CLICKBAIT: CHAPTER ONE

CLICKBAIT
© 2017 Lisa Suzanne


COURTING SANDY EGGO
posted by Courtney Sanders

FAST FIVE: WHAT NOT TO SAY ON A FIRST DATE

5. You have the kind of face that makes me want to have babies with you.
4. The last guy I was with had the biggest dick I’ve ever seen.
3. I hope this date goes better than the one I went on last night.
2. I refuse to have sex until the tenth date.
1. Your trip to the beach last summer looked really fun on Instagram.



CLICKBAIT (noun):
1.      Material designed to get people to click on a website.
2.      Alternatively, any activity with the main purpose of seeking attention.



CHAPTER 1

I stare at my laptop screen as the lone cursor on the blank page taunts me. I swear I had twenty-five ideas this morning, but now that I’m actually sitting down to write? Poof! All gone.
Writing is not only my passion, it’s my job. I run a very successful dating and relationship blog in San Diego called Courting Sandy Eggo, and today’s writer’s block is brought to you by the stagnation of my own love life.
I was in a relationship with a guy named Harrison for six months, but we broke it off. We weren’t going anywhere, and I thought maybe the single life would spark up some new ideas for the blog. It did for a little while, but now I just miss having someone to come home to each day. It can be hard to blog about relationships when you’re not in one.
I text my best friend Emme, who is a promoter for my favorite bar, The Port. Basically that means she gets paid to get people to the bar and then party with them.
Me: What’s going on tonight?
The clock at the top of my screen tells me it’s just before noon, so she might not even be awake yet. It sounds lazy, but the girl is up until five in the morning on a regular basis, so her schedule is just different from most normal people.
I shut my laptop—I’m tired of staring at the blank screen, and I have plenty of articles written that I can choose from to post tomorrow. I just hate relying on the archives. I want to write something new. Words generally come easily for me, but every once in a while, I hit a roadblock.
The cure tends to be a nice, long walk, but I really hate walking alone—Harrison got the dog when we split. To be fair, it was his dog, but I got attached to the sweet Golden Retriever when I lived with her. I may still have a key to his place, and I may sneak in from time to time to visit Shelby…and maybe I occasionally take her for walks when Harrison is at work.
That seems like a good idea, so I walk my ass from the beachfront condo I bought when I dumped Harrison a few blocks over to Harrison’s much larger house. He’s a digital media specialist. We met when I was first filling ad space on the blog, and he gave me good advice to nurture my baby as it grew into an actual business. He makes a shit ton of money, and he loves nothing more than to flaunt it. The sex was good, but there wasn’t much more between us.
He works long hours, so I know he won’t be home. I let myself in, and Shelby comes running over to me, jumping on me and licking my face. She deserves better than neglect from Harrison, and I think that’s why I still come over to visit and walk her. She’d be a fattie without me.
I’m wondering if I should fess up and tell Harrison I’m stealing Shelby for the day. She loves Dog Beach, and I think a trip to the beach with a bunch of puppies might be just what I need to snap out of my writer’s block. But, a trip to the beach means a long day with a dog plus a bath when she gets home, and Harrison will definitely know someone took his dog out if he comes home and she smells like a fresh bath.
Or will he? He was never overly observant. He might not even notice.
Still, she’s his dog.
Our breakup wasn’t that bad—it’s not like we’re bitter enemies forever. We’ve run into each other socially a few times, and it wasn’t even that awkward. We also may have had one or two unhealthy nights post breakup.
I finally fire off a text.
Me: Still have your key. Taking Shelby to Dog Beach.
He writes back almost immediately.
Harrison: I know. I’ve seen you dog-napping her on my security cameras for the last month. I wondered when you were going to tell me.
I giggle and look up at one of the cameras. I shoot him the middle finger and then blow him a kiss. My phone dings with a new text.
Harrison: Sometimes I really miss you. Mostly just your body on top of mine.
I giggle again, flash my tits at his camera, and then head out with Shelby.
My phone rings when I’m a few blocks from the beach.
“Emme Rose, to what do I owe the pleasure of an actual phone call?” She’s notorious for only texting, rarely calling.
“I’m plucking and you’re on speaker.”
“Are you alone?”
“Let me repeat: I’m plucking.”
“I don’t want to know what’s being plucked.”
