Sex . . .
What is it about men anyway? Bad cars, bad jobs, even bad teeth—nothing convinces them that they can't snare a Size Two Babe with a D-cup chest. And after way too many internet dates with men named "luvstick" and "bigdaddy182," Lucy Rothschild should know.
Lies . . .
But sitting across from her now is "hardluvnman," and he seems different—sensitive, honest, and hot! He says he's a plumber, while Lucy claims she's a nurse! She's really a mystery writer, dating online while researching her next book. Hey, everyone lies a little, don't they?
And Online Dating . . .
But Quinn's really an undercover cop hunting down a serial killer, and he sees Lucy as his top suspect. And while he could really go for this smart, sexy woman with the killer bod—if that's the only thing "killer" about her—he knows he needs to wine and dine her and discover the truth. Hey, he realizes the dating scene can be deadly—but this is ridiculous!
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Sex, Lies, and Online Dating
By Rachel Gibson
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Rachel Gibson
All right reserved.
Mystrygrl: Seeks Man for Mystery . . .
Lucy Rothschild pulled her BMW into the parking slot closest to the Starbucks entrance and shoved the vehicle into park. Rain pounded the hood of her car and bounced off the asphalt as she turned off the Beemer. Her gaze slid to the front of the strip mall and sought the green-and-white Starbucks sign next to the golden glare of Blockbuster Video. Light from within the coffee shop poured out onto the wet sidewalk, while the raindrops slipping down Lucy's window smeared vivid color and inky shadows like an abstract painting.
Next thing you know, some guy is wearing your head for a hat. Lucy turned off the car and shoved her keys in the pocket of her navy blue Ralph Lauren blazer. She hated when Maddie said things like that. When she made everyone else as paranoid and freaky as she was. Maddie interviewed psychopaths for a living, but that didn't mean all men were child molesters, rapists, or serial killers. Lucy wrote about murder too, but she wrote fiction and was able to separate what she wrote from real life. Maddie seemed to have trouble with that.
Lucy grabbed her umbrella from the passenger seat and opened her car door. It wasn't as if she was going to set up a second meeting with hardluvnman or was even going to leave Starbucks with him. It wasn't even as if she was taking this coffee date any more seriously than she'd taken the others she'd had during the past few months.
She hit the button on her umbrella with her thumb, and the red canopy opened as she stepped from the car. Like the other "dates," tonight was about work. She had her small notepad and pen in her pocket, right next to her little can of mace. She'd brought the pen and paper in case she needed to write down interesting tidbits about hardluvnman after he left. She'd brought the mace in case he wanted to wear her head for a hat.
Damn that Maddie.
Lucy paused briefly to shut the door behind her, then moved across the parking lot, dodging puddles on her way. Unless hardluvnman was different, she wouldn't even use the pen and paper. Unless he was different from the others, while they waited in line for coffee he'd give her the slow up and down, as if she were an Airedale at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. If she passed inspection, he'd pay for her triple grande skinny latte (hold the whip, please), ask her what she did for a living (although she'd clearly lied on her bio, stating she was a nurse), then proceed to talk about himself (what a great guy he was) and his former wife/girlfriend (and what a dumb bee-yatch she was). If Lucy didn't pass the slow up and down, she'd pay for her own coffee. Which had only happened to her once.
Bigdaddy182 had been a real cheap bastard with a silver tooth and a neck-hair ponytail. He'd taken one look at her and said, "You're skinny," as if that had been a bigger abomination than his beer belly. She'd bought her own coffee, then proceeded to listen to him talk about himself for the next hour. While he'd rambled on about his run to Sturgis and his bitch of an ex-wife, Lucy had thought about different ways to kill him off. Bad, heinous ways. In the end, she'd known she'd have to stick to her female serial killer's MO, but erotic asphyxiation had seemed too good a way for him to die.
Two steps from the sidewalk, Lucy planted her foot in a puddle. She'd almost made it. Cold water rushed over the toe of her black ankle boot and splashed the bottom of her black jeans.
"Crap-ola!" she said and stepped up on the curb. She opened the door to Starbucks and moved inside. The smell of rich, dark coffee filled her head, and the low steady hum of voices coalesced with the sound of the coffee grinder and espresso machine. No matter what city Lucy might travel to, Starbucks always looked and smelled the same. Kind of like Barnes and Noble or Border's. There was some comfort in that.
Lucy closed her umbrella, and her gaze took in the gold walls and the patrons sitting at brown tables and hard wooden chairs. No man in a red baseball hat. Hardluvnman was late.
Lucy shoved her umbrella in the stand by the door and moved to the counter. When he'd e-mailed her and asked her to meet him, he'd written that his real name was Quinn. Lucy preferred to think of him as hardluvnman. She didn't want to think of him or any of these dates as real people. It was easier to kill them off that way.
She ordered her latte, sans whip, then took a seat at a small round table in the corner. She unbuttoned her blazer and smoothed the collar of her navy blue turtleneck.
She supposed it was a sad commentary on her love life that the only dates she'd had lately hadn't even been real dates at all. The only reason she was subjecting herself to men like bigdaddy182 was that she needed research for her new mystery novel, dead.com.
Lucy raised the latte to her lips and took a cautious sip. She only needed one last victim for her book. Even if hardluvnman turned out to be a decent guy who didn't need to die, Lucy was done with Internet coffee dates. She'd had enough of men who acted like it was her job to pursue them. Like she had to convince them to ask her out again. If this last date didn't prove fortuitous, she'd figure something else out. Like taking all the lying, cheating, needy characteristics of all her former boyfriends and roll them into one. But she'd done that before, and . . .
Excerpted from Sex, Lies, and Online Dating by Rachel Gibson Copyright © 2005 by Rachel Gibson. Excerpted by permission.
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