Best Dating Rules: A Romantic Comedy (The Best Girls Book 2)

BOOK: Best Dating Rules: A Romantic Comedy (The Best Girls Book 2)
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Best
Dating Rules

 

The Best Girls Series
(Book Two)

 

 

 

 

Tamie Dearen

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author. To the extent any real names of individuals, locations, businesses or organizations are included in the book, they are used fictitiously and not intended to be taken otherwise.

 

 

Best Dating Rules

by Tamie Dearen

 

 

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means now known or hereafter invented, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Tamie Dearen

 

Dedication

 

To Mom and Dad, who have been happily married for sixty-three years. You taught me the meaning of true love and happily-ever-after.

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

I want to thank all of my beta readers: Bruce, Nancy, Heidi, Alyssa, Emily, Wesley, Kay, Kitty, Mom, Courtney, and Carol. Your excitement over the story and love of the characters inspired me, and your feedback was invaluable. Thanks to Avery for guiding me through this publishing process. I also extend heartfelt apologies to all of my family, especially my sweet husband, Bruce, for all of the times I ignored you while writing about my imaginary family and friends. I love you!

*****

All characters are fictional except for my cameo winner, Rachel, who is exactly as described.

Chapter One

 

 

Emily Best always di
d
the right thing. The smart thing. The safe thing. So why on earth had she moved to New York City? She’d had a nice, secure job in Fort Worth, Texas. She’d had a small, but comfortable apartment and a few good friends. Granted, she didn’t have a lot of excitement in her life. But that’s because she didn’t want excitement, not because she couldn’t find it. She’d had no good reason to move to New York City.

She was stubborn and independent; no one told her what to do. But her new stepdad was adept at getting into her head. He’d argued how her mom would be so happy to have her in the city. And he’d reasoned his company, Gherring Inc., could provide a lot more intellectual challenge than the small tax firm where she was employed in Fort Worth. He’d also flattered her, exclaiming over how smart she must be to have her Master’s degree and a CPA by the age of twenty-four. Now, on her way to her first day at Gherring Inc., she was second-guessing her decision, and that wasn’t like her, either. She obviously wasn’t herself today.

A quick stop in the ladies room on the first floor revealed nothing out of place. Her long brown hair was confined to its usual braid. Dark lashes, unadorned by makeup, framed her large, blue, almond-shaped eyes. She had on a skirt, blouse, and sandals with a low heel. At five feet nine inches, she didn’t need heels to make her legs look long. She was dressed stylishly, but not too trendily, since she didn’t like to waste money on clothes that would go out of fashion quickly.

Satisfied with her inspection, she squeezed onto the crowded elevator full of Gherring Inc. employees. Most of the occupants chatted together, but Emily remained quietly to herself. She was never pleased when people labeled her as shy; she preferred to describe herself as quietly observant. She learned a lot about people by listening instead of talking.

Emily arrived at her cubicle, which was about the same size as the one she’d had in Fort Worth, but it looked sad and mundane. She’d never be satisfied until she’d put her personal touch on it. She began to organize her things, adding photos and paintings. Most of the artwork was her own, although she never signed it. Soon the cubical walls were decorated with wistful watercolors in pastel shades, hinting of imaginary worlds. In painting she found her adventure, letting inspiration take her to places no one had ever seen. With paintbrush in hand she found adventure and explored new realms—all from the safety of her home. Not that she was unwilling to take a risk—she simply needed an extremely good reason to do it.

“Hey, Sweetie,” said a willowy attractive woman with a thick mane of brown hair. Her brown eyes crinkled in a broad smile as she regarded Emily.

“Hi, Mom.”

“I’m so excited you’re here. It’s too bad we have to work so we can’t just visit all day.”

“Shhhh! You don’t have to talk so loudly.”

“Oh, it’s okay. No one’s actually started working yet; it’s still early. Do you want me to introduce you to everyone? I don’t know all the people in Accounting, but I do know a lot of them. Sam works in this department.” Emily recalled Samantha as one of the Gherring Inc. employees her mom had successfully matched with a boyfriend—now fiancé.

“No, that’s okay, Mom. I don’t really want to meet a lot of people all at once. I’ll meet them all eventually.”

“Hey, Anne.” A cute young woman with perky blond curls joined them at the cubicle.

