My Contribution to the Romance Blogfest


Love at First Sight… or Not So Much

That’s the theme chosen by Jordan McCollum for the Valentine’s Day Romance Blogfest she’s hosting. My contribution is more in keeping with the “not so much” part of the theme. I hope you enjoy it and then will move on to check out the other posts by linking to them from the bottom of Jordan’s blog. It’s a great way to add a romantic touch to your day and meet some new blogging friends along the way. Be sure to read her own contribution, too. It’s here. Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!


The frigid waves angled along the shoreline, unfolding froth as watery lace on the sand. Marella had walked the beach earlier and now sat on a log, the pile of scrounged driftwood at her feet. Her scarlet ski jacket didn’t prevent the occasional shiver, but she wasn’t quite ready to return to the cabin.

So much for the happy winter holiday that had been planned for months. Everyone else talked about escaping to warm southern sunshine, but she and Larry had discovered this west coast Long Beach resort last winter, and loved its seclusion and privacy. The reservation for a Valentine’s Day getaway weekend seemed like the perfect Christmas present for him. And it would have been except for the fight on Christmas Eve, after which he packed up pajamas, toothbrush and computer, and moved out. Well, good riddance to him.

Marella had decided against discarding the non-refundable reservation. It was a perfect opportunity for a writing retreat – four uninterrupted days to work on her novella. As soon as she finished gathering enough wood to lay a fire in the cabin’s rock fireplace and burn the pages she had ripped out of her diary, she planned to pour a glass of wine to celebrate her single status, and settle into the down cushions of the couch to write.

Long Beach Waves - painting in oils by C. Garvin

She tugged the collar closer to her ears and squinted into the wind. Where the wave-slick sand met a rocky outcropping, something moved.

The lodge owner had said seals occasionally showed up on the beach, but this neither slid nor lumbered like a seal. In fact, it leapt and cavorted. Curious, she rose and picked her way among the logs to take a closer look.

“Oh, my goodness!”

It was a mop of sodden gold, a dog whose coat dripped salt water, sand and bits of seaweed as he alternately pounced on a starfish and tossed it aloft. At her outburst he stopped and stared.

“What on earth are you doing out here? You’re filthy… and I doubt that poor starfish is enjoying your game!” She scanned the deserted beach beyond the rocks. “You must belong up at the lodge. Go home.” She tried to shoo him towards the lodge but he continued to stand there, so with a shrug she left him to his game.

Back at the cabin she deposited the armload of wood outside the door. Leaning one arm against the doorframe for balance, she untied and kicked off her boots. As she opened the door, the dog suddenly appeared on the porch with the starfish clamped in his mouth, and pushed past her into the room.

“Hey, get out of here and take that with you! Go on; get out! You’re dripping all over the floor, and that…  thing… is gross.” Rather than obey, the dog ambled across to the braided rug in front of the couch. He spit out the glutinous pink mass and proceeded to shake a gritty spray over couch, coffee table and carpet.

“Aghh!” Marella ran to the bathroom and grabbed a bath towel. Her first instinct was to flap it at the dog and chase him from the cabin, but it occurred to her such an aggressive approach might cause a negative reaction. “What am I suppose to do with you?” she said, and perched on the arm at the opposite end of the couch.

In answer, he nosed the blob along the rug in her direction.

“Oh, wonderful. I have a cat at home that brings me dead birds and mice. I hardly need any more love tokens of that caliber.”

Leaving the starfish, the dog came to her and rested his chin on her knee, soaking the fabric of her jeans. Marella slid the towel towards his head and began dabbing at his dripping ears, until soon she was toweling his whole body. It took a second towel but she didn’t stop until he was reasonably dry.

Her second-to-last task was to scoop the starfish up in the towel and deposit it outside. Her final task was to bring in enough of the driftwood to start a fire. The dog watched the process, and when she was done he lay down on the mat in the warmth of the fire and closed his eyes.

She watched him for a moment, and when it didn’t appear he planned to move, she took the soiled towels to the bathroom and dropped them in the tub. Back in the corner of the cabin designated as the kitchen, she poured her glass of wine.

“Happy Valentine’s Day to us,” she said, raising the glass briefly before taking a sip.  She found her notebook and pen, and curled up on the couch with her feet tucked under her.

“At least you’re more agreeable company than Larry.”



Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

54 thoughts on “My Contribution to the Romance Blogfest

    1. You’re right, Tamara, but I’m afraid Larry is out of there for good. The space restrictions limit backstory, but as Marella says, “Good riddance!” Thanks for stopping here; I’ll be checking out your blog posts shortly.

