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Worst Valentine’s Day Ever by Monica K Stoner

February 16, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

Blog loved Valentine’s Day. A day dedicated to expressing deep emotions to the current love of your life offered so many wonderful opportunities to spread misery. He could sleep late and still fill his day’s quota of misfortune by noon. If he met or exceeded quota for long enough, he might even manage promotion from hurt feelings to bad weather, and eventually all the way to cataclysmic events. Then he’d only have to work once a century or so, and could spend the rest of his time hanging with the important misery sprites..

He’d started out well enough, managing to break up several young teen romances before noon with only a suggestion of boyfriends talking to the wrong girl, or saying something stupid. Making teenage boys say something stupid was so easy it only qualified for half points, and Blog was out for the big score. This meant groundwork and preparation, which he’d been working on for several months. His cast of characters was impeccable.

Gretchen, a plump blonde somewhat past the first bloom of youth, was obsessed about her weight but couldn’t pass up extra whipped cream on her non-fat mochas. Blog had amused himself this past month or more by directing stylishly slender women past Gretchen’s desk at the small publishing house, then arranging an introduction to Phillip, a handsome nature writer. He could practically see disgusting little hearts dancing around their heads while they discussed cover art and sell throughs, and only the thought of his master plan could keep Blog from spewing.

Not to put all his angsts in one bucket, Blog had also been nurturing a liaison between Andrea, whose insecurities were only exceeded by her fascination with esoteric trivia. Really, who cared what sort of weapons the Amazons carried or how the Assyrians baked their bread? Blog had encouraged Andrea’s romantic inclinations for Dylan, a serious new editor, recently hired from the English department of a prestigious university. Even better, Dylan had suffered through an ugly divorce from his childhood sweetheart, who had cheated on him whenever possible. Blog liked the fact he’d helped that divorce along.

All these machinations had started several months ago, and been left to fester while Blog entertained himself with encouraging parents to leave their children behind at a rest stop. After today, the publishing house would be sunken in hurt feelings and broken hearts, which would probably throw off production schedules, even more bonus points. Other than checking on his victims, Blog hadn’t spent much time at their place of business – success always unsettled his spirits.

He settled himself on the wall above the cute little sidewalk restaurant waiting for all his plans to come to fruition. Right on time, the victims gathered. The two men came from different directions, nodded to each other, and decided on a table in a sunny corner of the sidewalk, where they waited with every appearance of patience. Blog frowned. This was not right. These men were not supposed to know each other, and no modern man understood patience.

Before he could initiate a disagreement, Andrea and Gretchen came into sight, chattering happily, oblivious to the ruin he was about to visit upon them. With perfect timing, Blog sent a ravishingly lovely waitress to lean over Dylan while she quoted the day’s specials, and at the same time, Andrea was swept into the arms of a blonde man whose jeans seemed pasted on his body. Gretchen hesitated as she realized what a perfect couple the delicate waitress would make next to Dylan’s patrician good looks.

Blog rubbed his hands together, building mischief forces and pushing them toward the tableau below. Any moment now, they would over react with predictable hormone enhanced emotions, and his day would be complete.

Gretchen turned to Andrea with a quiet question, then advanced alone toward the table. Taking a deep breath, she spoke first to Dylan.

“It looks like one of Andrea’s cousins got into town early, she said she’ll be just a minute.”

Her quiet words took the tension out of Dylan’s face, and he nodded his head in thanks. Before she could say anything else, Philip held up his hand, effectively halting the sultry voiced recitation of coffee styles and sandwich choices.

“Give us a minute, please. This is a special occasion, we might want to take our time ordering.”

Andrea rushed over, her cheeks stained bright red, apologies stumbling from her mouth. Dylan pulled out the chair next to his, and quieted her with a smile. After they were all seated, they exchanged serious looks.

“That could have been really awkward,” Gretchen began.

“Really. If ever a moment possessed a potential for disaster, we just experienced it,” Andrea said.

“Isn’t it fortunate,” Dylan said, smiling wryly. “In preparation for the new line of women’s fiction, we’ve all been exposed to discussions of plot contrivances and misconceptions leading to tragic misunderstandings?”

The tension around the table erupted in relieved laughter.

Blog lost control, lost his hold on the side of the building, and nearly lost control of his body structure.

Damn Romance Writers. This was the WORST Valentine’s Day EVER.

