Jacqueline: As an adult woman—and the vice president of a marketing firm—I shouldn’t be waiting by my office window to ogle the mystery man who jogs by every morning at 11:45. Sure, he’s a gorgeous, perfect specimen of the human race, but I can’t bring myself to hit on a total stranger. However, my best friend–slash–colleague Vince Carson thinks I should do more than talk to the guy. In fact, he’s borderline obsessive about “getting me laid.” (His words.) But the more time we spend together, the more it’s clear: The one I’m falling for is Vince.
Vince: Jackie Butler’s got it bad for some pompous, over-pumped A-hole who struts his stuff past her window. That doesn’t bother me. I know she deserves nice things. What does bother me is that she friend-zoned me big-time last year, so I can’t ask her out myself. But what if I set her up with Mr. Steroids? Then, when he breaks her heart, I can swoop in and save her like the nice guy I am. Everything’s going according to plan . . . until we share a ridiculously epic kiss. And suddenly anything is possible.
Look for Jessica Lemmon’s standalone romances with heartfelt HEAs:
FIGHTING FOR DEVLIN | FORGOTTEN PROMISES | SHUT UP AND KISS ME | EYE CANDY | ARM CANDY | MAN CANDY | RUMOR HAS IT
Praise for Eye Candy
“Friends-to-lovers story get your mojo going? Then, be sure to take a look at Eye Candy.”—The Romance Reviews
“This is the first novel in the Real Love series and what a great start. It’s enjoyable, frisky, and highly entertaining.”—What’s Better Than Books?
“Eye Candy is a humorous and sexy friends-to-lovers and workplace romance. Jessica Lemmon entertained with the dialogue and interactions among a strong cast of characters. Ms. Lemmon created a nice balance of friendship and romance with good character development. Fans of Liora Blake and Mari Madison will enjoy Eye Candy.”—Harlequin Junkie
“Such a cute romance between Jackie and Vince. A friends-turned-lovers story . . . I really enjoyed this one. Can’t wait to read book two, Arm Candy. I’m hoping [in that] one Davis will find love. I would recommend this one to my romance book friends.”—Island of Reading
“Eye Candy was a very realistic, cute story. I enjoyed the writing, the characters and real-life issues between the two main characters. Phenomenal read.”—Nay’s Pink Bookshelf (five stars)
“I liked this book, I loved Vince.”—A Crazy Vermonter’s Book Reviews
This standalone novel includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
Related collections and offers
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
My office phone to my left purrs and I smile at it before I lift the receiver. It’s 11:41 a.m. on a Tuesday, and I know who it is without looking. Kayla does this at least three times a week.
The second I hold the handset to my ear, she says, “Four-minute warning.”
We’re waiting for my mystery man to run by the window. Well, not mine, but she calls him mine and I let her, because nothing is safer than fiction.
“Thanks,” I say. As if I don’t already have an alarm set. I tapped the screen of my phone to silence the musical reminder just before she called.
“Now we wait.”
As you can see, I’m not the only one watching for him.
He’s one of those guys who shouldn’t be real. His upper half is shaped like an upside-down triangle: wide chest, broad shoulders, fantasy-grade muscle mass and physique. For a terminally single woman consciously stocking her fantasy bank, he’s a perfect candidate.
“What do you think he does for a living?” Kayla asks, her voice dreamy. She’s married to a nice guy named Kevin and has a six-year-old special-needs son who is the greatest kid on the planet. I haven’t met a lot of kids, but trust me when I say Kyle is amazing. And yes, they are one of those families. Kevin, Kayla, and Kyle. Kayla says that if she has a girl, her name will be Kendall.
It’s all so sweet I could puke.
“Maybe he’s military.” Another smile crests my mouth. Mainly because I know more than she knows I know, but I refuse to tell her as much. I already feel like a stalker watching him jog by my office window. If she knew I also watched him leave our apartment complex every morning, and that we ended up in line at the same Tim Hortons once, she’d do something horrible.
Like try to set me up with him.
“Military guys are punctual,” she agrees. “But I’m betting he’s a nerdy type. An IT guy or something.”
“You’re a webmaster. Are you projecting because it gives you hope that an IT guy might look like him?”
She ignores the jab and replies, “I’ve decided his name is Mark.”
“Why Mark?” My email box dings. It’s a message from the president of the Brookdale Group, Wayne Wilson. I twist my lips and refocus on the conversation at hand.
“Because Mark is an approachable-sounding name,” Kayla says. “And you should approach him.”
Not only is this dude an Adonis of the untouchable kind, but his name is not Mark. I don’t know what his name is, but with the initials j.t. on his apartment mailbox, I’m sure neither of his names is Mark or has a Mark in it.
Plus, he doesn’t look like a Mark.