“Sam,” said Anne, “We were just talking about you. How’s Tanner?”

“He’s great—just great.” Sam smiled, holding out her hand to admire the diamond sparkling on her hand. “And how’s married life, Anne? I can’t believe you’re still working, to be honest.”

“Married life is wonderful, if you’re married to the most wonderful man in the world, like me. And I’m working because I like it. I told Steven, ‘Work brought us together, so now it can keep us together.’”

“Mom, where’s your engagement ring? Why are you just wearing your band?” Her mother’s hand sported a simple eternity band, encircled with small round diamonds. The ring was beautiful, but not what you’d expect for the newly married wife of the billionaire owner of Gherring Inc.

“I just can’t get used to that huge diamond he bought. I prefer the simple band. But I wore the engagement ring every day for five months, and today’s the first day I left it off.” Anne’s face reddened as she hid her hand at her side. “I was hoping no one would notice.”

“Are you excited about your first day?” Sam asked Emily.

“Uhmm, sure.”

“Are you going to let your mom find a match for you, like she did for me?”

“Absolutely not.” Emily cast a stern look toward her mother. “I know we’ve teased about that in the past, but I really don’t want you to interfere in my love life.”

“I’ll try not to, but it goes against my nature.”

“Mom, I mean it. Anyway, I have no time for the complications of a relationship right now. Maybe in a couple of years...”

“Oh no—I want to be a young grandmother. And Gram wants to be a great-great grandmother before she dies.”

Gram had claimed great-grandmother status with Emily and her sister, Charlotte, upon her grandson’s marriage to Anne. At the age of ninety-six, Gram was a feisty force of nature.

“We can discuss this another time, Mom. I really want to get to work. I need to make a good impression so the employees won’t accuse Mr. Gherring of nepotism.”

Sam chuckled. “No worries, Emily. We can’t accuse anyone of that—we don’t even know what it means. But I’ll take your mom away, and let you get to work. Let me know if you have any questions.”

 

Emily had all of her things arranged and her workspace decorated with five minutes to spare before her workday officially started. She considered getting a cup of coffee, but opted to simply plunge into her work. Her mind was engrossed in figures on an Excel spreadsheet when she heard a man’s voice beside her.

“Hey, Emily. What are you doing here?”

A smiling face peered over the top of her cubicle. It was him. He was the last person she wanted to see in New York City and one of the few she actually knew. She’d met Spencer Marshall at a rock-climbing gym while visiting her mom in the city in the fall. He was everything she wasn’t. He was an outgoing, adventurous, adrenaline junkie. He’d be a perfect match for her audacious sister, but instead, he’d chosen to pursue
her
. Calling. Texting. Skyping. Emailing. He was incredibly persistent, despite her discouraging hints. She hadn’t mentioned her move to the city, knowing he would be even more tenacious.

It’s not that he was unattractive. Merely looking at his face made her blood start pumping faster. He had deep penetrating brown eyes; he kept his dark brown hair cut short on the sides and a little longer on top. He smiled at her with even white teeth and dimples to boot. His youthful face contrasted with the strong jaw line and rugged look that said he was all man. And she knew from watching him climb he had a body to go with it—tall, with broad shoulders and lean muscles. No, the problem wasn’t with his looks. The problem was... The problem was... He was overwhelming. That’s what the problem was. After every encounter or conversation, her mind quit working, and she couldn’t think straight. He had a sort of aura or presence that interfered with the proper function of her brain. That simply wouldn’t do.

She’d jammed dating at the bottom of her extensive agenda for her new life in New York City. But if she ever decided to date again, she needed someone different. Someone calm. Stable. Conservative. Even-keeled. Unexcitable. She needed a rock she’d be able to anchor her life to. Not someone who was unpredictable and daring—even if he was heart-stoppingly handsome.

“I
work
here. And what are
you
doing here?”

“I work here, too. Your stepdad gave me an internship this summer. This is great. We can get together... I mean, we could do some fun things together. Would you like to go climbing again?”

“Uhmm, I’m not sure. I think I need to concentrate on getting settled—you know, moved in and unpacked and such.” She mustered her most discouraging tone.

“Great. I’ll come help you unpack tonight. What time? And I need your address, too.”

