Excerpt You did what?”
Mitchell ran his hand over his head, and for the first time in a decade felt what could be considered actual hair and not the short stubble he’d grown accustomed to. He glanced in the mirror: this new look would take some getting used to.
This whole way of life will take some getting used to.
“You still there?”
His brother Ryan’s voice jarred him back to more important things, like this blind date Ryan had arranged without asking him first. After a bad experience, Mitchell had vowed never to try again. He’d thought he made that more than clear to his baby brother.
“Yeah, I’m here…and I’m still pissed at you.” He sat on the bed.
“You shouldn’t be, because I went to a lot of trouble to arrange this for you.”
“You know I hate blind dates. In fact, it was you who set me up on the last disastrous one, while I was home.” He spotted a loose thread in the quilt and began to pick at it.
“Guilty as charged. However, this time it’s going to be different.”
“Different?” Mitchell scooted up the mattress and leaned back on the headboard.
“It’s not me who’s done the matching. I signed you up at Perfect Pairingi.”
Mitchell pulled the phone away from his ear, looked at it and knitted his eyebrows together. The real Ryan Farraday must have been abducted by aliens, because who the hell was this guy? Ryan just wouldn’t pull this sort of crap, especially on a family member.
“So you’re telling me you’ve signed me up for an escort service?”
“No, no, absolutely not. It’s not like that at all. I was listening to a show…well, Julie listens to this radio sex show, and the host was interviewing this lady named Sadie Sutton who runs a matchmaking service.”
“I’m not thinking of dating or being matched right now.”
“Will you just hear me out? She said she’s had great success with pairing up couples who are perfect for one another, but the likelihood of them finding each other is zilch, so she brings them together.”
“I can find my own dates…when I’m ready.”
“I’m sure you can, but I thought if I signed you up you might get your confidence back in a safe environment.”
Mitchell took a deep breath. He had other things to think about now besides women, dating and sex. And just what the hell had his brother meant by “safe” environment?
“You know I’ve never liked going on dates with women that someone else has picked for me, especially some matchmaking service. I mean, what if she’s a psychopath or something?”
“I looked into that for you. I’ve got your best interest at heart, and believe me, this lady does an in-depth check on everyone. You’ve already been screened thoroughly.”
Shit, he’d been what? Without his permission?
“Look, Ryan, I don’t care if the woman’s been screened by the FBI or Homeland Security. I don’t do this sort of thing, and shame on you for thinking I’d say yes.”
“Too late, because I’ve already paid for it and it’s non-refundable. And what I haven’t told you is, the service comes with limo to a hotel, where you’ll spend the night getting to know your dream girl. Just think of it as your welcome home gift from me.”
“Don’t think I don’t appreciate it, but the answer is still no.”
“You’re not getting off this easy,” continued Ryan. “When’s the last time you had sex?”
They’d shared all sorts of secrets, but Mitchell didn’t feel comfortable answering for one simple reason. He hadn’t had sex since…
He squeezed his eyes shut. He didn’t want to go there. No, he wouldn’t go there again. Truth was the last time he’d made love was when Debbie had seen his leg for the first time and abruptly called off their engagement.
“It’s been a while.”
He’d leave it at that.
“Define a while.”
“You know, little brother, you’ve become a major pain in the you-know-what since I’ve been gone. I think we need to sit down and have a good talk.”
Ryan laughed. “It’s been more than six months, hasn’t it?”
“If you don’t quit this third-degree shit, I’m putting the phone down.”
“It’s when you and Debbie…”
Mitchell scooted down the bed. He hadn’t meant to shout at his brother, but right now all he really wanted to do was hang up. However, he enjoyed hearing Ryan’s voice. It felt so good to be less than an hour’s drive from the only family member he had left.
“Wouldn’t you prefer having sex with a woman rather than resorting to self-satisfaction?” Ryan pressed.
“Who says I jerk off?”
“Mitchell, you’re a guy and it’s perfectly normal.”
Mitchell glanced at his face in the mirror. Shit, he’d turned deeper red than a beet.
Okay, it was true he had been pleasuring himself more than normal since he’d been back home. He’d just put it down to nerves and the frustration of adjusting to civilian life again. However, resorting to daily masturbation wasn’t a valid enough reason to sign up with a matchmaking service.
If he was supposed to meet another woman, fate would step in, not his brother and this crazy sounding matchmaking service. But, knowing Ryan like he did, he knew he wouldn’t let the subject die. Mitchell might as well agree to it and get the night over and done with, matter closed. He’d just have to make sure it would be on his terms.
“Okay, you win. I’ll go meet this perfectly screened woman, but I can assure you I won’t like her. And if you think I’m having sex with her, well, you’ll wait a long time to hear I’ve done that.”
Other Books in the PERFECT PAIRING series:
Take a Chance on Me
I'm All Yours