Did you ever try speed-dating?

Speed-dating wasn’t a thing when I was single (shortly after the last ice age), but the subject comes up in my friend Marin Thomas’s new Love at the Chocolate Shop book, Sweet Home Cowboy.

speed dating

I had so much fun READING these Speed-dating scenes, I wound up WRITING one–from MY characters’ points of view–in MY book (Sweet Summer’s Kiss), which releases next month. I can’t wait to see how many readers make the connection and what they think of the idea.

two pair of cowboy boots

Here’s a snippet from Marin’s book, followed by a snippet from mine. Same scene…only different.

Rosie opened her mouth to speak then frowned at a woman two tables away from Elena. “Gretchen, I thought you were dating someone?”

“As I keep telling people—my sister in particular, one date does not a relationship make,” Gretchen said, not looking up from the menu.

“Especially when the female half of the equation disappears without leaving so much as a glass slipper behind.”

Gretchen’s chin shot up as a hunky-looking stranger slipped into the chair across from her. “Hi, Cinderella. Fancy meeting you here.”

“Daniel. What–?”

“Let’s save the chit-chat for the event,” Rosie said. “Each date will last three minutes and the lady will ask the first question. After the gentleman answers, he’ll ask the next question and so on and so forth.”

“What are these for?” Gretchen’s new tablemate asked, holding up a notepad and pen with the chocolate shop logo on them.

“Feel free to use the paper and pens to jot down names, phone numbers or anything else that will help you remember each other,” Rosie said. “When the timer goes off, the ladies will remain seated and the gentlemen will move down one table, then we’ll begin another date.”

“When do we get to sample Sage’s chocolate candy?” Wren asked.

“After the first round we’ll take a break. Sage picked out a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon donated by the Two Old Goats wine store to go with her chocolate wine covered coconut stuffed dates.” Rosie held up the plate of chocolates from Elena’s table. “Sage would like to know what you think of her chocolates, so please fill out the questionnaire before you leave.”

Rosie returned the dish to the table. “Before I forget to mention it, the chocolate shop will host a second speed dating event a week from today. If you’re interested, there’s a sign up sheet on the counter.” She twisted the knob on the timer. “Ready…set…begin.”

“What’s your last name, Wesley?” Elena asked.

“Banks,” he said. “Where are you from, Elena?”

She frowned. “You’re not going to ask my last name?”

“You can’t answer a question with a question.”

“Las Vegas.” She nodded to his hat. “Are you a real cowboy?”

“Born and raised on a ranch north of Livingston. How old are you?”

“Twenty-five. How old are you?”

“Twenty-seven.” He narrowed his eyes. “Do you have a boyfriend?”

“I had a fiancé but not any more.” She ignored the questions in his eyes and asked, “Do you live on your family’s ranch?”

“No. I’m the caretaker of a rural property outside of Marietta. What do you do?”

“I’m an elementary schoolteacher. What’s your favorite color?”

“Brown.”

“Then why are you wearing a blue shirt?”

He shook his head. “My turn.”

The cowboy was a stickler for rules.

 

Sweet Summer Kisses Open

In case you’re curious, my hero and heroine met on New Year’s Eve and she left in a bit of a rush–not unlike Cinderella, although she kept both of her shoes on–this is Montana, after all.

As she stowed her bag under her chair, she heard a voice say, “Gretchen, I thought you were dating someone?”

I wish.

She picked up the menu Rosie had left on the table. “As I keep telling people–my sister, in particular, one date does not a relationship make.”

Gretchen kept her focus on the menu to avoid any other personal questions, which left her completely blindsided when a male voice said, “Especially when the female half of the equation disappears without leaving so much as a glass slipper behind.”

Gretchen’s chin shot up as Daniel Andrews slipped into the chair across from her. “Hi, Cinderella. Fancy meeting you here.”

“Daniel. What–?”

Rosie cleared her throat to get people’s attention.

“Let’s save the chit-chat for the event,” Rosie said. “Each date will last three minutes and the lady will ask the first question. After the gentleman answers, he’ll ask the next question and so on and so forth.”

Daniel picked up a notepad and pen with the chocolate shop logo on them. “What are these for?”

That same crazy zing she’d spent five months pretending she’d imagined shot through her system at light speed, blocking Rosie’s answer.

If Jonah could isolate and duplicate the chemical reaction that happens every time Daniel comes close to me, he’d make a fortune.

