eHoneymoon – Book 4 – Sneak Peek

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eHoneymoon

Two best-friends matched for marriage…

One honeymoon to make it work.

Neither of them is certain they’re making the right choice…

When an online spouse-matching website, ClickandWed.com, matches Kayla with a man she believes she’s never met, she doesn’t know if she wants to commit to six months with someone she’s not sure she’s even attracted to. With encouragement from her best-friend, she opts for the shorter time frame of only two weeks and hopes there aren’t certain expectations that are attached to honeymoons.

Fireworks ignite as the truth comes out that the groom is her best-friend and he knew all along.

The two weeks tick down.

In this funny, friends-to-lovers sweet romance, our matched bride and groom are thrust into the romance zone on their honeymoon. With only two weeks to either fall in love (impossible!) or lose not only their marriage but their friendship, Kayla and Dylan have to decide just how far they’re willing to go to find if their hearts really belong with each other.

Say ‘I do’ to this irreverently funny romance with poignant moments that will make you flip each page!

Chapter 1

Kayla

Best friends shouldn’t be as good-looking as Dylan Drake. In fact, if I had my way, Dylan would be back to the pudgy guy he was in high school, only then would I be able to keep him all to myself and never worry I would have to share him with other women who only wanted to take advantage of him.

I pushed through the doors of our favorite restaurant on Sherman Avenue, the main street of the small town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We grew up cruising through downtown in our cars and out toward the beach of the huge lake.

Just a stone’s throw from the water, the Iron Horse Bar and Grill was set up like a pub and game room on one side and a restaurant on the other. Dylan and I could never figure out which side we wanted to be on and usually whoever got there first would choose. Judging by his text, he’d arrived first. While he’d been at the office all day, I’d been checking on merchandise at one of our suppliers or we would’ve driven together.

Apparently, he preferred the tall tables on the tavern side that night. I got it. Heading to our ten year high school reunion was more stressful than either of us wanted to admit. We both had a lot of baggage and ten years wasn’t enough time to consolidate it all. Lots of alcohol on board wouldn’t hurt as we set off down the yellow brick road.

His dark wavy hair and strong shoulders covered in a snug black T-shirt stood out from the other patrons. I could easily see him from the door. He pulled the look off without being a jerk. I’d never met a man who worked out as much as he did and was the opposite of vain.

Gripping my small purse, I slid into the seat across from him. Kicking his shin softly with my toe, I arched my brow. “How many phone numbers do you have so far? We haven’t even started the night and I can really see them checking you out.” I winked and opened the menu. I already knew what I would get. In fact, Dylan knew me so well, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Mai Tai and a plate of onion rings and mozzarella sticks showed up as I sat down.

“You’re just jealous. I told you, I could be a one phone number guy. All you have to do is say the word.” Dylan’s deliciously decadent lips curved in a knowing smile as he threw down the challenge that was so common between us. I swear he teased me just because he knew he could.

I folded up the menu and tapped its surface when I laid it down. “I couldn’t be with a guy who doesn’t order before I get here.” I had fallen for his games way too many times, believing it would always only be me.

He just didn’t know it.

We started out as close friends in junior high and graduated as best friends. We were inseparable. A lot of the guys I dated couldn’t handle me being best friends with a guy, especially one who looked the way Dylan did. In high school though, he was an extra hundred to a hundred-and-fifty pounds heavier. Back then, he wasn’t as much competition as he was now.

The older we got, the more we depended on each other. And dang it, the older we got, the more good looking he got. Some things weren’t fair.

Before it became impossible for us to distinguish between what was my life and what was his, we had to do something. I had an idea I wanted to implement that night, but only if he was up for it. He’d been talking about a marriage app for a while and I was finally interested in checking it out.

I leaned across the table and smiled, teasing him. “It’s okay, you’re getting old. I don’t expect you to order me a drink or my appetizers every time we come here.” I winked and scratched my nails across the green Formica top. I flipped my thick black hair over my shoulder. I’d left it down because Dylan convinced me down was the best style for the type of night we were up for. I wasn’t so sure since it was already irritating me.

