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Its a love thing, p.1
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       It's a Love Thing, p.1

           Cindy C. Bennett
 
It's a Love Thing


  It’s a Love Thing: An Anthology of Love Stories

  Compiled by Cindy C Bennett and Sherry Gammon

  Copyright 2012 Prose by Design, LLC

  Cover Design: Sherry Gammon, Prose by Design, LLC Copyright 2012

  Cover Photo: Copyright Petr Malyshev | Dreamstime.com

  Book Design: Prose by Design, LLC

  Smashwords edition

  All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Exceptions are reviewers who may quote short excerpts for review. Please write to [email protected] for permission.

  Each story in this book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. The characters are products of each author's imagination and are used fictitiously.

  A Prose by Design Book

  Distributed by Prose by Design, LLC

  www.prosebydesign.com

  ISBN-13: 978-1477481653

  ISBN-10: 1477481656

  All Rights Reserved

  USA

  TABLE OF CONTENTS (Click on Link to Go Directly to Story on enabled devices)

  Pete & Tink by Sherry Gammon

  Pete Pancerella loves two things in life: Video games and Spongy Crèmes. He’s happy, content, and he’s also a geek.

  All that is about to change when his mother wishes upon a star and Tink answers the call. But will it take more than a five-and-a-half inch faery to whip this manga-loving goofball into shape?

  This book is dedicated to: Geeks everywhere and to those who love us ;}

  Temptation by Jamie Canosa

  Melody isn’t thrilled about moving away from everything and everyone she knows thanks to her mother’s demanding job, but maybe living in Hotsville USA isn’t such a bad thing. First there’s the drop dead gorgeous boy next door, Lucas, who also happens to have a chip on his shoulder a mile wide. Then there’s Jason, the helpful, funny boy from town.

  When both sexy studs take an interest in her, Melody is left trying to navigate Lucas’ ever shifting moods and Jason’s offbeat attitude towards all things questionable. But, things aren’t always as they seem. In the end, will she make the right decision? And will her choice effect more than just her heart?

  To my husband, Matt, without whom none of my dreams would have come true.

  Haven by Raneé S. Clark

  In order to save her boyfriend from his path of personal destruction, Sera takes over the body of another girl to save his soul.

  Seeds of Love by J.C. Willibat

  Blanca is city-girl from Chicago who’s tired of healthcare politics and men who refuse to look her in the eye. So, she finds a job working as a Nurse Practitioner in central Idaho, thinking the small town of Crouch is just the sanctuary she needs.

  What Blanca doesn’t factor in, however, is the ramifications of being the only health care provider in the heart of redneck country. It takes endless hours of work to care for an entire community, and violence and natural disasters put her independence as a doctoral level nurse practitioner to the test.

  Forest Longbow, a sexy and mysterious neighbor, tests Blanca’s resolve to stay clear of men and focus on her career. An Apache smoke-jumper, who fights forest fires through the summer, Forest is nothing like the men Blanca left behind in Chicago. His strange but effective ways of speaking to Blanca’s soul will leave her breathless and hoping for an early Fall.

  To Pat Fennel, Joseph Youren, and Marie Graham. Three teachers who influenced my life and my dreams.

  Xeno by Alyssa LaFever

  You would think that having a father who works in Area 51 would be absolutely thrilling for a teenager. Well, you would be wrong. Emily’s life in the suburbs of California is far from extraordinary, that is until she meets the boy next door. Or rather, the boy who just moved across the street, Xeno. His arrival sparks a new friendship just in time for the beginning of summer.

  As the summer progresses and Emily and Xeno become more than just friends, her father’s crazy rantings become more than just fairytales. As secrets are revealed and enemies are made, Emily finds that the term “alien” means more than just a sci-fi character.

  To Sarah and Jen

  Ye Olde Summertime of Love by Calvin Kern

  A young knight finds himself completely in love with a girl, who seems to have something special about her. She works for the King in his secret council, made of unique individuals. Just as they get to know each other, disaster strikes the kingdom.

