Excerpt from the Next Book #3

Excerpt from the Next Book #3 – Good Dates. They’re Out There.

There seems to be some curiosity regarding this next book in the “Life Before” series. To satisfy inquiring minds, there are currently twenty-three chapters written with the next book divided into five sections. A little disclaimer: please note that this next book is a work in progress, has not gone through editing, is subject to change at any moment, and is in no way meant to embarrass anyone but myself. All of the stories depicted of the incredibly charming and the not-so-charming are true–except of course for the ones that aren’t.

Aptly entitled Life Before Happily Ever After and filled with a compilation of entertaining stories of dates gone wrong and love gone right, below is an excerpt and a sneak preview of what’s to come in the next book. My goal is to reveal a story from each section in hopes to inspire, entertain, and even encourage those (both married or not) to live life off the couch no matter what stage or season of life you’re in and to engage in adventures even when you don’t know how they’re going to turn out. You don’t have to know the ending to step into your beginning. If you must, tip toe into your dreams. Don’t stop dreaming. There is life before happily ever after…there is also a life after happily ever after.

Stay tuned for stories from the following sections of the next book, Life Before Happily Ever After.

1. Awkward first date bloopers
2. Relationship bloopers
3. Good dates - they're definitely out there!
4. Times where I'm the bad date


Excerpt from Section III: Good Dates…They’re Out There.

Good dates, they’re out there. When your date is a great date. 

There’s just something magical about a little romance in a woman’s life.

No matter what our age, a romantic encounter, a good story, and a little heat can make a girl’s heart light up making her entire world just a little bit brighter. A woman being romanced shines. Pursuit from someone we care about makes our hearts light up. It’s true; guys have the power to make us glow. We can’t help it, we’re girls… we’re just wired that way. It doesn’t take a grand gesture that breaks the bank or costly display of affection to win a girl over. Sincerity and genuine romantic interest goes a long way in stealing a girl’s heart. If you want it, fight for it. Show us that we’re worth the fight. We’re waiting for it.

(Little hint fellas: it doesn’t matter what age we are or how long we’ve been together or how many times we say “it doesn’t matter” or “you don’t need to do that” or “I don’t need that”… don’t believe us. Be our hero. Never stop dating and pursuing our hearts. It does matter. Romance matters. And if we’re with you, we want you to be the one to give it to us. Go ahead, romance us.)

When a gentleman steps it up a notch and makes an effort, be it a new flame or an old reliable hubby, we love it. Ladies, take note of those special little bits of effort and give credit where credit is due. Let him be your hero.

One of my more serious and long-term relationships did just that. At one point, he looked at my “lottery life” bucket list and saw gondola ride on it and decided he was going to be the one to make it happen. Hero points for him!

I was living in Southern California at the time and unbeknownst to me, he had called several hotels in the Palm Springs area and found one that had a river cruise throughout the lobby (not quite on the caliber of the Vegas Venetian, and definitely not authentically Italian, but still technically a leisurely touristy boat ride with paddles, water, and cheesy music.) It truly is the thought that counts.

In typical couple fashion, we had a miscommunication on exactly what “gondola” meant.

He knew I was a complete romantic at heart and had always wanted to be serenaded by a man in stripes on a romantic gondola ride, Italian style. Quite honestly, I never thought he knew that last part. Of course, putting this on my bucket list was my way of expressing my desire and dreams to go to Italy. Ever so sweet, he may not have been able to give me the real deal in Italy at the time, but his heart was in the right place and his creativity was even more so. Not understanding or getting the nature of what this Mr. Charming was trying to set up, I thought he meant the “gondola” tram up the mountain that Palm Springs is famous for. Same word, very different meanings. I wish I had known that before we both started driving to different parking lots.

After a lovely and romantic date night out sporting the little black dress, heels, and wicked smiles he had planned and intended to go on the indoor river gondola at the hotel in the area… and I thought we were going up the mountain for sunset views. Oops.

Yes, I almost messed this one up.

I still smile to this day at the little mix-up and am quite taken with the effort behind the evening. He did good. He did really good.

(As for him, there were many more dates.)


Ashlee Bratton - Life Before The Lottery

Ashlee Bratton – author of the book “Life Before The Lottery: Living Beyond The Bucket” is a professional photographer, freelance writer, and inspirational speaker with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and master’s degree in business administration.

Along with completing 29 of the 30 things on her 30×30 list, her writing contributions include numerous publications such as Vail’s EAT magazine, creating a 56 page Visitor Guide for a mountain ski town, blogging and guest blogging, being featured in multiple newspapers and e-zines, and various other projects.

Currently, she keeps her camera in hand in Southern Colorado, is a complete and total foodie, and takes plane rides for fun. She likes things that go.

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