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(The Guys Who Got Away #1) Dear Sexy Ex-Boyfriend
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Let me just say – none of this was supposed to happen.
I didn’t expect the letter to go viral. I didn’t think anyone would figure out who Dear Sexy Ex was. And I especially never thought he would find out about it.
Yeah, bit of a miscalculation there.
But see, I need the money to fund my brand new venture. And Dear Sexy Ex, well, it turns out he needs me to save his business.
By becoming his fake fiancée.
Yup, that’s the pickle I find myself in – pretending to be madly in love with the charming, brilliant, and utterly infuriating man known as Dear Sexy Ex.
Only, it’s not an act. And he can never know.
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Dear Past Me,
In about twenty-four hours, you’re going to have a spectacularly brilliant idea.
One that will make all the sense in the world at the time because it’ll solve a big, hairy problem. And you love ideas that solve big, hairy problems. Like in sixth grade when you decided to sell origami door-to-door to raise money for the soccer team’s travel. (Who knew there was such a big demand for folded frogs in suburban New York when you were in middle school? You did!)
Or in eighth grade when you ran for Chief Fun Officer on a platform of two junior proms, the second one including a carnival, because who doesn’t love a carnival?
But this idea? This outstanding, fantastic idea that’ll make your dreams come true?
Watch out, Summer.
You’re going to end up with a soaking wet bridesmaid’s dress, a swan boat incident you’ll never live down, the disappointment of your entire family, plus the crushing heartbreak you’ve sought to avoid for decades, and also . . . a pole.
Yes, that kind of pole. The kind of pole everybody whispers about when they see it in someone’s basement. A “Do they really do that with that?” pole.
I wish I could tell you it’ll all work out.
But, as I stand here now, clutching the wet remains of the dress while figuring out what to do with this pole, I don’t have an earthly clue how any of this will resolve.
Because of all the harebrained schemes you’ve whipped up, this one doesn’t just take the cake. It bakes it, frosts it, and serves it up in all its three-tiered, royal-icing glory.
You’ll look back on other cringeworthy moments in your life—like that time you boldly updated your Twitter feed after four martinis, or your shame over the wrong placement of the apostrophe in ladies’ night—and they will pale in comparison.
It’s worse, even, than when Mom found you practicing volleyball indoors when you were fourteen.
In the living room.
And you had to give up all your allowance to pay for the chandelier.
And the vase.
And the picture frames too.
Of all the things that seemed like good ideas at the time, this letter, this contest, this ruse wins the prize.
So it’s up to you, Past Me, to avoid this jam we’re in now. Because I don’t have a clue what to do from here.
Ten days ago
I am about to be busted.
Embarrassingly so. And—I hang my head in shame—deservedly so.
But, for the record, I don’t regularly check out guys’ packages.
That’s not my thing. I don’t really think that’s any woman’s thing. I’m pretty sure gawking at the goods doesn’t rank alongside knitting and candle-making in my female friends’ hobbies. Or, at least, not that they’d admit in public.
Except . . . I am doing it, and I can’t stop.
It’s just that . . . seriously? Tiny little bathing suits?
They’re impossible to look away from.
I literally have no idea how anyone is not supposed to notice a guy’s, ahem, outline when he gets out of a pool wearing only a Speedo.
How do Olympic diving judges focus on their job, or women across the beaches of Europe focus on anything else? Clearly, that’s why truly sophisticated European women always wear huge designer sunglasses.
Since you’re supposed to avert your gaze.
That’s what I’ve tried to do for the last minute.
I 100 percent averted my gaze as Oliver reached his sinewy arms for the metal ladder. As he rose out of the water. As he stepped away from the pool.
Because that’s the proper social protocol.
But it’s really hard to keep your gaze averted the entire time when you’re having a conversation with a guy while he’s wearing nothing but a Speedo.
And when he’s dripping wet.
I mean, all those droplets of water are taking their sweet time sliding down his tanned skin. Along his pecs, over the grooves of his abs, and just a little farther.
This is resist-tasting-the-cookie-batter hard. This is don’t-sing-along-to-“Bohemian Rhapsody” hard.
Just. Can’t. Do. It.
Also, there are extenuating circumstances here in the form of Oliver Harris. His form is an extenuating circumstance.
Six foot one. Built like the statue of David. Face carved by a sculptor too.
Did anyone look away when Daniel Craig got out of the water in his first James Bond film?
I rest my gaze.
I mean, I rest my case.
I snap my gaze up, meeting Oliver’s eyes. Those damn green eyes that are twinkling with mischief.
“So, does that work for you?” I ask, adopting the most casual tone I can. The kind of tone that says, I was so not looking at you as I totally focus on scheduling a get-together to discuss my new business venture.
His grin twitches.
Then, my longtime friend, in all his wet, toned, nearly naked glory, simply arches a brow, points to his irises, and dryly says, “You do know my eyes are up here?”
I improvise, pointing to the pool behind him. “I was just looking in the shallow end. I was sure I saw Mrs. Wilson’s rose-gold bracelet at the bottom. She thought she lost it during the water aerobics class I just taught.”