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Category: Contests

Home > Contests

The Thing About Kid Brothers

April 4, 2017 by in category 25 Days of Romance, Twenty-five Days of Romance tagged as , , ,

HeartBy Julia Nelson

That clock was a liar. It couldn’t be 10 yet, could it? Damn.

Liz Cooper rushed around her apartment collecting everything she should have assembled last night: towels, sunscreen, hat, glasses. She thought she’d have more time this morning. And she would have, if she hadn’t hit the snooze alarm so many times that it shut off for good.

Today she was seeing Kathleen, her best friend since first grade, who had the nerve to marry a great guy who swept her out of Orange County and all the way north to Seattle. While her great guy sweltered at a convention in Atlanta, Kath had taken a bungalow for a week at Huntington Beach. Liz planned to spend all day Saturday with Kath and her three kids. Or what was left of Saturday, after the 30-mile drive to the beach.

Liz glanced around her apartment and quickly confirmed that she was ready to leave. As she slid her half-read novel into the outside pocket of her tote, the phone rang. She grabbed it on the second ring.

“Oh, Liz, you haven’t left yet.” Kath sounded harried. But with three kids under age nine, she always sounded that way.

“Sorry, I’m running late. I’ll be there.”

“No, this is great. My brother called and I need you to pick him up.”
“Pick him up?”

“Oh, didn’t I tell you he’s coming to the beach with us today? The kids haven’t seen Uncle Joey in, like, forever.”

“Joey’s coming with us?” She remembered Kathleen’s bratty brother. The thing about kid brothers was that there was no reason to let them live. When Joey wasn’t releasing captured reptiles into Kath’s bedroom while they played, he was invading Barbie and Ken’s wedding with his army of Imperial Storm Troopers.

“Look, if you want to make this just family . . .”

“Don’t be silly. The kids want to see you and they want to see Joey. You haven’t seen him in years! This’ll be fun!” Kath gushed.

Liz doubted she’d find Joey all that fun, but for Kath and the kids’ sake, she agreed to pick him up. She wrote down the directions to his place, packed her gear and took off.

Before she reached Joey’s address, she saw a tall guy in trunks and T-shirt, dark glasses and carrying a gym bag, standing halfway into her lane. Kath must have told him about her car, because he waved her over with a “Hey, Liz!”

This couldn’t be little Joey. How long since she’d seen him? Seven years, at least. The brat had grown over six feet tall, with muscles filling out those scrawny little arms. The perpetually shaggy dark hair was cut somewhere between military short and businessman sleek. She guessed those three years in the Army did him good. But he’s still Kath’s kid brother, and she had a long memory for his disruptive antics.

“Thanks for the lift.”  He tossed the gym bag into the back and folded himself into the passenger seat.

Liz answered noncommittally and headed for the freeway.

They were only 30 miles from the beach, but there was no easy route. The freeway gave way to surface streets, and apparently everyone else was driving to the coast today. She kept the radio turned up just loud enough so that they didn’t have to talk much. But after yet another driver cut in front and forced her to brake quickly, Liz let out a colorful description of what that driver could do to himself.
“Hey, relax, Liz,”  Joey said. “We don’t have a deadline.”

“I”ve been running late all day.”

“As usual.”

“What do you mean?’

Joey laughed. “You were always late. Late to school, late to graduation, late to your own wedding.”

Liz glared at him.

“Oh, I guess that’s something we can’t talk about.” He nonchalantly glanced out the window.

“My wedding? I should have been even later and missed it altogether. Talk about mismatched couples.”

“So it’s over?”

“It’s definitely over. Three years now.”

Joey turned his gaze back to the road. The radio was almost loud enough mask his quick “Good.”

The traffic cleared and Liz hit the gas. The car lurched forward then rattled to a stop as the engine died. She turned the key, and the engine rolled over and over, but didn’t catch.

“Damn.” The honking began a few cars back.

“Problem?”

“I think it’s dead,” Liz muttered.

Joey opened his door and hopped out. The honking intensified. “Let’s get off this road.”

With him pushing and her steering, they rolled the lifeless car out of traffic. It glided to a stop on a side street, right in front of an auto shop that looked the least greasy of several lining the road. Liz popped the hood and looked over the engine compartment. She’d hoped she’d find a loose wire or a big switch that said “flip me,” but no such luck.

