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Fantasies can sometimes mess up the real thing.
Austy Nunziata has spent two years pining for her married best friend and about the same amount of time berating herself for it. In fact, she's so adept at trying to stamp out her feelings that she could probably write a How-To guide on the subject. One, move 3,000 miles away from your best friend. Two, get a time-consuming job so you don't have time to think about your best friend. Three, hang out with new friends who aren't anywhere as enchanting as your best friend. Four, get involved with a striking woman who is smart, sexy, caring and, most importantly, available, unlike your best friend. Five, hope the new love interest doesn't find out about your pathetic best friend obsession before you have time to replace it with actual life-altering love.
Even following her own step-by-step process, Austy may not be able to redirect all of her misguided feelings. Becoming involved with Elise Bridie helps her realize how pointless her pining has been. But when Elise suspects that she harbors feelings for someone else, will their new found love survive the unrequited infatuation of Austy's fantasies?
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Being a lesbian in Seattle sucks. Let me amend that: being a lesbian in Seattle who's in love with her married best friend sucks. To be fair, I should say: being a lesbian in love with her best friend who's married and doesn't live in Seattle really sucks. Of course, that's why you moved to Seattle, moron. Now, shut up and deal with the Seattle lesbian scene.
Or deal with it after you get off work. "Yeah?" I spun around from staring out my fifth floor office window of the federal courthouse. Another lunch hour shot to hell.
"Crimeny! I've been trying you on the intercom for ten minutes," Short Stack bellowed from my office door. Not that his raised voice and agitated state was unusual office behavior for Kyle Hammer, hence the nickname. Perspiration beads dotted his wide, pale forehead and red splotched his cheeks, but I doubted it had anything to do with his current mood. He had the kind of frame that exerted great amounts of energy just walking, or stomping, rather, around the office and courthouse.
"We're allowed a lunch, you know," I responded calmly. Staying calm was often the only way to get through one of Short Stack's bellow sessions.
"You're in your office, Austy; that means you're working through lunch. Next time, leave the building."
"It's pouring rain outside, Kyle, and just because I'm here doesn't mean I'm working through lunch."
"I know you've only been here a few months, but this is Seattle; it's always raining outside."
That's right, why the hell did I move here? Oh yeah, the best friend lives in Virginia, so you moved here to get away from her. Only not all the way, since she's in Seattle a few days every month. God, you're pathetic.
"What do you need?" I asked as politely as someone who really needed a lunch break could ask.
"New case, international software copyright infringement. There's some corporate espionage thrown in for your enjoyment, too. Chief wants someone who can relate to the whole computer geek thing to deal with it. Since you did so well with the last one, I'm afraid you might catch all these techie claims from now on," he reported in a less than remorseful tone. For five months, he'd been trying me out in every unit of the Criminal Division. Looks like he might have finally decided on Complex Crimes for me.
He raised up the file and flicked his wrist, sailing it perfectly onto the center of my desk. Every time I try that the file opens, all the papers fly out, and someone ends up with a paper cut or poking an eye out.
"Goody," I sighed, my palm landing flat on top of the spinning file. One more to add to my pile of open cases. Assistant United States Attorney, whose stupid idea was that? Crap! It really sucks being in love with your best friend. Married best friend. Married best friend who has a great partner. Married best friend with a great partner who lives in Virginia--most of the time anyway.
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