In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d start a conversation about marriage proposals.  My husband proposed to me when he took me out to dinner and I had actually been really sick with the flu for a few days and did not want to go out.  My sister knew he was going to propose and she urged me to get ready.  My husband had given my engagement ring to the waiter and asked that he put it in the champagne glass that he brought out.  I was so out of it, that even after I took a drink, I didn’t notice the ring in the glass.  After my husband pointed out the ring, I was surprised, but excited and he got down on one knee and proposed.  Of course, I said yes.  It was a day I’ll never forget. 

What’s your proposal story?  I’d love to hear it.

Here is an excerpt of the proposal scene from my latest inspirational romance, Mr. Shipley’s GovernessFind it online

Sophie looked around.  “You know, this church looks strangely familiar and I don’t understand why.  I’ve never been here before.  Have you been here?”  She titled her head. “Maybe I’ve just been to a similar church in the past.”

Sebastian put his arm around her as they sat in the pew.  “Or maybe you’ve seen photographs of this church.”

“That’s possible.  I could just be thinking of all the photographs and information in the guidebook.”

He squeezed her hand.  “Could it be that you’ve seen photographs of this church from your parents’ wedding album?”

She looked at him in silence and then the reality of his words dawned on her.  “Are you saying--” She dared not finish for fear of crying.

“Yes, my love, your parents got married in this church.”

“But, how did you know?”

“Let’s just say I did some digging, and I really wanted to make this trip to Ireland special for you.”

She sat forward in the pew and took in the serene surroundings.  “Wow.  That’s all I can say right now.”

“I hope you can say more because, I have something important to ask you.”  He knelt down on one knee.

She could barely breathe.  Fear and happiness threatened to overtake her at the same time. She watched in amazement as Sebastian began to speak.  “Sophie, I love you.”  He reached for her hands and held them as he continued.  “You are such a beautiful woman inside and out, and I need you in my life.  I can’t imagine living my life without you in it, by my side. You are my special treasure and I am asking you to be my wife.” 

Pulling back one of her hands, she wiped away the tears on her cheeks.  “Will you marry me, Sophie?”  He reached into his coat pocket, pulled out a small red velvet box, and opened it.  She stared at the sparkling diamond ring inside.  Sophie exhaled and moved away slightly.  “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, just overwhelmed.”

He moved to sit next to her and kissed her lightly on the lips, then leaned back and smiled.

She gently caressed his face. “You really want me to be your wife?”

“I do.  Is that so hard to believe?”

“I feel like I’m in a fairy tale and am afraid to dream of a life with you.”

“The dream is real and with God at the center, we can make it possible.”

She started to smile through her tears. “Yes, Sebastian, I’ll marry you.”

He placed the ring on her finger.  They kissed and tried to be respectful of the holiness of their surroundings.  Sebastian turned to his new fiancée.  He kissed her cheek and expressed more vibrancy then she’d ever seen from him. “I’m so excited.  You’ve made me the happiest man alive.”  They hugged and he twirled her around.  She never wanted this moment to end.

In my latest inspirational romance, Mr. Shipley’s Governess, I loved writing the first kissing scene between the main characters, Sophie and Sebastian.  Their love story is sweet, but the first time they kiss, they feel an electric connection and that starts them on a trail towards romance.

The first kiss happens when Sebastian finds Sophie reading in the library of his Family’s London townhome.  Sophie is a huge Jane Austen fan and Sebastian enjoys bantering back and forth with her over whether or not she thinks he is as charming as Mr. Knightly from Austen’s novel, Emma.  When Sebastian can no longer stand to refrain from touching her soft lips, he corners her and they share that sweet, but passionate first kiss.  Here is a short excerpt.  I hope you enjoy it.

We enter the scene mid-way through their bantering…

“I see.  You’re all about a woman’s prerogative.”

“Yes, I live by that rule.”

He played along, enjoying the playful banter.  “Oh, so you’re one of those.”

“You’d better believe it.  It’s my prerogative to change my mind whenever I want.”

He fluidly maneuvered his way to the ottoman where her feet rested and he sat down.  “I hope you don’t change your mind about me.”

“Well, that all depends on you.”

“I’d better be on my best behavior then.”

Sophie got up quickly and before he realized it, she walked across the room to the bookshelf.  “So, you really read Emma, too.  That’s still surprising and sweet.”

He followed her.  “You’re avoiding any serious conversation, young lady.”

