Archive | January 2017

Just Kidding…Not! (Picture Prompt)

Hello romance readers! Today’s Tuesday Tales post is from a new April Fool’s Day romance, Just Kidding…Not! This short story is another holiday romance set in the small historic town of Oak Grove Square. In this story we meet Irene, the owner of the local bookstore, Pageturners. A healthy lady, striving to live a balanced life in mind, body and soul, her April Fool’s joke brings an unlikely and unlooked for love to her doorstep.

This week we’re writing to a picture prompt. Picture prompt snippets are short, only 300 words, so it will be quick reading this week.

After reading this snipped, return to TUESDAY TALES here to read more tales from a group of talented authors.

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We had four pictures to choose from. This is the picture I chose to use as my prompt for the latest addition to Just Kidding…Not!

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“I’ve got all day. There’s nowhere I have to rush off to. What’s your brainstorm?”

“I was thinking about having a party here. For the kids. An April Fool’s Day party.”

“You lost your mind, girl? Inviting kids in to play pranks?”

Irene threw her shoulders back and puffed up her chest. “No, I have not, Samuel Bateman…you old stick in the mud.” She swatted at his shoulder as she passed by, as if reassuring him that she was teasing. “I think it would be fun. Here, let me show you some ideas I had.”

Irene dug in her tote bag and pulled out a legal pad filled with scribbles. She looked up in time to see Sam rolling his eyes in exasperation. “What in the world do you have against kids?”

“Not a thing. Long as they behave themselves. Seems you’re setting them up for mischief with this party plan of yours.”

Running her finger down the page, looking at notes she’d furtively written while sitting in a merchant’s meeting that had droned on for longer than she’d liked, she began reading off a few of her ideas. “I thought we’d do two parties. A morning one for the younger ones. There’s lots of great books I can read them…”

“Wacky Wednesday. By Dr. Seuss. That’d be a great one for April Fools.” Sam interrupted and looked pleased with himself for his contribution. He smiled as he started to catch Irene’s enthusiasm.

“Good idea! I like it.” Irene grabbed a pencil and added the title to her notes before continuing. “Then an early afternoon party for the older kids. With food for their party. Like pancakes…but they’d be itty-bitty pancakes.” She circled her thumb and forefinger to make a circle no bigger than a quarter.

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Just Kidding…Not!

Hello romance readers! Today’s Tuesday Tales post is from a new April Fool’s Day romance, Just Kidding…Not! This short story is another holiday romance set in the small historic town of Oak Grove Square. In this story we meet Irene, the owner of the local bookstore, Pageturners. A healthy lady, striving to live a balanced life in mind, body and soul, her April Fool’s joke brings an unlikely and unlooked for love to her doorstep.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘train.’

Return to TUESDAY TALES here to read more story snippets.

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Just Kidding…Not!

Irene hurried into Pageturner’s, the bookstore she owned on Oak Grove Square. Letting the door bang shut behind her, she rushed over to the tiny heater sitting on the floor behind the counter. Holding her arms out, she rubbed her hands together briskly. “Brrrr! This February weather can go. I’m ready for summer.”

Pageturners.pngSam, the elderly gentleman that helped her out part time, sat on a stool next to the source of warmth. “And then you’ll be jawin’ on about it’s too blasted hot, or too muggy, or too something.”

“You know me too well.”

“Afraid so. You’re just like my daughter was. Always complaining about the weather.”

“You miss her.”

“Every day. With every breath. Same as my wife. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them and wish they were still alive and sharing my life.”

A sly grin inched across Irene’s face. “And here I thought you had a thing for Bertie, down at the quilt store.”

Sam laughed and slapped his thigh. “Shore ‘nuff do. Doesn’t mean I love my Nellie any the less. I still love my wife with every fiber of my being. But I’m not dead too. I can love her and still hold a little flame for Bertie. Not that she’s given me any hope. I don’t think I’m ever going to make any progress with that stubborn gal.”

“Maybe you ought to give up on Bertie and find someone else.”

Sam shook his head in dispute. “Naw. I’ve set my cap for her. Giving her chase is enough for me. I don’t need to find anyone else. Besides, I doubt if I’m up for a new love at this late stage of my life. Too hard to train someone new.”

“Samuel Bateman! I can’t believe you just said that.”

