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About the author:
R.C. Matthews graduated from a liberal arts college with a B.A. in Accounting and German and continues to work as a certified public accountant. She lived for four years in Germany and two years in Boston, MA. and she enjoys traveling with her family (loving husband, two sons and a stepson), reading, down-hill skiing and playing board games with her family.
What inspired you to write your book?
After many years of on-line dating and hilarious dates, I wanted to share my experiences in a romantic comedy.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Big Ben’s Brewery
Royal Oak, Michigan
Get your filthy hands off of her!
I breathed deep as my eyes narrowed on Jordan and the newest ‘flavor of the week’ being escorted to their table. Watching her closely as she walked along the aisle, I detected a slight stiffness in her gait. Her long, dark brown hair wasn’t bouncing in the usual way.
If Beef Jerky didn’t remove his hand from her lower back in a nanosecond, I was going to be forced to take matters into my own hands. And Jordan wouldn’t be happy with me. But there was no help for it. Grannie had given me express orders. She didn’t want her little girl coming home with an asshole for a grandson-in-law. All right, maybe those weren’t her exact words, but close enough. One thing was for sure; only assholes feel up a woman on their first date.
The second Beef Jerky caressed Jordan’s lower back like he owned her, I grabbed three plates of piping hot food off the counter and strode towards them. When Jordan caught sight of me, her eyes lit up the room like stars on a pitch black night, and a brilliant smile spread over her face. It almost made me regret what I knew I had to do.
I bumped shoulders hard with Beef Jerky a second later, effectively dislodging his hold on Jordan. “Pardon me,” I said, glancing back. “It’s a tight fit through those tables.” My smile widened to a face splitting grin when I heard the hostess apologize profusely to Beef Jerky.
I set the hot plates down at table sixteen. “Enjoy your meal. Let me know if there’s anything else I can get for you.”
I gave a curt nod of my head…waited a few seconds for a response…all set. I turned and made a bee-line for my newest customers.
“Hey Jordan.” I gazed directly into her chocolate brown eyes. The color was so dark it nearly blended in with her pupils, rich and mesmerizing.
She shook her head lightly at me with pursed lips that attempted to hide the smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. She knew exactly what I was up to but for some reason she had decided to let me off the hook. Perhaps this date started off on the wrong foot.
“Good to see you, again,” I said with a grin and then covered my chuckle with a cough.
“What is this? Like the sixth time in three weeks?”
The sparkle in her eyes flickered and then ignited into flames. Hmmm. It looked like I was pushing my luck. I knew I shouldn’t tease her in front of her date but it was just too much fun. Someone had to keep it real for her.
“JT Murphy, this is Bryan Jones,” Jordan said in a sweeter than honey voice while turning to her date. “Bryan this is my brother’s best friend JT.”
A flash of surprise gleamed in Beef Jerky’s eyes. At least I had gotten the initials right this time. Maybe I’d start calling him BJ as my own private joke. Bryan stared directly into my eyes while firmly shaking my hand. I knew when I was being sized up and I didn’t like it one bit. BJ had a little touch of the control freak in him. Grannie wasn’t going to like my report tonight.
“So can I get you two an appetizer or a drink?” I asked, pulling out my order pad.
“Would you like an appetizer Jordan?” Bryan asked in gentleman-like fashion. “I’ve never been here but if you want something then I’m game.”
“The potato skins with extra bacon and sour cream are her favorite,” I said, tapping my pen on the table to the rhythm of the background music. Jordan’s brows furrowed and she tossed me an irritated glance. Crap. Did I just say that out loud? Oh, well. It was true.
“I’m more in the mood for nachos or chicken wings tonight,” she said, addressing her date. “They’re both really good. Do you want to pick, Bryan?”
“Mild chicken wings sound great—with blue cheese dressing. And bring me whatever you have on tap that’s light. Don’t forget the water.”
“No sir.” I shook my head in acknowledgment. Hadn’t he just watched me write it down?
What an idiot. “I won’t forget. Corona Light for you Jordan?”
“Sounds great. Thanks JT.”
I input their order in the kiosk: one beer on tap, one Corona Light and half spicy/half mild chicken wings. Beef Jerky hadn’t even asked Jordan what kind of wings she liked. If he had, then he’d know she preferred her wings spicy. Good thing I knew her so well and could reduce her suffering through these dates. At least the meal would be good, if not the company.
