by Lori Hoffman, from the October 12, 2009 issue.
Tagline: A chance encounter in a coffee shop convinced Kat it was time to put the past behind her...
In a Nutshell: Kat is divorced. Her brother convinces her to go on a blind date at a coffee shop. She drops her cup, splashes coffee on her sweater, makes a mess, is embarrassed. A kind man comes to help her out. She assumes it's her date, but it's not. She gets a call from her brother saying the friend had to cancel and didn't have her cell number. It's okay with Kat because she's having a nice time with the mystery man, Joe.
Observations: Divorce is common in WW stories. It's a handy way to make a character older than twenty-something, and yet not seem like a "loser" for not having settled down yet. It also gives a character some backstory, making them a little more sympathetic to the reader. Kat is divorced and hesitant about entering the dating world again.
This story is interesting to me because it has two climactic moments. The first is when she drops the cup and breaks it. I know that doesn't sound like much of a "big black moment" but Kat sees that as a sign that she's not ready for dating yet. The reader fears she's going to spurn love before she even gives it a chance.
Then the hero arrives!
He demonstrates caring (helping her clean up), an interest (he's been watching her and even knows how she likes her coffee now), and attractive. He also turns out to be honest, even if he's a little late in showing it.
This is when the second black moment occurs. She finds out this guy isn't Ben, her blind date. He had dodged her first attempt to identify him as her blind date deftly, but comes clean when she asks the second time, as a true hero should.
The story ends with the two of them enjoying coffee together, so it's your typical HEA, WW style, which is HOPEFULLY Ever After, not HAPPILY.
Favorite part: Hoffman made me laugh with this line: "...and I'll try to keep my coffee in my cup while I listen."