Suddenly Sexy

By: Kendra Little

Pete's face lit up. "What a fantastic—"

"Uh, guys," said Linda, "we're not interested in hearing about the cricket."

"Then we'll take this out to the back porch." Pete pecked his wife on the cheek and took Sam by the arm.

"We want to talk to Sam too," she protested.

"Too bad, he's mine."

Sam gave an apologetic shrug as Pete steered him out the door. David and Emily followed at a safe distance, eyes fixated on the stranger's back. Maddie's eyes were fixated on a point a little lower, but she was equally in awe. And in lust. Damn but he was one mighty fine masculine specimen.

"Did you see his butt?" Linda whispered hoarsely when they were alone. "Oh my God, has that man got a behind that I could just—"

"Linda! You're a married woman."

"Nothing wrong with window shopping. Besides, you're single. I was ogling on your behalf."

Maddie groaned. She hated when her sister played matchmaker. So far the men Linda had set her up with had all been construction-worker colleagues of Pete's. As cute and muscular as some of them had been, their idea of a spirited discussion was to debate the best wrestling match of all time. None of them could even spell molecule let alone know what it was.

"I know what you're thinking," Maddie said, "and don't. That guy is not my type."

Linda sighed. "Not this again. When are you going to give up on this perfect man theory?"

"It's not a theory, it's my standard. Every woman should have a standard."

"Maybe you shouldn't set yours so high."

Maddie bit back a retort about setting it too low. She liked Pete, she really did, it's just that she wouldn't have married him.

"My criteria aren't that tough."

Linda snorted. "Tough enough that no man can meet them."

"Is it my problem there aren't any intelligent, honest, interesting and sensitive men out there?"

"There's plenty. You just add too many other ingredients to the recipe. Like neatness, has to get on with Mum and likes kids. If I were you, I'd give up on the liking Mum part. That's asking a bit much. And neatness is over-rated. All you can expect from a man is that he doesn't wear the same pair of underwear more than once before he puts it in the laundry basket and he takes the rubbish out. Not necessarily in that order."

Maddie rolled her eyes so far back she saw stars. "I'm not living with a slob."

Linda waved a spoon in the air. "You're thirty now, Sis. Tick tock."

Maddie couldn't believe what she was hearing. She'd thought her sister was on her side. "I've got plenty of time to settle down and start a family."

"Nice try, Mad, but I know you don't really think that."

She hated when Linda read her mind.

"I know about your Plan," her sister went on.

The Plan. Ever since she'd turned thirty it had hung over her head like a guillotine. The timetable for her life, along with the criteria for a perfect husband, had been devised in Cynthia Bolowski's tree house eighteen years ago. According to the Plan, Maddie should be happily married with one child and another on the way by now. Cynthia was married with two kids and a dog. Maddie had a university degree and a good job but neither of those things had made it onto the Plan. They just hadn’t seemed all that important when she was twelve.

Linda piled broccoli onto four of her best china plates and two plastic ones. "Let's look at this logically. Say you meet a guy today. You'll want to date for two years before you marry, then you should be married for a couple of years before you start a family. Two years between each kid will make you," she tapped each finger on the bench, counting out loud, "nearly forty by the time you have the fourth. Jeez, Mad, you better get started."

"I don't want four, I want two. Two's perfect. Three creates middle child syndrome and four means a bigger car. Two's ideal. As to the rest, who's to say I won't fall instantly in love and get married within six months?"

"I know you, that's what makes me say it. You'll need two years just to organize the damn wedding. Besides, it'll take you that long to find every quirk in his personality."

Maddie sniffed. "Well, whatever his assets, I am not interested in Sam Hennessy."

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