App developer Evie James is clueless about hooking up. So she does what any self-respecting geek-girl would do: she programs an app for landing a hot guy. After a few failed attempts, beta testing leads her to Caleb Anderson. But will one night be enough?
Katrina Phillips is a social media expert. But even she makes horrible mistakes like accidentally syncing her BootyBook app with her online profiles. Now everyone knows who she's dated and how they rated! Then she gets an out-of-the-blue text from Drew Jordanthe only guy who came close to a perfect score
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
By night, Jordan McAdam is the proprietor of a website that rates DC's hottest bachelors. By day, her office temp job allows her to do a little fact checking on these men. When her latest assignment introduces her to the sexy but mysterious Forest Redder, Jordan decides to try some "hands-on" research of her own.
About the Author
USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy first published in 2002 and has since written almost fifty novels and novellas in teen fiction, new adult, and adult romance. Erin is a RITA finalist and the ALA Reluctant Young Reader award recipient. See www.erinmccarthy.net for latest releases or follow her on Twitter: @authorerin.
Award-winning author HelenKay Dimon spent twelve years in the most unromantic career ever - divorce lawyer. After dedicating all of that effort to helping people terminate relationships, she is thrilled to deal in happy endings and write romance novels for a living. Her books have been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine and E! Online. HelenKay loves hearing from readers, so stop by her website at www.helenkaydimon.com and say hello.
Read an Excerpt
Acquire social lubricant. Check. Step three of this theoretical man-landing mission was complete. She'd already put on panties that would make her feel confident and sexy, then found a bar in the right part of town that was sure to contain the right sort of people.
Now she just needed to relax so she could engage a potential mate.
Evie James looked down into her pink drink and frowned. She didn't feel particularly socially lubricated. Or lubricated in any fashion, really.
She was nervous. Shaky and neurotic and nervous. This was what years of hiding in her office had gotten her. What years of dating the same boring man who hogged the covers and treated the female orgasm like an elusive, nonexistent unicorn that didn't bear hunting for had gotten her.
She didn't know how to pick up men. She knew how to program apps. How to manage a team of creatives. How to sell and market what she created, to a whole roomful of people if necessary, and she had a few million dollars in her bank account that stood as a testament to that. On a personal note, she also knew how to find a moving service to get your rat-bastard ex's shit out of your apartment and have it delivered to his mother's house in boxes marked "things to clutter up your basement when your man-child returns."
Yeah, she knew how to do that.
But picking up men? New men she had never talked to before? Men she wanted to do sexual things, not business things, with? Not so much.
Not that she was actually going to do any sexual things with a guy tonight. She just needed to see if she could get one to take her bait. So to speak.
She sucked up more pink drink through her straw and waited for some magic to happen. None.
She tugged her iPad out of her purse and opened up the basic mock-up of the app she'd been using as a guide. Flirt magazine had commissioned her to create this app that would be a field guide for fashion, flirting and hooking up.
Right now, the app needed some beta testing. And she was the one testing it. Because hell, if it could work for her it could work for anyone.
She clicked on the "10 Dating Tips" article and skimmed to number four.
Put yourself out there! You don't have to wait for a man to approach you. That went out with corsets and stays. The rules of the dating game are in your hands.
Her shaky, sweaty hands.
She looked around the bar. It was so dim. She wasn't sure how anyone was supposed to tell how attractive the people around them were. Though, maybe that would work in her favor. Whilst she'd followed the "How to Get a Smokey Eye in Three Easy Steps" guide religiously while getting ready, she was privately afraid she looked like she'd been punched in the face.
So maybe the dim lighting would work in her favor.
The guy across the bar was actually pretty nice looking. He was wearing that standard blue business shirt, collar open, his tie probably ditched in whatever fleet car he drove. A company car, she was willing to bet. He had an eight-dollar haircut. That she was sure of. She could see the razor tracks from twenty feet away, but that wasn't so bad.
He probably sold something. Insurance maybe.
So maybe she could get a little ego salve and a good rate on a policy for her motorcycle all in one night. That would kind of rock.
She stood up and started walking toward him before she could overthink it. Before she could think at all.
A wall of cheap body-spray scent greeted her when she got within five feet of him. She nearly gagged. They needed serving-sizes on that crap. She'd banned it in her offices. The young male interns completely believed the commercials that promised random ménages with strangers and seemed to bathe in the stuff before work. It gave her a headache.
It was giving her a headache now.
That didn't bode well for the flirting.
