The Excerpt you Wish to Share with Readers: Christmas Cookies at the Cat Café: a Furrever Friends Sweet Romance: Christmas isn’t the same since Diane’s kids grew up and her husband died – so when her high school sweetheart comes back to town, maybe it’s time for some cozy new holiday traditions.
A tapping came at the cat café window. Diane turned toward it, but with the glare, she could only make out a bulky silhouette. She got the impression of a man with broad shoulders, but with the heavy winter coats everyone was wearing after the cold snap earlier in the week, she couldn’t say for sure. It didn’t look like either Colin or Adam, and they both had keys anyway.
She crossed to the window. Would she be able to convey the message that the café didn’t open for another sixteen minutes?
As she neared the window, she caught the glare at a different angle. She still couldn’t see the person clearly, but a jolt of recognition hit her like a punch to the gut.
She did know this man. Had known him for a long time, or at least had known him well long ago. But she couldn’t yet name him, as her mind hadn’t caught up with what her gut knew.
The bright winter sunlight lit up a pom-pom on top of a jaunty knit cap in rainbow colors. It took a certain type of man to wear a hat like that in public, and the prickle of recognition deepened.
She shifted and bobbed her head, trying to get a clear view. He leaned closer to the window, grinned, and waved.
The breath left her lungs. Of course. Rick. How many years had it been since she’d last seen him? They’d been closest in high school, bonding in a photography class and dating for almost two years, until he graduated a year ahead of her. He’d been her first love. But that was thirty years ago – no, more like thirty-five. When he graduated, he left to see the world. He hadn’t asked her to wait for him. He probably knew then his journeys would take him years to complete, maybe a lifetime. Still, she had waited, optimistically, for six months.
Then she met Patrick. They fell in love. They shared the same dreams: family, a home, work in the small town where they’d grown up. They’d had two beautiful daughters and a good life until he died suddenly, far too young. The second anniversary of his death was coming up.
Memories crashed over her. The grief, the loss, the affection for both men. The dreams lived and the dreams never explored.
She gave herself a little shake and blinked to clear her eyes. Diane was good at holding back all the messy feelings and only showing the world what she wanted people to see. She could think about everything later. For now, one thought jumped to the front of her mind.
Rick was a professional photographer. He’d had photo essays in National Geographic – people, wildlife. If anyone could help her figure out how to corral a few playful house cats, it was Rick.
She smiled, waved back, and went to answer the door.