Sabrina Eckhart is losing it. Oasis, the restaurant she manages, is getting battered by a trendy newcomer and with everyone looking to her for ideas, you could say she's under a little pressure. But wait, that's not all. Her evil landlady has given her until the end of the month to vacate her crummy apartment. And her thirtieth birthday is looming, reminding her of the milestones she's missed. No wonder she’s so distracted by the jogger with the tight glutes she drives up the curb and down the sidewalk after him.
Jackson Murphy is an avid jogger, and the local television station’s scrumptious news director -- if he can keep the job. Unfortunately, he has one year to resuscitate their wheezing news department or the owners are going to pull the plug. His hands are already full even without Sabrina dropping into them. The last thing he needs is to be involved with a publicity stunt.
The road to love is bumpy. It’ll take all of Cupid's arrows, and a hard shove from interfering friends, for these two to win the Dating Game.
The flash of pain was instantaneous and Jackson’s body collapsed silently to the floor long before his brain caught up and he realized what the hell just hit him.
“Jackson!” His mother bent over him, eager to help, but the heavy basket with her half gallon of milk and pound of butter swung out and clocked him right in the head.
“Jesus, mom!” He fell back clutching his temple.
“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry!”
“What are the odds?” a strangely familiar woman’s voice muttered. A wave of cold dread shot through him and he peered around the mounded cart and saw his worst nightmare.
Sabrina put her hand on her hip and said, without sympathy or apology, “I suppose you’re going to blame me for this too.”
Jackson’s arm shot out at her, the finger he pointed cocked and loaded. “Back off. Just stay away!”
His mother’s mouth dropped open in shock. “Jackson!” She turned apologetically to Sabrina. “I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He’s not usually like this.”
Sabrina crossed her arms and returned his glare.
“You don’t understand,” he told his mom as he grunted to his knees and tried to work his way back to his feet. His ankle was killing him. There was no way it was going to take his weight.
“Let me help.” His mom moved in to support him.
He waved her back. “Not with your sciatica.”
Sabrina blew out an exasperated breath. “Oh fine. Here.” She stomped over.
“Don’t touch me!” Yes, there was a hint of hysteria in his voice as he dragged himself out of her reach. “Please,” he tried again, more calmly this time. “I don’t want you to touch me.”
Sabrina rolled her eyes. “Fine. I was only trying to help. What you need is something to lean on.” She looked at her cart and the wheels in her head were already spinning. “You know…if you leaned on my cart I could get you to the front of the store.”
Now, it might sound like a practical solution, but Jackson knew already that nothing about this woman was ever that simple. Still, he couldn’t stay on the floor, and he didn’t appreciate all the attention he was drawing either.
Stifling his misgivings, he relented. “Okay, but you stay at the back of the cart, and I’ll take the front.” “That arrangement suits me just fine,” she told him.
Jackson got to his good foot and hopped over. He regarded her warily, still not entirely comfortable with this solution. Finally, he set his hand on the top of the basket. He took two deep, steadying breaths before daring to lean on it. The cart instantly shot out and away from him, sending Jackson sprawling across the floor on his stomach.
Both women gasped and rushed to help, but he waved them back and rolled onto his seat. He stared up at Sabrina in disbelief.
She threw up her hands. “What? I wasn’t ready.”
He shook his head and started laughing at his foolishness. He should have expected something like this. Turning to his mother, he asked, “Could you go find some help—a carry-out or something?”
“Sure, sweetheart. Stay right there.”
Where else would he go? Jackson turned and looked up at Sabrina. “You don’t happen to own a gun do you?”
She gave him a strange look. “No. Why do you ask?”
“I just want to know what I’m up against next, that’s all.”
As soon as his mother returned with a cavalry of two employees at her heels, Sabrina disappeared. Jackson wasn’t sorry to see her go.