  To my time keeper, Lindsay Ann Bennett

  In the Beginning by Cindy C Bennett

  Before coming to Earth Alashon and Vindar vow to find one another. The vow is not made lightly: if they fail, they will spend their eternity’s alone.

  Drake has lived a hard life. In and out of trouble with the law, sentenced to juvenile corrections and finally released to the custody of his parole officer, the strange, surfer-dude Tom, Drake is forced to move to the tiny beach town of Seaside. There, he meets Megan, Tom’s off-limits daughter. Though he tries to avoid her, it seems she turns up constantly in his life. It isn’t long before he finds himself looking forward to visits from the ultra-optimistic Megan. But does she really care for Drake, or is he just another charity case? And why does she seem so very familiar to him?

  This book is for all the lovers in the world who have found their soul mates, or are still searching for one.

  I Was Here—Before You Came by Camelia Miron Skiba

  Legend has it … centuries after Spartacus another hero is born—Ilias, the bastard son of King Decebalus. Thirsty for revenge and eager to unshackle the Roman oppression, Ilias' obsession to fulfill his oath has no bounds, even if that means kidnapping Nerva, the beloved daughter of Emperor Traianus. What he doesn't know is his own heart threatens to betray his conscience. What will prevail: his mind or his heart?

  Note from Cindy and Sherry:

  As we began looking at submissions from authors with full-length novels, it occurred to us that it might be fun to have occasional writing contests for authors to be able to submit short stories for various themed anthologies. It’s a Love Thing is our first such anthology.

  We wanted to compile a book of love stories that occurred during or somehow surrounded summertime. Summer is a great time for love—the world is renewed, hope is in the air, the long, dreary months of winter have passed. And it’s the perfect time to pick up a book to read during your days at the beach or around the pool. And if you can read a book full of romance in short snippets of stories, even better. Hence, the idea for It’s a Love Thing.

  We’re grateful to the many authors who submitted their stories for the anthology. We’d have liked to have taken them all, but of course we were unable. So we read them, talked about them, stressed over having to turn some down, and finally came out with what we feel is an amazing collection of stories. In one book a reader can read contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical stories of love and romance. Even we became caught up in the excitement and each added a short story of our own to the collection.

  As you relax and stretch out under the sun, we hope you’ll enjoy these stories. Who knows, maybe they’ll inspire you to have your own amazing, wonderful, giddy, heart-felt summer romance. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen ;}

  Pete & Tink

  I jumped back at the sharp stab of light. It wasn’t necessary, but my reflexes were on edge. "Nobody gets Pete ‘The Stud’ Pancerella that easily," I smirked. The energy level indicator on my 752 Macro Laser Pistol read: Recharge soon.

  “Come on, you freakin' snake in the grass. Come out where I can see you.” I squatted low to the ground, as if it would help. I’m so on today. Simon Crawford’s going down if
it kills me!

  “Warning! Battery life is about to expire! Must recharge immediately,” squawked a sultry voice from the computer chip in my gun. The warning rang out ridiculously loud, and if I wasn’t expecting it, I'd've jumped several inches.

  Despite the warning, I couldn't stop, not yet. I'd lose Simon and be back to square one. No. I had to keep up my pursuit. I was so close now I could almost feel his presence. I just needed a few more minutes.

  I eyeballed the direction my opponent headed, but didn't see him so I slid back against the metal trunk to wait. He had to come out of hiding sometime. Simon never stayed hidden for long.

  And there he was! “I see you, slime ball. Prepare to meet your maker,” I whispered reverently. I lifted the gun and aimed directly at Simon’s head. I gave the trigger several pulls, each time missing him.

  “No way! I totally shot him!” Frustrated, I smacked the stupid gun against the trunk. Before I could refocus my aim, the enemy turned and shot me dead.

  “Game over,” came the sultry voice as my laser gun shut down.

