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Not Just Friends
Romance on the Go
Evernight Publishing
Published April 28, 2016
He has an
insatiable penchant for tall, leggy blondes, and Taylor Simmons finds Nash
Porter’s reputation unsettling, despite how much she likes the guy. As she’s
come to learn over the years, there’s more to Nash than his assumed sexual
prowess, and her short, brunette stature ensures their solid friendship will
remain just that.
Except Nash
has been invading her personal space of late, and that’s far more unsettling.
It’s time to extricate herself from his sphere, because she can’t have anything
more than a friendship with someone who reminds her of a past she conquered and
left behind. Unless Nash can convince her otherwise…
Christina made her name sound like a rebuke.
“Hi, Chris.” She
concentrated on her driving, the speaker above her head crackling a little.
“You’re not here.
It’s Thursday.”
“I told you I had
to work. I left you a message.”
“Oh. Today?” Her friend
wasn’t great at checking her voicemail.
“You should have
Voices swelled in
the background and a door slammed. “Everyone’s here but you.”
“Again, I’m sorry.
The client could only meet after work.” And on any day of the week, so Taylor
chose Thursday. A couple of weeks without seeing Nash should put things back to
“So it’s not… Wait
a second.” Another door closed, and things were quieter. “So it’s not because
of Nash?”
Wait. What?
“You’ll have to speak up, Chris. I’m driving and hands free isn’t as clear.”
“It isn’t about
“What about him?”
There, a nice, nebulous response while she gathered her thoughts.
“Um, Bryan said…
Well, he said Nash and you were … exploring something.”
No. And no. He did
not. She gripped the wheel and checked her mirror, pulling into the outside
lane and finding a place to drive off and stop. The little turnoff was graveled
and it gritted beneath the tires, much the same way Christina’s newsflash
ground in her brain.
“Sorry, traffic.”
She slammed the shifter into Park and set her forehead on the steering wheel.
Any softer feelings for Nash blew right out the window. “I don’t follow. The
thing about Bryan and Nash.”
Christina huffed.
“They were talking at work and Nash told Bry that he was interested. In you.
Like dating.”
Her laughter might
filter through the hands free as more convincing than it sounded in the
confines of the car. Bad words hovered in her throat and she swallowed them
down. She chose something frivolous to say instead. “What was he smoking?”
“I asked the same
thing, Taylor. And you know Nash…”
“I do know Nash.”
Taylor leaned her head back on the seat rest. “And I don’t date … guys who have
a different woman every week, Chris. What, has he run out of tall, leggy blondes
in this state? It’s not that far over the line into the next one. An easy
They both laughed,
but in truth, Taylor felt like crying. She’d known Nash for five years, met him
when Christina drew her into their little group. The ensuing years had evoked a
deeper, more intimate relationship with all the members, including Nash. She
knew his foibles and his strengths. He was a good man and a good friend, and in
a short period of time, she managed to overlook—or at least not judge, too
much—his way with the ladies. His incredible good looks went a long way, but
after seeing them as often as she had, they didn’t have the same impact. Right?
His sense of humor
and fairness, his caring for family and friends, kindness to animals, his
strong work ethic, and total honesty made up most of the fabric that was Nash
Porter. She flinched in that moment. Maybe he saw past Taylor’s definitely not leggy, blonde, and beautiful
appearance and appreciated who she was behind her exterior. What had he said?
Kind and gentle—when she wasn’t on a righteous crusade—and with a core of
steel. Hardly superficial, when she thought on it. She stared into the rear
view mirror, surveying her tousled brown hair that curled in any amount of
humidity, but was soft with natural highlights, and framed her small face
Her eyes were her
best feature, widely spaced beneath feathered eyebrows, their hazel depths
shifting with her moods or reflecting the colors she wore. Today they were
green. Green for uncertainty. She ran a finger down her straight nose and
tapped her lips. She was pressing them too tightly together of late, so she
relaxed them into their natural fullness. Centerfold material she was not, but
she wasn’t ugly either. And she kept herself in shape, walking every day and
finding time in her schedule for yoga.
Her just less than
a C-cup breasts matched the rest of her, even if she sometimes longed to be a
few inches taller. Standing on tip toes could be a bummer. With a sigh, she
focused on the conversation with Christina.
“Sorry, Chris. I
missed most of that.”
“I said for sure
Nash must have run out of those blondes because he hasn’t been seeing anyone
for weeks now. Maybe months. Like a drought. Haven’t you noticed the lack of
references to any women in his life? The guys aren’t even bugging him about
them. And he’s always around lately.”
Taylor was really
glad she wasn’t driving. Her brain ticked over, sorting through the times Nash
had “just happened by” at her work of late, with a cup of her favorite tea,
saying he had business. It hadn’t made much of an impact, seeing as he was an
architect and often consulted with the interior designers—including her—in her
office building. He was being Nash, kind and thoughtful for a friend.
The teaming up
with her on game night, blocking Graham’s attempts to partner her, was
different, and more frequent. She liked Graham, but he drove her crazy when
they partnered up. When she joined forces with Nash … they fit. They got one
another and it felt so comfortable and fun. Tick,
tick, tick
Showing up to
carry her groceries to the lift those two times when she’d bemoaned that task
at game night—she hadn’t invited him in then either, and he’d given her that
little salute when she’d thanked him and … dismissed him? Lord. Was she living
in a different dimension? She hadn’t meant to be rude…
He’d been at the
coffee house nearly every time she made it there—and Morris the barista and
Nash exchanged those meaningful glances, like they had a secret. Tick, tick, tick. Had he been … courting
… her?

Bookstrand: the author:

Peri Elizabeth Scott
lives in Manitoba, Canada. Peribeth recently closed her part time private practice as a social worker and child play therapist, and now s
he and her husband have a seasonal business and pretend to work well together. Writing for
years, mostly short stories and poetry, she has published dark erotica under
another pen name and reads everything she can lay her hands on.


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