Take A Number by Amy Daws

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Fake dating the cute owner of a bakery Dean is an investor in sounds kind of messy…but messy can be fun.

Norah Donahue wants bakeries not babies, but her matchmaking mother won’t stop trying to play Cupid.

Dean Moser is a cocky stock market savant whose friends are all settling down, leaving Boulder’s infamous ladies’ man all alone.

When Norah needs a fake date for her parents’ anniversary party, her new silent investor is the perfect guy for the job. It seems like a foolproof plan…

That is until Norah decides to break her biggest rule and lock lips with Dean in the middle of the party to spite her meddling mother.

Turns out that Dean and Norah’s chemistry is sizzling hot, and mixing business with pleasure could turn out to be a recipe for disaster.

Or maybe they can have their cake and eat it too.

“This is a disaster,” I groan and turn to prop my elbows on the bar. “Can I get another champagne, please?” 
Dean sidles up next to me as the bartender fills my glass. “What’s up, sugar? I think your dad likes me.” 
I pin him with a warning look. “If you add tits to the end of that sugar, your balls must have a death wish.” 
“Why so cheery?” Dean asks, hunching over the bar to sip his brown liquor out of a rocks glass. “Did your mother give you a puppy again? That Elaine.” 
“My mother invited Nathaniel here tonight,” I state flatly. 
“The perfect teeth guy?” 
“Yes.”
“So, what’s the big deal?” 
I pin him with an accusing look. “She gave him the impression I was here for him. Like I was some lonely sack who couldn’t get a date even if I wanted to. Jesus, this is embarrassing.” 
“Relax.” Dean turns to face the party and rests his elbows behind him like he doesn’t have a care in the world. “We’ll just have to break some of your rules.” 
“What do you mean?” I grab a nut from the bowl on the bar and chew on it nervously. 
“Well, if you want this guy to steer clear, then a little PDA might be in order.” 
“What kind of PDA?” If he says kissing, I’ll spontaneously combust. 
Dean seems to read my mind and rolls his eyes. “Relax, sugar cake, I mean a little…affection. Maybe we dance. Maybe I put my arms around your waist or play with your hair a little. Or maybe we get practically pornographic, and I waffle your fingers.” He laughs casually. “Something to show your mother this Nate guy doesn’t have a chance.” 
I nod thoughtfully as I process what Dean’s just said. He mentioned touching me so casually like it’s no big deal. I suppose it isn’t since he seems to flirt with anything that walks. But I’ve been out of the game for a while now, and I can count on one hand the number of people I’ve been affectionate with, and even those were years ago. Is this really something I can pull off? 
“Norah, drink the rest of that champagne. It’s going to be fine.” 
I close my eyes, letting his words sink in while feeling anything but fine. “Okay, just promise you won’t try to kiss me. I’m barely holding it together as it is, and if I have to worry about you breaking the ultimate rule, I won’t survive this night.” I tip the rest of the champagne into my mouth. 
“Relax, I won’t tongue thrust you in front of all your parents’ friends. I’m a mountain manwhore, but I draw the line at lip raping.” 

Author: etheljo

Wife, mom, advid reader You can reach me at kjkmking@me.com

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