In honor of the occasion, and because it’s Thursday, here are thirteen of my favorite lines from the story:
1. Forget the clichés about friends helping you move and friends helping you move bodies. Real friends sacrificed their lunch hour to help you exact proxy revenge outdoors on a day so brutally cold even the agency’s smokers refused to risk it.
2. “Now hurry up and push your pin in his heart so we can get back inside. My five-year plan doesn’t include freezing to death for the sake of you or your bad boy.”
3. “It’s not going to work. It never does. All it does is make me feel better. Take that, Daniel Curtiss Constantine.” Maggie finished hacking through the second leg and started to sob.
4. “Yeah, I can see how it’s a real attitude adjuster,” Germaine said dryly.
5. The universe had other plans. It planned to enjoy a big honking, snorting, coffee-through-the-nose-spewing belly laugh at Maggie’s expense. There, not a dozen yards in front of her, striding in the direction of her favorite takeout, was the bane of her professional life.
6. It never occurred to her to push him into traffic. He stepped off the curb all by himself.
7. “So this is what it takes,” Constantine gasped, “to get your attention.”
8. She expected the surroundings to diminish him. Instead she discovered the width of his shoulders owed nothing to padding. An uneasy mix of guilt and curiosity writhed inside her. Did his legs match the rest of him?
9. [His eyes] were a clear light gray, completely at odds with his Mediterranean complexion and the dark brown eyelashes that belonged in a mascara commercial. When those eyes focused on a person—the way they focused on her now—it was like being targeted by a pair of lasers.
10. His voice had a husky quality—a subtle roughness like vintage mohair upholstery, which inspired almost as much thigh wriggling and skirt palming among the agency power groupies as his eyes.
11. The only answers Maggie had were rude. She found a spot on the floor that looked like Kansas and wished for a tornado.
12. Worse, the movement called attention to his muscular, mostly naked legs. Inside her head she groaned. He’d be perfect if only he weren’t in advertising.
13. (The one my Texas friends like best.)
“Afghanistan?” she squeaked. “You were in the Army?”
“Three years, eight months, seventeen days, and just a little over three hours. Do you want it in minutes? C’mon, Maggie, give me a little credit. You didn’t think it took me seven years to graduate Yale, did you?” He laughed. “If I’d been that slow, the only way I could’ve made a living would’ve been to move to Texas and go into politics.”
Now you know you want to read the rest. Check it out at Red Rose Publishing and, maybe, take it home for Valentine’s Day.