Elizabeth Melton Parsons



First Meeting

Thursday was my 10th wedding anniversary. We’re going for lunch today at The Overlook restaurant on the river to celebrate. I thought I’d post a short story about our first meeting. I’d began this as a fiction story several years ago, but for this post, I removed the fiction elements. My point of view is of course my own. His point of view was dictated by him. Hope you enjoy it.

Ohio River-2


First Meeting


“That’s just gross. Will you turn that thing off and talk to me?”

I laughed at Barb’s irritation. “You’re the one who suggested the cyber sex thing. I can’t just quit in the middle and leave the poor guy hanging.”

“Oh yes, you can.” Reaching over me, she grabbed the mouse and clicked off the IM box. “Now come on, get me some coffee.”

“Hey, why did you do that?” Swiveling the desk chair, I followed her to the kitchen and poured two mugs of steaming coffee.

Plopping down into one of my vintage, mismatched chairs, she sighed heavily. “Look, Liza, since your divorce you’ve been spending entirely too much time in those chat rooms. I’m worried about you. Charlie Hobson was asking about you the other day and I…”


“But he’s interested and he’s a real live flesh and blood guy.”

“No. I told you before I don’t want you fixing me up. I’m not interested. Most of the men around here are just like my ex. They have the same mind set. Women should not have an opinion. They should always agree with the Lord and Master.”

“Now you’re just being stubborn. Charlie isn’t like that. Besides I never said to marry him. Just go out and have some fun. You can’t possibly get anything out of all that typing.” Rolling her head back and breathing faster, she spoke in a sexy voice and made typing motions with her hand. “UMMMMM…AHHHHH…Oh that feels so good. Oh yes…yes.

“Stop it, you look ridiculous.” I couldn’t keep from laughing at her antics.

“Well, it is ridiculous. You’re an attractive, passionate woman. Why waste time on that crap when you could be having real sex with a real man?”

We’d had this conversation before. “I’m not interested in having sex at this point in time and that cyber stuff just now was your idea. And, I happen to like the chat rooms. I can speak to guys who are interested in a vast variety of subject matter. I can flirt and be silly and not worry about what he’s expecting at the end of the evening.”

“But, Liza, they—are—not—real.” She dragged the words out slowly as though that would somehow cause them to imprint firmly onto my brain.

I gulped a large drink of coffee and took a deep breath. “They are real, Barb. I just haven’t met them in person and that’s fine for the most part, but…what would you say if I told you I was meeting one of them?”

“I’d say you’d lost what little sense I always thought you had.”


“Okay, sorry. Wait, you aren’t serious?” I avoided her eyes and turned to pour another cup of coffee.

Jumping up from the chair, she came over and spun me to face her. “You aren’t serious?”

“As a matter of fact, he’s flying in this weekend.”

“Have you lost your mind? You want to end up floating in the river?” I could feel her trembling and knew she was truly frightened for me.

“Settle down, Barb. It’s not like you think. I haven’t told you about it because it’s special and I wanted to keep it private until I was sure we’d meet.” We moved to the table and sat down.

“So tell me now. And don’t you dare leave anything out.”

“I met him online not long after my divorce, about a year ago. It was an instant attraction that started with the silly flirting stuff, but then we truly began to talk. I mean we really talked, Barb. About everything. We started to email every day and then we spoke on the phone. We’ve been talking once or twice a day ever since. He’s wonderful, Barb. Everything I always wanted, but thought wasn’t out there.”

“No wonder you’ve been looking so happy, but you know what they say about something that sounds too good to be true.” She reached over and took my hand, as though needing the contact to be sure I was listening.

“It’s not like that. He has his faults and I’m not blind to them. We’ve had our fights. As I said, we’ve talked about everything. Our conversations have gone on for as long as five hours at a time. When you aren’t there with the person and you’re holding a phone to your ear, you have to talk. I probably know him better than I know anyone in the world.”

She gave me a deadly serious look. “Listen you’ve never met the man. You can’t possibly know him. You only know what he’s told you or what he’s led you to believe. This is just nuts.”

“You don’t understand.” I snatched my hand away.

“Okay, I don’t understand, but I’m advising against this.”

“He’s coming, Barb. I can’t wait to see him, touch him.”

“What’s his name? Where’s he from?”

