by: D.E. Haggerty
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: May 1, 2017
I’m a total mess. My boyfriend dumped me – get this – because I diet too much. Not because I’m fat, mind you. Of course, this spurs me into the diet-fitness-revenge-plan of the century, which leads me to the gym and a scorching hot personal trainer. I even manage to make some cool new friends, including a millionaire if you can believe it. Things are looking up! Naturally, that’s the moment my ex decides he wants me back, the personal trainer asks me out, and my millionaire male buddy decides to throw his hat in the ring. But that’s not enough drama. No, not for me. Because I’ve also lost my job and decided to start my own business. Just call me Ms. Drama.
Warning: Bad language, bumpy roads, and embarrassing moments ahead. But there’s also more than a bit of romance and even, if we’re lucky, love. Fingers crossed.
Not endorsed by or affiliated with any brand of tequila.
10 Things You Don’t Know About Carter, the heroine’s love interest in Fat Girl Begone!
Carter Bennett is one of the three men pursuing Everly Rawlins in my new romantic comedy Fat Girl Begone! Last week, I gave Everly the chance to tell us some things we didn’t know about her. She wasn’t excited about the opportunity, but she survived. Carter, on the other hand, looked at me as though I was harassing him. After throwing his glasses on his desk and shoving his hand through his hair, he agreed to send me a memo. This is what his assistant sent me.
My name is Carter Bennett, founder and CEO of Carter Enterprises. Carter Enterprises is a software development company specialized in gaming software. Please find hereunder a list of ten things you probably didn’t know about me unless you read those horrible gossip magazines staring you in the face when you’re stuck in the grocery store check-out aisle because the person in front of you is trying to use two-hundred coupons of which at least half are expired or not applicable.
1) I did not have acne as a child. Yes, I’m aware that this information is non-event. I just wanted to point it out since everyone seems to assume that geeky nerds who were overweight in high school had acne. I didn’t. So there.
2) Although this will surprise no one who knew me back in the day, I didn’t date in high school. Not only was I a late bloomer, but – contrary to what chick flick movies want me to believe – there really aren’t that many girls that dig guys who spend all of their spare time playing video games.
3) I flunked out of Latin in junior high. Shocking, right? A nerd has to be good at all school subjects. Um, no. Totally not true. I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was trying to learn something that I could never use in practical application. Now speaking Klingon, that’s a total different matter.
4) If you’ve ever managed to find a picture of me in one of those gossip magazines, there’s a good chance you saw me wearing a Star Trek or Star Wars t-shirt. Everyone knows I love wearing them. What people don’t know is that I actually own a company that develops, makes, and distributes the t-shirts. Turns out there are other geeks out there. Wish I had known that in high school.
5) I’ve hired dates to accompany me to important charity events. There, I admitted it. Moving on …
6) I don’t really like Oscar Wilde. Let me re-phrase that. I don’t know the man. How could I possibly like or dislike him? What I mean is that – despite my spouting quotes from the man at the oddest of on a regular basis – I’m not a huge fan of his writing. I prefer science fiction. Big surprise there, right?
7) With a last name of Bennett – even if there is one t too many – my mother was always intrigued with Pride and Prejudice. She even named my sisters after characters in the novel. Which was bad enough, but she also became totally and completely obsessed with Renaissance fairs. Did you know Renaissance fairs aren’t necessarily set during the Renaissance? There are fairs set during Jane Austen’s lifetime. That’s information that I could have lived without learning.
8) I used to wear contacts instead of glasses, but I have a habit of rubbing my eyes. Turns out if you rub your eyes with contacts in you can develop this disease caused keratoconus. I have no idea how bad this disease is. All I know is the doctor told me my corneas could develop pointy nipples. Okay then! Glasses it is.
9) Despite whatever I’ve told Everly to get her hiney to the gym, I don’t like going to the gym. It’s boring and repetitive. But I really didn’t like the doctor telling me I was pre-diabetic. Now, gym time just another item in my overfull agenda.
10) After what happened with Roland, Everly’s former work colleague, I had a private investigator look into his background. Let’s just say things aren’t what they seem there. I haven’t told Everly – yet. Please don’t tell her.
Carter is changed into street clothes by the time I join him at the entrance to the gym. He’s wearing jeans with more holes than material and a Star Wars t-shirt with a picture of a storm trooper and the words ‘Chicks dig the uniform’ printed underneath.
“In case anyone was confused about whether you’re a geek or not?” I raise an eyebrow at him as I try not to laugh out loud. Or at least not too loud.
He shrugs. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
“Okay. A well-rounded geek who can quote Oscar Wilde.”
“That’s Oscar Wilde?” He winks. “Come on. There’s a little bar next door.”
We quickly walk to the bar where I am obviously not the only person enjoying the pleasure of athleisure apparel. “Someone took the whole location, location, location advice and ran with it.” The place is the standard model of a sports bar except it’s not full of men getting off work and catching a game on the big screen. Nope. The place is packed with people telling themselves that the calories in the beer don’t count if they worked out first. At least that’s what I plan on telling myself.
Carter puts his hand on the small of my back and gently leads me to a small high table to the side of the bar. “Tequila?”
I shake my head. “Not unless you want to find out if this high table can support my weight when I decide to dance on it.”
He looks under the table and studies the joints. “Looks like it can take it.”
“Are you an engineer as well as Star Wars aficionado?”
He shrugs. “Does software engineer count?” I ignore his question and ask for a beer.
“So,” Carter starts as he sets down two extra-large frosty mugs of beer. “What’s going on?”
I shrug and take a long pull on my beer. “It’s just been a really tough week.”
“You looked pretty happy when you finished with your personal trainer on Wednesday.” Is that a jealous tone I detect? I study Carter’s face, but he keeps his expression neutral as he takes a drink from his mug.
“Just some issues at work.”
“Anything I can help with?”
I bark out a laugh. “Not unless you have $150,000 you can part with.”
“I can loan you the money if you like.” He says the words as if it’s no big deal to have access to that kind of money. Who is this guy?
“Do you really have that kind of money?” I slap my hand over my mouth when I realize what I just asked. “Forget I said that. I’m sorry.”
Carter shrugs. “I’m not. It’s no secret that I have some money. If you need it, all you have to do is ask.”
I lean forward and study his face for signs he’s pulling my leg. “Oh my god, you’re not kidding. You do have the money.”
He raises an eyebrow at me. “You really don’t know who I am?”
Is that some kind of trick question? “You’re Carter.” I point to his t-shirt. “Lover of Star Wars. I’m still in suspense about whether you love Star Trek as well.”
“You’ll just have to wait to find out.” He winks before leaning back. He stares at me and remains quiet for longer than is comfortable. Finally, he shrugs. “You may have heard of my company. Carter Enterprises.”
“So, you do love Star Trek!”
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I grew-up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before deciding to follow the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
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