She really would like it if she could manage to stun a guy with her witty repartee and stunning beauty. If she could get a guy to ask her to come back to his place. Partly because she was trying to figure out how successful her app was, and partly because she really needed the boost to her self-esteem.
The loss of Jason the Ass, and the fact that he'd been sleeping with another woman, had dented her confidence. A little male interest would go a long way in fixing that. Not all the way to the bedroom, mind you.
She couldn't even imagine that being worth it. In her memory, sex had never been so hot, in spite of rumors to the contrary.
It had been a long time for her. Even longer since sex had thrilled her in any capacity.
Jason had been boring in bed. There. She'd admitted it. And yes, she was probably a little bit boring in bed, too, but that man hadn't made her toes curl in years, and even then, he hadn't made them curl with any consistency.
Someday, she would investigate if the toe curling was real. If the panting and sweating and things that her friends always talked about, that the magazines said were possible, were in fact possible.
Her entire sexual career boiled down to one man who seemed to think foreplay was a golf term.
It was partly her fault. Because she'd been seventeen and a virgin the first time she'd been with him, and she'd basically just kept being with him because she hadn't known what else to do. They'd followed each other through life. Through college and their first apartment. Their first jobs. And then her quitting her job to develop apps. And her ensuing success.
Success, which had, apparently, made him feel neutered and had forced him to seek greener pastures. And by greener pastures, she meant another woman's vagina.
The thing that sucked, really sucked, was that when she'd come home from her office to find him with his head between another woman's legs she'd been pissed about two things.
The first being that he'd said he didn't like that. Always. He'd tried it on her once, and said he hated it. And he'd never done it again. So, there he was after ten years with her, doing it for another woman with an enthusiasm she'd never seen from him before.
Yeah, that had pissed her off.
The second thing was that she wasn't brokenhearted.
The realization that she didn't love him anymore either was a hard one to swallow. Because in some ways, even though she was angry, she just felt free.
Free to move his things out. Free to tell him to leave. To tell him to enjoy life without his meal ticket. Free to put on music he hated and dance in her panties and go to bars to pick up men who got her much more excited than Freaking Jason.
It had made her angry because it was ten years of her life, poured out on a guy she couldn't even cry over.
Her most righteous and frightening anger was at herself. Six months she'd had it stewing on the back burner. She hadn't wanted to date. She'd barely wanted to look a guy in the eye because it just made her a little stabby.
Her poor interns.
Then she'd gotten the offer to do this app for Flirt. And that had plunged her into research on dating, hookups and sex. Which was why she had sex, and toe curling, on the brain when she'd successfully ignored the concept for quite a few months.
She'd already compiled a profile for herself in the app. The things she would need, with her personality and experience level, to pick up a guy.
Now, it was time to see how it worked. In theory, at least. All she needed was for him to indicate he wanted to hook up, and then she'd know that her app was a success. And that she actually had a snowball's chance in hell of having another relationship someday.
"Hello," she said, moving to where the guy was sitting. "Evie, Evie James." She stuck out her hand and stood, waiting for him to reciprocate.
He did eventually, but he had that look in his eyes that her sisters usually got whenever Evie was trying to explain something techie to them.
"Nice to meet you, Brent," she said, smiling broadly. She mentally went through the list again. "A drink," she said. "I'd like to buy you one."
"Okay," he said.
Damn this was awkward.
But she was pressing on. She had her Flirt profile all set. She had "10 Tips to Land a Guy," and she was going to do just that.
Caleb Anderson had watched the thin, awkward redhead approach three different men and bomb out in the last ten minutes.
It was like watching an overeager puppy try to make friends with cat people. Sad. It was sad.
Of course, he was a thirty-five-year-old man in a bar on a Friday night hoping to pick up a stranger for sex, so he imagined he was a little sad, too.
But his chances for success were much higher than hers. So there was that.
He could hear her voice carrying over the music. She was loud. Everything about her. From her steps in her stilettos to her laugh, was damned loud.
"These heels are making me blister."
Oh man. She was so awkward.
"Really, I never wear shoes like this." She was still talking about her feet. And now bending down to pull a shoe off. She was wobbling, but caught herself on the bar before she face-planted onto the glossy marble floor.
The guy she was talking to seemed willing to overlook the awkward. At least for now. Probably because the girl had a fine rack on her, at least it seemed that way from his vantage point.
Might be one of those lying gel bras. False advertising at its most insidious.
And now her shoe was off. And her weirdness officially trumped her rack. The guy she was talking to was zoned out now, his gaze on the blonde across the room.
