DATING A SAINT
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Are you over 40? Over 50? This hot romance series is just for you!
Let the stories of Alexa, Regina, and Lauren convince you in this humorous romantic comedy saga that it is “Never Too Late” to find romance and love.
In Book3, after divorcing her cheating ex-husband years ago, 42 yr old Lauren McCarthy is upset to find herself attracted to a married man. Or at least, 42 yr old James Gallagher says he’s married, even though Lauren has never seen a wife. Every time Jim puts his hands on her, she thinks if Jim would only trust her with his secrets, she might be willing to risk her saintly reputation to be in his arms.
Despite his climbing frustration, Jim tried not to glare at Chad Walters’ arm draped lightly across the back of Lauren’s chair. Catching on to the tension, Walters turned a questioning look to Lauren, who shrugged in reply. When he finally swung another questioning look his way, Jim ignored the unspoken question in Walters’ gaze about what the hell was going on. Instead he quietly continued to stand by their table. Finally, the man politely excused himself, obviously not wanting to be in the middle of any debate between him and Lauren McCarthy. Walters was a smart man, Jim decided, as he watched him stride away. It was probably why he did business with the man’s company.
Lauren narrowed her eyes at her date’s disappearing back before awarding Jim a defiant glare. “Well, that was fast work,” she said.
Jim sighed heavily. “I’m sure Walters will be back shortly. If not, I’m sure you’ll find another one just like him in a few days. I hear you’re making the rounds.”
Lauren crossed her arms and sent cleavage pushing up and out of her dress. It pleased her when Jim’s gaze darkened as it fell to the ample amount of her breasts being revealed. The idea that he might be jealous made her heart flutter for a moment, but foolish hope was soon followed by anger that he’d come here for the sole purpose of ruining her plans for the evening. And it was shaming to admit, even to herself, how attracted she was to the glaring man in front of her.
Her arms dropped as she looked for a way to reason with him. “I’m only doing what you told me to do,” she explained.
“Well, stop. Forget what I told you and go back to the way you were,” Jim ordered, sliding into a chair across from her.
Lauren shook her head, feeling hair and earrings moving with the motion. “I can’t do that. I like dating and I’m not finished yet. There are still plenty of frogs left in Falls Church.”
“Frogs? What the hell are you talking about?” Jim asked impatiently, too distracted by Lauren’s still visible cleavage to think straight. The woman was lush all over. Sexual desire played hell with his already overwrought libido.
Lauren bit her lip in frustration. She was not going to yell at him, not going to cause a scene. Jim certainly didn’t deserve any angry emotion points for irritating her. He deserved nothing—no emotion at all.
“It’s none of your business, Jim. Just like my dates are none of your business. You already made that choice. Now please—just leave me alone.”
“I have been trying to leave you alone,” Jim exclaimed, running a hand through his hair. “It might actually be possible if you would stop serial dating and go back to living your normal life.”
Jim sounded so much like her mother that Lauren wanted to hit him. To calm herself, she closed her eyes, but still could not stop her blood pressure rising enough to shoot an angry red flush over all her skin.
“I am not serial dating. I am just dating,” she hissed. “This is what normal people do.”
“You didn’t date for years and you were just fine. Why do you have to date now?”
His words had the effect of igniting the anger that had so far only been simmering in her. Lauren picked up her glass of wine, took a sip, and put it back on the table. The wine wasn’t strong enough to calm her. She closed her eyes and counted to ten before answering.
“What is your problem? I want to date you, but you don’t want to date me. Dating other men is certainly better than becoming some pathetic shriveled-up old maid pining away for a man I can never have. There’s no damn way I’m letting my life turn out like that, Jim. I didn’t let Jared ruin my life. You don’t get to either. Get used to it.”
“And just when did you start swearing so much? It doesn’t suit you, Lauren. Stop being so melodramatic,” Jim ordered.
Melodramatic? She had often seen Alexa and Regina angry to the point of not caring about appearances or politeness. It seemed like every time she was with Jim lately, he made her furious within minutes. The man had developed a knack for reaching inside her and poking a sharp stick at the fearful, angry woman cowering in her soul. Not having taken the time to get to know her, Jim Gallagher obviously didn’t understand how dangerous that was.
Thinking about the many ways she could make him suffer, Lauren lifted her chin, narrowed her eyes, and glared. Just who the hell did Jim think he was anyway? One day soon she was going to yank the damn poking stick out of his hand and ram it through his heart. Wouldn’t he be surprised then?
She truly wasn’t afraid of Jim’s opinion of her dating. Realizing how unafraid she was liberated her tongue. “Since you and I are not romantically involved in any way at all, I don’t really give a damn what you think. Call it melodramatic, or whatever else you want, but the bald truth is I’m finally being honest with myself. Your refusal to spend time with me forced me to move on to willing, interested men. And guess what? I discovered there are other men in this town besides you. You can consider my temporary crush on you as being officially over now.”