She moved away, running her finger along the spines of the books.  He kept following, backing her into a corner.  She leaned her hands against the windowsill and backed up as far as possible.  She laughed nervously.  “So, tell me again why you interrupted me.”

“I did it because I’ve wanted to do this for a long time now.”  He cupped her face, tracing the outline of her lips with his thumb.  Then he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her gently, at first, but soon his fervor matched hers.  She put her arms around his neck and moved in closer.  Finally, they pulled away from each other, both breathless.  “I…I’m sorry.”

She touched his cheek.  “Don’t be.  I’ve wanted you to do that for a long time, too.”

He squeezed her hand. “I should get back to work.  David’s going to wonder what happened to me.”

Sophie gave him a flirty smile. “Oh, I’m sure he knows.”

“Now try not to compare me too much to Mr. Knightly because there’s no contest, really.”

As he walked out of the room, he still felt the warmth of her lips on his and the softness of her body in his arms.  He chided himself.  “Shake it off, man.”  Then he walked down the hall in search of his brother.

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Sophie sat in the pew next to Sebastian, with Anastasia to his left, beside Alexander.  She glanced over at David, glad he decided to attend the Christmas Eve service.  The song leader led the congregation in a few praise songs, but mostly Christmas choruses.  They ended the song time with Silent Night, the house lights dimmed, and the drama presentation began.  Still amazed that she sat in church at Christmas time, Sophie recalled her distraught, bitter state last year that kept her away from church, when she desperately needed to run towards that fellowship of believers.  She watched the story of Christ’s birth unfold before her eyes, saddened at the commercialism surrounding this precious holiday.  The world took Jesus out of the reason for the season and replaced him with a jolly old man in a red suit. 

            She enjoyed the final scene with the Christ child born and Joseph holding him up for all the world to see and the choir sang beautifully in the background, the words of Joy to the World.  The Pastor came up on the platform when the music concluded and he gave a short devotional.  He spoke of Jesus and pleaded with those in the audience to get right with God.  He went to prayer and gave an altar call.  Whenever Sophie entered a church in the past, her mind wandered during the altar call.  However, now she made good use of her own efforts and prayed silently along with the Pastor for all of the people wrestling with making decisions to accept salvation at that very moment.  She prayed for David and hoped he made that commitment.

            A few people decided to follow Jesus and walked bravely down towards the front of the church to meet with the Pastor and the prayer teams.  The congregation clapped in encouragement and then the song leader stood up and beckoned everyone to stand and join him in signing Joy to the World one last time. 

            The Pastor gave a benediction and dismissed the service, wishing a Merry Christmas to all.  Sophie watched David hightail it out of the sanctuary and wondered if the service touched any chord in his heart.  She knew she must continue to pray for him.  She turned back towards Sebastian and Anastasia. “Papa, can we open the presents now?”

            “No, dear, we’ll be waiting until tomorrow morning.”

            Alexander chuckled.  “I’m sure that will be bright and early.”

            Sophie smiled. “Well, I know I’m sleeping in.  I need my beauty sleep.”

            Anastasia tugged on her sleeve.  “Miss Sophie, we have to get up early to open the presents.  It’s tradition.”

            “Oh, I see.”

            Anastasia twirled around in excitement.  “I’ll have to wake you up then.”

            Sebastian looked down at his daughter.  “I’m sure she will.  We’d better get you home since it’s past midnight and you need to go to bed.”

            “But, I’m too excited to sleep.”  She then challenged her father.  “If it’s past midnight, then it is Christmas morning already.”

            “I think Miss Sophie is teaching you too well.” 

            Alexander started to walk out of the sanctuary.  “Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m going to sleep.  I can’t keep up with all of you.”

* * *

            Sophie watched Anastasia run into her father’s room.  She tried to stop the eager child, but the Christmas spirit infected her and she wanted to spread that joy.  A few seconds later, Anastasia ran out of the room, whizzing by Sophie. “I have to wake grandpapa and Uncle David.”

            Sophie turned to walk back to her room, when Sebastian called out to her.  “I told you she’d wake us all up.”

            She looked back, pulling her robe tighter around her.  “Yes, you did.  I’m going to go get ready.  I’ll be down shortly.”

            She took heed of his warning.  “Don’t take too long. Ana’s probably already sitting by the tree.”

            When Sophie came downstairs a little bit later, the smell of bacon and eggs assaulted her senses.  She saw Alexander working proficiently in the kitchen making breakfast.  “I thought you were still sleeping.  Did you get Anastasia’s wake up call, too?”

