A Kind Of Magic

By: Donna Grant

Chapter One





Present Day


Houston, Texas





“Sex. It’s the answer for everyone. Most especially you.” Elle Blanchard couldn’t help but choke on the peanut that had been sliding down her throat. She looked at her best friend since sixth grade to see if she was serious.



Jennifer was definitely serious.



While Elle’s eyes hastily scanned the crowded, noisy bar to see if anyone had overheard Jennifer, she drank some of her pinot grigio to help the peanut down. She slowly placed her wine glass on the bar and stared at her friend.



“I don’t need sex,” she whispered.



Jennifer laughed and nodded her head as she sipped her Cosmopolitan. “Oh, but you do, sweetie. How long has it been?”



Elle hated when Jennifer turned their conversation to her love life, or lack thereof.

“Can’t we talk about something else?”



“Not tonight. I’ve let you change the subject for the last time.” Jennifer grabbed her arm and grew serious. “You need more than the ancient artifacts in the museum, hon.

You need a man that will spend time with you, care for you, and love you.” Elle laughed. “Look at me,” she said and pointed to herself. “Men don’t look at women like me. They look at women like you and them,” she said and pointed to two women at the end of the bar.



She stared at the gorgeous women while three guys stood around them talking.

Elle might be many things, but a fool she wasn’t. She turned back to Jennifer and shrugged.



“No amount of expensive clothes, make-overs, or attitude is going to change what I am. Plain. I have always faded into the background.”



“Elle, hon,” Jennifer said, her Texan drawl coming out. “That bastard put too much into your head. If I ever find him.…” She trailed off, but Elle knew exactly what Jennifer would do—castrate him.

Literally. She loved Jennifer more for it too. Friends like Jennifer didn’t come along often.



“I’d rather not talk about him. Instead, I’m going to enjoy this expensive Sterling pinot grigio and then head back home.”



As soon as the words left her mouth, Elle regretted them.



“There’s another problem. How do you expect to find a man when you live in the Montrose area? Honey, you know I’m not homophobic, but that’s gay central.” Elle chuckled and shrugged. “Exactly. I feel safe there. When I see a man, I’m not worried about them attacking me to rape me.”

“No, it’s the women you’ve got to worry about.” Leave it to Jennifer to tell it like it was.



“Excuse me,” a deep voice said from behind Elle.



She turned, her heart thumping that someone might actually want to talk to her.

But when she looked at him, his eyes were on Jennifer. She wasn’t surprised. Jennifer was pretty. She might be of average height, but her athletic build turned many a head.



“May I buy you a drink?”



Jennifer looked the man up and down, her dark brown eyes critical, before she answered him. “I’m fine, but my friend needs a drink.” Elle could have cheerfully rammed her foot up Jennifer’s butt. She didn’t look at the guy, because she knew what was coming.



“Ah…,” the guy mumbled and looked over his shoulder. “My friends are calling me. I’ll be right back.”



“Sure you will,” Elle said after him. She looked at Jennifer. “I really wish you wouldn’t do that. It’s really embarrassing.”



“I’m so sorry,” Jennifer said, her lips turned down in a frown. “I just thought ….”

“I

know.”



Elle envied Jennifer more than she liked to admit. Jennifer always got the guys in junior high and high school that Elle had a crush on. Those guys never even looked twice at her. And now, Jennifer had a guy most women would kill for. Not only was he as wealthy as Prince Charles, he could be a pin up guy for Calvin Klein underwear, and Alex was a nice guy. It would only be a matter of time before he proposed to Jennifer.



And then where would that leave her? Alone. As usual.



“Have you decided what you want to do this weekend?” Jennifer asked.



Elle was grateful for the change of subject. “Nothing.” Jennifer rolled her dark brown eyes and shoved her long dark hair over her shoulder. “Puh-leeze, darlin’. I know you better than that. Birthdays mean a lot to you, and this one is going to be better than ever.” Elle couldn’t help but smile at her friend. Ever since their sixth grade year when Jennifer found out Elle lived in a foster home with nearly ten other kids, Jennifer had done something special for her birthday.

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