Jim gritted his teeth at Lauren’s lifted chin and her mean words. There was a hell of a lot more between them than a damn crush. His temper ratcheted up a notch thinking about what she said, tightening his muscles. The thought of Lauren being with other men made him crazy. His answer was not only no, but hell no. Not while he was still breathing.
Watching her, his thoughts ran along the lines of breaking Walters’ fingers for daring to touch her, even if just innocently. It also didn’t help that under the table he could see Lauren’s dress inching up her thighs as she squirmed in her seat. Every movement revealed a lot more than just her agitation, which made Jim more and more frustrated in return.
Looking like she did, being as nice as she was, sooner or later Lauren McCarthy was definitely going to find a guy she liked better than him.
He would never survive it.
Jim drummed hard fingertips on the table. There had to be a rational way to explain his complicated feelings and convince her to—what? Convince her to stop dating other men? The hypocrisy of his feelings bothered him, but despite his earlier recommendation that Lauren date, he was now just as determined to stop her.
He had to. His sanity was at stake.
No use lying to yourself, a voice inside him taunted. You already think of her as yours.
“Lauren, why are you dating all these men?” Jim demanded.
“I don’t have to explain anything to you. You have no right to find fault with me or what I’m doing,” Lauren said.
Jim reluctantly nodded at her defense. “No, I don’t. Let me rephrase my question. Have you found anyone you like kissing more than me yet?”
Irritated at his arrogance, Lauren shrugged to cover the truth. “I admit there aren’t many on my short list. However, it didn’t take many dates to figure out that I’m only sleeping alone because I choose to do so.”
“Don’t even go there,” Jim warned. “I don’t want to hear any details about how great your dates are in bed.”
Lauren hadn’t been planning to go there when she made the statement, but his comment gave her ideas. She knew Alexa and Regina would have made Jim suffer or at least taunted him with half-truths. Playing those kinds of games just wasn’t her way. She wasn’t about to let him bring her that low.
“What do you want from me, Jim? You have to know how odd your attitude is given our non-involvement. If you want to stop me from dating, all you have to do is agree to spend some real time with me. Tell me the truth about your wife. Tell me why you’re suddenly so concerned about me being with other men. Give me a valid reason to have hope.”
Lauren glared at the handsome man who sat across from her glaring back while saying nothing. If publicly arguing with Jim was embarrassing, the staring contest hanging over her last demand was downright scary. As she worked on holding her glare in place, she pondered whether or not her chicken date would come back and rescue her.
Maybe she could throw her glass of ice water in Jim’s face and break his steely-eyed scowl.
Better yet, maybe she’d do a sitting version of a round-off and kick Jim in the head with one of her three-inch silver stilettos. Now that would shock the arrogant stoicism right out of him.
Still holding his gaze, she took a cautious sip of the ice water to cool both her tongue and her temper. Jim’s chocolate gaze flickered but did not leave her as she licked the wetness from her bottom lip. She took another sip of water, but this time her hand trembled under his hot gaze. It made her angry that Jim could reduce her to a pile of quivering need without even touching her. His power over her body made her doubly furious that he wouldn’t act on what he damn well knew was between them.
Well, to hell with him and his avoidance. She should climb into his lap right here in front of everyone and kiss the tight-lipped snarl right off his face. Erotic images of how she would kiss him passed through her mind and she sighed in longing. Jim blinked and sat up straighter in his chair. Obviously her signals were being received.
Feeling a bit better because she had finally made Jim as physically uncomfortable as she was, Lauren opened her mouth intending to tell him what she was feeling, but never got the chance. Another man snagged her attention away.
Her ex-husband walked boldly up to the table, leaned over and kissed both her cheeks while Jim looked on. She turned to a rock under Jared’s touch, but the smirking bastard pretended not to notice.
When Lauren glanced at Jim’s expression again, she almost shivered at the violence directed toward Jared. It was not the intolerant look he had given Chad Walters. This one was full of hate.
“Hello, Lauren. You look smashing, darling. That dress always was one of my favorites on you. And you’ve grown out your hair a little. You look so young and gorgeous,” Jared said.
At his smarmy praise, Lauren treated Jared to one of the glares she’d been serving up to Jim.
Of all the places her ex-husband could have picked to flaunt his refusal to accept their dead relationship, why did it have to be here and in front of Jim? Jared rarely acknowledged her presence in public, most especially if his latest conquest was on his arm. It was odd that he was alone tonight. She could only conclude her mother must have told him she was dating.
Well, she might not be passing out numbers for a night in her bed yet, but hell would be serving ice cream before she let Jared Smith in it again. Maybe she hadn’t made her feelings clear enough. If not, it was certainly time to set things straight with at least one man in her life.
“Imagine seeing you here, Jared. How’s your fiancée doing? I’ve been waiting for my invitation to the wedding. When’s the big day?” Lauren asked sweetly.
Jared hung his head, a sad smile on his face. “Worried about my happiness, darling?” He smiled as he lifted his hands. “I’m still a free man.”
