February. Valentine’s Day. Romance. Sigh.
Where is the most romantic place you've been or how did your Valentine’s sweetheart make a simple place special?
LENA DIAZ: For our 15th anniversary, my husband took me out to eat at an expensive restaurant. When we walked in, the waiter led us to a group of about thirty people. I hesitated by my chair. Obviously there was a mistake. But then I started actually looking at the faces of the people sitting there and realized I knew them. All of them. My husband had secretly planned this dinner with both of our families for months, and they were all there to celebrate our anniversary. I was so touched. It was so sweet. Then he sprang the real surprise. He gave me a beautiful diamond ring, and a pamphlet for a Chalet in the Smoky Mountains. We were going on a week-long anniversary trip the very next day! He had arranged vacation with my boss for me, had my mom all set to watch our children, and had a pet-sitter for our dog. I thought it was the most amazing, wonderful, romantic thing ever. Until we got home that night and I realized he'd forgotten one very important thing. Laundry. We stayed up most of the night washing clothes and packing. But everything worked out, and we had a wonderful anniversary vacation together.
CYNTHIA EDEN: When my husband and I first started dating, we were in college—and neither of us exactly had a lot of cash to spend. For our very first Valentine’s Day, we decided to enjoy ourselves…without money. We are lucky enough to live close to the beach, and we went to that beach, right before midnight. The moon was shining, it looked like a million stars were glittering down on us—and we danced under that moonlight. We kicked off our shoes, climbed up onto an old, rickety dock (good thing we didn’t fall in the water!), and slow danced. No cash needed, but it was sure a very special night. I hope that you have a very, very special Valentine’s Day!
DELORES FOSSEN: For our wedding anniversary, my husband took me to Cascais, Portugal. It's an amazing coastal town only about 30 miles from Lisbon, but it's off the beaten path. Neither my husband nor I speak Portuguese, and we thought we could muddle through with our Spanish. Let's just say, our muddling wasn't very good. Still, we had a wonderful time strolling along the beach, eating some incredible seafood and just having some down time together.
RITA HERRON: The most romantic place I've been -- my husband took me to Bermuda once for my birthday. We rode the scooters, went to the beach and took a boat ride that was lovely. But the best Valentine's Day was one year when he gave me a used convertible - I had been groaning about driving the minivan so he bought this BMW for me. That night we had a sick child so we sat in the car in the garage, listened to music and toasted with champagne.
MALLORY KANE: Well, in our younger days, we spent a few years building a fiberglass sailboat. It was fun, but also a lot of hard, sometimes grueling work. Once we finally got the boat turned over--you have to build the fiberglass hull upside down--we were ready to start on the interior. When we finally got the interior glassed, the lead into the keel and built a plywood subfloor, it was around February 14. So with a space heater and a blanket, we 'christened' the boat. It certainly wasn't the most glamorous place, or the most comfortable. But we'd built it ourselves and we thought it was very appropriate place and way to spend Valentine's Day...
DANA MARTON: The most romantic place I've been with my husband is probably Venice, Italy. Of course, even during our romantic trip, my mind skipped to books. A chance encounter with the seedier side of Venice (after getting lost) showed me that even the most beautiful/romantic city in the world has a side where tourists don't normally go, where hundred-year-old palaces are crumbling into the water, where I wouldn't want to be caught alone at night. That day inspired GUARDIAN AGENT, which then went on to being the first in the AGENTS UNDER FIRE trilogy. Honestly, a romantic suspense author can feel perfectly romantic and still be plotting murder in the back of her mind. It's an occupational hazard. :-)
CASSIE MILES: Funny valentine...I had my V-Day present all picked out and wrapped -- black satin boxer shorts guaranteed to be delightful. I told him I wanted something pink and pretty, thinking roses would be nice. We went out to dinner at Little Saigon and lingered over the sweet Vietnamese coffee. Back at home, the kids were gone for the night which was always a great mood enhancer. He opened his present and gave me a fashion show. Then, it was my turn. The box wasn't big enough for roses, and it was too heavy. Inside, I found a matching set of vintage, plaster flamingos. He said they were rare birds, just like me, and deserved to be treated in a special way. I agreed.
JULIE MILLER: The most loving, romantic thing my hubby does for me (besides make me laugh and awesome foot massages!) is that he makes sure we have "us" time. Yep, no grand, glorious bouquets or impulsive weekend getaways here. But from the time we got married 25 years ago, we've had a standing weekend night tradition of the two of us sitting down together with nachos or popcorn that he's made, and we watch some incarnation of STAR TREK or other favorite show together. We're working our way through Deep Space Nine now, but we've watched all the Trek shows, Dr. Who, Torchwood, Hercules and more. It's our time. Even during the craziest of schedules--deadlines, school demands, doing plays, family demands, etc.--he makes that time for us. Of course, we do lots of other things together as time and interests and budgets allow, but we always have Saturday or Sunday night that's date night just for us. (The picture is from us doing a play together--Sorry, no Trek pix of the two of us on file... although we DO have Star Trek uniforms!)
ANGI MORGAN: It wasn't Valentine's Day or an anniversary or anything special. Just a well-deserved real vacation. We'd had this wonderful dinner at a restaurant on the beach (sand in our toes, really) on Anna Maria Island in Florida. We'd come there, specifically to look for some tiny seashells we'd been told about, but the light got away from us and the sun dipped into the gulf right when we got to the beach. We kept walking though, chatting about nothing and enjoying an approaching storm. I asked if Tim was ready to go and he said no, we hadn't gotten the shells. It was much too dark to see, but he ran back to the car and got the beach towels. We sat and he clicked on the light from his smartphone. We picked through the shells, dropping them into a water bottle. The battery ran out, just as the first rain drops fell. It's the simple things that I find romantic. The next night it was a fruity drink and walking through the surf at sunset. Loved it.
ROBIN PERINI: This particular February I can’t think about romance without thinking about my Mom and Dad. The reason: this February is their 50th wedding anniversary. My dad met my mom on a blind date in March of their senior year of college. They were engaged by July and married the following February. Fifty years ago. They still hold hands; they are still each other’s best friend; they still love each other. When you think about ‘in sickness and in health’ and ‘to love and to cherish’, they embody these vows. They truly are an inspiration. To me and to everyone who knows them, I think. So this Valentine’s Day, I want to say, Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you! Thanks for showing our family what love is all about!
AIMEE THURLO: To us, romance is what happens every day, not when we go out for dinner, or maybe on a special trip. The most romantic things happen daily, when he brings me a bowl of buttered popcorn even though I didn't ask, or he gets up to turn the lights off at three in the morning when I was the one who left them on.
So much of the time these days romance is equated to sex, but although that can be part of it, romance is expressed in tenderness, in caring. My favorite time of the week is when we watch our teams play football. He bought me a New Orleans Saints cap, and a Raven's cap. (After watching Blind Side I always root for the Ravens) We get on our daybed, side by side with the dogs all around us, and watch the game. We scream at the players and roar when there's a touchdown, and hold hands after the popcorn runs out. It's not candlelight and roses, but it's love...the kind that's lasted forty three years come this July.
REBECCA YORK: I lost my heart in San Francisco. Or, my husband already had it, and one of the most romantic times I can remember with him was a trip we took to San Francisco. It’s a lovely city with great views, great restaurants, great walks, and a great hotel room where we had a very memorable private party.
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