by Yvonne Eve Walus
Nickname: Sleeping Beauty.
About me: I am a twenty-nine year old schoolteacher, brown hair, brown eyes, looking for Romance with a capital R. I like books -
Bo-ring! True, but boring, like her life. Briar gulped down her wine.
Nickname: Too Hot Not To Handle.
About me: Think blonde. Think fun. I fancy champagne, exotic islands, scuba diving and fast cars.
Dream Date: Take me to a casino, beat me at poker - I’ve yet to find my equal.
Dream Mate: I’ll know when I meet him.
The poker bit was true. The rest was a cross between a Bond girl and wishful thinking. But at least it sounded heaps better than the truth.
She’d been sleeping for too long. It was time for her prince, with dark hair, light eyes, a strong jaw, a naughty streak and a compatibility of humour.
Before the night and the bottle of wine were up, Briar had had responses from fifteen keen males.
Some of them were too crass, others too boring. Yet Briar fell asleep with a smile. The words of one particular email had stuck in her head.
Dear Too Hot Not To Handle, I’ve tried the rest, now I’m ready for the best. And I can feel that you are the best thing that’s going to happen to me. Drop me a line. Dark Angel.
The next morning, she looked up Dark Angel’s profile.
Nickname: Dark Angel.
About Me: I’m the CEO of an IT company with satellite offices in Fiji, Tahiti and Mauritius. I like Ferraris, gourmet food and skydiving.
Dream Date: On a need-to-know basis.
Dream Mate -
Dream Mate: Too Hot Not To Handle.
Dear Dark Angel, here is your line.
Too Hot Not To Handle.
The reply took less than two minutes.
I’m yours: hook, line and sinker. Dark Angel
Briar couldn’t resist completing the quote.
Swallow poison, swallow every word.
Then she waited. Nobody had ever understood her quirky jokes, nobody had ever recognised quotes from obscure books and lyrics. Why would Dark Angel be any different?
The mouse shook in her hand as she opened his reply.
That’s by a band called Refused. A coincidence or are you a fan? Dark Angel.
The next week was a flurry of emails and phone calls and walking on pure sunshine.
“It’s time I took you out on a date,” Dark Angel said one night.
Briar squeezed the phone harder.
“Oh?” she managed to breathe.
“I suggest a Greek island. Imagine the blue-green of the olive groves. Smell the heat and the resin in the wine....”
Briar’s skin tingled. Every inch of her body was screaming that Dark Angel was the one.
She hadn’t emailed any of the other guys. She didn’t know his name. She didn’t know whether what he said about himself was true.
But he knew the songs and books she loved. His voice took her breath away. His jokes made her laugh. Who cared whether he really was a CEO of a boring IT company or a schoolteacher?
But no, he couldn’t be. He was sophistication itself. The most recent message, for example, said:
What’s your favourite champagne?
She couldn’t very well reply “pink”. Fortunately, there was always Google.
Dom Perignon is overrated, she typed. It’s everybody’s ultimate dream, but I prefer Bollinger.
There. Just like a Bond girl.
Agreed, her Dark Angel said. Dom’s bubbles are aggressive. Is Veuve Cliquot to your liking?
An ordinary schoolteacher would never call premium champagne aggressive, Briar decided. He had to be the real thing: CEO, Ferraris and all.
Meanwhile, she - was not.
I don’t know, she wrote, her face ablaze with guilt. I’ve never had a chance to taste Veuve Cliquot.
The phone rang.
“It’s me.” Her soul did a wild dance. “I thought I would do this over the phone.”
“Ask you on a real date. To drink real champagne and play real poker. I know I can beat you.”
“You’re on.” The words slipped off Briar’s tongue before she could stop them.
“No! I mean, I have to -”
“You don’t have to anything,” he said. “Don’t wash your hair, don’t iron your blouse. Just come as you are. You’ll be perfect.”
Perfect. He thought her perfect.
“If you give me your address, I’ll send the car.” His voice was setting her senses on fire, clouding her mind with passion. “The champagne is on ice. I’ve emailed you a scan of my passport and driver’s licence to forward to a friend as a precaution -”
Briar wasn’t listening.
“I’ll be ready in five minutes.”
She looked through her selection of dresses. Her spirits sank. What did her looks matter compared to all her lies? Sure he though her perfect: the fabricated her, the Bond girl who was too hot not to handle.
Downstairs, the limousine waited. Briar slipped in with the ease of a true Bond girl.
The first thing she noticed was a bottle of champagne in the ice bucket.
Then she noticed him. Dark hair, light eyes, a well-defined jaw. Exactly as she’d imagined him.
He held out a glass.
“Before we begin, I have a confession to make,” he said.
Briar relaxed. Him, too. “You mean your other car is not a Ferrari?”
“It is. But I don’t do skydiving. That was just to impress you.” His eyes smiled. “Sorry.”
Briar sipped her drink.
“Everything else is true.” He touched her hand. Briar felt the reassuring warmth of his fingers before the sexual electricity hit her. “Especially this.”
“What?” she breathed.
At “The way I’ve felt about you, ever since I read your profile.”
Briar stirred. “Listen. About that...”
“Hey.” He pulled her closer, and Briar shivered with anticipation. “I assumed it might be exaggerated. But I could always see you, the real you, through all the words.”
The kiss, when it came, tasted of golden bubbles.
“I never want to drink champagne any other way,” he murmured.
About the Author: Yvonne Eve Walus has lived on three continents and her work reflects the wealth of her cultural background. Her books are published in USA and in Britain, and they include “Murder @ Work”, a crime fiction novel set in the tumultuous and exotic South Africa. Please visit Yvonne on http://yewalus.kiwiwebhost.net.nz/. Her books are available on Amazon and Fictionwise.