Like countless single mothers, Lexi Collins wears many hats. Loving daughter. Big sister. Sole breadwinner. Freelance photographer. Graphic designer. Best friend. But while those roles are fulfilling, the one thing that eludes her is finding the right partner in life.
When Colton Westmore, the sexy owner of the popular dating site, LoveMatch.com sweeps Lexi off her feet, her chances of finally grabbing that golden ring increases exponentially, but a bleached blonde bombshell threatens to put an end to Lexi’s new found happiness.
Are her assumptions about Colton wrong? And if so, there’s only one woman who can ruin the magic between them, and that woman is Lexi herself.
With much in the way of great effort, I finally made it through the warm-up and thirty-minutes on the stair climber. I was disembarking the high-tech torture device when I thought I saw someone familiar, in a none-gym related way, within the reflection of the mirrored wall. I froze as soon as I knew for sure. I didn’t know his name, but we did have something in common besides what now seemed to be Fitness World—our choice in restaurants. We both frequented The Santa Clarita Bistro for lunch quite often. He always saunters in a few minutes after noon, always after I’ve been seated, and sits at a table directly across from mine. I pretend to read something on my iPad while I sip on my ice tea and nonchalantly glance up at him, and he, not so inconspicuously, looks back at me with those umber eyes of his in a way that makes me shiver. There’s something secret and lured happening between us, although we never speak.
That whole silent eye exchange had been our modus operandi for the last two months, until two weeks ago when I went to pay the cashier for my chipotle turkey wrap.
“That will be eight-forty-eight,” she’d said, and handed me a small gold box.
I studied the container as if it were an artifact from an alien planet, but what I held was neither a relic nor extraterrestrial in nature. It was gourmet chocolate from The Chocolate Cottage. A hoity-toity place to buy high-end confections located a few buildings down from the bistro.
“Compliments of him.” She'd pointed out the window.
I stared out at my chocolate benefactor as he walked down the sidewalk, taken aback to say the least.
I hadn’t seen him since that day, and I was surprised to see him tonight, devoid of his designer label clothing. Obviously, he wouldn’t be wearing a suit and tie to the gym, yet seeing him sport a dark green shirt riddled with holes, and long black basketball shorts instead of Versace, seemed almost surreal.
“Where are you going?” Jessie asked.
“I don’t feel like the treadmill. I’m going to skip it and just work out on the weight machine.”
I took a side trip to the juice bar, working up the courage to go over and speak with him. At the very least, I should thank him for the delicious gift.
“Lex,” Jess called out, coming to my side. “Don’t look now, but there is a gorgeous man in a horrible green shirt, standing by the free weights who’s looking at you like he wants to lick chocolate sauce from your nipples.”
I laughed. “That’s the kind of kink that might happen in your world, but not mine.”
“Hey, if you ever let your freak-flag fly it could happen to you too.”
“I seriously doubt it.”
“He’s occupied now,” she whispered, “it’s safe to ogle him.” She cast her gaze in his direction.
Apparently I didn’t look fast enough. She elbowed my rib.
“Ouch,” I complained, rubbing my side. “That bony thing should be classified as a lethal weapon.”
“Don’t be a big baby.”
“I’m not being a baby.”
“I already know what he looks like.”
“Did you see him come in?”
“You should have pointed him out.” She did a little growl. “Whoa, baby. The guy has some guns on him.”
“I’ve seen him before, you know.”
“Not in here you haven’t. I would have noticed him.”
“No, not here. He’s the one from the bistro.”
“OMG. He’s the chocolate guy?”
Jess did this fancy snap of her fingers. “He’s h-a-w-t.”
“I told you he was.”
“No. You said he was handsome. There’s a difference between a man being handsome and one being the four-alarm-fire kind of hot.”
I tucked an escapee curl that had fallen down my cheek behind my ear. “Uh… Thanks for explaining that.”
“Don’t you want to run your fingers through that silky chestnut hair while his head is nestled between your thighs?”
She grabbed my shoulders and stared into my eyes with an intensity of a woman preaching the gospel. “It’s time to stop living like a nun.”
“I’m far from a nun, Jess.”
She made a derisive noise. “When’s the last time someone got you hot and bothered?”
“Things might not be ‘hot’, but me and Blue B.O.B. are doing well, thank you very much.”
Jessie rolled her honey-brown eyes at me. “Battery operated boyfriends are good in a pinch, but a woman cannot live on batteries alone.”
“I do all right with old B.O.B.”
“Listen. A good screaming orgasm with a warm blooded man is an excellent way to work out some of those tight knots in your muscles, and I dare say shake that cob out of your ass.”
I snorted. “Is that your professional advice, Dr. Ruth?”
Jessie laughed. “Absolutely.”
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