“Garland Parsons and he’s flying in from Miami.”

“That’s not a normal sounding name. It’s like the name Blain. He probably made it up. When will he be here?”

“I’m picking him up at the airport Saturday morning. And what’s wrong with the name Blain? I like it.”

Her brows rose. “How many men named Blain have you actually met or for that matter, how many Garlands?”

“None, but that doesn’t mean anything.” I sighed, exasperated by her reasoning.

Barb reached across the worn table and took hold of my hand again, refusing to let go when I tugged. “I really wish you wouldn’t do this. With so many guys right here, you could date a different one every Saturday night if you’d stop being so stubborn.”

“Save your breath, Barb. It’s a done deal.”

She stood and gave me a stern look. “What about Eric?”

“He’s excited to meet him. They’ve spoken on the phone several times and seem to really like each other.”

“Fine, if I can’t talk you out of this, I want to meet him. I’ll be here on Saturday. You and Mister Too Good To Be True had better be here. I have to get going.” Frown lines marred her brow as she gave me a worried look before grabbing her bag and leaving.

I’d known she wouldn’t understand. I didn’t understand it myself. After my divorce eighteen months ago, I was determined to avoid any kind of relationship with the opposite sex. At the time I hadn’t realized just how much I’d miss the interaction, the sexy sparring, or for that matter the sex. My marriage had not been happy and I’d completely lost interest in anything remotely related to the act. Now, although I wasn’t ready for a physical relationship, I missed it—a lot.

I’d thought the chat rooms would be a safe and anonymous way to ‘date’ without actually dating. I was right. The flirting turned out to be fun and I was surprised to find that I could still talk a pretty good game. Barb had been correct about the Internet flirting doing nothing physically for me, but on some emotional level it eased my frustration. And that meant I could avoid accepting a date with one of the men who’d come around as soon as the ink had dried on my divorce papers.

I’d always dreamed of meeting a man like Garland. He loved music of all kinds, played the violin, was romantic, and a gentleman. Most important, I appreciated the fact that he supported and encouraged me to just be me. A refreshing change after being married to a man who wanted to stick me in a cubbyhole and make me into a shadow of himself.

Before my marriage if anyone had told me I’d fall for an ex-surfer from Miami who loved racecars and sports, I’d have said they were crazy, not my type at all. Garland was different than what I ever thought I’d want, but I sensed this was right.

When I’d first met my ex, I’d thought he was the perfect man for me. Stable, solid, old fashioned and liked some of the same things I did. I never dreamed he’d also have the mindset of a Victorian Lord. Every thought, every action had to go through his approval process and most failed to pass. If it was my idea, it was wrong. He believed it should be his way or no way. I don’t think in ten years of marriage we ever had a conversation. He spoke…I listened. He was a very good person in many respects, but I eventually found it impossible to deal with that attitude. Garland was the complete opposite and regardless of Barb’s disapproval, Saturday could come none too soon.


Opening the window, I leaned on the ledge and took a deep breath. The scent of honeysuckle growing along the fence was heavenly. The evening had cooled somewhat and the welcoming breeze billowed the curtains, freshening the warm air in the bedroom. It was hot even for July. I’d have to call tomorrow and have someone come to repair the air conditioning.

I’d been shocked when Garland told me he slept in the buff. I’d never considered myself a prude, but even the thought of sleeping in the raw had a blush burning across my cheeks. But it was terribly warm. Oh why not—just this once? Slipping my nightgown off, I slid into the cool comfort of satin sheets.

The satin felt blissful against my bare flesh. I’d never known just how luxurious satin sheets could feel until I’d bought the first set. Such luxuries were something my ex would never have approved. Now addicted, I owned several sets in white. I even had a red set, which I’d never used. They seemed a little too sexy for sleeping alone.

When the phone rang, I snatched it off the bedside table, knowing who it would be. Garland’s soft voice came over the line turning my thoughts away from sexy sheets. Our nightly conversations were almost always the same. We’d catch up on each other’s day, then speak quietly until one or both of us fell asleep holding the phone.

“What are you wearing, Darlin’?”

“Nothing.” I answered in my best sexy, siren voice.

“Hum…My mind is racing with that vision.”

This kind of beginning would normally lead to some serious sexy flirting, but I was too nervous.

“Aren’t you nervous, Garland?”

