What do you love in romance shorts?
No, not a tight pair of denim cut-offs. The other kind of shorts. Short fiction. Like Blue Collar, Delilah Devlin’s latest Boys Behaving Badly anthology. The kind that take you all the way from “How you doin’?” to Happily Ever After in a neat, sweet, thirty-minute romp.
I mean, most romance novels aren’t terribly long. You can’t wallow for a week, but you can curl up with one in a sunny corner of your living room for the whole afternoon, or maybe a long evening in front of the fire. Shorts, though—they’re the speed-dating version of true love. Got thirty minutes between the gym and school-pickup? No problem; Delilah’s got your back.
Speaking as an author, (Blue Collar features my latest hot story Shear Passion) romance shorts are tough. You’ve only got 10% the size of a novel, but who wants 10% of the heat? What about thinner characters or plainer plots? No way!
Are you prepared to give up anything in your romance shorts?
Or maybe answer it this way: what won’t you give up?
Me? I won’t give up that moment when my couple meet. Whether he’s rude and she’s haughty, or maybe they know they’re meant to be together the moment they lock eyes, I want to read it all. No, scratch that; I want to feel it all. I want the sweaty palms, the pounding heart, the tingling breasts.
And it’s got to be special. If this the man I’m spending the rest of my life with, I want to dine out on the story of how we met. I want us to laugh when we’re old and wrinkly. I want anniversary cards that say ‘Remember when…’
Most of all, though, I want to smile. I read on the train, and I kid you not, people have moved seats to make way for the crazy lady with the maniacal snicker.
There’s a name for these adorable scenes. They’re called a meet-cute. The best ones are funny, awkward, sweet, heart-warming—and you better believe they’re sexually charged. If the sex in an erotic romance is the fire, then the meet-cute is the spark. No spark? For me, no fire.
Who’s with me? Do you love a good meet-cute? Check mine out below.
The published version of Shear Passion weighs in at almost 6000 words, but the original version—the original unpublished version—was a hefty 15,000, and it’s been read by only a handful of people. Not even Delilah has seen it! There’s a bad guy, more conflict, more tension, and you guessed it, more sex.
Here’s your chance to win a copy. The competition is in two parts:
- Tell me your favourite meet-cute. Leave your answer below in the comments section.
Be it a movie, a book, or a TV show. Who were the romantic leads? What happened? What about it got your boiler stoked? I want to know them all, and I’ll choose my favourite as the winner.
- How did Will get his nickname? Don’t answer here, I don’t want everyone to see. Leave me a message on my Contact Page.
There’s an Easter egg in Shear Passion, a little secret smile I put in for astute readers. But nobody who’s read the story has found it yet. Can you? Tip: it’s to do with Will’s surname.
I’ll give away two copies of the unpublished Shear Passion manuscript, one for each question. Entries close Saturday June 17th, with winners announced in the Comments section below by Monday June 19th.
Shear Passion (meet-cute)
Sam was exuberant. Her first day as a shearer. Her first real day. She was ready. All she needed was Band-Aids. Dad’s mantra for farming was the Seven P’s—prior proper preparation prevents piss-poor performance—and she’d die before she tapped out with a blister.
She pulled up her quad-bike at the Mudgiboora general store beside a shiny orange V8 Hilux with roll bars, spoilers, and about a hundred B&S ball decals on the back window. Bogan farmer obviously, but judging by the Queensland plates, not a local.
The shop’s fly screen door banged open, and a dusty set of elastic-sided work boots stepped out.
Bogan farmer? Holy smokes, did I ever get that wrong.
Stained work pants, blue singlet—you might mistake him for a bogan farmer. If you were blind. Or stupid. Because it was difficult to miss the chiselled vee of his shoulders, chest, and abs, and the clean, dark blond hair. Sam noticed all these things and several more besides.
Quick, Sammy, think of something witty. “Hi,” she said, tilting her head to one side in an unconscious gesture of interest.
He looked her up and down and offered a dimpled smile. “Nice bike,” he said, not looking at her quad-bike at all. “You don’t look much like a farmer.”
“You don’t look much like a bogan.” Oh God, what’s wrong with me?
His face clouded for a moment then he burst out laughing. “Bogan!” he cried, slapping his thigh. He looked from Sam to the hot Hilux. “Yeah, nah, I deserve that. So hey, you live in town?”
“Just out of town.” Sam gestured vaguely over her shoulder without breaking eye contact, flattered and hypnotised by the searchlight attention of his gaze. “With my family.”
“Shit out of luck. Makes sense, though. Gorgeous sheilas don’t stay single in the sticks.”
He thinks I’m gorgeous. Wait…crap, he thinks I’m married. “No,” she blurted. “I meant, with my parents. Not a…you know…a family kind of family.” Oh, really smooth, Sam.
“Huh.” He seemed to consider this as potentially useful but only mildly interesting information, like “petrol is cheapest on a Wednesday”. “So, a nice single girl in Mudgiboora…”
He paused, looking for positive feedback, which Sam provided in spades with a beaming smile and almost neurotic blinking.
“Where might a fella find her on a Friday night if he was looking? In the pub?”
Today’s Friday. Is he asking me out? Sam planned on soaking in the bathtub after shearing.
“The pub? Sure.” Apparently, her mouth had other ideas. “Will you be there?”
“I reckon,” he said with a smile. Then he gestured at his clothes. “Do you mind a bloke who smells like sheep?”
“I love the smell of sheep.” The smell was of long gone summer afternoons playing beneath the shearing shed, running the gauntlet under the pens, and dodging the inevitable rain of droppings from above. In a flash, she knew exactly who the handsome stranger was. She’d taken over Dad’s accounting and was accruing his wages just last night. “You’d better hustle,” she said, touching a finger to his chest. “Old man Robinson will spit bullets if you’re late.”
Patrick looked at his watch. “Shit, you’re right.” Then he did a double-take. “Wait, what? How did you—?”
But Sam had already turned on her heel and run into the store. She leaned back out the door and called, “See you soon, Patrick.”
Copyright (c) 2017 Belinda LaPage
A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY COLLECTION #2
EDITED BY DELILAH DEVLIN