I’m traveling this week, gang—I was in Milwaukee over the weekend, and I’m in Savannah now. At the end of May, NYC, my favorite city. In June, Ottawa. This fall, a book tour.
I love to travel. I even like airports. I read a lot in the air and at the gates, and I often treat myself to unhealthy food, because calories consumed while traveling don’t count, as everyone knows.
So here are some tales from my travels, as it were.
If an airplane disaster movie is available on a plane, I watch it. Oh, yes I do! Why? Because it lessens the odds, of course. “She went down while watching Cast Away.” Nah! That would never happen. In fact, when I flew to Australia a couple years ago, I watched Flight…you know, the one where my boyfriend, Denzel Washington, flies the plane upside down. Twice.
Last year when I went to Europe, my beloved publisher put me in first class. This was terribly thrilling for a small town Yankee like me. The flight attendant asked me if I wanted something to drink—they had champagne, orange juice, coffee, bottled water. “Yes, please,” I said.
“All of them?” she asked.
“Yes.” I smiled. Wanted to make sure my publisher was getting the bang for their buck. Also on that trip I had a chocolate croissant, a roast beef sandwich and a hot fudge sundae. Felt like I could barely fit off the plane, but hey! It was fun!
I inevitably make friends with someone. “Hi,” I say, “Where are you headed/what are you reading/I love your earrings.” and voila. Miss Congeniality strikes again.
About a year ago, I had to fly with an air cast on, courtesy of my broken ankle. I was picked up by the loveliest cart driver at O’Hare, who said, “Let’s see how many people we can run down,” and proceeded to charge at the crowds, leaning on his horn and bellowing, “Out of the way, out of the way! Gimpy lady aboard!” I loved him so.
Once, when I was flying to Georgia to see my sister and newborn niece, we had to circle above a huge thunderstorm. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen—lightning from above. It made for a hairy landing (I didn’t puke, but it was close), but I’d say it was worth it.
How about you? Got any fun travel stories? I’ll give one commenter a signed copy of ALL I EVER WANTED, in which Callie has a notable plane trip as well. Winner will be posted Sunday, so check back!
Julie-ann Ford is Jan’s winner! You can contact Jan at email@example.com to claim your prize.
Fran and Julie-Ann Ford, you are the winners of my contest this week! Congratulations!
Please send me a private message at KOBrien@aol.com, so that I can get the Amazon gift certificates out to you asap. Thanks to everyone who dropped by and shared your wonderful love stories!
Love At First Sight
My senior year in high school, I worked afternoons and Saturday mornings as a teller at a local bank. It was a portable building, the kind frequently used to add extra space to an overcrowded school, and it had a walk-in lobby and three drive-thru lanes. I was working the lobby one afternoon when a man I’d never seen before walked in. He went to the opposite counter and filled out a banking slip before approaching my window.
He was tall, with curly brown hair and the bluest eyes I have ever seen. He hands me his deposit slip and asks if I can verify the account number because he just had his eyes dilated and he isn’t sure he wrote it correctly. I recite the account number, then glance to the name, Tim Schliesman. There’s something familiar about the name, but I can’t quite place it. The deposit slip also had a place for the address, which he’d filled in. My heart is doing one of those beat-skip-beat-skip rhythms that made me wonder if I’m actually breathing or not.
Me: “You live at 31 Huck Finn Drive? We’re moving to 21 Huck Finn Drive. We’re going to be neighbors!”
His lack of enthusiasm doesn’t lessen mine. But seriously, he could have cared less about anything I was saying. I finish the transaction and send him on his way, watching his Levi clad butt walking toward the door. He even looks good from behind!
As soon as the building is empty, I wave the deposit slip at my co-workers. “Okay, who knows this guy?” Everyone is shaking their heads. It’s time for Plan B. I call the main bank and ask them to pull his information card. Mainly, I want to know his age. I find out he’s three years older than me, which means he should be in my freshman yearbook.
Cue the Mission Impossible music! I spend the night searching through multiple yearbooks, trying to find him. No luck. I did, however, locate two other guys with the same last name. They are younger than me so I’m guessing they’re his brothers. At this point, there’s really nothing else I can do. We’ll be moving in two weeks, so I wait it out.
Our new house is directly across the street from his. He spends a lot of time doing yardwork and I spend an equal amount of time watching him. Then I get this brilliant idea to work in the yard, too! I pull out some spandex bike shorts and a sports bra and go in search of the lawnmower. Luckily, we have a brand new one. I take off across the yard, mowing an uneven path while waiting for him to notice me. When he finally looks up, I wave and smile. Unfortunately, steering the mower with one hand causes me to hit the culvert under our driveway. The mower makes a horrible screeching sound and smoke rolls from the motor. I’ve just ruined a $300 lawnmower. Ooops!