He folded his arms and sat back, his forearms rippling as he considered me. Tilting his head toward the newly arrived waitress, he drawled. “I’ll take your apology whenever you’re ready to give it.” Of course, a Saturday would put them a little behind. The items were late and not because of Dylan.

Heat flushed my cheeks and I nodded my thanks to the woman as she sat my overflowing plate down, alongside a Mai Tai on a napkin. I waited until she dropped off his burger and left. I didn’t need any witnesses to my groveling. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I was just teasing, but I’m tense about this reunion. I still can’t believe you’re going on vacation in a week and a half. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with myself. Big Dog won’t even need me. I won’t be needed.” I ended on a half-wail that I stopped with a side-smirk. “Don’t you feel bad for me?”

I wasn’t joking though. I really did feel like I was being abandoned. At least on some level I couldn’t reach. I glanced around the restaurant, the bright colors suddenly more somber at the thought of my impending loneliness and boredom.

“Come with me. It’ll be fun.” Dylan lifted his amber beer, peering at me over the rim of his glass. “We have to close Big Dog anyway. There’s nothing you can do while it’s under construction. Maybe you should come with me. We can do some market research.” He offered a compelling argument, but I couldn’t go on vacation with him. That’s where I drew the line.

I’d never been able to go when he asked me in the past. That was something for girlfriends or wives or parents. I was just the best friend. I knew my boundaries and where I belonged.

Except… I always wanted to go with him. The temptation was there and I didn’t like that sometimes I was more inclined than others. Right then, with the reunion minutes away, I was more susceptible to his suggestions than usual.

We’d be there with everyone happily married or dating someone. I’d be the single girl and Dylan would be collecting numbers left and right. Women were shamed for not being married and men were celebrated for being unattached.

Scrunching my nose, I wiggled my fingers at him. “It’s okay. Maybe I’ll go visit Mom or take in some reading. There’s a bunch of books I want to get caught up on.” I dipped a mozzarella stick in the marinara sauce and took a big bite as I looked around the bar at people I didn’t care about. I didn’t want him to push me too much, but a small part of me wanted him to push a lot. How far would he have to push for me to give in?

“You can read where I’m going.” He was cut off by the sudden arrival of a long-legged redhead in tight jeans and a crop top I swear when out of fashion in the 1990s.

“I’m Simone.” She stood at Dylan’s side and put her hands on her insanely slim hips, thrusting her chest forward. She winked. “Want to share a Derailer, stud?” Stud? Maybe she’d already had one.

The Derailer was the most popular drink in north Idaho. The bucket had more alcohol than should be considered legal and it was served with five cups of ice. Four or five people could easily drink out of the same bucket and walk away buzzed.

When someone wanted to split a drink like that, they offered more than just a one-drink time.

I tried focusing on my onion rings, but I couldn’t help but wonder what he would say. She was gorgeous and didn’t look like she was used to hearing no.

He grinned, letting his gaze rake her figure and commenting in a slow drawl. “Not right now, honey. Maybe later.” He winked and dismissed her by turning away to face me. Her jaw dropped and she stared at him a moment longer before turning in a huff and stomping away. In heels that high, stomping was an amazing feat.

A guy like Dylan had propositions coming out his ears.

I pushed the jealousy that was always present to the side. I’d made my decision in high school and then again in college and then again every year and almost every day since we met.

Dylan and I owned an amusement park together. We worked out together. We even lived on the same street. We had grown up as next door neighbors. We were habits that were hard to break.

We knew everything there was to know about each other – and then some.

He was the second constant man in my life. My grandpa had died the year before taking my only other steady man in my life.

My father left when I was younger. Dylan filled that hole in my heart and I refused to lose him because I couldn’t handle commitment.

Every man I had dated since then had just been like artificial sweetener to sugar. They never stuck around… Just like my dad. Proving I was the common denominator. I wasn’t worth staying for. If Dylan and I got into a relationship where love was involved, how long would it take for him to leave, too?

If having a romance with me highlighted my negative aspects, I would do everything I could to not have that happen with Dylan. Besides, romance was overrated. We had more than romance. Okay, we didn’t have more than romance and sometimes a woman needed that, but I wouldn’t trade what he and I had for a little bit of lust and candles. Eventually, they always left. I had plenty of experience in that department.

