Page 33 of The Dating Proposal

What were the chances I’d not only nab a parking spot right outside my coffee-making class, but master the art of making a latte and, on top of that, snag a date?

Slim.

But slim chances paid off, and maybe my dating karma is throwing down the gauntlet to compete with my parking karma. Because the goddesses of dating have delivered J. P., the chatty, goateed, aspiring coffee-maker I was paired up with in the two-hour class. When class ended, he asked me out, and here we are, ordering a drink on a Thursday evening at a bar.

“Let me guess—you’re not in the mood for anything coffee-based,” he says, a smile crinkling the corners of his lips.

“And you guessed right. How about a martini?”

“Coming right up,” he says then orders.

We make small talk, and I learn more about him. He’s twenty-five—yay, me, for appealing to a younger man—studied communications in college, and works as an assistant director for a sports marketing firm.

So far, he seems—dare I even think it? —normal.

No rampant sexism. No rivers of tears.

It’s my responsibility, then, to make the most of tonight, even though a part of me is elsewhere, and I don’t know how to graft it back in.

But I try. I’m a trier. I’m the go-getter, the plucky gal who swings back against heartbreak. I focus on my date, his kind brown eyes, his thoughtful expression. “Tell me more about what you do. Sports marketing sounds fascinating,” I say, swinging my foot back and forth like I did with Chris. Maybe that’ll make me feel the way I do when I’m around him.

J. P. beams, eager to share his passion, it seems. “I love it. I love every second of it. I love to ski and hike and bike and run, and I love the chance to market races and triathlons . . .”

He continues telling me about his work, and it’s interesting.

I swear, it’s truly interesting.

And he’s completely friendly.

Wonderfully engaging.

I try desperately to focus on every word.

But a big chunk of my brain is back in time, replaying yesterday.

That kiss. That absolutely delicious, decadent, toe-curling, bone-melting, mind-bending kiss.

That was the reason kissing exists—for kisses like that. A shiver runs through me at the memory that feels less like a memory and more like my body is living it again.

I actually feel that hot rush of golden sensation cascading over my shoulders as I replay the kiss. It’s on repeat in my mind. The way his hand curved around my neck, the way he lingered on a strand or two of hair, stroking it, touching it. How his lips devoured mine. Pleasure slams through my body like I’ve hit the hammer at a carnival.

What the holy hell?

“And that’s my goal,” J. P. says as our drinks arrive.

Ashamed I’ve no clue what he said, I do my best cover-up, raising a glass. “Let’s toast to meeting and exceeding goals.”

Not to remembered lust.

He clinks his glass to mine and asks me about my goals.

I have so many. Normally I get so excited about business and the site and blog, but right now, my number one goal is to figure out what went wrong at the end of the swoon-worthy quesadillas.

Yet I’m pretty sure I know what went wrong.

He didn’t tell me to cancel my class today.

And I would have. I would have canceled the class in a heartbeat. I was waiting on the edge of my orange plastic seat in the taqueria for those words to rush past his lips.

Cancel your coffee class. Cancel it and go out with me.

That’s what went wrong. I’ve started to want something I can’t have. Because Chris doesn’t date women he works with.

Drinks with J. P. lasts another forty-five minutes, and it’s fine. Everything about it is fine, except for my stupid mind, stupidly wandering to places where it shouldn’t go.

“Maybe I should call this dating thing off.” I flop down on Hayden’s couch later that night.

She lifts an eyebrow. “Because of one bad date?”

“Three. Well, tonight’s was good. I was bad.”

“What happened?” She settles in next to me.

I bury my face in the couch pillow, muttering, “I was a bad date. I was distracted.”

“Ah, what distracted you, kitten?”

I grumble and mumble, “I like someone.”

She hums. “Didn’t see that one coming when he posted a snippet of the segment.”

I yank the pillow off my face. “What? You could tell? From a snippet?”

She scoffs, petting my hair. “You’re so cute.”

I toss the pillow at her. “Stop. Are you serious?”

“Yes,” she insists as she crosses one long leg over the other.

“How?”

She cackles. She howls with laughter. “You’re hilarious. You have it bad, wanting to know if it’s obvious.”

“Well? I’m waiting.” I twiddle my thumbs.

“You guys have this great chemistry. But more than that, it’s sort of a charm, a sweetness. I feel as if I’m watching two people flirt.”


Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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