“I’m excited and yes, nervous too. I guess I’m worried this is a dream and when we meet it will crash around us. I don’t want to disappoint you.”

“You could never disappoint me, but I understand what you mean. I’m worried about the same thing.”

“You, my lovely angel, have absolutely nothing to worry about.”

I smiled, he always made me feel beautiful. “I can’t believe we’ll be together in the morning. We’ve waited so long.”

“Too long.”

“I’ll let you go now, so you can catch a few hours sleep before your flight.”

“Goodnight, darling. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He laughed softly. “You have no idea how I’ve longed to say those words.”

I laughed too. “Oh, I believe I have an inkling. Good night. Try to sleep.” I forced myself to lay the phone on the cradle, knowing he’d not hang up until I did. Snuggling into the bed, I closed my eyes. I hoped sleep would come quickly and with it the morning—and Garland.

Squinting my eyes at the early morning sunlight coming in the window, I rolled over and checked the time. Seven o’clock, I just had time to shower and get to the airport before his flight came in at nine. I’d spent most of last evening deciding what to wear, but was still none too happy with my choice. I was nervous and getting more nervous by the minute. What if we hated each other on sight? What if there’s no chemistry? Oh, please let there be chemistry.

After checking to see that Eric was ready, I strapped on my sandals and took another look in the full-length mirror. The white eyelet blouse enhanced my light tan. The red skirt fell a good three inches above my knees and I wondered if I were being too obvious. So who cares if I’m being obvious? It’s a warm day and I want to look fresh and cool. Who am I kidding? I want to knock him out and have him wanting me so bad he couldn’t see straight. And then I want him to come back to my place and…. Giggling at the crudeness of my thoughts, I grabbed my purse and hurried Eric to the car.


Pacing the little waiting area, Garland tried to quell the nausea that had been with him since take off. Unlike most flights, his plane had landed a good fifteen minutes ahead of schedule and his nerves were getting the best of him.

He’d dated off and on since his divorce ten years ago, but nothing serious. Liza was different, special. She’d put off this meeting for so long, he’d begun to think it would never happen. Now that the time had come, he wanted everything to be perfect.

He felt as if he’d known her forever even though they’d never actually met. He’d told her almost his entire life story and she’d reciprocated. It was time to meet face to face. Fear gnawed at his stomach causing the nausea to return. Garland knew he wasn’t any woman’s dream man. He wasn’t a spring chicken, his hair was beginning to turn silver and his nose had been broken playing sports. Liza would probably take one look and run fast and far.


He doesn’t see me. I stopped and stared at the man pacing the small waiting area. I’d have known him anywhere, but he far exceeded my hopes. My breath stopped and I reminded myself to breathe. Drawing in a shaky breath I took the opportunity to study him.

His salt and pepper hair was more silver than dark. The straight Grecian nose had a tiny bump in the middle, indicating a past break. He’s taller than I expected, over six feet, fit and trim. The casual, khaki pants outlined the cutest rump I’d ever seen.

“Is that him, Mom?”

“I think it must be, sweetie.” I looked at Eric. I’d thought he’d be nervous too, but he just seemed happy and excited. Sometimes he seemed much older than his eight years.


Garland turned and saw the redhead and young boy watching him. He knew it was Liza. She’d described herself numerous times over the past months, but she’d never used the terms beautiful, sexy, or cute. Yet she was all of those and more. Petite, with large breasts pushing against the white blouse, they seemed to beg for his touch. Luscious red hair curled past her shoulders. She took his breath away.


He’s looking at me, his ruggedly sensual features devoid of emotion. Is he disappointed? The neatly trimmed, silver mustache spread over a wide smile. I stared, astonished at the change. The sexy Adonis transformed into little, boy cute and I urged my steps in his direction. When close enough to touch him, he spread his arms wide and I walked into them, savoring the warmth of his body against mine. Tiny prickles of excitement ran through my body. Quickly stepping back, I cursed the pale skin that I knew had turned as red as a ripe strawberry.

Garland was grateful Liza stepped back before the warmth and scent of her caused an uncomfortable and embarrassing situation, but oh how he wanted her back in his arms. Watching the flush spread across her chest and into her smooth cheeks made him wonder if she felt the same. He hoped so.

“Liza, you’re more beautiful than I ever imagined.”

