Dylann Crush

Dear Love Vixen,

Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t pick myself up! I’m totally, one-hundred percent in love with a guy who’s never thought of me as more than a friend. We’ve been through so much together over the years, and I’ve tried time and time again to hint at how I truly feel but he’s clueless… totally, utterly unaware that he’s the peanut butter to my jelly, the yin to my yang, the banana to my banana split.

Now I’ve been offered a major promotion that would mean moving across the country. Is it time to make a fresh start and leave my soulmate behind or should I lay my heart on the line and finally tell him how I feel?

Almost Out of Time

Dear Almost,

I can tell you’ve read my book, Love is Like a PB&J Sammie. Re-read chapter four. Notice anything familiar? Yep, you’ve been Friend Zoned. The relationship you currently have with your guy is one sided. You’re the giver and he’s the taker. Stop giving so much.

Sweetie, you’ve got to step back and take a look inside yourself. Find a hobby that doesn’t include your guy. Go out and meet people. Make new friends. Start dating. You can’t change the way your crush feels about you. But you can change the way he sees you.

Wake him up to the fact that you are your own person with needs he’s not meeting. You are fierce! Focus on you but realize that you may need to take that promotion.

Good luck, hon!

The ♥️ Vixen

**Disclaimer: The Love Vixen concept, letters, posts, and advice are works of fiction. The LV is not a licensed doctor or trained professional, or even a real person. The guidance she gives should probably not be followed because everything is made up by the authors.


Meet the Author!

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USA Today bestselling author Dylann Crush writes contemporary romance with sizzle, sass, heart and humor. A true romantic, she loves her heroines spunky and her heroes super sexy. When she’s not dreaming up steamy storylines, she can be found sipping a margarita and searching for the best Tex-Mex food in the Upper Midwest.

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Getting Lucky in Love by Dylann Crush

CHAPTER 1

Violet

“Hold the pickles, please.” I slid my tray along the railing, following my six-inch wheat roll on the other side of the Plexiglas. I usually avoided the lunchtime crowd by coming to the cafeteria a little later, but my boss caught me off guard with a last-minute meeting invite for this afternoon.

The guy manning the sandwich bar reached for the pickles. Why did everyone seem to think it was impossible to enjoy a turkey sub without a few dill chips?

“No pickles, please.”

“What?” He leaned forward but the damage was done. At least five kosher dill chips desecrated what would have been the perfect turkey and Swiss on wheat.

“Never mind.” It was easier to pick them off than make a fuss about it. My best friend, Grif, always said I needed to be more assertive. But that was his style, not mine. I preferred to go with the flow and not make a big deal about things, even if it sometimes ruined my appetite.

I paid for my sandwich and grabbed a bag of chips. It would take ten minutes to navigate the labyrinth of hallways back to the basement laboratory where I worked. Unless I wanted to walk outside.

My quick glance out the floor-to-ceiling window of the cafeteria shot down that option. A dusting of white covered the sidewalk. Early March in Chicago didn’t offer the right kind of weather for an outdoor stroll. If I wanted to get back in time for my meeting, I’d have to eat my sandwich on the way.

I stopped to grab a few napkins and toss the offensive pickles into the trash. Then I picked up my things and started the walk back to the lab I shared with a handful of other research assistants.

By the time I scanned my badge and entered the secure area, I had about three minutes to spare. A quick check in the compact mirror I kept in my purse confirmed I didn’t have anything stuck in my teeth. Just enough time to grab my notebook before I made my way to Neil’s office.

I’d been working at the lab for the past five years. My performance reviews had always been stellar and though I’d been offered other positions, I wasn’t open to anything that would take me away from Chicago. My family still lived in the same neighborhood I’d grown up in on the northwest side. I knew this city like the back of my hand.

But the main reason I’d never been interested in living anywhere else was Grif.

I’d known Griffin Redmond since we were eight years old and his family moved into the house next door. I’d been friends with him since the day he showed me how to pop a wheelie on my bike, even though I had a banana seat and sparkle streamers hanging on my handlebars. I’d been in love with him since he broke up with the head cheerleader to take me to our senior prom.

And I’d been trying to figure out a way to spill my heart to him for years.

My stomach knotted as my feet carried me closer to my boss’s office. Neil wasn’t one for surprise meetings, and there had been rumors floating around about the department downsizing. Not knowing what to expect threw me for a massive loop. I tapped on the door with my knuckles, my nerves a jingling, jangling mess.

“Come in.” Neil stood and gestured to the seat in front of his desk. “Violet, thanks for being available on such short notice.”

“Of course.” I slipped into the chair, crossed my ankles, and readied my pen. My gaze moved around the room, from the pictures of his smiling family on the credenza behind him to the collection of framed diplomas hanging on the walls. He was a good man and a good boss, and I’d enjoyed working with him. Hopefully, that wasn’t about to come to an end.

“You’re probably wondering why I put a meeting on your calendar.” He took a seat and scooted his chair closer to his desk.

I nodded, offering a silent request to the universe that I wasn’t about to get fired. I’d just signed another year-long lease on my apartment.

