So, why did I decide to write a story set during World War II, you ask? Because of one very real, very true romance.
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When my daddy was a little boy, he used to pretend he was a car and scoot around in the dirt.
The worn out knees on his jeans were headlights, the holes in his seat were tail lights. In fact, he rubbed red clay on the “bare spots” on his rear end to enhance the effect.
When he was seven years old, he met a little girl on the playground in Gary, Florida—a long-gone suburb of Tampa. The little girl’s name was Lucy, and Daddy fell head-over- heels in love. He raced home that evening and asked his momma to sew patches on his jeans. He’d met the gal he was going to marry and was embarrassed she could see his little red rear end.
Momma and Daddy were friends for years, but when she was fifteen, she married another man. Daddy suffered in silent misery until he was old enough to enlist in the Coast Guard—lying about his age to get in a year early. He served as a demolitions diver and liked the work, but always had a problem with authority. A little physical altercation with a superior officer landed him in the brig in New Orleans in 1945. The Coast Guard, however, was more interested in a deal than charges. If Daddy would re-enlist and continue blowing up wrecks, all would be forgiven. He was about to take the offer when a friend came to him and said, “’Cille is getting a divorce.”
Daddy couldn’t get back to Tampa fast enough.
My sister wanted me to mention here that when Daddy finally got to take Momma on a date, she kissed him goodnight wearing bright red Max Factor lipstick, the color that was so popular back then. The smooch left his lips pretty covered. Momma handed him her delicate handkerchief to clean up, but instead of wiping, Daddy pressed the cloth to his mouth. The lipstick was thick enough to leave behind a perfect print of Momma’s lips. Daddy kept that handkerchief in a box and looked at it often over the next several decades. He always smiled when he held it.
My parents were married sixty-eight years, until Daddy’s death in 2014. They had seven kids; buried three of them. I am the youngest in the family.
They often spoke of the 30’s and 40’s—the days of their youth—with fondness. I enjoyed their recollections of riding around in jalopies, working at the Five and Dime, jumping the street car to head to a movie, and hanging out at the pavilion at Clearwater Beach. In spite of the war, a sense of innocence still hung over the USA.
This story is dedicated to my parents, the Greatest Generation, and that lost innocence. I hope you enjoy it.
A cowboy with a Purple Heart. A reporter with a broken heart. Which one is her Mr. Right?
When Lucy Daniels is rescued from a stampeding herd of cattle by war hero Dale Sumner, sparks fly and headlines are born. Smelling an opportunity, the local newspaper decides to send the couple on a tour selling war bonds—not to mention, subscriptions. Enamored with her handsome savior, Lucy is happy to play her part … until she realizes her affections are slowly slipping toward the wrong man.
Ace reporter and aspiring mystery writer Bryce Richard is tasked with building up Lucy and Dale’s budding affair. He can’t think of anything worse for a journalist than switching from hard news to pounding out romantic drivel. Complicating matters, Bryce wishes Lucy would look to him for her happily-ever-after. Only, that would wreck the whole tour and Bryce’s coveted book deal.
When love and lies collide on the front page, will Lucy and Bryce have a chance to write their own fairy tale ending? Or are they already yesterday’s news?
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