Jul 17 2011 11:00am

Out-of-the-Ordinary Proposals of Marriage

Engagement Ring by PLeia2 via FlickrWe’ve seen zillions of those proposals with the hero on bended knee, the heroine’s eyes filled with tears as she listens to his declaration of love. It doesn’t even faze us anymore when someone proposes via a baseball scoreboard, or by hiding a ring in a romantic dessert.  

It’s time to spice things up a bit. Here’s a few out-of-the ordinary proposals I’ve come across recently:

If Looks Could Chill by Nina Bruhns – Bobby Lee Quinn and Darcy Zimmerman are not the primary couple of this story, but in my opinion, they steal the book right out from underneath the real hero and heroine. They are both special ops folks who meet on an operation, and sparks fly, continuously. Several years later they’re still friends-with-benefits, but it’s easier to track down and capture terrorists than to get these two to admit how they feel.

If Looks Could Chill by Nina BruhnsOne day, during the throes of passion, Darcy blurts out that she loves him, startling both of them. As they’re getting onto a helicopter at the end of the mission, Bobby Lee decides he needs to discuss her declaration, not only because he didn’t reciprocate with the words, but because she’s been trying to breakup with him ever since. Unfortunately he’s not having an easy time explaining his strong feelings for her:

A zillion emotions passed through her eyes. “Quinn, exactly what are you saying?”

He eased out a long breath and leaned his forehead against hers. “I’m saying maybe it’s time to take our relationship to the next level.”

Her mouth dropped open and she pulled back, staring at him in blunt disbelief. Waiting for the punch line? He cringed inwardly.

“Jesus,” he blurted out, suddenly as unsure as he’d ever been in his life. “Are you going to make me spell it out?”

“Uh, yeah?” She still looked like she doubted him. Couldn’t trust that this was really happening.

Had he done that to her? Treated her so badly in the past as to make her this suspicious?

Time to make amends.

He reached for both of her hands. “It took almost losing you to make me realize how much I want you in my life, sugar. I never thought I’d say this to any woman, but. . .I want you, Darcy Zimmerman. You and only you. Can we come to some kind of arrangement, you and me?”

She blinked. Puffed out a laugh. Pulled her hands away and stuck them under her armpits. “Wow, Quinn. Another eloquent plea. How can I possibly resist?”

He moaned, falling back in his seat and rolling his eyes heavenward. “Damn it, woman! Okay, fine.” He turned to her again. Took her face in his hands. “Marry me,” he pleaded. “Okay? Please, Darcy, I—”

What!?” She waved him off wildly. “No! Are you insane? Quinn, that’s crazy talk!”

Poor Bobby Lee. All the girl wanted was a simple declaration of love. Fortunately these two commitment-phobes manage to work out the details for their unconventional relationship.

Front Page Affair by Mira Lyn KellyFront Page Affair by Mira Lyn Kelly – Payton and Nate have known each other since they were kids, and Payton agrees to have a pretend affair to keep the tabloids distracted from Nate, a millionaire with a scandal dogging him. Their faux affair turns into a real one, and Payton ends up pregnant. Nate decides they will get married, without really giving Payton a choice in the matter. She refuses to go along with his unyielding plans for the future, and Nate finally realizes what she really needs from him.

“I love you. And if you’re willing to take a chance on me, I’ll spend the rest of my life proving it to you.”

Extracting a small black box from his back pocket, Nate went down on one knee. He flipped open the lid revealing an eternity band of glittering diamonds and held it out to her. “Payton Liss, I love you. Will you make me the happiest man alive by agreeing to live unwed with me for the duration of our lives? By allowing me to care for you, provide you with everything your heart desires, and love you and our baby forever?”

Her heart sped and helpless laughter bubbled free. He loved her!

She went to the floor beside him and, arms linking around his neck, answered, “No.”

His head jerked up, a harsh bark of laughter escaping him. Amusement lit his eyes. That crazy confidence shining bright.

This man knew her. He really knew her.

“So after all that,” he asked, his voice thick with emotion he wouldn’t hide, “now you want me to marry you, hmm?”

She peered up at him, letting him see everything her heart held. All the love. All the hope. Everything she knew he would cherish and protect. “I really do.”

Sugar Creek by Toni BlakeSugar Creek by Toni Blake – Rachel Harris and Mike Romo have a tumultuous history. Their families have been fighting for fifty years over who is the true owner of an apple orchard. Their attraction to each other is undeniable, though, and they fall for each other despite the lifelong family disagreement.

