Monday, October 21, 2013

VBT Spotlight: Won't Last Long

Can two people who are totally wrong for each other ever be right?

She's a feisty, sly marketing exec intent on hiding her small-town roots. He’s a laid-back engineer with a shaggy mutt and a pushy ex.

When Joshua asks Melina out, she asks what kind of car he drives. She’ll do drinks, not dinner. She’s always in control. But with Joshua’s easy confidence and sharp wit, Melina is soon breaking the dating rules she made for herself.

Opposites attract—but friends think Melina and Joshua can’t possibly last. When crisis throws their world off its axis, Melina must confront her childhood family, the people she’s come to care about, and the destruction of her pristine image.

Setup: A crowded bar at the top of Seattle’s tallest office tower draws young, urban professionals to see and be seen. But Andrea, an attorney at Brooks Gimbel, is miserable—her date just stood her up and she’s been eavesdropping on the polished, sharp-edged women at the next table to pass the time. Andrea finally gives up on her date and lets one of those women take the spare seat.

Melina hooked her peacock blue purse over the chair intended for Andrea’s date and artfully crossed her legs, putting them in clear view of several men in suits at the bar.
“This is one of our favorite spots,” Melina confided, inclining her head toward the bar. Lauren was there, standing close to a tall man in a well-cut suit, presumably so she could hear him better over the happy hour crowd. “It’s like they put out a memo for hot, rich guys.”
“Makes sense,” Andrea smiled. “Brooks Gimbel and a bunch of other law and finance firms are in this building. You should see the restaurant side at lunch—you can keep tabs on who’s got which client by watching the power lunches.”
“I know,” Melina said. “I have three clients in this building.”
Andrea and Melina exchanged a little bit about their respective careers, then Melina introduced Holly and Taylor, who’d emerged from their side conversation.
The wine warmed a path down Andrea’s throat as she talked with these accomplished, sharp-edged women. They seemed to live for the thrill of the chase—whether it was business, a man or a fashion accessory.
Lauren breezed by their table to flutter her fingers before gliding away on the arm of the tall man.
“I don’t know him well, but I see him in the elevator sometimes,” Andrea said, pleased she could offer some insider information. “He works for a criminal law firm, private defense.” She looked wistful, envious of Lauren’s luck while she had no luck of her own.
“She’s too eager,” Melina dismissed the pair. “She never holds their attention for long.”
“Andrea, meet our pessimist,” Holly said, giving Melina a nudge. “Her rules for dating would put those Mars and Venus books to shame.”
Melina grunted, looking comically annoyed.
“It’s true!” Taylor chimed in. “Melina will go out once or twice with a guy, then ditch him because he doesn’t quite live up to her standards.” She paused and patted Melina affectionately, to ensure no offense was taken. “I know you’re only holding out for the best.”
“And why settle for less?” Melina asked imperiously. A sly smile crept onto her face. “Look, Andrea, you’re welcome to join us on our little ‘hunting’ expeditions. It’s happy hour in whatever restaurant or bar is the place to be at the moment. We like to look, but more importantly, we’re here to be seen.”
Andrea hesitated. “Business or pleasure?”
Taylor laughed. “Both! I’ve met some horrid boyfriend candidates who turned out to be great clients,” she said, explaining her role at a title insurance company. “Either way, you can’t lose.”
“I’m in,” Andrea said. “Thanks for the invite.”
Holly dipped into her mint green bag, withdrawing a filigreed business card holder. A flurry of cards crossed the table.
“There’s one thing you might want to think about,” Melina said, lowering her voice to reach Andrea’s ears only. “Loosen up a bit. You don’t have to dress like a lawyer,” she said, eyeing Andrea’s conservative navy suit.
Andrea was again off-balance, not sure whether to be offended or thankful for the tip. Melina—cunning and clearly in control—seemed completely undaunted by this singles scene, so Andrea decided to trust her judgment.
“Thanks for the invitation,” Andrea said again to the three women, raising her glass. “Here’s to hunting.”

Author bio:    

Heidi Joy lives in Happy Valley off Sunnyside Road. She swears she did not make that up.

Heidi’s obsessed with storytelling. Her career includes marketing, journalism, and a delicious few years as a food columnist. Media passes took her backstage with several rock bands, where she learned that sometimes a wardrobe malfunction is exactly what the rock star intends.

You’ll most often find Heidi Joy with her husband and two small kids cooking, fishing, exploring the Northwest, and building epic forts in their living room.

She loves to hear from readers via messages at

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