RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 12, 2021
The hottest player on the Moo U hockey team hangs a flyer on the bulletin board, and I am spellbound:
Rent a boyfriend for the holiday. For $25, I will be your Thanksgiving date. I will talk hockey with your dad. I will bring your mother flowers. I will be polite, and wear a nicely ironed shirt…
Now everyone knows it’s a bad idea to introduce your long-time crush to your messed-up family. But I really do need a date for Thanksgiving, even if I’m not willing to say why. So I tear his phone number off of that flyer… and accidentally entangle our star defenseman in a ruse that neither of us can easily unwind.
Because Weston’s family is even nuttier than mine. He needs a date, too, for the most uncomfortable holiday engagement party ever thrown.
There will be hors d’oeuvre. There will be faked PDA. And there will be pro-level awkwardness…
Boyfriend is a full-length stand-alone romance for Weston and Abbi!
I wonder what Abbi is like. It doesn’t matter very much, of course. I haven’t agreed to marry her. It’s just one day of my life. And people fascinate me, so even if Abbi’s family is irritating as fuck, I probably won’t take it personally.
But I have a good feeling about Abbi herself. She’s local, which is interesting. Vermonters are pretty cool. They have a rugged mentality, and they rarely complain. And they’re usually hockey fans. What’s not to like about that?
The door opens, and I immediately lose my train of thought. I’m blinking at a pretty blond woman with shoulder-length hair. My first reaction is all hell yes and thank you, Jesus.
Then I realize this is not just any woman. It’s the hot waitress from The Biscuit in the Basket. The one who remembers every order without writing it down. The one who always seems to know when we need something more, or when it’s time to drop the check.
The one with the kissable ivory neck and gray eyes that always make me a little stupid. I’ve never asked her out, because it’s rude to hit on a girl who’s just trying to get through her shift at work. But man, I’d like to.
“Hi,” she says, frowning at me. “Wow. You’re wearing a tie.”
“Too much?” I ask, my hand flying to the knot of silk at my throat. “I could lose the tie.” And, heck, why stop there? If she asked me to lose my trousers, I’d do it. Anything for you, honey.
“No, you look very respectful. Thank you for doing this.”
I blink slowly. I can’t believe my luck. She’s my date? “You work at The Biscuit in the Basket,” I say stupidly. “But your name tag says Gail.”
She smiles. “That’s right. The lazy manager put the wrong name on it, and then wouldn’t redo it for me. But I’m glad you can recognize me without the uniform.”
“Well, sure. You look nice. Your hair is different. Fluffier. Wait. Is fluffy a good thing?” I babble.
She laughs suddenly. “Fluffy is fine. At work they make us wear those visor caps. Like we’re all golf caddies.”
I smile back at her and get a little lost for another moment. And her laugh is terrific. A little husky. I dig it.
“So, uh, are you ready to go?”
That’s when I realize I’m blocking her way out of her own door. “Yup, sorry,” I stammer, leaping to the side like a frisky goat.
Oh, man. Nobody would call me Mr. Smooth right now, that’s for damn sure. I’m glad my teammates aren’t here to witness this. I’d never live it down.
Abbi locks her door. “Where are you from, Weston? Is it too far to go home for Thanksgiving?”
“I’m from the eastern edge of Vermont. But I don’t have a car, and we have practice tomorrow anyway. Hey—does your family drink? I brought a bottle of wine.” I hold it up, along with a bouquet of flowers, too.
“That’s lovely of you,” she says. “I have a bottle in my car too. I find that where alcohol and my so-called family are concerned, more is more. Although I’m driving tonight, so I can’t drink.”
“Your so-called family?”
“Well, it’s complicated without being terribly interesting. But we’re going to my stepfather’s house. I mean, he used to be my stepfather and now he’s married to someone else.”
“Your step-stepmother,” I say, recalling her text message.
“Right.” She leads me off the porch and down the walkway. “My car is just around the back. It won’t take us long to get there. You’ll be eating turkey dumplings in no time.”
“Sounds good. My body is, like, fifty percent wings and fries at this point. I’m sure you know that. I’m at your restaurant all the time.”
“Table number seventeen,” she says cheerfully. “The hockey table. Do you know that we prep a different portion of wings depending on whether you guys win or lose?”
“No, really? Why?”
“Because you eat more and get drunker on the nights you lose than on the nights you win.”
“Huh. That’s very scientific of you.”
She unlocks an elderly Honda Civic and opens the driver’s side door. “Last chance to back out.”
I wouldn’t dream of it. I have to remember how to be Mr. Smooth, though, and flirt properly with Abbi. Who knows? After a great meal, we could make this a night to remember. “I’m at your service,” I say, hoping it sounds a little sexy and not creepy. “Let’s get our turkey on.”
Huh. Mr. Smooth seems to be on vacation today.
I give myself a fifty-fifty shot at success. But I’ve faced worse odds. Game on.