Hunks: Opposites Attract
Sapphire Rhodes has never considered herself a risk taker. No way! She is way too by the book to ever get involved in any kind of bet until one of her best friends challenged her to find her...perfect hunk.
Her perfect male worked with his hands and didn't mind a little sweat or dirt if the job came down to it. Yeah, her hunk definitely didn't get into shape by working behind a desk. She had given up all hope of finding him until she walked past Brian.
Brian Terry wasn't the man his friends thought he was. Sure, he loved having a good time like the next guy, but he was ready for more. Late nights at the club were becoming a thing of the past. He never thought he would find the right woman worth changing for until he spotted Sapphire coming off the elevator.
Opposites attract...and when two people meet unexpectedly, fireworks explode and they can't help but to drive each other wild!
"I'm so glad you could meet me for lunch. I thought you might turn me down because you were shut away in your office working on that blog of yours," Shauntie Kane complained as her best friend Sapphire Rhodes joined her at the table. "I don't know how you find time to do it with your already hectic work schedule."
"I wasn't working on my blog if you have to know," Sapphire replied as she placed her purse on the chair next to her. "I've been having writer's block lately. I can't think of anything new to write about once I get home from work. You know how much I love posting to my blog when I'm not at the dentist's office. It helps me clear my head and get my mind off my non-existent love life."
Shauntie picked up her lemonade and took a sip placing it back on the table in front of her. "Are you still worried about finding a guy before New Year's Eve? Don't let Emerald's little competition get to you. She's just acting crazy as usual. You don't really have to find a guy before your favorite holiday.
"See how Nash came into my life when I wasn't even expecting him? I mean your guy is out there. How about you come with me and Nash to New York this year and watch the ball drop? I know it used to be me, you and Emerald for such a long time. She cancelled going this year, but I would still love to go with you. Nash doesn't care if you come either. He knows how it used to be our thing. He even volunteered to stay home, so what about it?"
Sapphire flicked her hair over her shoulder as she stared at her girlfriend of almost twenty years wondering how Shauntie could even ask her about going to New York now. She didn't want to come off as envious of what Shauntie had found with Nash, but she didn't want to be the third wheel on their romantic getaway either.
Nash was the only man she knew who would have taken everything Shauntie tossed his way without blinking an eye and ended up winning her heart. They were so perfect together which amazed her since Shauntie had been so dead set against falling in love again.
"Come on, you know what's different now. You also understand why Emerald decided not to go this year either. Please don't pretend that you don't." She sighed. "All of us were single the last time we made the trip to New York. Now, one of us is in a relationship so it changes everything. Remember that one blond bartender who liked you and gave all of us a free drink?"
"Yeah, he was very good-looking. I loved how his hazel eyes looked more green than brown," Shauntie recalled with a faint smile to her full lips.
"We aren't able to do those things anymore, besides I don't want to be considered a tag-along friend. You go and have fun with Nash. Lately, I've gotten used to being by myself on New Year's Eve anyway. Don't you recall how I was all alone last year and the previous year? This New Year isn't going to be much different in my opinion."
Sapphire had thought about being honest with Shauntie and then changed her mind. Her best friend should know the real reason behind her decision not to visit Times Square this year. It wasn't anything against her or Nash, but she couldn't stand there and watch Shauntie and Nash staring into each other eyes. It would be a little too much for her since Shauntie hadn't even been on board about the find your hunk challenge from Emerald.
"I can't believe you aren't going to New York because you think Nash will have a problem with it," Shauntie complained. "He was the one who told me to come and make sure you were invited. You and Emerald wouldn't be considered third wheels if you came with us."
Undoubtedly, Nash probably told Shauntie to invite her again because he was such a good guy, but no man wished to ring in the New Year with his girlfriend and her single best friend only a few steps behind them as the ball dropped.
This was going to be one of those times that Shauntie wasn't going to get her way. Sapphire wasn't going to New York and that was the end of it.
"Tell Nash I was very touched by the offer, but my answer is still no. You go and have a great time with him. I'm going to stay here and think about the next entry for my blog. I want to have it up by New Year's Eve. I don't have a lot of time left to get something into my laptop. My followers are waiting for a new post and I'm having writer's block."
"What's going on with you, Sapphire?" Shauntie asked as she leaned across the table concern etched on her pretty face. "You never run out of things to write about. I think the last time I was on there your followers had grown by at least two hundred people. I remember how you wrote about how the two of us first met each other."
"Oh, I remember how you grabbed those killer pair of black heeled boots right out my hand at the shopping center," Sapphire laughed, waving at finger at Shauntie then reaching for her salad fork.
"You had already placed those boots back on the shelf before my hand got anywhere near them. I got them fair and square. You always have a memory lapse when it comes to that story."
