Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My 1st Valentine by Stephanie Burkhart

Valentines Day used to be a cold, cold holiday for me. Well, let's face it, growing up in New Hampshire put Valentines smack in the dead of winter. Snow littered the ground. Cold chilled the bones. And I was too young to have a Valentine anyway.

Then I joined the Army. Valentines still proved to be a cold, lonely, snowy holiday. Sure, I had boyfriends, but I always seemed to be "in-between" them when Valentines Day showed up.

Why am I talking about Valentines instead of my 1st kiss? Because it's over 20 years and I can't remember. I'm sure it was sweet, filled with promise, but it's my 1st Valentines that really resonates with me.

Brent and I were stationed in Bad Hersfeld, Germany and yes, it was cold and snowy. We lived off the base in a small 1 room apartment we called "The Love Shack." The apartment was across town, about 10 minutes from the Kaserne and up on the hill, so you could look down onto the city.

The landlady was crazy, but that's another story for another blog.

My husband loved Oingo Boingo (being the California boy he is) so I bought him their latest disc and decorated the living room in pink and white crepe paper.

At the time, Valentines wasn't a big holiday where we were stationed at. (Germans really get into "Fashing" though, which generally occurs mid-to-end Feb right before Ash Wednesday) My husband hunted high and low until he found a small florist that had a dozen red roses. He paid 50 marks for the flowers. (approx. $30.00)

I so appreciated the hunt he undertook to find me flowers. That involved a lot of effort and thought on his part, especially since he was an American in Germany with limited knowledge of the language. My husband gives me flowers every year, but behind the gesture, I'm always reminded that he was the 1st guy to go out of his way for me and buy me flowers, and that means a lot – even 20 years later.

Enjoy this Excerpt, from "The Hungarian" where Matthias and Kate bond over flowers.

"What happened to you?" Katherine whispered. She needed to know more about him.

"It isn't easy for me to discuss." He dropped her hand. His eyes darkened as if a storm threatened the horizon.

"I understand."
"Do you?"

She hesitated. Matthias's wound was still raw.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Was he trying to push an unpleasant memory away from him?

"Katherine--" he began.

"No, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought it up."

He grabbed her wrist again with his cat-like reflexes. "It is unpleasant, but I've come to terms with it."

"Have you?"

"Yes. I'm just not prepared to talk about it right now. I want to focus on you. I find you intriguing, and I would like the opportunity to get to know you better."

"You find me intriguing? Boring old me and my books?"

"Don't talk about yourself like that. You are not boring. Your desire to own a bookstore is admirable. This is not an easy admission for me. Since my wife died, I vowed not to get involved with anyone else, but the stars guided me to you."

"The stars?" she questioned.
"You believe as I believe."

"I believe what precisely, Matthias?"

His eyes burned gold. He stepped into her personal space, his lips curving into a seductive smile. Her heart pounded like a horse on a track pursuing a reckless course to the finish line. The sunlight struck his face in such a manner that it cast gray shadows over his satyr-like cheekbones.

"In the stars," he finally said. "I live my life by them."
She drew in a breath. The stars had been her lifeline once. He leaned forward, his mouth trapping hers with his sweet lips. Warmth pooled inside her, unlocking unspoken desire. His kiss was gentle yet filled with hunger, teasing her with silent promises of more before he backed away. His eyes never left hers. She betrayed too much in that wicked kiss, for his lips curved into a feral smile full of delight. Did he want more? Confusion pooled next to desire. Was this what it was like when the heart and mind collided?

His eyes darted to a nearby lavender bush. He easily closed the distance between them and the bush. Gently, he picked a sprig. "For you."

Happily Ever After Reviews, 5 Cups
"This is an excellent book and I think fans of both the paranormal and historical romances will really, really enjoy it."

Hope Chest Reviews - 4 Hearts
Overall, The Hungarian was a pretty good read. Stephanie Burkhart is good at telling an interesting story that holds my attention.

You Gotta Read Reviews - You Need to Read, Lupa
I was so very happily surprised by this book. The characters are enchanting, the scenes are vividly written, and the story has a fantastic flow. I really enjoyed the warm love and fiery passion that seemed to leap off the page.

