Librarian Chloe McAlister finds solace in her books—and hats—but doesn’t know where to turn when her longtime crush gets engaged. On a whim, she signs up for a speed-dating mixer and convinces her best friend, Dill Thomas, to attend. All goes as planned until she realizes Dill means more to her than she thought … and he goes and falls for someone else.
This 10,000-word short story is perfect for your lunch break, workout, or while you wait in line at the mall. Read it today to experience a hint of spring any time of the year!
“Is the beard a deal breaker? Serious question here.”
Chloe raised her brows. “Hm?”
“Do you like me rugged or clean? Be honest, I can take it.”
Dill had never cared about his appearance before, much less asked her about it. He was a no-frills kind of guy who couldn’t be bothered with designer clothes or the latest fashions. That’s why he lived in jeans and T-shirts at work and at home. For some reason, he was concerned about a beard? “You want my opinion?”
“Sure. You understand women better than I do. Would they be cool with this?”
Tilting her head to one side, then to the other, Chloe took a long, hard look at him. She pretended to give his question some thought, pursing her lips as she studied his face. His eyes still had the same self-assured, friendly sparkle in them as the freshman boy who always asked to borrow her lecture notes. A grin tugged at the corners of his mouth, revealing his playful, easygoing nature that hadn’t changed over the years. However, that’s where the déjà vu ended.
Now that she was staring at him so intently, she almost didn’t recognize the man sitting next to her. Because he was most definitely more of a man today than he had been when they met or graduated from college or … even last week. What had happened? This Dill had the angled features and square jawline, not to mention—her eyes traveled down—the broad shoulders and defined upper body of a hot guy. An attractive, rugged-looking hot guy. She swallowed, her mouth suddenly as dry as a desert. Was it hot in here or what? “Yes, the beard,” she managed to squeak out, “you should keep.”
“Seriously?” Dill threw his head back and laughed until he was wiping tears from his eyes. “I can’t believe you went full Yoda on me. The beard you should keep.”
“You know what I mean.”
“I thought you fell asleep during our Star Wars marathon. Maybe I’ll convert you into a fan after all.”
“Finish the profile, please,” Chloe urged, eager to move on from the awkward moment.
“Okay, okay,” he agreed, before joking, “the questions I will answer.”
Hot guy or not, he was still a goofball.
I have to say that Liwen Ho is the queen of romantic short stories! In this third installment of her Seasons of Love series (all of which can be standalone), we see best buds, Dill & Chloe, finding more than just friendship in each other. Through roses, speed dating and some fun teasing, Dill & Chloe finally admit what they had been blinded by all along – they actually have romantic feelings for one another and want to be more than just buds.
Of Buds And Blossoms was very well written! It was cute, fun and enjoyable. It was clean, and I would highly recommend! It’s perfect for those wanting a little romance, but don’t have a lot of time.
Perhaps best of all is the deeper message that this short story portrays. Of Buds And Blossoms offers the reader a different perspective on true beauty. It’s not what we see on the outside (gasp!), but rather the unseen, our hearts. I just love it when authors throw in a message!
I would rate this 5 stars!
Liwen Y. Ho works as a chauffeur and referee by day (AKA being a stay at home mom) and a writer by night. She penned her first children’s picture book, “A Rainbow of Nine Colors”, in high school (now available at Meegenius.com) and has been writing for grown-ups since 2014.
She also enjoys writing about real-life matters, such as marriage, parenting and faith because truth can be as strange and entertaining as fiction. Her work has appeared in various online publications, including LiteraryMama.com and MomLifeToday.com, and she is a regular contributor at StartMarriageRight.com.
In her pre-author life, she received a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary, and she loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her techie husband and their two children, and blogs about her adventures as a recovering perfectionist at www.2square2behip.com.