“What? It’s the truth. Gotta train the little woman. ‘Pert near everyone knows that.” The lopsided grin and the twinkle in his eye hinted that he wasn’t serious about his words. “Speaking of loves, love, so when are you going to hitch up with a handsome young man?”

“Ha! Like that’s going to happen anytime soon.” Irene shrugged her jacket off and went and hung it on the coatrack just inside the bookstore’s front door. “There’s not a hint of romance headed my way. And I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m happy with my life the way it is, thank you very much. I have this bookstore that I adore. I’m blessed with good friends. I love my yoga classes and my gardening. My cats. And best of all…I have you, Sam.”

Sam gingerly stepped down from the stool and stretched his arms out, twisting from side to side. “These books aren’t going to keep you warm at night, girlie.”

“Nope. That’s what the cats are for.” Irene laughed. “Just kidding.”

Sam merely closed his eyes and shook his head in mock disbelief. He headed towards the coat rack to retrieve his jacket.

Irene stopped him as he lifted a hand to grab the black leather coat. “Hey, Sam. Real quick before you go. I wanted to run something past you. Something that came to mind while I was at the merchant’s association meeting.”

“I’ve got all day. There’s nowhere I have to rush off to. What’s your brainstorm?”

“I was thinking about having a party here. For the kids. An April Fool’s Day party.”

Love for the Barista #2

Hello romance readers! Today’s Tuesday Tales post is from a new Valentine’s Day romance, Love for the Barista. This short romance is almost finished, so there won’t be many snippets shared from this story. Join us as we take a peek into a Carmen’s new love. Carmen owns Java Time, a coffee shop situated on historic Oak Grove Square. Between running her business and being a single mother of two young children, she doesn’t have time for love in her life.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘coffee.’ (Hehehe, having a story set in a coffee shop made this weeks prompt a breeze.)

Return to TUESDAY TALES here to read more story snippets.

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“So how’d you go from that to Java Time?” Victoria looked behind her as if making sure that she wasn’t keeping another customer from being served.

“After ‘Lita was born, I started working part time at…” Carmen lowered her voice and looked around as if telling a big secret. “You know…that other place.”

Victoria joined in the conspiracy. “Oh, you mean the big ‘S’? The one that’s on just about every corner?”

coffee.jpg“Yep. That’s the one. I loved it. Turned out I had a knack for mixing the different concoctions and remembering what customers liked what. But, it turns out I didn’t have a knack for being bossed by someone else and having them set my schedule – which was different every single day of the week.”

“That’d be rough. That’s why I like my little antique shop. Ten to five. No nights. No Sundays. No holidays.”

“That’s what I like here. Although the early hours are a bear. But the kids are usually still in bed when I leave. And this way, when I close up at four, I go home and I have all evening to spend time with the babies.”

“That’s good. It’s important to spend a lot of time with them when they’re this young. How old are they now?”

A soft, loving expression filled Carmen’s face. “Mario is four. Or will be tomorrow. And ‘Lita’s two.”

“Those ages are rough. Especially when you’re working full time. Good thing you’re with your mom and she watches them during the day. I’ll bet that helps.”

Carmen started wiping the counter as the two business owners chatted. “It does. I don’t think I could make it if I had to get them up and dressed to drop them off somewhere so early.”

Victoria cocked her head and looked at her friend thoughtfully. “So…all you need now is a special someone in your life.”

“Special someone? As in a man? I. Don’t. Think. So.” Carmen coughed like she was choking. “Sorry. Been there. Done that. Don’t need to go there again.”

“But once the kids are in bed for the night, wouldn’t it be nice to have a fellow to curl up on the couch with? Watch movies? Drink a glass of wine? Snuggle a little?”

“Girl, you’re only talking like that because you’re still all out in love with Toby.”

Victoria flushed guiltily.

“See! There! Look at those red, rosy cheeks. You’ve got it bad, my friend. Which is good. I love watching you two together and seeing the joy he’s brought you.” Carmen wagged her finger in the air. “But that doesn’t mean that the rest of us single ladies need a new lover.”

“But Valentine’s Day is coming up. You won’t have anyone to spend the evening with.”

“Sure I will. The loves of my life. My kids.”

