My Ideal Valentine’s Day. Macie sighed and stared at the keyboard. Hardly anyone even read her pathetic little blog anyway. Just a few anonymous readers who never commented.
But somehow, putting her private thoughts out into the universe—anonymously, of course—made her feel like someone cared.
A long walk on the beach. Then we—she never named the mystery man in the blog, but in her mind it was always her roommate, Hunter—would collect driftwood and build a fire to keep us warm as the ocean breeze chilled and the sun set.
A light picnic, a nice wine, and a warm blanket…
She stopped there. She didn’t write everything she imagined. Her blog was PG after all.
Happy Valentine’s Day. She clicked PUBLISH and sank back against her headboard, not quite ready to face the day. Or the video game project her boss wanted done by next week.
A sharp knock broke the silence and Hunter opened the door, a grin on his handsome face. “Hey, I gotta get to work. You have any plans tonight?”
She resisted the urge to check the state of her bedhead. Did he have no boundaries? “As a matter of fact, I have a hot date.” If only.
His handsome face sobered. “You do?”
Jeez, did he have to look so surprised? How lowering. So what if she hadn’t had more than two dates in the six months since she’d moved into his apartment’s spare bedroom?
“With who?” he asked.
“My television. You?”
Relief flared in his bright green eyes and he smiled. “Yeah. I have big plans.”
Oh, great. Did he expect her to help? She’d never seen him so jumpy, and her gut burned with jealousy. When her lease was up, she needed to move out because living under the same roof with this man was going to kill her. “Good luck,” she managed to choke out as he waved and shut the door behind him.
Nine hours later, the click of the front door being unlocked pulled her out of her programming flow. This wasn’t the most interesting contract ever, but once she started a job, it was easy to get sucked in and lose track of time.
“Macie?” Hunter called.
Her stupid stomach did a little flip at the sound of her name on his lips. She met him in the kitchen where he’d plopped down four canvas grocery bags. “What’s all this?”
“Stuff for my date.”
Her heart sank. “Are you bringing her here?”
“Yeah. In fact, I have a favor to ask. Can you go check on Old Bob’s dog for me? I promised to feed him tonight.”
“Sure.” She could check on Rex while Hunter prepared for his date with another woman. In fact, maybe she should just spend the night with Rex while that inconsiderate jerk romanced his new girlfriend right outside Macie’s bedroom door.
When she returned after feeding and loving up their neighbor’s aging German Shepherd, Hunter met her at he door with a sheepish look.
“Now what?” she snapped, no longer caring if he realized how much he hurt her with his indifference.
“I have another favor to ask.”
Of course he did.
“Grab a sweater and come with me.” The gleam in his eye made her nervous. If he tried to set her up with one of his old fraternity brothers again, she’d kick him out of his own apartment.
Once she’d grabbed a sweater, he took her hand, and her traitorous tummy fluttered as he led her to the stairs.
“Where are we going?” she asked, following him up and out onto the roof. The setting sun painted orange streaks across the indigo sky and reflected off the tall buildings of nearby downtown.
A cool breeze ruffled her hair as Hunter took her hands and faced her. “It’s not the beach…but maybe next year when I have more time to plan.”
Her heart kicked and she stepped back. “What?” She bumped into a chair and turned, noticing for the first time a large blanket spread beside a raised fire pit, a picnic basket and a bottle of wine resting on the fringe.
For a few seconds, she stared in disbelief. Then she spun to face him. “How did you know?”
“I didn’t at first. I saw the blog name over your shoulder when you were working at the dining table a few weeks ago.”
“And you didn’t have a date for tonight so you thought, ‘Hey, let’s find out what Macie will do when plied with wine and a cozy fire. She hasn’t been with a guy in ages, she’s probably desperate.’”
Her stomach knotted.
Hunter frowned and reached for her, his dark brows drawn together. “It’s not like that.”
Disgusted, she stepped around him toward the stairs. She’d poured her heart out, believing her thoughts were safe and anonymous, and he’d let her continue writing, never letting on that he knew about it.
“I was scared,” he called out, as she reached for the doorknob.
She stilled. Hunter was the most confident man she knew. Nothing fazed him.
He moved in behind her, gently holding her shoulders. “I’ve been attracted to you since day one, but I didn’t think you felt the same way. I’m just a dumb jock, and you’re super smart and techie, and how could I ever compete?”
Her jaw dropped. Was he flipping serious? “You’re hardly dumb. It takes serious brains to run a successful business.” Even a successful personal training business.
“Well, thanks, but that’s how I felt. But then I read your blog and finally realized you were talking about me.”
“But you let me keep writing.”
“I’m sorry.” His warm breath tickled her neck. “I wanted to be sure. And, honestly, I didn’t know how to approach you.”
Her pulse sped up. “Says the guy who has a date every weekend.”
He gently turned her to face him. “When I thought you weren’t interested.”
Out of self-preservation, she’d done her best to keep her feelings to herself. Not once had it occurred to her that a guy like Hunter could be into a geek like her. And her cowardice had cost her months with this man.
“I’ve been trying to work up the nerve to say something, because hello, you’re my roommate.” His nervous laugh was an unfamiliar sound. “If you weren’t interested it could be a disaster.”
Exactly. “I wasn’t any braver.”
He cocked his head in acknowledgment. “When I saw your post today, I decided I had to take action.” He gave her a sheepish smile. “At the time it seemed like a good idea.”
It might have been the red glow from the sun, but she could have sworn he was blushing.
He lifted his hand and gently stroked her cheek. “I’m sorry. I should have told you I knew about the blog. I never meant to hurt you.” His voice vibrated with sincerity and his green eyes gazed at her with an adoration she’d never seen before.
She took a deep breath and smiled. “Did I hear you say something about wine?”
The tension eased from his shoulders and he pulled her tight against him. “I really like you, Macie. If you want, I’ll even announce it on your blog for all the world to see.”
She laughed and shook her head. “I’m done putting my thoughts online.”
He frowned. “Then how will I know what you’re thinking?”
She threaded her fingers through his dark hair as she’d dreamed of doing so many times. “Come here and I’ll show you.”
And she kissed him.