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One Night with a Fantasy -- Linda Steinberg

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One Night with a Fantasy
Unforgettable Nights (Book 2)

Sweethearts since high school, Jessica and Josh have stayed faithful through college, law school and establishing their careers. Now, twelve years into the relationship, they’re finally engaged. Jessica feels like she should be deliriously happy. She loves Josh with all her heart. But he’s the only lover she’s ever known. As the wedding looms, she wonders what it would be like to be with someone else, even if just for one night. When a sexy Frenchman friends her on social media, Jessica is tempted to experience what she might have missed. Should she risk her solid relationship for One Night with a Fantasy?

Josh Hadley has always been sure of what he wanted:  Jessica Pena. Now that they’re finally engaged, he can’t wait to make her his wife. When Jess expresses last-minute doubts, Josh is devastated. Terrified that he might lose her, desperate to make her happy, he concocts a scheme for a virtual relationship designed to give her the illusion of what she thinks she wants. But as he gets deeper into the fantasy, Josh finds himself enmeshed in his own web of deceit, and realizes his pina colada plan could backfire and lose him the love of his life.


“I didn’t say I was unhappy.” Jessica Pena shoved her cheeseburger away and stared at her friend Courtney across their usual booth at Rico’s Deli. “I just said I was not feeling happy.”

“What’s the difference?” Tish speared a cucumber slice from her salad and eased it slowly into her mouth. A fitness instructor and aspiring actress, Tish was always watching her diet.

“I get what she means.” Lisa narrowed one eye. “Being unhappy implies a semi-permanent state, or a personality trait. ‘Not feeling happy’ could mean a short phase, or a passing emotional sensation.”

“Thank you, Ms. Oxford English Dictionary.” Jessica smiled at her friend. An editor for an online magazine and now an assistant screenwriter, Lisa was the wordsmith of their group. Since Lisa and Courtney had moved to Los Angeles two years ago, and all three had taken Tish’s yoga class, the foursome had become a supportive ‘posse.’ Jessica chuckled, wondering how Lisa would define that.

“What’s the matter, Jess?” Courtney wiggled a French fry in a puddle of ketchup. “Having second thoughts?”

“No.” Not about Josh. He was definitely the man she loved. Jessica stretched out her left arm and admired her week old, one carat diamond engagement ring. “I love Josh. Always have. Always will. I’ve been waiting to marry him for years.” Since the moment she’d first seen him in high school biology class. “But now that it’s finally going to happen...” She sighed. She knew she wasn’t making sense. And as a second year associate in a prestigious law firm, her arguments always had to make sense.
“Maybe you’re waiting too long,” Tish suggested. “You don’t have to have a spring wedding. Why don’t you guys get married now? You can still have it outside, just with autumn leaves falling instead of flowers blooming.”

Jessica rolled her eyes. Twenty-two and happily single, Tish had no idea of all the planning required for a wedding celebration.

“Or you could elope.” This from Courtney. “Just do it, get the legal part over with, and then you’ll be free to enjoy the rest of your life.”

With Josh. Only Josh. Day after day after day... “What’s wrong with me?” She glanced again at her ring, the symbol of forever. “Why am I not ecstatic?”

“Your feelings are normal,” Lisa declared. “Every bride gets the jitters. It shows you’re not just rushing into things in the heat of the moment. You’re serious and thinking it through.”

“Is that why you and Matt haven’t gotten engaged yet?” Jessica leaned across the table. “You’re still ‘thinking things through?”

“They do a lot of thinking,” Courtney giggled. “In bed.”
“We do some of our best thinking in bed.” Lisa smiled impishly, then sobered. “We have his son to consider. We want to be sure of not making a mistake.” She clapped her hand to her mouth. “Not that I think you and Josh are a mistake. You two are the strongest couple I know.”

Everybody said that. And it was true. Together since high school, Jessica and Josh had  remained a couple all through college and law school. Including three years of long distance, with her up at Stanford and him here at UCLA. They were magical together. All their friends said so. ‘Jess and Josh.’ ‘Josh and Jess.’ The couple everyone expected to stay together.

“Josh is the best man I know,” she said. And the only man she’d ever loved, ever been with. Ever.

“But?” Tish prompted.

Jessica took in a deep breath. “Sometimes I wish I hadn’t met the right man quite so soon. Maybe I should have had some...experience first.”

“Ohhhhh.” All three women puckered their faces in the same way.

Tish voiced the thought. “Josh was your first, wasn’t he? Your only. And now you’re wondering what you missed.”

“That’s not it.” But it was way too close to ‘it’ for Jessica’s comfort.