No more yardwork for me.
By now, the senior prom is approaching and I want *someone* to be my date. Except, he’s never shown any interest in me and I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. I’m completely and totally in love with this guy. Can’t eat, can’t sleep, in love. Instead of going to prom, a group of friends go to dinner and then head to the Holiday Inn for a party. We walk through the front door and guess who is standing behind the desk? Yep, it’s him. He works as a night auditor and I just know he’s going to tell my parents.
He doesn’t. But my brother is friends with his brothers and he spends hours over at their house. He usually comes home and says, “Tim doesn’t know you’re alive!”
By now, four months have passed and it doesn’t seem to matter how many hours I spend watching him from our living room windows. I have to accept the fact that he obviously doesn’t like me and certainly doesn’t want to date me. I have to give up on him.
I’ll never forget that day. I pulled into our driveway after running some errands and he was outside using the weed eater. I didn’t bother to wave, I just went inside. Then I found my favorite window and watched him one last time. I had to give up on love because, obviously, men were stupid.
Ten minutes later, my doorbell rang. When I answered, guess who was standing on the other side? Yep, it was him. All sweaty, covered in grass and looking nervous.
“Hi.” I answer.
“I’m wondering if maybe you’d like to go out for dinner or a movie sometime?” he asks.
It was honestly the last thing I expected him to say, and it took me several seconds to respond. “Sure, I’d love to.”
That was the beginning of a courtship that lasted two years before we married. I like to say, “It was love at first sight…for one of us.”
My hubby always responds, “I was blinded by your beauty.”
Don’t you just love a happy ending?
I’m giving away an autographed copy of Protecting His Brother’s Bride to a North American reader. Here’s your question: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for love? Leave an answer in the comments section by noon on Saturday. Winners will be notified Sunday on the Jaunty Quills blog so be sure to check back.
For more information on Protecting His Brother’s Bride, please check out the following links:
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Harlequin Excerpt = http://bit.ly/Jan-Protect-Excerpt
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Goodreads = http://bit.ly/JanOnGReads
Did you ever dream of being a princess? Did you have the classic fantasies about discovering that your parents were just surrogates for the real ones, who, for some complicated but entirely loving reason, had to send you away from the palace, incognito?
Obviously, it’s a much-beloved idea. Oddly, though, I never dreamed that dream. Maybe it’s because, as a child, I was deathly shy. (Today, I’ve progressed to being merely kind of shy.) Being “royal” always seemed like very hard work. All those public events. All those paparazzi. No privacy, no freedom…and you’d need to behave yourself 24/7. It didn’t sound like the life for me.
In HIS DEFIANT PRINCESS, which releases today, Brenna Tinley is a normal American woman who also has never fantasized about being a princess. She’d much rather be a successful public relations professional—independent, with plenty of personal freedom.
But when she backpacks off the coast of France during the summer between high school and college, she meets an amazing guy who shares her love of adventure, travel and the great outdoors. They spend three magical months together, and when he disappears one night without even a goodbye, she’s heartbroken. It’s several years before she discovers her mystery lover is actually Prince Ronan Vicenza, the second son of the royal family of Cornetta.
Even then, when the royal family offers her a job, she has no interest in taking up where she and Ronan left off. And she certainly has no desire to take on the grueling job of princess. But Ronan has other ideas, and pretty soon she discovers that all the clichés are true. Love really is the only thing that matters.
As an unapologetic romantic myself, I agree. Love makes us all do things we once believed impossible. As one of my favorite songs says, love changes everything. The rules we make are broken.
Luckily, no one has ever asked me to sit on a throne and wear a tiara. My “impossible” moment was quieter. It came when I left my hometown to marry His Highness, who lived in another city. It was still in the same state, which hardly seems to require a daredevil spirit, but my roots went deep. A transplant had never been in my plans. In fact, when I told friends I’d be moving, they gaped, mute with shock. Some of them even expressed true anxiety, as if I’d announced I was having a limb amputated for fun.
But I never regretted the decision. His Highness and I have been happily married for decades, and though we never moved back to my hometown, and I miss it still, I’ve redefined “home.” It’s wherever he is.
What about you? What’s the craziest thing you ever did for love—that thing you won’t forget, can’t regret? (Now you’re going to have that song from A Chorus Line stuck in your head all day, aren’t you? You’re welcome.)
To celebrate the release of HIS DEFIANT PRINCESS, I’m giving away two $10 Amazon gift certificates, so I hope you’ll take a minute to tell me all about it!