Book Three: The Fix-Up Mix-Up Excerpt

Excerpt

It was a busy night, which was good for business of course, but in some ways it was a welcome reprieve from the activity inside of the dining room and the bustling in the kitchen to step outside with a couple of hefty-sized garbage bags to toss into the dumpster. Ryan did so, pausing afterwards to breathe in the night air and appreciate the quiet for just a moment.

Well, almost quiet. A soft sound came from right around the corner of the building, something that sounded to his ears like a grunt of exertion. An oddly feminine one actually.

Curious, he poked his head around the corner to investigate only to see the top half of Jenna Owens sticking out of the window of the women’s restroom with what looked like a sparkly little purse between her teeth.

He stared at her, incredulous. “What on earth are you doing?”

The sound of his voice made her gasp and jerk in surprise, but she neither withdrew back into the restroom nor climbed the rest of the way out of it. She did, however, drop her purse from her mouth in her surprise, and it landed on the ground in the dirt below her. “Oh—” Recovering from her startle, she gave him a weak smile that had a distinctly sheepish edge to it. “Hey. Um. Fancy meeting you here.”

Frowning, he went closer and picked up her purse to brush it off for her. “Are you climbing out of that window?”

“Uh huh.”

“And are you stuck?”

“Uh huh.”

“You’re kidding me.”

She shook her head.

It didn’t take a huge leap of the imagination to guess what might have driven her to do such a thing. “Date night, huh?”

“Unfortunately, yes.”

“And he’s still in there? Waiting for you to come back?”

He was really only wondering how awful this latest guy must be to have driven her to bolt this way when the others she’d met recently—disagreeable as they were—hadn’t quite pushed her so far, but maybe she thought she heard a note of disapproval in his voice, because she was quick to speak again, defensive. “I was going to text him once I was outside. I was.”

“What did this one do?”

“For starters, he wanted to frisk me.”

Ryan blinked. “Say what?”

“And check my purse for surveillance equipment. But to tell you the truth, I’m not a hundred percent sure if he’s worried more about it being planted by the government or by…” And she pointed one index finger upward toward the sky.

“He thinks he’s being bugged by God?”

“What? No.” She frowned at him as if he was crazy to suggest such a thing. “By aliens, of course.”

Ah, yes. Because that was so much less crazy an idea.

“So excuse me for running off to hide in the ladies’ room, but I guess I just thought it might be nice to get out of here before this guy tried to… ‘beam me up’ or something, I don’t know. If I were Zoe I’m sure I’d have no problem being blunt with the guy and telling him that the date is off and to please go far, far away from me now and forever, but I’m not Zoe, which is why I’m here. Stuck in this window.” She squirmed but seemed just as stuck as before. Sighing, she slumped, which was probably no easy thing to do when halfway out a window the way she was. Certainly not comfortably.

It abruptly struck him as vaguely adorable, and he felt his mouth start to turn up at the corners. She glanced at him again, though, so he headed the smile off at the pass before she could see it for fear she’d be embarrassed; self-consciousness seemed to him to be one of her hallmarks. No, she wasn’t much like her friend Zoe at all, but she seemed to say that like it was a bad thing. Jenna without her own brand of awkward charm? Now that would be a bad thing. To his mind at least.