I didn’t want to scare Dylan off, too.

Chapter 2

Dylan

Kayla and I had grown up in a small town and we hadn’t left after college. The high school reunion just wouldn’t feel right, if we didn’t go from the high school meet-and-greet to a cruise on the Coeur d’Alene Lake.

If I remembered correctly – ten years was a long time – we had done our senior party on a similar cruise. I snorted as I parked in the high school parking lot. How original that we were doing our reunion there, too. Maybe we would get to go somewhere else for the twentieth reunion.

Swaying trees resplendent with new growth lined the parking lot, providing a divider between the main roads and the school land. There had been a lot of renovations made since we had graduated, but the building still felt small when it had seemed huge growing up.

Kayla and I climbed out of my Ford pickup. I rushed around to close the door for Kayla. She never waited for me to open the door for her.

I scanned her form, impressed with her figure and how she held herself. She had opted to go with more of a casual look with her one-piece dress which ended with the skirt hem just below her knee. The soft linen material fit her form with capped sleeves and a neckline that ran across the top of her collarbones. Her modesty was more appealing than some of the other flashier outfits we saw walking in.

Pushing a stray dark brown curl off her shoulder, I murmured, “You look amazing. Who are you trying to impress?” I constantly teased her, flirting as an attempt to wear her defenses down. Over sixteen years, I hadn’t gotten far, but somehow I would get through. I had to. How long had I been trying to get her to fall for me?

Since junior high when she had thrown my ball back to me over the fence between our back yards. In junior high and high school when I had nothing but the real me to offer, that’s all I tried to give her. I was the fat kid. I was the kid people threw things at, the kid they knocked over when I was dressed in the Viking mascot uniform, the kid they locked in the bathrooms and generally bullied the heck out of.

As a cheerleader, Kayla got all the attention she ever wanted. All I ever wanted was her attention – but more than a friend’s attention – the kind of attention that could last a lifetime.

She’d always refused to take us any further, saying we were more important than romance to her. I knew her back story, but that didn’t make it easy to understand why she couldn’t see how perfect we were for each other.

Flattery only got you so far when your heart ached with longing.

She pulled her lower lip between her white teeth and looked around as we headed towards the front of the building. “Craig Croft.”

My startled laugh took even me by surprise. “Seriously? Still? That was a long time ago and he stopped liking you after the first non-date.” The fact that she still thought of Craig as a possibility definitely acted as a blow to my ego.

The mythical romance behind Craig was his money and his dad’s job and the fact that he drove around a red Camaro that was definitely from the 90s. I wondered if he still had the car. Back in school, he was the guy all the girls wanted to date and all the guys wanted to be.

One afternoon I’d been busy with a test. Craig took Kayla up to his place and brought her home. That was it. Kayla never spoke of it, but I doubted he tried kissing her. If that was true, it was contrary to everything Craig Croft stood for.

Wrapping my arm around her, I tugged her to the side. “So… if Craig is here, are you gonna go for it? You want to make a bet on nailing him?” I leaned down and whispered into her ear as we fell into the queue filing into the gym. I didn’t want her to nail anybody. Talking about it made me sick. I didn’t want her to try anything with Craig. Or anyone for that matter.

I wanted her to turn around in my arms and say she just realized I was The One, that I was always The One and no amount of attention from Craig Croft would ever replace it.

Her next words pulled me from my fantasy. “I don’t know. Is it dumb that I still wish things had turned out differently? I’m lost in the past. It’s stupid, you know?” Kayla tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and lifted her bright blue eyes my way. I would never grow sick of her blue gaze.

There was something intoxicating in the way she smelled, the way she looked, the way she talked, and the way she carried herself. In all our time together, I hadn’t gotten bored with her. If anything, I was more interested. All the time we’ve been together – together but apart. My parents had made me watch a 1985 movie called Ladyhawke and it was like that, minus the hawk and the wolf.

Shaking my head, I kept my voice low, intimate. “I don’t think it’s dumb at all. I’m still hoping and it’s been close to forever.” I put my hand on the small of her back and ushered her in front of me to the doors where everyone was funneling inside.

