Today is the day that we celebrate LOVE!! Whether you are happily coupled or still searching (like me), I think we can all agree that we love a little love in our lives. Right now I'm making do with my love of reading and writing and so, as a little treat, I wrote a little out-take of my novel, Pieces of Us, especially for you today.
The out-take is a scene that is talked about in the book as having happened but you don't actually see it. It's the first Valentine's Day shared by Charlotte and Ben. I hope you all enjoy it!!
But, before I let you read the story, I have some exciting news. My Publisher, Omnific, is having a fantastic sale because today is their 3rd Birthday!!! That's right, three years of publishing some of the best romance novels in the market. To celebrate, they are giving away 3 Kindles, each loaded with swoon-worthy heroes and enticing plots.
Follow this link to read their anniversary post and get the details on how to enter the contest to WIN!!
And now, please enjoy your little out-take :)
First Valentine’s Day with Ben
The rain is sheeting down. I can barely see the road, even with my headlights on. I steer the car carefully around the corner, into my street, and breathe a sigh of relief. I made it home without crashing. I make a calculated manoeuvred of opening my umbrella as I open the car door so I stay as dry as possible. I'm pretty proud of my effort as I run along the drive way toward the front door.
I almost slip on the wet concrete as I turn back toward the road at the sound of my name. A man is jogging towards me through the rain. He doesn't have an umbrella and I can see the water running off his clothes like small waterfalls. It’s dark and the rain is so heavy that I can’t make out who it is. In his hands is a bunch of flowers.
My automatic thought is that it’s Cameron. He’s found me! I thought I’d been so careful not to let anyone but my Dad know where I was living. I knew my dad wouldn't tell Cameron anything about me so he must have found out some other way.
“ I've got nothing to say to you, Cam,” I call into the weather as my heart almost explodes in my chest. “You shouldn't have come here.”
The man pauses and there is a low chuckle. “So that’s why you don’t return my calls. I have competition.”
The voice isn't Cam’s and I recognize it now. He’s just stepped under a street light and his blond hair is plastered to his face. It’s that cop who’s been following me. Brad? Brett? I couldn't remember his name. I wrack my brain. Ben! It’s Ben.
“There’s no competition. I thought you were my ex-husband.”
He continues to walk towards me, a smile on his face. “No completion, huh? That’s good news. These are for you.”
He holds out a bunch of red roses. I bite my lip and stare at them, unwilling to reach for them.
“They’re not poisoned. You can touch them,” he says.
“Look, Ben, I appreciate the flowers but…”
“Do you mind if we go inside? This rain isn't letting up and it’s freezing.”
I don’t know what to say. He is right. It’s rude to keep him standing out in the rain without an umbrella but I don’t want him in my house. I won’t have an escape.
“You don’t have to be afraid, Charlotte. I just want to get to know you.”
I let out a sigh and nod my head. “Alright.”
I lead him up to the front door and my hand shakes as I slide the key into the lock. What am I doing? I decide that no matter what he says, I'm going to thank him for the flowers and end it there. My shattered heart is in no condition to be thinking about a new love. Cameron still haunts me.
“I like your place,” Ben says, running his hand through his hair and looking around.
“I’ll get you a towel.”
I drop my keys and purse on the buffet and go into the laundry to get a clean towel. Ben takes it gratefully and removes most of the water from his face and hair. His clothes are beyond my help.
“I would say to put those in some water but I think they’re wet enough,” Ben says, laughing.
I look down at the roses still in my hand and remember that I'm holding them.
“Right.” I turn to go find a vase but Ben’s hand is on my arm, holding me in place. I jerk away from him. His skin is too warm.
“Hey, I'm sorry if it upsets you that I'm here. This was just my last ditch attempt to get you to agree to go out with me. It’s Valentine’s Day and I thought you might be more open to a romantic proposal today. I guess it was dumb.”
He’s looking down at the floor and I feel bad for him. He really is a sweet guy.
“You’re very persistent.” I say.
He grins and I can’t help the smile that spreads over my face as well. It’s contagious. Ben has one of those smiles that warms you when you look at him. As if it’s impossible to be sad around him. Maybe he was exactly what I needed after all.
“Only when I really want something. I know we don’t know each other Charlotte, but I feel like we should. What do you say? Just one dinner and if you still aren't interested then you’ll never see me again.”
I cock my head to the side and star at him. He looks so cute with his wet hair and his sparkling blue eyes. It has been two years since I've felt any connection to another man. Two years since I’d run from Cameron. Maybe it is time to have someone in my life. God knows that Cameron and Lucy are probably together all the time.
“Alright. One dinner.”
That toothy grin is back and we stand there, smiling at each other.
“What night is good for you?” he asks.
“How about right now?” I offer. “I can cook.”
“A cosy night at home in a thunderstorm. What a perfect story to tell our grand kids.”
I want to tell him that he is being presumptuous, that it is only a dinner, but there is something about him. Something that makes me think he might be right.