Shannon here: Romance author, Gail Pallotta shares her real life romance and a chance to win a download of her e-book: Love Turns the Tide. Comment on any post dated April 25 – 29th. Deadline: April 30th, 11:59 PM central time. Here’s Gail:
A HOT DATE
I thought Rick quite witty and handsome, so I was excited that early spring nearly forty years ago when he called and asked to cook a steak for me over the week-end.
“Sure, I’ll fix baked potatoes and a salad,” I said.
At six-thirty on Friday night he arrived at my apartment door looking strikingly casual in a beige jacket and blue jeans. Both long arms full, he carried a bag of charcoal, a can of lighter fluid and two steaks wrapped in brown paper. His dark brown hair fell slightly across his forehead, his blue eyes sparkling. “Hi, are you ready?”
“Yes, I love steak.”
I escorted him across the living room, opened the sliding glass door and pointed to the grill on my small second-story balcony. “Here it is. It’s probably not the greatest view, but it serves its purpose.” It overlooked the main street in the complex and rustic wooden apartments across the way.
He set the items beside the black kettle and rubbed his squared hands together while grinning. “This will do fine. You’re in for a treat.”
“Great, the potatoes are cooking. I’ll get together the salads.”
I returned to the kitchen. I was chopping lettuce when I thought I heard him calling me. I stopped and stepped outside the kitchen door.
“Could you bring some water?”
Why would he want water to grill steaks? “Okay, I’ll be right there.”
I rummaged in the cabinet for a pitcher.
“Could you hurry?”
“Yes, I’m coming.”
Finally, I found a juice jug and filled it. When I stepped into the living room, looking through the sliding glass door, I saw flames swooping upward. I rushed across the floor, hurried onto the deck and stuck out the container. “Here, I’ll get some more.” My heart pounded like a jackhammer in my chest.
He snatched the jug. As I turned to race back to the kitchen I heard the coals sizzling.
Reaching in the cabinets, I threw out the few pots and pans I had, grabbing the largest one.
“Quick, I need more water.”
I turned the spigot on full blast, the overflow squirting all over the counter. “I’m filling a pan right now.”
I ran to the balcony, water sloshing all over the living room carpet. Flames roared, nearly touching the plywood porch ceiling. I handed Rick the pot and yanked the pitcher from him. From the street below I heard, “Hey buddy, I think it’s done.”
I hurried back to the kitchen, filled the jug again and charged to the deck to see the flames finally subsiding. After a couple more trips to the sink, the grill sat smoking. Seeing Rick’s patience and persistence for the first time, I watched him clean up the grill, re-fill it with charcoal and start over. The steaks were delicious. But the next Friday, he took me out to eat.
1. What’s the most romantic place you and your spouse have ever been?
St. Thomas. The island is lush with frangipani blossoms and foliage from the flatland by the sea to the mountain top. I’m not sure which was more romantic being on the beach by the crystal clear water underneath the shade of a low hanging branch of a sea grape tree or dining in one of the restaurants. One night at Blackbeard’s Castle we sat beside a Bermuda shade, watched the stars twinkle and gazed down at the lights of the island with a warm breeze blowing over us.
2. Do you and your spouse have a favorite romantic restaurant?
Over the years we’ve visited lots that we considered romantic and relaxing. If I could change this just a little, I’ll say the most romantic evening we had at a restaurant recently was when Percy Sledge was at The Shed in Destin, Florida. We were upstairs on a balcony overlooking the Gulf in the distance just beyond the parking lot. Percy was downstairs on stage in a tuxedo with a flower in his lapel. There was a small area for dancing in front of him, but when he started singing, the people upstairs moved the tables and chairs and created their own makeshift ball room. It doesn’t get any more romantic than being with your soul mate with Percy Sledge live singing “When a Man Loves a Woman.” It was so romantic that the people downstairs with no roof over their heads kept dancing when it started to rain.
3. What’s the most romantic present your spouse ever bought for you?
My engagement ring undoubtedly. But other than that, I’d say flowers. Sometimes he buys the assorted batches from the grocery. Occasionally, he gets a big bunch of daisies or sunflowers. Daisies are my favorites.
4. How soon after meeting your spouse did you know he was the one?
I was having a lot of fun dating Rick and wondered how long we would be a couple, when he had to leave to go to Vietnam. When he left, I was devastated. I knew he was the only one for me.
5. How soon after meeting you did your spouse know you were the one?
Odd, we’ve been married a long time, and it never occurred to me to ask him. But, I asked for this interview. He said, “Shortly after I talked to you for the first time.”
About Gail: Love Turns the Tide is Gail’s first romance, but she’s been writing for as long as she can remember. Her first story appeared in a grammar school newspaper. Much later, she worked as an editor and copywriter. After she married she helped her husband with his business, but continued to write. Between the feature stories she wrote at work and the freelance pieces she placed, she published several hundred articles. After some of them were selected for anthologies and two ended up in museums, friends and family nudged her to “do more.” Then, she undertook a lifelong dream and wrote a novel. In 2004, the year she published her first book, Now Is the Time, the American Christian Writers Association named her a regional writer of the year. This past November an excerpt from Love Turns the Tide won the Clash of the Titles Challenge in the best nature / weather scene category.
Come back April 27th for Gail’s interview with her fictional characters from Love Turns the Tide.