Cover of Dear Acquaintance, a sweet short story by Christie Logan
A divorcee who's turned her back on romance meets an open-hearted widower. Can a fake date lead to true love?
All she wants is a quiet New Year's Eve…
Helen plans to ring in the New Year in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn on her lap, until her adult daughters show up. They won't let her spend another New Year's Eve alone. What's a mother to do but tell a little white lie—that she already has a date for the evening.
Then the Pizza Man arrives…
Helen knows Nick from her visits to his pizzeria. His smile always brightens her day. He didn't know he'd be stepping in as her 'date' for New Year's Eve, but he's not complaining.
Helen learned the hard way that she's done with romance. But spending time with Nick makes her wonder if there's a second chance for her after all—if she can only open her heart.
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Joy helped her on with her coat while Charity handed Helen her purse. Helen knew it was now or never as they bundled her out her apartment door and into the building hallway. Time to take a stand. Put her foot down. She was a grown woman, for goodness sake. Not some pity project for her daughters to take on. If she wanted to stay home on New Year's Eve, munching popcorn and watching TV, then that was her right and no one else's business.
The snick of an apartment door closing down the hall momentarily snapped her out of her indignation. She looked up to see a man in a puffy jacket and a navy blue ball cap coming down the hall in their direction. Within a few feet of them, he was close enough for her to read the logo on his cap. Dominick's Pizzeria.
The man lifted his head and met Helen's gaze. He stopped and did a tiny double take as he recognized her. "Hello."
"Hello," she answered, recognizing him as well. The Pizza Man. Then, before she could talk herself out of it, she slipped her arm through his. The fabric of his coat was cold from the outdoor chill and the sweet aroma of tomato sauce lingered around him. He didn't pull away when she took his arm—in fact, he didn't move at all. Probably didn't want to make any quick moves around the crazy woman.
Well, things were about to get crazier still. Pinning a smile to her lips, she told him "You're a little late. I was getting worried. So were my daughters."
She turned to her girls. "Joy. Charity. This is Dominick. My date."