Release Date: January 15, 2020
Blind dating? Let’s just say I’d rather have a Brazilian – and not the hot soccer-player variety.
So the fact I’ve agreed to do a blind-date feature for Pink, the magazine I work for, and write it all up Bridget Jones style means one thing – Pink is in dire straits and this is my best shot at saving my job.
Make that my only shot because date number one is with Jack Reese – the son of the publisher of Pink – and he dislikes me as much as I dislike him.
Or at least I thought he did.
“Ang is going to be Pink’s own Bachelorette?” Erin’s tone is snarky, and I dig my fingernails into my palm to keep myself from snapping back at her. Just because I’m curvy doesn’t mean I couldn’t be a Bachelorette.
“Without the roses. Because that’s dumb, man. I don’t care what anyone says,” says Patrick, with an exaggerated eye roll.
Everyone laughs and I shoot Patrick a grateful look. I owe him big time for jumping on board with this and keeping any doubts he’s had to himself. “The introductory spread is going in the print edition, we’ve got banner ads for the website, and Patrick’s also put together a set of social media banners. We’ll need to really build buzz about this before we run the first blind date story next week.”
“What if no one responds?” asks Mike. “You’re relying on nominations, right? What if there aren’t any?”
“Oh, come on. As if.” Melissa side-eyes Mike and everyone laughs.
I laugh, too, but the truth is, Mike just hit on my biggest fear related to this whole thing. Not the dates themselves because if I can get through lunch with my boss, I can get through a blind date. But what if no one wants to participate? What if no one wants to go out with me?
And I know it’s not about me at all in the broad scheme of things. But in the details, it is. I’m the datee in this thing and I’m no Helen of Troy. I mean, I’m not ugly, just…average. Average height. Average looks. On the plus side, I have great cheekbones. On the minus side, I’m carrying at least twenty extra pounds because I don’t exercise enough. My other older brother, Will, always says I have the body of a supermodel hidden in me somewhere, but Will’s a personal trainer and he gets paid to say things like that.
Erin’s voice snaps me out of my reverie. “We need a plant.”
“A plant?” A shrub, maybe a rhododendron? “For what?”
“Not that kind. I mean a pre-determined winner for date one,” says Erin. “So in case no one comes forward, we can fudge it and have someone to kick this off.”
Before I can respond, a voice rings out from the back of the room and all heads turn towards Jack Reese, who’s somehow slipped in the back when no one was watching. “I’ll do it.”
My heart leaps to my throat. Jack’s gaze is cool and detached, although his eyes rake over me like he’s picturing my gray skirt pushed up around my waist and now I can’t help imagining that, too. I glance down at my fingers twisting the pen in my hand and when I glance back up at Jack, I see a trace of a smirk on his lips. Like he knows he’s had an effect on me and he’s ticking off some mental scorecard.
“Uh, yeah?” My words are no better than a stutter. “I mean, that could work, right?”
“Unless you have a better suggestion?” Erin’s tone makes it clear what she thinks the likelihood of this is.
All eyes turn towards me. I could admit right now that the whole Jack thing has already been arranged, but it occurs to me that it probably looks better for Jack to offer, so I say, “Nope. Jack, that makes you bachelor number one. As long as you’re up for it?”
“Oh, I’m up for it.” Jack wriggles his eyebrows and Erin giggles.
Brenda writes contemporary romance to make you giggle and swoon. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking, running and reading. In theory, she also enjoys cooking, but it’s more that she enjoys eating and, try as she might, she can’t live on Doritos alone.
For more information or to connect with Brenda visit http://brendastjohnbrown.com