I was thrilled when I was offered the chance to promote Prince’s Son of Scandal with a Harlequin mini-romance in Woman’s World magazine.
The first time I was paid for fiction was for a story I sold to Woman’s World long before I sold my first romance novel. I would have to dig through my scrapbook to find the year, but it was a very good day when I got that news!
When I sat down to write this one, I already knew their readers enjoy very sweet, cute-meet stories, as opposed to the high drama, emotional angst, and sexiness of Presents. I was delighted when I saw Meeting Mr. Right passed muster over on the Writing for Woman’s World blog.
Fun Fact: My mother-in-law is a lifelong reader of Woman’s World. I kept meaning to tell her this was coming out, but forgot. She called me when she saw it and said, “I thought I heard your voice as I was reading it, then I saw your name at the bottom.”
Meeting Mr. Right came out in the Nov 27, 2017 issue. You can read it below. Enjoy!
She’s known him forever…but finally meeting him is better than she ever dreamed!
“It’s me,” Carla sang out as she entered Bells & Bows, the shop owned by her best friend Veronica. “I’ll buy. They still have pumpkin spice across the street.”
The storefront of occasion supplies was full of autumn harvest and Halloween decor. A few angels and reindeer were floating in, but Carla was here to discuss taking photos at Veronica’s parents’ anniversary party tomorrow.
But the store was deserted.
“V?” Carla called, moving toward the archway into the back room where Veronica stored helium tanks, wedding arbors, and deflated bouncy castles.
A man came through. He was nice looking with brown hair and a surprisingly rich tan for today’s October’s drizzle. He wore a white T-shirt over faded jeans with a torn pocket. He wiped his hands on a cloth as he offered an engaging smile.
“Veronica ran to the bank. I’m her—”
“Bobby!” Carla blurted as she recognized him.
He stood tall and straight. “I go by Rob these days.” His gaze took a long explore of her face. Dawning recognition warmed his eyes. “Carla?”
She touched her hot cheeks. They were hard as apples, she was smiling so big.
“I can’t believe I’m finally meeting you.” She had crushed on him in her preteens without ever meeting him. Every summer, Veronica had gone to her grandparents’ farm, returning in September with stories of her legendary Cousin Bobby. He always sounded funny and kind and he lived in the most exciting places.
“V always talks about you. How’s Gary?” he asked as they shook hands.
“Still alive!” She chuckled at his knowing the name of their adventurous family pet. “Goats aren’t supposed to live this long, but he’s going strong.”
“At one point, I thought he was your boyfriend.”
“Gary?” That made her laugh again. “No, but there might have been times I thought he was my best bet.
He released her hand, but the glimmer in his eye made her think of love at first sight.
She clasped her hands together. They grew as tangled as her tongue.
“I didn’t get you dirty, did I? I’m working on the compressor.”
He was a mechanic in the army, she recalled. “I’m fine,” she murmured. “You’re in town for the party? On leave?”
“For the weekend, yes. I’ve always wanted to see Cranston. I’m glad they’re holding it here.”
“Really?” Her disappointment that he wouldn’t be here long was overshadowed by astonishment. Cranston was a small town named for its founder, her great-grandfather. It offered pretty hikes through rolling hills, big stretches of farmland and ice-fishing in winter, but tourists rarely made a point of stopping here.
“You always post such nice pictures. Is it weird that I follow you online? V likes them and they show up in my feed.”
“It’s totally fine.” She had seen him like her posts and always felt flattered. She had never found the nerve to reach out to him, though, even though her youthful curiosity had never abated. “You must see far more exotic places, though. I envy your travel. It’s a huge dream of mine.”
“Oh? What’s stopping you?”
She shrugged, sheepish. “I could make the jump to full-time freelance and should do it while I’m unattached, but I also want to share the experience. I’m waiting for the guy who wants to go with me before we settle down.” She covered her mouth, embarrassed at over-sharing, but he was so easy to talk to. “I haven’t said that aloud to anyone. Not even to Veronica.”
“Your secret’s safe with me.” The way he tucked his chin and held her gaze with a somber one made a bubble of happiness rise in her. “But it’s ironic.” He leaned on the door jamb, thumbs hooking into the waistband of his faded jeans. “I’ve always envied you and V for growing up in one spot. I’m an army brat. My only constant was my summers at our grandparents’ farm.”
Did that mean he was looking for a woman who wanted to stay in one place?
“I guess we always want what we don’t have,” she said, forcing a fatalistic smile.
“Or maybe we know what we want when we find it.” He was looking at her in a way that made her pulse thrum. He cleared his throat and straightened to pull keys from his pocket. “How about I text V to meet us at the coffee shop? I’ll buy. We can get to know each other properly.”
“I already feel as if we’ve known each other forever,” she said, half under her breath.
He paused as he held the door, crooked smile pulling into a wider grin. “So do I.”