by Ruby Perry from the May 11, 2009 issue
Tagline: Brad spotted the pretty woman walking down the sidewalk--and just couldn't keep his eyes on the road...
In A Nutshell: Everytime Brad sees this brightly dressed woman, he becomes distracted and has a fender bender. The insurance company wants to cancel his policy. When he meets the claims adjustor, it's that self-same woman! He asks her to dinner.
Observations: This story was heavy on backstory. Almost the entire story was set-up. By the time I got to the insurance office, I could see what was coming, but I liked it anyway.
When you're writing a "first meet" story, there are a few things you usually have to cover, and one of them is to establish that both the hero and heroine are single. Here, Perry does this with this passage:
He noticed there was no ring on her finger, and all the photographs around the room were of smiling old people and children.
Also, Brad had a small character arc. In that backstory, Perry established his careful approach to life:
Brad had also been careful in love, so careful he had rarely worked up the nerve to ask a woman out--which was why he was single in his mid-30s.
"I wonder," he said as decades of careful, cautious living slipped away from him, "I wonder if you would allow me to tell you the story over dinner?"