Liz backed away from the car and crashed into Joey. She whirled around to apologize and found herself just inches away from the guy. He took off his dark glasses and his eyes were oh-so-green. Green like nothing she’d seen in nature. Green like the bottles that hold the most premium beer available. Green and full of mischief, the good kind. The fun and sexy kind. He smiled and ohmigod! he still has dimples. They look so different on his all-grown-up face. So kissable.

Before she could say or do anything that would embarrass her for life, a mechanic came out from the repair shop to see if they needed help. Liz explained the car’s symptoms, got an estimate and handed over the key. The mechanic directed them to a waiting room filled with mismatched plastic chairs, vending machines and a coffeemaker that smelled like it had been heating the same inch of tar-like brew for hours. Joey headed to the soda machine with a handful of change. Liz plopped into a chair and worked to banish her earlier thoughts. Yeah, Joey’s cute, but he’s Kath’s kid brother, and the thing about kid brothers was that they were put on this earth to annoy older sisters and their friends, no matter how hunky they grew up.

Joey handed her a diet soda and took the chair next to her. He popped the tab on his root beer and kept his gaze on her as he drank down the can in one gulp.

Liz popped open her soda. “Sorry. I should have told you the car’s a piece of crap. My alumni association wants my license-plate frame back.”

Joey just smiled.

What does that mean? Liz wondered. She took a deep breath to keep from babbling, as she knew she would given the chance.

“I’ll put in a word for you. I belong to the same alumni association.”

“Since when?”

“What do you think I’ve been doing since I got out of the Army?”

Come to think of it, she did remember Kath saying something about Joey going to their alma mater. “What”s your degree?”

“Liberal arts.”

“Oh, that’s useful.”

He chucked and hook-shot his empty can into the recycling bin. “Actually, I just got accepted at the sheriff’s academy.”

Liz pictured him in a tan uniform and a shiny badge. A very nice image, indeed. She smiled. “Who could resist a man in uniform?”

Joey leaned closer. “I hope you can’t.” And he kissed her.

Liz started to resist, to explain all the reasons why they shouldn’t do this. And there must be a million reasons why they shouldn’t do this. Starting with …uh… Liz ignored all the objections that popped into her head and kissed him back. They could wait.

Joey eased out of the kiss and pressed his forehead against hers. “Nice.”

“You know,”she said, “I’m old enough to be your …”

“…Older sister. So? You’re not 30 yet, and it’s not like 25 is so young for me. Sounds just about right.

Liz grinned. He was right. The thing about kid brothers is that they grow up.

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The 2017 Book Buyers Best Contest for Published Authors

January 8, 2017 by in category Blogs, Contests tagged as , ,

The Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America is proud to announce that the Book Buyer’s Best Contest for 2017 is now open.

We are looking for entrants as well as preliminary round judges. If you wish to judge please contact the contest coordinators at: bbbcontest@occrwa.org.

This award will showcase the shining excellence of published authors in novella and novel length romance fiction and mainstream fiction with a central romance. The entry deadline is April 15, 2017.

The categories are:

  • Contemporary Series Romance
  • Contemporary Single Title Romance (Over 70,000 Words)
  • Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance
  • Historical & Regency (Both Series and Single Title)
  • Romantic Suspense & Mystery with romantic elements (Over 70,000 Words)
  • Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy/Futuristic Romance (Both Series and Single Title)
  • Young Adult
  • Inspirational
  • Erotic Romance
  • Novella (Specify Category) (Over 15,000 to 40,000)

GLBT entries: Authors are to place their entries in the appropriate category

Judging

The preliminary round will be judged by booksellers, librarians and romance readers. First, second and third place will be awarded in each category. Highest score in each category will advance to the final round to be judged by the Top Pick Judge (TBA).

For a complete list of the rules and the official entry form, please visit: http://occrwa.org/contests/book-buyers-best/

If you need to contact the contest coordinators, Nikki Prince and/or Sabrina Sol please email: bbbcontest@occrwa.org

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Orange Rose Finalists Annouced

July 12, 2009 by in category Writing Contest tagged as ,


The finalists for OCC’s 26th Annual Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers were announced at the July meeting by contest chair, Charlotte Lobb.

This year’s finalists range the globe, from California to Georgia, Vancouver to Toronto, and even Australia by way of Paris.

