A Bumpy Ride to Romance – Pat Boulton
1500 words Romance
Barbara had fallen out with her daughter, because she was forever trying to find a man for her. She loved her daughter very much, but she didn’t want a man in her life, she was happy as she was, that is, until she had a knock to her car and the cause of that knock changed her mind.
“You’re getting too choosy in your old age, that’s your trouble.” Barbara gazed out of the window; she had taken umbrage at her daughter’s remark. Right, so choosy she could be, and why not, but old? Never! After all, she was only seventy, in her head coming on forty. She had her own teeth; or most of them; trendy in her appearance, and thanks to the bottle in her bathroom cabinet, no grey hair.
A Cat May Look at a King – Tracey Walsh
3000 words Historical / Romance
It’s 1617 and Catherine, Thomas and the rest of the household staff at Hoghton Tower are keen to see their royal visitor, King James, but life will never be the same again after his visit.
That day in 1617 started the same way as every other day Catherine had spent as scullery maid at Hoghton Tower in Lancashire. But as she hurried downstairs to begin her early morning chores Catherine remembered that today was different after all. It was her sixteenth birthday and the housekeeper, Mrs Baines, had promised that if Catherine worked hard and behaved herself she would be promoted to the position of housemaid. That would mean no more nights staying awake, ensuring that all the fires in the house stayed lit. It would also mean that instead of just one half-day off a month she would have half a day every fortnight.
A Fresh Start – Michele Dunn
1600 words Romance
It’s never too late to change the direction of your life. David wasn’t happy with his job, his love life, or his living situation and that’s exactly what he decided to do. The results were certainly life changing.
Everything in my life had become a merry-go-round of nothingness. No girlfriend, no car, no home. Living with my mum once again at the age of twenty-nine was not how I pictured my life. The only thing that saved me from total depression was my degree in Architecture. It was the one thing that allowed me to keep following my dreams despite all the setbacks that have plagued me for the last three years, leading me to this point. I hated my job. Yes, I was working in my chosen field, but I was under-utilised and had no control over any project that I worked on. I was merely a pencil-pusher, drawing the visions of somebody else’s design.
A John by Any Other Name – Peter Lingard
1600 words Humour / Romance
A woman is confused about with whom she has a blind date, but the man she picks thinks it’s wonderful.
Jennifer arrived early on Saturday evening to meet John Miller, an almost-blind-date arranged by her sister. She sat on a bench by the fountain in St. Francis’ Square, draped her slender arms along the wooden backrest, and tilted her head to catch the glow of the setting sun. John Miller’s family lived in Adelaide but he had gained his degrees in economics and geography at Melbourne University. It was there that Jennifer’s brother-in-law had been friendly with the man who was soon to commence working for the town’s most prestigious brokerage house. Jennifer had seen a photograph of a group of students that included John before being asked if she fancied the idea of a date with him.
A Kiss on Route 66 – Theresa Van Meter
6800 word Romance
Marshall is from England, and on his first holiday to the United States. He plans on cruising Route 66. Betty, his reluctant hostess, has dreamed of visiting England, for years. During their cruise they are kidnapped by crazed gunmen. Will they live and find love on Route 66?
Betty stared at the computer screen and sighed. She inhaled deeply and could almost smell the fragrant English countryside, or at least what she imagined the scent would be like. “What’s wrong?” Christina asked. She opened the microwave oven and pulled out a steaming cup of hot water, then plopped a tea bag into it. Betty frowned. “That’s not the proper way to have tea.” “Why not? I’ve seen you do it before.” “Maybe so, but it’s still not the proper way.” Christina glanced at the computer screen. “I should have known. Are you dreaming about England again?”
A Peach Offering – Tamara Jones
775 words Romance
Violet and Peter are preparing for a summer holiday, but their marriage seems unhappy and close to breaking. How will the enforced intimacy of the holiday affect their relationship?
He was outside again, tending to his precious peach tree. Violet watched him from the upstairs bedroom window, he was oblivious to everything, including her. No, especially her. Absently she continued folding the shirt she held in her arms, and wondered how they were going to get through the two weeks of their approaching summer holiday without the routines and distractions into which he seemed to escape from her every moment he could here at home.
A Perfect Day? – Rebecca Holmes
2400 words Humour / Romance
Heather eagerly anticipates a day out in the Lakes, visiting her sister and brother-in-law. Her best clothes have nothing to do with the fact that Edward will be there. They meet her at the station, equipped for fell-walking. From there, it’s downhill. Or should that be ‘up mountain’?
