Isn’t that Romantic?

This year for Valentine’s Day, we here at Women and Words invited some of our friends to tell us about a romantic moment in their lives. And, just for fun, we answered the question as well.

Missouri Vaun

Like my character Royal Duval in Whiskey Sunrise, I’m catastrophically optimistic. Even still, I don’t think I really believed in love at first sight until it happened to me.

It was at a museum event where I first met Evelyn. The encounter was very brief and we only exchanged a few words, but when we shook hands, I had this flash forward moment where I sensed we would be together. I dismissed the feeling as wishful thinking, but then a few weeks later we did meet again. We had the longest first date in history that, among other things, included a drive out to the Pacific coast. I remember standing at an overlook thirteen hundred feet above the ocean. I leaned against the railing and Evelyn leaned against my back and encircled my waist with her arms.

That intimate moment offered me a rush of sensations. Feeling the warmth of Evelyn’s embrace I was overwhelmed by the most amazing sense of contentment. As if I’d been missing and suddenly found. I knew in that moment that Evelyn gave me something that I didn’t even know I was missing, something I couldn’t even really name. I knew I was in love. We were married one year later. Happy Valentine’s Day, my true love.


Bio: Missouri Vaun grew up in the Deep South. She spent twelve years working for newspapers in places as disparate as Chicago and Jackson, Mississippi. Her stories are heartfelt, earthy; speak of loyalty and our responsibility to others. She and her wife will celebrate their seventh anniversary this summer. They live in northern California. Find Missouri at her website.

Carsen Taite

We chatted online for about a month after I reached out to her on We mostly talked about some of the very odd dates we’d been on in our respective I’m-ready-to-start-dating-again-journeys. I learned a lot about her in that month. She was a fan of good coffee. Check. She loved animals. Check. Smart. Check. Funny. Check. The only thing left to do was meet in person to see if the final, essential box could be checked off.

A coffee date – casual, public, low pressure. We picked the tiny café at one of our favorite bookstores (books – double check) on a crisp, cool November day. I pulled into the parking lot and turned down one of the rows, pulling into a space at the same time as a black SUV several spaces down. Anxious already, my heart started beating into overdrive as I got out of the car, my gaze tracking the driver of the other vehicle as she stepped down from her ride. Black boots, black leather jacket, snug jeans, and legs for days. I drank in every detail and when our eyes met, I knew this was her, and I knew I was in love. Chemistry. Check.

We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary last year. Building a life together. Check. I still get that feeling. Everyday. Check.


Carsen Taite is a true believer in true love and a romance novelist. I have thirteen published novels with Bold Strokes Books:, It Should Be A Crime, Do Not Disturb, Nothing but the Truth, The Best Defense, Beyond Innocence, Rush, Courtship and the Luca Bennett Bounty Hunter series and the Lone Star Law series. My former career as a criminal defense lawyer means you’ll find a heavy dose of legal drama in most of my titles. Find her at her website.

Karin Kallmaker

Romance is a lot of little things. I might write about the big romantic moments that bring two people together, but I think it’s the little things that are the glue. Years ago, when we were new parents, one of the most romantic things ever was in the form of an extra hour of sleep after a long writing session. There was coaching the kids on how and when to safely deliver a bottled coffee to wake me up. Finding fingerless gloves for when my office is cold. Successfully hiding a gift so I could discover a brand new bike on Christmas morning. Organizing family and friends to play Trivial Pursuit: The Karin Edition.

Sometimes, even, ignoring that another pair of shoes has joined the household. Well, maybe it’s that she didn’t notice, but I prefer to think of it as romantic restraint. Oh—and letting me have the last piece of bacon. That’s pretty special especially when I’m not sure I have ever or would ever do the same for her.


Karin Kallmaker is a multiple Lambda and Goldie winner of over two dozen lesbian romance, erotica, and science fiction/fantasy novels based in the San Francisco Bay area. Her most recent novels are Just Like That and Watermark. Keep your eyes peeled for her forthcoming novel, Captain of Industry, due out in June. You can find Karin at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter. You can also find her blogging at Romance and Chocolate.

