Statistically Improbable (Dating by Design Book 2)(4)By: Jennifer Peel
“You too. And thanks.”
I took another look at Zander’s profile picture. Now he was double dog daring me, like my brothers Colton and Lincoln would say. They wouldn’t like Zander. He was too citified for them. But Dad sent me here to make sure I didn’t have to live the life of a rancher’s daughter. Or worse—to him—the life of a rancher’s wife. Not like I was looking to get married anytime soon. I knew Zander wasn’t a candidate. But it had been a while since I’d gone out. And really, what could it hurt to pretend to be Zander’s girlfriend for the night?
With that thought, I had an idea. I emailed Zander.
If I’m going to pretend to be your girlfriend, don’t you think we should get to know each other better?
Zander agreed with me, so he was taking me to his favorite barbecue place. That worked, since I got home later than normal and didn’t have time to glam up for anything more than a casual dinner. I still wasn’t used to the traffic. Back home, I could drive for miles without seeing a soul, unless you counted cattle, bison, and antelope.
I hurried upstairs to my tiny one-bedroom apartment that I had moved into a couple of years ago. It was the first time I had ever lived alone. When I came out to Georgia to attend school, I stayed with my mom’s sister, Aunt Beth. She was like a second mother to me, but I had known it was time for me to be on my own. She was lucky enough to have found love later in her life with Fredrick Tremont. They were the cutest couple over fifty, ever.
When I flipped on the lights in the living room, I smiled to myself. It wasn’t a fancy place by any means, but it was perfect for me. Beth was kind enough to supply me with some hand-me-down furniture. A loveseat for two with a wicker coffee table. My favorite was the round wooden table, painted in pale yellow with four chairs to match. The only thing I had bought myself was the small flat-screen that hung on the wall opposite the loveseat. Normally, I would have been getting ready for a Netflix binge on Friday night, but I liked these plans much better. Even though I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing.
Jasper, my calico munchkin cat, rubbed against my leg before I could head to the bathroom to freshen up. I bent down and scratched his head. “I don’t know why cats get a bad rap. You are as affectionate as any dog my family has ever owned.” Jasper purred at the attention. I gave him one more good scratch.
I walked into the one and only bathroom in the apartment. I took a good look in the mirror and decided I should touch up my makeup. I plugged in my straightener as well, to undo some of the effects the humidity had on my short hair. I kept checking the time on my phone, counting down the minutes until Zander would arrive. I was dabbing on some light pink lipstick when I received a text from Zander.
I’m here. I’ll wait for you in the car.
That wasn’t going to do. As your possible pretend girlfriend, I insist on any fake or real boyfriends coming to my door. I wasn’t sure how he would take that. I knew right then I could be blowing my chance to ever get to know him outside the office, but my dad said any man worth his lick would come to the door.
I got a text right back from him. Are you sure you aren’t related to Kenz? I’m coming.
I smiled to myself. I smoothed my hair with my hand one more time and hustled to the door, waiting for what was probably a bad idea. But I thought if maybe I got to know him better, I would really come to see the system was right—we were statistically improbable, no matter how attractive he was.
But then I opened my door to find that he had changed into clothes more appropriate for working out and wore his baseball cap backwards; it kind of did me in. I didn’t know why I found that so attractive, but I was a sucker for a man who wore his hat like that. Not to mention the tight, long-sleeved t-shirt that showed he had a muscled chest.
“Darlin’.” He grinned.
I knew the darlin’ meant nothing—he called every woman that. “Hi.”
He peeked his head in my apartment. “Cozy.” He eyed Jasper, perched on the back of my couch. “A cat?”
“You don’t like cats?” I had to pretend I didn’t know since I was sure he wouldn’t be happy to find out I had pulled up his profile at work.