SYLVIE STEWARTWhen your luck runs out, do you run away—or do you stay and fight?
Let’s get one thing straight. I am not your typical girl. Sure I’ve got all the parts, but I’ve been a stubborn, irreverent tomboy since the womb, as my Irish father would proudly attest. Despite my Irish blood, I’ve had a bit of bad luck here and there—I recently trusted the wrong guy and got derailed in my professional pursuits. But I’ve bounced back. With my shields firmly in place, I thought nothing, or no one, could touch me again. Until he did. And he just might make this tomboy do the girliest thing in the world—fall head over heels in love. Of all the damn luck…
I’m a pretty lucky guy. I have a phenomenal family, a career I love, and I’m building a brand-new life back in my hometown. And, not to be a jerk about it, but I do more than all right with the ladies. Everything’s been going according to plan—like I said, I’m a lucky guy.
That was, until my luck ran out.
Until I met the girl I call “Irish.”
Irony can go kiss my a$$.
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I was struck again by the thought that everyone in the world seemed to be good with kids but me. And how unfair was it that Jake Beckett was not only hot as sin and a wizard in the sack, but he was also nice to small people and fainting women?
What was I supposed to do with that?
We finally pulled into the driveway and I hopped out quickly to avoid any awkward assistance that might be offered. Seeming to need no invitation, Jake followed us inside and closed the door behind him.
I took a deep breath and firmed my back as well as my resolve.
“As you can see, we’re all fine. I appreciate your concern—and the burritos—but everything is under control. We’ll go ahead and get on with our day and you can get on with yours.” I held my hand out toward the door like some damn restaurant hostess.
“Uh-huh,” he replied and had the nerve to lean against the entryway wall and put his hands in his pockets.
What was this? Was he posing for a bachelor-of- the-month calendar?
I performed the hostess gesture yet again.
This time it received a grin.
“What?!” I demanded.
He looked me up and down. “Uh-huh.”
I became acutely aware of my attire and general appearance in that moment. I could feel the heat rising to my cheeks.
My hair was in a messy ponytail and I was dressed in athletic shorts and a men’s t-shirt. I didn’t need to look down to know there was a ketchup stain on the hem and a dinosaur riding a bicycle on the front. I have no explanation.
I urged myself to ignore Jake’s look and not even attempt to interpret it.
This moment perfectly captured the reason all Jake’s texts and calls had gone unanswered over the past three weeks.
He wasn’t texting me.
He was texting the girl from the wedding.
The girl I’d pretended to be for one night.
The girl I would never be.
The one I couldn’t afford to be.
(Copyright 2017 Sylvie Stewart)
For the entire week leading up to the big day, I’d walked back and forth across my living room in a pair of ridiculously high heels, determined that I would not humiliate myself by falling on my face in front of everyone I knew.
I’d thought I was prepared.
I was wrong.
I felt a twinge of something when I woke up, but I brushed it aside, as there were many
things to be done—the worst of which involved Fiona plucking errant hairs from my face that I
insisted I needed to keep for warmth when winter came. She didn’t share my feelings.
But, as the day progressed, there was no denying what was happening to me.
I was falling victim to the oldest cliché in the book. My brother was getting married, my
friends were in happy relationships, and I was single and about to turn thirty. I could almost
physically feel the cloak of the proverbial Old Maid descending upon my shoulders.
And that right there was how a tall, handsome, smooth-talking guy by the name of Jake
Beckett worked the second oldest cliché in the book and got laid by a bridesmaid.
(Copyright 2017 Sylvie Stewart)
Jake finished his entire bottle in one go. I watched his throat work as he swallowed, and my knees sent an S.O.S. signal to the rest of my body. We’re going down!
“Are these ‘complicated’ things part of the reason you won’t go out with me?”
He was really going there, wasn’t he? I couldn’t seem to catch a break.
I stuttered in my response. “I-I- It’s hard to explain that.”
He studied me and then nodded, his expression turning knowing. “Question.” He moved a step closer. “Are you attracted to me?”
Ha! Like my horny text and my jumping him at the wedding hadn’t been clear enough!
Add in my skin’s propensity to mimic a pomegranate and I may as well just take out a billboard—Take me now, Jake Beckett, you sexy beast!
I felt like my entire body was about to combust. “Um,” was all I could manage.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” His lips quirked up in a cocky, lopsided smirk.
Correction: hot jerk.
(Copyright 2017 Sylvie Stewart)
Sylvie Stewart’s addiction to books has been a lifelong problem. It was the cause of many scoldings when her mother discovered Sylvie army-crawling to the bookshelf after lights out. And it is the reason her husband would have a fairly solid case if he claimed “alienation of affection” and pointed a finger at her e-reader (a.k.a “The Precious”). Never-the-less, books are in Sylvie’s heart to stay, and she has transformed her love of books into a career as an author.
A recent move to North Carolina inspired Sylvie’s debut Romantic Comedy series. Carolina Connections is a collection of standalone novels based in her new hometown, and it combines her love of romance, humor, and sexy times. There is also some wine drinking incorporated in there, as this is another of Sylvie’s passions. Perhaps a future story will also involve kayaking, a new interest in Sylvie’s life. Experience has taught her that you can’t kayak and drink wine simultaneously, though, so don’t try this at home!
The Fix and The Spark are now available, and The Lucky One releases on May 11, 2017. More projects and new installments to the Carolina Connections series are in the works. That is, if Sylvie’s eight-year- old twins will stop trying to peek at her laptop while she’s writing. That might lead to some awkward parent-teacher conferences.
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