            “Oh, I’ve learned, that if you want to sleep in on Christmas morning, you can’t, at least not with my granddaughter around. So I got up early to cook for everyone.”

            Sophie sat at the breakfast nook.  “That’s nice of you.  I guess Hilde and Daniel are visiting their families?”

            “Yes.  Hilde left last night.  Her family lives in London.  Daniel left earlier yesterday afternoon.  His family lives up north in the Lakes region, near Cumbria.”

            “I bet David won’t be too happy with his wake up call.”

            She saw Alexander raise his eyebrows but got the message too late and heard someone enter the kitchen.   “Yes, David was very disturbed by the wakeup call.”

            Sophie shrugged her shoulders and chuckled when she realized David heard her.  He smiled. “Merry Christmas to all.”  He rubbed his eyes. “Father, have you started the coffee yet?”

            “Yes, I put the pot on.”

            Sophie stood up.  “I can help.”

            “You’re our guest.  You don’t need to help.”  David tried to dissuade her.

            “Really, it’s not a bother.  I enjoy helping.”

            Alexander looked back.  “Well, in that case, can you handle the toast?”

            She laughed.  “Yes, I think I can.”

            Sebastian came into the kitchen. “Oh, why wasn’t I invited to the party?”

            “It’s too early in the morning for your cheerfulness.”  David complained and got up.  “I’ll be in the study.  Please call me when breakfast is ready.”

            Sophie watched him leave.  “I’m praying for him.  I hope he finds God’s gift of Jesus soon.”

            Sebastian gently squeezed her hand.  “Thank you for praying.”

            Alexander turned toward them.  “Where’s Ana?  In front of the tree?”

            Sebastian reached for the tablecloth from the drawer.  “She’s still in her room.  I thought she was coming down, but she said she had one last card to work on.”

            “Well, I hope she comes down soon.  I’m almost done making breakfast.”

            Sophie pulled the slices of toast from the toaster.  She looked at Alexander.  “Do you want me to butter them or are you leaving the toast on the table with butter and jellies and jams?”

            “I was just going to butter them, but your idea sounds better.”

            She turned around and reached to open the refrigerator door the same time Sebastian moved and they bumped into each other.  “I’m sorry.”

            He playfully poked her on the nose.  “I’m not.”

            She looked at Sebastian but spoke to Alexander.  “I’m beginning to think that your son is more of a jokester than he let on.”

            Alexander agreed wholeheartedly.   “Yes, he does have a split personality.”

            “Hey, I’m still here…no need to talk about me.”

            Anastasia came into the kitchen.  “I’m finally finished.  Did I miss breakfast?”

            Sebastian wrapped his arm around her and assured her.  “Of course, not, dear. “I would come get you if we were ready.” 

            “That’s too bad.  I thought we were ready to open the presents.”

            Alexander laughed heartily. “My goodness, you are excited.”

            “Not for me, grandpapa.  I can’t wait to give out the cards I made for everyone.”

            “Oh, that’s sweet, honey.”  Sebastian picked his daughter up and gave her a kiss.  “You’re getting so grown up, soon I won’t be able to pick you up anymore.”

            “You can still pick me up when I’m a lady.  I saw you pick mama up once.”

            Sophie took over the job of setting the table and smiled at the tender moment between father and daughter, which caused her to think about her own father.  However, this time she felt joy, not sadness at the memory of him.  David walked in on this tender moment.  “Now, enough of this mushy stuff.  Let’s eat.”

            “Uncle David, why are you so grumpy?  It’s Christmas day.”

            Sophie heard Alexander’s whispered words. “Out of the mouths of babes.”

            Everyone ate breakfast quickly and afterwards, Sophie offered to clean up.  “You can all go ahead and open presents.

            Sebastian stood up.  “I’ll help you because we’re waiting for you.  You’re part of the family.”

            His words surprised her. “If you insist.”

            He carried the plates to the counter and came close to her.  “Yes, I do.”

            She trembled at his nearness and whispered breath.  With great effort, she quickly refocused her mind to the task at hand.  As she started to load the dishwasher, she turned around; glad to see the others left the room.  “Did you get the information I forwarded to your email about the enrollment in the school at the Life Center?”

            He carried the rest of the dishes to the counter.  “Yes.  It seems like an option.  But, I do want Anastasia to be in on some of the decision making.”

            “That’s good.”  She finished loading the dishes, worried she offended him.  “I hope I’m not being too forward.”

            “No.  I appreciate your help.”  They finished cleaning up and Sebastian gently touched her back and guided her out of the room. “I think we’ve kept my little princess waiting long enough.”

