Finding Love Again
Mainstream Romance: Contemporary, Interracial/Multicultural
Cover Artist: Shirley Burnett
Line Editor: Red Rose™ Publishing
Word Count: 9,152
Release Date: April 7, 2011
Samantha had it all—a happy marriage and a striving small business. Then her husband Mark died. Convinced no man could compare to the big, handsome love of her life, she feared she would spend the rest of her life without love. After her grief subsided, to appease her best friend, she agreed to a blind date. Don Westen was nice enough, but he was nothing like her lost love. Mark had been a manly carpenter. Don managed a bookstore and liked to cook! He was definitely not her type.
And they both knew it. So why did he pursue her?
Why couldn't she stop thinking about him?
Surely, it would be foolish to expect to find love again. At least with Don Westen.
He seated me before resuming his seat. “I want to thank you for agreeing to have dinner with me tonight, Samantha. I’ve just moved back to town after fifteen years of living out of state and I really don’t know any women.”
As he spoke, his dark gaze held a look that left no doubt in my mind that he found me attractive.
I hadn’t been out to dinner in awhile and hadn’t actually worn a dress since Mark’s funeral. It felt great to know he liked the effort I’d made.
I glanced at him, met his gaze, and found it difficult to look away.
He had the sexiest eyes I’d ever seen. It was disconcerting to find myself fighting the urge to lose myself in them.
“Yes, well I’m sure you’ll soon meet plenty of women.”
I nodded. “Trust me. Ta–tea will see to that,” I told him. “She’ll soon introduce you to so many of us that you’d have your pick.”
“I’m not a lady’s man.”
I blinked at him. Oh, hell. Was he about to tell me he was bi? “Oh?”
He shook his head. “I was hoping to meet just one special woman, Samantha.”
“Oh.” I wasn’t quite sure why, but I experienced a surge of relief at his declaration. “She can take care of that too.”
He shrugged. “I’m thinking that won’t be necessary after tonight. At least that’s what I’m hoping.”
As his meaning became clear, I felt a tingling sensation along the back of my neck that I hadn’t felt since the last time Mark had made love to me. It had been so long since a man had flirted with me, I wasn’t quite sure how to handle myself.
I moistened my lips and had to force myself not to look away from his gaze, which suddenly seemed so intense. “You know, most people call me Sam,” I said, annoyed at the way my voice quivered. Get a grip, woman. He’s just a man and not even your type.
I nodded and swallowed hard.
“I hope you’ll allow me to call you, Samantha.”
“It would be a shame to shorten such a beautiful name, Samantha.”
He made my name sound so sweet and soft that I was in danger of blushing like a silly teenager. “Fine. Call me Samantha.”
“And you’ll call me Don?”
“You want me to call you Don?”
“It’s my name.”
“Oh. Of course it is.” I paused, biting my lip. I knew I sounded like an idiot, but I couldn’t seem to think clearly with him smiling so intimately into my eyes. “I’ll call you Don.”
“Great. Don and Samantha. They have kind of a nice ring to them. Don’t they?”
As if sensing my unease with the turn the conversation had taken, he changed the subject. We started to discuss books.
As I slowly relaxed, I tried not to enjoy myself that evening. I kept telling myself that it wouldn’t do for me to get accustomed to dining out—especially with him. After all, I’d taken over the running of the business after Marks death. That meant I had to work long hours and had to be willing to roll up my sleeves and help out if push came to shove. And lately, push often came to shove. My busy work schedule didn’t leave much time for courting and trying to look glamorous.
I’d become very used to living in jeans, sweats, and work clothes. So glamorous isn’t a word I’d normally associate with myself. Still, his constant long stares of appreciation left me feeling very desirable if not actually glamorous.
He had such an easy, beguiling way about him that I found it impossible not to smile back at him when he turned one of his frequent, slow smiles on me.
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