Mr. Right-Swipe by Ricki Schultz is out today! This contemporary romance sweeps us into the world of internet dating. With her best friend’s wedding on the horizon, she may end up swiping right into trouble…or the man of her dreams!
Rae Wallace would rather drown in a vat of pinot greezh and be eaten by her own beagle than make another trip down the aisle – even if it is her best friend’s wedding. She’s too busy molding the minds of first graders and polishing that ol’ novel in the drawer to waste time on any man. But when her best friends stage an intervention, Rae is forced to give in. After all, they’ve hatched a plan to help her find love the 21st century way: online. She’s skeptical of this electronic chlamydia catcher, but she’s out to prove she hasn’t been too picky with men. However, when a familiar fella’s profile pops up – the dangerously hot substitute teacher from work – Rae swipes herself right into a new problem…
“Look, I’m sorry. But no more fix-ups. Your idea of the ideal man for me is not my idea of the ideal man for me.”
“Your idea of the ideal man for you is Jason Segel.”
I yank back. “Your point is . . . ?”
Quinn gestures skyward and shakes her head. “Ay dios mio.”
“It’s not so crazy. We’re both writers . . . ” I talk with my hands.
“He’s a movie star and he writes children’s books. You don’t even have an agent yet.”
“Et tu, Q-te?” I rub at the invisible stab wound. Curl a lip. “I’m almost there with this latest manuscript. It’s not so farfetched that we’d bump into each other at a conference or something . . . ”
They all just blink at me. Sarah’s the only one with a smile in her blue eyes.
Valerie sinks her head in her hands and Quinn’s one-and-a-half-karat rock winks in the overhead lights as she gives Val’s back a light scratch.
“We need to talk,” she says, finally looking up and shrugging off Quinn.
“Are you guys breaking up with me?” I pour the hell out of some sugar and stir it in my coffee.
Valerie stands and she starts to pace. Her ombre waves nestled perfectly at each shoulder. “How long have we all known each other?”
I offer another eye-roll. I’m not a child. “Since ninth grade.”
“And, in all that time, how many guys have you dated?”
I chew a corner of my ChapSticked lips and feign counting on my hands. “Nine-hundred…seventy-four?”
“Be real,” she demands.
“Too many. I know.” I shrug.
Quinn interrupts my coffee-perfecting ritual and takes my hands. Leads me to the table donated to the lounge by some periodontist.
“Is this an intervention?” I snort as my ass hits the wooden chair.
“I know it’s been hard since the divorce. Daniel was—” She glances away. Her voice is soft like when you’re trying to calm down a crazy person. Or settle a wild beast. “Mine was hard for me too. That summer you and I spent in Europe right after was just what I needed. And what you went through afterward with Jesse . . . ” She purses her lips and stops a minute. He’s become the real Voldemort of our friendship circle; his name is not one we allow ourselves to utter often. “We know. We know you haven’t recovered yet—”
A tickle at the back of my eyes.
If she makes me cry before class and my students pick up on it—like they pick up on everything because that’s just their job—I’m going to rip those pearls right off that pretty little neck of hers.
“But, enough. You’ve got to stop this,” she continues. “Valerie and I just want what’s best for you. We want you to be happy. Like we are.”
I pull my hands away and examine my ever-chipped nail polish.
“Then you don’t mess with a woman’s morning coffee,” I say with a grin, working hard to keep my voice even.
Wondering how happy they really are.
“We are the luckiest.” Her tone brightens. “Are you kidding me? We stayed friends after all these years? We all got hired to teach the same grade, at the same school? We’re a team. And that’s why—”
“Oh no no no.” I rise and put up both my palms.
“Oh yes yes yes.” Valerie gets in my face. “Sit your ass down.”
“I want you in the wedding,” Quinn says. “I’m not taking no for an answer this time.”
There it is.
I avert my gaze over to the pencil sharpener screwed to the wall. Kinda how I feel.
“I had a panic attack at the last wedding I went to, and I wasn’t even in it. I love you, Q—you know I love you, but—”
“Then you’ll suck it up and do this for me.”
There’s a hopefulness in her stare that pricks at my chest, and the tickle behind my eyes starts all over again.
“And that’s not all.” Valerie wags her index finger like she’s reprimanding one of the nose-pickers in her class.
I groan. “We have first graders waiting—”
“You’re going to bring someone to the wedding. Someone real. Not Jason Segel. Not some twenty-year-old from Barbie’s band of friends—” She indicates Sarah with a languid hand.
“Hey!” Sarah laughs and double flips them off as she makes her way toward the door. “You’re on your own, fabulous,” she says to me as she exits. Blows me a kiss.
“You have five weeks to find him, and we’re gonna help you.”
“Like you helped with that dude from last night?” “No. No more setups,” Quinn says.
My ears perk. “I’m listening.”
“You’re gonna find love the twenty-first century way.”
My chest tightens, and I direct my attention upward like I’m thinking. Bite at my bottom lip. “At Whole Foods?”
“The Spark app, to be exact.” Valerie practically bursts with pride like she’s Spark’s mother or something.
“Oh gross.” I lean back in the chair, and it squeaks. “And I’ve already tried it. It was all gay dudes.” “That was Glitter, you idiot.”
“You have to let us help you with the profile—”
“And—you have to let us help you pick which guys you talk to.”
“Oh Lord.” I’m shaking my head. “If I say yes, can I drink my coffee in peace?”
“Yes,” they both say like we’re back in the eleventh grade and I’ve agreed to let them do the makeover this time.
“All right—I’ll do it,” I say. “Now get the hell out of my way. I’ve got young minds to mold.”
Excerpted from MR. RIGHT-SWIPE by Ricki Schultz. Copyright © 2017 by Ricki Schultz. Reprinted with permission from Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.
Although she is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and has spent the most time there, Ricki has also lived in Georgia and Virginia. (She promises she’s not a drifter, though.)
Ricki earned a B.A. in English and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.
In addition to writing, she has molded the minds of tweens & teens as a middle school and high school teacher in both the CLE and the ATL — and she also spent a year teaching writing and communications at the college level.
She’s back in Atlanta now, and she owns the cutest beagle ever (Molly).
Among other publications, she has contributed to Writer’s Digest Books, both interviewing literary agents for the Guide to Literary Agents blog as well as writing various articles for both Guide to Literary Agents and Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market (F+W Media). In addition to freelance writing and editing, she has spoken at writers’ conferences and now sits on the board of Broadleaf Writers Association here in the Dirty South. She was formerly the coordinator of the now-defunct online writing community, the Write-Brained Network.
Her writing is represented by Barbara Poelle of Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
[via Author’s website]