“You, Heather, are the original hopeless romantic.” My sister’s words ran through my mind as I checked my appearance in a handbag mirror on the final stage of my journey. I’m not normally vain, but today I wanted to look my best. Luckily the other passengers had disembarked at a previous station, so that I had the compartment to myself, as the train puffed towards Westmorland and the scenery became more hilly with each passing mile. I was used to hills, of course, coming as I did from a Lancashire town surrounded by moors. But, much as I loved them, they couldn’t compare to proper mountains, especially on a day like this, with a clear blue sky. At least my sister wouldn’t be able to joke about me having my head in the clouds.
A Piece of Pink Ribbon – Patsy Collins
Elle Meadows was used to the needs of the farm coming before anything she might want for herself so didn’t get her hopes up when a florist’s van pulled into their driveway. Lack of flowers she could cope with, but did the driver really need to call her ‘mate’?
This story is included in the collection Up The Garden Path
Elle Meadows limped back towards the warmth of the farmhouse, clutching the piece of pink ribbon and trying not to cry. Was she being unreasonably selfish to hope for one small touch of luxury or comfort in her life? Normally she didn’t mind the hard work, the dirt or the early mornings; she liked working on the farm. The sight of their cows grazing happily, a new litter of piglets being brought into the world or the hens roosting safely for the night always made her smile. She loved the scent of freshly made hay, fresh warm milk and the wood smoke from the range in the kitchen. Today though she felt that if she were to see one more muddy animal or smell the sweaty aroma from its damp back then she’d be ready to head for the city and apply for an office job.
A Red, Red, Rose – Samantha Tonge
Despite what their fellow students say, Alastair and Rose are just good friends – after all, a Scot and an English girl could never make the perfect couple… Or could they?
This story is included in the collection Sweet Talk
With a grin, Alistair lightly punched Rose on the shoulder, as if he were her brother – except that he wasn’t. Quite simply, they were the best of friends. Rose tired of explaining this to her housemates, Cheryl and Susie, who regularly winked and nudged, convinced that the Scotsman and English girl made the perfect couple. ‘Glad you chose to study French, then?’ said Alistair, as Rose gave another sigh. They’d just left the university buildings and were heading towards the library. ‘Did you keep up with everything, in that lecture?’
A Rising Tide – Peter Youell
Over the last 3 Years Queensland Australia has suffered from severe floods. This story is woven around one the floods, and the people caught up in it.
“I’m not going!” Jenny said turning away from Cole, her red hair swirling around her shoulders. She liked him a lot but was not quite sure of her true feelings toward him; his English mannerisms clashed with her outback upbringing. How they managed to get along together was a mystery to her. “I am only thinking of your safety,” Cole said quietly. Jenny turned, “Are you?” “Yes, I am. At least your Mother and Father agreed it was safer to leave the farm. You know the weather bureau doesn’t issue storm and flood warnings for nothing.” His voice trailed away.
A Romance Long Age, But Not Forgotten – Peter Pitt
1500 words Romance
An open letter. An explanation, to a former girl-friend of over sixty years ago, of why I agreed to our break-up.
Dear G… We have not set eyes on each other for over sixty years. Yet, I have never forgotten you, and indeed, still feel love for you. All those years ago, I was really ‘in love’ with you. What was it that night, coming from the cinema, having had little conversation that prompted you to say ‘Perhaps we should stop seeing each other?’ Although, in my heart I did not want our relationship to end, I found myself saying ‘Maybe we should.’
A Sister’s Diary – Linda Lewis
3000 words Romance / Humour / Fairytale
This light-hearted story is a modern retelling of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, told through diary entries written by one of the ugly sisters.
Monday 24th June The day Mother told us she was getting married again, I was very upset, especially when it meant gaining another sister, but it’s actually worked out rather well. In our old house, I had to share a bedroom with Gloria. We don’t exactly see eye to eye, so that wasn’t much fun. My step father already had a daughter, Lucinda her name is, so when we moved in with them, I assumed she’d be keeping her room. After all, this has been her home for twenty years, AND she was here first, but Mother had other ideas.
A Time for Sharing – Fay Wentworth
1750 words Romance
When two children share a swing, romance follows; and history repeats itself.