Georgia Beers

As a planner, somebody who has to have all her ducks in a row at all times, it’s very difficult to surprise me. But it can be done, as my wife Bonnie proved on my birthday many years ago.

I was in sales at the time and a large part of my job consisted of making sales calls, visiting clients and sitting with them to discuss their needs. So this one Thursday, the day before my birthday, Bonnie told me she had a friend, Greg, who ran a company in the small town of Geneva, which is on Seneca Lake here in upstate New York. Not only that, but she said she set up an appointment for me and, as it was on her day off, she’d like to go with me so she could do the introductions. Geneva is about a 45-minute drive from my office at the time, so if nothing else, Bonnie and I would have some time together during the trip. I agreed to her accompanying me.

Also in Geneva is an elegant and romantic hotel/restaurant/bar/winery called the Belhurst Castle, gorgeous and set right on the lake. My friend and coworker, Erin, sold to them. At the last minute, she gave me a package and asked me if we could drop it off, as we’d be driving right by and it would save her a 90-minute round trip. Of course, we said yes.

First off, we got a late start. In addition to my need for plans, I also need to be on time. Being tardy stresses me out. So Bonnie was driving and we were behind schedule and the longer it took us to get there, the more stressed and cranky I became. I told Bonnie I wanted to call Greg to tell him we’d be late, but she waved it off, telling me he was very laid back and not to worry about it. That, of course, stressed me out even more. To make matters worse, Bonnie then mentioned that we were going to stop at the Belhurst Castle first and drop off Erin’s package (which, of course, would make us that much later). By the time we pulled into a parking spot at the Castle, I was furious with her and she knew it. That was when she turned off the engine, turned to me with an enormous smile, and said, “I lied. We’re staying here.”

I was totally confused as she got out of the car and went around back. I followed her, lost, and said, “What about Greg?”

“There is no Greg.” She pulled a blanket out of the trunk and uncovered a small suitcase. My suitcase. She’d packed clothes for me, told work I was taking the next day off, and spirited me away to the Belhurst Castle for my birthday, all without my knowledge. It was a long time ago, but I can still see all of it, including Bonnie’s very satisfied face at having surprised her unsurprisable wife. It goes down as one of the most romantic things anybody has ever done for me and we had a fantastic time.

She got big points that day.


Georgia Beers is a Lambda, Goldie, and Foreword Book of the Year author of lesbian romance. Her most recent novels include A Little Bit of Spice, Zero Visibility, AND, just in time for Valentine’s Day — her very latest, smokin’ hot off the press — Rescued Heart. She was born and raised in Rochester, New York, where she lives with her wife, two dogs, and a cat. When she’s not hard at work on her next book, she’s reading, watching TV, and making up reasons to avoid working out. You can find her at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Andi Marquette

I think one of the things that’s definitely changed as I’ve gotten a bit older is that I appreciate all kinds of romantic gestures, including little things that others might find silly or inconsequential. But it’s the little things that can have an impact, because it demonstrates that someone is thinking about you in many different ways – not just in terms of the grand gesture every once in a while, but in all kinds of ways on a daily basis.

So with that in mind, I have some food restrictions, and it can be a pain in the ass for people to cook for me, which is why I pretty much bring my own food to social functions, so as not to put people out. Lucky for me my partner is a foodie and chef who is not afraid to tackle new recipes or develop her own (WOO!).

I’m allergic to wheat, which means I stay away from what I call “over-the-counter” breads or cakes or pies or cookies or anything home-made that’s made with wheat. And that includes your basic “flour,” which is processed from wheat. So I eat gluten-free, which is much more readily available these days, in terms of ready-made and baking/cooking ingredients. But it still can be kind of a pain to deal with.

Well, lucky for me my partner loves to experiment with gluten-free cooking and baking and I just get all the warm fuzzies when she makes me a batch of cookies or a cake that’s gluten-free because it’s a treat I don’t get very often, since I pretty much stay away from things unless they’re gluten-free and I don’t make it a habit to buy ready-made gluten-free cakes or cookies. And you guys, for real, I suck at baking. I’m pretty good at a lot of other food, but I really don’t do the baking thing very well. So any time my partner makes me some delicious gluten-free cookies or a cake just because she wants to and she knows I don’t get to indulge very often, it just gives me ALL THE FEELS.

