The Kiss Me Chronicles: Four Short Stories about Love


Exploring the excitement of budding relationships and the wonder of falling in love, author Debbie Zello presents four short stories of romance in The Kiss Me Chronicles.
In “Kiss Me Long, Hard, and Often,” forty-six-year-old Julia Johnson is a divorced woman with a pest for a sister. Graysen Parker is a man who has lost the love of his life to cancer. Julia and Graysen meet on a dating site and begin to rediscover how wonderful love and ...

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The Kiss Me Chronicles: Four Short Stories about Love

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Exploring the excitement of budding relationships and the wonder of falling in love, author Debbie Zello presents four short stories of romance in The Kiss Me Chronicles.
In “Kiss Me Long, Hard, and Often,” forty-six-year-old Julia Johnson is a divorced woman with a pest for a sister. Graysen Parker is a man who has lost the love of his life to cancer. Julia and Graysen meet on a dating site and begin to rediscover how wonderful love and romance can be the second time around.
The narrative “Kiss Me Senseless” features Stacie Martin who works in a school kitchen with the dreamboat principal, Colby Thompson. Accidently bumping into each other at a dance club, they find out that together through sacrifice, how great love can be.
Elizabeth Nowles, in “Kiss Me Again and Again,” moves to a big, old farm house in Vermont and finds the dairy farmer of her dreams in Scott Downey. Unfortunately, his ex-wife has other plans for Scott, and they don’t include Beth.
In “Kiss Me through Time,” Abby Dawson loves Civil War history so much she finds herself at the battle of Gettysburg. Dr. Ira W. Emerson loves Abigail, and so does Dr I. William Emerson. Whom does Abby love?
This heartwarming collection shows that love, often with challenges, is both real and possible.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781475977684
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/20/2013
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 1,561,728
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt


Four Short Stories About Love

By Debbie Zello

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Debbie Zello
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4759-7767-7



I WATCH THE RAIN FALL on the deck in my back yard while I daydream of what my life could be. Lynn, my sister, is once again drilling me on what I should be doing, "Are you listening to me?"

"Yes Lynn, I hear you." I answer her.

"I don't think you do. How many times have I told you this, and you still haven't done it?"

"Okay, I'll do it Monday after work. Don't you have anything else to do besides bothering me?" Lynn wants me to get into the dating game. She feels that I have been alone long enough, and, in my heart, I know she is right. She sends me e-mail links to dating sites and countless texts and messages.

"FINALLY! I will be checking so you had better do it or else," was Lynn's reply. Lynn is three years younger than me. She has a way about her that defies gravity. She can't be held down by any hardship or circumstance. I am, as always, in awe of her.

My marriage of twenty four years ended three years ago. I married my high school sweetheart at the age of nineteen. We had two kids, a son John and a daughter, Brittany. I worked my way through college, and he worked to feed us and keep a roof over our heads. I graduated and landed a job that paid very well. I thought life was good. We looked happy, at least from the outside. At forty- six, I was looking for what I was missing. I left him, dated a few men, and then stopped looking.

Lynn is a fixer. Even if you don't think that you are broken, she is bound and determined to fix you. I spend the weekend listening to Josh Groban and watching my favorite chick flicks-Pretty Woman, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. These have been my constant companions over the last three years. You can lose yourself in happy endings. There has to be more than one Tom Hanks or Richard Gere out there.

Work on Monday goes by in a flash. Why is it that work flies by when you don't want to do something after and drags by when you do? I need an explanation for this. I'm going to stop and get groceries on the way home ... that will stall for time. I do everything I can think of to avoid the inevitable, but at 8:00pm, I am in front of my computer screen opening up the first site my sister sent to me.

The first part is easy. "Who are you?" Julia Johnson. "Age-46. Where do you live?" Cheshire, Connecticut. "Height" 5'4". "Weight" 111 lbs. OK, maybe I can do this. Then, the hard questions. "What do you want out of a relationship?" Long pause. Here goes:

I want to be kissed, long, hard and often.

I want to be held, cuddled, and spooned.

I want you to whisper words to me that make my toes curl.

I want to grab your butt and scream your name every night.

Too much, I think. This will never make it on to the site. Anyway, no guy wants that much work. I call my sister and let her know that I did the deed.