She didn’t say anything when I dropped my subtle hints like maybe she’d grown immune to them. At what point would I stop being subtle and stop treating things like they were a joke and actually go for it?

My bravery would have to be soon. There was only so much pain I could take before my life passed me by. Before I knew it, I would wake up one day and Kayla would be married with children. I would still long for her, hoping my teasing and ever-presence would be enough to get her attention.

We signed our names to blue-and-white nametags and stuck them on our chests.

Kayla fell into step beside me as we headed towards the gym, gripping my elbow. “Who is she? Because secretly, I hate her guts.” She winked at me and leaned in to nudge me with her shoulder.

If she only knew what her words would mean, if they were even a quarter serious. I soaked in the meaning of her words in their literal sense. I used every little tidbit to keep me hanging on, hoping that she would secretly mean what she said. Hadn’t there been a philosopher who’d claimed there was a nugget of truth in everything we say? Even things we jest about? I hoped that philosopher was right.

I didn’t answer her question on who I still dreamt about. At that moment we walked through the doors into a gaudily decorated gym as if we were going to a high school dance. Paper crêpe hung from varying spots on the walls and ceiling.

A Viking head had been taped to the basketball hoops and the old mascot suit had been posed on the gym stage. How many times had I been locked in that suit, jumping up and down and watching Kayla as she cheered? More than I wanted to remember.

“Should we grab seats or hang around the punch table?” Kayla glanced up at me through her thick lashes.

What if I told her right then and there let’s just get married. Let’s run away together. What would she do?

She’d probably run screaming from the room.

Two women approached us, both of them heavily made-up and their hair dyed so many colors I bet they didn’t remember what the natural colors were. Their nametags read Tonya and Tara. A memory of flashy red fingernails flipping me off as I walked by to class crossed my mind. My eyes widened as I caught a glimpse of their matching gold T necklaces. Ah, right.

The Terrible Ts.

They squealed and kind of did a fluttery thing with their arms, running in place with small steps the closer they got to Kayla. They’d been on the cheerleading squad with her and Kayla had more or left the squad at the end of senior year. She’d had enough of their crap and had never stayed in the clique.

You wouldn’t know it the way they almost hyperventilated at seeing her.

Tonya put her fingers right on her chest, above the overly tanned cleavage she was trying to make sure I saw. She glanced between the two of us and spoke to Kayla, her narrowed eyes watching me. “Did you finally get married? Who is this hunky man? He is gorgeous.” She lifted her eyebrow and licked her lips at me.

I wasn’t sure why, but my stomach roiled in disgust. Even my sarcasm was faint with horror.

“I remember you. Weren’t you the exchange student from Germany who came senior year?” Tara’s brains had only gotten better with age.

I curved my lips and glanced toward Kayla. Amusement wasn’t on her face. No, she had tolerance in the curve of her cheeks and the shadows under her eyes.

She forced a laugh that was markedly devoid of humor. Kayla often talked about how unjust the kids in school had been to me. She pointed at my chest and lifted her delightful chin. “No, this is Dylan. You guys remember Dylan Drake.” Kayla held her shoulder’s stiff as she watched them, like she waited for them to start making fun of me. “He was our mascot for three years. I can’t believe you guys don’t remember him.”

Tonya wrinkled her nose, flipping her hair to the side. “No, our mascot was Dylan Dump. Not this guy. They’re not even similar.”

Tara looked closer, narrowing her eyes. “Dylan? Is that really you? Wow. What happened? Have you starved the last ten years?” They cackled as they air hugged Kayla and walked on, whispering as they glanced back at us.

“Don’t take them the wrong way. You look amazing. I don’t know what their problem is.” Kayla put her hand comfortingly on my back.

While I wanted to milk her attention for all it was worth, I also didn’t want to come across as a sensitive baby. “I’m fine. I never put much stock in what the Terrible Ts say to me.” Her worry in how I might be affected by their words cemented my affections for her. Not that they needed a stronger foundation.

We made our way to a collection of round tables that had been set up on the far side of the gym. Taking our seats, we settled in and I draped my arm across the back of Kayla’s chair. We did everything together, as if we were together. We were pretty much married. The only things we were missing were I love yous – even though we said those – and the physical intimacy. I would say we were missing out on the living together, but Kayla stayed the night at my house and once in a while I stayed at hers.

