Meet Lucy, whose best friend Deon is about to pop in while she’s baking. Is it a goodie he’s after? Or something more? Or less? An excerpt from A Little Bit of Lust. 

Twelve days until summer vacation. 

Between spoonfuls of oatmeal, Lucy dictated her list of summer resolutions into the Reminders app on her phone. Birds chirped outside the open kitchen window where the scent of freshly mown grass hung in the air. 

A text blew in from Phoebe. ––Hot guy Marcus got my number and already asked me out. Let’s talk later.––    

Her thumb hovered over the message icon. She and Phoebe going out with the same man? A lousy idea. Maybe she wouldn’t go out with him. Then she remembered his biceps, his negative stomach in the black T-shirt, his full-on banter. 

This will sort itself out, a phrase her mom was fond of and which she’d never for a moment believed. It roosted in her head conveniently as she moved on to more pleasant tasks than telling her best friend her hottie was keen on two women.  

At the sink, she texted Deon her list of resolutions.

––Dude, take a look at how productive MY summer’s gonna be. You?––  

She opened the cupboard to get out the ingredients for chocolate orange brownies. On autopilot,  she preheated the oven and grabbed an orange and the zester. Slopped a half cup of butter in the pan, stirred in the cocoa, and took it off the burner to cool. Marcus didn’t waste time. Last night after their beach stroll, he’d dropped her home and asked for her number. No kissing but she knew. They hit it off. Everything was effortless, the banter, a little hand holding. 

Except for the part where he’d asked out her best friend.         

Lucy greased and floured the pan. Marcus probably had no idea which one of them he liked better. 

Next, she beat the eggs and added the cocoa mixture, turning Marcus over in her mind. Pretty clear he’d asked them both out to compare. Couldn’t blame the guy.

“I’ll blame if I want to,” she sang out loud to the tune of an ancient Leslie Gore song. Instantly, her mood improved. She measured and threw in sugar, flour, walnuts, juice, zest and salt. Poured the mixture into the brownie pan and shoved it in the oven. She set the timer and wiped down the counters and stovetop. 

In the study at her computer, she checked the dating site for notifications. There were four lame attempts to grab her attention and she deleted them. Posting photos on Instagram or baking a new pie was more fun. 

On Safari, she typed in fruit pies and 699,807,368 results popped up, including a fruit pie with a lattice crust that would photograph oh, so well for Instagram. 

The doorbell rang, and she startled, peeked out the window. Deon. Deon? At nine am? She trotted down the stairs and swung open the door.

“Hey.” His hair stood up cartoonishly. “I was out for a run and I ended up here. Smells like you got up early. Watcha makin’?” He entered, sniffing and rubbed his belly in a parody of a ravenous person. “Got any of those orange brownies? You hiding ‘em?” He jerked open the sliding door to the mini laundry room. “Those brownies? I dream about them every so often.”  

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