The Introvert's Guide to Speed Dating - Emma Hart



“All right, guys, it’s time to move on to your next date!”

I almost sighed in relief as the guy in front of me moved on. He was most definitely not the kind of guy I could take home to my son.

That was the problem with speed dating.

The chance of me actually meeting anyone I would get along with was slim.

So why was I here, speed dating, you ask?

It was a favor to my aunt. After the whole blind date success thing earlier this year on Valentine’s, she’d decided that she wanted to have semi-regular events at the bar.

Speed dating was one of them.

And it sucked.

Partially because I wasn’t that great at dating—the small human I’d birthed several years ago was a bit time consuming—and partially because my cousin was in charge.

I couldn’t believe she’d been in a relationship for almost a year. Sebastian Stone had the patience of an absolute saint to put up with Holley’s slightly neurotic ways, because I’d been with her half an hour, and I wanted to throw her binder at her.

The next guy sat down in front of me. He was cute, if a little young for me, but he had kind eyes and a nice smile, so I’d play along.

Play along I did, for the whole two minutes I had with Mr. Babyface over here.

Two more guys I felt zero attraction to followed him, and after that, a break was called. I escaped my seat and beelined for Holley, who was talking to her mom, my aunt Jasmine.

“I’m leaving.”

She turned when I tapped her arm. “No! You can’t.”

“I have to relieve my sitter. Piper needs Felicity in early in the morning so I promised I wouldn’t stay out late. Besides, Leo has soccer practice after school tomorrow so I have a long day.”

“One more round. Please?”

“I can’t. Holley, there’s absolutely nobody here I’d go out with.” I shrugged and zipped up my coat. “I’m sorry. I really do need to go.”

“Let her go,” Aunt Jasmine said, touching her shoulder. “Thanks, London. I really appreciate it. We’re doing it again on Friday, so will you come then?”

I hesitated. “I can’t keep paying Felicity. The paper isn’t exactly paying me spectacularly just yet.”

“Which is horse crap considering you’re basically the editor.”

“Well, as long as Ebony is still there, she’s picking up the wage, even if I’m doing most of her job.” I stuffed my hands in my pockets. “So there’s not a lot I can do about it.”

“Anthony will watch him,” Aunt Jasmine offered. “He loves spending time with Leo. Last time he saw him he moaned at me for twenty minutes that I’d never birthed a boy for him.”

I fought back a laugh. “Does he know that’s down to his swimmers?”

“How do you think I got him to shut up?” She grinned.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure. He won’t mind at all. He’ll come to your house, too.”

I sighed. “Okay, fine. But it’s the last time! I’m not doing it again after that.”

Holley’s eyes glittered. “Okay. I’m finding you a date, I swear. Piper, too.”

“Piper will not be amused.”

“Piper is never amused. It’s fine.” She waved her hand dismissively and looked over my shoulder. “If you need to go, go. Someone else in the bar will step in for you. Before I change my mind.”

I didn’t need to be told twice.

I darted out to the parking lot and got into my car, then quickly texted Felicity that I was on my way home. It was only the second time she’d babysat for me, but she got on really well with Leo.

It probably helped that she always came armed with donuts from the bakery.

If there was one way to my son’s heart, it was a road paved with fresh donuts.

Come to think of it, that was a road to mine, too.

It didn’t take long to get home. It was definitely a perk of living in a small town—I didn’t miss the traffic of the city at all. I was grateful for my time there. If I’d stayed in White Peak I wouldn’t have my journalistic experience or my son, but now was definitely the right time to come back.

Especially since Leo’s dad didn’t even live in the state anymore. He’d been the only reason I’d stayed away as long as I had.

I sighed and pulled into the driveway. All the lights were off except the living room and the upstairs bathroom, which meant Leo was