We were pretty much a married couple.

Minus the benefits.

Some people I recognized by face but not name sat with us, talking with Kayla and drawing her out of her shy shell. She did well with just passing conversation, but when someone tried getting to know her, she shut down. Once she’d told me she was an introvert trapped in an extrovert’s shell.

Watching her laugh, I couldn’t help putting my thumb out on the seat to catch a lingering touch of her hair as it grazed my skin. She would smell like hibiscus and honey. I didn’t dare lean over to catch a whiff.

Pretty soon we would be shuffled to the cruise and couldn’t say I was excited for the night to end. Kayla and I rarely had a chance to just hang out. The flood of emotions and memories from high school were wreaking havoc with my deepening feelings for her. I wanted to linger with her a little longer without the stress of business or other pressures of life dragging us down.

“Did you guys get married or something?” One of the girls from Kayla’s group leaned over and pointed between Kayla and me. I came back to the conversation and blinked slowly, waiting to hear Kayla’s answer.

“No. Dylan and I are just really good friends.” Kayla deflected the attention and any more conversation on her and I being married and continued. “I’ve been thinking about trying out this new website. It’s called ClickandWed.com? Has anybody heard of it?”

I glanced at Kayla and tried not to be too interested. I’d been pushing ClickandWed.com on her for the past five months. I could tell my expiration date on patience was wearing thin. I wouldn’t be able to stay with her as just a friend forever. I needed more from her and I needed her to need me for more than just a buddy.

“I’ve heard of that. I was looking into it but it seems pretty expensive. Plus, I met a guy last week so I’m hoping it works out well.” One of the women who had introduced herself to me as Kimberly had come by herself. Apparently a week long relationship was not long enough of a commitment to bring to your high school reunion.

“Yeah, I just don’t have a lot of time to date. When I do make it out, it’s usually with Dylan. While the girls don’t have any problem hitting on him around me, the guys don’t seem to want anything to do with me. Maybe he intimidates them.” She smiled and put her fingers on my forearm.

“I can’t imagine why.” Kimberly eyeballed me and gave me a deep perusal. I got hit on a lot which was more than frustrating when the only one I wanted ignored me. She turned back to Kayla. “You should consider the website. I think it could be really fun. If you don’t have time to date, it’s the perfect way to find someone with the same goals. Can you imagine? It matches you perfectly to someone who wants a commitment, too. It’s not like you’re going into a relationship and you’re not sure if the other person wants the same thing. It’s very clear. You’re both there for a marriage. I think it would be ideal.”

I was starting to like Kimberly a lot more, especially when Kayla tilted her head and leaned back in her seat. “Yeah, I think you’re right. It might be a good thing for me to do.” She chewed on her lip and I knew that she was seriously thinking about it.

How the heck had Kimberly, a woman Kayla hadn’t seen in years, been able to get through to her, whereas, I hadn’t even been able to get her to consider the site for more than a couple seconds.

Women were getting on my nerves. I didn’t have any problem admitting that to myself.

For the most part, there were only a couple guys in the gym. Of course, the rest who were coming would show up late, which was good. I needed a few drinks on board before I would be able to watch Kayla flirt her way through the crowd. The sad thing was she wasn’t technically a flirt. She was just friendly. She would flirt with rocks and they would do what she wanted.

Kayla had no idea her effect on people, least of all her effect on me.

Chapter 3

Kayla

We were on the cruise boat, Spirit of Coeur d’Alene, with its beige paint and navy blue accents. The flat two-story vessel had plenty of room for everyone who had shown up. As it pushed us quietly through the clear, smooth water, I inhaled the fresh water smell. Every few minutes the pine scent of the surrounding woods would reach me.

I hadn’t seen Dylan in over an hour. There weren’t any clouds in the May sky and the stars seemed much closer as the cruise boat crept further into the lake. On the top level, I felt like I could have been abandoned.

