To everyone who read Rock Me and asked me for this story. Without your encouragement, it wouldn’t have been written. Every single word of this is for you.
Being single on Valentine’s Day sucked.
Macy Rodgers sipped her Dos Equis and mused that plenty of people would argue with that statement. People happy in their carefree singlehood. And that was fine. She could remember when she’d been one of them.
Her two best friends, Candace and Samantha, cackled over the noise in the too loud, too warm bar. Apparently, some joke had passed between them while Macy had been pondering bolting for the door to spend the night at her apartment in blessed solitude watching Bridesmaids for the five hundredth time.
It wasn’t so much that she lamented the fact she had no one to send her flowers or give her chocolate or take her out to a candlelit dinner before tumbling her into bed. That was partly it, but no…the worst part about being a single girl on Valentine’s Day was well-meaning, relationship-entrenched friends who decided you were a pity case and took it upon themselves to distract you from the oh-so-obvious tragedy your sexless life had become.
She did enjoy seeing the girls, though. Lately, it didn’t happen often enough.
“So what is this surprise you said you have for me?” she asked Candace when she could get a word in edgewise. Candace and Sam had been all aflutter about something when they dragged Macy out of work earlier, and now not a word about whatever was in store had been mentioned since.
Her friends exchanged glances and furtive grins. Great. They were about to embarrass the crap out of her somehow. Candace checked her cell phone, tapped out a text and then slipped it back into her purse. Macy didn’t like the self-satisfied look on her face. “Patience, my dear.”
“Is this…a good surprise, or an I-get-to-maim-you-later surprise?”
“I honestly can’t answer that,” Samantha said, and Candace nodded her agreement.
Macy slapped her hands on the tabletop. “That’s it, I’m out—”
“No!” Each girl grabbed a shoulder to keep her seated. “It’s okay, Mace,” Candace soothed. “Relax.”
Macy swept her gaze around, frowning. What the hell could it be? A male stripper? Surely not in here. And surely her friends knew better than to cook anything up between her and Jared.
Yeah, to put the nail in the coffin of her Valentine’s night, her ex-boyfriend was here. They’d remained on good terms, and she even gave Jared’s twin daughters horse riding lessons twice a week, but that didn’t mean she wanted him to see her in here practically wearing a big sign over her head that flashed Still Single After All These Years! in neon letters. So far, she’d mostly managed to keep the entire bar between them. But he was divorced from the woman who’d come along after Macy sent him running, and he didn’t appear to be with anyone now, so that was a bonus.
Maybe they bought me a male escort. Ha! Sure. The girls might have grown as tired of her aching dry spell as she was. As much as she wanted a relationship, there just wasn’t time to seek one out—or even a little oasis in the drought. Between managing her parents’ outdoor retail store and riding lessons at their ranch and seeing her friends whenever her schedule and theirs would allow, she felt stretched too thin. Wound too tight. A man thrown into the mix might very well cause her to snap.
Then there were days like these that made her look around and feel like a colossal failure for not having achieved what her best friends had: true happiness.
She tried not to dwell on it. Mostly she didn’t, but tonight was different. Dammit, twenty-five wasn’t old, but when she considered the fact that she’d like to have kids before thirty, she didn’t have a whole lot of time.
“Brian wants to pierce my nipples,” Candace announced.
Or…maybe she was doing pretty well on her own, if that’s what true happiness entailed.
“Oh my God! You’re not going to let him do it, are you?”
Candace looked back and forth between Sam and Macy and shook her head. “See, I played this conversation out in my head before we got here. So far it’s going exactly as I had envisioned.”
“You know us so well,” Macy said wryly, taking a swig of her beer to chase down the swallow she’d nearly choked on. She should’ve grown accustomed to Candace’s little Brian-related bombshells by now, but she hadn’t. In Macy’s mind, he