  “Impossible. I still have a life left.” But it didn’t matter, my battery died. I stomped across the room and plugged it into the recharger before heading downstairs for breakfast.

  "Stupid Laser Wars," I complained to no one. “Best video game on the market . . . Not! I’ve played, and won, better games than Laser Wars. I’m so done with the game. Totally done. Actually, I’m done with all video games. They’re a complete waste of time.”

  I made myself a bologna sandwich, drinking about a cup of milk as I did. At least I think it was a cup. Since I drank it straight from the carton it was hard to tell.

  To appease my mom, I grabbed a two-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi to take with me. “See, mom. I don’t have to fill up on ‘sugary garbage’ all the time.” I took another drink from the milk carton and put it back in the fridge. I tucked the pop under my arm and hurried back upstairs to play some Mario Brothers until the laser gun had enough time to recharge.

  *****

  “Peter Mathew Pancerella! If you are still in front of that television, you are in so much trouble, mister!”

  “Oh, man, what time is it? Why is mom home for lunch anyway?” I quickly shut off the TV in my room. It was a decent size room, nothing to complain about really, but the place was a pigsty ever since mom went back to work last year. I wished she didn’t work so much, it really put a damper on things around the house. Not only did I now have to clean my own room—though thankfully, my parents seldom enforced that rule—I also had to make my own breakfast and lunch. I even had to do my own laundry. I glanced over at the overflowing wicker basket in the corner and frowned. I'd forgotten to do it this week, which meant I'd have to wear something dirty, again. Of course, I could spot clean it. Maybe if I got lucky I'd find something dark colored and I wouldn’t even have to do that.

  “Peter!”

  “Where the heck is my clock?” I flipped over my book bag and shoved my tennis shoes under the bed in the mad search for the clock. “There you are, you stupid . . . 6:30! I’ve been playing Laser Wars for eight and a half hours?” Certainly not my record, but embarrassing nevertheless. I really needed to get a life. I yanked off my PJ bottoms and tossed them in the laundry basket . . . well, close to the basket anyway, and tugged on my jeans—my dark blue jeans. Thankfully, I'd slept in my Anime shirt so I didn’t have to change that. I grabbed my tattered copy of The Cricket on the Hearth, by Charles Dickens, only because it was on the required summer reading list, and thumbed through to find my place.

  Personally, I didn’t get all the excitement over a little insect. These people seemed to think it was the luckiest thing in the world to have a stinking bug on the fireplace. Whatever! The dumb thing chirping away would drive me mad. I’d hunt the stupid bug down and squish it. I only chose it because it was a short read and we were required to read something off the list before school started.

  To keep me motivated, I made a deal with myself this morning. I had to read three pages before I could stop and play thirty minutes of Laser Wars. I would repeat the cycle until I was done. Only that was eight and a half hours ago, and I'd still only read three pages. Obviously, I needed a better plan.

  “Young man, is that TV on?” mom bellowed as she pounded on my bedroom door.

  “No, mom. I’m reading a book off my summer reading list.” Personally, I didn’t know why the rush. September was two months away.

  She opened the door quietly, apparently embarrassed by her assumption. “Sorry, son. I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions.” The look of contrition on her face racked me with guilt. I sat up, ready to come clean, when her face twisted into a sour expression.

  “Good heavens, Pete. When was the last time you showered? This room reeks, and I know for a fact you wore that shirt yesterday. There’s ketchup from last night’s dinner on the front of it.” She shook her head and added, "I do worry about you."

  “Hello, mom. It’s nice to see you too. Did you have a relaxing day at the rest home?” My mom worked at the Final Rest nursing home. Yup, that was actually the name of it. Rather morbid if you asked me. She also took care of my invalid grandma who lived a block away from us every morning before work. I don't know how she did all that and still had time to cook and clean for the family. Amazing woman, my mom.

