There are times during the writing process when the words flow from from my frontal cortex onto the keyboard with delightful ease.
The scene I am going to share is in such a chapter. I remember writing this chapter, and with each keystroke I was excited for the reader to get a visual of what I was portraying.
I had so much fun creating the different shop names and the story behind their unique names, and visualizing how fun it would be to tour the town even though Rosemist is a fictional town.
Come take a tour with this excerpt, and I hope you enjoy it as much I
loved writing it.
Please note: (I edited out many passages and dialogue in this excerpt as they contained spoilers).
Jason and Sabrina bump into each other in town one afternoon:
“I haven’t had a chance to check out the town,” Jason said. “Do you have time to give me a tour?”
“I thought you weren’t interested in seeing the town?”
“I’m interested in seeing it with you.”
The butterflies in Sabrina’s tummy high-fived each other. “Sure.”
“Lead the way.”
They crossed the street. “We’ll start in the park as it circles the town’s core,” she said.
“How about we get a bite to eat later?,” he said. “My treat to thank you for showing me around.”
“Sounds good.” Remembering a conversation with Maggie, she flashed him a playful smile. “Are you going to throw down for guacamole?”
“Anything you want.”
You. Tonight? “I’m teasing.” At her comeback, he looked confused. “I don’t like guac.”
“Do you like sushi?”
“I’ve never tried it.”
He pointed across the street. “You’ve never been to Angler’s Sushi?”
“Angler’s Sushi is a bait shop.”
Blatant disbelieve crossed his handsome features. “Fishing bait?”
“Bait and tackle.”
“You’re messing with me.”
“So many ways to mess with you, but this isn’t one of them.” She led him further into the park. “Some of the small businesses in town have creative names. Great tourist attractions.”
“You mean eccentric?”
“That too,” she said. “There is a reason for the creativity. A lot of these businesses were handed down from generation to generation with a history behind the name.” They walked by the rock garden. “On your left are a mixture of original shops and newer ones. Can you guess what type of business Get-A-Spine is?”
“Chiropractor,” he said, sounding confident.
“Nope. It’s a bookstore.”
“The next one is an easy one,” she said as they reached the sidewalk. “Guess what The Poppy Pusher sells?”
He placed his hand on her lower back, easing her away from the curb, positioning himself on the street side. “Don’t tell me it’s a drug store.”
She relished in the warm sensation his touch produced. “How did you get a drug store from Poppy Pusher?”
“Opium is made out of poppies.” His hand traveled from her lower back to around her shoulders. “I figured it was a play on words.”
“Not even close.” Goosebumps traveled from her shoulders to her neck. She wasn’t sure if it was his touch or the pink and purple streaks lining the sky behind the flower shop. “The owner’s great-grandfather started the shop after returning home from the first-world war. He designed poppy wreaths to honor the men and women who didn’t make it home. The community nicknamed him Poppy. The shop name and memorial arrangements have continued with each generation.”
He turned and faced her. “That’s a good story.”
“It is. Many of the local businesses have similar stories. They all struggled with the downturn in the economy. Still, the owners work hard to maintain the integrity of the originating businesses and keeping their operations in the family.”
His gaze held a soulful expression. “Like you want to do with Maple Manor?”
“That’s my goal,” she said. “I’m going to give you the name of another shop. Let’s see if you can get this one right. Ready?” At his nod, she said, “Hungry-Hungry-Hippo.”
“You should’ve picked something more challenging.”
She folded her arms. “What is it then?”
“Not even close. It’s a—”
He held his hand up. “Don’t tell me. I’ll get this.”
“You will, huh?”
“Yee, who has little faith. Let’s see. Hippos are vegetarian. Hungry people look for a place to eat.” He snapped his fingers. “A vegetarian diner.”
“So I’m told.”
She gave his arm a light punch. “You’re never going to let that go, are you?”
“Not a chance.”
“I meant you’re hot in that your guess is close. Hungry-Hungry-Hippo is a vegetarian grocer.” She took a few steps toward the path. “I’m impressed on how you almost figured it out, City.”
“Maggie likes to anoint people she likes with nicknames. That one’s yours.”
He put his arm around her shoulder as they walked around the marble fountain, heading to the other side of the park. “Did Maggie nickname you Tinkerbell?”
“Tinkerbell?” She enjoyed the pleasant prickles spreading across her shoulders. “That’s not my nickname.”
“I thought I heard Ryland calling you that.” He rubbed his thumb along her shoulder as they walked. “What is it then?”
The prickles joined the feel-good-tingles running up her spine. “If you can guess what the shop across from the Hungry-Hungry-Hippo is, I’ll tell you.”
“The shop’s name is, Say Cheese.”
