From conference rooms to broom closets, I escaped reality with my leading men. Okay, so they were fictional book boyfriends.
In reality I should have been concentrating on classes while I looked for a living, breathing man to help me achieve my romantic fantasies. It was a friend who suggested combining my passions for romance novels and psychology to generate my Master’s thesis research topic: Does the modern day romance novel leading man create unrealistic expectations for a prolonged adult relationship?
To find out, I’d run a social experiment. I’d be the constant. The variables would be my leading men. I’d date every stereotype in the books, from billionaires to bad boys, rock stars to bikers, dominants, athletes, and…my stepbrother?
If my research was successful, I’d end up with a degree and maybe even my very own happy ending.
“The list for my research project. Do you know any men who fit my criteria?” I asked.
He studied the list for a moment before handing it back to me. “I know a few.”
Six eyes turned to Austin. “Who?” I asked.
“I know a rock star. Well, kind of. He sings for a local band, but they’ve got a great following. I know several businessmen, but not any CEOs. I might be able to hook you up with one, though. And I know a few bars around here where your bad boys hang out.”
My jaw dropped. Everyone has that one friend who knows everybody. Austin had lived in San Diego his entire life, so he knew the lay of the land.
“Take me to your bars!” I practically yelled, garnering a glare from students studying nearby. “Sorry,” I whispered.
“Wait a minute,” Shannon said. “I thought of a few you’re missing from your list.”
A few I was missing? I thought I’d pretty much covered all the bases. “Who?”
“You need a Fabio.” She stated it like it was obvious.
“Like a cover model?” I asked.
She shrugged. “Sure. Or like a historical romance guy.”
I laughed. Shannon could be a bit of an airhead sometimes. “Where am I going to find a historical romance guy? We’re in the present tense, Shannon.”
“Duh. Renaissance Festival. And Austin, you seem to know everybody else. Do you know any vampires?”
Laughter bubbled up from my chest. I couldn’t help when it spilled out, and when I looked over at Austin and Scott, I found a similar reaction. Shannon stared at us blankly.
“What?” she asked.
“Vampires?” I asked through my giggles.
“They’re in all the books,” she clarified, only spurring on our laughter. Her brows came together in anger.
My giggles turned into those silent quaking convulsions that I couldn’t possibly control. Scott was holding up his hand as if to tell Shannon to stop while he laughed, and Austin clutched his stomach from the hilarity.
We’d stop for a minute only to glance at one or the other, and then we’d start back up again, garnering more glares from students near us.
Our laughing had to have gone on for at least a full five minutes before we were composed enough to talk about it.
“What?” Shannon finally asked in frustration.
Austin gave Shannon a very serious look while I stifled another wave of giggles. Scott had to excuse himself after a less than flattering snort.
“Vampires aren’t real,” Austin finally said.
“Well, you need a paranormal,” Shannon said, her voice both irritated and completely serious. “How about a werewolf?”
Lisa Suzanne started handwriting her books on yellow legal pads after she took a creative writing class in high school. She still has those legal pads full of stories, but now one of them is published under the title How He Really Feels. She currently works as a full time high school English teacher, and her favorite part of the year is summer. She has been blessed with the world’s best dog, a supportive family, and a husband who encouraged her to publish after reading one of her novels. She likes the advice of Ernest Hemingway’s famous quote, “Write drunk. Edit sober.”