Speed Dating & Love at First Sight

[This blog post originally appeared as a guest post on Christie Craig’s blog on 2/23/16. Click here to see the original content and comments.]

I Love You

Thanks, Christie, for letting me stop by! So, show of hands: how many of you out there believe in love at first sight? Did it happen for you that way, or were you more of a slow burn?

Romance writer that I am, I did not fall madly in love with my husband the moment I clapped eyes on him. It was more of a shrug of my shoulders, ‘he’s okay’ sort of deal. In my own defense, his hair was too long, he wore a ratty old concert t-shirt, and he was a microbiology major. I mean, he worked with petri dishes, people. What could we possibly have in common? But then we started talking. There was a spark. He wore his lab coat… Two decades, two kids and a houseful of animals later, I’m glad I didn’t let my first impression stop me from getting to know him better.

I actually love when characters fall for each other awkwardly and unevenly over time. It’s all well and good to be attracted to one another, but I prefer stories where the characters don’t mesh too perfectly, where they have to smooth each other’s rough edges a bit before they fit. Grace and Jeff from my latest novel, Deal Me In, are like that. It takes time to find the balance between her free-spirited nature and his straight-forward pragmatism. As teens, they fell for each other hard and fast–and just as quickly crashed and burned. Would that still hold true if they hadn’t met so young? Let’s pretend, for a little bit, that their history together doesn’t exist. What if Grace and Jeff meet as adults… speed dating? What would that be like, and would they still fall for each other? Let’s find out…

Grace: Hi, I’m Grace.

Jeff: Jeff.

Grace: So, Jeff, what do you do for a living?

Jeff: I’m a police officer at Sugar Falls PD. You?

Grace: I own Currents, the gift shop downtown. I like to say I bring balance and inspiration to the ‘thinkers, dreamers and peace travelers of the world.’

Jeff: Huh. I’ve seen it. You should have the landlord install a motion-sensitive spotlight. That back alley isn’t well lit.
Grace: I’ll mention it to him. So… what’s your favorite color?

Jeff: That’s your next question?

Grace: Yes.

Jeff: Orange.

Grace: Orange?

Jeff: What’s wrong with orange? I never go hiking in the backwoods without it. I’m guessing you like pink.

Grace: Red.

Jeff: Red, huh? That’s not a very peaceful color.

Grace: Red is vibrant and full of life. Plus, I look good in red. Next question: what did you die of in your last life?

Jeff: What?

Grace: In your last life, how did you die?

Jeff: Murdered in my sleep by a crazy chick who believed in past lives?

Grace: Aw, you have a sense of humor! I like that. Me, I died of a broken heart.

Jeff: Of course you did. All right. Seeing as we’re asking the off-beat question now, how do you like your steak? Rare, medium or well done?

Grace: I’m a vegetarian. But speaking of food, I could really go for some chili rellenos from that Mexican place out by Route 6 right about now. I missed lunch.

Jeff: Mmm. Can’t beat their beef enchiladas. Okay, if you were an animal what would you be?

Grace: I was going to ask that!

Jeff: Just answer the question.

Grace: A butterfly.

Jeff <frowning >: Butterfly? It has a life span of a gnat and can’t fly in the rain. Why would you want to be a butterfly?

Grace: They’re beautiful, and imagine how it would feel to be a butterfly. Like being a kite, only better. What would you be?

Jeff: An eagle. Like my tattoo.

Grace <leaning forward>: You have a tattoo? Can I see it?

Jeff: Now?

Grace: Why not?

Jeff: Our time is almost up.

Grace: No, it’s not.

Jeff: Yeah, it is. Look at the clock.

Grace <waving a hand dismissively>: No. Our time is only beginning. My arms are tingly. It’s a sign.

Jeff: A sign? You’re a fruitcake, you know that?

Grace: We are so seeing each other again.

Jeff: That’s called stalking. There are laws against that.

Grace: It’s not stalking if we both want it.

Jeff: Who says we both want it?

Grace: The fact that you keep looking at my cleavage.

Jeff <clears throat>: That’s a stunning, ah, necklace.

Grace: Thank you. So, seven o’clock?

Jeff: For what?

Grace: Our date. Pick me up at my shop. I’ll wear red.

Jeff: Why?

Grace: It’s my favorite color. Haven’t you been paying attention? Ooh! And can we eat dessert first? I love the Silver Birch Inn’s cranberry-orange cheesecake.

Jeff: How did you know I was thinking of the Inn?

Grace <shrugging>: I just know things sometimes.

Jeff: Really? What am I thinking right now?

Grace: That you can’t wait for our first kiss.

(Jeff didn’t answer, because he had been thinking about that. That and cheesecake.)

Jeff to himself as he leaves: She’s hot but she’s got crazy written all over her. This is going nowhere.

Grace to herself as she leaves: I am so going to marry that man…

Want to see more of Deal Me In? Click here.

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