“Probably not. I heard about a few bachelorette parties at Shrine, and Axel wants me to get them to The Port before tonight’s band starts.”
“Who’s playing?”
“MFB.” They’re a local rock band. Emme is in charge of scheduling musicians and tries to get a good mix of different bands; MFB is really good, and rumor has it they’re being signed by a big-deal label soon.
“Did my text wake you?”
“Does a bear shit in the woods?”
“You’re crabby this morning.”
“Sorry. I had a thing with Axel last night.” She’s banging Axel, the super sexy head bartender at The Port. He’s all bearded and brooding, and the ladies always fall over themselves to get to him.
“What sort of thing?”
“Let’s talk later, okay? I just pulled some skin instead of a hair.”
“Ouch. Meet me at eight for dinner?”
“Sure. Pink Agave?” she asks, naming our favorite Mexican restaurant.
“Perfect.”
She hangs up, and I slip my phone into the pocket of my expensive, beautiful white dress just as I step foot onto the sand of Dog Beach. Let’s be honest, pockets are everything when it comes to a dress.
It’s crowded for a Thursday afternoon. I let Shelby off the leash and she makes a beeline for the water as I glance around at the dog owners, finding mostly older retired couples with their pets.
I find a stump to sit on and watch Shelby for a few minutes. She’s frolicking with the other dogs happily, and everyone is getting along. There’s usually that one dog that ruins it for all the other ones, but it seems to be a harmonious atmosphere today.
I’m enjoying the sunshine and watching the dogs when out of nowhere, a Siberian Husky puppy sneaks up on my side and jumps onto my lap. It’s a wet—correction, very wet canine who clearly just ran out of the water and right to me. He shakes his whole body in that way dogs do, soaking both me and my dress in the process. When I look down at my beautiful Marc Jacobs garment, I see a dirty paw print I’m certain will never scrub out of the white fabric.
A man rushes over toward us, but I barely notice because I’m busy wiping water off my face. “I’m so sorry!” his deep voice says as I rub at the quickly growing stain.
I smell like a wet dog, and I’m regretting the decision to wear a white dress to the beach. Actually, I’m regretting the decision to come to the beach at all.
“What the hell?” I yell as I continue to wipe at the stain. It’s setting; the dress is ruined and I’m pissed. “Train your fucking dog before you let him off the leash!” I finally look up at the man who holds his puppy around the waist with one arm.
My eyes are immediately drawn to his abdomen. He’s not wearing a shirt, and he’s tan, toned, and tempting.
Thank God I’m wearing my enormous sunglasses—they conveniently conceal the fact that I’m staring right at his cut body.
My eyes wander upward. Some men have the perfect body but not the kind of face I’m interested in, and some men have the body and the face but lack the personality. All I know about this asshole so far is that he let his dog attack a stranger.
When my eyes find his face, I’m pleasantly surprised—he’s gorgeous. He’s wearing sunglasses, and I’m well aware that he could have a completely different look without them, but I’d best describe his face as chiseled. His thick, dark hair looks like it’s styled with expensive products, and I’d guess he’s around my age, maybe a little older—and then I realize I’m totally checking him out.
I play it off like I’m looking at the puppy, and then I remember that his dog just ruined my dress.
“I did train him,” the man says. “I trained him to find the most gorgeous woman on the beach and run to her. I guess I forgot to train him not to do that after he’s been in the water.”
He grins, his face lighting up behind his sunglasses. His teeth are so white that it’s a good thing my eyes are shaded.
“Cheesy lines don’t work on me.”
“It’s not a line. Let me make it up to you by taking you out.”
“Not a chance in hell.”
“You’re feisty.”
“And you’re douchey.” I turn back toward the water, checking on Shelby. She’s jumping in the surf like a maniac, running a few feet into the water, chasing her tail, and running back out before repeating the whole process.
“Wait a minute,” he says. “Are you Courtney Sanders?”
My head whips back toward him. He’s studying me closely. “How the fuck do you know who I am?”
“My ex followed your blog religiously. It might be part of the reason we broke up, actually.”
I laugh. “I’m sure it had nothing to do with you.”
He shakes his head. “It was all her. I’m Carter,” he says. “Carter King.”
“I’d say it’s nice to meet you, but I’d be lying.” I point to my ruined dress.
“Likewise.”
I walk away from the King of Abs and whistle for Shelby. I don’t want to stay another minute at this beach where douchebags like Carter King hang out.

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