Ask Me by Laura Strickland

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  • A Romantic Comedy

    Alone on Valentine’s Day, Leo Rankin attends the library’s Blind Date With a Book event hoping for something he can take to bed with him that night, and finds himself competing against Gerri Webb for the last remaining book. Wild child Gerri is not his usual type. Yet he feels an immediate, sizzling attraction and agrees to share the book and its accompanying bag of candy hearts.

    The whole idea of a Blind Date With a Book is to go off genre, so Gerri doesn’t mind when their flirty conversation suggests they unwrap each other rather than the mystery book. When a candy heart advises, “Ask Me,” she asks Leo back to her apartment. She never expects button-down Leo to hit all her buttons, but by the next morning she fears her heart’s in danger. Can one night spent off genre translate to real life?


    The same impulse that had brought Leo in from the street kept his fingers fastened tight. “I’m not letting go. You ask.”

    “We’ll go together.”

    Connected by the mysterious tome, they sidled to the circulation desk, where the clerk gave them an appraising look.

    “Are there any more blind-date books?” Leo asked.

    “I guess that’s the last one. The event was a big success this year. The library’s filled with other books, though I must warn you we’re about to close.”

    “Be a gentleman,” the black-haired woman told Leo, “and let me have the book.” She already had her library card out, clutched in her other hand.

    “Why don’t you share it?” the clerk suggested impishly. “See what happens.”

    The black-haired woman laughed a bit nervously. Before Leo could speak, the clerk snatched the library card from her hand and wanded the book. “There you go. Oh, and every book comes with a little bag of candy hearts. Have a happy Valentine’s Day.”

    Leo frowned and snatched the small red bag the clerk pushed across the counter at him. Elsewhere in the building, lights dimmed. They had little choice but to leave.

    Yet the woman still clutched her side of the book.

    “Who gets to take it home?” she asked.

    Leo smiled suddenly. “Pretty ridiculous to be negotiating over an unknown book for company tonight, isn’t it?”

    “Pitiful,” she agreed.

    Leo hesitated, impulse nibbling at him once again. He could suggest they get a coffee or a drink together. Sure, she was a far cry from the kind of woman he usually dated, almost diametrically opposed. But it beat being alone, right?

    She gave him a provocative look. “Maybe the candy hearts hold the answer to who gets the book first.” She dug into the bag in his hand to draw forth a single heart, and Leo saw her fingernails were painted black. She opened her palm with the heart on it, words facing upward.

    Ask Me, Leo read.

    Well, then. He drew a breath. “Want to go somewhere for coffee?”


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Ask Me

Ask Me

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