After my dinner of a salad and iced tea, I sit down to watch Sense and Sensibility. The phone rings while I look for dating advice from the Dashwood sisters. "Hello" I say.

"It's about time. I saw your post and you have a reply already. Have you seen it?" Lynn is so pleased with herself.

"No, and how did you see it?' I reply.

"You know I know all of the passwords you use. I went in and looked around," my FBI agent went on. "You have to check the answering e-mails every few hours, you know. Men don't like to have to wait for an answer from you."

Already I'm sorry I started this. Lynn will make my life a living hell until I at least go out on a few dates. "All right, fine, I will go in and check" I tell her.

I pause the movie to check the computer for my first disappointment. In my account are two e-mails from prospective nightmares. The first is from a fifty- something who wants to "Rock My World". He seems to think he has a great body, wonderful personality, and, I am sure you guessed it, probably still lives with mom. I may be wrong about this, but I figure if you have to tell me what a catch you are, then it probably isn't true. I'll pass on stud number one.

The second one is from a fifty- something that has four kids and six grandchildren. He sounds nice, and I agree to meet for drinks at a local bar on Wednesday. I don't want to tell my sister because I am afraid she will show up just to make sure I'm bedded by Friday. I don't need her help to make mistakes- I do fine on my own.

Wednesday is here in no time. I really have to bottle this time- warp thing. It might be useful when I need to escape from unwanted dates. I leave work to go home to freshen up. I'm not sure how far I should go to impress. I settle on black dress pants and a frilly dark pink blouse, jewelry and minimal makeup. I make sure I am there 15 minutes early because I don't want him to pay for my drink. I don't like to "owe" anything. I have the picture that he posted, so I think I know who I am looking for. Several people come through the door, but right on time is my date.

Steven is a very distinguished- looking man. Not at all unlike his photo, with the exception of maybe 10 to 15 years. He said fifties but my guess is sixties close to seventy.

"Hi, It's great to meet you. I'm Steven." I give him my best smile and my hand.

"I'm Julia, and it's nice to meet you," I reply. I can see how happy he is to meet someone. My guess is that he has been stood up or simply left there a few times. My ingrained manners won't let that happen. I will give him my attention, at least for now. We wade through small talk. I hear about his wife's death and his family. Then it's my turn for the inquisition.

"I'm divorced with two grown children." I go on. "I work in a local manufacturing office as an accountant. My sister put me up to this dating thing as a way of torturing me past our growing- up years."

I listen politely, and so does he. Finally, as I have nursed my drink for over an hour, I ask to be excused, as tomorrow is a work day.

"I have certainly enjoyed your company," Steven says, "Then he asks when can I see you again?"

Oh God! How do I get into these things? ... I am going to kill Lynn. I look at Steven as sweetly as I can and tell him, "I don't think this is for me. I'm very sorry and good luck with your search for your perfect match."

I get up to leave, and the look on Stevens face almost makes me cry. My fear is that I am going to have the same look as him when someone leaves me there in the bar. Why can't the floor just open up and swallow me?

I think I am better off just dating my B.O.B. (battery operated boyfriend) ~he is uncomplicated and available. When the date is over, I don't get the hound dog face from him.

Looks like another night with Josh Groban and Tom Hanks. I know Tom is married, but I wonder if Josh is available. He has the sweet nothings down pat. His songs and voice make me weak. Maybe I'll Google him when I get home.

I walk in my door and right on cue the phone rings. I don't need to look at the caller id. I know who it is.

"Hi Lynn."

"How did it go?"

"Nice guy, but a little too old for me. I'm sure the kissing and cuddling would be ok, but the butt squeezing won't happen."

"Well, that's only the first one. You have to give this time."

"I know Rome wasn't built in a day. Isn't that what you always tell me?"

"Yup, that's it!"

"I'm going to bed. I'll call you tomorrow."

"See ya."

I am so grateful for my work. I have so much to occupy my day that I have little time to ponder the direction my life is taking. I have people to talk to, have lunch with and live vicariously through.

* * *

GRAYSEN PARKER IS AN ACCOMPLISHED man. He received an early acceptance to Yale for business administration. At graduation, he was in the top five percent of his class. Within three years, he had amassed a multi million dollar company and he wasn't yet twenty-five.

