Maybe I'm just nosy, but I love to hear how couples meet, especially if they seem mismatched. “Cute meets” are the most fun of all because the characters are going about their business, and then boom! They encounter, in a major crazy way, the person who will completely change their life forever.
1. Everyone Loves A Hero by Marie Force: Cole is a pilot waiting in line at the airline gift shop where the heroine Olivia works. He has no idea his chivalrous actions will get him punched in the face, as well as a meeting with his future love:
Cole hadn't seen it coming. One minute he'd been standing in line minding his own business behind a guy having a heated discussion on a cell phone. Then he'd watched Big Dude throw a wad of money at the clerk. Cole had tapped him on the shoulder to tell him he was being rude to the girl behind the counter.
'She's only doing her job,' Cole had said.
The next thing he knew, he was looking up at an angel.
2. Take Me For A Ride by Karen Kendall: Natalie and McDougal meet in a bar. Not so unusual, except she's an art restorer trying to drown her sorrows because of her role in an “accidental theft” of an heirloom necklace. He's a much-too-charming recovery agent pretending to be a tourist, hoping to get her to confess and return the stolen jewelry. Natalie checks him out in the mirror behind the bar, and McDougal watches her, right up to the embarrassing moment when she realizes he's seen the entire inspection. He grins and reassures her, not realizing things are changing for him even as he speaks:
'It's very normal to check out the guy sitting next to you. He could be a vagrant, a pervert, or a serial killer.'
She laughed reluctantly at that, and it transformed her face from mildly pretty to dazzling. She'd gone from librarian to . . . to . . . Carla Bruni in a half second flat. It was McDougal's turn to stare. The French First Lady had nothing on her.
'So, which one are you?' she asked, evidently emboldened.
'Me? I'm just a tourist, sweetheart. The only cereal killing I do involves a bowl of raisin bran or cornflakes.'
3. Play With Me by Leslie Kelly: Amanda is a charter airline pilot who thinks she's picking up her regulars, an elderly woman and her gal pals, for another gambling weekend. Since it's Halloween, Granny asked Amanda to dress up, so Amanda goes all out with a vintage stewardess outfit, complete with satiny hot pants and white patent leather go-go boots.
Granny cancels the trip, and sends a businessman to use the plane, omitting the fact it's her hunky grandson Reese. Amanda is on her cell phone, telling her friend she needs to change clothes before she gets invited to a peace rally, when Reese appears. Amanda laments that “[o]ne of the most handsome men she had ever seen in her entire life had just heard her muttering about groovy dudes and free love. All while she looked like Marcia Brady before a big cheerleading tryout."
The two of them exchange playful banter about '70s attire and Austin Powers, complete with lingo from the era. Amanda discovers that she “lik[ed] this stranger already, despite her initial embarrassment,” a blend of emotions which is the hallmark of a good cute meet.
4. Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips: This cute meet has achieved legendary status, and with good reason:
It wasn't every day a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of a road, not even in Dean Robillard's larger-than-life world. 'Son of a . . .' Dean slammed on the brakes of his brand-new Aston Martin Vanquish and pulled over in front of her.
The beaver marched right past, her big flat tail bouncing in the gravel, and her small, sharp nose stuck up in the air. Way up. The beaver looked highly pissed.
5. Out of Control by Suzanne Brockmann: On the hottest day of the year, Savannah is trying to change a flat tire in front of the hero's house, but the tire is stuck. She waits inside the car, because she's there to ask for help delivering a ransom for her kidnapped uncle. Kenny comes home from a hard day of being a Navy SEAL, and knocks on the window of the unexpected car in front of his place.
'You know, it's not a real smart move to have the car running while it's up on a . . .'
He realized he was looking down at a young woman who'd hiked her skirt all the way up to the tops of her thighs. She had the AC on full blast and her blouse unbuttoned so much that he could see the lace of her bra. It was red. Holy God.
'Uh, up on a jack,' he finished.
Dear Penthouse, I never thought I'd write a letter like this, but . . .
This is more of a “fall head over heels” meet, because the poor man is a goner by the end of the chapter. Still, he manages to describe exactly why cute meets are so appealing:
He looked into her eyes, lit up the way they were from her smile and he knew. Forget about writing to Penthouse. This one was going to be a story for their grandkids.
So those are some of my favorites, but I can always use some new recommendations. Which are your fave contemp cute meets? What do you like best about them?