Before they can work out their feelings or decide what their future will be, “Officer Romeo” is injured during a traffic stop, and instead of leaving town as she’d originally planned, Rachel comes to see him in the hospital. She’s thrilled to learn he’s wearing the leopard-print boxers she’d bought him, which he swore he’d never wear, and she blurts out “I love you,” followed by a long speech about how he’s the man for her.

Mike just blinked at her a few times, and she couldn’t read his face. Her heart felt like it would beat through her chest. But finally, he said, softly, “Give me your hand,” so she did.

Then he looked her in the eye. “I don’t know how to say stuff like this, and it might come out better if I waited until I wasn’t being pumped full of drugs, but. . .I’ve been feeling. . .the same way. And when I think of you leaving town. . .aw hell, it makes me feel shitty.”

Ah, her charming silver-tongued devil. She just smiled. “Are you asking me to stay, Officer Romeo?”

Mike closed his eyes briefly, then let out a breath. “Damn it, woman,” he said, “I’m asking you to marry me. Probably not the way you envisioned it, but it’s the best I can do right now.”

She agrees, enthusiastically, telling him:

“I never thought I wanted to marry anyone, Mike, but now I do.”

A wary expression took over his face. “Not because I’m lying in a hospital bed in leopard underwear looking pathetic? Because if that’s why, I take my proposal back.”

Fortunately she convinces him she has a multitude of other reasons to agree to his offer of marriage, so they can get started on their happily-ever-after.

So these are a few of my favorite unusual proposals, bringing a smile to my lips and a tear to my eyes at the same time. What are some of your favorites?

Engagement ring image by PLeia2 via Flickr


Donna Cummings writes lighthearted contemporary and historical romance. She can be found at, or talking incessantly about coffee on Twitter @BookEmDonna.

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AJ Wilson
1. AJ Wilson
@Donna - I want to read SUGAR CREEK if only I can read more witty lines like, "And when I think of you leaving town. . .aw hell, it makes me feel shitty.”

SUCH a man thing to say, can so picture my hubby saying that, with puppy dog eyes :-(

And I love this: “I never thought I wanted to marry anyone, Mike, but now I do.” (Rachel)

A wary expression took over his face. “Not because I’m lying in a
hospital bed in leopard underwear looking pathetic? Because if that’s
why, I take my proposal back.”

Totally snorting, whilst hubby simply stares at me like I'm a lunatic :-)

Donna Cummings
2. Donna Cummings
@AJ Wilson -- I'm glad you enjoyed those excerpts of Sugar Creek (and even better that hubby is wondering what's going on!) It's a book with a lot of great stuff going on -- it's sexy, and funny, and touching.
AJ Wilson
3. CassyPickard
Donna: Fun topic! I love it when the tension builds in a story and you wait to read what MUST happen.

On that note, for my husband's proposal, we took a vacation in Nassau. After dinner at a lovely beachside restaurant he suggested a walk on the beach. After a little necking, he got down on bended knew and proposed. Somehow he had managed to bury a bottle of champagne in the sand, unbeknownst to me, so celebrated sitting by the lapping waves. Hey, he had my plane ticket home in his brief case. What was I to do?
AJ Wilson
4. Leigh Michaels
Great topic, Donna! My guy said, "You want to marry me, or what?" No wonder we all read (and write) romance novels -- though I have to say, he's not really as unromantic as he sounds. I think he was just ... very ... nervous!
AJ Wilson
5. Liz Lipperman
Great blog, Donna. I love the excerpts. My hubby's famous last words (not his proposal) was that he "wouldn't date that pig is she was the last person on earth."

Long story, but 42 years later, this little piglet is still making him pay for that line!!
AJ Wilson
6. Anita Clenney
Loved the excerpts Donna. Austin never really proposed, we just knew we were getting married. There was never any other consideration. I do recall him getting down on one knee after we'd laughed about not having a real proposal.
Olivia Waite
7. O.Waite
My husband and I met at karaoke, and we knew we were getting married nearly right away. After a year he proposed -- on stage, on video, with the bar packed full of our nearest and dearest. The bar gave out champagne to everyone, and they've still got the video up on their site!
Donna Cummings
8. Donna Cummings
@CassyPickard -- That sounds like a wonderful proposal! I like how much preparation it required. Good thing you went along with his suggestions. :)

@Leigh Michaels -- LOL -- poor thing! He must have been nervous. But you're right--it does inspire us to read and write romance. :)

@Liz Lipperman -- You two are perfect together. :) And 42 years? That's romantic!

@Anita Clenney -- I love him doing an "after proposal". LOL Because you always need a good story, right? :)

@O.Waite -- Wow. That's a memorable proposal -- and with a keepsake video too!
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