I’m primarily an erotic romance author, but I love sweet tales as well. So today I thought I’d share a quick story of mine that appears in an anthology titled 5 Minute Love Stories published by my RWA chapter, Los Angeles Romance Authors (http://amzn.to/1tsS5Km). Happy Friday!
ROMANCE BY THE BOOK
Marie Platt unlocked the library door at exactly ten o’clock on Saturday morning. The usual crowd was gathered outside, waiting to come in – eleven-year-old Johnny, who spent hours on the weekend playing games on the library’s computers; two gum-popping teenage girls, who came at the beginning of every month to pore over the latest celebrity gossip magazines; and homeless Bart, who used the library as a place to escape the cold. But there was an unfamiliar face in the crowd today.
A man with sandy brown hair. Blue eyes. Nice mouth. He was wearing Chinos and a white Polo shirt. Not gorgeous, but he definitely looked friendly. Comfortable. Dependable. The kind of guy Marie could imagine curling up on the sofa with some Saturday night to watch a romantic movie on DVD.
Quit making up stories about other people’s lives, Marie!
Well, she couldn’t help it, after all. She was a librarian. She loved books. It was second nature for her to invent people’s life histories in her head.
So what was this man’s story? Was he here to do research for an important scientific paper? Look for something highbrow to read, like Tolstoy’s War and Peace? Or maybe he was interested in the library’s extensive collection of DVDs and audio books?
She stood to one side as the small crowd filed past her into the library, and smiled at the stranger. “If you need any help, just let me know.”
He glanced at her briefly, and Marie could’ve sworn he looked…nervous.
At a library? Why would that be?
He headed off toward one of the aisles. Curious, Marie watched him go, but eventually lost sight of him among the tall stacks. She shrugged. She’d learn more about this mystery man when she saw what he eventually selected. Walking to the front counter, she picked up an armload of books, and then spent the next few minutes returning them to their appropriate shelves.
“Er… excuse me.”
She jumped. The stranger was standing behind her, looking even more attractive up-close-and-personal.
“Can you tell me where your…um…romance section is?”
Marie’s eyebrow arched. Romance? Not War and Peace? Well, well. The mystery was getting deeper. “Certainly. You’ll find romances in the three rows by the back window.”
“Thanks.” He hustled off in the direction she indicated.
Marie forced herself to continue shelving the books in her arms, all while keeping one eye on the checkout counter. She was dying to find out what he’d pick.
He eventually returned, carrying an armload of paperbacks. Marie moved to the desk and looked them over. He’d chosen quite a diverse selection of romances. One paranormal, one science fiction, one contemporary, one Western, one Regency and one Victorian.
She looked up, and found him blushing.
“I-I’m forty-six years old,” he explained, fingering his collar nervously. “I lost my wife last year, and since then…” He sighed. “I haven’t dated in twenty years. There was a Dear Abby letter in the newspaper the other day that said I could learn a lot about what women want from these books, so…” He gave her a sheepish look, and handed over his library card.
Marie ran the plastic under the computer scanner. Mark Prentiss. A nice name to go with his nice face.
She smiled. “Well, you’ve got a great cross-section here. Personally, I prefer the English historicals. The Regency rake is a charming rascal, but for me, there’s nothing like a Victorian gentleman.”
Mark seemed to relax at her comment. Still, he asked if she had a plastic bag to carry the books. Obviously, he was not quite as evolved as he thought.
The following week, Marie waited with bated breath for his return. When Monday passed and he didn’t bring the books back in outright shock or embarrassment, she began to look forward to Saturday. Would he come today? Or would he just leave the romances in the outdoor drop box – too mortified to ever face her again?
He finally showed up at three o’clock, with the paperbacks in his arms and a broad smile on his face. There was obviously no need to hide the romances in a plastic bag any longer.
He plopped the books down on her counter.
“What a relief,” he grinned. “I was afraid I’d never measure up to the men in these stories. But what I learned from romances is that a woman basically wants a man who’s decent, who’ll treat her with respect, and who’ll love her with all his heart.” He nodded his head. “I think I can do that.”
She smiled with him. “Then you’re ready to get back out into the dating world.”
“Exactly.” He cleared his throat and glanced at her left hand. At her ring finger. “So…are you free tonight?”
Marie’s smile widened. Imagine that. She’d found her very own romantic hero. By the book.
Copyright © 2013 by Leigh Court
I hope that put a smile on your face! Until next month,