  1. I love this! Now, I wonder just who this dog’s former owner was… I waited for the inevitable stranger to crop up from behind a rock to claim the pooch. Loved the “mop of sodden gold” description. Your mastery of descriptive language blew me away. I’m not waiting for Larry to re-enter the picture. I think he’s gone for good. Where is the rest of the story? This is quite a teaser.

    1. LOL… the appearance of the dog’s owner would have been too cliched, although I guess it would have been an opportunity to introduce another character. Then again, as a fellow writer I couldn’t bear to interrupt her writing retreat quite that soon.

  2. I want to hug the dog 🙂 That was so darn cute and often the way we find love and lasting friendships … they “nose” their way into our heart.
    Thanks for the smile on this day and happy Valentine to you 🙂

    1. Happy Valentine’s Day, Florence. Dogs are always great friends, and they don’t ask for anything in return… or at least not much. Maybe a warm hearth, a loving pat and a bowl of food.

  3. I’m gagging over the starfish 😉 . What a great take on the theme.

    Thanks for participating, and thanks for the link love!

    Note: it’s probably better to get to the list from today’s post, since people are supposed to link directly to their post from there. (Tomorrow and six months from now, it’ll be a lot harder to get to the right posts from the announcement list, which features just their blog addresses.)

  4. ‘How lovely! Wow!’ Those were my first thoughts.
    Carol, you are such a lovely writer, and so captivatingly you weave a story. Such a pleasure to read. Thank you.

  5. Great flash fiction. Is that the correct term for your story? I like it. I like reading about a woman that is able to step up to another walk when her season changes. Blessings to you, Carol…

    1. I don’t know if it qualifies as flash fiction or not, Carol Ann… it’s just a scene from a larger story-in-the-making. I’m not sure where Marella’s personality came from. She’s different from most of my other characters.

    1. It’s uncanny how dogs sense our emotions, but I no longer question it. This dog isn’t Marella’s to keep, but I can foresee interesting possibilities coming out of the encounter. This is a new piece, written just for today, but who knows where it may go? 😉

    1. Thanks, Laura. I love the ocean in real life, never mind in stories! The painting is one that was sold long ago but I came across its photo the other day when I was wondering what to write for this blogfest. The Long Beach setting seemed perfect.

  6. I love my dog. Dogs are so real. Okay, I often prefer “dog” over man. LOL. They have dirty paws sometimes, yes, but when they have gas, at least they get up and leave the room! Lovely story, Carol. I kinda knew you were a romantic. I should admit that my DH and I watch “Pride and Prejudice” yesterday; his idea. He’s a sap for those shows. His favourite book is “A Woman of Substance.”

    1. You always make me laugh, Joylene! I could never say I prefer my dog to my guy… I wouldn’t dare! (Besides, my current dog is more my DH’s than mine.) But yes, our dogs are wonderful. Would you believe I haven’t seen P&P? I loved the book and never thought the movie would live up to it, altho’ I liked Becoming Jane. Good on your hubby for watching what he likes, regardless of genre. I’ll bet he “gets” you as a novelist, too.

    1. If you’ve had a cat or dog, RaShelle, I imagine you’ve discovered all the disgusting things they can bring home. It’s never funny at the time, but in retrospect we can laugh. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

    1. Long Beach (both BC’s and CA’s) is beautiful in the winter, especially when the wind is driving the waves. There are fewer people around in the winter and I love the privacy when beach walking and beach sitting.

    1. Thanks for stopping here to read and comment, Rebecca. Dogs have been a part of my life for so many years and they always end up in my stories. They’re wonderful foot warmers, aren’t they?

    1. Thanks for dropping in here, Canda. I enjoyed your scene, too. Our dogs all started out as adorable puppies, but the love grew as they became individual personalities within our family. I don’t know if I could say there was really a ‘love at first sight’ experience.

  7. LOL, for some reason I can totally picture the dog tossing around that poor starfish. 😉 Very enjoyable read, Mom. Love the setting! I’m determined to set a novel at the beach one of these days….

    1. Hi Katie. Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed your take on the topic of networking because it’s something we all do, either intentionally or as a side effect of all the social media emphasis these days.

    1. I hadn’t thought of it exactly like that, Andrew, but the story I have in mind makes the dog play a vital role in who ends up liking Marella, so in a way you’re right.

      Thanks for being a part of the blogfest. It’s been fun reading everyone’s take on the romance theme.

  8. Lovely piece, Carol. I like the name Marella. It reminds me of Marilla Cuthbert, and I see the same quiet strength there. Thanks for participating in the blog fest. And thanks for visiting my entry and commenting. I appreciate it.

    Marsha Ward
    Westerns with Heart & Grit

    1. Thanks, Marsha. The name wasn’t derived from Marilla’s — I haven’t thought of her and Anne of Green Gables in years — but I like your connection. Maybe it was an unconscious thing. 🙂

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