The bell over the door dinged as another customer walked in, followed by a gust of frosty air. Carmen looked up and didn’t recognize the man at first. Then he got closer to the counter and tipped the brim of his hat in a familiar gesture.

Carmen glared, a cutting look passing across the space between them.

If he calls me ma’am again…

He cleared his throat and looked down as he shuffled his worn boots on the floor. “That was the best coffee I’ve ever had. I reckon I could use another cup to ward off the cold.”

Victoria looked back and forth between the two of them and eased away. Giving a wave in the air, she turned to go open Serendipity, her beloved space on the other side of the square.

Love for the Barista

Hello romance readers! Today’s Tuesday Tales post is from a new Valentine’s Day romance, Love for the Barista. This short romance is almost finished, so there won’t be many snippets shared from this story. Join us as we take a peek into a Carmen’s new love. Carmen owns Java Time, a coffee shop situated on historic Oak Grove Square. Between running her business and being a single mother of two young children, she doesn’t have time for love in her life.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘point.’

Return to TUESDAY TALES here to read more story snippets.

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Love for the Barista

Wiping her brow with the back of her hand, Carmen fought back the fatigue and looked up to help the next customer.

“Howdy, little lady. You serve any regular joe in this fancified establishment of yours?”

Little lady? Really?

Carmen resisted the urge to smack the pearly whites that grinned in her direction. She pasted a smile on her face and pointed to the sign hanging over her head. “Right there, sir. Regular or decaf. A dollar fifty a cup.”

cowboy.jpgHe tipped the brim of his cowboy hat in her direction. “Sorry, ma’am. I reckon it would have helped if I’d read the sign better. I’ll take a cup of regular.”

Ma’am? Even though he has a good ten years on me? It just keeps getting better.

One thing about owning Java Time, the coffee shop she’d opened a year ago, was that it had taught Carmen a few lessons in customer service. The largest lesson, for her, had been how to keep her mouth shut and not give back the smart alec retorts that she’d been prone to throw back her whole life. As she filled the to-go cup with steaming – plain – coffee, the man across the counter kept a stream of prattle headed in her direction. She didn’t hear a large portion of it. She was in her smile-and-nod mode, the result of a sick two year old that kept her up most of the night.

Snapping the lid on the cup, she nodded in the direction of a counter against the side wall. “Cream and sugar’s over there.”

The cowboy – or farmer, hard to tell in this part of Texas – dug in his jeans pocket and retrieved a wad of crumbled dollar bills.

“You can pay Julie, at the register.” Carmen looked pointedly in the direction of the girl to her right standing behind an obvious cash register.

The man hesitated. He opened his mouth as if to say something, then clamped it shut. He tipped his hat again. “Thank ya’ ma’am. Y’all have a good day, now.” Heading to the register he stopped once and turned back.

Carmen was already busy with the next customer and he paid and left without another glance. She kept serving customer after customer and never gave the stranger another thought. Finally getting to the last person in line, she heaved a sigh of relief. “Victoria! My goodness. I thought this line would never stop.”

“Must be the cold weather sending us all in for something hot to warm us up.”

“I guess. It was nineteen degrees when I left this morning.”

“Brrrr!” Victoria shuddered at the mention of the temperature. “At least there’s no ice. I don’t like the cold, but I’d rather have that than streets you slip and slide on.”

“Your regular today?”

“Yes. Chai tea. But make it the biggest you’ve got.”

“So when are we going to convert you to coffee? You’ve been coming in her long enough. You should try one of my special drinks.”

“Never. I can’t abide the taste of it. Sorry.” Victoria grinned to take the sting out of her words and inhaled a deep breath. “I do love the aroma of it though. Odd, isn’t it?”

“Not as much as you think. Actually, a lot of people that don’t drink coffee enjoy the fragrance of it.”

Victoria took the cup of spiced tea from Carmen. “So how long have you been drinking coffee?”

Carmen chuckled. “When I was a teenager. I’d be out late at night, partying with my friends. I started drinking it to try and wake up and make it to school.”

“Did you always want your own shop?” Victoria was curious.

“Not really. I just wanted to get married and have babies. But…” she threw her hands up in the air. “You know how life is. The guys don’t always cooperate with the plans you dream up in your head. Daniel didn’t want to be a daddy. He only wanted to help make the babies.”

Come back next week for more!

Return to TUESDAY TALES here to read more story snippets.