From the author of the romantic comedy A Matter of Trust, I am so excited to share with you a never-seen-before short story that will leave you begging for more…
Shaken Not Stirred
I watch her.
She ignores me.
In my six years as a bartender, plenty of women have noticed me. I never paid much attention until the one woman who manages to turn my head acts like I don’t exist. That is, after she shot me dead with a shy smile when I took her order.
I serve patrons, glancing her way every chance I get, while she texts furiously. Who’s she waiting for? A co-worker? A friend? Then my heart sinks; maybe she’s meeting her boyfriend, or worse, her husband.
All I know for sure is that she’s divine. Sure, brunette, brown-eyed women abound, but this one? This one has something; that something that can’t be held or even labeled, but only felt deep in one’s soul.
Good God, I sound ridiculous.
No, actually I sound like my friend, Alex, who after dating Sarah became a lovesick sap. It’s appalling because what man waxes poetic about his relationship as his eyes glaze over? Whipped men. Yet, after fifteen minutes with this stunning woman at my bar, I’m ready to write a sonnet or two.
How do I love thee? Let me count the—I’ve lost my fucking mind!
I keep an eye on her, waiting for the chance to talk to her.
She sips her vodka martini with her eyes glued to her phone.
That’s it. After two more sips, I’m asking if she wants another. Hopefully, she’ll look at me and not at the damn phone.
Mine vibrates in my back pocket. I glance at the text: Ryan, we’re running late, but we’ll be there in a few then you’ll meet Ava. Remember, she’s normal.
After Alex and Sarah decided that my third-wheel status on their dates was an issue, they turned into Cupid and my mother all at once, desperate for me to find a girlfriend. Thing is, I’m not particularly interested in being coupled up. I’ve got a pretty good gig as a bartender; women are easy to meet, and they seem to find my similarity to Bradley Cooper highly attractive.
I only humor Alex because he’s like my brother, and since he plans to propose to Sarah soon, I figure the more I cooperate, the better it is for him. But, man, it’s been painful, and the girls are always far from normal.
First, there was April who had more energy than that stupid Energizer bunny. She flitted around and squeaked and, my God, she gave me a headache. She needed to be tied up and gagged—and not in the good way.
I had high hopes for mystery date number two, especially since Alex nicknamed her Hot Michelle, but when she opened her mouth and sounded more like a ‘Michael’ than a ‘Michelle’ I wanted to punch Alex in the face. I still shudder thinking of him, er, her.
And then there was Fiona who not only attacked my crotch under the table during our entire double-date dinner, but also ate every single food in the most suggestive way possible—while moaning. Even I, an occasional low-man-on-the-moral-pole, was horrified. Needless to say, I have zero interest in meeting Alex and Sarah’s next attempt at normal.
I steal a glance at Brown-Eyed Beauty. Still texting.
That’s it. I have to cancel on Alex and Sarah. Maybe I’ll just call and explain that I have to work late; or that I’m sick and need to go home . . . or maybe I should just man-up with the truth: that my sights are set on the girl with the effortless good looks; the one sitting right here, right now, texting like mad; the one that knocked my socks off when she blushed ordering her 007-style martini.
She sips again. God, she’s beautiful. I’m moving in.
“Would you like another one?” I lean my face into hers, desperate for eye contact.
Her brown eyes shift to mine.
She smiles. Dimples.
She glances at her nearly empty glass. “Yeah, okay. Thanks.”
Say something, idiot!
“Are you waiting for someone? You seem a little nervous.” I smile at her as she laughs, and I reach for the vodka, trying to remain cool and calm.
She shakes her head. “Is it that obvious? I have no idea why I agreed, but my friend, Sarah, and her boyfriend, Alex, are setting me up with someone, and they won’t tell me who. I’m texting them like an idiot trying to get out of it.”
I freeze. My jaw drops, my heart drops, and I almost drop the bottle of vodka.
“What’s your name?” I hold my breath.