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Author:Deborah Bladon

"Did you meet someone?" She leans her elbows on the worn wooden table.

I'm tempted to confide in her but the undisputed fact of the matter is that Jax is Clive's first cousin and I'm convinced that Ivy tells Jax everything. In the big picture that shouldn't matter but the reality of the situation is that Jax and Clive go for a drink after work at least once a week. I don't want to have to explain to my boss why I didn't tell him that Caleb had called the police on his brother. Clive wants what is best for me, and he believes that Caleb is bad news. After today, I'd have to agree with him but I'm not ready to admit that to him just yet.

"I haven't met anyone," I confess. "I haven't been on a date in months, Ivy."

"I know someone who I think would be perfect for you." She takes another heavy mouthful of wine. "You'd like him. He's got tats."

"Tats?" I try to hold back a laugh. "What are tats?"

"Tattoos," she says with effortless ease.

"You call them tats now?" I tease. "What's up with that?"

"Everyone calls them tats." She raises a brow. "He's got them and he's hot."

I can't stop myself from rolling my head back as I giggle. "Your definition of hot isn't the same as mine."

"I know you think Jax is hot." She tips the now empty wine glass in her hand in my direction. "I saw you checking him out the first time you met him."

Dammit. I thought I'd gotten away with that. I had checked him out before I realized he was happily married. It was impossible not to gawk at the man when you catch your first glimpse of him. He's handsome, he knows he is and he's just edging on cultured. Ivy's lucky. I don't have to tell her that. She's the one who is constantly sending me text messages about the daises Jax brings her every few days. Add that to the fact that he can't stop staring at her whenever they're in a room together and I'd say that she found the last perfect man on earth.

"Tell me about the man with the tats." I motion towards the server. "Who is he?"

"His name is Tyler Monroe."

"Tyler Monroe," I repeat it back as I try and place it within my mind. I don't think I've ever heard Ivy mention him before. "How do you know him?"

"He's working on a restaurant deal with Jax." She motions around the quaint, but cluttered, interior of the space we're sitting in. "It's not like this. It's more like Axel. Tyler is part owner. He's the chef too."

A man who can cook who has tattoos? That's the opposite of what I usually look for in a man but since I haven't been on a date, or had sex, in months; I'm going to venture outside my typical type. "Do you think he'd be interested in me?"

"Um…let me see." She leans back in the wooden chair and crosses her arms over her chest. "You're tall. You must be at least five foot eight. You're a gorgeous brunette. You have the prettiest blue eyes I've ever seen and your body is killer."

That's the most compliments I've received in a single breath in... well, ever," I half-tease. "When you tell the chef about me, say those exact things."

"I've already told the chef about you." She pulls her large purse into her lap. "I showed him a picture of you."

"You what?" I should be offended but I'm not. I don't typically do blind dates even when I've seen a picture of the man I'm meeting. I've always meet men organically. I met my last boyfriend at a sandwich shop on the Upper West Side. The guy before that I met at the gym. I've never lacked for the attention of men but since I've gotten more immersed in work, I haven't followed up on any of the obvious flirting glances men have been tossing at me.

"This one." She shoves her smartphone into my hands. "I took that a few weeks ago when you were playing with Jackson at the zoo."

My eyes dart down to the screen. My hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail on the top of my head. I'm not wearing any make-up and the jeans and oversized grey sweater I'm wearing is doing little to accentuate anything. I look like a woman who rolled out of bed, pulled on her mother's clothes and wandered out into the free world. "Ivy, this is horrible. You don't have a better picture of me than this?"

She shakes her head slightly from side-to-side. "There isn't a better picture of you than that. You look amazing."

"I look hideous." I push the phone back at her. "If you're going to set me up with anyone, the least you can do is show a decent picture of me."

"He thinks you're beautiful," she says quietly as she looks down. "He said you were breathtaking, Rowan."

Chapter 7

Breathtaking? I'd never describe myself that way. I'm not the type of person to stand exposed in front of a full-length mirror so I can find fault with the parts of me that others may not deem perfect. I've always embraced who I am. I like my body and I've never shied away from sharing it with a man when I feel close to him.

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