Yeah. That’s pretty romantic, I think. Gestures like that.

And there was also that awesome make-out session on the train platform, too…


Andi Marquette writes mysteries, science fiction, and romance. Her latest novels are The Secret of Sleepy Hollow and The Bureau of Holiday Affairs. She’s also the co-editor of the Lambda finalist anthology All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Romance and Erotica and the forthcoming Order Up: A Menu of Lesbian Romance and Erotica. All are available through Ylva Publishing.

You can find Andi at her website, on Twitter, and Facebook.


Ever since I was asked (read that as commanded) by R.G. Emanuelle to write something for this Blog, I’ve been struggling to find the right words. I mean Romance itself is a subjective issue, then you add in the age factor and real life circumstances, and it gets downright muddy. Romance is also a personal thing. What melts my heart, may send you running and vice versa. Trust me, I’m no expert, in anything, but I’ve been very lucky in love.

My bride and I have been together four decades, that’s longer than some of you readers are old. And I can assure you each decade came with its own set of daily issues. My wife likes to tell anyone who will listen, that I am a work in progress. That I didn’t come out of the box like this. Then she smiles and everyone laughs. What they don’t realize is she’s telling the truth. Living with me is not easy, it’s never boring, but  mostly it’s not easy.

The first ten years are all about getting to know each other, and hot, wild sex. The kind that sends you off to work trembling with want, and anticipating your arrival home.

The second decade is all about the fixer upper you’ve purchased, the life you’re trying to live and the family you’ve created. In our case, fur babies. The loss of her dad. The sex is still hot, if not quite as urgent, though of course there are those times when she rocks your world leaving you weak and wanting more. A romantic gesture of rose petals leading from the door to the bed, turns into a nightmare when one of those fur babies eats the petals and you both end up in the veterinary emergency room, holding hands and praying that your baby will be okay.

The third decade zooms by with various career moves, work related travel and endless hours occupied repairing your very own Money Pit. The chimney falls off the roof during a routine cleaning, and you’re told by the chimney guy that they’ve never seen that happen before. You end up replacing the entire plumbing system – twice, because the first new system failed three months after the class action suit was settled. And the coup de gras is when your contractor explains why the kitchen remodel has ended up with the cabinets eight inches short of completing the open space. You never paid him to measure. The sex is more mature, slower, as you are now. Certain moves can no longer be performed. So you find new positions, ones that are easier on your arthritic knees and her failing hip. Romance becomes simple gestures that make each other’s life a little easier. You come home early and clean the house so she can relax while her family visits. She lets you spend the weekend detailing the cars, because you enjoy it.

The fourth decade you’re planning for retirement and the next chapter of your life. Will there be enough money? Will we travel as we planned? Should we get another set of fur babies. Then her mother gets ill. In the interim she loses her job, you tell her to stay home, be with her mother, we don’t need her salary to survive. The illness is prolonged; she spends her days at the nursing home. That is after she’s cleaned the house, after she’s cut the grass and after she’s taken care of all the chores so I can relax on the weekends.

Romance is me spelling her and her brother for a night and sitting with their mom. Romance is the new mattress, queen size this time to accommodate the dogs and still allow us to spoon. The physical part of the relationship is slightly less frequent, but just as intense and even more satisfying.

Life demands change. Retirement for me. A new home for her. Travel in an RV across country and back. Romance is alive and well. Again, it’s the little gestures. I start writing. My first published story is about an older couple, they’ve been together for years when there’s a health scare. My wife holds court telling friend and foe that I kill her in every story. Then she elaborates on how each of the victims die. Our friends laugh,  she sips her beer and tells how she forewarned our lawyer to, should something happen to her, investigate me. I laugh good naturedly and smile. I secretly know she actually represents the love interest in all my stories.