Smiling widely, I looked into his cornflower, blue eyes and said hurriedly, “I feel the same. I mean…” I stopped before making a complete fool of myself.

“You aren’t disappointed?”

“Oh no!”

His low, sexy chuckle had my flush returning and I decided to take charge of the situation, as I was apt to do in times of extreme nervousness. “Umm…this is Eric.” I really needed to get a grip on my emotions.

He turned to Eric and held out his hand. They shook hands like two adults and then grinned at each other like long time friends.

“I thought we’d go get some breakfast before going to my place. The repairman is fixing the air conditioning. Maybe it will be back on by the time we get back. Do you need to get your luggage?”

“It’s right here.” He picked up a large travel bag by one of the chairs. “Lead the way.”

There were a lot of advantages to walking behind a beautiful woman and he blessed every one of them as he watched the gentle sway of her hips in front of him. Visions of her lying naked on a bed with that red hair spread out against a white pillowcase had his heart racing and his trousers growing tighter. He tried to muster some kind of control before he embarrassed himself. Not to mention how totally inappropriate his thoughts were with her young son right there beside her.


Breakfast had been a disaster. Neither he nor I appeared to have any appetite and the conversation had been stilted and polite. If Eric hadn’t been with us, there might not have been any conversation at all. The two of them chatted as if they’d known one another forever. Glad to return to the apartment, I hoped the tension would ease, but things had not gotten any better. Garland went to the spare bedroom to unpack while I brewed tea. Eric left with his dad and wouldn’t be back until Tuesday. Four days alone with the man of my dreams and I was acting like an idiot.

He came to stand behind me as I poured the fresh tea over ice filled glasses. His body brushed against mine and I could feel his hardness pressing against my bottom. The wonderfully erotic sensation caused me to push back against him.

Turning me to face him, his hand gently cupped my chin, forcing my head up. “Look at me, Liza.”

I looked into his eyes and instantly relaxed against him. This was Garland. Why was I acting like I’d just picked up a stranger off the street?

He smiled. “That’s better. We’ve been acting like strangers, Liza, and we’re not. I’ve been wanting to do something for a very, very long time.”

His lips came down on mine—hard, hot, demanding. It was nothing like the gentle, first kiss I’d thought we’d share. It caused light-headedness, an almost physical pain of wanting. But it was too soon. Things were moving too fast. I raised my hands and pushed against his chest. He immediately moved back.

His eyes were full of disappointment. “I’m sorry, Garland, I…”

“It’s okay, Sweetheart.” His voice was raspy with desire. Reaching behind me, he picked up the glass of iced tea and drained it in one gulp, then laughed. “Ah, I needed that, and maybe a cold shower.” He winked and I knew everything would be okay. He’d not rush me into anything I wasn’t ready for.

While he went to shower, I headed outside to check on the progress of getting some air on. My libido wasn’t the only thing getting hotter in this apartment.


 I twisted and rolled first one way and then the other. Groaning, I kicked the sheets away from my legs. I was being slowly roasted over an open pit or at least I felt as if I were. And it had nothing to do with the temperature. The air was working perfectly again and the bedroom was cool. No, it wasn’t hot air keeping me awake and burning alive. The thought of Garland sleeping just a few feet away in the tiny spare room was driving me crazy. I remembered he slept in the nude. Was he over there now with all that sexy, tanned skin glowing in the light of the full moon? What on earth was wrong with me? I’d wanted this man for so long. Had dreamed of lying here in his arms. Why was I torturing myself?

All I had to do was call out to him. But no, he was sleeping. After the long flight and a two-hour layover, he was surely worn out. Especially since we’d sat up past midnight. Once the air had been fixed we’d gone down to the little pizza and video shop in town. We’d settled on a large cheese pizza with mushrooms and then had a great time deciding what movie to rent. There wasn’t a huge selection and we both figured there’d been enough tension for one day, so we finally chose two comedies, Joe Dirt and There’s Something About Mary.

Garland’s laugh was infectious, and we laughed until our sides ached at the silliness portrayed on the screen. Barb had shown up about half way through the first movie and stayed till the end. When she was leaving, she leaned over and whispered, “Wow, what a hunk.” Then she gave me a big thumbs up, as I hustled her out the door.