Not that Jonah needed money. According to Krista, he’d bought a cute little “starter” home a few blocks from his and Daniel’s parents’ to live in with Krista and their puppy until their new dream home–a future wedding present–could be designed and built.

Luckily, Krista’s move had opened up her condo so Gretchen could move into Marietta—a opportunity that meant she could avoid buying a car for the time being. Her bike had been a fraction of the cost and she loved the exercise. Fluctuating hormones also meant fluctuating weight gain. One reason she limited her chocolate consumption.

And Krista had sublet at a reasonable price because Gretchen’s six-month internship didn’t pay very well. Which meant…I live alone.

The thought hummed through her body as if the past five months hadn’t happened. No roommate to introduce Daniel to if I wanted to take him home tonight.

A pleasant warmth not unlike her body’s reaction to a gulp of Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop’s cocoa filled her mid-section.

So wrong on so many levels. No. Not happening. Nothing’s changed.

“You go first.”

Her breath caught in her throat when she realized Daniel was talking to her. “Pardon?”

He tapped his watch. “We only have three minutes. You ask the first question. Then it’s my turn.”

“Oh.” She folded her hands on the table in front of her and wet her lips. “Why are you here?”

“I like chocolate.”

Liar, she mouthed.

His grin lit up the room. “My turn. Why did you disappear?”

“Crisis of conscience. I did it for your own good.”

His beautiful ebony eyebrows pulled together above his elegant nose.

“My turn again. Why are you here?” She made a circling gesture. “In Marietta.”

“Job opportunity. Starts Monday.”

A clutching sensation in her belly warned her there was more to this answer, but he didn’t give her a chance to ask. “I’m a big boy. Don’t you think I’m capable of deciding what’s good for me and what isn’t?”

“You don’t know me.”

“I know more than you think.”

A skitter of panic vibrated through her body. Some locals called Marietta the gossip capitol of the world. But he couldn’t know the truth about her. Her sister the pastor was the only one with that knowledge. “Guessing doesn’t count. I should go.”

He reached out but didn’t touch her bare arm. His fingers hovered, like a magician ordering a rabbit to appear. “Can we go somewhere and talk when this dating thing is over?”

Maybe she owed him that. An explanation. The one she’d decided covered all bases without really saying anything. It seemed to work with her new girlfriends, maybe Daniel would buy it, too. “Okay.”

Before she could say more, Rosie’s timer went off. Daniel got up with the same ease and grace he’d shown when they’d danced. He studied her, his eyes searching for something she couldn’t give him before turning on one heel and walking to the next table. She didn’t recognize the pretty young woman with the messy brown hair and warm complexion seated one table over, but she didn’t have time to decide whether watching Daniel flash his trademark smile at another woman made her jealous or not because her view was blocked by a pair of wide shoulders and a black cowboy hat.

Each male to sit across the table from her had merits of his own but none held a candle to Daniel Andrews’s pure charisma. The Two Old Goat’s cabernet paired perfectly with Sage’s chocolate wine covered coconut stuffed dates. She’d just filled out Sage’s survey when a familiar touch closed about her elbow. “If we’re quick, we can slip out before they start Round Two.”

She froze. “What if you miss out on meeting Ms. Right?”

He rubbed his nose against the side of her cheek and put his lips to her ear. “I’ll settle for Ms. Right Now.”

And, darn, if her traitorous body didn’t want the exact same thing.

 

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’m off to a car show. Some of the vintage models are actually older than me. ;-)

Deb

PS: Marin Thomas has a couple more days of Speed-Dating fun on Facebook. Prizes galore and you get to hang out with Marin Thomas!!! Here are three of the links! Have fun!

https://www.facebook.com/LoveattheChocolateShop/

https://www.facebook.com/MarinThomasWesterns/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMarinThomas/

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4 thoughts on “Did you ever try speed-dating?

  1. speed-dating wasn’t around when I was dating, either.

    love the excerpt for your next book! can’t wait to read it.

  2. Thanks, Denise!!! I just turned it in. OMG! Two new books in six months. I am brain DEAD. I haven’t bought groceries in a month. Guess what I’m doing today? LOL.

  3. Kim, have you checked out the cool guys in Marin’s speed-dating online? Be still my heart.

    Hope you’re having fun in Indianapolis.

    Deb

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