Then there’s real health scare, this one more serious. An anomaly during a pap smear. Tests are done. An operation scheduled for January 4th. Christmas is a quiet affair, decorations down and put away before New Year. We drive to the hospital, I hold her hand and tell her everything is going to be alright. I pray to the goddess that I’m right. They take her away and I’m left to wait. I’ve brought a book, but I can’t concentrate. Life without her is unimaginable. Then the doctor comes to the door and calls me outside. All is well, she’s going to be fine. I start to breathe again, I feel my heartbeat pulse to life. We have more time, this is not it. I go to her room and cry with relief. Years later the failing hip is replaced, another set of fears develop but together we face them.

Like I said, romance is subjective and I’m no expert. But I do know I am nothing without my bride. Next October, 2017 we will celebrate forty years together, I wonder if she realizes that I’m never going to be done.


DeJay is a writer whose short stories include, “Who’s In Charge” and “Silent Journey” in Khimairal Ink, (Bedazzled Ink) October 2008, “Bareback” – Lesbian Cowboys Erotic Adventures (Cleis) 2009, “Silent Journey” Year’s Best Lesbian Fiction 2008, Nuance (Bedazzled Ink) 2009, “Never Too Old” – Lesbian Lust Erotic Stories (Cleis) 2010.  “Never Too Old” – Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 (Cleis) 2011.

Also, she’s the author of three books, “Redemption” by Lesbian Fiction Press, 2013, “Strangers” by Lesbian Fiction Press, 2013, “Sisters” by Lesbian Fiction Press 2014.

R.G. Emanuelle

People have different definitions of “romance,” so when I was asked to do this blog, I had to really think. I mean, are we talking about someone getting down on one knee to propose? A walk on a beach at sunset? A first kiss? The first time someone said “I love you”?

I can think of many such moments throughout my life. We all experience them in one way or another. But one of the most romantic moments for me was the simple offering of flowers…for absolutely no reason. My partner came home and handed me the bouquet, which she’d picked up, spur of the moment, on her way back from a work function. I’d received flowers many, many times in the past, but it was usually for a special occasion (anniversary, birthday, etc.). So I was not accustomed to getting them just because.

See, for most of my adult life, I was with the same person and money was always tight for us. We’d had many romantic moments, but flowers were a luxury and random flower-giving was rare. And it had been a long time since the last bouquet. So when my new partner showed up with flowers, it really meant something. I say “new” partner, but she really wasn’t so new, so it wasn’t like we were in the initial courting stage where a bouquet of flowers would have been sort of expected.

No, we’d been together a while by then, and she brought me the flowers just because. And that little gesture meant so much to me. It told me that I was worth spending money for a short-lived, frivolous gift. And it was not about the money—it never is. It was the idea that even if the pleasure those flowers brought me was fleeting, it was still worth it.

I’m sure the others participating in this blog thing have way better stories than mine, but the image of my partner standing at the door, bouquet in hand, still lingers in my mind years later. And that, to me, makes it romantic.


R.G. writes all kinds of stuff. You might be interested in her novel, Twice Bitten, her novella, Add Spice to Taste, or her short stories in a bunch of different anthologies. She also co-edited the Lambda finalist anthology All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Romance & Erotica, and Skulls and Crossbones: Tales of Women Pirates, both with Andi Marquette. R.G. also has a culinary degree and dreams of one day being in the pantheon of culinary geniuses on Iron Chef, right next to Cat Cora. Until then, she’ll just keep writing stuff. You can find her at her website.

Jove Belle

I’ve had lots of sweet, purposefully romantic moments, but the one that really stands out wasn’t intentional or particularly romantic in the traditional sense. Still, it’s over twenty years later, and it still makes me melt a little when I think about it.

I was in Idaho, visiting my family, and I called Tara just to say hi and check in. This was before we really started a relationship, but we were both full of anticipation about what might happen. You know that shiny new relationship feeling?

Anyway, Tara wasn’t home to receive the call–this was in the time before cell phones, when people still had home phones and answering machines–so, I left a message. I didn’t say much, just that I missed her and was sorry she wasn’t home so we could talk. Really, it was one of those soppy I’m-so-in-to-you messages, but I was trying to play it cool.

I learned later that she saved that message and listened to it over and over because it made her happy. She still does that from time to time, saves a message from me, and it still fills me with that warm honey feeling.