After watching the other movie, we’d necked for about an hour like two teens in a parked car. If he’d ask me then to go to bed with him, I’d never have been able to resist, but he never let it get out of hand and when we went to bed, he kissed me gently and headed for the little room I’d told him he could use. So here I was, hot, frustrated and mad at myself for being such a cautious goose. I suppose it’s for the best. Sure, we’d been talking for a long time and I felt I knew him better than anyone on the face of the earth, but in reality, we’d only just met. I kept repeating the bit about it being for the best until I fell into a restless sleep, but I don’t think I believed a word of it.


Next morning dawned bright and clear and as hot as blue blazes. It was July, but that didn’t keep me from wishing for a snowstorm. Maybe if I rolled around in a foot of snow naked, I could get rid of the heat flooding every pore on my body. I was in heat, pure and simple. I’d always known female dogs came in heat, but I’d never known it could happen to a human. There was no two ways about it, either I’d have to give into my baser instincts or I’d have to exert a lot more will power and control the animal hunger fighting for dominance.

So did my animal hunger win out or did I exert my will power? I’ll leave that to your imagination. We married two years later so the story did, of course, have a happy ending.

Hubby and Bernie

Hubby and Bernie


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LASR Reviews Winter of the Heart

LASR (Long and Short Reviews) gives WINTER OF THE HEART a four and half book review. It’s also up for ‘best book of the week’, so if you have time check in at http://www.longandshortreviews.com/LASR/recentrev.htm tomorrow (Saturday May 2, 2009 or Sunday May 3, 2009) and vote for it. Thanks, Elizabeth

“This touching historical takes readers on an emotional journey that is hard to forget as a woman in an abusive relationship seeks to make a better life for herself and finds a love she never expected…” Read more – http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.com/2009/04/winter-of-heart-by-eg-parsons.html

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Review for Winter of the Heart by E. G. Parsons


Recommended Read from AllBooks Review:

Pre-Pub Reviews

Genre: Historical Fiction

Title:  Winter of the Heart – ISBN: 1440491682 or EAN13: 9781440491689

Author: E. G. Parsons

It is 1876. Megan Connors, alias Maggie Bertram is married to a horrible, abusive man. She manages to escape and acquires employment as a school teacher on a ranch, owned by Charles Donovan, in South Carolina. The instant chemistry between Megan and her new employer is obvious to everyone. Life seems to be improving by the day. A rather strange encounter with the ghost of Charles first wife, Rachel is rather unsettling. It seems that Rachel wants Megan to help Charles find love. Charles is still haunted by a letter that Rachel left just before her death.

Megan loves her job and now has a new friend, Alicia Jordan. One day Megan’s world is shattered when William O’Brian, her husband, finds her and insists on taking her with him. In spite of his feelings for her, Charles Donovan does nothing to stand in William’s way and Megan leaves.

When Charles realizes that the man is a beast and Megan might be in danger; he hires a private investigator to find her. He cannot deny his love for her. Megan, abused and locked in her room struggles to be free. One night she can no longer tolerate the abuse and she again escapes. Will Charles find her? Will she survive the mountain winter on her own? Will William reappear and recapture her?  All of these questions will be answered in Winter of the Heart.

The characters are realistic and colorful, the plot is suspenseful and the entire story is overflowing with heartfelt emotion. Romance fans will love this book. A book that readers will have trouble putting down until the final conclusion. Well written, well researched and a very entertaining read.

Highly recommended by Shirley Roe, Allbooks Review. www.allbookreviews.com 

 Review From RWU:

Desperate to escape her abusive home life, Megan Connors flees to rural South Carolina, where she accepts a position as a schoolteacher on a prosperous but secluded ranch. Wealthy ranch owner Charles Donovan, a man haunted by the ghosts of his past, is immediately attracted to the beautiful, headstrong Megan. Though Megan shares the attraction, she resists her feelings for Charles, afraid of the terrible secret that casts a dark shadow across her newfound happiness.  Together, these star-crossed lovers must reconcile both past and present dangers if they are to lay their ghosts to rest and find a future together.

