Tag Archive | short story

Cuddles and Purrs #3

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Today wraps up Cuddles and Purrs, the short romance written while Vintage Daze was busy with the A to Z Blog Challenge. Next week we’ll be back to the vintage short stories from the past. Thank you for joining us as we traveled to romanceland.

This week in Tuesday Tales, we’re writing to the prompt ‘rose.’

Be sure and check out the other Tuesday Tales snippets here.

Puddles Dec 2015

Our own little Puddles before she learned to eat like a big girl.

As the kittens meows got louder, Laurel’s attention was drawn back to the wriggly bundle in her arms. “Mind if I feed them here, before I take them home with me?”

“Not at all. Good idea, because I have no long it’s been since they’ve eaten.” He motioned towards the dogs at the slider. They’d calmed down and were sitting, noses glued up against the glass, curious about the activity taking place in their kitchen. “Obviously, I don’t have anything to feed kittens.”

“Not a problem. I brought my formula and bottles, just in case they were in need of an immediate meal.” Laurel placed the babies back in the box and slid a canvas bag off her shoulder. Soon it looked like a nursery spread out on the counter. She ran the tap until the water warmed up and measured and mixed formula. Soon the first little one was greedily slurping away on the tiny bottle.

Kevin watched intently. When she lifted the second one out, he asked, “Mind if I give it a try?”

“Not at all.” As Laurel handed him the baby, their hands brushed and she felt the warmth that rose from her neck to the top of her cheekbones.

Soon the babies were all fed, nestled back in the box and were sleeping away. Laurel started to pack up her supplies. She noticed that Kevin glanced at her left hand before speaking again.

“I’ve enjoyed this. Ummmm…are you up for dog activities too?”

“Dogs, cats…llamas…pretty much anything with four legs.”

“Would you like to join the dogs and I for a walk this weekend?”

One walk led to another, which led to dinner, and more dinners. Kevin soon became an expert at feeding young kittens. The dogs adored Laurel as much as they did their master. And when the two married a year later, no one was surprised when they asked for donations to their local shelter in lieu of wedding gifts.

 

Be sure and check out the other Tuesday Tales snippets here.

Manifesting Love Club

Last fall I was working on a romance with a working title, Manifesting Love Club. I got stalled on this project when other tales with deadlines took over. I’d finished Heather’s part of the book, had started on Corecia’s love story with the other two ladies waiting their turn.

There’s been a change of plans. Instead of all four ladies falling in love in an intertwined way, they are going to be their own short stories. Heather’s story will be available next month and the other three ladies will follow.

Here’s the last snippet I’d written in Corecia’s story.

I’ll keep you posted here with news on Heather’s release.

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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.

Christmas Love in the Square #2

Tuesday Tales is getting together to bring you a round of Christmas short stories. Some are complete in Tuesday’s post and other stories are a little longer and will run over three to four days.

Christmas Love in the Square will run over three days. Come back tomorrow for the next installment, and then Christmas Eve for the end. If you’ve followed Starting Over or Thyme for Love, you’ll have met some of these characters all ready. In this short story, Bertie, from Scrappie’s Quilt Store, is the target of Cupid’s arrow. But after a long, happy marriage and being a widow for twelve years, Bertie isn’t interested. Did Cupid aim for a hardened heart?

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pat tt christmasWith a grunt of displeasure, Bertie crossed the street and headed to the book store. Pageturners sat on the same side of the square as Scrappie’s, but on the opposite end of the block. Since Irene was at the merchant’s meeting they’d just left, Bertie figured that Sam was holding down the fort. She wished that Irene would have agreed to ask Sam about being Santa. It seemed the whole square conspired to get her and Sam together.

She wound her way through the empty outdoor tables at Java Time, the coffee shop situated next door to the book store and was surprised that Carmen hadn’t pulled them in for the winter yet. She held up a hand of greeting as she passed the large window filled with painted steaming cups of coffee and cocoa, wrapped with curly holiday ribbons and bows.

