"After years of secret longing for his brother's wife, Tyler rejoices when she is set free and ripe for new love--though it may take a prolonged seduction to convince wary Trista to open herself up to pleasure once more.
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May 21, 2006
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Excerpt from Unrequited by Kimberly Dean
This was a mistake.
Trista gripped her purse more tightly where it sat in her lap. No matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't relax. The air conditioning in the car was too cold, and the seat belt bit uncomfortably into her shoulder. Inside, she felt nearly nauseous.
What had she been thinking? A date?
She wasn't ready for this.
She looked over to the driver's seat and saw Cliff smiling as he drove through the evening traffic. He'd had a grin on his face ever since he'd knocked on her front door. Unfortunately, his happiness made her feel even worse.
"I'm glad we're finally getting to spend some time together," he said, glancing in her direction. "Waving at each other as we come and go from work hasn't been enough."
She smiled weakly. She just couldn't work up a response to that right now. "Are you doing some remodeling at your pharmacy?" she asked instead. "I've noticed you've had workmen there this week."
He nodded. "We're replacing some of the older shelving. Got to keep up with the times, you know. How are things with your catering business? Every time I wander out back, you and Kelly seem to be loading that van of yours."
Trista shifted in her seat, trying to find some relief from the seat belt. "Summer is our busiest time of the year."
"Ah, yes. I suppose that would be the case. Graduations, picnics, family reunionsýthat type of thing."
"Yes, that type of thing."
The chitchat wasn't working. The longer she sat there, the more Trista regretted her decision. She shouldn't have gotten Cliff 's hopes up. He was a nice man, but she never should have said yes when he'd asked her to dinner. And she wouldn't haveýif not for all the people poking her in the side and insisting that she needed to "get back out there." She'd been single for eight months now. It was time, they said. She knew her friends had good intentions, but at the moment, she felt like wringing their well-meaning necks.
"I hope you're hungry," Cliff was saying. "I've heard that the Blue Muse's food is fantastic."
Trista gave herself a quick mental shake. "It's very good," she agreed.
Unfortunately, she didn't think the heavy French food would sit well in her stomach tonight.
Enough, she told herself sternly. It's just one date.
She forced her grip on her purse to ease up. She could do this. Cliff wasn't asking for anything more than friendly companionship. If she was going to get back into the dating scene, this was the best way to ease into it. The man was perfectly harmless.
"Their dance floor is supposedly the most romantic in town."
Her already uneasy stomach dipped. Dancing? Oh, God. She definitely wasn't ready for that. "Cliff, Iý"
She broke off suddenly when he veered right and pulled into a gravel parking lot.