I stopped by table eighteen to clear their plates before heading back to Jordan’s table with their drinks. Her peal of laughter on my way over inspired a chuckle of my own. I had always loved Jordan’s laugh, not just for the rich timbre of her voice, but because of the way it made her eyes shine. So BJ had a sense of humor, huh?
“Have you decided on dinner?” I asked Jordan and then turned to Bryan. “Or do you need another minute?”
I was smart enough to know Bryan would be leaving the tip tonight. As much as I didn’t want to care, I needed the tip to help pay for my Master’s degree or I’d be hustling tables at a restaurant the rest of my life. The college fund my parents had left me had dried up and there was no way I was dipping into my brother’s college fund, even if Derek had told me to do it. Just one more year and I’d finally be done with my studies and could start earning real money.
Jordan gave the menu one last look before snapping it shut. “I’ll have the steak fajitas.”
“With extra guacamole,” I said and wrote it down. “Great choice.”
She flashed me one of her genuine, full white teeth smiles and my heart thudded hard in my chest. Why didn’t any of the women I dated ever give me a smile like that? On second thought, it was probably a good thing or I might be wrapped around her finger. I gave Jordan a wink and smiled back.
“What about you Bryan? What can I get for you?”
“I’ll have the Asian Chicken Salad, dressing on the side please. And hold the cheese.”
“You got it.” I walked away and waited until I was a safe distance before letting out a snort. What kind of man eats salad for dinner? Dressing on the side and hold the cheese; health nut. Another check mark on the ‘cons’ for the Grannie report.
I stood by the counter perusing my tables to make sure no one was in need of anything as I waited for my orders to come up. It only took a few seconds before my gaze wandered to Jordan. Nothing else in the place was as interesting as her table. What were they talking about? Oh to be a fly on the wall. The smile on her face wasn’t fooling me; her body language was telling another story. She was a smart girl…very perceptive. She knew Beef Jerky was an asshole too and was just waiting out the date.
“Hey, JT,” Chloe said. She punched me playfully in the arm and stood next to me at the counter. “Isn’t that Jared’s kid sister at table fourteen?”
“Yep.” I crossed my arms over my chest and glanced over at Chloe.
She was one of my favorite co-workers. Short and perky. But with a lot of grit to her. She didn’t take crap from anybody and she knew how to work the tips. I had even coaxed a few of her special tricks out of her, though the smiley face idea wasn’t for me. It seemed more like a chick thing. But I knew how to charm the ladies when needed; though truth be told, I didn’t put much effort into it these days. My focus was squarely on getting through school to secure my future.
I gazed at Jordan. “She’s not much of a kid anymore. Just finished up her last semester at Grand Valley State and is back for the summer until she figures out where she can get a job. I hope for her mother’s sake she finds something in the area. Everyone missed her the last four years while she was away.”
No. She wasn’t a kid anymore. That was for damned sure. Her white button down shirt pulled slightly in the chest across her full bosom. And those long legs of hers filled out a pair of skinny jeans just fine. A strange knot formed in the pit of my stomach watching her. It was nice to have her back in town. We’d had a lot of laughs over the past three weeks during her twice weekly dates at the restaurant; even hung out a few times afterward. Her brother Jared was pretty busy with summer classes these days but Jordan had extra time on her hands while she interviewed for teaching jobs for the fall.
If she wasn’t my best friend’s kid sister and I had a penny to my name to support her, then I was certain I’d be signing up for the stupid dating service Grannie was paying a fortune for, to help search for Jordan’s soul mate. I didn’t believe much in soul mates. But whoever eventually called Jordan his wife was going to be one lucky guy.
I could feel the stiffness in my shoulders but I hoped my smile seemed genuine. Anyone who knew me well would recognize the difference. But I had just met Bryan twenty minutes ago for the first time. And already I was wishing the date was over. What a possessive and self-centered jerk. I hated it when men got too familiar with my body on a first date or second or third. I knew I should’ve scolded JT for his antics when we arrived at the restaurant but I secretly wanted to fist bump him.
Just another hour…I could handle it.
“So tell me Bryan, what do you do for a living?”
“I’m a male entertainer.” He relaxed back into his seat and gazed down at me under hooded eyes. “Have you ever been?”
I was sure my face must resemble an owl with eyes the size of half dollar coins and I fought the urge to burst out laughing. No wonder he walked around like he owned me already. Even I had to admit the guy was quite a looker. He must be used to the ladies drooling all over him. And by the tone of his voice he seemed quite pleased with himself and his career choice.