“A new study is being pulled together by a leading researcher. Your name came up.”

My mood shifted. A hint of hope edged out the despair. “Oh?”

“I believe you studied under Dr. Kelp at one point?”

I nodded. “His research on the long-term effects of diet on patients with multiple sclerosis was groundbreaking.”

Neil handed me a navy folder. “He specifically asked for you. Details of the offer are listed inside.”

My heart cartwheeled in my chest. I was being offered a promotion. A big promotion. Helping Dr. Kelp would give me the chance to be part of something important. I’d be able to go anywhere, do anything I wanted after a few years of working with the brilliant man.

“This is fantastic.” I scanned the paperwork outlining the details of the position and the study. It was exactly what I’d been looking for—something that would make a real difference in the lives of the men and women who suffered from multiple sclerosis.

“There is one little caveat.” Neil lowered his voice, drawing my attention.

My lungs squeezed tight. Things that seemed too good to be true usually were. I readied myself for the catch. “What’s that?”

“The lab is in California. It would require a move to the west coast.”

#

Griffin

“Slow down, Vi.” I adjusted the wireless earbud in my right ear without breaking my stride. “What did he say?”

“New job . . . big promotion . . .”

The connection kept cutting out. I slowed my pace to a walk and pulled my phone out of my pocket. “What?”

“Never mind. I don’t want to interrupt your run. I’ll fill you in on the details tomorrow.”

Tomorrow was Friday. Every Friday night Violet came over for what we called Put Your Feet Up Friday. We’d download the events of the week then usually chill on the couch with a movie neither of us had seen. If she was feeling particularly generous, she’d sit through one of the Star Wars movies with me for the umpteenth time. We’d stuck to the same routine for years, and it seemed to work well for us.

“You sure? I can call you when I get home.” I ought to get a new set of ear buds. These had been dropping calls like crazy lately. With the contest for recruiter of the year wrapping up, I needed to have access to reliable technology if I wanted to clinch the honor for the third year in a row.

“Yeah. I need to . . . anyway. It’s fine . . . okay . . . bye.” Violet’s voice crackled over the line then the call disconnected.

Dammit. I jerked the ear buds out and shoved them in my pocket. A glance at my screen showed two missed calls. One from a client I’d been working with for the past month and another from my dad. Dad could wait, but I needed to get in touch with the hiring manager from Duncan Financial.

I sprinted the rest of the way back to my apartment building. By the time I reached my floor and stepped out of the elevator, I had my phone pressed to my ear, waiting for the hiring manager to pick up on her end.

“Duncan Financial. This is Georgia.”

“Ms. Duncan, it’s Griffin Redmond. I’m sorry I missed your call.” My voice slid into the well-practiced tone I’d perfected when talking to a potential client. No way in hell would she be able to tell that I’d just completed a five-mile run along Lakeshore Drive and had sweat dripping down my back.

“Mr. Redmond, thanks for getting back to me. I wanted to let you know we reached a decision on a candidate for the human resources position.”

Securing this contract would put me in the lead over Thompson, my nemesis at the office. We’d ended last year in a tie, so the owner of the company gave us the first quarter of this year to break it. If I got this contract, I’d be one step closer to securing the twenty-five grand bonus that came along with the title of recruiter of the year and one step closer to being able to strike out and start my own firm.

“That’s great.” I had two highly qualified prospects in the running for that position. “Who’s the lucky new employee?”

“We went with another candidate. The team felt she was a better fit than the two gentlemen you sent over.”

My stomach clenched. “I’ve got say, that’s a little surprising. Based on your criteria and the personality profiles of your team, I was extremely confident one of the candidates I connected you with would be a perfect fit.”

“It was a close call. I appreciate your time, and we’ll be in touch if we find ourselves with another opening.”

I’d done my best, and it wasn’t good enough. My only option now was to back away, be gracious, and try harder the next time they gave me a chance.

“Of course. I appreciate your time, and I’ll let the other candidates know.”

“Thank you.”

We hung up. Dammit. Without placing one of my candidates at Duncan, I was tied with Thompson. And who the hell knew what kind of crazy angles he might be working? The guy was insufferable on a good day, completely unbearable on a bad one. I’d have to up my game if I wanted to secure that title and the nice chunk of change that went with it.

Sounded like Violet and I would have a lot to cover on Friday—not that we ever ran out of stuff to talk about. The best thing about Violet was that I didn’t feel the need to fill every single moment with conversation. I could be myself around her. That’s how it was with the two of us. She’d been with me through most of my best days and had always been there for my worst.

I considered calling her back. Sounded like she had some big news to share. But then my phone pinged with a reminder. I had dinner plans with the woman I’d been seeing for the past couple of weeks. Nothing serious—it never was. Women I dated always knew exactly where I stood with relationships: they weren’t an option.

Every once in a while, I came across a woman who thought she could change me. But I’d been a bachelor for twenty-eight years and was always up front that I wasn’t looking for anything beyond a couple of weeks of fun. The latest was getting a little out of hand. Tonight, I’d put a gentle, but firm end to that.