“I know you think it’s fun to live out my runner-guy fantasy with me, Kayla, but let’s not have this cross into reality.” Vince walks by my wide office window and I hold my breath, hoping he doesn’t stop in for a leisurely chat. I normally have my door open but lately I’ve requested that, if my door is closed, no one interrupt without a knock. That new rule may or may not have coincided with the appearance of J.T. jogging by my window three weeks ago.
Don’t judge me.
Vince is my friend and has been for the entirety of my time spent here at the Brookdale Group. When I started as a junior designer, he was married and completely unavailable. I was on the dating scene and totally would have upgraded to someone like Vince. Face it, the Internet matches I went out with were ones I grew to regret. As of one year ago, Vince was available, but I was no longer looking. Plus, he’s one of my best friends. Since he’s become a divorcé of the bitter variety, he and I have shared a lot of nights and beers. I listen to him complain about Leslie, and he buys me pizza. I am firmly Team Vince.
He gives me a flat-mouthed grimace and rolls his eyes. I smile on the outside but flinch on the inside, hoping he doesn’t know I’m waiting for my runner to jog by again today.
Then he points outside and taps the face of his watch, and I know he knows. Thankfully, he bypasses my door without knocking.
Whatever. He has his pastimes; I have mine.
“Whoever he is, I think you should talk to him,” Kayla continues in my ear. Funny, I almost forgot I’m holding the phone.
I laugh, and it sounds fearful with a touch of desperation. “Just walk outside the building and strike up a conversation? About what? His average heart rate? How fast he can run a mile?”
Because I’d die a thousand tiny deaths. Which makes me think of the way the French use a similar term for an orgasm. Which makes me remember how long it’s been since I’ve had one. Which in turn makes me think of having sex with the mysterious J.T., and that is not a bad thought at all.
Except for everything that would have to lead up to that point. Talking to him. Going on a date. The awkward first-date/front-door drop off. Me stripping off my clothes in my apartment or his and praying he isn’t into anything weird like bedroom acrobatics. I cringe.
“Vince is coming in here,” Kayla whispers.
“Yeah, he bypassed me.”
“Lucky,” she whispers, and then I’m hung up on.
My smile fades and I drop my chin in my hand and sigh, watching out the window to see if the Runner makes his appearance today.
Just to clear a few things up: I’m not afraid of men, or of good-looking men. Vince is great-looking and I can’t tell you how many evenings we’ve spent sacked out on his couch or mine over the past ten months or so. I’m also VP of a nice-sized marketing firm in downtown Columbus, Ohio, so I’m adept at speaking to men of every age, creed, and body type. I don’t blush or get tongue-tied, and I can tell a dirty joke without embarrassing myself. But dating?
Ever since I reentered the dating scene after my divorce three years ago, I have been allergic to dating. And I’ve gone out enough to know exactly how it goes.
In between the awkward texts (or phone calls if he’s an older guy) are awkward get-to-know-you discussions followed by awkward kisses that don’t often send sparks into the air. The last guy I dated? Totally sparkless. Attractive, successful, nice suit. Not the worst kisser I’ve experienced, but definitely in the bottom ten. You know the sound a lit match makes when it’s dropped into a cup of water? That fizzle pretty much sums up every date I had with him. Breaking it off was a mercy killing. Trust me on that one.
There’s probably something wrong with J.T. the jogger, I think as I watch for him out the window. Why would such a beautiful specimen be single? I guess he’s single. There’s no ring on his finger glinting in the sun when he runs by, and when I noticed him at my complex after I saw him jogging on a Saturday, I also noticed there was no one else coming or going from his apartment, as far as I could tell.
Shut up—I am not stalking him. I happened to recognize the red shorts—the ones that mold to his thighs of steel and make a woman think ribald thoughts. When I saw him in my complex, I was sure he was a mirage. My work-time fantasy following me home. But nope, it was him. His eyebrows closed in with effort, mouth open as he breathed, zero percent body fat, and all of him moving like a machine.
I don’t stare out my apartment window on the weekends or anything.
I do have some boundaries.
But here, he’s a guy who runs by a public building on a city sidewalk, and I have every right to turn my head at 11:45 a.m. to see if he’s going to jog by or have a skip day. He had a skip day yesterday and I was notably disappointed.
Which was why Kayla’s suggestion of talking to him horrified me.
Then I see a flash of red and oh, God, oh, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Captivated, I stare out the window at his perfect form. Slightly longish golden-blond hair bouncing with every stride. Calf muscles straining. Thighs testing the limits of those red shorts. Shirtless, his glistening pecs on display. He’s truly beautiful. A modern-day statue of David. He’s not wearing sunglasses today and squints as he runs by, and what’s this? He turns his head as if he’s looking at me. He’s not. The windows are reflective. But I imagine he is. I imagine that subtle glance, probably to check his form, is instead meant for me. A smile and a wink to me, his girlfriend, whom he pleasures four—no wait—five times a week . . .
I blink as he jogs out of sight. Then I’m off my chair, cheek pressed to the window to watch as he vanishes around the corner.
It’s always over way too fast.