I’ve put my short story, Duping Cupid, on sale for 99 cents for the next four weeks to celebrate Valentine’s Day and to give those of us in chillier climes something warm and bright during this cold and gray season.

Duping Cupid is the story of Vivi Maxwell, owner of a unique dating service for New York professionals, and her best friend and business partner, Sebastian Lawrence. While the two have always considered their relationship strictly platonic, dealing with one difficult client will shake up their beliefs and could make or break everything they have going for them.

Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite:

“What are your plans tonight?” His question shook her out of her thoughts and back into their conversation.

“The usual. Hanging out at home,” she replied.  “I’m supposed to go to Mom’s tomorrow, but I might bow out.”

“And spend the holiday by yourself?”

“No, I have a…friend staying with me these days.” A four-legged friend, but Bass didn’t need to know that. She wouldn’t allow him to feel sorry for her.

“Really? Anyone I know?”

She feigned a laugh. “Definitely not. He and I only met two weeks ago.”

He? And he’s already living with you?” Outrage increased his volume. “Who is this guy?”

Did she detect a tinge of jealousy in his rapid-fire questions? Yes! At last, she might have the upper hand with him. “What can I say? It was love at first sight.”

“That’s crazy, Vivi. How much do you know about him? Where’d you meet him? What does he do for a living? And why is he living with you?”

“He’s a…” She thought fast. “…a personal trainer.” True. Beowulf made her exercise at least four times a day. “He’s very motivating. And very sweet. Trust me, he’s not dangerous.”

“You know this after a week or two? How? Did you have him checked out? Or did you just Google him?”

“Relax. I checked him out thoroughly and have a full file on him.” Immunization record, neutering certificate, AKC papers.

“Yeah, I’ll bet.” He sighed, a loud whoosh of frustrated air. “You worry me, Vivi. You’ve got too big a heart, and people tend to take advantage of that quality in you.”

You mean, people like you? The thought popped into her mind, but she didn’t say it aloud. “I don’t know if I should be touched or insulted.”

“I don’t care how you take it.” He didn’t elaborate on that comment, and for a minute, Vivi wondered if he expected her to argue. She remained mute, and at last, he added, “I think I should meet this guy.”

“Oh, I’m sure you will. Someday. He’s around for the long haul.” Yes, she definitely sensed some underlying jealousy in his demand. “Who knows? Maybe we can double date one night. You and Ava, and me and…Wulf.”

“Wulf? His name is Wulf?”

For heaven’s sake, someone should staple her mouth shut. She couldn’t quit while she was ahead. Oh, no. She had to plow on into the ridiculous. “Mmm-hmm.” Fine. Let him call her bluff.  His name is Wulf. Run with it. “He’s not originally from here.”

“I bet. If he’s so fabulous, though, why don’t you want to bring him to your mother’s house? I would think, after Russ’s bombshell at Thanksgiving, your Wulf character would get you back into your mother’s good graces.”

Yeah, right. Good point. Quick. Come up with an excuse.  “I guess I’m just not ready to share him with anyone else yet,” she replied with a flippant air. Now back out of this conversation before you screw up again. “Listen, Bass, I have to go. I’ve got some last minute shopping to do.”

Be sure to pick up a copy of this story before the price goes back up! Duping Cupid won’t be available at this price again for all of 2019.