Jove Belle writes books. When she’s lucky, other people read them. You can learn more about her at her website.

Blythe Rippon

The year I turned 22, my wife (then girlfriend) gave me a New York birthday filled with things I love that she doesn’t. She took me to an old movie theater and we saw Sunset Boulevard, which was awesome because A) that film is amazing and B) my wife doesn’t do black and white movies. Then she cooked me Thai green curry for dinner, which blew my mind because A) it was delicious, B) she doesn’t enjoy cooking, and C) she’s not fond of Thai food. After dinner, we went to the Blue Note, a jazz club, and heard absolutely incredible music that even my wife enjoyed. The whole day was so romantic because she spent an incredible amount of time and effort planning a day around my happiness.

Blythe Rippon is the author of Barring Complications and Stowe Away. She teaches academic writing to undergraduates and lives in the Bay Area.

D. Jordan Redhawk

My wife and I have been together for almost twenty-eight years. Unfortunately, neither of us are romantically demonstrative, so those particular moments are so rare as to be almost miniscule! I’ve spent weeks thinking about this topic and discussing it with my wife as we both wracked our brains for an answer.

I think the most romantic moment for me was at Christmas in 1997. That had been a very rough year for both of us. It was our first Christmas with just the two of us, which felt decidedly strange and off-kilter. Life wasn’t the greatest, we were scrabbling for money and a couple of our building neighbors were making our lives a living–well, you get the idea.

For the life of me I don’t remember most of the gifts we gave each other that year. None of them were too exciting. With the exception of a little box with my name on it.IMG_0510.jpeg

At that point we’d been together for about nine years. We’d had a commitment ceremony three years earlier. But we’d never exchanged rings–we couldn’t afford them.

It was one of the best Christmases I’ve had. I returned the favor a handful of years later by taking her to a jeweler who recreated the ring she’d given me and took one of the stones from my ring and put it into hers.


Bio: Redhawk is an award winning lesbian romance author of multiple genres, published through Bella Books. She plays with knives, prefers the darkness and rolls dice with abandon.

Jeanine Hoffman

As some of you may know, my wife and I were married in May 2015. We’re still newlyweds in some respects so with the wedding so recent in our history I thought of many times we were romantic. The problem is, if you know us, we find romance in silly things and odd places. Then I thought of traditional romantic things, like on our honeymoon when the waitress at the resort’s main hotel realized we were in Colonial Williamsburg to celebrate our marriage.

That lovely woman, who introduced me to the mixture of fresh orange juice and a scoop of raspberry sherbet, a drink called a shrub, made a special desert plate writing in chocolate congratulations on our marriage. She also told the hotel management and they sent a split of sparkling wine and a box of gourmet truffles to our room.

Those were cute and romantic things. Then I realized something. Something my wife doesn’t even know I’m using for this blog. What I consider to be our most romantic times are what other people might consider rather plain and ordinary. I adore running errands or playing board games with Heather. I love sharing a meal, discussing our days as we cook together. I am filled with tenderness and warmth when I look at her in the car while we wait at a light or when she laughs at something as she scrolls through Facebook. Her appreciation of our dog wanting to give her love while all Heather really wants is a moment of peace. Her love of my cooking and that she never takes it for granted. The woman even encourages me to spend my time writing-even when she’s been gone all day and its my own fault that I got nothing done all day.

Those regular daily interactions all remind me over and over again why I love this woman. She is kind, considerate, caring, highly intelligent with a dry wit, and gives the best back scratches ever. She truly knows me, sometimes better than I know me. Even better, she has allowed me to get in her head and to learn about all the cool parts that make up the woman I married.

So, what is romance? It is in the eye of the beholder. It is in the smallest of gestures as well as the more grandiose things. It is sharing and spending time with the person that gets you and still loves you.


Jeanine Hoffman was born and raised a New Englander with an eye towards the west coast. After a visit in 2014 to the Portland, OR. area, Jeanine and her wife, Heather made a choice. A new goal was set and in 2015 the fledgling family joined the wagon train and moved west. Oh, wait, a big truck came and moved the stuff while the family flew west. Yeah, that’s how it went.

