I’m here today to talk about my new release, They Met in the Park. It’s the second of the Meet Cute Chronicles books, three completely standalone stories connected only by the meet-cute theme.
They Met in the Park is a story about forty-somethings Jacke and David who meet in the park when David is walking his elderly neighbor’s dog. It’s a quiet sort of romance about two men who thinks they’re not relationship material and have more or less resigned to being alone the rest of their lives.
I’m a big fan of the quiet romances; where the characters connect deeply and show their affection in the little things, and in a personal way. So less big bouquets of roses and boxes of fancy chocolates and more buying a hot chocolate in the drive-thru for your person when they got caught in the rain. Less elaborate dates and more walks in the park, talking. Less explosions of desire and more warm, steady touches. Those kinds of things make my stomach warm and melty and leave me with a dreamy smile on my face.
Jacke and David’s story is all about walks in the park, drive-thru hot chocolate, and warm, steady touches.
EXCERPT FROM They Met in the Park
I’ve never felt anything like this before. I’m not stupid enough not to understand what it is, but it’s unexpected. After going so long without feeling anything but shallow affection for the few lovers I’ve had in my life, I figured I’m not the kind of person who falls in love. But after knowing David only a few days and being able to count the number of times we’ve seen each other on one hand, it seems I’m about to be proven wrong.
I don’t have to wait long for him to arrive. He parks in the empty spot next to me and jumps out of the car. He’s bundled up properly, protected against the cold. He’s wearing a different overcoat, a warmer one, and a soft-looking scarf wrapped around his neck, neat and elegant enough to make any old-time gentleman proud. He’s the complete opposite of me and my beanie, thick utility jacket, faded jeans, and scruffy boots, but he doesn’t seem to care so why should I?
I like him all formal and buttoned up. It makes me want to peel off all the layers, slowly and carefully, and discover what’s underneath. It makes me want to mess away the perfect; I want to run my hands all over his body until all that’s left of him is a sweaty panting mess. I’m sure he’ll be irresistible with eyes wide and blown pupils, body quivering and begging for more.
“Hey you,” he says, his grin stretched wide, his eyes mirroring the warmth blooming inside me. “Just a second.” He opens the back door and lets out Princess. She runs directly to me, sets her little paws on my shin, tongue lolling out. She’s wearing her boots and a warm-looking sweater, knitted in intricate patterns.
I crouch and give her a scratch behind the ears. “Hey, girl.” She greets me with a dainty lick on the back of my hand.
David approaches, and after a final scratch, I stand. On an impulse, I lean forward and press a kiss on his cheek. “Hi,” I mumble when I pull back. My face is flaming; I don’t know what got into me. I’m not the kissing kind.
But his smile widens even more. “What a lovely greeting. What did I do to deserve it?”
“Invite me out for a walk with you?”
He steps closer, all the way into my space, laces his fingers with mine, and returns the kiss. His lips linger on my cheek, spreading warmth through my body like ripples on water, and all I want to do is wrap my arms around him and pull him close. Feel his warmth.
When he steps back, taking his warmth with him, the chill is twice as severe as earlier, and I shiver.
“Ready to go?” David asks.
I hum and we take off into the park. Our pace is slow, and we walk hand in hand, shoulders brushing, sending sparkles of electricity through my body even with the layers of clothing between us. We don’t talk much; David is unusually quiet.
“Are you all right?” I ask after a few minutes, bumping my shoulder against his.
“I am.” He flashes me a smile and strokes his thumb over mine. “Why?”
“You’re not talking.”
He chuckles. “Yeah, I can see why that’d make you worried.”
“I guess I just … enjoy being quiet with you.”
He nods. “You don’t make demands. You just … are.”
I stop and tug his hand lightly. He turns and looks at me. “Is that a good thing?” I ask.
He steps into my space. So close his breath caresses my cheek. “Yes.”
My gaze falls to his mouth. His lips are slightly parted and surrounded by a shadow of stubble. They’re luring me in, begging me to kiss him, to ghost my mouth over his, bump our noses, touch my tongue against his. What will he taste like? Are his lips as soft as they look? Is he an eager kisser?
All this is new to me, too. I’ve never been much of a kisser. Not that I’m against it, but kissing’s never the goal of hook-ups. If any of the guys I’ve hooked up with over the years have tried to kiss me, I’ve wriggled my way out of it. I’ve never longed to feel someone’s lips against mine. And not once have I thought if I don’t kiss him right now, I’m gonna die.
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