And the finalists are:

Lecia Cotton Cornwall, Unmasking the Countess, Historical

Pamela Kopfler, Better Dead, Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy

Kate Frieman, Strong, Sweet & Haunting, Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy

Kathy Bennett, A Dozen Deadly Roses, Romantic Suspense

Gayle Link, w/a Vanessa Riley, Carriage of Honor, Historical

Laurie Thompson, A Sweet But Deadly Desire, Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy

Gabrielle Luthy, Learning How to Stay, Mainstream

Alison Pritchard, The Sons of Gregor MacLeod: Highland Promise, Historical

Jo Anne Banker, This Child is Mine, Contemporary

Cheryl Nagro, Love Thy Neighbor, Inpirational

Congratulations to all, and a big Thank You to Charlotte for all her hard work on the contest.

Final results will be announced at the October meeting.

Posted by Linda McLaughlin, Orange Rose Contest Electronic Entry Coordinator

“In the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward.”
http://www.lindamclaughlin.com
http://flightsafancy.blogspot.com/

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Smokin’ Valentine By Rebecca Forster

February 24, 2007 by in category Worst Valentine’s Day Ever Contest tagged as

I’d been dating Marty for three months when Valentine’s Day rolled around.

He wasn’t the most demonstrative guy, but he knew what he was doing in the sack and that counts for a lot. He laughed at my jokes when he was around to hear them, didn’t have a string of exes or kids to compete for his time. He looked great in a suit, not so great in jeans. His buddies meant the world to him. If I was a piece of real estate I figured I was right up there with the State of Maine – small but solidly on the radar. I could live with all of this as long as Marty hit the high notes. So, the day of hearts and flowers was kind of a milestone and I prepared appropriately.

The steaks were ready, the table set. I was bathed and perfumed. The music selection was lined up. I would start with sweet and move to seductive. I set aside the fake wax log in favor of real wood for the fireplace. Seven o’clock passed by forty-five minutes when there was an insistent knock on the door.

Better late than never, I figured. I also gave him points for being eager.

I adjusted my cleavage, licked my lips and loved the way the fire threw off just enough golden light to make me look warm and inviting. I opened that door real slow, narrowed my eyes, let a smile play upon my ultra-glossed lips. All wasted. I was looking at the old lady from across the street.

“Your house is on fire, dear.”

She stepped back, raised a hand, rolled her eyes. I thought she looked quite nice in the firelight, too. This fire, though, was shooting straight out of the chimney.

“Damn.” I muttered.

“I should say,” she answered. “I called nine-one-one.”

“Great.” Just what I needed. Company on Valentine’s Day.

On the bright side, Marty would hear the sirens, rush to my side, gather me up, turn my head into his shoulder, whisper he was grateful that I was alright. We would fall in love, marry, have children. Our children’s children would re-tell this tale of love at our funerals.

While I waited for Marty’s entrance, I pushed the neighbor onto the lawn and ran for the hose. This was no easy feat. My WonderBra was too tight, my dress too long, my heels too high. I made for it with a sort of whump of a gallop that left me stuck in the thick grass every third step. Breathless when I finally got to it, I grabbed the darn thing and headed back to the middle of the lawn. I hollered at the little old lady as I passed.

“Spot me!”

She hightailed it over to the faucet, her eyes never leaving the flames that now shot five feet in the air. A breeze kicked up. Cinders flew. Every damn house on the street had shake roofs including mine. The sirens were louder but they weren’t close enough.

“Turn it on!” I screamed, holding tight to the nozzle.

“Turning it on,” the old lady screamed back.

I planted myself and waited for the rush of water. My hair was coming loose from its chignon. My arms were tight to my sides. I was Woman – hear me roar. Marty would be so impressed when he arrived.

“You’re not straight dear!” The old lady again, pulling me out of my daydream.

She unkinked the hose before I was ready. The water shot out, soaking my dress before I got it on the roof. Then came the red lights. Noise. Men in yellow suits and helmets coming to save me.

It went pretty quick after that. Hunky guys put out the flames while the old lady and I watched. Marty never showed but a damn good looking fireman grinned down at me from his perch on the roof. I smiled back. The evening wasn’t a total loss.

Long story short. The guy wasn’t smiling, he was grimacing. He’d slipped on the roof I watered down. His ankle was broken. They took him away on a gurney. My dinner burned. Marty never showed. The old lady and I finished off a bottle of wine, toasting our brave hearts. By the time we were done, I didn’t care that mine was just a little bit broken, too.

Rebecca Forster
http://www.rebeccaforster.com/
Hostile Witness
Silent Witness
Privileged Witness

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