Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day by Merrillee Whren

Today is Valentine's Day and for those who have read my February 14th blog post every year, you'll know that today is also my wedding anniversary. We are celebrating forty-four years of marriage. This is a photo of my hubby and me sharing a kiss. My brother took this photo while we were visiting a winery near Spokane, Washington a few years ago. Here's another kiss on our wedding day. Our hair is much darker in this photo.
Besides, sharing some real life kisses today, I'm sharing an "almost kiss" from my book, Hometown Promise, the first book in my Kellersburg series. Tap on the link to get more information and buy links for the book.
     He reached into the backseat and brought out a small bag decorated with red hearts. “I got you a little gift. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
     Juliane’s heart fluttered. “But I didn’t get you anything.”
     “I didn’t expect anything. Your going to the banquet with me was a gift.”
     The intensity in his gaze took her breath away.
     She took the bag and opened it. A little wooden house sat nestled in the tissue paper. She lifted it out.
     “It’s a German weather house.” Lukas pointed to the figurines standing in the doorways on either side of the thermometer mounted on the front. “When the weather is bad, the man comes out slightly, and when the weather is sunny, the woman comes out.”
     “It’s adorable. I love it.” Looking up, she saw relief in his eyes. “Thank you.”
     “I have to give Grandpa credit. He suggested it.” Lukas pointed to the thermometer. “The temperature indicates that I should get you out of this cold car.”
     “Good idea.” Juliane laughed and put the weather house back in the bag and slipped her arm through the handles.
     Walking to her front porch in the cold night air, she snuggled against him as he draped an arm around her shoulders.
      They skirted an icy patch in front of the steps. “You should get some deicer for that spot. I wouldn’t want you to fall and break something.”
     “You’re right.” She was falling all right—falling for this wonderful man. She hoped it wouldn’t mean a broken heart. When they stepped onto the porch, she turned to face him. Her heart hammered as he smiled. “I had a great time tonight.”
     “Me, too.” He stepped closer.
     Her pulse raced with anticipation as she raised her head to look into his eyes. She couldn’t miss the caring in them. Every nerve hummed. He gently pulled her into his arms.
He lowered his mouth to hers. But at the last second, as she was about to close her eyes, that old incident raced through her mind in a blinding flash, leaving her shaken. Alarm took over, and she turned away.
     A huge lump formed in her throat. All evening she’d waited for this moment, anticipated this kiss. Why had she panicked? She wished the porch would open up and swallow her.
He stepped back, a troubled expression clouding his features as his forehead creased in a frown. He didn’t say anything, just stared at her.
     Embarrassed, she quickly turned to the door and fumbled to fit her key into the lock, the gift bag dangling from her arm. “Thanks again. I had a lovely time.”
     “Did I do something wrong?”
     She hunched her shoulders, afraid to turn and face him. Misery marched in and swept away all the good feelings of the evening. She thought she’d forgiven him, thought she’d put the past behind them. Why had she let that bad memory ruin everything? How was she going to explain?
     Taking a deep breath, she shook her head. “I’m sorry. It’s not your fault. It’s mine.”
     “Would you care to explain, or should I go?”
     She couldn’t let him go. He deserved an explanation. Maybe getting that event out in the open would put this relationship on a better footing. Wasn’t that what she wanted?

Have you ever had a kiss that didn't go quite as you had planned?

Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of American. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty-plus years, and has two grown daughters. Connect with her on her Facebook page and sign up for her newsletter.