BREAKFAST AT BETHANY'S
The Bachelorette Pact Mini-Series
Harlequin Temptation
May 2004
ISBN 0373691750

available at

Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Spencer James is one of my favorite heroes ever. My editor, who is very stingy with her praise, loved him, too, and wrote a little note in the margin of one of my edits: "I love Spencer." I framed the page. Breakfast at Bethany's won the New Jersey Golden Leaf contest for Best Short Contemporary.

 
   

Beth smiled grimly at the man across the table from her. "Let's stick to business, shall we?"

"If you insist."

She glared. "I insist. You've said you can get me great dates, however, I think we need to define the terminology we'll be using. Great for me indicates a man who is handsome--"

Spencer interrupted. "Aha! Looks are important."

Her knife was calling to her. "Intelligent," she grated out between clenched teeth. "Sensitive. And not a boor."

"Then you'll have to change things around." He pulled a folder from his briefcase. "Instead of saying 'looking to meet good man' say 'Are you worthy?' It implies your confident and above clichés."

"Looking to meet good man is not a cliché."

"It's the most cliché of clichés."

Beth threw her napkin over her knife, just to eliminate temptation. "Let's move on."

"Romantic walks." He shook his head. "It means you're fat."

The napkin came off the knife. A knife that had cut through approximately twenty-seven Weight Watchers points worth of food. "I'm not fat."

"No, but a man will read between the lines. It implies that you don't want to do anything to break a sweat. Including sex. No wonder you're having problems here."

"I understand," she said, suddenly comprehending why his wife divorced him.

"The 'good wine' bit isn't bad."

"Thank you for that vote of confidence."

He continued on, ignoring her. "If you'd said martinis or cosmopolitans, you might get a livelier crowd. Just as long as you don't mention beer."

"Why?"

"Beer means you're fat."

"I hate beer."

He looked her over. "And it shows."

Quickly she changed the subject. "Old movies? I suppose I should say action movies, right?"

"No, the average single man will read 'old movies' and think that he can put up with it, and then get laid on the couch. Old movies are a great aphrodisiac."

"Do you think old movies are a great aphrodisiac?" she asked, suddenly curious.

He frowned for a moment, as if he'd never considered the idea of aphrodisiacs. "No."

She folded her hands together gracefully, the image of calm. "Ah, but you're not the average single man."

"God forbid."

She polished off the last of her wine. No dessert tonight. It was getting late, and she was feeling fat. "So how would you rewrite my ad?"

He looked up in the air, his pen twirling idly. Then he looked at her, frowned. The pen twirled again. "Are you worthy? Sexy blonde who savors a great cabernet wants to wile away hours with a man. Life is hectic enough. I need someone who appreciates a classic movie and a lazy Saturday night. Dave Eggers fans need not apply."

It was good. And he really thought she was sexy? Not that it mattered, of course. All she wanted was great dates with someone other than him.

And so it came to pass. Beth smiled and held out her hand. "Mr. James, I believe we have a deal."

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