Page 12 of The Dating Proposal

“And you’re a bundle of skills. What do you do when you’re not rescuing hard drives from evil cats?”

“Admittedly, that does occupy a large portion of my day. But in the few hours I can eke out, I host a show.”

“Like radio show or a podcast?”

I twist the screwdriver a notch. “It’s a TV show. On WebFlix. It’s called Geeking Out.”

She narrows her eyes and points at me, circling her finger. “You’re a geek?”

“You say that like it doesn’t compute, and yet here I am, fixing your tech in a coffee shop. I’d say that makes me a geek.”

“You definitely don’t look like a geek.”

I meet her eyes. They’re sparking with a glint of playfulness. “And what does a geek look like?”

“Not like a surfer. You look like you’re going to go hang ten.”

“I do that too. For fun.”

She pumps a fist. “Nailed it. You totally have that vibe about you. Not that I’m pigeonholing you based on your looks. But with the Nor Cal T-shirt, it wasn’t the hardest round of Jeopardy! to play.” She imitates Alex Trebek. “What is the most likely profession of a guy with floppy hair, a not-from-a-salon tan, and casual charm?”

I quirk up the corner of my lips. “You think I’m charming?”

She blushes, but it disappears quickly. “You charmed my hard drive out of my hands.”

I screw the final piece of the case back together, set down the tiny tool, drag a hand through my hair, and gesture to the repaired device. “Good as new.”

“Wow,” she says appreciatively, picking up the drive and gazing at it in admiration. “Thank you so much. You are Mr. Fix It.”

I puff out my chest playfully. “Why, thank you very much. I’m having T-shirts made with that saying. Want one?”

“I do. I want one to sleep in at night.”

And there she goes again.

I’d love to linger in this zone, but I’m not getting the vibe that she wants to hang there with me. She’s just friendly, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I focus on the practical. “It should work perfectly. If it doesn’t, call me.”

We exchange numbers, and when she puts her phone down, she strokes the hard drive lovingly. “Now I can access my archives when I need to. You’re my hero.”

She leans forward in her chair and wraps her arms around me, and whoa.

Her hair curtains my cheek. Holy hell. She smells delicious, like strawberry shampoo, and it makes me want to nibble on her neck. Kiss her throat. Lick my way up to her ear. Strawberries are my weakness, and so are friendly, outgoing women who are prettier than they realize. That’s the kind of woman she is. I bet she has no idea of the effect of her looks. She doesn’t play into them one bit.

“I was happy to help,” I say, drawing one more clandestine inhale before we separate. Yup, just a hit, and damn, it goes to my head.

I could get high on her.

But I force myself to focus on what she just said. “Archives for what?”

She waves a hand like it’s no big deal. “I run a fashion site, and I blog about fashion too. What to wear, what not to wear, that sort of thing.”

“Can I see it?”

She shoots me a curious look. “You want to see a fashion video?”

I want to see her video. I want to keep talking to her. I want another excuse to sniff her hair. I guess that makes me a hair pervert. I’ll get that on a T-shirt next.

“Yeah, I do. Show me.” I egg her on. “C’mon. Show the geek what to wear.”

She laughs. “You already dress well. You have mastered the casual California look.”

I nudge her with my elbow. “Show me.”

She seems to fight off a grin. “If you insist.” Grabbing her phone, she clicks over to Instagram, where I catch a glimpse of her follower count. It’s half a mil. “You’re popular,” I say.

“I just like to have fun and post pics. Somewhere along the way, people started following me.”

She hits play, and within seconds I can tell she has charisma.

She’s funny. She’s self-deprecating. She’s accessible.

She’s exactly who she is—adorable and relatable, and so damn easy on the eyes.

There are no two ways about it. McKenna Bell loves the camera, and the camera loves her. Too bad she’s talking about fashion. Otherwise, she’d be perfect on my show. It’s also too bad she’s talking about other guys in her video and a date some dude asked her on.

All things considered, I’d rather this other dude not date her. Which makes me a selfish prick. But there it is.

“You’re a natural,” I say, shaking my head in appreciation. And because I need to know her situation, I stir up the hornet’s nest, referring to a comment she made in her video. “You haven’t dated in a decade? How does that happen? You’re fun and bright, and despite your predilection for being whacked by shower doors, you’re kind of awesome.”

Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance