During the day, Megan surrounds herself with water lilies and goldfish in the ponds she creates. At night, memories of her lying ex-boyfriend are a reminder she can never again trust a man.
Jason embraces his career as paramedic firefighter, even though ugly experience declares his profession a greedy mistress. During quiet nights at the station, he wonders if this bachelor existence is all he’ll ever know.
Then Jason meets Megan and sparks fly, chased by flashes of anger when Jason, battling a raging apartment fire, stands up Megan on their first date. Is St. Valentine powerful enough to bring these two strong-willed people together?
Jason reaches over the table and takes my hand in his.
Much as I try scrubbing at the dirt, my nails are almost never 100% clean, and I’ve got a long scratch across my knuckles. And anyhow, in the middle of a
work day, that’s part of who I am.
He turns my hand palm up and runs his finger across the calluses.
My heart skitters a beat at the feel of his hands cradling mine. His touch exudes caring. Imagining him tending a person in distress is easy.
Need I say it? I like the feel of him touching me. The world is charmingly in order right here, right now. But what is he doing? “Is something wrong with my hand?”
“Every time I see you, you’re in the water. And you’re the odd duck. I was just seeing”—he turns his head to examine my palm, his carved cheeks in
profile—“if there’s a web between your fingers…”
Bemusement laces his tone. “Like a Labrador retriever?” I retort, stifling the urge to flex my fingers; I don’t want him to let my hand go.
He laughs and releases my hand. “My favorite animal. But a dog? No. That’s not what you bring to mind.”
His grin is so open, so easy, I decide to divulge something I’ve never told anyone. “I did wish for scales when I was younger. I thought it would be cool to be a mermaid.” He takes me in for a beat, his gaze deep.
“I can see that.”
His voice is low and velvety. I draw in a ragged breath.
The Wild Rose Press
Beverly Breton is an eternal fan of the happy ending, and a sucker for any book that grabs the reader through characterization and emotion. A career non-fiction writer and editor, Beverly has written articles and personal essays for newspapers and magazines across the country, and has taught college writing at the undergraduate and graduate level. She now writes romantic short stories, and has garnered such awards as Night Owl Reviews Top Pick and You Gotta Read Reviews highest rating You Gotta ReadFive Stars. She is also a professional floral designer, and her garden nursery experience and love of plants is fondly woven into her latest short story I’m Sure featuring a pond garden designer and the emergency responder who falls for this fiery-haired near-mermaid when he discovers her up to her thighs in water one February morning.