Fourth of July Escape in March

Maggie taking pictures of houses on Beach Avenue, Cape May, New Jersey

It was cold, gray, and gloomy on Beach Avenue in Cape May, New Jersey on the recent March day I visited.

But when Skye Holland meets an intriguing, mysterious stranger on the beach there in July, it will be hot and sunny. It will also be a turning point in her life that she never saw coming that Independence Day weekend. One that will set off fireworks for her in more ways than one.

Skye is the name of my heroine in a short story I’ll be writing for the Romancing the Holidays, Volume 3 anthology for First Coast Romance Writers.

Titled “Red, White, and Blue for You,” it will be something different for me. My novels and short stories to date have all been historical romance, including historical romantic suspense. But this eight-thousand-word short story will be contemporary romantic comedy.


Because I look forward to the challenge. And I believe that light and romantic stories are needed right now in our current era of chronic anxiety.

Also, this anthology published by my romance writer group will feature holidays year-round, instead of fall and winter like volumes one and two. Giving me the opportunity to write a beach read, and what better place to set it than romantic Cape May, a charming resort town at the tip of New Jersey?

I know Cape May well, having been there many times growing up in the Garden State, and it is also the setting of my historical romance Beacon Beach.

And I knew that the street that runs along the beach is lined with grand mansions that would make the perfect setting for a story about a young woman who is suddenly invited to a weekend long party at one of them. And—finding herself suddenly alone and lonely—impulsively accepts.

On a day trip to Cape May that March afternoon with my sisters, I told them about the story I was planning to write. So, after driving to Beach Avenue, I was delighted to find it looked exactly as I envisioned for my story. Three story mansion after three story mansion, single family owned, most Victorian architectural in style, as fits the town.

I took pictures and then we walked out onto the beach. Empty that day. With a gusty wind whipping our hair as we snapped selfies. We were the only ones there.

But in my imagination, it was filled with people sunbathing and swimming, gleefully celebrating summer’s favorite holiday.

And Skye was there. Young, pretty, confused to find herself alone at a time when she didn’t expect to be. Then, suddenly not alone. When a handsome man walks up to her and offers her a surprise invitation to the party of her dreams.

What will happen? What will she do?

Oh, boy, I’m so looking forward to writing this story for Romancing the Holidays Volume 3.

Stay tuned!

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