Note: ***For readers 18 and up***
About the book:
A bridesmaid in distress…
Mara is desperate to find a “hot” date for a beach wedding she has no wish to attend. The groom is her almost-boyfriend and the bride, her hated cousin. Her list of available, eligible men is virtually nonexistent. What is a girl to do?
Enter scorching hot Ian Stapleton, Mara’s best bud and go-to guy, to the rescue. Seeing his best friend in a red bikini for the first time is triggering a lot of reactions in Ian, the non-platonic kind! Does Ian dare take their friendship to a whole new level?
Mara had one week left to find herself a scorchingly hot date for the wedding. She had only herself to blame for pushing this matter way, way back on her list of priorities. True, it was a problem but Mara was an optimist and she knew cramming was her forte. Didn’t she always deliver during their Grand Rounds presentation? Breezed her way through the quarterly exams with just a few hours worth of review? Managed to juggle and multitask volunteer work for her causes while going through residency and caring for her pet fighting fish Charm? True, changing the water in the fish bowl every other day wasn’t as taxing as walking a dog but since all Mara wanted to do after a grueling 36−hour duty was flop on the bed and sleep like the dead, she gave herself credit for developing her nurturing abilities. Research showed that caring for a pet significantly reduced anxiety and so she got herself a fish. Compared to med school, finding a date would be a walk in the park. Anything she set her mind to, she could accomplish.
Or so she thought, seven days to D−day left and counting, glancing about the lecture hall surreptitiously. The only marginally attractive male in the room was three years younger than her, a sophomore medical student and attached to boot, his girlfriend leaning into him possessively as if all the other single ladies might snatch him away from her. Mara felt the first stirrings of panic but ruthlessly clamped down on it. Get a grip, Mara. You will deliver. You always do.
Furtively, she opened her bag, rummaged blindly inside for her mobile and scrolled through the list of eligible men she had jotted down on her smart phone. Dr. Gonzalez was droning on and on about irrigating blocked Fallopian tubes and his soporific voice had lulled half of his audience to sleep. Mara couldn’t blame the esteemed professor for failing to capture the attention of the class. Medical students were constantly sleep deprived she doubted a pole dancer cavorting on stage or an announcement of a grand shopping sale would wake them up. Or would it?
Mara hated shopping. Well, hate was too strong. She disliked it. She would not go near a shopping mall if there was no need for it. Too crowded. Too many stimuli. Too many choices. If she needed clothes, she asked her childhood friend and neighbor Anna to go with her to lead her directly to what she wanted. The endless selection of tops in different materials, cut, styles, embellishments and colors paralyzed her decision making process.
“You decide,” she would tell Anna when confronted with a choice of two tops. Anna would hand her the sparklier, or the sexier or the bolder colored top and Mara would shake her head and opt for the subdued one. “Really? This is the fashion trend? Korean pop meets Little Mermaid?”
Anna, who was a computer graphic artist, would retort snarkily, “Better than Amish meets old maid.” And it never failed to rile her up. “Just because I don’t go around having casual sex with any available male does not make me a spinster!”
Anna rolled her eyes. “You never have sex, the casual or non- casual type. Period.” And then Mara waited for the inevitable line. “You’re too choosy.” She had heard it on countless occasions, reunions and even from patients who felt it was their duty to hand out unsolicited advice on the state of her nonexistent love life.
Mara’s already stiff spine, thanks in part to all the dancing she did in her meager spare time, stiffened some more. “I beg your pardon,” she huffed. “I am certainly choosy when it comes to inserting a probable disease−ridden appendage into my vagina!”
Anna half chortled, half coughed at Mara’s choice of words. After all these years she still hadn’t quite gotten used to the anatomically precise terms that liberally peppered her friend’s language. Mara’s parents were worse. Both doctors, they had no qualms discussing medical procedures like lancing a boil or repairing a hernia over family dinners and were unmindful that Anna would often be in danger of regurgitating her food. But they were both lovely, kind people and Mara had inherited their no nonsense, call- it−what−it− is attitude. “Oh Mara, you are always good for a laugh!”
“I’d be a laughing stock indeed if I appear at the wedding without a date,” Mara said grimly.
“For God’s sake,” Anna cried exasperatedly, “I don’t even know why you agreed to come to that wedding, let alone agree to be a bridesmaid!”
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