Heroine: Kat Turner AKA Kathleen Tyson. A billionaire heiress in hiding who now must marry ASAP if she wants save everything her family has built.
Hero: Dan O’Malley. Dan the security man. Quinn Sulivan’s second in command. He’s always liked Kat and wants to help her any way he can. Empathsis on HIS way.
“I’m a block of fromage that’s been shredded when the recipe calls for sliced. You can’t slice shredded cheese.”
Sandra wrinkled her nose in obvious confusion. “What?”
“And before you ask, yes. I know the word for cheese in many languages. I can’t be going about saying ‘cheese’ all the time. With as much as I think about it, I need word replacement options. And fromage is among my favorites.”
“You can call it whatever you like.” Sandra picked up the same yarn she’d made a face at earlier, then quickly put it back. “You’ve used enough cheese analogies around me that I grasp it’s forefront in your mind. What I need you to explain is the meaning of the fromage analogy.”
“How can I ask anyone to sign on to a relationship with me, not knowing if I will bring shredded cheese to the table when the recipe calls for sliced? And keeping my past from hypothetical Dan would be like asking for cheddar on a hamburger and getting limburger instead.”
“Let’s tackle one issue—and fromage analogy—at a time. First, do you want to be in a sexy-relationship with Dan? Yes or no?”
“No,” I blurted. Forcefully. And I meant it.
“Really?” Her voice pitched high and disbelieving. “Then what are we talking about?”
“I just mean, if Dan had feelings for me—which he doesn’t—I would only disappoint him.”
“Please take a moment here to listen to yourself. No one expects you to be perfect.”
I glanced at the yarn I’d inadvertently picked up; I was twisting it between my fingers. I stopped and put it back.
“I know no one expects me to be perfect. I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made in therapy. I have a place at work and I’m doing well. I love you and all the knitting ladies. I value and feel valued in our relationships. School is going well—”
“Better than ‘well’. Aren’t you top of the class?”
I ignored her question. “I’m also resolved to taking my place at Caravel, and my sense is that I’ve been progressing towards that goal. Despite seeing my future laid out before me, with very little room for deviation, I feel steady and capable. I like who I am and the choices I’ve made, and I accept that my past is part of me, it has contributed to who I am today. Except . . .”
“Except . . .” I gave Sandra my gaze and, with my heart in my throat, admitted the truth to both her and myself, “I doubt I’ll ever be able to fulfill the needs of a romantic partner.”
She stared at me, and I got the sense she was trying to clear her face of any expression. At length, she nodded. “You know what I think?”
“What?” I couldn’t help but be a little afraid, Sandra’s thoughts were usually poignant and difficult to hear.
“I think you should do some research.”
I lifted an eyebrow at Sandra. “What are you talking about? Like, watch porn?”
“If porn dings your dong, go for it. But porn is rarely research because it’s rarely realistic. My suggestion is to lookup positions, approaches to intimacy. Try touching yourself without the goal being a one way ticket to ‘O’ town. Enjoy the physical sensations. Figure out what you like and what you don’t so you can communicate those likes and dislikes when the time comes.”
“When the time comes? You’re suggesting I should keep a list and give it to—to my partner?” My intention was for the question to be amusing, but Sandra didn’t laugh.
Her gaze steady and serious, she nodded her head just once. “Yep. That’s exactly what I mean.” Sandra turned back to the yarn, reaching for a Madelinetosh worsted weight in bright red. “Delete your list of misdeeds, replace it with a list of sexy fantasies, and show that to your hypothetical Dan the ceiling fan.”
Marriage Of inconvenience by Penny Reid, #7 in the Knitting in the City series, releases March 6, 2018. Watch for my review.