Finding love is a lot harder in the age of coronavirus.
Falling in love is the last thing on Beth Allen’s mind. Like many Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s lost her copywriting job and is sheltering in her Dallas apartment. She’s all by her lonesome, but she can’t totally blame her solitude on the lockdown. Ever since her college boyfriend cheated on her, she’s built a wall around her heart that no man has been allowed to scale. Now more than ever, though, Beth feels like Rapunzel trapped in a tower, and she's beginning to question her self-made defenses. When Beth’s friend from her hometown of Caddo Cove, Texas tries to set Beth up with a guy who seems too good to be true, the wall begins to crumble. With a worldwide pandemic going on, it might be now or never.
Athletic and civic-minded Carter Townsend is unlucky in love. Even though he is more than ready to settle down, he can’t seem to find Mrs. Right. As the pandemic grinds the world to a halt, his love life is also put on pause, leaving him on his own with only two dogs for company. Thanks to matchmaking friends and modern technology, he begins a hopeful new relationship with Beth, the budding cookbook author next door. Lady luck is fickle, though. Just when his life seems to be looking up, the coronavirus disaster becomes personal, and Carter finds himself fighting for love and a whole lot more.
Someone to Hold is a sweet, romance novella filled with hope, second chances, and most importantly, a Happily Ever After ending.
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“Trust me, Beth, you’re going to love him.”
Beth leaned back in her swivel chair. Emily’s face was practically pressed against her camera, so her face loomed large on the laptop screen. Her nut-brown hair was twisted into a messy knot on the top of her head, her face innocent of make-up. These were strange times when her normally dressed to the nines friend just couldn’t be bothered.
“You know how I feel about the word ‘love,’” Beth said. Just hearing the word made her feel cranky. And crave chocolate. For a moment, she wondered if there was any chocolate cherry ice cream left in the freezer. Most likely, the answer would be a big NO.
“OK, let me rephrase that. You’re going to like him a lot. Leif and I met him at a fundraising event back in January before, you know, the world shut down. Leif’s been talking to him a few times on Zoom about fundraising ideas. Here’s what you should know."
She held up one carefully manicured finger as she prepared to enumerate Carter’s good qualities.
"One, he’s freakin’ hot. Two, he’s the director of a huge, non-profit organization that helps the homeless, so hot and caring. And three, he’s a big animal lover. What’s not to love?” Emily grimaced when she realized that she’d used the word “love” again. She put three fingers up close to her camera. “Three good reasons to meet him.”
Beth narrowed her eyes. “If he’s so wonderful, then why is he single? Does he have some kind of weird kink?
“God, I don’t know, Beth! Take a chance.”
Beth watched as her friend scribbled something on a piece of paper. Moments later, Emily held the paper up so Beth could see it.
“Here’s his email address. “Write him. Give him your number. What do you have to lose?”
There, my friends, was the big question. She had absolutely nothing to lose and lots of time on her hands. And Emily knew that. She sighed.
“I’ll think about it. But I don’t see how anything can happen. Who knows how long we’ll be in lockdown.”
Emily moaned. “Don’t remind me.”
“At least you have Leif to keep you company. I’m all by my lonesome. Except for Mr. Darcy.”
For a moment, the loneliness of her isolation felt like a heavy burden. Maybe it was time to take a chance. . .
“I know. I’m sorry about that. A fish can’t be the most companionable animal. Have you thought about coming home? I’m sure your parents would love to have you. And you have been quarantined for three weeks now, so it should be safe. Besides,” Emily grinned. “Mr. Darcy is very portable.”
Beth glanced out of the window of her living room. She was five stories up, and the Dallas skyline sparkled under the warm, spring sun. She adored her adopted home. Its vibrant, never-resting energy vibed with her own restlessness. Her childhood had been spent in Caddo Cove, a small, East Texas town where some of her school friends, like Emily, still lived. She wasn’t so sure she could go back to small-town life, no matter how charming the little town was.
“That’s Plan B,” Beth said.
“Then it’s a good thing that Carter lives somewhere in your neighborhood.”
“Little good that will do me,” she replied. “I’m like Rapunzel in a tower. Except I can’t let Prince Charming climb my hair so he can woo me.” She tugged on her shoulder-length hair, which was in need of shampooing.
“Chin up. Maybe this pandemic will blow over in a month or so. Just imagine how exciting it will be when you finally get to meet him in person.”
The thought of meeting someone new made her tremble with nerves and just a little bit of excitement. It had been too long since she had met anyone new.
“You talked me into it. I’ll take the plunge.” She put her trembling hands in her lap and sat up straighter.
“Good for you. I’ll let you go so you can email him. Let me know what happens, OK? I’m going crazy with boredom over here.”
From the background, Beth could hear Leif say “I heard that!”
They both were laughing as they said goodbye. Beth closed the app and took a deep breath.
She would email him. Right after she found some chocolate.