“Granddad, it’s my swing!” Luke’s dark eyes flashed up at me and his bottom lip protruded obstinately. Sturdy legs apart, my four year old grandson waited for me to resolve his problem. Glancing over his head I saw the swing swaying to and fro beneath the old apple tree. Hands circling both ropes and feet kicking the ground defiantly, Susie stared at us. “She’s on my swing!” Luke repeated and I sighed, preparing to convince my precious grandchild that sharing was a good thing.
Ad Lib – Patsy Collins
800 words Romance / Humour
Andy knows life isn’t a rehersal. He wishes the same wasn’t true of his romances with Jemima.
This story is included in the collection By My Side
Jemima ran her manicured hand through her fine, blonde hair and asked, “Will you marry me?” Andy almost dropped his script. He blinked and wondered if he’d heard her correctly. She moved along the sofa so she sat with her thigh touching his, took his hand in hers, looked into his eyes and whispered the words again, “Will you marry me?”
Adrenalin Rush – Suzie Hindmarsh-Knights
3000 words Adventure / Romance
When Cindy’s husband Mark talks her into a dive holiday in the hope to re-ignite their tired relationship, she never thought she would be instrumental in saving his life.
It was meant to be the holiday of a lifetime, a trip with friends and time together to bring back the old magic we’d once shared, my husband Mark won me over with his words. It wasn’t that we were unhappy, but after twenty years of marriage, we’d lost the old spark, and life had got in the way, as it does in many marriages, with the challenge of bringing up children and balancing a career. And so I said yes to the dive trip. It was our first morning, and I woke to the chorus of birds outside our room. Mark was draped around me and sweet memories of our lovemaking lingered. The holiday looked to be full of the magic he’d promised… that was until I stepped onto the dive boat.
Affairs of the Heart – Cath Delaney
2000 words Romance
Married couple Jane and John are very successful artists, with John’s pottery and Jane’s weaving much sought after. Their parties, held to promote their business, are legendary. But although the world views them as a golden couple, the truth is very different…
I catch her staring at me across the room. It’s a look of intensity, a slight frown creasing her forehead. ‘So you’re the latest, are you?’ I think and move across the room towards her. “I’m Jane, I don’t think we’ve met,” I say, offering my hand. Beneath my social smile I’m thinking ‘but I know what you’re about.’ She takes my hand and her limp-lettuce handshake gratifies; she’s not as confident as she looks, with her geometric hair cut and designer dress. “Yes, I recognised you from the photos in the shop. I’m Anna,” she says. “John invited me. I met him at the museum, at a talk about his pottery. I’m very interested in ceramics.”
After a While – Peter Lingard
2400 words Romance / Humour
A fickle, inept man manages to get a date with the woman of his dreams.
This story is included in the Essence of Humour collection
I know her name because I’ve heard people call out to her. I’ve seen her out in the village with her mother, or girlfriends. Curiously, I have never seen her with a boyfriend. She must be saving herself for me. She’s sexy, beautiful and around five-feet-seven-inches tall. Her blue-black silken hair drops to her shoulders and curls under itself. It is not an exaggeration to say her hair is like that of models who flick their locks from side to side in shampoo commercials.
All Talk – Patsy Collins
1500 words Romance / Humour
Amy and I wanted to find Cara a nice man so she’d be as happy as us.
He had to be someone pretty special though.
This story is included in the Essence of Humour collection
“We need to find Cara a nice man,” Amy whispered at the dress fitting. “We’ve been trying for years, what makes you think we can do it now?” I asked. “She’s seen how happy we both are and I think she’s ready to settle down.” Cara swished back the curtain. “What do you think, Lucy?” “You look beautiful, but I knew you would.,” I told her. It was true, she’d been a beautiful bridesmaid at Amy’s wedding and would do the same for me next month. We’d made a pact to be bridesmaids at each other’s weddings. Technically Amy will be my matron of honour, but you don’t think of things like that when you’re nine.
Alone Again, Or – Alan C. Williams
1130 word Romance
On the anniversary of his marriage , Warren Vickers is visited by his daughter, Karen. As they listen to music from his youth, Warren tells her about an embarrassing incident from his teenage tears but is he telling her the entire tale?
Karen was here today. You should have seen her; more beautiful than ever. I guess she came to keep an eye on me and see how the old man’s going. She’s always been good like that. We discussed the usual things over a bottle of Pinot Noir; shopping, my health, how Steve’s getting on at work, the girls. It was little Jannie’s birthday last week. I think I told you about the party … her in that bunny rabbit costume. She looked so cute. Hard to believe she’s three already.
