Skip to main content

Excerpt - THE GUY I’M NOT DATING by Trish Perry

Captain's Log, Stardate 03.15.2010

The Guy I’m Not Dating
by
Trish Perry


“Yowza!” exclaims Kara Richardson when she sees the handsome proprietor of the new delicatessen in town, Gabe Paolino—who soon expresses mutual interest. This would be the start of a perfect love story, except for one thing—Kara has vowed to stop dating until she feels God’s leading.

But when humorous circumstances send Kara and Gabe on a road trip to Florida, hope springs anew. Even with Kara’s flirtatious coworker Tiffany—“a hyena in heels”—along for the ride, the uncouple begins a lively journey that could change their paths forever.

This memorable, charming story of love’s persistence captures the honor of waiting on God’s timing, and the adventure of finding the perfect guy to not date.

Excerpt of chapter one:

"Yowza!”
The word flew out of Kara’s mouth before she had time to think.
Yowza? What was she, a comic book character? Quick—she should say something clever. The gorgeous man was turning around…
Kara heard herself sputtering words. Her mind was suddenly like a shooting gallery with rubber walls and thoughts ricocheting out of control. What was the matter with her?
You’d think she’d never seen a good-looking man before.
She touched her hand to her hair. Praise God she had finally taken the time to get it done this morning. She’d been working too hard to visit the salon before today.
Did she have time for these thoughts?
Focus, Kara. Don’t say anything else without thinking!
Gorgeous Man looked at her and smiled. Wow.
How had she gotten here? Her mind performed a 30-second review, from salon to swoon…
*****
The cloudy skies had opened moments after she left the salon, and her deliberately tousled blond hair threatened to become a real, honest-to-goodness mess. Kara had dashed into the first shop she came to. This fellow’s shop.
As soon as she entered, she realized the place wasn’t really open for business. It was going to be a coffee shop or a café; that much was clear. But other than a few chairs, the counters, and two menu boards behind them, nothing was set up. Tinny music filtered out of a distant radio. The smell of latex paint wafted from the walls. Feeling like a trespasser, Kara frowned at the weather outside and prepared to venture back into it.
“Hi! Can I help you?”
Kara turned to face the voice—a nice voice—and saw just the top of a man’s head cresting above the counter. Short, dark curls and nothing more.
“Oh!” she said. “Um…”
“I’d get up,” he said, “but I’m setting a few electrical wires here. Be with you in a sec.”
“No, no, that’s okay. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude,” Kara said. She pointed toward the window, at the downpour outside, even though it was unlikely the guy would see her. “I’m just trying to keep dry ’til my ride gets here.”
“Take your time. Nice to have the company. Been setting up here for the past few days. Way too quiet.” He grunted as if he were squeezing himself into an awkward spot back there.
“Is this your place?” Kara asked. “Or are you just working here?”
He chuckled—a nice chuckle. “Both. I just moved up from Miami. My folks have a deli business down there. Twenty-five years now. I was ready for a change. Thought this was a nice place to set up a shop of my own. Was I right?”
She smiled. “Yeah. I think so, anyway. I love Northern Virginia. And this is a good spot. They really need a decent deli out here.”
“That’s what I like to hear,” he said.
She heard pleasure in his voice.
Kara turned away from him and watched out the window for her best friend, Ren. She said under her breath, “I should have asked her to meet me at the salon. Can’t really see—”
“Pardon?” he called out.
“Oh, nothing, sorry,” she said. “I was just talking to myself. I asked my friend to pick me up in front of the bookstore down the street. I didn’t quite make it there before the rain got crazy on me.”
“Ah.”
Kara felt it would be rude not to talk to him while she stood in his shop, so she kept it up. “My car’s near death. It’s been in the shop for three days already.”
“Hmm,” he said, sounding distracted by whatever he was doing back there. “Sorry to hear that. I had to replace my car just after moving up here.”
Kara squinted to see through the rain outside. Was that Ren approaching? No. “I hate depending on my friends for rides, you know?”
“I hear ya,” he said, his voice slightly strained, as though he was moving something heavy.
“But it’s great to have an excuse to spend more time with my best friend.” Kara spoke toward the window. “We didn’t get to spend all that much time together when she was married. But now… well…” Kara frowned. Would Ren appreciate her telling such personal stuff to a total stranger? But the stranger seemed to pick up on her intentions.
“Yeah, that can be tough,” he said, “having your friendships interrupted. I miss my Florida friends already. Say, can I get you something? Soda? A cup of coffee?”
Kara turned around to decline. And that was when it happened, the “Yowza!” He wasn’t hidden anymore, and Kara’s verbal outburst was her unguarded proclamation that this guy was one of God’s finer works of creation.
