What I Did On My Summer Vacation(Harlequin Blaze)(3)

By: Thea Devine & Debbi Rawlins & Samantha Hunter



I set the ingredients up on the counter, methodically heating the oil, cutting the breasts into cubes, putting them in the frying pan. I added some onion, the vegetables, the soy sauce. Made the rice with the stock, and fifteen minutes later, after the formal tasting, the consensus was my fast-food dinner was as good or better than the version we’d had two nights before.

“I like it,” Jed said. “Grab and go. That’s what we’ll call it. You write it up and make it personal just the way you outlined it to me.”

And that was how I morphed into the Grab-and-Go Gourmet.

Grab and go. I had aptly titled my work life as well as my love life. I continually repeated the same pattern, attracted to guys on the fly, yet hoping something would change.

Then, I had that revelation when I was doing a column about a grab-and-go diet a few months later: I’m a grab-and-go girl. I’ve been the free ingredient in every one of my relationships, and the guys have all been feasting on me.

Okay. You could blame me and my predilections for that. You actually could say I barely have a dating life at all. I have a bed-hopping life, which undeniably has its moments. It would be much more efficient if I ran my dating life more like a business.

But forget the idea of positioning, advertising, résumés, interviews, hoping your prospective guy likes you. Forget waiting for the phone to ring or hoping you’re a good fit.

I had an epiphany: Why not just eliminate the guy factor altogether?

What do they have that your friends don’t? Besides the obvious. I couldn’t think of a thing. I decided it was time for a healthy request—like, no more free sex.

When I suggested this to Paula, she said, “You are out of your freaking mind. What do you mean, no guys? Like, totally celibate?”

Now, I love Paula dearly, but she has a hard-shell finish that’s as shiny as lacquer and as perfect, and since she broke up with Jed in early April, and observed a proper period—about a month—of mourning, there hasn’t been a crack in that armor that I can see. And she’s been anything but celibate.

So, did I really mean totally stone-cold celibate? Right on the cusp of summer fun? What was I thinking?

Still, I was staunch in my defense of my position. “I mean hard-core celibate.”

“Well then, I’m not hanging out with you,” Paula said pointedly. “No hard-core sex, no hard-core fun. What are you going to do with yourself all summer if you’re not having sex?”

“I’ll be having self,” I said airily. And then I saw the look on her face. “For God’s sake, not that kind of self. Like, getting-to-know-myself self. Like, being happy for a change, and not hanging on a hope, a prayer and a maybe he’ll call. Like not being disappointed all the time. Like…”

I think at that point I decided she was right: I was crazy. Yet I couldn’t back down since I’d made such a meal deal out of it.

“I’ll find things to keep me busy. I’m not that shallow.”

“Ha,” Paula said. “You’re as toe-deep in the Evian as the rest of us.”

She was probably right. Still, work kept me busier than a hospital full of doctors. And there was the column, which took up a fair amount of time. It wasn’t as if I couldn’t find distractions.

Of course, summer wasn’t exactly the best time to undertake a Guy Diet. But it’s practically built in that, at my age, you don’t want anyone to see you really skimpily clothed the first days of summer, let alone high, wide and naked.

And then, it’s hot. So when you think about sweating and over-heating, you’re not thinking about sex at first sight or finding the man who will change your life. You focus on changing your own life.

Only, does it really make sense to take my cupcakes off the menu when every second guy is putting his beefcake on the counter?

I’ll just ignore them. I’m determined. I’m going organic instead of orgasmic. I’m talking willpower. Hold the spice. Portion control.

Hmm. This is going to be harder than I thought.

Besides, I can’t renege on The Guy Diet now because I’ve been so vocal about it. I just have to prove to Paula it can be done.

Maybe I could write a book about it.

Chapter One. Setting up The Guy Diet. Become a hermit.

Chapter Two. Negotiating The Guy Diet. Have all your groceries delivered and never go out of your house, watch TV or read a magazine, newspaper or the back of a cereal box.

No. That doesn’t work. I have to work—everybody has to work. You can’t avoid guys at work. You just have to develop a different mind-set.

This is my mantra: you can’t continually be a target for any old guy’s heat-seeking missile because the odds are you’re going to crash and burn while he just brushes himself off and walks away.

There. My missionary position.

Damn, I mean my mission statement. I’m going to write it down, keep it over my computer.

Distill it: grab and go, crash and burn.

Story of my dating life.

And look at it this way: Jed’s having given me the opportunity to write this food column was an incredible gift—even if it was only for a local paper.

Also By Thea Devine & Debbi Rawlins & Samantha Hunter

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