Love by George is the story of poet Hope and online dating mogul George. Both at risk of joining the terminally single, they stumble upon love the old-fashioned way – by chance – after being pulled for the same random drug and alcohol test. Struggling with the paltry income from her greeting card business, Hope accepts a position at Love by George, Chicago’s premier dating service. She makes an immediate impression on George, the company’s founder, a bachelor torn between the pursuit of wealth and feeling truly alive. On New Year’s Eve, it happens: midnight passion, long in the making, caught on camera. The consequences of a single kiss were never weighed, let alone the PR ramifications of one after another after another. Now what? One thing is certain: With the Paparazzi lurking, George’s next move will be no secret. Will their first intimacy be their last?
Aching, near breaking and long overdue,
in line, doin’ time for uber-cuppa’ joe;
Half-caf jones-in’, fruity fiber scones-in’,
bustin’ out plastic, freakin’ out, spastic;
In sighs, in butterflies, in bloodshot eyes,
we stand, we text, we wait… for what?
Another shot or two of get me thru –
no coffee, lunch or dinner date.
In a tangled corner of Facebook, a photo that a “friend” captioned “Hope is about to wet herself” roused a frightful throng of suitors. Seconds after going viral, a dozen Mr. Wrongs – mostly from the Chicago area – reacted. Who snapped that picture!?! wondered Hope, tripping on the words “wet herself” beneath her image. Like words were even necessary! The photo from last week’s informal high school gathering said it all: Hope clutching a tipping glass, splashing wine onto her chest, eyeballs bulging. Yay me! she now thought, frozen in her swivel chair, a finger hovering over the delete key. Curiosity prevented her from hitting it. She scrolled down, reading the list of business contacts, classmates and others that she hadn’t intended to inspire. Two names leaped off the monitor, Geoffrey and Cal – both textbook examples of what to expect when you lower the bar and date the leftovers.
Geoffrey responded with There’s a pill for that, Hopey. Take two and ring me in the morning.
“I’d rather swallow tapeworms,” said Hope aloud. “Ring” hatched thoughts of fingers, hands and regurgitations of the night she spent in his company.
Their date could not have started better. Geoffrey arrived in a leather-seated Lexus. He opened every door and flattered at every opening. “Sorry,” said Hope when they both spoke at the same time at the box office counter. “Didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“Oh, you’re quite the opposite of an interruption,” Geoffrey replied, eyeing Hope’s leopard-print scarf and tight jeans. He twinkled down on her 5-foot-nothing frame and added, “I assure you.” She needed someone like him, someone a foot taller, to pull off leopard print in the Windy City’s back alleys. Stiffness marked her movements. Nerves, he thought, the kind one expects on a first date – standing next to a relative stranger, shifting weight from one leg to another, seeking an anchor, smiling at everything, looking down or away when silences lingered, though not from disinterest. A tingle in the air between them suggested otherwise. He attempted to engage her further by critiquing movies he had recently seen.
The topic afforded Hope time to conduct a thorough assessment of his face, beginning with his chocolaty eyes. Kindness and intelligence filled them. And random flashes of wonder when the conversation took a pleasant turn, as though curiosity had sparked mental footnotes. His nose held no special charm. More Roman than Greek, its principle highlight was that it featured nostrils clear of anything requiring a Kleenex or a scissor. Beneath it, his bottom lip protruded. At first glance, she thought that it could stand to be ratcheted in a notch or two. But upon further review, she rather fancied it, imagining Geoffrey weaving his fingers between her brunette tresses and presenting her the lip. So juicy. So plump. There for the taking.
His black mane glistened with hair product as he dropped his head and thumbed through his wallet. He paid in cash, not plastic, thinning a beefy stack of bills. After purchasing two tickets, he led Hope to the concession stand. “Popcorn?”
“Only if you don’t mind butter.”
“I wouldn’t consume it any other way,” he said. “It’s good here. Cooked in real coconut oil. Actually, tonight the movie might be better than the popcorn. The critics gushed over this film. Of course they usually have their thumbs way up where they don’t belong.”
Hope laughed, wanting more. But the coming attractions ended as soon as they found seats, instilling a silence in him. A movie buff, thought Hope, imagining more small talk, perhaps over late-night coffee. “Regale me with some more of that opposite of an interruption talk” she might say if his brown eyes sparkled just a little more.
Twenty minutes later, he leaned and whispered, “Sooo … Busy tomorrow?” A wave of minty freshness brushed her ear.
She sighed while answering. “Tomorrow is out. Sorry. Deadline.” “Don’t tell me the planets are aligned against us.” “Not if they know what’s good for them.”
“Deadline, huh?” he said with a sideways glance. “Forgot to ask. What do you do?”
“I write …,”
His eyes returned to the screen.
“… mostly poetry,” she finished. Oh, I see. Now I’m the interruption. Had he uttered a compelling “oh?” or even an acknowledging grunt, she might have bared her Tennyson soul right then and there. Instead, bursts of light from the movie screen illuminated his insensitive cheek. Still, he has potential, she thought, willing her mind to remain open. Rembrandt could have done something with his profile, I suppose, even in this darkness. Start mixing oils and … what the …? His ear! In the light bursts, it appeared to elongate, and a bramble of hair emerged from deep inside. The visual instantly killed Rembrandt and Tennyson and inspired nothing but thoughts of birthing his hairy, elfin children. “Not much poetry in your world, I suppose,” she blurted, attempting to turn his head.
“You got that right,” said Geoffrey, unmoved.
“What kind of doctor? Forgot to ask.” He turned, looked Hope in the eyes and submerged his hand into the shared tub of popcorn. “Proctologist.”
The book opens with Hope remembering a couple of horrible dates with men she initially thought were measuring up to her ideal man, but then failed for one reason or the other. One guy was a total jerk when she ordered Alfredo, note to men, NEVER get in between a girl and her food! The other date gone wrong, includes a hilarious reaction to his job and popcorn!!
Robert Taylor had told me this book was “Vanilla”, so to keep that in mind while I read it. I think knowing I loved Erotica, he felt my review might be slightly swayed by this detail. This was months ago. I’d actually forgotten all about that conversation until the next day when I was reminiscing about the story. THAT alone tells you how great this book is! I didn’t even notice there wasn’t sex involved! It was a straight up, sweet and innocent love story.
There were so many elements of this story that were endearing. The characters were real, there was no embellishment used or needed to make this story wonderful. The characters had personalities that made you love them or hate them.
Hope was a strong lady and was someone I could relate to. I loved Ted. He was a typical crabby, yet tender hearted older man, April was the comical best friend and George was rich and sexy, but grounded and loveable. Paige was the character you loved to hate.
The incident with the white candle was hilarious!! I love candles so I could TOTALLY see myself doing that!!
“Love By George” is a book for anyone who loves a story with Romance. Robert Taylor proves you don’t have to have sex to make it a beautiful love story. He takes you through the emotional steps of finding that special someone. The looking, the failing, the finding and the falling.
To put it quite simply, “Love By George” by Robert Taylor reminds us love isn’t about finding the perfect person. It’s about finding the perfect person for YOU.
Considering this is Robert Taylor’s first book, he hit the ground running and there is only one way to go…up. He’s an extremely gifted author who is obviously a romantic at heart. It’s not often you see a man writing love stories and it’s even more rare for one to be this good at it. I look forward to reading many more books by this extremely talented author!!
A former newspaper columnist for the Sky-Hi Daily News in Granby, Colorado, Rob Taylor has written articles for The Bismarck Tribune and Inspired Woman Magazine and won statewide awards for articles published in Colorado Country Life Magazine.