Chapter 1

Raelyn

“Shots. We need shots.” 
“Yes!”
My gaze flitted between my two best friends, “And why exactly do we need shots?”
“How else are you going to work up the nerve to pick up a guy tonight?” Lacy flicked her blonde hair over her shoulder and gave me a look that said ‘well, duh.’ Next to her, Briana nodded furiously, clearly agreeing.
I looked down at my t-shirt and jeans. Not only was I not in the mood to bat my eyelashes at a man, I wasn’t dressed for it either. And if I was being honest, the situation with my ex-boyfriend had put me off men for a while.
As if sensing where my mind had gone, Lacy reached over and squeezed my hand.  “Come on, Rae, it’s been months.” 
Nine months to be exact. But, who’s counting? A half-smile that I knew looked as forced as it felt tugged at my lips. “I—”
Before I had time to protest, Briana cut in, “No, Rae!” She waved her index finger from side to side. “No more excuses. We know this thing with Rob messed you up, but it’s time to take control of your life.”
Chewing on the inside of my cheek to keep my smile from spreading, I tried to keep my face straight when I asked, “And I need a man to do that?”
My friend’s brows drew together, and she looked a bit annoyed. “No, silly. You need a man to give you a few toe-curling orgasms until you say: Rob who?”
“Yes! What she said,” Lacy exclaimed.
“And this obsession you guys have with my sex life is totally normal, right?” Three months ago, Briana and Lacy had decided that it was time for me to put myself back out there—much to my older brother’s dismay. Twice a week they’d lure me to the bar under false pretences, only for me to find out once I’d arrived that they’d set me up with someone from Brie’s office.
When Thatcher had had a word with them, I’d thought it would stop. Boy, was I wrong. They just switched to finding men for me to pick up. As much as I complained, I knew they meant well and that they only ever had my best interest at heart.
“Rae,” Briana’s voice drew my attention. “We are worried about you.” She leaned forward, her face deadly serious. “You know,” she said with her lips pressed together as if she was about to divulge some secret. “Use it or lose it.”
Laughter bubbled from the pit of my stomach and didn’t stop coming until tears slid down my cheeks, and, my ribs ached. “Are you serious right now?” I managed while I tried to catch my breath.
“She has a point,” Lacy added her two-cents. “What if you forget how to do it.”
“Oh my goodness,” I shook my head in disbelief. “How much have the two of you had to drink?” My narrowed gaze flicked from one to the other. “I’m positive that I will not forget how to have sex.”
Briana’s slender shoulder rose and fell in a small shrug, “Only one way to find out.” The competitive side of me stood up and took notice of the hint of challenge in her voice. “I’ll bet you fifty bucks that you can’t pick up a guy and leave with him.” 
“Oooooh, I want in on this.” Lacy smacked her palm against the surface of the table. 
“You have lost your damned minds.”
Sitting up a bit straighter, Brie smiled sweetly before she said, “Okay, what about this: if you manage to leave with a guy tonight, we’ll stop setting you up.”
The smug look on both their faces had me saying, “You’re on,” before my brain had time to comprehend that this was probably a bad idea. 
“Let’s make this interesting,” Lacy tapped a perfectly manicured finger against her chin. “Brie and I choose the guy.” When I tilted my head and eyed her suspiciously she added, “Oh come on, you know we actually want you to get laid. Besides, our douche-meter is a little more accurate than yours.”
Ouch, that stung. She wasn’t wrong, though. Brie and Lacy had hated Rob from the get-go. They’d said he’d been too smooth, but I’d been too smitten to listen.
“That guy!” Briana jumped to her feet and not-so-subtly pointed toward someone. 
Being as short as I was, I had no hope of spotting whoever she was pointing at from my perch. Pushing out of my seat, I followed her gaze and pointer finger. “Oh hell, no!”  I shook my head vehemently as I took in the pot-bellied, bald-headed man.
My friend pressed her hands to her belly and let out a squeal of laughter. Even though I was not amused, I couldn’t help but join in. I had to admit, I couldn’t even remember the last time my laughter wasn’t filled with sadness.
“What?” Brie asked when she finally regained her composure. “At least you won’t have to worry about him spending more time in the bathroom than you.” Another dig at Rob brought with it another bout of laughter.
“Him!” 
Wiping the tears from my eyes, I turned to face Lacy who was transfixed on someone. She wrapped her arm around my shoulders and urged me to face the bar. Perplexed, I asked, “What am I looking for?”
“Dark jeans, black shirt.”
I scanned the patrons until I found one matching her very vague description. I only saw his dark head bowed as he had his back to us.
“I thought he was checking me out,” Lacy said. “Turns out he’s been eyeing you, Rae. I’m pretty sure you’ll only have to bat your eyelashes and he’ll be eating out of your hand.”
For all my talk, nerves suddenly took hold of me. “Uhm—”
“You’re not backing out!” Lacy cupped my shoulders and stooped to look me in the eye. “You’re going to walk up to that hunk of a man and you are going to flirt your ass off until he offers to take you for a ride.” Her lips lifted into a cheeky smile.
I sucked in a deep breath, peeked over my shoulder again before I said, “Okay.”
“Atta girl!” The excitement in Brie’s voice would have one thinking that she had just won the lottery.
With her hands still on my shoulders, Lacy looked me up and down before she gave me a nod of approval. “Go get your man.”

 
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