Had Dylan seen the girl he’d been thinking of since high school? He never had told me his real crush’s name. I mean sure, he hit on me constantly, but I think his attention toward me was more of a convenience and proximity thing. Dylan was definitely a ladies’ man. Sometimes I was the only lady around.

I leaned on the upper deck railing and closed my eyes as the soft May breeze began to cool. We were immersed in an abnormally warm spring and soon we were due for some cooler weather, but it wouldn’t be that week.

Heavy tread on the boat carpet and the tinkling of ice in glasses alerted me to his arrival. I spoke while turning. “What took you so long?” My smile was slow and welcoming. I was ready to go home and relax in front of the television.

But I stopped, my smile frozen. The man in front of me wasn’t Dylan.

Craig Croft held out a glass and his grin was as charming as ever. I hadn’t seen him show up. I forced myself to overlook the stained edges of his teeth and the puffiness under his eyes.

In ten years he had gone from dangerous and alluring to obviously drunk and, from what one of the girls said, he jumped jobs a lot. He had two kids with one of the women in our high school class and he never married her. He said the kids were her problem.

As soon as I heard all that and saw him nursing his own flask at the front of the line at the cruise loading dock, I lost all interest.

“If I had known you were waiting, Carla, I would’ve been here sooner.” His eyes slurred almost as much as he did with a long slow blink and an inability to really focus on me. He called me Carla.

Carla.

I smiled tightly, dodging his leery gaze. “I’m sorry, Craig. I thought you were someone else.” I took a step around him to walk past. He rested the cold bottom of a glass in one hand on my forearm.

“No reason to run off. We can still get together, Shayla. I can be the guy you were looking for. I can be whatever guy you want. You look as good as you did back then.” His eyes had a glassy sheen and he looked me up and down. Licking his lips, he showed me enough of his tongue to display flecks of chewing tobacco which looked like little black scratches.

So now I was Shayla, huh? The ridiculousness of the situation was almost more than I could bear. I smiled, holding my panicked laughter inside. “No, thank you.”

I pushed my way past him and down the stairs. Our class hadn’t been huge when we graduated, maybe a hundred full and only about seventy percent actually showed up to the reunion. With only seventy people on board with their spouses or whoever, it wasn’t hard for me to see Dylan as he leaned against the wall on the far side of the cruise ship, looking out at the lake. He had an ankle crossed over the other and one hand tucked into the front pockets of his slacks.

The slacks were different for me to see him in; anything other than work pants or workout shorts was weird. He’d dressed country club casual and I’d been so proud to have him on my arm all night.

But why he was alone was odd, and yet slightly comforting.

I sidled up to him and took the drink out of his hands. Taking a sip, I winced at the burn of whiskey in my throat. “Gross. I thought maybe you had a Pepsi or something in here. You can barely taste the pop.” I leaned into him, relishing his warmth.

“Kayla, did you find Craig?” He asked me in the barest whisper but I could hear the smile in his voice.

“He found me upstairs. Called me Shayla and Carla. Apparently I was memorable back then.” I laughed and handed Dylan his drink back. “Can I count that as a win? Can we just pretend that I nailed him? Because I’m not going to kiss that grossness.” I shuddered at the thought.

Dylan’s soft chuckle sent goose bumps up my arms and down the backs of my legs. “Let’s count it.”

“Did you find yours? Where is she? Did she come?” I turned my head to scan the thin crowd. I didn’t really recognize anybody as being able to interest someone as complex as Dylan. Although, to be honest, he often went after the not-so-complex women.

“It’s still out for debate.” He sipped his glass and wrapped his other arm around me. “Are you cold? You have goose bumps.”

I shook my head and scrunched my nose, turning and staring up at him. “Is it pathetic that I’m not married?”

“Do you think it’s pathetic?” He tilted his head in that way that told me he was really listening to me. I loved when he gave me that look.

“I don’t know. I suck at relationships.” I blinked back tears. The whole night was filled with melancholy and sentiment and I just wasn’t fond of any of it.

“You always have me. I haven’t left you.” He ran his fingers down the soft part of my arm. I pulled away because… Because…

I pulled away, but not far enough to put too much distance between us. “You know that won’t work. I’m not going to ruin what we have. You’re my family.” If he only knew how absolutely impossible it was, he wouldn’t be so quick to mention it.