Sizzling Hot Book Reviews, 5 Hearts
"I highly recommend The Hungarian, even if you aren't that interested in the paranormal such as werewolves. The romantic tale of The Hungarian is enough to win over anyone."

Reader's Favorites, 5 Stars
"This book is extremely entertaining. The plot is sensual and romantic."

Coffee Time Romance, 3 Cups
"Ms. Burkhart tells this tale in such a voice that we can practically feel the waves of emotions both characters are feeling coming off the pages."













  1. That's a sweet story. Man, you can sure tell it was what... the late 80s? Early 90s? It's so special he hunted high and low to follow Valentine's tradition in a foreign country.

    What is Fashing?

  2. Nice story, Steph! But I'm with Gail... what the heck is Fashing?

  3. It's the early 90's, Sweetie. Oh, Gail, I love A-Ha. Even today. Morton's voice just makes melt. Sigh...

    Fashing is the German word we know as "Carnival" and they celebrate straight for about 2 weeks before Ash Wednesday. There was a day when guys wore ties to the pubs. If a girl cut it in half, he had to go home with her for the night. LOL!! I generally avoided that day.


  4. What a special story and how handsome he is! So wonderful that he's still your valentine!

  5. It's so nice when everything clicks with the person you love. I'm feeling your joy about those first roses, and I can see that Matthias is charming his lady in The Hungarian as well. Coming from a person with board-straight hair, I'm envious of your bountiful curls.

  6. Steph--you two were so cute! Young love, there's nothing like it, but isn't it grand that after twenty years, the love is still there, deeper, richer, maybe not so fanciful, but would you trade it for anything else? No, because there's nothing better. Congratulations on marrying a wonderful man who looked high and low in winter for pink roses. Yours is a lovely love story.

  7. Mmmm...I sense serious romantic comedy possibilities with the German "fashing." Love that your husband looked everywhere for pink roses. He's obviously a keeper. :-)

  8. Aww, what a sweet story. thanks for sharing and I can't wait to hear about the landlady@!@

  9. Sounds like you have a keeper, Stephanie. We love Germany and hope to return there. I am so glad he got you those flowers. In our house we call wonderful things feathers and tease each other about who has the most in their wings. I am certain my hubby has a lot more than me as he loves being a giver. Not a bad way to live. :)

  10. Jillian, it is rather sweet to have the same Valentine after 20 years.

    Maggie, it took me a while to get used to these curls. 40 years. LOL

    Celia, if anything the love is still there, it's saltier and crustier. LOL!!

    Keena, I think it would make a great start to a story.

    Linda, holy moly, the landlady was crazy. She would shut off the heat in the dead of winter from 8 pm to 8 am. Didn't want to pay for the oil. We had a buy a small space heater we put in the bedroom to keep us warm, but we couldn't only run the space heater because the fuse that control the apartment wasn't that heavy duty. So we played the stereo and the space heater we blew a fuse. Which met we had to ask her to reset it. It was a nightmare.

    Paisley, where were you in Germany? That's so sweet about the feathers.


  11. I was in Bitburg when my big brother was in the Air Force there. We camped around in nine countries with three adults and three kids. It was interesting to say the least. Loved Trier the best.

    With hubby our favorite place was Baden Baden (he went into the Roman/Irish spa there and loved it), Bacherat (sp?), Rothenburg, Bopart (sp?). So many castles, sausages, and beer. The people were friendly and the scenery out of this world.

  12. Oh, visited Rothenburg - wasn't that town breath taking. It truly was like going back into time. I also visited the torture museum there. I never saw so many iron madiens in my life! Yes, Castles, Sausage and Beer. Can't ask for much more. hehe

  13. What a lovely blog. Your husband sounds like the kind of man every woman whould love to have--you lucky thing. I loved the picture of the two of you.
    The Hungarian sounds like a terrific story, steph.

  14. Steph, you two look so good together and your story is such a sweet love-story. Can I challenge you to write a book called THE LOVE SHACK? It is such a heartwarming title. Wishing you many more happy years with your valentine.

  15. Great blog post, Steph. What a guy you have there. :-)