Here’s to finding love in any place, at any time
Three women – desperate to do something about breast cancer. One suffered loss, one survived and one endures. Together, they released Stories of Chance Romance and donate 100% of their author profits. Help them beat breast cancer – one book at a time!
This collection of short stories of chance romance reflects the hope that comes with the first bloom of romance, whether you find it in your youth, midlife, or the twilight years. Stories of Chance Romance is dedicated to all the women who face breast cancer and to the teams of family, friends and medical professionals who support them on their journey. All authors’ profits from the sale of this anthology are being donated to advance the research, education, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer.
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Sample from STORIES OF CHANCE ROMANCE: (A Witch’s Charm)
Willa Bryant jammed the long—handled scraper against the edge of the candle wax at her feet with enough force to pop it into the air like a shapeless jack—in—the—box.
“Agatha Westmore, how could you leave me with this mess? I have to leave early today to get ready for my date,” Willa muttered.
Talking to herself was one of the negatives of being the sole employee at ‘The School’. The other was that there was no one to go for a drink with after work, or chat with over lunch, or even squabble over who had to do the grunt work, like cleanup duty.
She flicked her gaze up at the round aluminum clock above the gymnasium door. Noon. The kids’ Halloween party was scheduled for two so she still had time.
She spotted another multi-colored wax slab and, with the skill of a short—order cook, she slid the scraper underneath, flipped it up in the air and tossed it into the garbage bin. She took a moment to lean on her scrapper and watch the black and orange party decorations that were swaying in the slight fall breeze slipping in through the side door she’d wedged open with a rock.
Rolling her shoulders to relax, Willa scanned the cavernous space that had once echoed the squeal of sneakers as kids raced after basketballs and the shuffle of chairs as the lights dimmed for the opening of a school play. In reality, the building hadn’t been a school for several years. Everyone still called it ‘The School’ even though there was a brand spanking new one a mile down the road. It was amazing how quickly a building could deteriorate into an eyesore, but fortunately, in this case, the community stepped in to renovate it for local events.
Willa swept her fingers through her hair. I bet the community wasn’t picturing a coven of witches celebrating Samhain in their hall though. Pagan religion may be legal in this country now but it wasn’t exactly embraced in small towns like Connor Springs. It was a good thing they didn’t know about her Aunt Agatha when she applied for the job of Facilities Manager, that’s for darn sure. Aunt Agatha was the only parent she’d ever known and Willa adored her, quirks and all. But, even as a kid, she knew that her aunt’s ‘woo—woo stuff’ was too far out of the mainstream to mention even to her school friends. Herbal remedies were one thing, but magic spells and rituals? Willa shook her head as she’d done most of her life, living with a relative who believed magic was real.
But, she didn’t have to believe in it herself to love and support her aunt. If the Community Board was holding Willa accountable for any damage caused by a group using the building then she was certainly going to assume the authority for approving who got to use it. “And if you can’t trust family to behave like responsible adults, who can you trust?” she said with a sigh as she went back to the task of tracking the winding trail of candle drippings. “But you and I are still going to have words about this, Aunt Agatha. Let me tell you.”
“Are you talking to a ghost?” The soft whisper floated up from behind her.
Willa spun on her heels to locate the owner. A young girl was staring up at her with deep blue eyes, round as two saucers.
Across the hall, the child’s mother had her hands full with her two boys. The one dressed as Spiderman held a large bag of candy clutched to his chest while the other, a blond like his sister, was dressed like Captain Jack and held tight to only one corner of the bag. Their mother must have called a ‘parley’ but both boys were looking stubborn.
Willa smiled at the little girl and crouched down. “No sweetie, I just talk to myself sometimes.”
The child seemed too pale and serious for one so young. Willa took the small, fisted hands into her own and glanced at the nametag hanging around the girl’s neck. “You don’t need to be afraid of ghosts, Evy.”
“That’s what my Daddy said too. But then he got upset.”
Willa wanted to ask why her father got upset but thought it best not to pry. The girl could have misread her father—maybe her parents were having a little spat or something. At the very least, whichever one had dressed the little girl that morning was distracted. Her black cotton dress was on backward, and the elastic holding her pointy witch hat under her chin was tied with a knot where it had broken.
“Why don’t I help you straighten out your costume? You make a very impressive witch.”
Some of her aunt’s sister witches got upset about the caricatures that showed up alongside the vampires and werewolves at this time every year, but Agatha didn’t see the harm in it. She and her aunt had great fun planning their costumes for Halloween. The memories wrapped around Willa’s heart and squeezed. There’d been one costume in particular that Willa remembered from her childhood. . .
While Willa straightened the hat and arranged the soft blond curls back in place, Evy frowned as if trying to work out some great problem. Finally, she looked up.
“Daddy told me there was no such thing as ghosts. But if Mommy isn’t a ghost, she wouldn’t be able to float on the clouds in heaven. She’d fall through.”
Seeing the woman with the two boys had moved on, Willa realized her mistake in assuming the little girl was with them. Evy is so young to be without her mother, she thought, struggling to keep her composure. She brushed the shoulders of the little girl’s dress, thinking fast. “Probably your mommy is an angel so she uses her wings to stay up in the clouds.” Her father was obviously doing his best; even if he did get the dress on backward, at least he’d gotten his little girl a costume. That said a lot.
When Evy nodded, Willa picked up the tool she’d lain on the floor and stood. A knot of grief burned in her chest.
Evy tugged on her dress with both hands and tilted her head way back to look Willa in the eye. “Daddy and I have looked and looked but we can’t find a new mommy anywhere.”
Willa felt her mouth open but she couldn’t think of a response. A child’s grieving process was nothing like an adult’s, but it seemed the loss was a while ago. Willa caught her breath, feeling for Evy’s poor father. Pressure to get married from your own daughter—that had to be worse than the comments Willa got from her aunt.