by Andi Renskoff from the December 14, 2009 issue
Tagline: Matt was happy to be back home--and running into Dana made him happier still.
In a Nutshell: Matt has moved back to his home town to take care of his aging parents. He runs into Dana at a flea market. They used to go to the same high school. After renewing their acquaintance, he admits he was afraid to ask her out, way back when. She admits she wished he had.
Observation: Stories in which the hero and heroine share a past are common in Woman's World. It's a handy way to get your reader to connect with your characters because we all have someone in our pasts that we remember with wistful fondness.
In this story, Renskoff gives Matt a very brief memory of Dana painting a tree on the lawn of the high school. In the memory, they don't even really interact, but the author paints it with a sentimental brush when she explains how that memory had "resurfaced years ago in the trenches of combat training and again during a lonely breakfast in an airport restaurant." So even though their relationship was almost non-existent, we still understand Matt's feelings about her.
There is no rising action or climax in this story, which is also common. Wait a minute. I just reread the end and see that there's a moment when Dana is paying for the toy chest when you might think they're going to say goodbye, but any worry the reader might feel that they're never going to see each other again is slight and brief.
Note: The painting shown is "Storm in Home Park" by John Walsom