“I don’t know about tonight. I still need to stock my pantry. I don’t have any food yet. So tonight will mostly be grocery shopping. Nothing I really need help with, but thanks—“

“Even better. I’m a wiz at shopping and a great cook. I’ll get you set up.” He answered his vibrating cell phone. “Hi, Olivia... No, not tonight. I’ve got plans. Maybe Wednesday? Awesome—see you.”

Without blinking an eye, he turned back to Emily. “So tonight? I’ll come about six thirty? Sound okay?”

Emily shook her head in disbelief. She knew from her mom’s description he was popular with a lot of girls. But had he actually made a date with another girl on the phone while he was in the process of making a date with her? He was way too much of a player.

“Spencer, it sounds to me like you’ve got too much on your social calendar to squeeze me into it.” She poured on the sarcasm. “Maybe tonight’s not a good idea.”

“I’ll never have too much going on to squeeze you in. I’d tear up the whole calendar and throw it away to make room for you. See ya tonight.”

He turned on one heel and left her standing with her mouth agape. She was in big trouble.

 

 

Returning home from her first day at work, Emily felt bone-tired. She’d successfully negotiated the subway system, but her commute still took her about forty minutes. Of course, she’d been offered a ride home with her mom and stepdad, but she’d steadfastly refused. She had to prove she could do this on her own. Her stepfather had convinced her to move into one of the apartments owned by Gherring Inc., but only until she could find a place on her own. Steven Gherring had explained the apartment was merely a part of the initial job offering rather than a special favor for a family member. But it felt like favoritism to her. She couldn’t help but worry the employees at Gherring Inc. would secretly resent her. After all, she was the youngest person in the Accounting department by at least five years, with most being in their thirties and forties. Well, except for Spencer, who was only twenty-five; but he was an intern.

A merry tone sounded on her cell phone.

“Hey, Charlie.”

“Hey, Sister. How was your first day?”

“I’m pooped, but everything went pretty well. Mom only embarrassed me a little bit, and I managed to talk her out of introducing me to the entire office.”

“You’d sit in your cubicle and never meet a soul if you had your way about it. I’m glad Mom’s there to do my job for me.”

“I’m quite happy without either of you interfering in my personal life. I’ve got enough trouble already.”

“What? What happened?”

“You won’t believe my bad luck. Spencer Marshall is working a few cubicles down from me.”

“That’s awesome. I didn’t know he worked at Gherring Inc.”

“It’s not awesome—he’s pushy and overbearing. He’s an intern for the summer, so I only have to make it for three months or so. Then he’ll be gone, and I can have my quiet, private life back.”

“He’s not going to mess up your life by working next to you. Think of it as a bonus. He’s improving the scenery at the office. You have to admit, he’s pretty hot.”

“He
is
messing up my life. He invited himself over here tonight to help me unpack and stock up on groceries. The problem is I’ve already done all of that. I told a little white lie about it as an excuse for why we couldn’t get together.” Emily rubbed her forehead. “Now what am I going to do?”

The sound of Charlie’s giggles echoed over the phone.

“Stop it—it’s not funny.”

“You’ve always been so good at telling those little lies, and you always got away with it. But not this time… And Spencer’s coming to your apartment. He really does like you, doesn’t he? You’ve been denying it all this time, so now you’ve been caught in another little lie.”

Emily had been skirting the truth about Spencer’s relentless pursuit since their meeting in the fall. Both her mom and her sister had quizzed her about him repeatedly. But Emily didn’t want the complication of a relationship right now. And she certainly didn’t want the complication of a meddling family.

“Stop it. You’re my sister—you have to be on my side. You have to help me. What am I going to do?”

“Well, you could always tell the truth and admit you lied to keep him from coming over.”

“I can’t do that. It would hurt his feelings. Although... Maybe he deserves it. Do you know he made a date with another girl on the phone while he was making this date with me?”

“So we’re calling this a date?”

“No, it’s not a date. It’s a friend coming over to help a friend. It’s only a date if they spend money on you or kiss you. You know the dating rules. He’s not spending any money, and he’s definitely not gonna kiss me.”

“Whatever you say…”

“Charlie, help me.”

“Okay, okay... Knowing you, you’ve already completely unpacked and thrown away your boxes and decorated the entire space, right?”

“Of course. I did that the night I got here.”

BOOK: Best Dating Rules: A Romantic Comedy (The Best Girls Book 2)
4.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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