid questions like “why didn’t you call” and “do you know how worried I was about you”.
His lips curved into a smile, and I caught a glimpse of the dimple that used to make me stare. It still did. The years had been more than kind to him.
“You know what I meant. Here in Charleston. You stayed?”
I shrugged and adjusted the top button of my blouse. “It’s my home.”
He folded his arms, and the button-down shirt clung to his muscles. Still kept himself in shape. I had to wonder if he was still working for the FBI. Would he have retired by now? I couldn’t imagine him walking away from the work he loved so much…unless someone had given him a reason to.
Acting as casually as I could, I glanced down at his ring finger, but I never could get anything past Sam.
He grinned and held up his left hand. “Not married.”
My surprised gaze flashed to his face. “Ever?”
“Only to the FBI.”
“Are you still working for them?”
He’d spent most of his time undercover so many of our meetings had taken place in the dark or in some of the small towns surrounding Charleston. He had to be careful who saw him. Though it had strained our relationship, I had wanted to make it work.
“Yeah. I’m actually here on assignment right now.”
“Still chasing the bad guys?” My purse felt too heavy for my arm.
He laughed. “Actually, I’m teaching the younger guys how to chase the bad guys.”
“You’re teaching?” I wrinkled my nose. “You told me that was for old guys ready to draw a pension.”
“Who knew one day I’d be one of those guys?” With another laugh, he took hold of my arm. “Listen, I have to get to work, but I’d like to see you again.”
We didn’t know each other anymore, but I wanted to see him again. I just wasn’t sure it was a wise decision. I countered the request with a question. “How long are you in town?”
With a wry smile, he pushed my hair away from my cheek. “Always the skeptic, aren’t you?”
“Considering I last saw you over twenty years ago, I’d say I have a right. How do I know you’re not going to stand me up again?”
He lowered his hand and dipped it into the pocket of his black slacks. “Here.” He handed me an embossed card. “There’s my number. You can call me if you want to see me again.” Leaning down, he pressed a kiss against my cheek. “It was good to see you, Victoria.”
As he walked away, I knew I’d call. He knew I’d call.
Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year, but I’ve never written a book set during the season. I don’t know why, but when the opportunity to take part in this anthology arose, I knew I wanted in. First, it got me back into writing fiction. I’d let that fall by the wayside as I’ve been focusing more on essays and articles. Writing about Ainsley and Noah’s story was invigorating and made me realize what I’d been missing.
Making Christmas Magic is only about 18,000 words, but I’ve already started writing an Easter novella that will come out next year with plans underway for a few more novellas. Maybe I’m not ready to jump back into writing full-length novels, but writing about romance during Christmas, Easter, or other holidays is exciting to me.
I hope you enjoy Making Christmas Magic, my first book release in 2 ½ years. I’m looking forward to continuing on this new(ish) journey I’ve started.
Because I love to be creative and to stay busy, I started creating graphics in the evenings. I made them for my books, for other books, for ads, and more. I had previously made some premade cover art for some authors so I thought I'd give my hand at making more of those, and before you know it, I now have an Etsy shop (with my sister) for premade covers!
We just launched the shop on September 9th, and we've already uploaded 34 covers. (I've always been an overachiever!) This is just one of my many endeavors that is both fun and relaxing. And I hope, eventually, profitable.
So if you, or any author you know, is looking for a premade cover, I hope you'll visit our site. We're adding new covers practically every day and have a large inventory of some pretty unique covers.
Beth shielded her eyes against the sun and glared at the blue Mercedes parked in her spot. Not again. How could people not see the reserved sign? With a huff of irritation, she maneuvered her Beetle into the only open guest spot even remotely close to her office and killed the engine.
Juggling her lunch, insulated mug of coffee, and several files she’d taken home the night before, she held her door open with one knee while wiggling her way out of the narrow opening. The brick side of the building prevented her from walking normally so she inched her way toward the sidewalk using a half-squat waddle.
She’d almost made it to the finish line when a gray suit coat blocked her path. Blowing her hair out of her eyes, she looked up. Of course, it would have to be Daniel Haven witnessing her awkward shuffle. All 6’3 inches of dark-haired, broad-shouldered male.
“You look like you could use some help.” Without asking, he captured the files from her arms and held out a hand to help her onto the sidewalk.
The feel of his fingers wrapped around hers nearly rendered her speechless. How many times had she walked past this man’s office, hoping, praying he would look up and notice her? Now, today, when the humidity had already fried her hair and melted the makeup off her face, he decided to strike up a conversation.
“You okay, Beth?” He gave her fingers a little squeeze.
She fumbled for a response. “I…um…I’m fine. Just not used to parking so far away from the building. Someone took my spot.” The second the words left her lips, she winced. “They probably had a good reason, though.”
Daniel shifted his green-eyed gaze to the Mercedes. “I think that’s your boyfriend’s car.”
Beth tugged her hand free. “My…what?”
“Your boyfriend.” He gave her his full attention. “His name’s Stuart, right?”
“Stuart? As in Stuart Adler?” Beth gritted her teeth. “He is not my boyfriend.” He was, however, in a world of trouble.
“Oh.” Daniel led the way around the building toward the main entrance. “He said the two of you had been dating for a couple of years.”
Steam bubbled up inside Beth’s ears. Of all the practical jokes…she and Stuart had grown up together, and he’d always been a prankster. And his jokes had continued throughout their college years. But when he’d gotten hired as junior counsel at the same law firm she worked, he’d promised there’d be no more pranks. Apparently, he’d lied.
Realizing she was keeping Daniel waiting, Beth tucked her coffee close to her side and reached out her hands for the files. “I’ve known Stuart since we were kids. He likes to joke around.”
Daniel opened the door instead of handing her the files. “So maybe he wants more than he’s telling you.”
“We’re more like brother and sister. He said those things because he thinks he’s funny. Anyway, thanks for your help.”
“No problem.” He pressed his back against the door so she could walk past him. “So just to be clear, you’re not dating Stuart. At all?”
“Never. We’ve only been good friends. Of course, that may change after today.” One step toward the elevator, she realized Daniel wasn’t moving. “Are you coming up?”
“In a second.” He gave her a small smile that made her cheeks flush.
“Oh, okay.” She shuffled uncertainly from foot to foot. “Then I’m going to need those files.”
“Have dinner with me.” The words danced in the air, leaving Beth both breathless and faint.
“What? Did you…just ask me…”
“To have dinner with me. Well, it was really more a command. That’s probably how it sounded, but it isn’t how it was meant.”
Beth tilted her head back to see his face better, and she couldn’t be mistaking the slight tinge of red on his cheekbones. “So you’re asking me?”
He chuckled and ran a hand across the back of his neck. “Yeah. I would have asked you sooner, but…”
“Stuart.” She grinned, the world a bit brighter, and she didn’t even care about the Mercedes in her spot.
“Well? Will you?”
Her heart thumped so loud, she wondered why he couldn’t hear it. “Absolutely.” The word gushed out, and the tips of her ears went hot. “I meant that as an affirmative not as…”
“As long as it’s a yes, Beth.”
“It’s definitely a yes.”
Later that night, Daniel walked her to her front door, his hand holding hers. “You know, we should find whoever owns that Mercedes.”
Beneath the porch light, Beth looked up at him. “Why?”
“To say thank you.” He brushed his lips against hers, and Beth sighed.
“We’ll do that first thing tomorrow morning,” she whispered.
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!