Spring ... It’s a time of renewal and growth. A time to shake off the winter doldrums and let the sunshine in. A time to ditch the old and welcome the new. A time when things blossom and bloom — often when we least expect it.
Spring is also a time for awkward first dates, fun flirtation, bad breakups, sexy men, hilarious misunderstandings and the first flush of new love.
Fall in love this spring with six warm, funny and fabulous romantic short stories by some of Australia’s leading chick lit authors.
After all, everyone deserves a Spring Fling.
The six mini chick lit tales include:
* Social Bea by Carla Caruso
* Blazing Hearts by Samantha Bond
* Second Chances by Laura Greaves
* Schrodinger's Catfish by Sarah Belle
* The Eternal Bloom by Vanessa Stubbs
Excerpt from Social Bea, by Carla Caruso:
Bea Ormond aimed her phone’s camera at the party invite balanced on her lap. She snapped away against the backdrop of horseracing commentary spilling from the hire car driver’s one dangling earbud and the jazz on the main radio he’d tried to cover up the noise with.
With a smile, she selected the best shot from her picture gallery. Granted the backseat of a black BMW at night wasn’t the most ideal setting for a social media snap, but at least the purple floral fabric of her new dress added something. And anyway, for once, it was more about the words — the invite’s words — than the image.
Not just anyone could get their hot little hands on a ticket to the infamous Spring Fling. The annual bash was put on by a luxe champagne house to mark the first day of spring and always held in a secret location. Only the who’s who of Adelaide were invited, including Bea. A perk of being the director of her very own social scene site, Social Bea.
Once she’d added a filter to the phone pic, plus a suitably humble but humorous caption, she hit ‘share’ on Instagram. The shot would follow her getting-ready selfie, taken in the salon chair right after her blonde bob had been artfully tousled.
The car door on the opposite side screeched open, making Bea jump and bringing in a gust of blossom-scented air. She’d been so absorbed in what she was doing that she hadn’t even noticed the BMW was still stationary.
A tall guy, maybe a little younger than her thirty years, sank into the leather seat beside her. Bea blinked at him. He was handsome, yes, in a rugged muso sort of way, with a Heath Ledger-like square jaw and a light brown man bun. But he was so not dressed for the Spring Fling. His all-black getup, faded denim jacket aside, comprised an oversized tee and ripped skinny jeans tucked into combat boots.
This was what happened when she let her pink-haired assistant, Tessica, jump in the car ahead so she could flirt with a visiting gameshow host. Mr Man Bun had obviously seen the empty seat and thought this was just a regular non-branded taxi ride.
Dropping her phone, Bea scooped up her invite and waved it at the stranger. Surely soon he’d realise his mistake. ‘Uh, are you off to the Spring Fling?’
Hmm. Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. The guy might take advantage and abandon his own plans, knowing it was the hottest ticket in town.
Instead he surprised her by digging a hand into his back pocket and pulling out a matching invite, albeit a bent one. His long-lashed, olive green gaze held hers. ‘Snap.’
Huh. Maybe he was part of the entertainment act for the night.
‘Brilliant … Er, do we need to wait? Will anyone else be joining you?’
Looking ahead, she noticed the rest of the black chauffeured hire cars parked outside the theatre—the designated meeting spot—had gone. Trust her to pick the slowest-moving driver on the block.
‘Nope, I’m travelling solo,’ her new comrade said as he belted up. ‘Well, aside from you being here.’
With another strained smile, she turned towards the balding driver. ‘We’re right to go, please.’
The driver lifted his eyebrows at her in the rear-view mirror, almost as though he was peeved at being distracted from the horseracing. The champagne company officials, who’d paid for the ride, wouldn’t be too happy if they knew about his unprofessionalism. Luckily Bea was in a good mood. After eleven months’ slog on her website, she was off to the party of the year.
‘The Spring Fling,’ she reminded the driver, just in case he’d somehow forgotten.
The Beemer finally lurched into the city traffic, making the contents of her lap fly floor-wards. She leant down to rescue her phone and invite and stuff them back in her teeny-tiny rose gold clutch. Then she turned to her travelling companion with a raised eyebrow, we’re-in-it-together-with-this-crazy-driver kind of look. But the guy was too busy drumming his knees along to the jazz music and staring out the window.
She cleared her throat. ‘I’m Bea, by the way. From the Social Bea website.’
Her fellow passenger looked back, the reflections of passing streetlights streaking his face but not one glimmer of recognition evident. ‘Cool. Um, my mates call me Perry. And if we’re talking about what we do, I’m a drummer. A freelance one.’
Rugged muso. Bingo!
‘You’re playing tonight?’
‘Me? Nah. I got the invite through my sister.’ A-ha. ‘She works at an ad agency and gets invited to a lot of swanky dos, but hardly ever goes now she has kids. She thought I could make some’—Perry made air quotes—‘“important connections” tonight. Don’t tell her, but it was really the free booze and food that did it. That and I wasn’t working.’