When she got to the bookstore’s window , she halted to take it all in. The display depicted a vintage Christmas from long ago. A tree filled with homespun ornaments, paper chains and burlap bows took center stage, surrounded by more children’s picture books than Bertie could imagine. An old time wagon sat next to the tree, filled with stuffed dolls, teddy bears and balls while an old fashioned train sat in a circle.

The tinkling bell over the door announced her entrance and as Sam turned from the counter and saw Bertie, his face broke out in a megawatt smile. “Bertie, love, such a radiant ray of sunshine you are.”

“Oh, stuff it, you old smoosher. Some day you’re gonna give it up.”

“Not a chance, dear. Not a chance.” A twinkle filled his eyes. “Way I see it, some day I’m going to wear you down and you’ll give in and have dinner with me.”

Bertie threw up a hand to stop him there. “What do you even want with an old lady that’s well past her prime?”

“Well, Bertie, my love, if you haven’t noticed…I’m not so far from death’s door myself. The only thing young about me is my spirit.”

She nodded her head towards the front window. “Irene borrow some things from Victoria’s shop?”

“Not at all. Why would she do that when she has me? That old wagon? Mine. Got it one Christmas when I was just a tyke. The dolls were my sisters, God rest their souls.”

“You lost your sisters already? You have any family left?”

“A niece and nephew. In Michigan. I don’t hear much from them. A birthday and Christmas card sometimes.”

“No kids or grandkids?”

A flicker of pain passed through his eyes. “I had a daughter. She was in the car with Mabel when the drunk driver hit them.”

“I’m sorry…” She laid a hand on his arm, a lump in her throat preventing her from saying more.

“Ayep. My life changed in that moment. Lost both my loves without a chance to say goodbye. Alice was just twenty eight. In the prime of her life. About to be married herself.”

“…how long ago?”

“Coming up on twenty years this Christmas Eve.”

“On Christmas Eve? You must hate the holidays.” Sympathetic pain filled Bertie’s heart. “And here I came over to ask you about being Santa.” She turned to go.

“Santa? For you Bertie dear, I’d love to be Santa.”

His words stopped her in her tracks and she turned back with a puzzled expression. “How can you, with what this time of year must mean to you.”

“Oh, now don’t get me wrong. For years and years I couldn’t have.” He dropped his voice to a whisper. “Truth be told, for too many of those years, I hid behind a bottle until the holidays were over.”

Her interest was piqued. “So what changed from that to the cheerful man you are today?”

“Because I finally learned that life is precious. Even mine. Throwing away my life wouldn’t bring my wife and daughter back.” He paused, a wan smile drifting across his lips. “And one night Mabel came to me…”

“She did? In a dream?”

“Not sure. Seemed I was wide awake. Maybe a little drunk. But, boy howdy, did she lay into me! Said I was wasting my life and she was disappointed in me. Said my actions were undermining anything good we’d built together and that I’d better shape up. If I wanted to honor her and my daughter‘s memories, I‘d better do what I can to leave this place a little brighter before I follow her home.”

“And…so…”

“And, so…here I am trying to spread a little sunshine…and trying to court the most eligible gal in the square, who won’t give me the time of day…”

“Samuel!” Bertie batted at his shoulder, not quite sure how to answer that.

“So yes. I’d love to be Santa. Just tell me when and where.”

“Here in the square. Saturday. And you’ll have to go with the Fire Chief on the old engine to deliver the presents to the children that the square adopted for Christmas.”

“Ho Ho Ho!” he bellowed out with a chuckle. “Just practicing, dear. And afterwards…you’ll go to dinner with me?”

With another swat at his shoulder – and a half a grin this time – she muttered, “We’ll see…ya old coot,” as she scooted away.

Sam just smiled and didn’t reply. Seems her words didn’t have quite the clipped tone in them that they usually did.

He had a few surprises up his sleeve. He didn’t live to be seventy without learning a few tricks. He’d be Santa all right. And this year, Santa was going to show Oak Grove Square – and Bertie in particular – a special kind of magic.

 

Cone back tomorrow for the final installment!