So far, so good. What she’d seen of Cape Cod was beautiful, even in the middle of winter. But this was not where she’d expected to find herself at this point in her life, or her career. Jane reminded herself that everything happens for a reason. The Universe must have some plan for me, she thought. A plan that doesn’t include Dave.
“Earth to Jane,” Brent was saying, snapping his fingers to bring her back from her internal monologue. “I was asking if you had any dinner plans for this evening. I’d love to show you around town some more. That is, if you’re available?”
Jane grimaced. “Oh, I’m available all right,” she said, thinking again about Dave. He still hadn’t called. Then she realized that Brent was asking her out! She quickly back-pedaled. “But I’m not sure that I’m up for a dinner date tonight. I’m afraid I’m too tired to be good company.”
“Hey, I understand. I’m tired, too, after we saw so many properties today. Why don’t I cook something for you back at my place? We could curl up on my leather couch and watch a movie on the flat screen?” He grinned and winked one chocolate brown eye. “I’ll even give you one of my famous Nickerson massages. Guaranteed to relax every muscle in your gorgeous body.”
“Hmm, that sounds lovely, Brent, but I am really tired.” To reinforce the point, Jane yawned widely, stretching one arm toward the ceiling. “Can you just drop me back at the B&B, and I’ll take a rain check on the dinner and massage?”
She saw the scowl pass swiftly over Brent’s features, before it was quickly replaced with a smile. “No problem, baby,” Brent said, sounding casual. “The offer’s good any time.” He turned and walked toward the front of the house, holding the door open for Jane and locking it behind them. He turned and handed her a key on a long metal keychain shaped like a…
Jane thought the keychain looked remarkably phallic. “Oh, it’s the lighthouse from your logo,” she said, finally recognizing it for what it was supposed to be. “Kind of… big for a keychain, don’t you think?”
“It’s so you’ll think of Lighthouse Realty every time you unlock the door,” Brent said, meeting her eyes. He smiled, showing his brilliant smile of perfect white teeth. “And think of me, too, of course.”
Jane stifled her laugh, realizing that giggling probably wasn’t the reaction he was aiming for. She also knew she needed to squash this budding romance before he thought she was truly interested in what he had to offer.
“Look, Brent. I need to tell you something.”
“That you’re head over heels for me already?” he joked, continuing toward the SUV parked in the driveway. “But Jane, we just met this morning. Don’t you think we should wait?”
Jane hesitated. Was she reading something into Brent’s behavior that just wasn’t there? Maybe he was just flirty like this with everyone. She sighed, deciding she should still tell him about Dave. She grabbed his arm gently, and pulled him to a stop beside her on the brick walkway.
“No, seriously. I recently got out of a bad relationship. I thought we were in love and he didn’t. And it all ended badly. I’m not ready to start dating right away, no offense.”
He was quiet for a moment, a thoughtful look on his face. After a long moment, he smiled and took her hand. “Jane, I’m glad you told me. I’m sorry you’ve been hurt. But I feel like we have this real deep-down chemistry at work between us, where we can be honest with one another.”
She nodded, thinking just the opposite. What kind of chemistry class did he take in high school? The only chemical reaction Jane was feeling was the rumbling in her stomach telling her it was almost time for supper.
“I understand if you don’t want a serious relationship,” Brent said, “but I’m sure you could use a friend-with-benefits while you’re here in Chatham. I’m willing to be that friend, anytime you need me.”
Jane’s eyes opened wider, her brain trying to process what he’d just told her. “So, you’re saying you’ll sleep with me? No strings attached? What a… generous offer.” Jane knew that other people made arrangements like this, but it had never occurred to her to line up sex partners whom she wasn’t in love with. She could still count on one hand the number of guys she’d ever slept with in her entire life, and she didn’t think Brent was going to be joining that list any time soon. If ever.
Brent smiled. “See? I knew we were on the same page.” He squeezed her hand, still clasped within his own.
“Uh, I think you’ve got the wrong idea about me,” Jane said, pulling her hand away from him. “Call me old fashioned, but I think there has to be some romance before there’s any sex. I’ve never really been the friends-with-benefits kind of girl.”
Brent took a step back, putting both hands up in the air as if to surrender. “Hey, I’m sorry. I figured if you were friends with my cousin Marcie, you were a party girl like she is. I apologize if I’ve offended you with my assumptions.”
Jane smiled, glad that he’d backed right off. “That’s okay. I’m not really friends with Marcie, we worked together at the newspaper office.”
His eyes widened with surprise. “So you’re that Jane Peterson? The one who was dating Sassy Daniels’s fiancé? Oh, man, I had no idea!”
Everything suddenly seemed darker. “Fiancé?” Jane asked, her voice sounding small even to her own ears.
How could that be?
How could Dave spend almost a year dating Jane without popping the question, and in just two weeks be engaged to that other bimbo? Was it because she was blonde? Or rich? Or a pop star? Or better in bed? Or was it some combination thereof?
Jane stopped speculating, realizing that the list of pros to marrying Sassy Daniels was probably way longer than the list of cons. He’d be a fool not to marry her, Jane thought. And I’m a fool to care one way or the other.
Intrigued? PERFECT STRANGERS is available now from Moongypsy Press, a quick click of the mouse and you can be reading the whole story. Also coming soon to Amazon.com for Kindle, and B&N for Nook. My first book, UNFOLDING THE SHADOWS, is already available in both spots for Kindle and Nook.
In other reading, I finished my first Laurell K. Hamilton book this week - SKIN TRADE, an Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Novel. Her take on vamps and weres is slightly different from Charlaine Harris's writing. Having jumped into the series somewhere in the middle, I'm not sure I understand all the nuances to the world she's created, but it's a darker, more bloody take on the supernatural world than Harris.
Her main character Anita is some sort of living vampire, who feeds on sexual energy - which I think makes her a succubus as well. Two of her fellow vampire hunters seem to also have been serial killers in their former lives. There was also lots of talk of sex and lots of sexual tension and innuendo, but no actual sex until more than 400 pages into the book. And then it was sex with multiple partners of different supernatural flavors and an orgy that occurred off-screen but included a 16-year-old male weretiger. For lots of reasons, this was really not my type of story, but read it to the end. If you prefer your vampire tales dark and bloody with characters on the razor thin edge of like-ability, this may be up your alley.
What are you reading?