I opened the cover of Winter of the Heart expecting a romance that would sweep me off my feet. As always, E. G. Parsons delivered. The imagery in this novel is exquisite, allowing the reader to envision life in 1800’s as clearly as if she were staring into a beautiful and lifelike painting. Charles and Megan are likeable, believable characters that you can’t help caring about and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them. The plot has something for everyone; history, romance, a hottie hero and it even contains a shivery ghost story for lovers of paranormal romance. All these factors combine to make Winter of the Heart E. G. Parsons’ most beautiful love story yet.

 Review from RWU (Romance Writers United) http://rwunited.freehostia.com/woth.htm

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Review: In The Shadow Of The Dragonfly

dragonflycover_smallFrom above the shadows … light


Orphaned and impoverished, Gray Baldwin is a lost soul in search of a home, a life, and most of all — love. Kicked from foster home to foster home, at last a restored motorcycle and the onset of adulthood give him the means to leave behind all the ols threats, struggles and losses that haunt him. When he accepts a job at Hanwell Construction, life’s promising new start is both his hope and his torment. The spoiled daughter of a well-to-do business owner, pretty Hope Hanwell has a past to reconcile and a few tragic secrets of her own. She wants for nothing — and everything, pushing love as far away as she can until love pushes back. When Gray and Hope meet, theirs is a story of heartbreak, redemption and fate at its most devastating.


My Review:

In The Shadow Of The Dragonfly

By M. Jean Pike

Black Lyon LLC

ISBN: 978-1934912072

***** Five Stars….

Gray Baldwin was born into poverty and neglect. After losing his prostitute mother at the age of eight, he’s given into the custody of his first foster mother. Gladdy teaches Gray the true meaning of love, home and family. Despite the many pitfalls in his life, he never forgets those lessons and clings to his dreams of finding true love with a home and family of his own to belong to. When he meets Hope and her family, he believes he’s found what he’s been looking for his entire life.

Beautiful and spoiled, Hope Hanwell has never wanted for anything, at least on the surface. She’s never known her mother and bears the heavy weight of guilt for a later tragedy on her young shoulders. Hope has her flaws and is, at first, not very likable, but the author offers deeper insight and the reader gets a glimpse of the lovely person she could become. Hope wants Gray, but with nothing more serious in mind than a summer fling and has no idea how drastically their love affair will affect her life.

A literary love story, yes, but In The Shadow Of The Dragonfly by awarding winning author M. Jean Pike is much more than that. Through the lives of the very real people living within it’s pages, this story allows the reader to examine the pain, heartbreak, love, and hope that dwells within the hearts and minds of all mankind. With great strength and courage these characters overcome heartache and tragedy, moving on with their lives and forging a better tomorrow for future generations. In The Shadow Of The Dragonfly touched me on an emotional level seldom felt and I know these characters will live in my heart for a very long time. I can’t remember ever having read a more satisfying story and highly recommend it to all. 

Author/Reviewer, E. G. Parsons – http://egparsons.com   

Visit M. Jean Pike’s Wesite: http://www.freewebs.com/mjeanpike/


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In The Shadow Of The Dragonfly by M. Jean Pike

Dragonfly Cover

Dragonfly Cover

From above the shadows … light


Orphaned and impoverished, Gray Baldwin is a lost soul in search of a home, a life, and most of all — love. Kicked from foster home to foster home, at last a restored motorcycle and the onset of adulthood give him the means to leave behind all the old threats, struggles and losses that haunt him. When he accepts a job at Hanwell Construction, life’s promising new start is both his hope and his torment.


The spoiled daughter of a well-to-do business owner, pretty Hope Hanwell has a past to reconcile and a few tragic secrets of her own. She wants for nothing — and everything, pushing love as far away as she can until love pushes back. When Gray and Hope meet, theirs is a story of heartbreak, redemption and fate at its most devastating.


IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGONFLY  A Literary Love Story by M. Jean Pike

ISBN: 978-1-934912-07-2
Available from Amazon.com and Black Lyon Publishing in e-book and paperback.

Watch for my review of this book coming soon.



Romance or Love Story

Have you ever thought about what defines a romance as apposed to a love story? New writers wanting to be published in the field of genre romance ask themselves this question quite often and it’s a hard question to answer. If you’ve written a love story and submit it to one of the many romance publishers out there, it may be rejected just because it doesn’t follow the formula for romance. This is beginning to change to a certain extent, thanks in part to talented authors such as M. Jean Pike. Her recently published novels are love stories published in the romance genre. What exactly is the difference between the two?


