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  Trials And Tribulations Of Online Dating © 2018 Louisa Masters

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any written, electronic, recorded, or photocopied format without the express permission from the author or publisher as allowed under the terms and conditions with which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorized distribution, circulation or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s rights, and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly. Thank you for respecting the work of this author.

  Trials And Tribulations Of Online Dating is a work of fiction. All names, characters, events and places found therein are either from the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to persons alive or dead, actual events, locations, or organizations is entirely coincidental and not intended by the author.

  Table of Contents

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter One

  Samantha flopped onto her best friend’s sofa and tucked her messy brown hair behind her ear. “We’re in a rut.”

  Leona took a more sedate seat in an armchair, looking neat and pretty as she always did. “Part of that rut could be sitting here telling each other we’re in a rut,” she suggested. “Instead of, you know, actually doing something different.”

  Sam sat up. “Like what? What could get us out of this pattern? We see the same people, go to the same places, do the same things week after week. What is going to move us to the next phase of our lives?” She reached out and snagged her wineglass from the coffee table and glared at it. “We even drink the same wine all the time!”

  “That’s because we like it.” Leona smiled. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

  “But how do we know there isn’t another wine out there that we might like better? We should try other wines, see what they’re like. Maybe expand our wine repertoire.”

  “Repertoire? Really?”

  Sam shrugged. “You know what I mean. All I’m saying is, we never try new things. Take men, for example. Neither of us has had a date in months, because we never meet new guys. We need to get out there, or we’ll end up old maids, living in the same retirement village, knitting, with a thousand cats.”

  “Dramatic, much? Come on, Sam. It’s not like we deliberately hide away. We go out all the time. It’s just hard to meet new guys.”

  “So we should make more effort! Maybe I should ask someone at work to fix me up with someone. A blind date. Or....” She eyed Leona speculatively. She was pretty sure her friend was going to hate this idea. “We could sign up for online dating.”

  Leona sipped from her glass. “Who is this ‘we’ that you speak of? Because it sure as hell doesn’t include me.”

  “Come on,” Sam coaxed. “It’ll be good for us. Even if we don’t find Mr. Right, we’ll still meet new people. New friends can’t hurt, right? We’re social people. Friends are always welcome.”

  “Sure, but online dating? I don’t think so, Sammy. Have you heard how many predators sign up for those sites?”

  Sam rolled her eyes. “I’m not saying you should pick a guy at random and go over to his place without telling anyone what you’re doing. We’ll be careful. Screen matches. Communicate through email, graduate to phone, and then a date in a public place. Lee, thousands of people do this all the time. It’s like everything else—as safe as you make it.”

  “I just don’t get why I have to do it. I’m not stopping you.”

  Samantha hesitated, bit her lip. “I don’t want to do it alone, that’s all. Besides, it’ll be fun to do it together. Compare matches and stuff. Maybe have some double dates.”

  Leona shook her head. “I just don’t like the idea of deciding to date someone based on an online profile. At least with something like speed dating you get the chance to evaluate the person face-to-face.”

  Sam sat up straight. “Okay. I’ll sign up for online dating, and you go to one of those speed dating parties.”

  “What? No, that’s not what I meant.” Leona put her glass down with a clink.

  “Why not? It’s a great idea! We’ll both get out of this stupid rut we’re in, meet some new people. You can do your face-to-face assessment and help me narrow down some online matches.” She leaned forward. “Plus, aren’t you sick of spending your free time with me? I mean, you know I love you, babe, but you can’t give me all the things a man can.”

  “Isn’t that what Levi’s for?” Leona’s voice had turned very dry. Sam knew her best friend didn’t fully approve of the friends-with-benefits arrangement Sam had with her next-door neighbor.

  She waved a dismissive hand. “Levi and I aren’t like that. I don’t want someone who can be my best friend and give me regular orgasms; I want that romantic thrill. You know I’ve been waiting since I was a little girl for a man who makes my heart beat faster. If this were an ideal world, that would be Levi. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way, so until I find the man who gives me arrhythmia, I’ll take hot sex with one of my best buds.” She winked, and Leona cracked a reluctant smile.

  “I don’t know how you can separate sex from emotion, that’s all.”

  “I’m not,” Sam explained, for what felt like the millionth time. “I have emotions for Levi. Friendship. Fondness. A huge appreciation for his dick, and genuine admiration of his ability to use it. Love, even; I’m just not in love with him, and he’s not in love with me. Why should we have to be alone while we wait for our perfect matches? And if I find Mr. Perfect Match while I’m online dating, then Levi and I go back to just being friends. He’ll be happy for me.”

  Leona sighed. “You’re really set on this, aren’t you? This is going to be one of those things you’ve decided on that you’re not going to let go.”

  “Pretty much,” Sam agreed. “I really think this is a good idea. I think at the very least it’ll shake us up and give us some new direction. It may lead to happy relationships.”

  “Fine, then. You do online dating and I’ll do speed dating.”

  “Yay!” Sam leaped up and hugged her friend. “I promise, you won’t regret this.”

  “I’m not so sure,” Leona said darkly. Both women looked up as Sam’s phone chimed from the bench. She let Leona go and went to check it.

  U home 2nite?

  “Levi,” she answered Leona’s unasked question, and ignored the look of mixed worry and resignation on her best friend’s face. Lee had often expressed her concern that sex was going to ruin Sam and Levi’s friendship.

  Give me an hour. I’ll come 2 u.

  “Are you dumping me to go play with your fuck buddy?”

  “He’s not my fuck buddy.” Sam paused. “Exactly. And no, I’m going to finish this wine and then we’re going to hunt down some speed dating parties. Then I’ll dump you and go play with Levi.”

  Leona took a huge swallow of wine. “Lovely.”

  # # #

  Sam knocked on Levi’s door and then leaned against the frame. It had been three days since she’d last seen him in person, and she’d missed him—on several levels. Levi was one of her dearest friends, with whom she’d had an easy bond from the moment they’d met, but she also hadn’t been kidding when she’d told Leona that she admired his sexual abilities. The man