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So now here she was, ordering a grande nonfat chai latte, waiting for some stranger to show up. Why couldn’t people just leave her alone? Even her friends talked about setting her up on blind dates; if she wanted to go out, she’d start online dating.

Dani snagged a table for two by the window and set her smartphone on the table, noting the time. If the guy wasn’t there in five minutes, she was taking off. And if he was there . . . well . . . in a half an hour, she’d fake an emergency and go home.

The door opened, and a middle-aged man with a goatee and glasses stepped inside. Dani assumed he was her date and held up her hand in greeting, but he didn’t even glance around, just headed straight for the counter to order.

Smoothing her hand over her head, she tried to act cool, keeping one eye on the door. A couple of teenagers came in next, and Dani started counting down the minutes until she could leave.

The door swung open, and to Dani’s surprise, Tyler Best walked inside. He glanced around the busy room, and when his gaze met hers, his beautiful eyes widened.

Dani’s heart pounded as he approached.

“Hey, there.” His hands gripped the back of the empty chair across from her.

“Hi. How are you?”

“I’m good, just meeting someone. How about you?” he asked.

“The same.” God, she did not want to tell this gorgeous guy she was waiting for a blind date. “Who are you meeting?”

“Actually, it’s kind of a funny story. My friend got suckered into a blind date with some woman by her parents. He ended up having to work and didn’t have her number to cancel, so he sent me instead.”

A horrifying suspicion snaked through Dani. “Oh, wow, well it’s nice of you to take over so she doesn’t sit around like an idiot.”

“Yeah, but I don’t see any women sitting alone except . . . ” Suddenly, Tyler grinned. “It’s you, isn’t it.”

Heat burned Dani’s cheeks. “I was blackmailed.”

Tyler laughed and slapped the table. “Let me grab my coffee, and you can tell me all about it. You want a pastry or something, since you already got yours?”

r /> “No, I’m fine, thanks.”

“All right, be right back.”

He winked as he walked up to the counter with a cocky swagger, as if he knew she was checking out his ass. Dani noticed the pretty barista toss her dark hair back as he approached, and there was some definite eyelash fluttering going on.

This could not be any more humiliating.

When he finally came back and sat across from her with his cup, she noticed the name and phone number on the side of his cup.

“Aw, how cute. She dots her i’s with a heart.”

“You don’t?” he teased.

“No, I’m an adult.”

“Ah, which explains why your parents are in charge of your dating life.”

Dani’s hackles went up. “Like I said, I was blackmailed into this date. Believe me, if I was interested, I could find my own dates.”

“I believe it. You’re beautiful, kind, caring . . . I imagine there’s a lot of guys who would love to take you out.”

Thunderstruck by his compliment, all she could say was, “Thank you.”

“Which begs the question, why aren’t you out there, finding your own dates?”

Dani wasn’t interested in getting into her sordid and messy dating history, so she tried to keep it vague. “I’m too busy to date.”

“And yet, you’re here.”