Romance follows a very specific formula, which is why it’s necessary for new and established writers to continually come up with fresh, new story ideas. The formula for romance is pretty simple. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, and they live happily ever after. That last part is essential to be accepted by most romance publishers. On many of their sites, it will explain that the happy ending must be there for them to be interested or at the very least the ending must leave the reader with a sense of satisfaction. In between the boy meets girl and the HEA, there can be many different sub plots to move the story along such as mystery, suspense, paranormal, and others. Regardless of the sub genre, the basic formula must remain in order to be called a romance and the developing romance between the hero and heroine should take center stage. The first romance I read, as a young girl, was Jane Eyre. This story follows the exact formula and is still my favorite romance.


A love story doesn’t follow any set formula and doesn’t have to have a HEA. Although, through out the ages there have many love stories that could have been romances if they’d ended differently. Just a couple that comes to mind, Romeo and Juliet and Love Story. All the aspects of a romance are there in those stories, but there isn’t the typical happily ever after ending. Then there’s Wuthering Heights, The Bridges Of Madison County, and Gone With The Wind. Looking at these titles you might assume that a true love story must have a tragic or not so happy ending. Not so. Take for example The Ghost And Mrs. Muir. A lot of people call this a paranormal romance. I think it could go either way since it doesn’t follow the exact formula for a romance, but it does have a satisfying ending. Originally in my newest novel, Black Rock: A Time For Love, the hero and heroine fell in love early in the book and admitted that love to one another. After that it was the outside conflicts that held them apart. According the critiques I received, this was a no-no for a romance. I needed more internal conflict, so I went back and rewrote the entire story. In the long run, did it make the story better? Probably not, but it made it more suitable for the romance genre.


If you’re a writer trying to decide if your manuscript is a genre romance, read what the romance publishers are putting out there, read Jane Eyre or other tried and true romances such as Pride and Prejudice or any other Jane Austin novel. If romance publishers have rejected your manuscript, perhaps you’ve written a love story or a general fiction story instead of a romance. My first novel, Captive Fear was mislabeled a romance, when in actuality it’s a gritty suspense/mystery. There is a romance embedded in the story, but it’s definitely not a typical romance. You will need to define your story in order to query the publishers or agents that are the best fit. Whatever you’ve written, don’t give up–keep submitting until you find the best publisher for it.


©Elizabeth Melton Parsons



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Waiting For The Rain

Willow Mackenzie desperately needs a miracle. 
Darby Sullivan has one to offer. 
But sharing it may cost him his life.

Abandoned by her husband after receiving a fatal medical diagnosis, twenty-eight-year-old Willow Mackenzie is determined to realize her unfulfilled dreams. On a jaunt to a lonely quarry called Baker’s Gully in the hope of photographing an eagle, she discovers an abandoned cottage and its reclusive owner, Darby Sullivan. Captivated by the rose-covered dwelling, and intrigued by its stern, sexy owner, Willow knows instinctively that she is meant to spend the rest of her life in Baker’s Gully. A man of secrets, Darby is content with his hermit-like existence, but troubled by the deadly illness he senses within her, he agrees to rent Willow the cottage, knowing it is the one place on earth that can heal her. But saving Willow’s life may cost Darby his own.

Seldom will a book touch your emotions the way M. Jean Pike’s “Waiting For The Rain”. Willow is a likeable, courageous heroine–a woman you’d want for your best friend and Darby…what can I say about Darby? “SIGH” I fell in love. Here’s a man who has known hardship and heartache. A strong, sensitive and loving man with a secret. A secret so devastating, he fears it will destroy any chance of a future with Willow. Their love story will leave you breathless.

Waiting For The Rain by M. Jean Pike 
ISBN# 978-1-897445-21-1 
Champagne Books ‘Best Book Of the Year Award’ For 2007
Available in both e-book and paperback.
Tomorrow I will post the blurb for Jean’s newest book, “Heatherfield”.
Don’t forget, Jean will be guest blogging on Monday.

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Deceptive Hearts ~ Chapter 3 continues…



“Mom! Mom, where are you?” Lily went from room to room and when entering the kitchen, saw Dee sitting on the patio outside the kitchen door. She took a few deep breaths to calm herself and watched her mother for a minute before going to her.

“Mom, I just came from Daddy and he…Mom, are you smoking?”

