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by Thayer King
Category: Erotica/Multicultural-Interracial Erotica
Description: Bliss Barnes has bad luck with men. She's better at finding mates for her friends than for herself. So much so, they call her the Matchmaker. Her last date married one of her best friends. Frustrated, Bliss is ready to give up on romance when a friend sets her up on a blind date with Aric Ericson. But Bliss has seen Aric before. He was on a date with a man. She decides to keep seeing Aric as a friend, but fighting her attraction to him grows more difficult by the day. Aric is falling hard for Bliss, but she's treating him as though he were only a friend. When she invites him to her friend's wedding in Aspen, he decides it's now or never. If she has no romantic interest in him, he's ready to cut his losses and walk away.
eBook Publisher: Sugar and Spice Press, 2012
eBookwise Release Date: September 2012
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [147 KB]
Reading time: 92-129 min.
I really should have asked for a better description of him, Bliss thought as she stood at the entrance to Ruth's Chris Steak House trying not to totter in four-inch heels. Handsome and in a blue suit wasn't proving to be adequate. A good-looking man with light brown skin and a beard approached. In the dark it was difficult to tell the color of his suit. She stepped forward. "Aric?"
"Sorry, no." His eyes swept her appreciatively and Bliss blushed.
"Bliss Barnes," said a deep voice behind her. She pivoted and promptly lost her balance. She was quickly caught up against a hard chest cloaked in dark blue. Tipping her head back, her eyes locked with icy blue ones fringed by thick platinum lashes. Full lips curled up in a sexy smile revealing perfect white teeth. "Hi, I'm Aric Ericson. Are you Bliss?"
She gulped and found her footing. She scanned him from his shock of white-blond curls to his sensual lips. His face was handsome and lean. He was not clean shaven; a day's worth of sexy stubble giving him a sexy edge and keeping him from being too pretty. She was momentarily stunned. She'd never dated a white man before. Why hadn't Penny mentioned that he was white? "Um, yes, I'm Bliss."
"It's a delight to meet you. Shall we go in?"
"Oh, yes, of course." He held his hand out for hers and she placed her palm in his. She followed him inside. He'd called in a reservation for them. As she watched him from the corner of her eye, she couldn't help but feel that she'd seen him somewhere. But that was odd. His coloring was so extraordinary, she'd recall if they'd ever met.
They were seated after a brief wait. A server took their drink order. She wasn't much of a drinker and she had to drive home so she requested tea. Aric requested the same. "So Aric is an unusual name." She was too embarrassed to admit that the uniqueness of his name was one of the reasons she never suspected he might be white.
"It's Norse. My family originated in Sweden."
"Ah." She fell silent and Aric laughed. The sound was deep and melodic. It was a sexy laugh and it did not go unnoticed by a group of women at a nearby table. She felt her nipples tighten and heat unfurled in her lower belly. She couldn't believe the sound of his laughter was making her aroused.
"Penny didn't tell you I was white."
Her face grew hot with embarrassment. "No, she didn't. Did she, um, mention ... What did she say about me?"
"That you were beautiful." He leaned forward. "She didn't do you justice."
"Thank you. I could say the same about you." Their drinks arrived and they ordered their dinners. She sipped her tea, racking her brain for something to discuss other than the obvious. "So is HGTV your favorite channel?"
"No. I admit I watch it, and I enjoy it, but I need down time. My favorite would probably be the Mystery Channel."
She leaned forward. "No! Mine, too! I love a good mystery. Do you watch all the CSI's?"
"Of course. And Criminal Minds and NCIS."
She grinned. "I don't know whether to swoon or run away."
He laughed. They spent some time discussing their favorite episodes. Their food arrived. She marveled at how easy the conversation flowed between them. They were both fans of Murder, She Wrote and Columbo. Before she knew it, they had a date scheduled to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Neither of them had seen it yet.
"So we discussed my job. You work with Penny. So that means you're..."
She grinned. "Yes, I'm an IRS agent."
"Ah, but you're so beautiful. Why would you want to enter into such an evil profession?"
"I like to think I'm just keeping some people honest. It's not fair that you and I have to pay taxes while others don't."
It wasn't until their bill arrived and their waiter, an attractive man with a long ebony ponytail, leaned forward, his hair swinging in front of Aric, that she recalled where she had seen him. The black swath of hair provided such a contrast to Aric's white curls that she couldn't help but remember. Aric had been the other half of the gay couple the night she'd met Darius. Even as she tried to convince herself that there might have been some misunderstanding on her part or that it might have been some other man, she knew it to be true. Aric was gay.
Tears of frustration and disappointment threatened to fill her eyes. She thought she'd felt a spark between them. Apparently she'd imagined it or the attraction was all on her side. She analyzed the evening. They'd had lively conversation, lots of laughs, and he'd flirted with her. His eyes had even dropped to her cleavage once or twice. Maybe he hadn't been able to avoid it. The top she'd purchased with Penny, a deep burgundy silk, had a lower neckline than any other blouse she owned. She was suddenly embarrassed. She wished she could pull the shirt closed.
Why had he even agreed to the date? The answer occurred to her in a flash. He was still closeted.
Bliss took a deep breath and shoved down her self-pity. She'd enjoyed herself this evening. It was better than most of her dates. She bit her lip to hold in the hysterical laughter as she realized that she'd made another single friend.