February 14th is creeping up on me this year. Maybe it’s because of all this snow! After 49 years living with Denver weather, my husband and I declared never again when we threw our shovels away and headed to the Pacific Northwest.

I don’t mind changing seasons. And even a light dusting here and there, I’ll deal with it. But this weekend’s forecast of up to 10 inches – record breaking, they say – will remind me of the reasons I moved away from snow country.

I just didn’t plan my trips this year correctly! I’ll be heading south next week for a writers retreat where it’s currently a balmy 71 degrees. Ahhhh… Sounds like heaven to the fair-weathered gal.

This cold weather is doing one thing – keeping me inside to write. I’m under deadline and have to get my next book to the editor before I leave for my retreat.

And I have a short story for you too. It’s all a part of my February giveaway. Remember last week when I gave a writing prompt? Did you write? If you did, you can post a link in the comments.

But even if you didn’t, you can still play

Step One:

Enter! Be sure you’ve signed up to be a part of the giveaway – I’ll be choosing four lucky winners on Valentine’s day.

Step Two:

Write! Here’s the next writing prompt – in case you want to play. Earlier this year, I created a post on writing great love stories. I use these very strategies for every story I write. Here in this post I used a photograph as my writing prompt. For the next one, I’ll be using an idea: Online Dating. Yes, that leaves the door wide open; there are so many different ways you can take a short story. And that’s half the fun! Let your mind wander and see what kind of romance story you can write.

Step Three:

Read! As promised, here’s my short story. Enjoy!

Keeping The Romance Alive

Shannon pulled into the parking lot of Trader Joe’s. Her last client had canceled, so she was homebound an hour early.
Instead of ordering takeout, which had become somewhat of a habit, she decided tonight she would cook. Unless Noah wasn’t going to be home.
She texted her husband as she pulled her bags from the trunk.

Home on time tonight?

She placed the bags in her cart and started maneuvering through the aisles.
She glanced down at the screen when she felt the familiar vibration.


She smiled. It was such a beautiful day outside, she decided to eat on their deck. They’d both been working hard; they hadn’t had dinner together in a week.
As she pushed her cart through the floral selection, she grabbed a colorful arrangement. She added a loaf of bread, before navigating into the produce section.
She selected a variety of veggies, then moved up the next aisle. She knew she had spices at home, and had tofu in the refrigerator.
The sun was setting later in the evening, and she’d been trying to walk after dinner. But her work had been crazy lately, and she’d been taking more clients for the money. With two kids in college, every cent counted. They’d cut back on a lot of their activities; getting them through was their only focus.
And they’d done well. Their daughter would graduate in a month. Their son had one year left. They saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
Maybe it was time for them …
Shannon had been having that thought more and more. She loved what she did; she’d been a physical therapist for more than a decade, and her referral sources kept her practice filled up.
But lately, she’d been wondering if she could slow down, maybe work four days instead of five. She’d love to have an extra day to herself, to take a few classes, or even clean up the house. She’d sat in her basement in disbelief the weekend before as she weeded through boxes of toys left over from when the kids were little. Why did they still have it all?
As she turned down the wine aisle, she thought of her husband once again. They really had been working too hard. They needed some time, just for them.
Maybe …
She picked one of their favorites off the shelf. She held it up, snapped a photo, and texted it to her husband.
As she stood in line, she felt the familiar buzz once again.

I think I might be able to get out of here early.

She sent a happy face in return.
Oh, did she have plans for him.

An hour later, she heard his car. Just in time.
A white table cloth. A bright bouquet. Her fanciest dishes. A fruit and cheese platter. A loaf of fresh bread heated to perfection. A salad for them to nibble on as they talked the night away.
And last but not least, the two wine glasses they’d used at their wedding. They’d married at a vineyard in California over twenty-five years before. She only brought these out for very special celebrations; tonight was one of them.
She was uncorking the bottle when Noah came around the corner.
“Wow. What’s the occasion?”
Shannon poured and handed him a glass. “You. Me. Do we need any more?”
She smiled as his eyes lit up. Yep, that brought a grin to his handsome face. This was the man she still desperately loved. A man she couldn’t wait to spend the rest of her life with. Who still sent shivers down her spine just by walking into the room.
As they sat down, ready to talk about their days, she held up her glass. “To us. Two great kids. A wonderful house. A magical life I’m still happy we’re sharing together. The best is yet to come.”
He leaned in, touching his glass to hers. “To us. You make me feel like I’m the only man in the world. I’m so happy I was there that night when you went to the wrong party. If I hadn’t bumped into you that night, none of this might have happened.”
“It was the best mistake of my life.”
Shannon put down her glass. “So, are you hungry?”
She popped a strawberry into her mouth, savoring the flavor. Oh yeah, he got the message.
“Could I entice you to dessert before dinner?”
She loved the privacy they’d built into their outdoor space. She knew her neighbors were well out of sight, and for that she was grateful. Because she stood, pulled her t-shirt over her head, and let her skirt drop to the floor. Just her, her heels, and the finest lace she still enjoyed wearing every single day.
She’d always had a thing for sexy underwear, and she knew he didn’t mind.
“Fuck me,” he whispered under his breath.
Yep, she still did it for him too.
Delighted, she wrapped her arms around him. “Okay!”
Just like that, he was all over her. Who said fifty-somethings weren’t resourceful?
They found out just how sturdy their lounge chairs could be.
Noah fell to the chaise, pulling her down with him.
She loved this man, heart and soul. And no matter how many times they’d come together, it never seemed to get old.
He knew where to touch.
She knew what he liked.
They knew how to please.