The now infamous cockapoo, Mr. Bones along with his faithful sidekick, Bailey the black terror cat (Nicknamed Toothless), have acclimated nicely to the west coast vibe. Heather and Jeanine spend their spare time checking out cool farmers markets, farm to table restaurants, food trucks, and stalking mountains to take pictures.

Currently, Jeanine writes from home but has a varied past that covers everything from being an EMT/Firefighter, to restaurant work, bouncing at a lesbian bar, and banking. Jeanine uses this vast background to pull from when she is too lazy for research. There is so much social media that Jeanine has limited herself to a minimum of mediums or there would never be another book written. Jeanine can be reached through Jeanine.hoffman AT yahoo DOT com or through her Facebook listed under — yes, you guessed it, Jeanine Hoffman. (Can’t be original about everything). Stranger Than Fiction will be released in March 2016 through Regal Crest.

Stevie Carroll

My story isn’t really about me, but has always struck a chord since the first time I heard it. I mentioned in my last regular post that I have a lot of sympathy for Grandad’s first wife, and this is their story. My grandparents, let’s call them ‘Harold’ and ‘Maud’, were childhood sweethearts, but ‘Maud’ was enticed away by ‘Harold’s’ best friend, the dastardly ‘Jack’. ‘Harold’ didn’t want to be alone, and so married another friend, ‘Helen’, which gave her a way out from living in her parents’ house. The two couples stayed in contact, however, and ‘Jack’ and ‘Maud’ went on to have two children, while ‘Harold’ and ‘Helen’s’ marriage was never consummated (her sexuality is a mystery lost in the depths of time) and they were eventually granted an annulment.

‘Jack’ cheated on ‘Maud’, and eventually left her for a richer woman, throwing her on the mercy of their concerned friend ‘Harold’. ‘Maud’ and ‘Harold’ lived happily together for the next thirty-something years (until Grandad’s death when I was a baby), eventually marrying in their fifties, when the dastardly ‘Jack’ finally agreed to a divorce. But the really romantic part of the story, in my opinion, is that Grandad never forgot about his first wife, continuing to support her no matter what was happening with his new wife and their children (only one of whom survived infancy) – even to the extent of visiting her with my Dad when he was a young boy. And that’s why I have a photo of Grandad’s first wedding in amongst all the older family photos that are more in keeping with my late Victorian house and décor.


Born in Sheffield, England’s Steel City, and raised in a village on the boundary of the White and Dark Peaks, Stevie Carroll was nourished by a diet of drama and science fiction from the BBC and ITV, and a diverse range of books, most notably Diane Wynne-Jones and The Women’s Press, from the only library in the valley. After this came a university education in Scotland, while writing mostly non-fiction for underground bisexual publications under various aliases, before creativity was stifled by a decade of day-jobs.

Now based in West Yorkshire, Stevie has rediscovered the joys of writing fiction, managing to combine thoughts of science fiction, fantasy and mysteries with a day-job in the pharmaceuticals industry and far too many voluntary posts working with young people, with animals and in local politics. Stevie’s short story, ‘The Monitors’, in Noble Romance’s Echoes of Possibilities, was longlisted by the 2010 Tiptree Awards jury. Other short stories have appeared in the anthologies British Flash and Tea and Crumpet, while Stevie’s solo collection A Series of Ordinary Adventures was published by Candlemark and Gleam in May 2012.

Cari Hunter

My wife and I met online, way back in the days before meeting online was cool. We were geeks – still are geeks – and we met through the X-Files fandom. We both have slightly different recollections of our first proper date. I met her at Piccadilly station in Manchester. She says we kissed on the platform and clashed teeth, but I don’t even remember the kiss. We walked across the Town Hall square holding hands, both terrified that someone might see us, but determined anyway. Our dinner date was a meal in Chinatown. I managed to squeeze an entire battered king prawn into my mouth, and she says she knew right there and then that I was the woman for her. Our date ended like all great dates: on the big wheel in Piccadilly Gardens, sailing above the drunks and the city skyline. The bloke running the wheel stopped it when we were at the top. We spent a lot of time kissing. I thought that this was where our teeth clashed, and I definitely remember that she tasted of strawberry lip salve. I think the bloke knew we were on a date. He left us up there for ages, kissing in the cold night sky.


