Falling in Love for the Last Time - Kitty Bucholtz

by - August 20, 2015

Today it's my pleasure to host Kitty Buchotz, my writing buddy and author of superhero urban fantasy and romantic comedy. Take it away, Kitty!

Falling in Love for the Last Time

One of my favorite parts of books and movies is that first meeting between a man and woman where the sparks fly. That electric moment is closely followed by the first kiss. You can only have a first kiss once, so it’s got to be good! Or at least be a good terrible story to tell later.

For instance, my first kiss with my husband of twenty-five years started out as a DISASTER in all caps. I was nineteen and John had recently turned twenty, so I can’t say we were terribly mature young adults. It was 1988 and I’d come of age in the “Me Generation.” My reasoning when I’d asked him out a few days earlier was, I’m a modern 80s woman, I’ll ask him out and so I’ll pay for the movie and dessert.

The date started about as badly as a date can, and it only got worse. By the end of the evening, I was determined to get my kiss and go home (i.e., walk back to the dorms). After all, I was a modern woman, I’d done all the right things, and if men can demand a kiss at the end of a date they paid for, I could, too!

Would you believe me if I told you getting that kiss was about the most work I’ve ever had on a date? I don’t know what John was thinking, but he was playing hard-to-get like his life depended on it! When I finally planted one on his lips, he didn’t react for what seemed like forever. I was pretty mad by then, and I decided I wasn’t sticking around. I was done with him.

But as I started to pull away, he finally moved. In my surprise, I stopped pulling away. Then his hand was cupping the back of my head, and his lips were doing delicious things to mine. The ice cream cookie we’d shared after the movie had nothing on this sweet treat. In fact, I decided maybe I’d give him another chance. :)

That was my last first kiss. Two and a half years later, we were married in the Presbyterian Church of Traverse City in Northern Michigan. If you’ve never been to Traverse City, you’ve got to look it up. It might end up being your next vacation destination. It’s a beautiful area situated on a pair of bays off Lake Michigan. Cherry trees bloom in the late spring, skiing and snowmobiling are popular winter activities, and the food and wine are great all year long.

I fell in love in Traverse City, so it was no surprise to find myself writing my first romance novel set in that beautiful town. My superhero series is located in “Double Bay, Michigan” – remember I told you Traverse City has two bays? In fact, all of my stories so far are set in that area. But in Little Miss Lovesick, I wanted to highlight the character and atmosphere of the real town I love so I used names of real places, including restaurants. (If you go, you must try the cinnamon rolls at The Omelette Shoppe!)

In this excerpt from the middle of Chapter One of Little Miss Lovesick, Sydney Riley runs into the new fishing guide, Matt Engel, on a girls-only fly-fishing vacation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Sparks fly, and not the good kind! But like my own romance, love wins out in the end.

If you like the excerpt, the book is free on Amazon in all countries through Saturday, August 22. And if you’re now thinking about your own romance, whether a summer fling or your last first kiss, tell us about it in the comments. It’ll be fun!

Excerpt from Little Miss Lovesick

Everyone followed Patty into the store. Everyone but me. I waved Emily off, deciding I needed to breathe in some soothing, wilderness air. The sugar blues that follow a sugar buzz wasn’t helping my roller coaster of emotions. I decided to self-medicate. I opened another candy bar and a can of Sprite from our stash.

Starting today, I would force my broken heart to heal if it was the last thing I did. Then maybe I’d lock it away someplace safe.

Don’t say that, said Little Miss Lovesick. Love is the most wonderful thing in the world. You just need to find true love.

True love. That’s what I wanted, but if I thought I had it once and I was wrong, how was I ever going to know how to find it for real?

I walked through the grass, trying unsuccessfully not to tread on the flowers. Closing my eyes, I savored the feel of the breeze on my face. Ahh, heaven. Feeling calmer, I folded the empty candy wrapper and stuck it in my pocket. I took a swallow of ice cold Sprite as I climbed the porch steps—

And ran smack into an opening screen door. Which wouldn’t have been so bad except the body moving through the door was moving in my direction and crashed into me. Cold Sprite sloshed down my shirt, making me gasp.

“Damn! Are you all right?” A hand cupped my cheek and moved the screen door away from my face. Cold Sprite dripped all down my front. I took a step backward in an awkward attempt to get away. I felt my balance wobble. The hand firmly gripped my elbow, moving me away from the danger of the stairs.

Sputtering from the pop up my nose and in one eye, I wiped at my eyes and squinted to see what had just happened.

It’s The Diet Coke Man, Little Miss Lovesick choked out.