* * *

            Sophie felt like an intruder as she followed Sebastian into the parlor to join his family for their gift giving festivities.  “Finally, Papa, you’re here.”

            “Yes, my little princess.  Thank you for being patient.”

            “Miss Sophie, can you sit by me?  Papa usually hands out the presents.”

            Nodding, she moved to join her on the ottoman that someone moved near the tree.

            Sebastian glanced at Alexander.  “I’ll let you do the honors this year, Father.”

            Sophie watched as Alexander stood up.  Excitement shone on his face and he walked over to the tree then turned to Anastasia.  “I may need a helper.  Are you ready?”

            “Yes, Sir, I am!”  She grew pensive then and fidgeted with her hands in her lap. “Oh, can I give out my cards first?”

            Alexander patted her shoulder.  “Go ahead, dear.”        She got up and Sophie thought the young girl looked ready to burst with enthusiasm.  She reached under the tree and found her cards.  She handed the first one to Sophie. “Miss Sophie, this one is for you.  I hope you like it.”

            She opened the card and the message touched her heart. 

            “Can you read it out loud?”

            Sophie started to read the words.  Miss Sophie, you are my favorite teacher.  Thank you for helping me to learn so much.  You are my friend and I love you.  I hope you stay with us forever.  Then Sophie started to cry.

            “You don’t like it?”

            Sophie hugged her. “I like it very much.  These are happy tears.”

            “Good.”  She moved back. “I made a bookmark, too.  Did you see it?”

            “Yes.  You did a good job.”

            She smiled and gave a card to her Papa.  He read it and thanked her and then she moved on to her Uncle David and grandfather.  With the others preoccupied, Sebastian startled Sophie by coming to sit next to her.  “I can’t wait any longer to give this to you.”  He handed her his gift.  She stared at him. “Well, are you going to open it or should I?”

            She unwrapped the shiny silver paper and opened the box.  Amidst the packing straw, she found a snow globe with an English house inside.  The inscription on the plate read, Jane Austen’s House, Bath England.  Sophie blinked back the tears.  She pulled out the other gift, an original edition reprint of Jane Austen’s Emma.   Inside Sebastian inscribed, “I read the book because you said it was so good.  It was.  I’m glad God brought you into our lives…Merry Christmas, Sebastian.”  Sophie started crying again.  She touched Sebastian’s cheek and then quickly pulled her hand away. 

            “Thank you.  This means a lot to me.”

            “You’re very welcome.  I wanted to get something special for you.”

            “You did.”

            David called out from across the room.  “Hey, over there, are we missing something?”

            Sebastian got to his feet.   “No.  So, who’s ready to open some presents?”  He tickled his daughter and hugged her, then glanced back at Sophie and smiled.  His smile warmed her heart and she held his gift close to her for a moment, never expecting her Christmas this year to feel so special.  Hope started blooming in full force in her heart.  She had a faint sense that this day meant God wanted to bring good things into her life – maybe even to truly become part of their family.   

* * *

            Later that afternoon Sophie found herself blindfolded by Sebastian and he led her through the house towards the front door.  He kidnapped her from a lazy afternoon of reading in the parlor.  His words kept her guessing.  “Can you get bundled up?  I want to show you something outside.”

            “Where are we going?”  She heard him open the front door. 

            “I have a surprise for you.”  He held her hand.  “Do you trust me?”

            “Yes, at least I think I do.”  She smiled. 

            “You have a beautiful smile.”

            “Thank you.  So where are we headed?”

            “I’m going to hold your hand and guide you down the driveway towards the sidewalk.  Ready?”

            “I guess so.”  She held tightly to his hand.

            He stopped walking.  “Let me try a different tactic here.”  He put his arm around Sophie.   “I think I can guide you better this way and maybe get back some of the circulation in my hand.”

            “Sorry.  It’s not every day I’m abducted and forced to walk blindfolded.”

            They walked for a few moments in silence.    “It’s so beautiful out here.  Do you feel the snow flurries?”

            She held out her hands and nodded.

            “I think it’s better if you stick your tongue out.”

            She joked back.  “Aren’t you fresh? Are we there yet?”

            “You’re as bad as my daughter.”

            “Speaking of Anastasia, where is she?”

            “I begged my father to keep her occupied for a few hours.”

            “What are we going to do for a few hours?”

            “I can think of many things.”  She heard the devilish tone to his voice.

            She turned her head towards him.  “You know, I’m beginning to think that deep down, men are adolescents at heart.”