Stunning. He had climbed a small stepladder, his broad back turned to Kara. He was fastening a lamp to the ceiling behind the counter, and his face—a very nice face—was in profile. A sharp, masculine nose. Full lips. His hair was dark and wavy, his cheekbones prominent, his jawline strong. Though dressed simply, in a white BVD T-shirt and faded jeans, he looked like a GQ model. His arms, raised as they were, would be the envy of any of Kara’s male clients at the gym. He turned to look at her, his dark eyebrows raised in amused confusion.
What had he asked her? Coffee! Did she want coffee? And her answer? “Yowza!” Terrific.
“I…I mean, no!” she said. “Thanks a lot, but no coffee for me! No, sir! Trying to cut down on the caffeine…” She trailed off in a mumble.
He laughed. “Sounds like that might be a good idea. Didn’t mean to alarm you with the offer.”
Kara smiled weakly. He had no idea how striking he was. Now that was attractive.
He climbed down from the ladder, wiped his palms against his jeans, and approached her. Goodness, he had long legs. His confident stride and bright smile made her palms sweat. And his eyes! Sultry brown. And prettier than hers! He extended his hand to her. “I’m Gabe Paolino.”
She tried not to cringe or apologize about her sweaty palms before taking his hand. She was relieved when he didn’t seem to notice. As a matter of fact, she recognized a flicker of attraction in his eyes. Her neck felt suddenly hot. “Kara Richardson,” she said.
He nodded and released her hand. “Please, have a seat. I can dust off a chair—”
“No, really, my friend will be here any minute. I’ll just stay here at the window and watch you. Her! I’ll watch for her.”
He laughed, looking her in the eye. “Okay,” he said softly and went back to his work.
Kara turned away from him and rolled her eyes about her behavior. He was so handsome! And she was acting like an adolescent. She’d break out in giggles any minute now.
“You work around here?”
She looked at him. He had his back turned to her again as he connected another lamp to the ceiling. She couldn’t help staring at him while she talked. “Work? No, I was just at the body salon a few doors down.” She gasped. “Beauty! Beauty salon!” She smacked her forehead with the palm of her hand. Help me here!
She shook her head at her word fumble. “Sorry, I guess I was thinking about work, since you asked. I work at American Gym on the other side of town. You know, I…help…people…with their bodies.” Even she heard how weak the connection was.
But he just glanced over his shoulder at her and smiled. “That right? So it’s a good gym? I’ve got to find one now that I’m up here. Would you recommend American?”
Ah, a topic she could discuss comfortably, even in her sleep. “You bet. Excellent value for the monthly dues. And you can hire a personal trainer, if you want. That’s what I do there. I’m a personal trainer.”
Now that string of sentences sounded downright adult. Kara sighed with relief. She saw Ren’s silver BMW pull up in front of the bookstore. “Oh, there’s my friend. Gotta go.” She opened the shop door and looked back over her shoulder at him. “Nice meeting you, Gabe,” she said. “And welcome to Virginia.”
He stopped working and looked as though he might have been planning to walk her to the door. She’d moved too quickly, though, too nervously. Now it would be awkward to stop and wait at the open door.
“Thanks, Kara,” he called, giving her a small wave of the hand as she walked out. “Nice meeting you too. God bless.”
Kara stopped outside the door and stood under the shop’s awning.
Hmm. “God bless,” huh? She wondered if he was a Christian. Not that it mattered, really. She wasn’t in the market.
Ren pulled up closer, but the rain continued to hammer down. Kara wanted to keep her expensive haircut from getting drenched, so she’d wait until Ren was right in front of the shop.
Just before running out to the car, Kara treated herself to one more peek over her shoulder. What harm could it do? He’d be hard at work, oblivious to her schoolgirl ogling.
But he wasn’t. He was standing right there, at the window, watching her. He smiled and gave her another wave goodbye. He looked genuinely pleased that she had looked for him again.
Kara was duly mortified. She returned a feeble wave, turned, and ran to the car.
“Ooo,” Ren said, glancing at the shop window when Kara got in the car. “Who’s the cutie-pie?”
Kara dropped her head back against the headrest and sighed. “The most gorgeous man I’ve ever acted stupid in front of.”
“You? Stupid? In front of a man?” Ren drove forward, raising her eyebrows and smiling. “Well, Kara! This has to be a first. But I thought you weren’t interested in dating.”
Kara snorted. “Who said anything about dating? As goofy as I acted back there, I’d be lucky to get a deli delivery out of the guy, let alone a date.”
Ren didn’t say anything.
“Besides,” Kara said. “You’re right. I’m not doing the dating thing anymore. So it doesn’t matter, anyway.”
But she couldn’t help sighing when she glanced in the side mirror and saw the shop get smaller and smaller until it disappeared from her sight.