“Still?” Lauren repeated, feigning surprise at his choice of words. “When have you ever been committed? Having a wife certainly never stopped you from acting like a free man when we were together.”
She watched Jared blink, probably shocked at her open hostility. Finally, he shrugged and smiled again as he gave Jim a pointed look.
“I guess I thought you might be more understanding about such things now,” he said.
Enough of this bullshit, Jim decided. He had heard all the veiled insults from Jared Smith he could handle. He had been mildly upset about Chad, but he was mad as hell about Jared flirting with Lauren in front of him. When he started to stand, Lauren put a restraining hand on his arm, gripping hard to hold him down. He looked at her hand on him with considerable interest, and a bit of surprise at how much force was in her grip. He forgot about Jared for a moment while he simply enjoyed how right it felt for Lauren to be touching him.
Tension slid away and he sighed, but Lauren still didn’t let go. “Please don’t. Jared just has a wicked sense of humor. I believe it comes from all those years of being an ass when we were married. Now it appears he’s elevated that personality trait to an art form.”
Lauren turned from Jim to look at Jared. “Tell my mother I am going to date who I want to date. Both of you need to get used to the fact that you and I are never getting back together. It has not been good to see you, Jared. You can go away now. My date will be back any minute.”
“Look at you—keeping two men dancing in attendance at once. You know I’ll never stop trying either, darling. Lydia just knows how much I’ve always wanted you back. When you get tired of the other men, give me a call.”
Lauren snorted when Jared blew her an air kiss as he left.
Jim watched Lauren’s ex grin as he walked away. The bastard was probably wondering if he seriously would have taken a swing at him if Lauren hadn’t stopped him. Jim looked back at Lauren with the same possessiveness Jared had just demonstrated, but he couldn’t help it. Right or not, if Lauren had shown the slightest sign of distress over the discussion, her ex-husband would be sporting a bloody nose and black eye instead of a smug grin. He had been making damn good use of the weights Kaiser helped him pick out and would like nothing better than a real target to take out his frustration on.
“What in the world did you ever see in that slimy piece of shit in a suit?” Jim asked.
Lauren sighed, laughing a little. Jim’s description was right, but she hadn’t seen Jared that way when they were married. “He was never ugly to me before the divorce. In fact, he was very good to me. The problem was he was also very good to a lot of women. I honestly don’t think Jared has it in him to be faithful. I got over him and his infidelity years ago. Only disgust remains.”
Jim frowned at her statement and concluded Smith was an idiot. At least Walters was decent. “I hate that you’re dating, but at least your taste in men is improving.”
Lauren released Jim’s arm quickly when she realized she still held him. “Sorry for gripping your arm. I don’t really give a damn what Jared Smith does or thinks anymore, but I do still care about you, and I know you know it. At least tell me why you’re staying away from me when I know there’s been at least one other woman in your life who was not your wife. What is your problem with taking that kind of chance with me?”
Lauren sighed, heartsick and deeply disappointed when Jim just looked at her, not saying a word in his defense. Eventually, he dropped his gaze from hers to scan the rest of the room. His continued silence made her realize that Jim had no intention of answering her question. It made her want to kick him, but also want to cry. All the pain she’d suffered in her marriage hadn’t hurt nearly as much as Jim’s outright rejection.
She rose from the table and shook her head. “My instincts tell me you’re not a cheating bastard like Jared, even without you saying a single word to prove it. Still—I believe I’ll just go look for a more interested man, one who might actually take me up on what I’m offering.”
Jim’s gaze followed Lauren across the room as she walked away, or at least it followed her legs. Her silver dress skimmed just a few inches above her knees and the heels she wore elevated her to supermodel height. He could see Lauren’s hips moving seductively inside the silver sheath. He wondered what it would be like to have her long legs wrapped around him, to hold her hips as he made love to her, and hear her laugh against him.
Torn between what was right to do and what he wanted, Jim stood and did what he’d taught himself to do in situations posing a moral dilemma about his sex life. He simply got up and left.
What a fascinating author! McDonald’s not only broken the mold, she’s completely shattered it with her tales of mature love. Her books are heartwarming, encouraging, and every woman should read this series! ~ JM Madden, author of Wet Dream, Second Time Around, The Awakening Society, A Needful Heart, and Urban Moon
Dating a Saint was different from the prior books in the series with its more serious undertone. There is still plenty of humor and sexiness. Donna McDonald has a way with words. Never Too Late series really lives up to its name because both Lauren and Jim had given up on love. When they were ready to finally take the chance, it was so worth coming along for the ride! ~ Lexxie at Risqué Reviews
SERIES: NEVER TOO LATE, BOOK THREE
PUBLISHER: CREATESPACE PUBLISHING
FORMAT: TRADE PAPERBACK & EBOOK
LENGTH: 270 PAGES
RELEASE DATE (PRINT): October 30, 2011
E-BOOK ISBN: 978-1-939988-05-8
PRINT ISBN-13: 978-1-466207-22-6
SMASHWORDS ISBN: 978-1-458093-56-1