Tickle Fights And Barbecues View larger

Tickle Fights And Barbecues by Marianne Arkins

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    Since her return to her childhood home following the deaths of her parents, Tina Springfield has been alone, with nothing but her prize-winning roses for company. Though she longs for friendship and romance, her innate shyness and her awkward work schedule have kept her from meeting anyone -- including her new neighbors. But when a little boy's baseball threatens her rose bushes, everything changes, and Tina discovers that small sacrifices can make a big difference in life.
    (11 pages) Sweet

    Excerpt:

    A baseball flew over the six-foot fence and into her outstretched hand. Her fingers clenched automatically, as though they'd been waiting for the pitch. She pulled her hand down and stared at the scuffed white orb inside. The leather was soft from use and the threads reminded her a bit of Frankenstein's monster.

    "Hello?" A young boy's voice called.

    She turned to see pudgy fingers weaved through the latticework on top of the fence, and a pair of brown eyes peering unsteadily over it.

    "Do you have my ball?" He lost his grip and dropped. Only a few seconds passed before the face popped back up again. "Do you?"

    Tina gestured with the ball. "It's right here."

    The face disappeared followed by a thud.

    Was the boy okay? Tina carefully slipped past her bushes to the fence and stood on the bottom board. She looked over to see a boy of six or seven standing on the ground with arms crossed, clearly frustrated at his inability to hold himself up on the fence.

    A man's head poked around the corner. "Everything all right?"

    "Yeah, Dad! Just getting my ball."

    Tina lifted the hand with the ball in a wave and smiled at her new neighbor. She couldn't see his face under the cap on his head, but those denim shorts sure showed off his solid body quite nicely. At that thought, her face heated with guilt. She had no business admiring the tight body of a man who most likely had a wife around.

    He returned her wave with the extra long basting brush he held. With a flash of white teeth, he stepped back behind the side of the house.

    "Could you throw it back, ma'am?"

    The boy's question brought Tina's attention back where it belonged and away from someone else's husband. She looked down and smiled at the boy who stood, mitt at the ready.

    "Sure." Tina tossed the ball into the neighboring yard where it bounced into his waiting hands. "But would you try to keep the ball on your side? I have rose bushes here that could be ruined if you're not careful."

    "Sure! Thanks!" The child smiled and then raced around the side of the house.

    She heard childish giggles and then a shriek and more laughter. Were they having a tickle fight? She flashed back to her own childhood here in this now-quiet backyard. With a small sigh, she stepped off the fence and through her roses. She wanted backyard barbecues and tickle fights again.

Reviews

Grade 
06/02/2007

Review

From Fallen Angels Reviews: "Tickle Fights And Barbecues" by Marianne Arkins is a sweet tale. There are lots of homey images and emotions in this story, and I enjoyed it a great deal. The relationship between Tina and young Kenny is realistic and energetic. The way she deals with losing her parents is both heartbreaking and satisfying, as well. This is an emotionally charged story. Readers can?t help but be touched by the author?s words.

    Grade 
    05/09/2007

    Review

    This is a heart-warming, sweet and charming story about a woman named Tina, a seven-year-old boy Kenny and his good looking dad Dan. And of course, Tina's gorgeous Veteran's Honor rose bush plays an important part too. I have totally enjoyed this quick read and I'm sure you will too.

      Grade 
      03/11/2007

      Review

      A sweet indulgence and a fun, fast read. With a handsome new neighbor, a cute kid, the scent of roses, a young woman who?s earned a shot at love, chicken on the grill (mmm-mmmm) and baseball -- this is a story that will warm your heart quicker than a summer day.

        Grade 
        03/11/2007

        Review

        Another charming story of second chances at love by this talented author! With a hunky guy-next-door, a charming little boy, and a woman who learns to open her eyes and her heart to the world beyond her own backyard, this is a quick read that will warm your heart.

          Grade 
          03/11/2007

          Review

          Very tender.
          Completely lovely.
          Lots of fun to read!

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            Tickle Fights And Barbecues

            Tickle Fights And Barbecues

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