“Thanks for seeing me,” Ann said.
Mariah smiled and motioned to the seat. “How did things go with Lincoln?”
“He was just as nice as you said.”
Ann threw up a hand. “It’s enough to make a good woman swear. Am I really that transparent?”
Mariah laughed. “No. I’m a trained listener for what’s not being said. Was the chemistry missing?”
Reluctantly, but being an honest person, Ann moved her head up and down.
Mariah shrugged. “It’s okay. Lincoln said he had a great time too, but even though he didn’t say it, I got a sense of him realizing the right attraction wasn’t there for him either.”
“Thank God,” Ann said sincerely, lifting her hand to her chest. “The guilt was horrible.”
“Guilt?” Mariah asked, laughing again. “It was a first date, Ann. You didn’t break an engagement.”
“I let him kiss me after our balloon ride. I don’t do that sort of thing—not usually. Mostly I was just being polite. But the kiss was… perfunctory.”
“Perfunctory?” A grinning Mariah repeated. “It’s so much fun having educated clients. They come up with so many clever ways to tell me a date was disappointing.”
Ann sighed. “My lackluster reaction to someone as great as Lincoln is not amusing to me. I feel awful. Lincoln spent all that money to meet me.”
“Well, stop feeling bad. He spends more money every month on his private gym membership that comes with trainers who keep him in that great shape. Lincoln is just fine, Ann. I’ll eventually come up with someone right for him.”
Ann nodded, but she was still unconvinced… and still not able to stop thinking about Cal. She wanted to call him to come see her just to see if his kiss still had the same devastating effect. But that would be counterproductive when she was trying to convince herself her reaction was about her and not about him.
Maybe she just needed more dating practice. More dates might help her develop some objectivity. Maybe an older, more appropriate man might stop her from dreaming about making love with a too young, inappropriate one.
“Can I try meeting someone else in that group of guys?”
“Sure. I still have your folder here at my desk,” Mariah said, opening a drawer.
Ann bit her lip as Mariah pulled out another sheet from the stack and handed it over.
“This is Greg Skyler. He’s an accountant with his own business. He practices Tai Chi and meditates. He likes rock climbing and hiking. You’re a great match physically. He’s in his late-forties—so just a few years younger.”
Pulling the bio sheet closer, Ann studied the man’s happy blue eyes. “He’s just as good looking as Lincoln.”
“Yes. Why do you sound so sad about it? Don’t you want someone as attractive as you are?” Mariah asked, letting her concern show.
Ann’s head whipped up. “You think I’m as attractive as all these men?”
“Of course I do,” Mariah said firmly. “I take every detail into consideration.”
“Sorry,” Ann said, feeling humbled by Mariah’s confident answer. “Who knew I’d be having self-esteem problems at my age? I was perfectly fine until I started dating.”