To say he is handsome is an understatement. Dark hair and blue eyes. He is tall, has an athletic build and works out regularly. Upon meeting him, you are drawn to his eyes, then a smile that lights up the room. He has a ready wit and a cache of one- liners that usually leave you speechless. His home, though, was in the business world. Few are a match for his business sense.

He met his future wife at a fundraiser for a local candidate running for congress. Kate was just fabulous. She sparkled and her voice spoke to his soul. He knew by the end of the evening he would marry this woman.

Three years later they stood before a minister and became one. Life was everything that they wanted. They traveled, built a home in Darien, Connecticut, and just enjoyed each other.

Shortly after their second anniversary, Kate told Gray she was pregnant. Utter joy surrounded them. Gray went to work in New York every day with a smile. He had it all.

Amanda's birth made a happy marriage better, if such a thing is possible. Kate nursed because she wanted to bond with her baby. Gray worked from home for a month so he could witness firsthand the wonders of new life.

Two days after Amanda's first birthday, Kate, taking her morning shower, noticed a small bump in her breast. Not terribly concerned, she made an appointment with her doctor. Dr. Adams examined her and told her that it was a clogged milk duct due to Amanda's recent weaning.

Six months later, Kate went back with what she thought was a larger clogged milk duct. This time, Dr. Adams sent her for a mammogram. Two days later Kate got the call that made her world spin. Dr. Adams said, "The lump looks suspicious. We need a needle biopsy to make a definitive diagnosis." Words that no one should ever hear, much less a woman who is only 27.

Kate didn't tell Gray. He worked so hard, and she didn't feel the need to worry him unnecessarily. She hoped she would never have to mention it. Another two days and she got the call that her nightmare had begun. It was cancer. Gray was leaving on a week- long business trip, and she knew if she told him he would cancel, so again she kept the information from him. By the time he got back home, she had the bone scan, ct scan, mri, and blood work.

After a family dinner that included two bottles of wine from the wine cellar, Kate put Amanda to bed. Gray went to their room, as he thought with the wine working its magic they would have a night of passion after a week apart. She walked in the room and sat on the bed with Gray. "I have something to tell you," she started. "What's up baby?" Gray answered looking at her ashen face. After a long pause, Kate began the story that stopped his heart. She had stage four breast cancer. It had already spread to her bones and liver. She would have a mastectomy on Thursday followed by chemo and radiation.

He held her close and together they cried through the night. The next morning with steely resolve, he called everyone to find the best care for Kate.

The next few months were a blur of appointments. Hospital stays and medication. Gray's number two at the office, Charles Ford, kept the business going. Gray couldn't concentrate on anything but Kate. When her check up at the end of her treatment came around, they both thought the worst was over.

Dr. Knapp, her oncologist, entered the office quietly. "I know you have had a rough time with all of this," she said. "I'm sorry to have to tell you that it is not over yet," she continued. "You need to brace yourself because although we did all that we can, the outcome wasn't what we anticipated. Your form of cancer is very resilient to our current treatments. I'm afraid you only have from 12 to 18 months before it ..." she couldn't even finish because Kate was screaming.

Once again, Gray just held her. That was his strength. He was not going to fall apart, because she needed him to be the power in this. He would have time later for himself. He had a wife and baby that needed him.

Thirteen months later, Gray stood before the casket that held the love of his life. The pain was immeasurable. The only light was a beautiful three- year- old blond, green- eyed vision of her mom. If not for her, Gray would have joined his Kate. For Amanda, he will live. Kate made him promise that he would be father and mother to her baby. This he would do ... for Kate.

Gray's only happiness was Kate's little girl and work. Thank God for work. He was good before, but now he was a dynamo.

Fifteen years later, his baby, grew up to be a brilliant woman who has an early acceptance to Yale to become a doctor. Before she leaves for school, she is determined that her father will not be alone. He has refused to date, or even think about dating, since the loss of his beloved wife. Gray threw himself into raising his daughter and building his business over the years. He now has the largest telecommunications firm on the East coast. He has had offers over the years, many offers. He is a very eligible man with plenty of money. Every divorced socialite has wanted him. He has wanted Kate.

Amanda, after months of begging him to put a profile on a dating site, takes matters into her own hands and does it for him. After dinner one night, she takes him into the study and shows him his profile.

Graysen Parker 48 years old, white male occupation-school janitor 6'3"- 176 lbs. Brown hair, blue eyes

His eyes fly to hers. "School janitor?" he questions.

