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an excerpt from

I'm Your Man



Blaine Dunhill, Manhattan advertising executive, hasn't seen his ex-boyfriend Daniel Stephenson for several months since their breakup. He hasn't even watched Daniel in his successful role as Angus Remington on the daytime drama Secret Splendor. Until one day, Blaine and his new personal assistant, massage therapist Gavin, are out running errands...

  We left the gym and walked to Whole Foods on Seventh Avenue. I explained to Gavin that I liked to shop there after my workouts. We wandered up and down the aisles so I could show him the kinds of foods that I liked to keep stocked in the apartment. As we passed a large display of a new cereal called Eighth Wonder Grains, I heard a familiar voice say, "Get your zucchini away from me."

    With my heart pounding, I rounded the corner into the produce section, where I came face to face with Daniel. A hand extended from behind the cereal display, brandishing a very large zucchini in his direction, like a sword. As the hand dropped out of sight, I heard a voice I didn't recognize answer, "I've never heard you complain about my zucchini before."

    Daniel's beautiful blue eyes stared at mine, and his face flushed bright red. I finally broke the silence to say, "I didn't realize you were back from L.A. Congratulations on the Lifetime movie."

    "Thanks," he said. "Congratulations on your new job."

    Gavin came to my side and looked toward Daniel. Daniel's gaze moved from me to Gavin, and I felt my heart drop to my stomach when he grabbed the handles of a shopping cart and disappeared among the rows of fruits, vegetables, and nut dispensers. I didn't get to see the face behind the voice of the stranger he was with, but assumed he was spending a lazy day shopping with a new lover.

    I took a deep breath and reminded myself that his companion could have been one of his friends. He'd always had too many for me to keep track of. Of course, there was that zucchini joke... Then it occurred to me that Daniel might have made the same assumption—that I was with a new lover—when he looked at Gavin.

    "Are you okay?" Gavin asked.

    "Yes," I answered. I felt like I was on auto-pilot. "He was the reason for my breakdown on the massage table."

    "You're kidding," Gavin said, sounding shocked. I half expected him to shove me while screaming, "Get out!" like Elaine on Seinfeld.

    "Nope, not kidding."

    "Your ex is Angus Remington?"

    "No," I protested. "My ex is Daniel Stephenson."

    "I'm sorry. I think I'm in shock. It's not every day that I see a celebrity. And it's not every day that I see one of my favorite soap stars in person."

    "You watch Secret Splendor?" I asked. I wanted to throw up, but didn't think Whole Foods would take kindly to me vomiting in a bushel of tomatoes.

"Yeah. I never miss a day. Well, I guess I missed today. But that's okay," he said, then seemed to notice the grim look on my face. "I'm being so insensitive. I'm sorry, Blaine. He was your lover, not a soap star. Was that the first time you've seen him since you broke up?"

    "Yes."

    "Do you think you'll get back together? Would you want to?"

    "I don't think that's an option anymore," I said, wanting to cut the conversation short.

    "So, what kinds of vegetables do you like?" Gavin asked.

    "Anything but zucchini," I said, grateful for the topic switch, and rattled off what I would eat as he made notes on his PalmPilot.

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