I know I watch too many YouTube videos, but Lovesick may have been right. The Diet Coke Man from the “11:30” commercials was standing right in front of me. A flash of the commercial where the office women ogle the construction worker across the street blew through my brain. Dark hair and piercing eyes, built like a Viking. The way his black T-shirt outlined his muscular form did nothing to remind me that Heartbreak was the reason I had to get away.

Luscious, said Lovesick.

Holy… I tried to squeegee the liquid from my eye. Yeah, he looked equally fabulous with both eyes open. He stared at me in a concerned way that made my stomach flutter. I kind of liked men who looked at a woman this way. Like all you had to do was say the word and they’d fix whatever was broken.

The Diet Coke Man brushed drops of Sprite from my cheek and chin and I immediately sprang back, which only caused him to grasp my elbow tighter as I fell onto a lower step. Theoretically, I liked that kind of man. Realistically, I needed to keep my distance.

“Excuse me!” I found my footing and backed out of reach. He let go when I grabbed the handrail on the stairs.

“Sorry, sorry.” He wiped his damp hand on his jeans, and had the grace to look embarrassed. “Are you all right?” He was dangerously appealing standing there trying to help, looking both embarrassed and amused.

I shook my wet right hand, not really wanting to wipe it on my shorts (like a guy), and wiped my face with my left hand. My cold chest caught my gaze and I gasped, pulling the fabric away from my body.

“Fine!” Did I look fine? My shirt was white and wet. My bra was black and lacey. I glared at him so he knew I was lying about being fine. He couldn’t have noticed my glare, however, because he was staring at—

Look for a ring, Lovesick murmured.

You’re not looking for a wedding ring on a stranger who knocked you down and is now ogling your breasts, declared Sergeant Pride.

“Uh, wait right here,” said The Diet Coke Man, and he rushed back inside. As he opened the door, my eyes followed his left hand — but accidentally. Didn’t matter. Couldn’t tell. A moment later he was back, ripping a wad of napkins from a plastic package.

I swear, if he started dabbing at my chest with them like Hugh Grant did to Julia Roberts in Notting Hill, I’d pour the rest of my pop over his head.

“Here, I’ll trade you,” he said as he took the can and handed me the napkins.

“Thanks.” I tried to blot my shirt without making a peep show out of the black lace. I turned slightly to my right for a bit of privacy. Why did I wear this on a camping trip?

I glanced up to see if he was watching. He smiled. My hand paused while blotting my shirt. This man’s smile was so — so gorgeous. His eyes were an amazing shade of blue. I wanted to offer him the smallest of smiles back. After all, he did look fairly innocent and embarrassed. Instead, I stopped giving him the evil eye. That was as accommodating as I was willing to be.

A Rescuing Hero if I ever saw one, sighed Lovesick.

I tried to think of something to say, something funny to diffuse the tension. Something smart so I wouldn’t look like such a dork.

“I, uh…”

“I’m really sorry,” he said. He took my damp napkins and handed me back my pop can. With his left hand.

No ring! Lovesick squealed.

“Let me buy you another shirt,” he said, nodding at my wet chest. He was trying to pretend he wasn’t still staring. Rather gentlemanly for the backwoods.

He was already halfway through the door when I mumbled something that was supposed to be, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll get a fresh one from my suitcase,” but came out as, “No, I-I…”

A moment later he pressed a blue plaid button-down flannel shirt into my hands. I stared at it trying to remember a time I had ever worn a flannel shirt. Before I could think about it further, he grabbed it, ripped the tag off with his teeth, and handed the shirt back to me.

I blinked at him. He was so not Dirk. I liked that about him.

“Sorry again,” he said. “If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get a few things done before we get started.” He trotted off the porch to a nearby pickup (which he’d left unlocked in a decidedly small town way) and started rummaging around.

Before we what? I stood there staring stupidly after him, a flannel shirt in one hand and a forgotten pop can in the other. A fly buzzed past my nose and I snapped out of my trance.

You could go over and talk to him, suggested Lovesick.

Of all the things I might do on this trip, I was not going to flirt with some handsome stranger. No freaking way. My plan was to get over men, not rebound like a basketball.

About Kitty Bucholtz

Kitty Bucholtz writes superhero urban fantasy and romantic comedy, often with an inspirational element woven in. Her stories feature women whose sense of humor and nervous gutsy-ness get them into and out of all kinds of trouble.

Married to her college sweetheart, their romantic romps have included a scolding at Parliament House in Belfast for canoodling, and two trips Down Under while her handsome hubby made a movie penguin named Mumble dance. Meanwhile, she’s (sort of) fighting an addiction to all things Monsters, Inc. Only God knows where they’ll wind up next, but it’s sure to be another adventure filled with romance and laughter!

Find her at www.kittybucholtz.com

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  1. Thanks for inviting me to be your guest, Coleen! So fun to talk about summer romances at the end of my summer and not-quite-beginning of yours. :-D

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