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Time Bomb
Author: KL Donn





For anyone suffering through those pesky blind dates, this one’s for you and your very own happily ever after!












I don’t know why I let her convince me to do this. I don’t know how I let it happen. But she did it, and here I am. Bored out of my mind all because my best friend, Laken Decker, thinks I need to be as deliriously happy as she is.

I am happy.


Kind of.

Okay, fine! Not at all. But I’m at peace with my life. I own a cute coffee shop on one of the busiest boardwalks in Jacksonville, Florida, and I just bought my first house— an adorable two-story Tudor with enough bedrooms that if and when I’m ready for kids, they’ll each have their own.

Sure, it needs some fixing up, but I’m handy, and Laken’s husband is a cop, which means he knows plenty of physically fit guys for the heavy lifting. Hale even volunteered some of them next month for when I pull out the kitchen cabinets.

I can’t believe I’m thinking about remodeling my home while on a date. Trevor Brown isn’t a bad guy, per se, he’s just kind of boring. He’s been going on and on about interest and the buyer’s market, and he has on a suit, which I think he wore to work today because he arrived late for dinner.

Thankfully, the meal ends, and I’ll be passing on dessert, even if he chooses to get some. It’s after ten, and I must be up at four to bake the pastries and sweets for the day. I have no desire to stay any longer than necessary.

“This has been really nice, Lia.”

“Ophelia.” I hate when people give me nicknames without there being any kind of connection. “I’m glad we got to meet, but I have to call it a night. Four a.m. comes early.” I force a smile while trying to remain civil. The truth is, I can’t stand this man. He’s a condescending know-it-all.

“Right, sorry. Ophelia is just so old-school. You don’t hear it often.” And hopefully never again from his lips.

Thankfully, our server, who has been annoyed with him all night, also, she seems to notice that I’m ready to go and drops the check on the table with a smile. Reaching for the clutch purse hanging on the back of my chair, I notice my companion remains motionless.

I always go on a date with the expectation that we’ll split the cost. Since he chose this place, and it is a bit fancier than I’m used to, I assumed the same would go for tonight. But he makes no move to reach for his wallet or stop me from grabbing mine, and it hits me.

He expects me to pay the bill.

If it gets me out of here faster, then I will.

Flipping the bill over, I check the price and see his shoulders sag with relief when I drop a hundred-dollar bill on the tray and wave for the server.

“I’ll get your change,” she says, taking it from my hand.

I shake my head. “Keep the change.” The total is just under eighty dollars, and I want this night over with.

“Thank you,” she whispers with a tear in her eye, and I get the feeling that twenty bucks is the boost she needs tonight.

“Thanks for the company, Trevor,” I say as I stand. At least he has the gall to look embarrassed. Pulling out a couple more bills, I stop by where the server is settling our table and slip them into her hand.

“Oh no,” she chokes out softly. “I can’t possibly.”

“You can. You deserve it.” Exiting stealthily, so Trevor can’t catch up with me, I make quick work of getting in my car and leaving.

There was a time in my life when waitressing was all I did to cover the rent, so sparing an extra forty dollars for a woman who had been working hard all night was the least I could do for her. I don’t always have extra cash to hand out, but when I do, I like to pay it forward.

The drive home takes only a few minutes, and I park in the cramped garage, waiting for the door to finish closing before I get out. Hale has been a bundle of fun to have around, always warning me of ways to keep myself safe and where things could go wrong, so now I stay in my car until the garage door is shut.

Unlocking the connecting door, I disarm the alarm before kicking off my shoes and resetting it. One thing Hale never had to tell me was to lock my doors. I do it all the time. It terrifies me to think of someone coming in.

Dropping my clutch on the accent table in the hallway leading up the stairs, I begin unbuttoning my shirt as my phone vibrates with an incoming text.

Looking at the screen, I laugh out loud.

Laken: I saw your lights turn on. He was a dud wasn’t he?



I forgot to mention that my best friend lives across the street.

Laken: They can’t all be 10s!



Laken: Was the restaurant at least nice? Food good?



Laken: I know you’re reading these.



Laken: ANSWER ME dammit or I’m coming over.



She’s so impatient.

Ophelia: Food was great, I paid the bill tho.



Laken: Cheapskate. Crossing him off the list.



Ophelia: You should cross them all off. This one was a bust, I don’t have high hopes for any others.



Laken: PUH-LEASE! You promised me 4.



Ophelia: Where are you even finding these guys? Are the rest boring bankers too?



There’s a pause as she types, and the bubbles hang in limbo. I’m betting Hale is doing something to distract her to save me from any more dates. It won’t work, though. Laken is nothing if not persistent. She’ll continue to set me up until I find the perfect guy.

Ophelia: I’m showering and going to bed. C U in the morn.



Placing the device on my dresser, I hop in the shower and let the hot water relax my tired muscles so I can sleep for more than a couple of hours tonight. Maybe they’ll even all be consecutive.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. For the last few months, I’ve had such terrible insomnia, and nothing has helped me sleep for any decent length of time.

Hale and Laken say it’s my lack of a sex life, that my body is protesting the five-year dry spell it’s gone through. Truthfully, at twenty-five, I’ve had one sexual partner, and he was never any good, or maybe we just weren’t any good. But I haven’t been intimate with a man since Sean. I’ve spent the past few years focused on my inherited coffee shop and not much else.

Sure, I’m lonely. I’d be thrilled to have someone to come home to and love. If he could give me orgasms, even better, but the women in my family have never been all that lucky in love, so I don’t have high hopes.

Dropping into bed, I ignore the vibration of my phone and turn on the white noise machine, hoping the calming sounds of a Brazilian rainforest settle my mind enough to sleep.

It works.

For a while.



Blind Date #2 – There’s something about him…

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