Monica K Stoner

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The Worst Valentine’s Day Ever by Brandy Stewart

February 15, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

Unfortunately, this is a true story…

When I fell off the lifeguard tower at midnight, the paramedic who’d put me up there in the first place couldn’t complain, really. He’d suggested the outing, and brought champagne, cheese, fruit and a blanket. He’d even remembered to provide a lovely starry night for ocean-gazing, boozing and necking. Not bad for a last minute Valentine’s date, I’d thought when we made the arrangements. Something different from the usual restaurant outing. “Sure, why not?” I’d said.

Why not? Well, I should have considered that it was winter in Southern California, which means all of the ladders for the lifeguard towers are gone. Therefore, the hot paramedic I’d met at a club had to boost me up onto the tower by pushing my big, round behind. Repeatedly.

Second, I have no head for champagne, my dears. And the hot paramedic had great taste in wine, so forgive me if I indulged a little more than usual. I indulged in more paramedic than I’d intended as well, so perhaps it was sudden caution that had me pulling back from a steamy kiss and launching ass over noggin into the cool, grainy sand. Face first.

Picture the hero or villain of this story, whichever you prefer, expertly flipping over the victim of a Valentine night’s foolishness. Then imagine a starfish with a face. A face full of sand. Yep, that was me. I coughed, spluttered, and wished I’d had the sense to stay home with a Hugh Jackman flick.

To my date’s credit, we got most of the sand out of my eyes, and he did spring for an early breakfast at Harbor House Café. Frankly I’m not sure how he managed to sit there next to me. I’m a cheerful drunk, but not particularly gifted at conversation in that condition. When I staggered to the ladies room after our meal, using all of the walls in the restaurant for support, I found that my ears, nose and hair were so full of sand that I looked like a villain from the Pirates of Caribbean sequel. Damn.

To my surprise, my date was still waiting for me when I returned from the ladies room. What a gentleman. Mr. Paramedic drove me and my crusty orifices home and then disappeared, never to call again. He’s probably still trying to get the sand out of his car.

At least Valentine’s Day will come again next year, I told myself. Next year I’d make reservations.

Brandy Stewart

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Worst Valentine’s Day EVER by Maureen Child

February 14, 2007 by in category Worst Valentine’s Day Ever Contest tagged as
The Worst Valentine's Day EVER | Maureen Child | A Slice of Orange

I was pregnant.

VERY pregnant. My second baby was due on Valentine’s day and my three year old son was making me crazy and my husband didn’t seem to understand what the big deal was.

I was tired, cranky, roughly the size of Mt. Rushmore and not feeling the love.

Naturally, the TV was playing all these fabulous commercials with skinny women getting candy and diamonds from amazingly gorgeous men and there I sat. Waiting on a baby who had no intention of showing up and trying not to shriek as my son’s bottle of glue spilled on the floor. Of course, a heartbeat later the dog “cleaned” it for me, then threw it right back up again.

When my husband called from work and asked, “What’s for dinner?” I lost it.

Crying, shouting, giving into all of the weird hormone surges within, I had a mini-breakdown. Even my son and the dog paused in their destruction derby to watch the festivities. By the time I hung up, I was spent. All I wanted to do was find a hole and crawl in for awhile. This was not how I pictured Valentine’s Day. There should be romance. Dancing. Dining.

I put my son down for a nap, tossed the dog outside and whimpered alone on the couch. My little pity party was just getting into full swing when my husband showed up, an hour early.

He had take out bags from my favorite restaurant, a big box of Sees Bordeaux, (clearly having not noticed my elephantine size), and a wary smile on his face. He walked into the living room like a man about to tiptoe across a minefield and who could blame him?

And while I sat and relaxed with a cup of tea he made for me, my husband bathed our son, fed the dog, cleaned the living room and then set up dinner. At my place at the table, there was a gaudy Valentine’s card, lovingly decorated by my son with clumpy blobs of glued on glitter—explaining the glue incident from earlier—and another, smaller card from the yet to be born baby, apologizing for being late.

My husband served the take-out dinner, cleaned up afterward and tucked our son into bed, insisting that I do nothing more than relax and watch TV. So I did. And when those commercials with perfect people doing imitations of romance came on, I paid no attention at all.

Real romance comes when you need it most. And even the worst Valentine’s day can turn out to be the best.

And when our daughter finally arrived four days later, she was worth the wait.

