Friends Without Benefits can be read as a standalone, is a full length 120k word novel, and is book#2 in the Knitting in the City Series.
There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Finney: 1) She suffers from severe sarcastic syndrome, especially when she’s unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her like Nico Manganiello, and 2) She knows how to knit.
Elizabeth Finney is almost always right about everything: the musical merits of Boy Bands are undervalued by society, “benefits” with human Ken-dolls are better without friendship, and the sun has set on her once in a lifetime chance for true love. But when Elizabeth’s plans for benefits without friendship are disarmed by the irritatingly charismatic and chauvinistic Nico Manganiello- her former nemesis- she finds herself struggling to maintain the electric fence around her heart while avoiding electrocution or, worse, falling in love.
I recognized him instantly even though the last time I saw him in person he was seventeen, naked, and asleep. I was sixteen, haphazardly dressed, and sneaking out his window.
Niccolò (aka Nico) Manganiello.
Freaking Nico Manganiello.
Rooted in place—one hand holding the informed consent forms and patient brochures, the other hand clutching my chest—I could only gape in abject horror. Paired with the horror was also wonder and, much to my infinite frustration, feminine appreciation.
I was entirely unprepared.
Everything about this Tuesday had been perfectly normal until this moment. I arrived to work at 4:30 a.m. for my shift. I argued in the locker room with my nemesis, Dr. Megalomaniac Meg. I planted a lotion-exploding, unopened gag box of latex gloves in Dr. Ken Miles’s ER clinic room for my annual April Fool’s day joke. I worked through the backlog of charting I’d left the day before. And, finally, was paged to the fourth floor clinical research unit to discuss a research study with a family.
Freaking Niccolò freaking Manganiello.
He was shorter than I expected but taller than I remembered. He looked different in person than he did on TV, older. On his show he always towered over his guests, but looking at him now I guessed his height at about six foot or six foot one.
His hair wasn’t brown anymore but had matured into raven black. His face was more angular, strong, as were his shoulders. But, even from this distance, I knew his eyes were the same jade green.
Nico was standing in profile, his muscled arms crossed over his chest; he leaned against the arm of the couch and spoke in hushed tones to an older woman. I instantly recognized the woman as his mother, Rose; she was sitting on the beige sofa and a little girl—who I did not recognize—was on her lap. The child was clutching a blue blanket.
Blood rushed to and pounded between my ears, ushering away my ability to hear and replacing it with a steadily increasing rhythm that seemed to chant: oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.
The spike in adrenaline diminished just enough to allow me to recognize that my mouth was agape in dismay, my eyes were widened in stunned disbelief, and no one had yet realized that I’d entered the room.
I gulped mostly air, closed my mouth, and turned; I hoped that I could exit unseen and find Megalomaniac Meg. She would be delighted to administer the study informed consent if I told her a hot celebrity was in the room.
I managed two steps before Rose’s voice called out to my retreating back, “Oh, nurse—can you help us? We’re waiting for Dr. Finney.”
I stopped, my shoulders bunched. Before I could nod or grunt then run off in a mad dash, I spotted a very stern looking Dr. Botstein—my research mentor and somewhat of a stodgeball—rounding the corner of the fourth floor clinical research unit.
My eyes flickered to the object in his fist. He was holding a box of latex gloves and he was covered in white lotion.
It was the most epic fail, no win situation in the history of forever.
About the Author
SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-5, girl-3 as of this writing).
By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.
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