            “I think you’re right.”  He guided her to the left. “Okay, we’re here, but he isn’t.”

            “Can I take this blindfold off?”

            “Not yet.  Oh, there he is.  Can you cover your ears?”

            “What?”  She felt Sebastian’s gloved hands cover her ears for a minute.

            Finally, he removed the blindfold.

            She opened her eyes and saw a horse drawn carriage in front of her.  She turned to Sebastian.  “After you, milady.”  The driver stepped down and helped her step up into the carriage.  She shook her head, feeling as if she dreamt this. 

            “So what do you think of part two of your Christmas present?”

            She hesitated in responding.  “That maybe it’s a little bit inappropriate from my employer.”

            “Well, that may be so, but I’m also your friend and--”

            “Are you ready, Mr. Shipley?”

            “Yes, we are.”

            “So you were saying--”

            “That I’m your friend and I hope you might classify me as your special friend.”  He pulled a red velvet blanket up over their laps and reached over to hold her gloved hand.  “So, how do I measure up?”

            “Oh, you classify.”

            He put his arm around her shoulder and she snuggled close to him, enjoying the secure feeling of his nearness.  She rested that way throughout the entire carriage ride and they both remained silent for the majority of it.  Sebastian opened the door to romance a crack and invited her to squeeze in.  She knew he only offered her an appetizer right now, but she believed he wanted her to stay for the main course and Sophie felt up to the challenge of getting to know this intricate and delightful man. 

Mr. Shipley's Governess By: Joanne Troppello
Published By: Wild Horse Press
Published: Nov 09, 2010
ISBN # 9781456350895

Word Count: 71,400

Genre: Inspirational romance
Price: $5.99

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Palm DOC/iSolo, Microsoft Reader, Rocket

Purchase Link:

Summary: Sophie Baird is looking for a way to escape the painful reality of her parents' deaths. Unable to live in their home any longer, she takes a job as a live-in tutor to Anastasia Shipley to remove herself from her painful memories and the feeling that God has abandoned her.

Anastasia has an illness that has prevented her from ever attending school and makes her father, Sebastian, over protective.

When Sophie first meets Sebastian, she cannot deny the intense attraction she feels toward him. When an unexpected romance begins between them, she starts to rebuild her relationship with God, with the help of a certain little girl.

It’s almost time for the release of Mr. Shipley’s Governess in eBook format.  I can’t wait!  This is very exciting for me.  Just wanted to share an excerpt from my book ~ hope you enjoy it.


Sophie took a deep breath and knocked on the dark wooden door.  She felt like Queen Esther trying to gain an audience with King Ahasuerus.  A moment later, she heard Sebastian respond for her to enter.  He looked up from his work, and she thought she detected a look of surprise on his face.   

            “Is everything all right?” he asked.

            “Yes, I was hoping I could talk to you for a moment, but if now’s not a good time, I can come back.”

            “Forgive my manners.”  Sebastian stood up and offered her a seat in front of the desk.  “How did your morning go?”

            “It went well.  I guess I wanted to know what you’ll be expecting from me while I’m here.”

            Sebastian’s eyebrows rose.  “Well, to teach my daughter.  I thought we established that.”

            Sophie hurried to assure him.  “Of course, I understand that part.  I was curious what your involvement would be in regard to supervision of my teaching.”

            He leaned back in the chair and stretched his arms over his head.  “I see.  I suppose you can think of me as an interested observer.  I did check out your references, and I trust your experience with children.  I won’t hinder your method of operation here, unless, of course, you decide to suggest a field trip on an African Safari.”

            Sophie laughed, and Sebastian leaned his arms on the desk.  “You find that amusing?”

            “A little.  You don’t have to worry about that right now.  That’s part of the curriculum for next semester.”  She saw him barely begin to smile, and spoke without thinking.  “You’re very serious, Sebastian, aren’t you?”

            She experienced regret right away, but Sebastian’s response alleviated repercussions from that slip of the tongue.  “Actually, yes, I am, but I do have some sense of humor.  I think you’ll be good for Ana, and I’m glad you’re here.”

            Sophie took that as her exit cue. “Thank you for talking with me.”

            “I hope I’ve cleared up any uncertainties in your mind.” 

            She started to walk out.

            “Mrs. Andrews usually serves dinner around six o’clock.  I hope you don’t mind, but I think it would be good for Ana if you eat with us, unless you have any objections.”

            “Oh, that would be fine.  I’ll see you later.”

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