You can’t keep a good man down.
You certainly can’t keep THE BEST MAN down!I’m excited to announce the relaunch of The Best Man by Ana Blaze. Back and better than ever with a fabulous new cover, The Best Man is a humorous, contemporary romance novella about bad first impressions and undeniable chemistry.
Beth Chase is too busy planning perfect weddings to worry about the lack of action in her own love life. But if she was looking for a man, she wouldn’t be looking at Colin Pratt. Her boss swears that Best Man Colin is a quiet scholar and science fiction writer who couldn’t possibly cause a fuss at his own brother’s wedding. He’s clearly never met the man in question.
Snarky, sexy and more than a little inebriated, Colin is the final obstacle between Beth and the last perfect wedding she needs to make partner. Of course, when she helps him into a taxi at the end of the night she has no idea that he’s only just begun to poke holes in her professional exterior. Colin might have the skills to seduce a romance professional, but can he convince her that he’s the best man to share her happy ever after?
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Colin was right; she let him take her to dinner. He wanted to call and have a limo pick them up, but Beth insisted on driving. She did let him pick the restaurant from a list of suggestions.
They were seated at a very nice Italian place with an old stone fireplace and a dozen small round tables covered by pristine white cloths. Classical music played quietly, allowing for the possibility of private conversations.
Colin smiled at her from across the small table. “You look lovely.”
“You already said that.”
“It’s still true.”
“Thank you. You look rather handsome yourself.”
“Wait until you see me without any clothes. I’ll blow your mind.”
She bit her lip to keep from chuckling too loudly. “I have seen you without your clothes on.”
He nodded. “That’s right. How did that go over again?” His head dipped to the side and studied her.
“I was under the impression you knew how to behave in public as long as you weren’t dosed with Xanax and the entire contents of the courtesy bar. Should I have prepared a list of appropriate dinner topics for you?”
“Ah, like the rain in Spain? No worries, love. If I have learned anything from television we are now expected to surreptitiously survey the couples around us and guess at their lives.”
Beth giggled. “Is that so?”
“Definitely. Take this lovely couple to our right.” He inclined his head in the direction of a grey-haired woman who was arguing with the white-haired man across from her. “Oh. Don’t look directly at them! Sneakiness is an essential part of this mating ritual. So, what do you think, first date or high-priced escort?”
Charmed and feeling playful, she leaned closer. “No way. Clearly, they’re spies. Only they work for enemy organizations. Twenty-five years ago they met on an assignment that involved seducing each other and accidentally fell in love. Now they meet in secret once a year in honor of the life they couldn’t have because of their duty to their respective groups.” She sat back in her chair and grinned.
“That’s good.” Colin nodded. “Damn, that’s brilliant. You must go on a lot of dates because you are very good at this game.”
She nodded to a young couple across the room. “Go ahead. Try again.”
He nodded. “Cause a distraction so they don’t see me looking.” He glanced over at them quickly and then back. “Challenging.”
“If you’re not up for it …”
Colin held up his hands. “I didn’t say that. I’m just suggesting that successful completion of this mission should allow me access to the next level.”
“The next level of what?”
“Us. I want to know your middle name, at least one honestly embarrassing story, and I want to be in your bedroom tonight.”
Grinning, she shrugged. “Deal. Impress me.”
“This is their third first date.”
Beth raised an eyebrow.
“Hear me out, love. Their first, first date went horridly awry. He made an utter fool of himself but knew immediately that she was the only girl for him. Seeing no other option he obviously created a vessel for time travel and went back to try again. Their second date went only slightly better, so he is trying a third time in hopes that she will agree to go out with him again.”
“Do you think she’s going to say yes tonight?”
His eyes softened when they met hers. “I hope so. But if she doesn’t he’ll keep trying until she does.”
“He does seem persistent — what, with the whole time machine thing.”
“He has to be. He’s never fallen for a woman quite so hard before, and first impressions are very difficult to override.”
Beth nodded. “My middle name is Rose.”
“That’s … My mother was named Rose.” His voice took on a wistful note.
“If another man told me that I’d be sure it was a pickup line.”
He smirked. “And it no doubt would be. All other men are total scum. You should give up dating them completely.”
She rolled her eyes. “What kind of stuff do you write? You write, don’t you? You said that last night.”
He stared at her for a moment before responding. “How do you feel about poetry?”
Her lips twitched. “You write poems. Poems?”
“Of course not.” He shook his head. “Only total saps write poetry. I write manly guides to … manliness, and also … motorcycles.”
“So that’s a yes on the poetry? I thought you said something about short stories.”
He sighed. “I write, in general, everything. The poetry is the worst. I’m complete rubbish at it, but I like it the best. I also write short stories — generally in the science fiction genre. I have one entirely un-publishable novel and a few more unfinished, but almost equally unlikely to find an audience.”
“Tell me one of your poems.”
He leaned across the table. “No.”
Beth leaned in and dropped a sweet kiss on his mouth, smiling as she sat back again. “I’m glad I came out with you tonight.” She was having fun, nearly too much fun given their temporary status. The air sparked between them.
He grinned and sat back in his chair. “I am too, Beth. But, I’m still not going to recite any of my poetry.”
“Fair enough, though I’ll bet hearing one would have gotten me all … hot for you.”
Colin snorted. “Doubtful. Besides, we both know you just changed the subject so that you could get out of telling me your embarrassing story.”
Beth nodded to the waitress as she placed their food on the table. Colin gave the woman a quick smile and said, “Thank you.”
“I don’t have any embarrassing stories.” She twirled some pasta around her fork, brought it to her mouth, and groaned in appreciation. Colin was smirking at her. Beth blushed. “This is really good.”
“I’m very happy to see you enjoying it.”
“This whole don’t-mind-me-I’m-just-a-shy-book-guy thing is totally an act, isn’t it?”
“You know what I mean. The nice manners and excellent vocabulary come in handy by getting girls to lower their shields, and then you swoop in with all the innuendo and … touching.”
“Ah, yes. You’ve got me. I’m a dreadful rogue.”
About the Author
Ana lives just outside Washington, DC, with her very supportive husband and three rather demanding cats. She loves the ocean, Indian food, Ikea, and cooking. Before settling down as a writer, Ana was an elementary school teacher, a preschool teacher, a camp counselor, a waitress, a research assistant, a canoe tour guide, and one glorious summer during college she spent eight hours a day placing stickers inside library books so they would be part of the fancy new automated checkout system. She won't say which job she liked best.
Ana is a member of Romance Writers of America.