"Yes. You don't want someone who just wants your money right?" Amanda replies. "This will guarantee she won't think you have any."

"Good idea, except how do I date someone who thinks I'm a janitor in $5000 Italian suits driving an Audi R8 or a BMW?" Grey answers.

"Well, I guess we will have to go shopping for jeans and tee shirts, and you'll have to rent a Chevy for dates." Amanda gives him her sweetest smile.

"OK" he finally gives in. He can't resist that smile. "Post it and we'll see what happens."


I CHECK MY EMAILS EVERY few days. Only because my meddling sister won't let it go. Many of the same replies. "Can't wait to hear you scream," say several. The best one says "I can make you scream for a week straight." He must take Cialis. Funny that these men ignore the first three wants. The things I want the most listed first. I have B.O.B. to make me scream already. "Oh well" I say aloud. At least I have work.

Dan Rodgers, our CEO, left the company two months ago, and I stepped in to the job until we find a suitable replacement. Much to my amazement, I was given the job as well as a substantial raise in salary and benefits, including profit sharing. It feels good to succeed in my professional life anyway. My personal life is non-existent.

So, I am financially independent. I do not need anyone to lean on for financial security. I am my own woman. In fact, I probably make more than most men. It never bothered me that I made more money than my ex-husband did, but looking back, maybe it bothered him. Men are such fragile creatures. They say women are the weaker sex, but I have never thought so. Physically, maybe, but not emotionally.

Of course, my sister tells me, "Don't change your profile to say you have money because some guy will want you to take care of him."

"I work 60 hours a week now plus traveling on business. What will I tell them I do?" I snap at her. "I can't hide my Audi."

My saving grace is lunch on Sunday with my best friends, Jan and Sue. They know all of my secrets even more than Lynn. There are things about my marriage that are to painful to tell her. So under the "What's new?" category, I proceed to fill my girls in on Lynn's newest form of personal- torture. Laughter erupts from both of them. "It's about time you need to get laid." in unison.

"Great now you're on her side," I answer.

"We're not on any side but yours. You've locked yourself up in your house and have forgotten you're alive. This isn't good for you," says Jan. "Get any responses yet?" questions Sue.

"Yes a few. And I have gone out but I haven't wanted to go out twice with anyone yet," I answer.

"How about work? Anyone you want to rip the clothes off of there?" Jan laughs.

"You are kidding," I retort "That's just what I need," I say with sexual harassment policies in the forefront of my mind. "I'm the boss for God's sake." Romance at work is out of the question.

I pause. "You know my issues with my body ... How am I going to feel comfortable getting naked with anyone?" I ask.

"After you get to know them and they get to know you, you just have to tell the honest truth," Sue says kindly.

"He knew the truth and that was the end of the sex, then the touching was gone, soon followed by no kissing. Before I knew it we were just roommates," I followed.

"That was him, and he is a jerk." Jan comes to my defense.

"Maybe so, but who will want damaged goods when there are so many fish in the sea?" was my answer.

"Do not refer to yourself as damaged goods in my presence." Sue was angry. "You are a selfless, amazing, brave woman with so many qualities that a good man would want. A real man would never look at you and say you are damaged. A shallow, selfish one might, but I doubt you're looking for him, right?"

"No," I answer. "I've had that already and it doesn't float my boat."

With lunch, over I head back to Josh and Tom, my other constant companions. Oh, and of course B.O.B., who is slowing down. He must need new batteries. An easy man to fix. I Google Josh Groban, only to find out he is too young for me. I'm no cougar. I'm not even a great kitten. Not that he would want me anyway. I guess I have to snap out of this or my pit of self- loathing will get so deep I'll never climb out.

I thumb through the DVD's and settle on Steel Magnolias. Yes, tonight I want to cry. Who needs a therapist when I have TV? Maybe I just need company. I'll get a dog, cat or bird. I know, I'll put in a pool and hire a pool boy. I hug myself ... now you're talking!!!

Excerpted from THE KISS ME CHRONICLES by Debbie Zello. Copyright © 2013 by Debbie Zello. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Kiss Me Long, Hard, And Often....................     1     

Kiss Me Senseless....................     105     

Kiss Me Again And Again....................     193     

Kiss Me Through Time....................     289     

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