12 Steps to Mr. Right
by Cindi Madsen
Publication Date: September 26, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Contemporary Select, Romance
2: Believe Mr. Right is out there.
3: Take inventory of past mistakes. (See step #1.)
4: Make a list of qualities you want in a man. (Avoid charming baseball players/reason you made these rules in the first place)
5: Take charge of your own life.
6: Learn to love yourself.
7: Sort the hookup guys from the relationship guys. (Avoid a painful brushoff after an amazing night together.)
8: Never, ever settle. (Even if the chemistry is off-the-charts.)
9: Don’t believe you can change a guy. (Once a commitment-phobe, always a commitment-phobe)
10: Communicate your needs.
11: Open your heart & love fully. (Still working on this one…)
12: Don’t ever, ever stray from the steps.
When I turned to Linc, every thought involving other guys faded. My focus honed in on his hand still on my back, his body only a breath away from mine. The temptation to see what’d happen if I made a move called to me as I remembered exactly what it felt like to be flush against him.
I managed to resist that move, but despite my brain telling me not to do it, I placed my hand on his biceps, my thumb tracing the curve there. “Did you get your mysterious work done, then?”
“I got what I need, yeah.” His fingers twitched against my back, the fingertips radiating five spots of heat. “You ready to go, or do you need to do more ogling—er, research?”
I smiled and said, “I think I’m good. To the bar with all the happy Braves fans?”
Just as I was about to drop my hand, my fingertips hit a rougher patch of skin. My gaze dropped to the puckered pink scar, and I traced the long line underneath his elbow, from the bottom of his biceps to the beginning of his forearm. “From the surgery?”
His throat worked a swallow. “Yeah.”
“Is it hard being in the locker room? I’m sure it brings back a lot of memories.”
Linc glanced around. “Missing it comes and goes in waves. When we first walked in, it punched me in the gut, but now…” His gaze met mine again, and my heart tugged, because I could tell how hard he was fighting his emotions. It reminded me of a night in college when he’d shown up at my door, told me he’d received some bad news, and asked me to distract him.
Obviously he wasn’t totally in the not-missing-baseball phase yet, and after seeing the passion he still had for the game, what he’d been through the past year hit me. How did you recover from losing the thing you were most passionate about?
“I remember when you first told me about your big baseball plans—the same night we climbed on top of the natural science building because you got it into your head that you needed to be closer to the stars, and I was sure we were going to get suspended.” While I’d been pursing my English degree, and I liked what I studied, I’d thought that I’d never been as passionate about anything as he was about baseball.
“I remember that night. I also remember that I barely got a C on that project—you kinda sucked as a constellation-spotting wingman.”
I poked his chest. “Hey! You’re the one who brought all the beer! Once the stars blurred and swam together, telling one from the other became impossible. I was sure I was going to fall to my death on the way down.”
“I would’ve caught you.” Linc’s hand curled around my hip, like he was prepared to catch me now, and in that instant, I wanted to fall.
“Savannah? Savannah Gamble?” a different, deeper voice said from behind me. Scooping up my coffee, I spun around.
And squeezed my cup so hard the lid popped off. Scalding liquid sloshed over my hand and onto the floor, barely missing my shoes. Hot, hot, hot.
Linc grabbed napkins and started patting my fingers, at which point I became fairly certain he wasn’t, in fact, a mirage or figment of my imagination. I set my coffee cup and bag aside so I could help clean myself up.
Only I got caught up staring into familiar blue eyes instead. Hot.
That was the problem with Lincoln Wells. Between the light brown hair he usually kept on the buzzed too short side and those striking blue eyes, he was the kind of hot that’d scrambled my brain for an entire year in college.
“Sorry,” he said, wadding the napkins into a ball and making a perfect toss into the nearby trash can. “Didn’t mean to startle you.”
One corner of his mouth curved up—oh the hours I’d spent daydreaming about that sexy crooked smile—and then he pulled me in for a hug. “I can’t believe it’s really you.”
On autopilot—or maybe force of habit—I hugged him back. Like in college, he was all lean muscle, although he’d filled out a bit, broader in the shoulders and chest. My heart skipped a few beats, and I told myself to stop those rising tendrils of attraction right in their tracks. No thinking about how solid or warm he was, or how long it’d been since I’d been this close to a guy in general, much less a good-looking one.
I pulled back and grabbed my coffee and muffin so I wouldn’t be tempted to reach for him again. “Wow, it’s been a long time. Are you in town for a visit or—”
“Ivy didn’t tell you? I moved back. Last weekend, actually.”
Admittedly she and I had been missing each other lately, playing phone tag due to crazy schedules, but news like this? It deserved a meet-up involving alcohol at the very least.
Which is probably why she’s been so persistent in trying to get me to go to Azure. But if he moved back to town last week… Ivy had probably put off telling me, afraid of how I’d react.
Linc ran his gaze down me, and the only reason I straightened, patted my bun, and wished I’d showered and worn something besides yoga pants was because I wanted him to see what he’d missed out on. Not because I wanted to impress him or anything. I didn’t want him to look at me as more than a friendly acquaintance. The cool girl he used to hang with in college.
Who he’d had drunken sex with one night.
ABOUT CINDI MADSEN
Cindi Madsen is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.