Do you believe in love at first sight?

Kate arrives at the auction house on a mission – to buy a vintage tin toy bear that her grandmother once treasured as a little girl. She never expected to find a man there who sets her heart a-flutter – but is he after the same thing she is?

The Tin Bear was selected for publication in the 2015 Australian Romance Writers Little Gems competition. The year’s theme was Peridot. You can purchase this anthology and previous anthologies here.

A contemporary romance story from Elizabeth Ellen Carter.

Read The Tin Bear Free By Joining Elizabeth’s Library Book Club.


One nattily dressed older man, wearing a tie and with a fedora jauntily perched on his head, held a loupe to his eye, examining the hallmark on a lovely set of silver salt cellars. He was clearly a dealer, Kate mused.

She mentally warned him off as she watched the man approach the tin bear.

He’s not yours, go away. You can’t see him. You don’t want him…

She grinned as he paused, turned back, and gave his rapt attention to a Moorcroft vase.

“They’re a perfect match for your scarf, if you don’t mind me saying.”

Kate started at the voice beside her, then gave her full attention to the speaker.


Mr Handsome’s pale blue eyes were flecked with silver and twinkled with amusement.

“The peridot earrings, I mean,” he added, pointing down into the display cabinet.

Kate glanced down. A pair of chandelier earrings set in gold were exactly the same shade of grassy green as the cotton scarf at her neck. She looked back up. He was still smiling, she gave him an answering one in return.

“You know your gems,” she said and mentally kicked herself for saying something so inane.

“Would you like a closer look at them?” offered a nearby auction attendant. He withdrew the earrings from the cabinet.

Mr Handsome picked up one and held it to her collar.

“You should bid on those,” he advised, placing the earring back in its box. “Are you looking for something in particular?”

Kate paused, taking in his appearance, smart but casual in a sky blue Ralph Lauren polo and tan chinos. Another dealer?

She offered him what she hoped appeared a knowing smile. “Oh, this and that. You never know what might catch your eye.”