• From "Cabin Fever" by Janet Welch of St. Joseph, MO, one of 10 stories in Celebrating Romance. In this story, the woman faces a stay-or-go, life-changing decision when would-be lovers meet face to face for the first time in his cabin:
John released her hands and cupped her chin with one of his palms. His touch made something inside her tumble free. His green eyes captured her blue ones. She parted her lips to tell him her decision only to find his mouth touching hers. His lips were warm and searching. Ann felt the same searching inside her. John brushed against her lips, back and forth, coaxing, inviting.
Ann accepted. John tasted her, and she tasted him. She tugged gently on his bottom lip. He pressed his chest against her, and she immediately felt herself press closer to him. His hand continued to hold her jaw, caressing her. His kiss teased. Her brain clouded with his scent, Old Spice. And she wanted more.
• From "Mountain Magic" by LuAnn McLane of Florence, KY, a story where a mountain getaway involves a furry visitor:
He carried her into the bedroom and lowered her gently onto the quilt. Ann watched John's hazel eyes darken with desire. She was glad she had worn her favorite red outfit.
After 20 years together, Ann knew exactly what techniques to use to drive John crazy. She used each and every one of them and threw in a few surprises.
"I love you, Sweet Baby," she whispered and trailed her fingers lightly through his damp, black hair. Snuggling close to his side, she inhaled Old Spice, the scent he always wore because he knew it was her favorite.
"I love you, too, Ann."
• From "Acapulco Nights" by Regina Hammond of Beaverton, OR, where love's flame ignites during a picnic outing to see the sights of this exotic city:
“I bet you would look amazing laying on the bed covered with nothing but the moonlight,” John softly whispered in her ear as he pulled her body close to his and closed the door.
Ann thrilled in the warmth of his lips on hers. “Are you sure you can wait until the moon comes out, Sweet Baby?” she purred in his ear, while she ruffled his black hair with her fingers.
"“Not if you keep that up.” His voice was ragged with desire, and his muscles quivered as he slowly began to back Ann toward the welcoming bed. He laid her down gently and lovingly. He ran his hand over her blond hair and looked deeply into her blue eyes. Honey, you look so amazing! How did I ever end up with a woman like you?” he asked as he reached to take her into his arms. He pulled her close and tenderly began to kiss her neck. Her breathing increased and so did his. John eagerly placed his mouth firmly on her soft lips.
Ann's body responded immediately as she took in his sweet taste and his fragrance, Old Spice. After their mouths finally parted, she said, “OK, I guess I am glad we decided to take a vacation.” There was a sexy laugh in her voice.
Other stories in Celebrating Romance are as follows:
• "Beyond the City of Lights," by Lori Pepio of Sterling, VA, where romantic, modern-day Paris blurs with that of Marie Antoinette's time in the mind of the woman, who like most, dreams of a valiant man coming to her aid.
• "Destiny in Paris" by Marcy Richardson of Plantation, FL, where, to re-ignite their passion, the hero "kidnaps" his longtime love for a romantic rendezvous in Paris, where she's to follow explicit directions as if they've never met.
• "Passion Among the Stars" by Gail Gibbs of Tyrone, NM, whose story, set aboard a spaceship, proves that love and romance have no earthly limits.
• "Fourth of July on Maui" by Kristopher Horton of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where the magic of this exotic island reveals itself to lovers who rediscover amour.
• "Ruby is the Color of Love," also set in Hawaii, by Jennifer Kalman of Quebec, Canada, involves a necklace, an ages-old curse, some shady characters and the knowledge that love opens the right doors.
• "Barcelona Treasure" by Andrew Kin of Los Angeles, CA, where the couple stumbles onto a treasure map during their getaway in this fantastic Spanish city.
• "Sizzling Southwest" by Dee Thorpe of Oviedo, FL, where fantasy and reality both steam up the action when the couple enjoy the wide open spaces of this beautiful part of America.