|Image courtesy of nenetus/freedigitalphotos.net|
For me, this memory was captured in a photo taken almost 30 years ago. I was a teenager attending a church retreat with other sister churches from the area. On the final day of camp, about a hundred of us gathered on a lawn for a group picture. I remember standing in the front row with my friends when a lanky guy walked past me. He set up a camera on a tripod and directed us to look his way. That's when I saw his charming, confident smile and I couldn't tear my eyes away, especially when he ran over and stood five feet from me as the camera's timer went off. Soon after the photo was taken, we all went our separate ways and I never saw that cute guy again—or so I thought. It wasn't until a dozen years later when a friend showed my hubby and me that photo taken on a hot summer day that we realized we'd crossed paths before. He didn't remember me, but I sure hadn't forgotten him. :)
When did your special someone catch your eye? For Chloe McAlister, the main character in my upcoming book, Of Buds And Blossoms, she fell for her best friend at the most unexpected moment. Here's an excerpt of the story:
“Is the beard a deal breaker? Serious question here.”
Chloe raised her brows. “Hm?”
“Do you like me rugged or clean? Be honest, I can take it.”
Dill had never cared about his appearance before, much less asked her about it. He was a no-frills kind of guy who couldn’t be bothered with designer clothes or the latest fashions. That’s why he lived in jeans and T-shirts at work and at home. For some reason, he was concerned about a beard? “You want my opinion?”
“Sure. You understand women better than I do. Would they be cool with this?”
Tilting her head to one side, then to the other, Chloe took a long, hard look at him. She pretended to give his question some thought, pursing her lips as she studied his face. His eyes still had the same self-assured, friendly sparkle in them as the freshman boy who always asked to borrow her lecture notes. A grin tugged at the corners of his mouth, revealing his playful, easygoing nature that hadn’t changed over the years. However, that’s where the déjà vu ended.
Now that she was staring at him so intently, she almost didn’t recognize the man sitting next to her. Because he was most definitely more of a man today than he had been when they met or graduated from college or … even last week. What had happened? This Dill had the angled features and square jawline, not to mention—her eyes traveled down—the broad shoulders and defined upper body of a hot guy. An attractive, rugged-looking hot guy. She swallowed, her mouth suddenly as dry as a desert. Was it hot in here or what? “Yes, the beard,” she managed to squeak out, “you should keep.”
“Seriously?” Dill threw his head back and laughed until he was wiping tears from his eyes. “I can’t believe you went full Yoda on me. The beard you should keep.”
“You know what I mean.”
“I thought you fell asleep during our Star Wars marathon. Maybe I’ll convert you into a fan after all.”
“Finish the profile, please,” Chloe urged, eager to move on from the awkward moment.
“Okay, okay,” he agreed, before joking, “the questions I will answer.”
Hot guy or not, he was still a goofball.
Liwen Y. Ho is an Amazon bestselling author of contemporary romance, both sweet and inspirational. A marriage and family therapist in her pre-author life, she enjoys creating realistic characters and helping them find their happily-ever-afters. She lives in California with her techie husband and their two munchkins, and blogs about life as a recovering perfectionist.
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