Alright, Sapphire was woman enough to admit that Shauntie was telling her the truth, but the way she had written it on her blog was so much funnier. Especially with the two cartoon women fighting over a pair of shoes she'd added. In less than seventy-two hours, the shoe entry gained her a hundred more members. Somehow, the crazy shoe incident turned them into best friends instead of enemies like it would have done most teenage girls back then.
She loved Emerald a lot and would do anything for her, but Shauntie was like a sister to her. When Sapphire moved here from out of state away from her family, she didn't know how Shauntie would act once she laid eyes on her; however, her best friend had welcomed her with open arms. No one knew how good it felt to have a close female friend to confide in. There were just some things Sapphire knew she couldn't tell to Emerald.
Now, here she was wishing for another real life post for her struggling blog. All of her loyal followers responded to her much more candidly when she revealed events that had occurred in her real life rather than when she discussed current events.
Sapphire agreed to have lunch with Shauntie in hopes her girlfriend could help her come up with a cute or creative idea for her next blog post.
"I can't believe you're having a hard time thinking of something to write. Your blog is always so informative not to mention creative," Shauntie said before she reached for her drink again.
How could she tell her best friend that a part of her was worried if she still had the touch to keep her blog talked about?
What if she was losing her creative ‘touch'?
Sapphire hated the thought of closing down her blog because she couldn't draw in a wider range of followers besides other business women and housewives. She needed to spice things up with something that would have everyone talking and sending more people towards her blog. Over the past couple of months she'd written with her reader in mind, keeping everything energetic and as interesting as possible.
Her blog was the device she used after a long day at work to unwind; it was something she did just to get away from everyone else for a few moments. Plus, it kind of gave her a little kick having so many people interested in her personal life. She tried to write like she was speaking to one of her girlfriends or even to herself
Sighing, Sapphire played with a fork on the table trying to think of a way to make Shauntie understand her concerns. Her blog was important to her since it was the devise she used to clear her head after a long trying day at work.
"I'm telling you the truth. Every time I sit down to type one of my famous one-liners my mind comes up blank. I'm not used to having problems like this. I usually have to drag myself away from the computer because my mind is racing with ideas. What's going on with me?"
Shauntie looked at her over the rim of her empty glass before setting it back down in front of her. "I think you need to get away. I'm sure some fresh air away from the hustle of the city will help you out a lot. Your mind is probably in overload and needs something different to stimulate it."
"I've already told you that I'm not going to New York." Why wasn't Shauntie listening to her?
"Will you please let me finish? You need to get some patience."
Excitement shone in Shauntie's eyes like the most amazing idea in the world just dropped down from the sky and hit her on the head. "I'm not talking about going to Times Square," she said. "How about you go to that little cottage I bought at the end of last year. You were so relaxed when we were there to celebrate Emerald's promotion. I think it'll be the perfect place for you to ring in the New Year. It's off by itself. How about it? Nash and I were going to go there until he told me to continue my tradition of going to New York for the countdown. Do you still have the keys I gave you?"
A newly awakened sense of happiness filled Sapphire's body at the sudden suggestion. Shauntie was so right! She'd loved being out there. Truthfully, she'd hated when she'd had to pack her bags and leave. She hadn't been that content or relaxed in years.
The cottage would be the ideal location for her to visit and work on her blog while on vacation from her job. She wasn't going to find a man way out there, but there was a damn good chance she might get her artistic juices back. Sapphire could barely contain her excitement, but it quickly got banked.
The offer was wonderful and very sweet. Shauntie was truly the best friend anyone could ask but she couldn't take her up on this. She didn't want to go there when Shauntie hadn't even spent time there yet with Nash.
"It's so nice of you to offer but I can't stay at the cottage," she answered disappointment clear in her voice. "You should go there first with Nash and enjoy the solitude."
Shauntie looked around the busy lunch crowd and then leaned in closer to her. "Don't worry about Nash and me not enjoying ourselves. We find a lot of places inside my house and his to have a good time. I can promise you that we don't need the cottage right this second."
Sapphire couldn't help herself as she burst out laughing. It rang out loudly throughout the crowded restaurant making every single customer's head turned in their direction before Sapphire covered her mouth with her hand.
"Oh, should I have kept that little tidbit to myself?" Shauntie asked moving back in her seat. "I think you'd like to know that I'm being a little more adventurous. Emerald isn't the only one who can tell racy stories about her sex life."
"Girl, you are so bad," Sapphire answered as she moved her hand away from her mouth. "I don't need to know those intimate details."
God, she never knew what Shauntie was going to tell her at any given moment nowadays since Nash came into her friend's life.
A wide eyed innocent look passed over Shauntie's beautiful face like she was surprised by her confession. "Sorry," Shauntie answered. "I thought you wanted to know if Nash and I need the cottage and I thought I would let you know that we didn't."
Sapphire knew her friend was only trying to help her out and she appreciated it a lot. She would be crazy not to take her up on her generous offer. She wasn't getting anything done here.