“I wish I had a loud buzzer.”
She laughed. “You say that like it’s something foreign to you.”
“It is,” he said. “Don’t tell me. Say Cheese sells mouse traps.”
“That’s a stretch.”
His deep chuckle made her soul smile. “You call that a stretch?”
“How could you not get this one right?” she said. “It’s a cheese shop.”
“Figures.” He pointed to the shop on the corner where the wooden slats were painted a different color of vivid reds, greens, yellows, and blues. “Sex and Samosas. Interesting name for a store. Should I guess?”
“Sorry, I didn’t catch that.” She wanted to hear him say the word sex, enjoying the way it rolled off his tongue. “What do you want to guess?”
“What the shop Sex and Samosas is all about?”
“Sure, give it your best shot.”
“Let’s see,” he said. “Sex and Samosas sells oils, lotions, incense.”
With his hands in his pocket, he rocked back and forth on his heels, making her insides rock back and forth.
“And,” he continued, “I would imagine they sell Indian cookbooks, specializing in samosas, plus books on yoga, Kamasutra, Tantric sex. . .”
Her mouth went dry at the mention of the latter literature, and she wasn’t sure what he said after tantric sex.
“Well, am I close?” he said.
“You’re in the right country, but again you’re wrong about what she sells.”
“This I have to hear.”
“Jasmine, the shop’s owner, sells handcrafted trendy ethnic fashion, tunics, sarees, scarfs, and traditional jewelry.”
“How does that even fit the name of the shop?”
“Jasmine renamed the shop from Colors of India to Sex and Samosas to pay homage to her best-selling novel of the same name.”
“You say this like it all makes sense.”
“Jasmine’s Cookie’s niece, and when you meet her, you’ll get it.” She smiled and pointed to the food truck. “Plus, it attracts a lot of customers. It piqued your interest, didn’t it?”
“It sure did.” He leaned in toward her. “I’m certainly interested.”
Lordy, so am I.
She noticed Fernando and his wife, Doreen walking toward them.
After exchanging greetings, Doreen said, “I’m trying to convince Fernando for a happy ending. Care to join us?”
Jason hiked his brows.
Sabrina rushed to explain. “Happy Endings is a pastry shop.”
Jason’s smile turned wicked, and once again, so did hers. “Of course.” He winked at her. “What else would it be?”
“No pie for me, sweetheart.” Fernando patted his tummy. “I need to add extra steps to my day and less pie. I can’t go getting all soft.”
Doreen smoothed her hand over her husband’s middle. “But I love you all soft.”
Fernando’s eyes lit up as if his wife had announced they’d won the lottery. “Pie it is, then.” He turned to Jason and Sabrina. “Hey, you two. Join us. I’m buying.”
“Thanks for the offer,” Sabrina said. “You two go ahead. I’m going to introduce Jason to M&M’s later.”
“Jason,” Doreen said. “First time dining at M&M’s is an experience, and the food is phenomenal. By the way, Sabrina, Ginette, and Sandra were looking for you. Did you meet up with them?”
“I haven’t seen them since the engagement party. Why?”
Doreen smiled. “I’ll let them tell you about it.”
“Aww, look, honey,” Fernando said, “she looks worried now. Sabrina, it’s nothing to fret about. They’re going to—”
“Shush, don’t give away the surprise. He’s right, dear. Nothing to fret over.” Doreen hooked her arm in her husband’s. “Enjoy your day.” They said their goodbyes and headed toward the crosswalk. “Honey, how about this? We go to RX-Plus first and get our blood pressure checked.”
“Blood pressure game. You’re on,” Fernando said. “What’s at stake today?”
“If yours is lower, we get a scoop of ice cream with the pie,” Doreen said. “If mine is lower, we get two scoops.”
“Win. Win.” Fernando chuckled as they crossed to the other side.
Sabrina let out a wistful sigh, wondering if she’d ever experience that kind of love, filled with affection, teasing, and the simple pleasures in life.
“I’m curious,” Jason said. “Why is dining at M&M’s going to be an experience? Do they serve candy pizza? Steak with chocolate gravy?”
“You’re reaching now.” She hip-bumped him. “It’s an Italian, Russian restaurant.”
“You mean fusion?”
“No fusing. One side of the restaurant serves Italian, the other side serves Russian, and there are no menus. One never knows what they’ll be served. Don’t worry, everything’s delicious.”
He gave a strand of her hair a light tug. “Is this how you decided to mess with me?”
“Nope. I have better ways,” she said.
You’ll want to read the whole chapter, as Sabrina continues the tour of the town where you will find out about the ONCE UPON A KISS shop, and the adventurous meal Sabrina and Jason shared at M&M’s as they revealed surprising things about their lives and pasts.
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