Good morning!It'[s a lovely 17 F here this morning, and snow is expected everyday well into the weekend–not a lot of snow, less than an inch each day, but enough to keep things fresh and clean looking in the Great White North as some call Canada.
Welcome to the Valentine’s Week Midweek Tease. Since it is the time of year when we celebrate love, I’m going to give you all a free cookbook– Sweets For My Sweet Just click on this link to go to the site and download your copy.
This morning, I’m going to introduce you to my latest short story, Forever and Always, foune in Adventures in Love, one of three Valentine’s Day anthologies from Solstice Publishing.
From a western gal in pursuit of the local sheriff to a single mom running a cooking show with her small children, romance blossoms in many situations. These wonderful stories prove that love is for all ages.
A.A. Schenna, Alex Pilalis, Donna Alice Patton, EB Sullivan, Heidi Renee Mason, Johnny Gunn, Susan Lynn Solomon, Mark Newhouse, and Susanne Matthews delight romantics on this special holiday with their tales of love.
Here is the blurb from Forever and Always. (Photograph courtesy of Mohamed Said and Unsplash)
All Brandi has ever known is ballet. From her earliest years, her time was spent honing her skills, vying to be the best, setting aside everything else that mattered in life to make it to the stage. Then, at the top of her career, she lost her dancing partner and her ability to dance to a drunk driver in an ice storm.
She’s strong, she’s tough, she’ll recover from this, but will she? She’s always lived for the dance. She is a ballerina, but once a dancer can’t dance, what’s left? Who’s left?
Finding herself won’t be easy and she may need help from others including the man she’s loved almost as long as she’s love the dance, but will she let them in?
The doorbell rang.
Opening the door, she smiled. Standing there in all of his six foot, four inch glory was the one man who could still make her heart do flips. In the five years since the wedding, silver had peppered his dark brown hair, adding rather than detracting from his appearance. He was clean-shaven and deeply tanned. In his hand, he held a box.
“I see you’re ready,” Jarett said, stating the obvious, his hazel eyes conveying more warmth than she’d expected. “I’m glad you left your hair down. It reminds me of flowing lava.”
“Aren’t you afraid you’ll get burned?” she teased, fighting not to touch the curls cascading over her shoulders. With age, the carrot hair she’d hated had darkened to copper.
“I’m hoping for it,” he answered, cryptically. “I thought this might add to your holiday appearance, but you look perfect just the way you are. Here, let’s trade.” He reached for her coat and purse.
“I’ll bet you say that to all the girls,” she parried, embarrassed by the unexpected compliment. Handing him her things, she reached for the box, which held a corsage of yellow roses with holly and pine. “It’s beautiful. Thank you. Can you pin it on?” She felt like a teenager going to the prom she’d never been able to attend. By the end of eleventh grade, she’d made it to the National Ballet and had moved to Toronto.
He reached for the corsage, pulled out the two beaded straight pins. “I’d forgotten how tiny you are,” he said bending down to attach the flowers to the left shoulder of her dress. “You know, if you’d stuck around ten years ago,” he continued, as if he could read her mind. “I would’ve asked you to the prom. Since I couldn’t then, I thought I’d at least bring you the flowers, although I know you’ve been given dozens of roses over the years.”
“Yeah, but those were given to Alexandra Jameson. These are the first ones I’ve received in a very, long time,” she answered, unable to keep the tinge of sadness out of her voice. The countless bouquets sent to the hospital might as well have been sent to a funeral parlor—they were for Alexandra, the broken, ruined ballerina. She swallowed her pain. This wasn’t the time to feel sorry for herself. Regret would come later once she was alone again. “Thank you.”
She didn’t comment on the prom, not because she didn’t want to, but because she was too stunned by his admission to say anything. Other than the teasing, he’d never indicated he’d been interested in her in any way—of course, her life had been crazy back then. She’d had barely enough time to eat and sleep between school, ballet classes, and rehearsals for the production that had been her stepping stone to the top.
“I never understood why you danced under another name,” he said, as he attached the corsage to the shoulder of her gown.
“Thank you. It isn’t really another name; it’s my middle name. The executive director thought Brandi was too kitchy for a formal ballerina. He said it sounded like a stripper’s name. You should’ve seen my mother’s face when he made that faux pas.”
“I can just imagine. I wouldn’t want to get on your mother’s bad side. She’s got friends in high places. For what it’s worth, I always thought it was a cool name.”
“Yeah, right. All you ever did was make fun of it.”
“Maybe,” he admitted. “But it got your attention. I made sure no one else did.”
The realization that no one had ever called her by any other name but her own surprised her. In fact, once she made it to high school, she’d rarely been teased about her height, her hair color, or the fact she was always on the go. Why hadn’t she remembered that? Had she even noticed?
“I’ve always wondered why your parents gave you that name. I like it, but it’s not the name you’d expect for a minister’s daughter.”
She chuckled, relaxing for the first time in ages. “Mom wasn’t a minister back then. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and given the color of my hair, they thought it was fate. Back in high school, they dated a bit before my dad’s father was transferred to England. They kept in touch for a while. Brandi was the song playing when they first kissed and again when they kissed goodbye. When they met again ten years later….”
“That’s kind of romantic, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, but when Jane came along two years after me, and Mom was in theological college, she got a normal name.”
Please stop by and visit all of the other lovely teasers this week, and while you’re at it, make an extar trip to see my week-long blog partner:
Since it’s a special week, a time for lovers, I’m pleased to invite you to drop by and visit April Erwin’s Valentines Day Super Romance Giveaway which is active all of this week. Make sure you check it out. April has three wonderful prizes you can win.