Caleb had assessed the blonde already. She was boring. She wasn't awkward, but there was nothing special about her. Her legs were nice, but he'd had a lot of blondes with nice legs. He could see exactly how the night would go. He could take her back to his place, take her to his room. She'd wrap those legs around him and they'd both work their way to orgasm, while the blonde did her best not to sweat her makeup off.
He liked the ending, but the journey just didn't excite him much.
Damn. Sex was starting to get boring. He really did need a hobby. One beyond picking up women in bars, apparently.
The redhead wasn't boring. She was weird. But she wasn't boring. Sex with her? He couldn't predict that. And that interested him.
Caleb got up from his table and walked across the bar, his eyes on her. She was trying to get her shoe back on now, and she was oblivious to the fact that she'd lost her audience.
She looked up, her hair spilling over her shoulders, all glossy and sexy, her lips drawn into a pout.
For the first time since he'd seen her, hot surpassed weird as his primary descriptor. Her eyes were still on the guy who was now very much trying not to look at her. He'd never seen a woman as pretty as her strike out so hard so many times in a row.
"Can I buy you a drink?" he asked.
She looked up and her eyes went wide. "Me?"
"I had one."
"Only one?" he asked. He'd sort of imagined she was a little tipsy. If she was sober then she was extra weird.
"Yeah, just the one. I didn't want to get drunk."
"No, I can see why you wouldn't," he said.
"I was talking to Jeff here," she said, looking back at the man who was no longer looking at her.
"You were done talking to Jeff," Caleb said. "Or rather, I think he was done talking to you."
"I think he's playing hard to get," she said, arching a brow.
"I think he can hear you," Caleb said.
The woman stepped away from the bar and lowered her voice. "Well, he was."
"Men don't play hard to get," Caleb said. "Men want to have sex. Every guy in here by himself wants to have sex tonight. Hell, every guy in here with a woman wants to have sex tonight, their odds just aren't as good as the guys who are alone."
"You think so?"
"I know so, Evie."
She frowned. "How do you know my name?"
"Evie, Evie James, you've introduced yourself very loudly to several men in here since I walked in. I observed."
"Well I I that's just annoying," she said. "Eavesdropping, I mean. Eavesdropping is annoying."
"This is where you ask my name," he said. "I'm not sure it is."
"Yes, it's polite. Caleb Anderson. And your pickup techniques aren't working."
"I'm doing research," she said, her tone sharp. "For an app."
"An app?" he asked, interested now. "I'm an app developer, that's what I do."
"See? That's interesting. Your heel blisters aren't." Freckled cheeks turned deep red. "But they hurt."
"Sorry. Want me to rub ointment on it?"
"Having a man rub ointment on your feet is nowhere in the guidelines."
"I have these guidelines. I'm using them to make the app. For Flirt magazine. Yeah. That one. Maybe you've heard of it. It's like a big deal."
Now, that was a twist he couldn't have predicted. But then, this was the hangout for people who worked in that arena. Which he knew, not because he did, but because it was a good place to pick up businesswomen who wanted to blow off steam.
He knew the magazine well. One of the many glossy-paged ponies in his father's media stable. It had been enlightening to him as a teenage boy discovering women.
It had been like being behind enemy lines.
Part of the empire that would have been Jill's. Now it would be his someday as the sole surviving heir. He didn't like to think about it much anymore. And the connection almost sent him walking back the other way.
He didn't need any emotional baggage; he just needed a little fun.
But Evie James was interesting. And the desire to be interested was stronger than the desire to turn away.
"The women's magazine with all the sex tips?"
"Yeah," she said. "That's the one." She leaned in, one eyebrow arching. "And I've been reading up."
Evie was starting to wonder if she really was drunk. A feeling of desperation was making her behave like an ass, and she knew it, and now this guy was talking to her. This guy who didn't even look like he could possibly be real.
He looked like he'd stepped off the pages of some business magazine. Perfectly cut suit, expensive watch and shoes. And his haircut had not cost eight dollars.
No, his dark hair was perfection. She wanted to run her fingers through it. Or pull it. That was one of the sex tips she'd read. Some guys were into that.
And now he was talking to her. She wished she were in a business meeting. Then it wouldn't matter how hot the guy was, she would know what to say. She would know what to do with her hands.
She wouldn't be so sweaty.
She was beyond competent in every other area of her life and she just didn't know how to do this.
The damn app needed to be able to flirt for her. Give a command, and it would do her bidding. But that was asking a bit much of artificial intelligence.
Siri, I'd like to get laid.
There are ten horny, sexy men in your area.
"So, what's in your app?" he asked, leaning on the bar.