Maureen Child
NEVERMORE, Silhouette Nocturne, Feb. ’07
THIRTY DAY AFFAIR, Silhouette Desire, March, ’07

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With Love from Pandora on Valentine’s Day by Carolyn Williamson

February 13, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

I’d never seen a box of candy so big. Dressed in blue satin with an enormous lace ruffle, the box practically covered one side of my husband’s desk at his office.

I smiled, remembering the first time Jack gave me candy on Valentine’s day. He’d handed me a small box in a paper sack. “Thought you’d know what to do with this.”

Now, as I looked at the blue heart-shaped box, a warm feeling spread over me. Not a man to talk much or pay attention to special days, he’d remembered Valentine’s Day this time.

I slid my finger over the shiny white satin bow, wanting to tear it off and bite into a luscious chocolate morsel.

Jack had mentioned having dinner out. Maybe afterwards he’d invent some reason to drive by his office and surprise me. I wouldn’t spoil his thoughtfulness by unwrapping it now.

My reluctant fingers slid from the lace-ruffled box. I remembered he’d asked me to pick up a check. His tall slim partner, Joe Burke, breezed into Jack’s office. He pointed to the box. “Isn’t that obscene? And to think it was won in a drawing,” he said as he retreated to the outer office.

Gripping the check, I left and drove past snow-dusted lawns. The moon glistened like a lemon frosted cream. Licking my lips, I wanted to bite into something rich and sweet.

Later, at the restaurant, the sizzling steak was juicy and tender. I could hardly wait until Jack gave me the candy. I’d give my strong silent guy a kiss and a big hug.

Jack excused himself to make a phone call and returned to the table. Soon afterward he escorted me out into the chilly evening. Hunching his big shoulders into his jacket, he seemed lost in thought.

As we neared his office, I found my mouth watering, but he drove right past without stopping. Had he forgotten the candy?

Later I mentioned we needed milk, hoping he’d offer to go. He settled down in front of the TV and got caught up watching the Dallas Stars play the Detroit Red Wings.

“I’m going to the store,” I said.

“See you later–oh damn, the Red Wings scored again.”

On the way to Krogers I wondered why he hadn’t said a word about the candy. Then I remembered the phone call.

He’d been working late a lot. Could that candy be for another woman? I squeezed my eyes shut for a second. I didn’t want to think about that. At least he’d won it in a drawing–he hadn’t gone out and bought it for someone else–or was his partner covering for him?

A hard knot grew inside me. Jack came home every night. He couldn’t be having an affair, could he? Maybe I was living in a fool’s paradise. I clenched my hands into fists. My heart beat in a staccato rhythm.

Would I be abandoned to pay the mortgage like my friend, Betty? I swallowed. I’d do it if I had to, but I didn’t want to face the future alone.

Sure, I had a job, but that wouldn’t bring in enough to live as we had before. I shut my eyes tight against the disappointment, then opened them quickly. I couldn’t afford to have an accident now.

I wasn’t looking forward to coping with the single scene after being married so many years. I’d forgotten how to flirt, and besides I’d feel silly doing it at my age.

Looking up at the bright lights above Kroger, I brushed the tell-tale wetness from my cheeks. I didn’t want anyone asking questions.

After paying for the groceries, I managed to keep the tears at bay until the store doors swung shut behind me. Then tears came in earnest. A brisk wind chilled my wet face. Barely seeing the road, I drove with tears streaming down.

When I carried the groceries inside, Jack was still watching television. I hurried to the bathroom to wash my face. He hadn’t seemed to notice my red cheeks. But I bet he’d noticed the fifteen pounds I’d gained since giving birth to twins. No wonder he was attracted to someone prettier.

I went in the living room to say good night. Jack was engrossed in a western novel and gave me the briefest of good night kisses. Lying in bed, I blinked back tears. I didn’t want to ask him about another woman. That might be just the chance he was waiting for–to say he wanted a divorce. If I asked about the candy, I might shame him into giving it to me instead, but I wouldn’t enjoy it. At least some other woman wouldn’t scarf it down.

Or I could just let it pass and say nothing. I tossed and turned, dampening the pillow with tears. No. That was the coward’s way out. My marriage was more important than chocolates or another woman. I’d fight to keep my marriage, but if I couldn’t, I’d manage somehow.

Facing the frightening ordeal of divorce would be hard, damn hard, but it would be better than living a lie.

