Show Love Without Saying “I Love You.”

by | Writing | 10 comments

image by Crazygoat

Valentine’s Day approaches, and I have a novella in a Valentine’s Day collection. See more about Cooking Up Kisses at the end of my post.

Today, I use associated behaviors from The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes (Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi) to show Liam and Erin love each other. See if you can recognize the behaviors of love.


Liam sat on their favorite park bench. Expecting Erin fifteen minutes ago, he scrolled through the pages of an online newspaper. As approaching heels clicked the sidewalk in a hurried rhythm, he looked up. Erin’s red hair bobbed with each step. Liam rose, slid his phone into his pants pocket, and offered her a slow smile.

“I’m sorry I’m late.” Erin raised her face, and he pecked her soft lips.

image by HeungSoon

They sat. He reached for her hand and held her fingers in a loose grip. A little crease appeared between her lovely arched eyebrows. He searched her green eyes. “Everything all right?”

“It’s been one of those days.”

“I’m all ears.”

She touched the dimple in his chin and smiled. “You always are. I don’t know how you can be so handsome with so many ears.”

He chuckled. “So what’s your day been like, Erin?” He cocked his head, focused his eyes on hers, and listened as she related how her boss took credit for her work.

He released her hand when she needed it to express herself, then corralled it again when she calmed and sighed.

“Have you thought about taking the Mercury Street job? It sounded good.”

She searched his face. “Do you really think so?”

“I do. I think they’d appreciate your many talents there.”

“How do you know?”

“I researched their website and read all the comments. The comments alone showed they respect their employees.” He arched an eyebrow. “You may have to work longer hours, but they compensate by sharing profits with their employees.”

Erin cupped his face. “What would I do without you? You always make me feel better.”

A wide smile stretched his cheeks.


Erin answered her cell. “Hello, handsome.”

“Just checking in before I step up to the first tee.”

Erin smacked her forehead. “I forgot this is your golf day.”

“Did you need something?”

“No no.” No need to mention she’d made his favorite casserole for lunch.

image by Skitterphoto

“I probably won’t play more than the front nine. I left my putter in the garage after I rewrapped the grip. Putting with my sand wedge won’t help my game.”

“I can bring the putter to you. I go by the course on my way to the grocery story.” Which she didn’t need to go to, since they would eat reheated casserole for dinner. But the guy couldn’t enjoy his outing without his putter.

“That’d be great. I tee off in ten minutes.

“Who’re you playing with?”

Jim’s sick, so I’m playing alone.”

Erin’s gaze drifted to the romance she planed to read this afternoon. “How would you like some company? I can drive the cart while you make birdies.”

“I’d like the company, but are you sure? I bet you have plans for your day off.”

“I can think of nothing I’d rather do than spend the afternoon with you.” And oddly enough, she was telling the truth. Why read about romance when she could live it.

Show the love. Literally. Click to tweet.

What behaviors have you used to show love?


Five scrumptious e-book romance novellas, all for $0.99 or free on KindleUnlimited. Ranked #4 in Christian Fiction Collections. Here’s the link.  Here’s the blurbs:





Candace Parks lives a passionless life in Richmond. The computer programmer returns to the empty family home in the Blue Ridge Mountains solely to evaluate her job, faith, and boyfriend. Her high school crush, Trigg Alderman, who barely remembers her, visits his Gram next door. Sorting her life out? How about nothing of the sort!



Alana Mulvaney’s life is in a holding pattern. Consumed by day-to-day operations of the family business, Alana has no time for fun or romance. But a little fun and a whole lot of romance is just what Alana’s sisters have in mind when they learn childhood friend Donovan O’Reilly has returned to town.
Donovan O’Reilly has loved Alana Mulvaney since he moved in next door to her at the age of five. But he broke her heart when he was forced to leave town, and now that he’s returned home to Winding Ridge he has a second chance to prove himself. But is it too late to earn her trust…and her love…again?


Toni Littlebird believes that when she meets the man God created for her, she’ll know—and she’ll love him in that very moment.
But then Dax Hendrick roars into Hummingbird Hollow on a noisy, crippled Harley, stinking up the air and chasing away her beloved hummingbirds. One look into the intruder’s eyes and her heart sinks. He’s “The One.” She’d been right about knowing, but wrong about something far more important: She will never love this man!


Cara Peyton is content with her life, her trendy Baltimore bookshop is perfect for her. But when her ex turns up to remodel the store, asking for a second chance, she’s torn and unsure about risking her heart again. Can he convince her to trust him, and God, before the job is finished?



Another Valentine’s Day and Quinn Randolph prefers to spend it with her sweet rescue lab. Who needs men and their broken promises? Especially Pierce Karson’s! Years ago, his desertion shattered her. Now he’s trying to steal the property she targeted to expand her florist shop! Pierce only wants to belong…and for Quinn to choose him. His Valentine Promise…

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  1. Tori Kayson

    Soooo sweet! Just like my real life hero, always doing things for me, putting God first, then me, then family. Enjoyed this post, Zoe, and I’m thrilled and honored to be part of this sweet collection. Happy Thursday!

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Hi Tori, You picked up on the behaviors. How nice you compared them to your husband. From the book I mention, here’s a few of the trait categories I selected behaviors from: Affectionate, Appreciative, Charming, Courteous, Empathetic, Gentle, Generous, Loyal, Nurturing, Patient, Supportive, and Trusting.

  2. Tori Kayson

    Oops, forgot to log out of my Tori Kayson account. ~Dora Hiers 🙂

  3. Delia Dawson Latham

    Great job, Zoe! I saw the love in just about every line…and with nary a kiss, nor an I love you!

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Hi Delia, I think I was falling in love with Liam. He’s a lot like my John.

  4. Robin Bayne

    Love this, especially the golf story!

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Hi Robin, my next book coming out is a love story between a male caddy and female caddy. I just went through the galley, so golf was on my brain.

  5. pamelasthibodeaux

    I have the collection…can’t wait to read them all!
    Good luck and God’s blessings Zoe and Everyone!

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Thanks for your support, Pam. I hope you enjoy all the stories.

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