THE DATING ITINERARY
by Brooke Williams
Publication Date: September 7, 2020
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Lovestruck, Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Comedy
As if it wasn’t bad enough to be deemed the “most single person” at her magazine’s office, budding reporter Penny has now been tapped to write a series of features called “The Dating Game.” From speed dating to Tinder, old-fashioned matchmakers to up-and-coming “dark dating,” Penny now has to go on a lot of dates. Silver lining: meeting new people should be fun, right? But running into her old rival, George, at her first dating event is decidedly not. Not only does the arrogant know-it-all have zero trouble attracting women, wherever Penny goes, somehow he just. Keeps. Showing. Up.
Geo knows he’s right on the cusp of writing success with the chance to have his own syndicated column. All he has to do is follow his agent’s ideas for showcasing different dating avenues, and he’ll pull in enough to help his sister’s non-profit women’s shelter get off the ground. Sure, his itinerary is starting to look strangely similar to his old rival Penny’s, but all’s fair in love and syndication, right?
The more they look for love in all the wrong places, though, the more they start to wonder if it was right in front of their noses all along. Still, the brutal dating scene just might end them, if these two don’t kill each other first.
As Penny shut her laptop, she expected Geo to grab his coat and leave, but he made no moves toward the door.
“I’ve been wondering about this game all evening long.” Geo kicked a box on the bottom shelf of the coffee table.
“Don’t you have that one at home?” Penny laughed. The box he was mentioning was Girl Talk, a game from her childhood.
“Never even heard of it.”
“You don’t know what you’re missing.” Penny stretched against the couch, trying to work the kinks in her shoulders out after hunching over the computer. She watched as Geo leaned over in his seat and took the game from its spot.
Geo blew the dust from the lid. “Not a current favorite?” he asked.
“I keep it for sentimental reasons. It was a lot of fun at slumber parties. You know, good memories and all.”
“Tell me about these slumber parties…” Geo gave her a secretive look.
Penny thumped him lightly on the shoulder as he opened the box.
“Answer the question or receive a zit?”
Penny rolled her eyes. “They’re just stickers.”
George pulled a card out of the box. “Tell me about your crush,” he read[SA1] .
“Oh come on, Geo.”
“No really, we’ve worked hard. Let’s play.”
“Seriously? I haven’t played this game since, I don’t know, Jr. High?”
“And I’ve never played. Come on, let’s be girlfriends!”
Penny shook her head. Geo must be getting a little slap happy after the long stint with the laptop. “Fine, what was the question again?”
Geo raised the card again and read, “Tell me about your crush.”
“Zit.” Penny held out her hand.
George searched through the box and found a sheet of well-used red stickers. He peeled one off and pushed Penny’s hand aside. “Allow me.” He stuck it directly to the center of her nose. “Red looks good on you.”
Penny[SA2] scoffed. She’d never admit it to him, but it was fun to break loose from all the work and just enjoy the moment. Her memories of playing the game with her friends were nothing but good. It always ended in giggles and snacks. She didn’t expect Geo to giggle, per se, but they could still have some light-hearted fun after all the serious work. She grabbed a card from the box. “Tell us about the cutest boy in your class.”
Geo batted his eyes. “Oh my gosh, he’s, like, so hot.”
“Zit for sarcasm.” Penny stuck a red sticker to his ear.
Geo pressed the sticker into his skin. “How do I look?”
“Like that hot guy in your class.” Penny made sure her voice was dripping with sarcasm.
Geo pulled another card. “Oh, a dare. Blindfold yourself and do the Electric Slide.”
“Seriously? I haven’t done that dance since the last wedding I attended.” Penny wasn’t sure she liked the idea of dancing in front of Geo.
“Come on.” He grabbed her hands and pulled her to her feet. “I’ll do it with you. No blindfold.”
“There’s no music,” she resisted. It was one thing to trade silly secrets. It was another to dance. She’d never had much rhythm.
“Do do do,” Geo began to sing the song and dance the dance.
Penny zeroed in on the zit atop his ear. He looked so ridiculous she couldn’t resist. “Fine.” She sighed as she joined him in sliding around the room.
“It’s electric, Boogie Woogie Woogie,” Geo sang.
Penny went the wrong direction and turned into Geo. He caught her just before she fell into the wall. “You did say it’d been awhile,” he teased.
ABOUT BROOKE WILLIAMS
Brooke Williams is a former radio announcer turned stay-at-home mom/freelance writer/author. Brooke finds that creating fictional characters and placing them in odd situations is a bright spot in any day and so she continues to do so with fervor. She has been married to her husband, Sean, since 2002 and they have two beautiful daughters, Kaelyn and Sadie. Brooke’s books include: Someone Always Loved You, Wrong Place Right Time, Accept this Dandelion, Dandelions on the Road, Mamarazzi, and Shower in the Rain, among others.