LuckySuit: We’re close. I’d like to think he’d divulge his profession as well as his hobbies.

HotRodLover: How do you think that sort of thing comes up? “By the way, last night I accomplished a career high of six bloody murders.”

LuckySuit: Ah, so he’s not just an ax murderer but a successful one? Also, it’s adorable that you’re screening her beaux. I suppose on behalf of Uncle Joe I should inquire if Jeanne’s into him.

HotRodLover: Not to be direct, but also to be totally direct, who are you? I thought you were some man-friend of hers, and it turns out you are indeed her man-friend, but you’re also not her age. You’re younger. Please say you’re not a teenager!

LuckySuit: I’ve been out of my teens for a while, but my AARP membership is still a ways off.

HotRodLover: Fine. The other question. Who exactly are you?

I glance at my shirt, my shorts, my drink. I consider the photos I take. I think about the eclectic mix of rock and indie music on my phone. I imagine my friends in New York. Who am I? I’m a lot of things.

LuckySuit: I’m the guy who believes in luck and chance. I’m the dude who plays online poker with your grandma because she’s a riot and she makes me laugh, and she has ever since I met her at the car auction the other month. I’m the person who likes music and books and philosophy. I think chocolate is heaven on earth, and beer is a damn delicious beverage. And I like people. Always have. It’s possible the word “gregarious” has been used to describe me. That’s probably why I get along well with Jeanne. I’m outgoing, and so is she. She’s also proud of you.

HotRodLover: That’s quite a résumé you shared. Almost like an online dating profile. By the way, what has she said about me? Maybe that I’m an inquisitive troublemaker?

LuckySuit: Oh, I figured that out on my own. :) As for Jeanne, she brags about you, but she never mentioned Roller Derby, and now I’m dying to know all the details. Color me intrigued. What was your derby name?

HotRodLover: Calcu Lass.

LuckySuit: Was Zero Sum Dame not available? Wait. Don’t answer. Calcu Lass is officially the best name ever.

HotRodLover: Why, thank you. I sure did rock a pair of high socks and skates. But enough about me. Who are you? What’s your name?

LuckySuit: I’m Cameron. And in case she hasn’t told you, I’m from New York, I’m in the chocolate business, and I have my sights set on a Ferrari, but I’ve yet to pull the trigger.

HotRodLover: I’m in the market for a Bugatti, for what it’s worth.

HotRodLover: Also, gotta go.

She logs out of the app.

7

Kristen

The front door slams shut, and I sit up straight, my breath coming quickly.

Shoot. I don’t want Grams to read what we were saying in her app. I will never hear the end of it if she knows how badly I flirted with her friend.

Or how well, I should say.

Because that was some seriously good flirting, and am I ever glad he’s not her prospective man.

“The red beauty is nearly ready for Betty,” Grams says, exhaling with relief, her work boots clomping across the floor.

My shoulders tighten, and my thumbs fly across the keyboard. “That’s good.” I scroll up, delete the conversation with LuckySuit, and sign out of the app. Then I grab my phone and exit the dating app, right as Grams turns the corner into the kitchen.

She’s smiling.

I’m smiling too.

Wait. I need to wipe this smile off my face. I can’t let on how much I enjoyed chatting with Cameron.

Or can I?

“Did you crush my friend?” she asks as she heads to the sink to wash her hands.

“I did.”

“So it was an excellent night of poker and perhaps conversation?”

“We chatted a bit.” The words come out stiffly.

“And?”

I’m still not sure what their connection is, so I backpedal. “I grilled him. To make sure he’s good enough for you. I don’t want him to stalk you or grandma-nap you.”

She slaps her thigh and bursts into laughter. “He’s thirty-two. He’s your age. Not mine.”

Even though he told me he wasn’t too much older or too much younger, I’m glad to have the confirmation. “Oh, thank God.”

“Why do you say that?” She pounces, and I suppose there’s no point being coy.

I admit the truth. “Because he’s quite fun and interesting and clever.”

She beams, a smile that stretches to Neptune and back. “Cameron sure is, isn’t he? And quite a looker, I might add.”

“Really?” My voice rises. I try to erase the stupid bit of hope in it. I shouldn’t be happy he’s good-looking, but holy hell, I am. I almost want to ask for a photo, but that’d be gauche.

But then I remember something he said.

And I deflate.

There’s no point in a photo. He lives in New York.


Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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