I cleared my throat. “Um…sure, I’ve been once with my girlfriends for a bachelorette party. Actually it was just last month.” Heat began rising in my cheeks thinking about it. What an eye opening experience. Well at least the evening wasn’t going to be a total waste. I couldn’t wait to hear more. “So do you have a stage name? That’s what they call it, isn’t it?”
“Smart girl,” he said and flashed a lewd smile. He leaned into the table and spoke quietly as if sharing a trade secret. “They call me Sergeant Pecker.”
A peal of laughter burst out of me and I covered my mouth almost instantly. I could feel red hot flames of embarrassment licking up my neck and singeing my cheeks. “I’m sorry to laugh but that’s so awesome. Where do you guys come up with those names?”
Before Bryan could share the interesting details, JT appeared with our drinks, ready to take our order. I picked up the menu again, relieved to have a few minutes to collect my wits, and then giving it one last look, I decided on the steak fajitas. Just as I was about to remind JT I wanted extra guacamole, he said it out loud and wrote it on his order pad. I loved coming here to eat every week. The food was amazing and JT knew exactly what I liked and how I liked it. It was wonderful to be home again. I felt happy and flashed him a smile to let him know.
As JT took Bryan’s order, I marveled at JT’s ability to maintain a positive attitude no matter what the situation. I knew it was a lot to ask of him to watch over me while I brought male after male into the restaurant in my search for ‘The One’. I tried my hardest to ensure the date was enjoyable, even if the guy was a total jerk. It could mean the difference between a great tip and a crappy tip for JT. And whatever it took to ensure he got a great tip, well, I was willing to do it.
The way JT had raised his younger brother ever since his parent’s tragic car accident five years before was admirable. He’d only been nineteen years old at the time. It was a lot of pressure for a teenager. But look at him now; one a year away from becoming a certified public accountant with an offer already in the bag. And Derek would be graduating high school in a week. I felt proud of them. When JT walked away to put in our order, I turned my attention to Bryan.
“You’re making me feel guilty for eating steak fajitas,” I said with a smile. I couldn’t resist the urge to continue the entertaining conversation about his occupation and felt confident I’d be able to keep it going for most of the date. “But I guess you have to be careful of what you eat to keep those muscles lean.”
“Exactly!” His expression bespoke of his daily personal sacrifice at the hands of his profession. I could only surmise that he took his work very serious. “You have no idea how hard I have to work to keep these six pack abs. Do you want to see?”
“Um…maybe another time,” I said after forcing down my gulp of beer. Was this guy for real? We were in a public restaurant. No. I didn’t want to see his six pack abs here; though I wasn’t completely against taking a peek outside for curiosity sake. “So tell me how you prepare for your routine every evening.”
As Bryan droned on about himself, I let my gaze drift over to where JT stood leaning against the counter. A perky little blond strode up to him and punched him in the arm before starting up a conversation. Could she be any more obvious that she was into JT? A tiny twinge gripped me in the heart as I watched him turn to talk to Blondie. Who was she anyway? I hadn’t noticed her at the restaurant since I got back from college. I was going to have to ask JT for an introduction because like it or not, if Blondie was interested in JT, then she was going to have to pass the Jordan and Grannie test. He was like family and I would do anything to protect my family.
“So do you want to come next Friday evening?”
“Excuse me,” I said, settling my eyes back on Bryan. I hated it when I got caught red handed not paying attention to the conversation. It was rude and I’d be pissed if the tables were turned. And now I’d be forced to tell a little white lie. “I’m sorry. I was just looking over there to see if our appetizer was almost ready. What did you ask?”
“Do you want to come to next Friday evening’s show? You’re welcome to bring some of your girlfriends along. I can reserve a table for you in the front row. It seats up to eight women.”
My mouth hung open but I didn’t trust myself to speak and stalled a moment to craft a suitable response; ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ probably wouldn’t go over very well. Luckily I was saved from answering his question because JT arrived with our appetizer divided on two plates and placed one in front of each of us. I stared at him with a questioning brow. We’d only ordered one appetizer.
JT winked at me with a smile playing on his lips. “Spicy hot…just the way you like it, babe.”
My eyes shot up to Bryan’s and we both burst out laughing. JT arched a brow at me, clearly not following along with the joke. I gently shook my head to let him know I’d fill him in later, just as I had with all of my previous dates.