I love holiday romances, but I’ve somehow only managed to write one. It was a holiday short story called Concourse Christmas. The idea came to me as I was waiting out a flight delay at St. Louis’ Lambert Airport, and became my first published work when it was included in the Believe anthology from Turquoise Morning Press in 2010.
Concourse Christmas was the story of two stranded travelers who happen to meet their soul mate whilst stuck in an airport on Christmas Eve. Readers responded so well to Jack and Ellie’s story that I wrote additional holiday-themed stories for them, which eventually became Long Distance Love.
I have a particular soft spot for the story because my husband and I had a long distance relationship. A girl from Chicago met a guy from Arkansas on a trip to Virginia, and that was that. Geography didn’t matter. I smile whenever someone tells me they don’t believe in love at first sight, or mock stories of ‘insta-love’. It happens. I have the wedding ring to prove it.
Just for fun, here’s a little taste of Concourse Christmas. The book is out of print now, but I do have a copy I can give away. If you are interested in reading more of Jack and Ellie’s story of Long Distance Love, comment below and tell me how you met your beloved (even if that beloved has four feet instead of two) and I’ll pick a winner on Sunday night!
How can something so beautiful be such a pain in the ass?
A torrent of fat flakes tumbled past soundproof glass. Ellie Nichols squinted, staring past her own reflection into the curtain of falling snow. An ever-thickening layer of white covered the tarmac and blanketed the hulking shape of the abandoned plane at the end of the jetway.
She heaved a heavy sigh, her fingers tightening around her cell phone. The smooth plastic casing slid in her sweaty palm. Ellie dragged her gaze from the desolate scene, sneaking a quick glance out of the corner of her eye at the man seated across the crowded waiting area.
Creepy or cute?
She feigned interest in the television monitor mounted in the corner. The closed captioning scrolled across the bottom of the screen. A well-groomed man in a sharp suit waved a futile hand at the map, no doubt bemoaning his ineptitude in predicting the Canadian cold front that precipitated this Christmas Eve storm.
She huffed and turned back to the window. Another ten gazillion flakes drifted to the ground, each one unique, and each one seemingly hell bent on keeping her from reaching Chicago.
Ellie smirked. Yeah, it’s all about me.
She stole another peek at the guy down the row. His legs were crossed at the ankles. Scuffed brown shoes the size of small pleasure crafts anchored him to the floor. Mile-and-a-half-long legs encased in faded jeans stretched across the aisle. A cranberry colored Henley spanned broad shoulders, the pushed up sleeves revealing strong forearms crossed over a nicely muscled chest. Her gaze traveled a little higher. He was staring straight at her. Again.
Ellie met his stare head-on. She was rewarded with a pink flush that lit the tips of his ears and seeped into his cheeks.
She blinked and refocused her attention to the monitor just beyond the cute guy’s shoulder. Her phone vibrated, making her jump. She fumbled with the phone as a tinny version of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas Is You’ rang out.
“Hello?” She shook her head and glanced at the departure monitor again. “No, still delayed, Mom.”
Her mother launched into a bleak weather report from the Windy City. Ducking her head, Ellie gnawed her bottom lip as she battled back a wave of frustration and disappointment.
“Okay, well, nothing’s been canceled yet.” She hazarded another glance at the screen and clung to her last shred of hope. “I’ll keep you posted,” she promised before ending the call.
Ellie’s stomach growled. She checked the time, tucked the phone into her handbag, and stood, tugging the hem of her sweater over her hips.
The tiny hairs at the nape of her neck prickled. Ellie didn’t need to sneak another peek to know the guy was watching her when she reached for her carry-on bag. The handle snapped into place. Her fingers curled around smooth plastic and she mustered up a little bravado.
Like what you see, Mr. Talldarkandlackinginsocialskills?
She boldly met his eyes when she passed, and apparently he did like. The heat of his gaze followed her from the seating area. Ellie tossed her head as she waded into the milling crowd on the concourse, a pang of regret sharpening the hunger pangs needling her stomach. The haircut had been an impulse—a lark, a declaration of independence—but for the first time in two weeks she missed having a curtain of hair to hide behind.