Happy Friday all. This past week, I entered into a contest for Harlequin Heartwarming called “Write From the Heart.” I submitted my first page for evaluation by the Heartwarming editors. If you make it past the first round, they request a synopsis and the first three chapters; after that, the full manuscript. Unfortunately, my entry wasn’t chosen. There wasn’t any feedback present on the page, so I’m not sure why it was a “no” for them. I wanted to share it with readers and fellow writers here and get a bit of feedback. I’ll share my own thoughts on why it may not have been selected later, but I want to know what you all think. OAN: You can read some of my non-fiction samples by clicking on the (Untitled) link.
Always the Girlfriend
This was the moment she’d been waiting four years for?
Peyton Hayes shoved her hair out of her face as another strong gust of wind pushed her farther along the sandy shore. The skirt of her dress whipped around her slender frame and her heels sank into the sand with each limping step.
“Peyton! Peyton, wait!”
Peyton kicked off her heels and gathered them hem of her dress in her hands so she could run barefoot to the pier. She wouldn’t look back. She wouldn’t. She swiped a tear off her cheek, sniffed loudly. She increased her speed in case Dane had decided to follow her.
This wasn’t the romantic scene she’d imagined when the day began. It wasn’t even close to the life defining moment she’d been expecting. When Dane said he wanted to do something special this weekend, she didn’t let herself get too excited about it. After four years of dating, she’d lived through enough false alarms to understand that every “special” date Dane had in mind didn’t equal a marriage proposal. Even when he mentioned the name of an expensive restaurant along Lake Serenity, she fought back all fantasies of Dane on bended knee. It wasn’t fair of her to presume that Dane knew the restaurant was on the list in her head reserved for birthdays, anniversaries, major promotions and marriage proposals. For once in her life she would be sensible.
Sensible? Ha! She grabbed the handrails and raced up the steps to the boardwalk. If Dane was following, he wasn’t close enough behind to be on the boardwalk. She heard nothing but her bare feet slapping the planks and the rapid beat of her heart. Still, she didn’t slow down. The fall of her feet took on a rapid-fire accusation. Stupid. Fool. Stupid. Fool. Stupid fool. Stupid fool. Stupid fool.
Peyton skidded to a stop as she came across the horse and carriage. Tears blurring her vision, she turned sharply to the right and resumed her flight. What man in his right mind follows dinner at a swanky restaurant with a tour of the city in a horse drawn carriage with no intention of proposing? Dane Ashton, that’s who! Only the most oblivious man, or the most practiced torture artist, would do something like that to a hopeless romantic like her.
If there had been a proposal on the beach, it would have been the crowning moment to a picture perfect day. The weather was perfect. Not one cloud marred the deep blue beauty of the sky or hid a ray of the warm June sun. Dane had driven into Serenity Cove’s historic downtown and they’d wandered through antique shops and boutiques with her small hand tucked into Dane’s much bigger one. He drew circles around her wrist with his thumb while his free hand tapped the pants pocket of his loose fitting jeans. She caught him staring at her at odd moments, a smile tugging at one corner of his mouth.