Dylan pulled back, something closed off in his gaze. “Are you going to try that online marriage thing?” How long had he been pushing me toward that site? Now, he seemed almost reluctant for me to go forward with it.

Maybe Dylan needed to be married just as much as I did. Maybe it would be good for him to do, too. He’d been pushing me to do it, I could make it conditional – a little I’ll do it, if you do it gamble. “Let’s both sign up.” If I knew Dylan was doing it with me, it wouldn’t be quite so scary. Plus, if he said no way, then I would be justified in saying no.

“What? I’m not on the marriage market.” Dylan squinted at me like maybe he had more to drink than I’d assumed. His next question reconfirmed we still finished each other’s sentences. “How much have you had to drink?”

I slapped his arm, grinning at him. “I haven’t had anything to drink. Get your phone out. We’re doing this together. There’s an app we can download and do the whole questionnaire, all of it, together. Sit over here.” I almost dragged him to the table. We sat side-by-side. He reluctantly picked out his phone and we downloaded the app.

We went through a few buttons and we reached a questionnaire on the screen. “Are you at the questionnaire?” I lifted my feet and rested them on the chair across from me.

Dylan nodded as he stared at his phone and sipped his drink.

A waitress passed by and I lifted my hand. “Can I get a Pina colada, please?” She nodded and returned moments later.

Laughing, Dylan nodded toward my drink. “I thought you weren’t having any?”

I shrugged. “The only way I’m going to be able to make it through this, is half-wasted.” I giggled. “It’s really strong.” I blinked past the lightly green-tinged drink. “Okay. Let’s answer together.”

The questions seemed pretty fun at first but the tediousness of the questions grew and I started to laugh as I realized we were probably answering similarly. “Wouldn’t that be hilarious if we were matched?” It wouldn’t happen. It couldn’t happen.

Dylan and I would not be good together. I would destroy everything about him. He was one of the good guys. I was interested in bad boys.

“Am I interested in the honeymoon option or the six-month option? What do you think that means?” My finger hovered over the six-month option button. That was a long time commitment. What if I hated the guy? What if he chewed with his mouth open? He might have hair plugs or a shaved chest. I moved to put the phone down and sip my drink for more liquid courage.

“I think you should do the honeymoon option. Big Dog won’t make it very long without us. I think two weeks would be good. Don’t you think we’ll know after two weeks of being with someone, if we were going to be able to last more than that with them? Two weeks or six months doesn’t mean anything about having to be in love. It would be a quick way to know if things will be worth pursuing. I mean, you know they want the same things, right?”

Dylan hadn’t drank that much. He was very logical. I was a light weight and the rum was mixing with the sugar and I could barely focus.

Nodding wobbly, I took a couple more large pulls on the straw and then set my drink down and picked up my phone. “Two weeks. Yeah, I like that idea. Do you really think we should do this?” My hands were shaking because of the alcohol. Okay, no, it was because I was about to commit to something I wasn’t sure I wanted to.

Dylan laughed, he leaned close to me, his eyes dark and shadowed with meaning. “It’s this or we resign ourselves to marrying each other.” He searched my face as if maybe that really was an option.

I shook my head and laughed at the absurdity of it. I didn’t need a couple drinks to look at Dylan and realize if I didn’t jump on doing this and finding a man on my own, I would watch Dylan disappear from my life as he got married and had kids. No way would his wife let him hang out with me the way we’d grown accustomed.

The thought of him leaving me was abysmal. I nodded my head jerkily. “Let’s do it.” I submitted my profile and hurriedly drank more. I needed to get drunk. Things were getting serious fast.

“Let’s see if we get matched.” He laughed and put his phone away.

I took solace in knowing that just because we got matched didn’t mean I had to marry him.

But I suddenly was excited to find who each of us was paired with. It would be awesome if we were paired together and we could laugh about it. Of course, we would never agree to do it, but it would be funny to see just how much alike we really were.

Would they find someone who was the right match for me? At that race, no one would be better than Dylan. But he wasn’t a possibility.

I sure hoped they matched me to someone perfect, because I was striking out left and right.

Kindle

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