Adrian, book-lover extraordinaire, adores his job at the small community library. He gets to share his passion with other people and help them with all book-related questions and issues. When a big, hulking man walks into the library, looking terrified, Adrian’s skills are tested in a completely different way.
Manne’s relationship with books is uneasy, to say the least. He’s dyslexic and events in his past have made him fearful of books and turned libraries into his worst nightmare. But when the quirky, bowtie-wearing librarian steps in to help, the experience turns positive.
Their banter is easy and their chemistry instant. But can an accidental meeting turn into something more? Can someone who has trouble reading ever fit into the life of a man whose passion is the written word?
Manne: Sorry for taking so long to answer, but I just got off work. Is your day still great?
Adrian: It is. I was out walking for hours. I love winter. I could have stayed out all day, but real life happened so here I am. Folding laundry.
Manne: I hate when real life interferes.
Adrian: It’s terrible. But alas, nakedness is frowned upon at work so it had to be done or I would have frightened the little old ladies tomorrow.
Manne: I’m laughing.
Manne: And are you sure about that? Maybe the little old ladies would be delighted and throw themselves at you?
I chuckle as I tap out my reply.
Adrian: That would frighten ME, so no matter the scenario, someone would be scared.
Manne: Then maybe I should stay away from the library tomorrow since the books frighten me.
Adrian: Or I wear clothes to work and no one is frightened. You know I’ve got your back.
Manne: Too bad. I was looking forward to you naked at work. I bet that’s just the thing that would make me un-afraid of books. Positive associations and all that.
My smile grows so wide my face hurts. I abandon the rest of the laundry and wander over to the bed and sit, leaning against the wall, propped up on my pillows.
Adrian: We can certainly explore that option, but I suggest we do it in a more private setting and not in a public library where anyone can come in at any time.
Manne: I don’t know any other suitable place. It needs to be full of books or the desensitizing won’t work. Because being naked in a bookstore is also frowned upon, I assume?
I burrow down in my pillows and wiggle my butt. The blatant flirting makes my belly tingle with anticipation. I haven’t experienced it for so long, and I’ve missed it more than I realized.
After re-reading his messages, I get out of bed and walk to the kitchenette, turning on the wide-angle option on my cell phone camera and snap a picture of my place.
I have books on every possible and impossible surface and need a bigger apartment. But I like it here, and I hate moving, so I just ignore that the walls are bowing outward and find new places to stack them. Linnea lectured me when she found a book in the fridge once, but that was an honest mistake. She didn’t believe me, and I can’t say I blame her. Soon, the only book-free space in my tiny studio will be the fridge.
I send him the picture as I drift back to the bed and retake my previous position.
Manne: Holy shit. You weren’t kidding when you said you have a lot of books.
Adrian: I wasn’t.
Manne: I bet you have more books than the library.
Adrian: LOL no. I wish. But they have a few thousand square feet of space on me.
Manne: You have enough to intimidate me. You’d definitely have to be naked when I come over.
When. Not if. The tingles in my abdomen spread to the rest of my body and I burrow deeper into my pillows. I’ve forgotten how much fun flirting is.
Manne’s next message makes me burst out laughing.
Manne: Or if you wanted to wear a bowtie and nothing else, I guess that’d be okay, too.
Adrian: Only a bowtie? Really? Is this some weird fetish you have?
Manne: It’s not my fault I find bowties sexy.
Adrian: Then whose fault is it?
Manne: Yours, duh. I never knew I found bowties sexy until a couple weeks ago.