EXCERPT: Three Blind Dates by Meghan Quinn
"Good Morning Malibu, it’s another beautiful day on the west coast! I'm Noely Clark, your host: and I'm in the market for love…”
When the publicity team of the new local restaurant, Going in Blind, began their search for a hot, local celebrity to promote the wildly popular eatery, they couldn’t have found a better person than me.
Open to finding love? Check.
I signed up immediately.
A hopeless romantic with an exceedingly demanding schedule, I've found it impossible to find the man of my dreams—so Going in Blind seems too good to be true! That’s until they start setting me up on dates—three very different, very attractive, very distinct blind dates—and only one thing is for certain . . .
I’m in big trouble.
Good Morning Malibu, I'm Noely Clark, and I have a choice to make. The question is who will I choose; the suit, the rebel, or the jock
📖 Buy Your Copy Here!
I didn’t realize how close I was to the restaurant because I’m ten minutes early. Does that make me seem desperate? No, I chastise myself. It shows that I respect the other person’s time . . . right?
God, dating is the worst. There are so many unspoken rules you have to follow to not look desperate, or to not look like a psycho, or a creep, or horny, or—
“Can I help you, miss?”
Straightening up, I turn toward the hostess stand, which is a beautifully carved piece of wood. Standing behind it is an exotic, tall woman with long black hair, stunning grey eyes, and a massive engagement ring on her hand. Please tell me she got that rock from dating someone in this program.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that happiness for my life is dependent on getting married, but to see a success story in the flesh—particularly for me—would be encouraging.
“Hi, yes, I’m Noely Clark. I have a date at seven tonight with”—I lean forward, feeling silly and whisper—“with WindsorKnot.”
Her smile is kind and reassuring, making me feel a little calmer. “Yes, Miss Clark, I have you here for seven. You’re date hasn’t arrived yet, so can I show you to the bar for a drink while you wait?”
“That would be lovely, thank you.”
With my clutch tucked under my arm, I follow tall, dark, and beautiful to the bar where a very handsome Asian man is standing with a towel draped over his shoulder and a bright grin on his face. He’s wearing a
button-up shirt with rolled sleeves, a brown vest covering his chest, which totally channels his inner Justin Timberlake.
“Danny, this is Miss Clark. She has a reservation at seven. Would you be so kind to make her whatever drink she would like?”
“Of course.” He winks at the hostess who presses her warm hand on my arm.
“Enjoy, Miss Clark. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. My name is Veronica, this is Danny, and we will be happy to serve you in any way.” With a parting grin, she moves back to her hostess spot.
Well, she’s nice.
“Miss Clark, please take a seat. What would you like?”
My tight, formfitting red dress makes my hop onto the bar stool a difficult task, but with a pleading prayer to the dress gods and a swift jump, I situate myself, only breaking a minor sweat.
I let out a sigh of relief and place my hands on the bar in front of me, scanning the glitzy bottles of “muscle relaxant.” “Hmm . . . how about a Moscow Mule?”
“Coming right up.” He gets to work and I watch as he magically floats around the bar, pulling the ingredients. “We recently bought new copper mugs, and I’ve been dying to use them.”
“Yeah? Am I the first?”
Winking, he says, “You are.”
If I didn’t know any better, I would say Danny is a bit of a flirt. Either that or he’s super friendly. Or simply made to be a bartender.
From beneath the bar, Danny pulls out a shiny, hammered-copper mug, and I’m instantly taken by the design. So sleek, just like its surroundings. The restaurant, with its white exposed brick, natural wood features, electric colors, and stone tabletops, is sexy, yet inviting. The friendly waitstaff is an absolute bonus. Every table is cornered off in its own spot, never getting too close to the other tables around it, and the mood lighting is on point with dim Edison bulb lights hanging from the ceiling and tabletop candles. I’m feeling the mood.
Despite the welcoming atmosphere, I can’t help but feel nervous, even after my brief exchange with WindsorKnot. There’s something to say about a blind date: the anticipation, the unknown, the knowledge that you’re having dinner with someone to possibly form a romantic relationship. It’s intimidating, but exhilarating all at the same time.
Could this be the last time I ever go on a first date? Will he like me? Will he want to get to know me?
Butterflies float around in my stomach and my cheeks heat as Danny places a napkin in front of me, topped by my drink with a lime slice on the side.
“Here you go, Miss Clark. Please enjoy.”
I smile politely. “Thank you.” When I take a sip, I’m instantly assaulted by the ginger-lime combination. Perfect. “This is fantastic.”
“Good.” Danny winks again and like an old-time bartender, starts drying a tumbler with the towel hanging over his shoulder. Eyeing me for a second, he asks, “A little nervous?”
After taking a sip from my drink, I lick my lips and nod. “Just a little.” I scrunch my nose, squinting ever so slightly. “Is it obvious?”
“Nah, you look pretty chill compared to a lot of blind daters I see come through the door.”
“Oh, I’m sure you see a lot of different reactions to these dates.” I lean forward, the cold wood of the bar cooling my sweaty hands, and whisper, “Any good stories you can tell me?”
Danny chuckles quietly and leans forward himself, taking a look from side to side before answering. “Plenty, but looks like your date just arrived.”
My date just arrived?
The temperature in the room seems to go up a thousand degrees as my body seizes and my shoulders tense. “Oh God, can you see him? Is he hot? What does he look like? Should I turn around? No, I shouldn’t, he would know I was checking him out.” Whispering a little louder, I ask again, “Just tell me, is he cute?”
Danny’s eyes scan over my head and his smile stretches across his face. “That’s for you to judge, not me.” Damn you, Danny.
Oh Christ, I’m not ready.
That’s right, I’m not freaking ready for this.
I get it, I know I said I was ready, that I wanted to do this, that I was all-in, that I wanted to find my soul mate, but now that I’m here, seconds from meeting “the one,” I’m pretty sure I’m going to throw up. Yep, I’m going to throw up. I can feel it rising.
Oh God, I’m going to retch all over him, right on his shoes. I know it. It’s bound to happen.
“Relax, you’re going to have fun,” Danny whispers before he turns to the bottles behind him.
As if the light hairs on my arm can sense it, they stand at attention as the sound of faint footsteps come closer.
Click, click, click. The cement floor leaves zero room for sneaking up on anyone.
Don’t throw up, don’t throw up. Think compliments, think pleasantries, think—
Smooth molasses drips over my shoulders as the most velvet of voices I’ve ever heard echoes behind me, pulling me away from the death grip on my copper mug and turning me in my seat to face one of the most handsome and polished men I’ve ever seen.
Meet the Author: Meghan Quinn
A BLONDE AT HEART Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped. Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking. Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!