No More Bad Dates
((High Team #1) (Cozy Cottage Café, #5))
Publication date: September 5th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “The perfect fun-filled escape from reality. Kate O’Keeffe at her delightful best!”- Whitney Dineen, bestselling author of Relatively Normal
Three friends form the No More Bad Dates Pact: stop dating the wrong guys and start dating the right ones – weirdos and jerks need not apply.
Twenty-five-year-old Sophie McCarthy’s career is virtually nonexistent, her family expects her to “do something important” with her life, and she’s totally sick of dating the wrong guys: the self-absorbed, the arrogant, the borderline criminally insane.
After she’s unceremoniously dumped during the vows at her boss’s wedding, she and her two equally disappointed-in-love best friends agree to help each other find decent guys to date. Together, they form the No More Bad Dates Pact: stop dating the wrong guys and start dating the right ones–weirdos and jerks need not apply.
When Sophie’s roommate Jason Christie–a.k.a. doctor-in-training and serial nurse-dater–joins the pact, he vows to weed out the bad ones for her. But with his rejection of every guy Sophie meets, she begins to wonder if he’s got an ulterior motive. And anyway, why does she always have so much more fun with Jason than with the guys she’s actually trying to date?
While desperately seeking her “happy for now,” could Sophie stumble into her “happily ever after?”
High Tea is a spin-off of Kate O’Keeffe’s bestselling Cozy Cottage Café series. Escape to New Zealand in this fun, feel-good chick lit series!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “I love this book! If you want a novel you won’t be able to put down and will leave you with a smile on your face after you finish it, this is a great choice! So sweet and romantic!” – Annabelle Costa, bestselling author of My Perfect Ex-Boyfriend
Books in the High Tea series:
Book 1: No More Bad Dates
Book 2: No More Terrible Dates – releasing very soon!
Book 3: No More Horrible Dates – releasing soon!
I love weddings. The emotion, the vows, the optimism, the dress. All of it. I know I’m a total romantic, and about a gazillion marriages end in divorce every year, but I don’t care. When I watch a happy couple show the world their love, tears well in my eyes and my heart expands because in that moment, something utterly magical happens.
What more can I say? I love weddings, pure and simple.
Or at least I did until the thing happened.
Picture this. I’m at a beautiful, emotional, swept-up-in-it-all type of wedding. I’m sitting on an uncomfortably hard wooden pew, the scent in the air a heady mixture of flowers and polished wood. The late-afternoon light filters through the ornate stained glass windows, illuminating the beautiful bride and her handsome groom.
So far, so wonderful.
As I watch the bride, dressed in the most beautiful vintage fifties wedding dress I’ve seen—nipped in at the waist, showing off all her curves to (classy) perfection—her Norse god-like husband-to-be reaches out and takes her hands in his. They gaze at one another, their faces alight with a love so real, I can almost reach out and touch it.
Which I don’t, of course. That would be weird.
Instead, I turn and smile at my boyfriend, my hand over my heart. Andrew glances at me briefly before he returns his attention to the vows.
“Bailey. I love you more than I could ever imagine loving anyone. You are my life, my soul. Reflected in your eyes, I am a better man. Thank you.” Ryan’s voice, a.k.a. the voice of Thor, the Norse god, cracks with emotion, and half the congregation—all the women and probably most of the men, although I bet they would never admit it—reach for their tissues.
I open my clutch and pull out a Kleenex. I dab at my eyes and glance once more at Andrew. Noticing his brows knitted together, I smile, embarrassed. “What Ryan said?” I whisper, my voice trembling. “So, so perfect.”
“Yeah, it was all right, I guess. If you go in for that sort of crap,” Andrew replies, crinkling his nose with distaste.
Crap? What does he mean, crap?
I open my mouth to ask, but now isn’t the time. Bailey has begun her own vows, her voice so heavy with emotion, I’m amazed any of us can make out a single word. I think she’s saying something about Ryan being her best friend, and how he’s helped her become the vermin she is. No, wait. That would be how he’s helped her become the woman she is. Yes, that sounds much more appropriate and wedding-y.
The problem is, I’m so busy trying to work out what’s going on with my boyfriend, I’ve lost all focus on the ceremony unfolding before my eyes. Sure, I know he’s not the most romantic of souls, but even a rugby-playing, one-of-the-guys, rugged type like Andrew can see how much these two love each other, right? I mean, he’s not a freaking robot.
I nudge him in the ribs. “You okay?”
“Yup. Fine.” His words are clipped, and he keeps his eyes trained on the couple at the altar.
And then it hits me. I know what’s going on here! He’s being swept away by the beauty of it all, too, only he wants to appear all manly and stoic. He’s pretending to be grumpy to cover it up. Guys pull dumb stuff like that all the time. I should know; I’ve dated a few.
A few too many, actually.
I lean closer to him and place my hand on his. “I think it’s wonderful. They love each other so much.”
Andrew harrumphs in response.
I pat his hand knowingly. “It’s okay, honey. I know you feel it, too.” I settle back into my seat, prepared once more to be tangled up in the love emanating from the soon-to-be-wed couple, when I notice a girl in the aisle opposite us turn and smile. She’s wearing an eye-catching red dress that leaves little to the imagination. It’s totally inappropriate for a wedding, in my opinion, but she’s rocking it, that’s for sure. I smile back at her and wonder how I know her. Maybe she’s a customer at the Cozy Cottage Café? I’ve worked there for a few years now, and I often see our regulars out and about in the city.
Her face flushes and she looks away.
And then it happens again.
“Who’s she?” I whisper to Andrew.
“The girl in the red dress. She keeps smiling at me, and I can’t think who she is.”
“Oh, err . . . Cindy, I think? Or Sandy? Something like that. We met her at that karaoke bar you love so much,” Andrew replies.
“Jojo’s? Really? I don’t remember.” I give his hand another squeeze and return my attention to the wedding.
“—the power invested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife,” the priest exclaims. “You may kiss!”
As Bailey and Ryan do precisely that, the congregation erupts into applause. Swept up in the sheer romance of the moment, I go out on a limb. Not because I’m “there” with Andrew yet exactly, more because, well, we could be. Some day. I put my hand on his arm and whisper, “Who knows? Maybe, one day, we’ll fall in love like them?”
He whips his head in my direction, and I pull back in shock. “We’ll do what?”
Less sure now, I reply, “Fall in love . . .?”
Yeah, I’m persisting with the lunacy. What can I do? I’m committed. I need to follow through. But really, is it such an outrageous idea my boyfriend could fall in love with me?
“Some day?” His brows knit together, almost forming a perfect mono-brow. It’s not a great look, I’ve got to say.
“Well, not now. Obviously,” I say hastily in a weak attempt to backtrack. “We’ve only been dating for a couple of months. But some day. You know, in the future.” When all he does is gawp at me, those brows of his threatening to meet permanently in the middle, I add, “In the distant future, far, far away, when little green men rule the Earth and we have robots to do the dishes.”
Little green men? Robots? Dishes? What the heck am I talking about?
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Kate O’Keeffe is a bestselling author of fun, feel-good romantic comedies. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand with her family, two scruffy dogs, and a cat who thinks he’s a scruffy dog too. He’s not: he’s a cat. When she’s not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), traveling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.
Kate is excited to announce her new series High Tea! It’s a spin-off from the bestselling Cozy Cottage Café series, and Book 1 is currently on pre-order, due to be released on September 5th, 2019!