  “Yes, dear.” She exaggerated a smile. “Now answer my question. When was the last time you showered?” My mom was quick witted, and it took a sharp mind to fool her. My dad, on the other hand, was a sponge. I could pull the same joke on him over and over again and he’d fall for it every time. We shared the same first name and birthday, but that was where the similarities ended. My dad, a mortician, was a little stiff, no pun intended. I guess it comes from spending every day, all day, with dead people. You certainly can’t sharpen your wit around a bunch of lifeless bodies.

  I had one sister, Jenny. Annoying, but thankfully she worked at a girl’s camp this summer, and I didn’t have to deal with her. Jenny's a health freak. She never eats anything that has more than twelve percent fat, or didn’t have the words whole grains listed as the first ingredient. In an effort to enlighten me about my poor diet, she once pointed out where they listed all the useless information on the packaging of my favorite treat, Spongy Crèmes, moaning about all the chemicals and other junk that she claimed would harm my body. Like I really cared. I liked the spongy cake-like outside, and I loved the fake cream filling inside. Seriously, what's not to like?

  “I’m waiting for an answer, young man.” Mom stood over by the door, clearly not brave enough to come any closer. And I thought there was nothing in the world that could frighten her. She was a nice looking woman, for a mom. She even dressed pretty good, again, for a mom. She had on some mom jeans, not exactly in style, but at least she wasn’t in sweats, unlike my best friend, Bryan’s mom, who always wore sweat pants. She also had on a pink shirt with blue roses and small white rose buttons running up the front. Again, sort of a mom look, but it wasn’t stained, unlike my shirt. I tugged awkwardly at the dirty shirt I'd been wearing for two days. Well, maybe three.

  “You look nice today,” I said with a smile. She cleared her throat and began tapping her penny loafers.

  Okay, redirecting didn't work. What did she ask me? Oh, yeah. “I don’t remember,” I said honestly, tossing the book, which I'd now read four pages of, onto the night stand. “I’ll shower after dinner.” She glared at me. “Mom, we are having spaghetti for dinner, right? No sense in showering now and taking a chance of splashing spaghetti on a clean shirt, right? I’m only thinking of you. Far be it from me to add to your laundry,” I declared honorably.

  “You do your own laundry,” she grumbled. “Fine, after the dishes are washed and put away, which is your job tonight, I want you in the shower, and you will put clean clothes on, including underwear. Do you understand?”

  I nodded at her way too judgmental statement as she left. “Clean clothes. You’d think I wore the same thing day afte
r day.” I scratched at the dried ketchup on my Anime shirt.

  After dinner, dad cleaned the kitchen for me so I could make some headway into my cricket book, much to my mother’s dismay.

  “Sweetie, the boy needs to concentrate on his studies if he is going to succeed in life.” Mom shook her head at my father's complacency and went downstairs to do laundry. Dad was so easy to manipulate. I smiled and dropped onto the sofa in front of the dormant fireplace, tossing my legs up over the top.

  "Pete, I do wish you'd learn to sit like a gentleman. Dropping like that is hard on furniture."

  "'K, dad." I read the next four pages of the bug book, still wondering why anyone would consider having a bug in their home as lucky. Sometime later I heard my parents head to bed. Now on page twenty, I felt proud of my accomplishment. By page twenty-two I was fast asleep.

  “Ouch,” I mumbled at the slight twinge in my side and rolled over onto my stomach. Something thudded on the floor next to me. My half-asleep mind reminded me I was reading a book. It must have fallen onto the floor. Oh well, it was safe, it’s not like we had a dog.

  A few seconds later I felt it again. “Ouch.” This time the pain was more intense, and it hit me square in the back.

  I was having a heart attack! My mother warned me this would happen if I didn’t start exercising and cutting back on the junk food. I jumped to my feet and grabbed my chest. I’m too young, this can’t be happening.

  “Please, God, don’t let me die. I promise I’ll never eat Spongy Crèmes again!” I bargained with God, as I struggled to get air into my lungs. “Oh no, my lungs are now collapsing!” Or maybe I was panicking.

 
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