Cari Hunter lives in the northwest of England with her partner, two cats, and a pond full of frogs. She works full-time as a paramedic and dreams up stories in her spare time.

Cari is currently in the middle of writing a new crime series based in the Peak District. The first book – No Good Reason – won the 2015 Best Lesbian Thriller/Mystery Rainbow Award, and its sequel Cold to the Touch, was published in December, 2015. The third book in the series – A Quiet Death – is due for publication in January, 2017.

More about Cari can be found at her blog:

Jessie Chandler

I’m not the most romantic person, as you saw if you read my most recent Valentine’s blog on Women and Words. Not sure what I was thinking with that crock pot except that that it was practical and I tend to think with my stomach. So really, the award in our romantic relationship belongs to my wife Betty. We’ve been together twenty years, and we both occasionally do things that might be considered romancey. Flowers when something good happened or once in awhile just because. A greeting card for no reason other than the words gave warm and fuzzies and we wanted to share.

However, on this one unforgettable day, romance was so far from my consciousness that I didn’t see it even after it smacked me in the face. It was my birthday, and we were spending the night at a casino in celebration of my mom, who’d passed away a little over a year before.

We got up to the room, and I was promptly ordered by Betty into the bathroom so she could prepare what I thought was some kind of birthday surprise. Maybe a card, maybe one of those hanging birthday signs with rivets in the letters to hold them together. I admit I like presents and I was gleefully rubbing my hands together in anticipation of what she’d gotten me. A book? A new CD? Yeah, it was back when people still purchased physical CDs instead of downloading them.

Finally she called me out of the bathroom. The lights were off, candles were lit, and Jim Brickman, our favorite romantic pianist, was playing. As I think back I have no idea what the music was coming out of. A cassette player? A CD? No, it must have been an iPod. OR…well, who cares. Anyway, Betty pulled me into her arms to dance . I’m not much for dancing, but it seemed the thing to do. We swayed around the bed, and I grinned as I figured out just what my gift was. The songs switched up and Marc Cohn’s True Companion trickled through the speakers. That was one of “our” songs. I remember I squashed Betty tight and beamed so hard my face hurt. Then I heard Betty’s voice on the radio. What the hell?

“Hey baby, is that — that is! You’re on the — how did you –”


“That’s too cool! How did—” She slapped a hand over my mouth.

That’s when I caught the last of the line, “…got my heart set on our wedding day.” Holy shit. My mouth dropped as I watched Betty drop to one knee and pull a box out of her pocket. I’ll never forget the look on her face as she looked up at me and said, “Will you marry me?”

Like a true butch, I burst into tears, pulled her up, kissed her soundly, and said, “Yes.” Then she put a ring on it.


Jessie Chandler lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her wife and two pooches who really do rule the roost. She’s an award-winning author of two mystery/thriller series, and is over-the-moon that Bella Books will be releasing the fifth novel in her Shay O’Hanlon Caper Series, BLOOD MONEY MURDER in late June 2016. Check her out on Facebook, on twitter ((@jchandlerauthor) and at her website.


Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!



  1. What a beautiful gift. Thank you all.
    DeJay’s most touching, romantic and wonderful overview of 40 years of love has moved me to tears.


  2. Thanks for sharing some of your most romantic memories and thoughts, I enjoyed them all. They made me love my partner even more (if that’s possible) as I reminisced over all the romantic times we have shared together.


  3. I loved the stories, and feel like I know these authors better. It gives me such a big smile to know love is love and it doesn’t matter the ages we are, just that love does conquer all which is so evident from DeJay’s story which left me in tears as well. I’m in that middle or mature part of life as is my bride to be so, it was sweet to read! I must say that Jessie Chandler’s and Betty’s story was extra special since I know both and I could picture Jessie talking and Betty having to literally cover her mouth to make her shush!

    A brilliant and beautiful collection of love stories! Well done and thank you!


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