What I Did On My Summer Vacation(Harlequin Blaze)

By: Thea Devine & Debbi Rawlins & Samantha Hunter
The Guy Diet_Light My Fire_No Reservations (Harlequin Blaze)


Thea Devine

Always, to John. Nothing more needs to be said.


OKAY, I CONFESS. The whole thing started because I decided to go on a Guy Diet. Call it what it was—removing myself from the dating food chain altogether. Tossing out those superchunk hunks. Refusing to be seduced by those devil dogs. I was tired of the same old fast-food sex and I was ready for change.

My roommate, Paula, says penises are nonfattening and I’m a fool to give them up. I say there’s nothing about them that doesn’t bloat you and make you crazy, especially an unforeseen, unplanned pregnancy.

Paula says men are an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Enough with gorging myself on fast-food sex. It was time for a cleansing fast.

I wanted to find someone who could commit to more than just which shirt he’d wear the next morning.

So I came up with the idea of The Guy Diet.

Which I dreamed up because I write about food. You may even have read my column, The Grab-and-Go Gourmet.

I’m Lo Cavallero, Lo being short for LoAnne, which everyone thinks is Lou-Anne. So I ended the confusion and made it easier on everyone by dropping the Anne part.

In my real life, I share a minuscule one-bedroom apartment in the far West Eighties with the aforementioned Paula—Talcott—who was my college roommate.

Let me tell you about Paula. Paula is not me. Paula is tall, model thin, designer obsessed, blond, gorgeous, savvy and smart. I am tall and lanky with a mop of dark-brown unruly hair that matches my born-in-Brooklyn unruly mouth. I’m pretty smart, not that savvy, and I couldn’t care less how I look.

Paula gives me glam and I give her good advice. She makes me seem sexy; I keep her grounded.

Paula graduated six months ahead of me, got her ideal job in an international ad agency and worked her way up to assistant account executive in what seemed like the blink of an eye, and ultimately found the apartment she invited me to share.

Although one-bedrooms can be dicey, we have twin beds so neither of us has to sleep on the floor or the couch, as friends do when they’re crashing or when one of us gets lucky.

Which means Paula. Paula lives the life most of us fantasize about and there was always a little part of me that wanted to be that adventurous and cavalier about sex and life. Though, given my fairly strict upbringing, I preferred living that life by proxy until I met Paula.

In no time at all, I became Paula’s confessor and her coconspirator, and I lived that single city life for the six years that we’ve known each other.

Still, I’m the super-responsible one. Goes right back to being a latchkey kid. My mom married young, was widowed young and raised me with no husband, on not much of an income and under the critical gaze of a houseful of censurious relatives. That made her even more determined to prove she could raise a kid, work and never ask for help from anyone.

Except me. When I was old enough.

I did the dishes, dusting, vacuuming and cooking from the time I could remember. I made sure my bed was made, my wash got done and my homework never suffered. And I got straight As because it would have hurt her if I hadn’t.

I did whatever I could to alleviate Mom’s burden until the golden day she got a computer-studies certificate from community college and a job that provided medical benefits and a pension.

It was strictly understood I was going to college and I was not to get sidetracked. Because she’d disown me. Period. For my part, being my mother’s daughter, I was determined to make her proud, graduate with honors and find a secure job that would provide me with the wherewithal to help mom and assure her I would never go hungry, married or not.

Any other dreams I might have had, the evanescent ones—like being an artist, a writer, a chef, getting married—I didn’t believe were possible. My goal was a concrete-steady paycheck because nothing could be depended upon—especially a man.

I actually should have chosen to study premed because when I was rooting around after graduation for the perfect job, I discovered the high-paying world of medical transcription. I took a course, got a certificate, decided to be an independent contractor and solicited my own clientele, consisting of two dozen physicians and an ad agency specializing in pharmaceuticals. So I have the freedom to set my own hours.

And then, the point I was getting to, I write this little cooking column for a small local independent Upper West Side shopper, the WestEnder.

The WestEnder started as just a small give-away booklet and grew into an on-the-newsstand-and-by-subscription tabloid. To entice readership, the publisher decided to add features and columns spotlighting local businesses and events, and, given the demographic, a book-and-movie review column, and eventually a cooking column.

I’d always done the cooking for me and Mom since I was old enough to learn how. Mom basically liked her food fast and hot because when she came home from work she was wiped. So I began concocting recipes for her, never dreaming my reach could extend beyond Mom’s kitchen.

But—and this was where the whole thing started—Paula had been dating Jed Costigan, the publisher of the WestEnder and she invited me one evening in late March to join her and Jed for dinner at a newly opened restaurant that the paper’s food critic had praised the week before.

Also By Thea Devine & Debbi Rawlins & Samantha Hunter

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