Taken from The Guy I’m Not Dating by Trish Perry
Copyright 2006 by Trish Perry.
Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR;
Used by permission.

Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Christianbook.com
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Books a Million

Popular Posts

Lady Wynwood's Spies 4 vignette - Lady Stoude

This is a really random scene I wrote that occurs in Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer right after chapter 23, after Keriah returns home and before Phoebe comes to pick her up later that night. The team has finished making all preparations for the trade for Michael at Vauxhall Gardens. *** “Oh! I have no wish to go to the ball tonight!” Lady Stoude stood in the open doorway to the drawing room of her husband’s townhouse, hands on hips, with a disgruntled expression that looked faintly like a drowned cat. Her husband, Jeremy, Lord Stoude, glanced up at her from where he was leaning against the mantle of the fireplace, drinking something amber-colored and peaty-smelling. He merely gave her a mild, inquiring look. “Why not, my dear?” “I have just heard from my maid, who heard from Mrs. Butterworth’s maid, who heard from Miss Farrimond’s maid, that Miss Farrimond will not attend the ball tonight, because an unfortunate accident with hair dye caused her to now sport a gia

What are you crafting today?

I always have multiple knitting projects, and over Christmas I started a new one. I’m working on developing a pattern for the arm-warmers (called muffatees or manchettes in Regency and Victorian England) that are mentioned a few times in Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer and Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 5: Prisoner . My character, Phoebe, has a rather deadly pointy thing hidden in hers. :) The pattern is based off of antique knitting books which are scanned by Archive.org. (You can download .pdfs of the books, which I think is really rather cool.) The book the pattern is from was published after the Regency era, but I’m reasonably sure the pattern was in use in the Regency, just passed down by word of mouth. Are you crafting anything today?