And Mother Makes Three – Karenne Griffin
3100 words Romance
Mia finishes with ‘mummy’s boy’ Oliver and goes to Cornwall on holiday. She meets Jerry, who also seems to be a mummy’s boy. Will he convince her that he’s a risk worth taking?
‘I’m sorry, Mia,’ said Oliver, scratching his left ear anxiously in the way that annoyed her. ‘Mum wants me to take her to Glyndebourne on Tuesday. That means I won’t be able to come to Cornwall with you after all.’ Somehow Mia had sensed this would happen. Eunice Caulfield kept her son on a short piece of string, which she liked to pull on a regular basis. Hardly a week went by without some sort of demand. Mia was determined to keep her cool. The ominous silence seemed to make Oliver even more anxious.
And the Organ Played On – Fay Wentworth
2000 words Romance
When Kathy’s husband suggests a holiday in Austria to celebrate their wedding anniversary, Kathy hopes it will save their marriage, but will memories from the past intervene?
This story is included in the collection By My Side
Kathy stood in the small courtyard in Kufstein and gazed up at the fortress towering starkly white above her. Her heart contracted as she heard the sigh of wind bellowing through the thousands of organ pipes on the Heroes Organ in the massive round tower; the music filtering gently through the eaves and wafting softly to the waiting crowd below. Gradually the noise eased to a crescendo, swooping triumphantly through the narrow streets and soaring to the snow clad mountains. “A prayer for peace,” Kathy whispered to herself and her eyes filled with tears as she thought of the first time that prayer had been played at the end of the war, and was now played daily in remembrance.
Back Pedalling – Cath Delaney
1000 words Romance
Rob and Lisa met through their love of cycling. But Rob always has to meet a target whereas Lisa prefers a more relaxed approach. Their difference comes to a head one wild and windy day. But will it end their relationship?
Panting and sweating, I propelled my bike up the hill. Rob was already at the top, leaning against a wall, looking at his watch. There were ominous grey clouds in the sky and the howling wind was against me. I finally reached the top and Rob frowned. “You’re slow today, Lisa, you’re usually quicker than this.” “I’m exhausted, that hill was a killer.” “Well, we can only have five minutes break or we won’t make the campsite in Brisedale before dark.” With that Rob turned away and studied the map for the umpteenth time.
Beeched – Perry McDaid
1250 words Romance
Following doctor’s orders a shy guy meets an intriguing woman sitting on a high wall. She has to leave before he can say anything meaningful and he’s left kicking himself. He goes home to take it out on a tree. Chance decides otherwise.
This story is included in the collection By My Side
“Take some gentle exercise”, the doctor had recommended earnestly, “short walks.” To match his short sentences and sessions no doubt. Martin looked down on the valley and took a deep, refreshing lungful of air. “Lush,” he sighed, appreciating the sheer virginal energy of new-grown grass. “I beg your pardon?” He’d thought himself alone in the country park, and had been merrily chattering to various birds identified, complimenting them on their song, plumage and coquettish antics. He blushed like a robin in autumn at the thought of what the owner of the sensually throaty voice might have overheard.
Best Medicine – Michelle Martin Dobbins
900 words Romance
Isabel is busy nurse, a single mom, and completing grad school online. She doesn’t have any time for romance, but maybe she could find some time for the right man.
“Good Morning, Mr. Hinkle. Ready for your morning vitals?” asked Isabel. “If you’re my nurse today, I am.” Mr. Hinkle winked. “I am, if you behave.” Isabel smiled. “What? Telling you that my son, Fredrick, is the perfect man for you? That’s misbehaving?” asked Mr. Hinkle. “Yes, it is. I told you, I don’t have time for men. I’ve got to finish up my masters degree,” said Isabel. Mr. Hinkle was one of her favorite patients.
Better Than a Fairytale – Michelle Martin Dobbins
780 words Romance
Debbie reads fairytales to her young niece, but hasn’t had any romance in her own life for a long time. When a frog comes to her picnic, will she meet her Prince Charming or be stuck with the frog?
“You should try kissing a frog, Aunt Debbie,” said Jane. Debbie laughed and kissed Jane on the forehead as she tucked the covers in around her. “I must have read you too many fairytales. Real life doesn’t work that way. Frogs don’t turn into princes. Anyway, I’m only 30. I’ve got plenty of time to meet my Prince Charming. Now go to sleep. Your parents will be home soon.”