Jack entered the bedroom and undressed in the dark. I wondered how the other woman had touched him when they made love. My eyes burned. Bracing myself, I took a deep breath, then decided to wait until he finished showering. I tried to think what to say. Nothing I thought of seemed right. Too soon he came out of the bathroom. Even in pajamas, he looked handsome with those broad shoulders and dark hair. Why was I even thinking about his looks when he’d treated me like this?

The bed dipped as he slid in beside me. He didn’t even try to kiss me. Maybe he really didn’t want to any more. He snuggled under the blankets with his back to me.

Heart pounding, I cleared my throat. “Jack,” I began.

“Thought you were asleep.” He sounded drowsy.

I gritted my teeth. How could he fall asleep so easily? Had he no conscience?

“Jack, what are you going to do with that box of candy on your desk?”

He switched on a light and turned to face me. “What box of candy?”

He sounded surprised. Was he really–or just a good liar?

“That huge box of candy on your desk at the office?”

“I don’t know anything about a box of candy at the office.”

“Joe said you won it in a drawing.” Let’s see how he explains that.

“I haven’t heard about winning anything, but if I did, I’ll bring it home tomorrow.”

I looked into his blue eyes. They seemed as true and calm as always. In spite of my suspicions, I believed him. Slowly I let out the breath I’d been holding.

Jack put his arms around me, pulled me close and kissed me. “Love you,” he murmured. My heart overflowed with relief. Mustn’t let him know what I’d thought.

The next morning Jack called from the office. “Honey, you must have misunderstood Joe. I didn’t win that box of candy. He did, and took it home to his wife. Don’t know why he set it down on my desk. Maybe he stepped in there and the phone rang.”

I didn’t care how the box got on Jack’s desk. I wouldn’t miss the candy. I had the best valentine of all, a loving husband.

Carolyn Williamson

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Memorable Valentine’s Day by Tina Gayle

February 12, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

“Don’t you think we should pull over and let the snow storm pass over us?” It was the third time I’d asked the same question in the past twenty minutes, but my boyfriend just smiled.

“As slow as we’re driving some people might think we’re standing still all ready.” He didn’t look at me, but kept his eyes glued to the winter wonderland in front of us.

How he kept his Pontiac Impala, “the tank”, on the road, I didn’t understand. I couldn’t see the road, just a sea of white.

Being from Texas, I’m used to Valentine’s Day being a cold crisp day with glowing sunshine. No snow, no ice, maybe some rain, but most of the time it’s a beautiful day with love in the air. Hearts and flowers decorate everything.

Did I mention no snow? Or better still never a blizzard?

“How can you see?” I asked, straining to see through the caked-on mud and dirt that covered the windshield. The wipers succeeded in shoving the falling snow off to the side, but the picture in front of us remained a dirty white field of nothingness.

He pressed the button for wiper fluid. Nothing happened.

A large truck traveling in the opposite direction zoomed past us at a break-neck speed of fifteen miles per hour. The window shook. A backlash of muddy water sprayed us with debris from the truck’s wheels. A dark veil fell over the windshield. I couldn’t see anything. My fingers dug into by boyfriend’s thigh.

Did I happen to mention it was cold?

The huge cavernous interior of the car held me prisoner, my only protector, my boyfriend’s calm composure and his steady hands on the wheel. You see, he grew up in the North. This was old hat for him.

“I’m going to pull over. I need to clean the windshield off.” He maneuvered the car to the side of the road. How he even found the side of the road I’ll never know.

My hand caused a few more bruises when the car fishtailed before coming to a stop.

“I’ll be right back.” He opened his car door slowly and left.

Alone, I began to panic. How was he going to clean the windshield off? There wasn’t any water out there. It was all frozen. The wiper fluid was gone.

I watched him out the side window as he picked up snow and threw it at the front window. I jumped when it hit. Did I mention I was terrified?

He wiped the snow over the glass with his gloves. It melted and cleaned the surface. My boyfriend was brilliant, a genius. I knew I loved that man for a reason.

When he walked back around the car and opened his door, he threw his wet gloves in the backseat. I hugged and kissed him, glad that he was back beside me.

He dug in his pocket, pulled out a jewelry box, and handed it to me. I opened it.

“Will you marry me?” he asked.

My hero, my savior, the man that held my life in the palm of his hands, wanted to know if I would be his bride.

What do you think I said?

Tina Gayle had made her first sale to Wild Rose Press. Visit Tina’s blog at http://www.tinagayle.blogspot.com/

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