Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day
THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE
By the time I told Sergio about Johnny Sullivan’s email, the bite had healed, and I laughed just as hard as he did. I didn’t like rejection any more than the next person, but I had thicker skin than most. I was a sales executive, and hearing “no” was a part of my job.
It took years to build clientele in my career, and it meant soliciting dozens of customers for every one that I gained. I didn’t like losing, but I’d learned the truth; it was a numbers game, and every loss brought me one step closer to the next win. I started to think of my dating quest with a longer timeframe. I had only been at it for three months. I hoped it wasn’t going to take as long to be successful with my romantic goals as it had been with my business goals, but there was only one way to find out—I had to put in my time.
With business on my mind, I decided to give networking a shot in my pursuit of eligible men, so I called another customer I had become friendly with and we had lunch near his office. We’d run into one another a few weeks earlier at a brand launch for a new winery. He had been out with an intriguing man that night, and I had set up the lunch to dig for more info.
“That guy you were with at the wine gig—the French guy—is he single?”
“Oh, he’s perfectly single,” Rob’s eyes lit up like headlights. I’d just told him about my dating saga, and he knew exactly where I was headed. “He’s funny, smart, and—he’s a cowboy!”
“Cowboy? A French cowboy?”
“Oui, juste! You’re ‘gonna love him! Great guy—my best friend. We’ll go out, the three of us. Let’s do Tuesday, at Le Pichet, downtown. I’ll pick you up.”
I really liked Rob, though we hadn’t spent much time together. He was a decade younger than I was, down to earth, and metro-hipster sharp. He was cool enough to have his finger on the pulse of every trend and fleeting obsession, and savvy enough to decipher what was BS. Rob was childless and recently divorced, and he was reviving a single lifestyle, catching after-work happy hours and weekend surf trips with his boy crew. We were practically neighbors in West Seattle, and he was certainly being neighborly in his offer to orchestrate a chaperoned blind date.
“Thank you, baby, but please—don’t tell him I might be interested.” I really didn’t know if I was. I just knew he was good to look at, he spoke English with a French accent, and now I knew he was a single cowboy. I was definitely up for low-pressure cocktails and a table for three. Le Pichet was an under-hyped bistro-style bar and French kitchen that made you forget you were in the Pacific Northwest. Rob loved the place, and the bartender was a buddy, which we all knew translated into generous pours.
His name was Dion Miron, and over cocktails I learned that the French Cowboy had a childhood obsession with John Wayne, which prompted the nickname that Rob had created for his buddy. Losing Toni had not changed my passion for all things French, and my Tuesday night with the boys at Le Pichet gave me one more reason to covet the culture. Sitting in that French bar, grazing on pomme-frites, and drinking in his accent, his wide smile, and his athletic physique snagged my attention and I knew I wanted to see him again. Like Rob, Dion was smart and razor-sharp funny, and the three of us improvised a hilarious evening of lightning-quick satire. At the end of our night, I wrote down my email on the back of a coaster, and Dion did the same. I wasn’t at all clear what might happen next between the French Cowboy and me, but I was absolutely clear that the networking maneuver had earned a category in my experiment. Suddenly, it was like business, and that was a game I knew I could win.
Exactly one week later, after exchanging a few wry emails, I made plans to meet the French Cowboy alone. For the first time, I was actually nervous. I was looking forward to solo time with him, but our meeting that night had not been defined as a date. The French Cowboy was loaning me a western hat for a photo shoot, and cocktails on the Hill had been scheduled for the exchange of property. I wasn’t clear if he was interested in anything more than another night of conversation over drinks. I had no idea about the customs of French men and their dating habits; I just knew it had to hold more promise than my string of losses with the Americans.
TOMORROW: Chapter 19
Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.