Why not take a trip away?
It might just be the thing she needed to get her mind going down the right path. She recalled how her mother raised her that if someone was kind enough to offer you a helping hand tell them ‘Thank You' and take it.
"How soon do you think I could leave?" Sapphire asked, already envisioning herself sitting at the huge bay window typing away on her laptop.
At the very back of the cabin was a breathtaking pond that, in the spring and summer, had wildflowers growing along the edge. Since the weather was a lot colder now hopefully the pond had already frozen over and she might be able to do a little ice skating while she was there.
Sapphire loved going ice skating at the rink anytime she was lucky enough to get a chance, but lately she'd been so swamped with work and trying to figure out how to change her personal life. She hadn't even thought about lacing up her skates until now.
A trip back to the cottage would be an amazing way for her to do two things she loved: working on her blog and ice skating. She could light a fire, put on some music and relax with a glass of her favorite wine.
Sure, she would be alone instead of kissing a hot guy like half the world might be doing after the ball dropped, but it honestly didn't sound like a bad way for her to start off her New Year.
Perhaps this is what she was supposed to be doing instead of being so worried about her single status. Sapphire thought it would be right this time for her to focus on enriching her own life with a stronger self-worth.
"You can leave as soon as you want," Shauntie replied. "However, I haven't bought any groceries or supplies for the cottage since we were there. So, I think you should grab some things from the store before you head out on the road. Everything else should be fine once you get there. Are you sure that you're okay staying way out there by yourself? I can have Nash send Brian or Chance to check on you after a couple of days."
"Shauntie, I'm not a child. I can handle being out in isolation for a little while," she replied, insulted that her best friend thought she would be frightened of the woods at night.
Leaning back in her chair, Shauntie held up her hands in mock surrender. "Okay, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have implied that you couldn't handle being alone. I forget how tough the great Sapphire Rhodes is. Please forgive me."
"Keep it up and see what you get," Sapphire laughed. "Are you really happy with Nash?" she asked, changing the subject. "Have you gotten over that he's related to J.T.?"
Dropping her hand, Shauntie stared at her from across the table. "I have to be honest. At first I thought it was something I wouldn't be able to see past ever. But when Nash was gone and I thought I'd lost him I missed him like crazy. The separation made me realize how much I truly cared about him. He's the man I'm in love with."
"Do you still have a problem with him making less money than you?" Sapphire asked.
"Lack of money isn't what I think about when I see Nash," said Shauntie with a smile. "Yes, I might make a little more money than him, but our love for each other surpasses the amount on the check we deposit into the bank. He treats me with respect and love, two things that money can't buy no matter how hard some people might try to use it for that situation."
An instant squeezing hurt wrapped its hand around Sapphire's heart as she listened to Shauntie talk about her relationship with Nash. She was thrilled that her friend had found the love of her life, but there was a touch of envy inside of her. She was still alone.
"What about you?" The question was tossed out there so suddenly that Sapphire was momentarily stunned by the change of topic.
"What do you mean what about me?" she asked confused about what Shauntie wanted to know.
"Wasn't there a guy you were going to ask out on a date? Did you ever do it? I never heard anymore about him from you."
She had only brought up the sexy mailman once to Shauntie. Sapphire had forgotten what an excellent memory her girlfriend had. She should have known she wasn't going to get out of here without being asked a question about a man or her lack of one.
"No, I never asked him out a date," she replied. "The opportunity never came up and I wasn't going to force anything. Besides, it would have been a little strange for me to go up to a total stranger and ask him out. "
Shauntie's eyebrows rose in amazement. "Sapphire, how do you think people get to know each other? Most couples started off being strangers first until one of them gets enough nerve to ask the other person out. Please don't tell me you didn't do it because you were scared of getting rejected?"
Unconsciously, Sapphire's brow furrowed. "No, I'm not scared of rejection. I just decided not to ask him out on a date and there was nothing more to it. So, can we just leave it alone?"
"Sorry. I won't bring him up again. I didn't mean to upset you. How about we get out of here? I need to go home and pack for my trip because I won't be able to do anything when Nash comes over later," Sapphire teased as she got up from the table.
"God...I don't want to hear about your sex life when mine is dead and buried," Sapphire complained as she stood up. "I might as well start looking into adopting multiple cats and find a rocking chair for my front porch."
"Your sex life isn't dead nor is it buried. I think it's on a little vacation for the moment. It will probably be up and running before you know it. All you have to do is find the right man and you'll be telling me all of your juicy secrets." Spinning away from her, Shauntie headed toward the front of the restaurant.
Yeah right, Sapphire thought as she followed Shauntie.
She was more positive there weren't any juicy secrets in her future to tell anyone especially not Emerald or Shauntie. Hell, Emerald would end up fulfilling her end of the deal before she even got her foot into the door of a new relationship.