“No, Lily, I’m trying to set my face on fire.” Sarcasm laced her words, as she raised her brows and looked up at her youngest daughter.

“But you quit smoking when I was just a little girl. You know those things will kill you.”

“You aren’t a little girl any longer and I don’t need a lecture. Sit down and tell me what’s so urgent.”

Lily lowered her bottom onto the edge of a chair and stared at Dee. She’d never seen her like this, so…so un-mom like. “I just talked to Daddy. He told Sarah and me that he’s seeing an attorney next week about a divorce.”

Taking a long pull on the cigarette, Diana closed her eyes and blew the smoke out slowly. It seems Warren couldn’t wait to be rid of her.  He couldn’t even keep his word about waiting until he was able to leave the center to say anything. Now she’d have to tell Robbie.

“Mom? Don’t you have anything to say?”

“What do want to know, Lily? He asked for a divorce. I told him I’d fight it, but I can’t force him to stay in a marriage he’s determined to leave. I have no intention of covering for him with you or your brother and sister. This divorce is what he wants and any explanations will have to come from him.”




 ©E. G. Parsons



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Decetive Hearts…cont.

“Sarah, I’m not sure I can explain. The accident simply made me realize how fast things can change. I could have died and I’ve never truly lived.”

“Daddy, that doesn’t make any sense. Are you saying your life has no meaning—that your career and your life with Mom meant nothing? What about Lily, Robbie, and me? Being our father means nothing to you?”

“It has nothing to do with my career or you children. I’ve always been happy and proud to be your father. How do you feel about Russell, Sarah?”

“He’s my husband, a part of me. I love him and can’t even imagine my life without him. What does that have to do with this?”

“That’s what has been missing in my life and I can’t live that way any longer.”

“Are you saying Mom doesn’t love you? Has never loved you? Because if so, you’re wrong, Daddy. Mom would be lost without you. Oh, Daddy, you are so wrong. She loves you. I see it in her eyes when she looks at you. Mom adores you. I can’t believe you don’t know that.”

“Lily was right when she said Dee has been a good wife to me. She’s been wonderful. And I have no doubt she cares for me, but not in the same way you care for Russell. We settled—settled for less than what you and Russell have. It wasn’t so bad before Robbie was born. I had my work. Your mother had her painting and the gallery. After Robbie, she gave that up and devoted herself to being the best wife and mother she could be.”

Sarah sank to her knees beside his chair. “I remember—the little place on Maple Lane. Mom took Lily and I there all the time when we were younger. She was a different person there. Her face would glow as soon as she opened the door. I’d forgotten.” Those were the only times she’d seen that look on her mother’s face. She laid her head on her father’s knee. “I’m sorry, Daddy, so sorry.”



©E. G. Parsons



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Everlasting Love: Deceptive Hearts ~ chapter 3 cont…



Time was rushing by too fast. Diana wanted to hold it back, keep Warren from leaving. The children were so happy over Christmas, more so than usual because of having their daddy home again. For her it had been bittersweet, knowing she was losing him. She’d begged him not to tell them. He’d finally agreed to simply say he was going to the center, feeling he’d progress faster there.

They’d found his plan reasonable—at least the girls had. Sarah’s apartment and Lily’s dorm were in the same neighborhood as Morton’s Rehab Center and they could pop in and see their daddy whenever they wanted. Robbie was a different matter. He must have asked his father a hundred times why he didn’t want to stay at home with them. It broke her heart.

The van from the center was coming this morning and Robbie had stomped out of Warren’s room and into the kitchen. She needed to reassure him, but didn’t know how to do that without lying. Warren wanted a divorce. Every time the thought surfaced, it was like a fist sized lump lodged in the back of her throat. How was she to tell Robbie everything would be all right? Nothing was right. Their world was crumbling around them and she was powerless to stop it.

Entering the kitchen, she saw him sitting at the breakfast table, big fat teardrops lying on his cheeks. “Robbie, would you like some breakfast?” She forced a cheerful tone into her voice that she was far from feeling.

“No, I’m not hungry.”

“You don’t have to worry about Daddy. I promise to take you over every day to see him.”

“What about when I go back to school?”

“Every day, Robbie. We’ll go right after school, I promise.”


Copyright © Elizabeth Melton Parsons