Jane was stunned by the comment. “I’ve been in love. Plenty of times.”
Michael raised an eyebrow. “With whom?”
Jane searched her mind frantically. “Well, there was Tom in high school.”
Jane glared at him. “Jim….Jim…Campbell. He was my college boyfriend. We had sex and everthing.”
“Wow…” Michael said.
“Don’t be an idiot,” she said to him. “Typical alpha male. Think you have to be the first.”
“Oh…so you think I’m alpha male.” He smiled. “We don’t have to be first…just the best.”
“Arghh,” she said and turned to look out the window. She couldn’t face Michael. Somehow, in her heart of hearts, she knew he was right. She’d never been in love.
Michael left her alone until they got to the restaurant. The valet handed her out of the taxi and Michael took her arm to lead her into the mirror and flower-infused restaurant. Their waiter left them with book-like menus and Jane immediately buried her nose in hers. She’d read right to left, just like her father taught her, so Michael wouldn’t have to pay too dearly for Sally’s rudeness. She didn’t want to be dependent on him for anything.
Unfortunately, her menu didn’t contain any prices, so her plan was foiled. She glanced up to see Michael smiling at her.
He placed his hand over hers. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have pushed you for information about your love life. It’s none of my business.”
“No, it isn’t.” But suddenly she wanted to tell him. She wanted him to know about all the lonely years she’d spent in Iowa, the odd duck in a farming community. Most of her classmates had known what they wanted to do and who they were going to marry by the time they were eighteen. Their plans hadn’t always worked out, but they’d known what they were.
She smiled at Michael. “I was kind of an odd duck.”
“I got lost in my books growing up. I wanted to have wild adventures, take safaris in far-flung countries, explore new places.”
“Why didn’t you?”
She grimaced. “It turned out I was a coward. What sounded good in my imagination, didn’t work out in real life.” She gestured at the menu. “I like to eat food I understand, not something I don’t really want to know the ingredients of.”
He laughed. “We’re a lot alike that way. I never understood my parents’ desire for some of the more odd English foods — kidneys and all.”
The blood drained from her face.
I’m happy to let you know that print copies of California Sunset will be available soon!