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year! This year is the Year of the Rabbit. The Chinese zodiac is split into 12 animals, and their years are 12 years apart. My mom was born in the Year of the Rabbit, so you could calculate her age if you wanted to. :) My humorous Christian romantic suspense serial novel, Year of the Dog , is a reference to the Chinese zodiac because the heroine is a dog trainer. It’s a prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series, which is set in my birth state of Hawaii. Here’s the book description: Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Marisol Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irat

Talk of the Town by Joan Smith

Talk of the Town by Joan Smith Daphne Ingleside’s visit to her Aunt Effie in London was meant to add a little spark to her placid country life. And it did—once the two women decided to write Effie’s memoirs. For Effie, a faded divorcée, had been the beauty of London in her day, and many of the ton feared their misbehavior would be disclosed. The Duke of St. Felix, misinterpreting their project as a means of blackmailing his family, antagonized the sharp-witted, beautiful Daphne to his peril. Regency Romance by Joan Smith; originally published by Fawcett *** I first read this Regency romance years ago in mass market paperback and remember liking it. But when I saw that the author released it on ebook, I found that I didn’t remember the story at all, so I decided to re-read it. It was just as enjoyable the second time around. This story is full of witty banter and is a light, cute comedy of manners. I like how forthright the heroine is, although her tongue is at times a trifle

ひとり寿司第28章パート1

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します! ひとり寿司 寿司シリーズの第一作 キャミー・タング 西島美幸 訳 スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。 ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。 そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。 エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。 レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり —— 過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。 *** 28 「ねえビーナス、お願い」装具をもっとしっかり脚に巻きつけようともがきながら、レックスは肩で携帯を持とうとした。 「ごめん、すごく仕事が忙しいの。トリッシュに行ってもらうように電話したから」 「トリッシュ? いつから彼女が私のお気に入りになったの?」立ち上がり、段ボール箱の間を通って、トイレにたどり着いた。 「ジェン、今週末は出かけてるの——ほんと、都合がいいわよね。だから、トリッシュかマリコのどっちかなのよ」 (うわっ)「分かった。何時に来てくれるの?」 「あの子

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Did you do anything special to honor today?

Merry Christmas! Enjoy The Spinster's Christmas

As a Merry Christmas gift to all my blog readers, I’m going to be posting my Christian Regency romantic suspense, The Spinster’s Christmas , for free on my blog! I’ll be posting the book in 1000-1500 word segments every Tuesday and Friday. (When I do the calculations, it’ll finish around the end of May.) Why am I posting a Christmas story when it won’t be Christmas in a week? Because I can! :) The Spinster’s Christmas is the prequel volume to my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series . Right now I’m editing volume 1 of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, and it’s on track to release in 2020. (If you’re on my Camille Elliot newsletter , you’ll be sure to hear when it’s available for preorder.) I anticipate that the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series to be about ten volumes. I think the series story will be a lot of fun to tell, and I’m looking forward to writing up a storm! Below, I’ll be listing the links to the parts of The Spinster’s Christmas as I post them. (I created the html links by hand so please l

Year of the Dog serial novel

About Year of the Dog : A month or two ago, I remembered an old manuscript I had completed but which hadn’t sold. It was a contemporary romance meant for Zondervan, titled Year of the Dog . The book had gone into the pipeline and I even got another title ( Bad Dog ) and a cover for it, but eventually my editor at the time decided she didn’t want to publish it, for various reasons. She instead requested a romantic suspense, and so I cannibalized some of the characters from Year of the Dog and thrust them into the next book I wrote, which was Protection for Hire . Honestly, I didn’t take a lot from Year of the Dog to put in Protection for Hire , aside from character names and a few relationship ties. I was originally thinking I’d post Year of the Dog as-is on my blog as a free read, but then it occurred to me that I could revamp it into a romantic suspense and change the setting to Hawaii. It would work out perfectly as (yet another) prequel to the Warubozu series and introduce

Camille Elliot's January newsletter

My Camille Elliot (Christian Regency Romantic Suspense) newsletter went out last week, but in case you missed it, the link is below. In my newsletter this month, I posted a link to a special extra scene from Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer , information about an experiment with my current Facebook group, and the date for an upcoming sale on Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 2: Berserker . I also mentioned a sweet Traditional Regency Romance that I’m reading. Click here to read my Camille Elliot newsletter for January.