Title: Five Minutes to Love
Author: Jennifer Wilck
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Aviva Shulman has had enough of the dating scene. Her father valued his high-powered career over his wife and family. She wants something more, someone who values her. But her roommates are determined to find her the perfect match.
Jacob Black doesn't have time for relationships. A third-year law student, he's focused on studying and getting a high-paying job with a top-notch law firm. But his overbearing mother wants him to find someone and settle down.
Their paths cross at a speed dating event and sparks fly. But is five minutes long enough to determine a future together?
Aviva smiled at her nephew’s enthusiasm as Ben dragged her through the crowded display hall of the Discovery Times Square museum. At seven, her nephew loved everything to do with pirates.
They approached Blackbeard’s display. Ben made pirate noises while Aviva read his story out loud.
“I read a book about him. He used his beard to scare people.”
“Do you think his beard was scary?”
“Maybe if he growled a lot.” Ben scrunched his freckled face into a fearsome frown and stroked a pretend beard.
Aviva laughed. “Hey, you can draw your own pirate over there.”
They waited in line for a kiosk to free up, and Ben got to work. When they were done, they turned to go. Ben bumped into someone.
“Sorry,” Ben said.
The man looked down. “It’s—”
Aviva looked up and gasped. “I can’t—”
Ben looked between the two adults. “What’s going on, Aunt Aviva?”
Aviva’s stomach fluttered. She absently slipped her hand over Ben’s head. “We know each other. It’s Jacob, right?”
“Yeah. You’re Aviva?” She nodded. “I didn’t expect to see you again.”
“Same.” He looked at Ben. “Exploring pirates with your nephew?”
“How...oh. Yes, he’s a big pirate fan.”
“So am I.” His face colored. Aviva smiled. He was embarrassed to admit he liked pirates? How sweet.
“What’s your favorite part of the exhibit?” Jacob asked Ben.
Ben looked around the room. “I think I like all of it the best.”
Aviva smiled at her nephew.
“I should let you both get back to your explorations.” Jacob turned to leave.
“Are you two going to go out on a date?” Ben asked.
Aviva gasped. Her heart thundered and her cheeks warmed.
Jacob turned around and tipped his head toward him, one eyebrow raised. “Why do you ask, matey?”
Ben looked solemn. “Because you’re being nice to her. Girls like that.”
“Ben!” Aviva fought her sudden desire to escape. She fingered her Chai necklace. Jacob’s shoulders shook. By the look on his face, he was trying not to laugh, which made her desire to disappear more urgent.
“They do, huh?” he asked.
Ben nodded. “And they like stinky flowers too. Except, they don’t think they stink.” He shook his head in disgust.
Aviva didn’t know if she should laugh or try to melt into the floor.
“You seem to know a lot about girls.”
“Girls are icky. No self-respecting pirate would let a girl on his ship.”
“Hey, wait a minute, Ben,” Aviva said. “Look over there at that display. It’s all about female pirates.”
She pointed across the room to a small, but interesting, display. “You should check out Back From the Dead Red,” she added.
Ben’s eyes widened. He ran to the display. Mortified, Aviva realized Jacob continued to stand with her. She wracked her brain trying to figure out whether to apologize for Ben or create an excuse to leave.
“Your nephew is cute,” Jacob said, breaking the silence.
The sound of his voice eased some of her nerves. She took a deep breath. “Thanks. He’s my brother’s son and the first and only grandchild, so he gets a lot of attention. I usually have to beat the grandparents off with a stick to spend time with him.” She was babbling.
She walked toward Ben, who was mesmerized by the display. Jacob followed. Why doesn’t he just leave?
“See, Ben, women were pirates too.”
“Did you know she pretended to be dead, Aunt Aviva? She lived like a man. She died in a shootout!”
“Sounds pretty violent to me, Ben,” Aviva said.
“That’s ’cause you’re a girl.”
“It’s a pretty good thing she is a girl, Ben,” Jacob said.
“Why?” Ben asked.
Jacob looked at Aviva. He winked.
She raised her eyebrows waiting for his response. Maybe he should stay a little longer.
“Because if she wasn’t, she wouldn’t be your aunt.”
Ben paused. With a shrug, he moved onto the next display.
“That’s not where I thought you were going,” Aviva said.
Jacob shrugged. “Come on, he’s only a kid. What did you expect me to say? I can’t corrupt him this young.”
“Good thing. I don’t think my brother would forgive me. I think he wants to do all the corrupting himself.”
“Probably right. It was nice to see you again.”
Jacob walked away. Just as she was about to follow Ben into the next room, Jacob paused. “Should we listen to him?”
Aviva swiveled her head from Ben to Jacob. “Listen to whom? My brother?”
“No, your nephew. He suggested we go out on a date.”
Her face heated. “Well, technically he asked if we were going to go out on a date. He didn’t actually suggest it.”
Jacob’s eyes brightened. Aviva couldn’t turn away. They weren’t brown, they weren’t green. They were...the color of cognac. The noise of the people around them faded into the distance.
“True, but it would be rude of us to not give him an answer.”
“It would be a shame to disappoint a seven-year-old,” she said.
“He might go through his whole life feeling like he was missing something.”
“That really wouldn’t be fair.”
“So, what do you say—want to go out on a date?”
Jacob looked around for a moment. “Well, there’s a security guard over there, but I’m not sure he’s your type.”
Aviva pretended to consider. “No, not really,” she said, without a glance at the guard. “Yes, I’d like to go out on a date with you.”
Jacob expelled a breath. Once again, Aviva was drawn to his sweetness. He thrust his hands in his pockets before pulling out his phone. “Can you give me your number?”
His smile was a little bashful. He had beautifully straight, white teeth. It was either good genetics or a great orthodontist. She nodded. His whole demeanor relaxed. He tapped the screen a few times. She recited her number. He repeated it.
“Great. I hope you don’t mind if we wait until next weekend. My class schedule this week is crazy, but I’ll call you tomorrow to set something up.”
“Oh, right, you’re a law student.” Her shoulders slumped. Law students were overworked. “Call whenever you have time.”
“I’ll call you tomorrow. Bye, Ben!” He disappeared into the crowd.
“Hey, Aunt Aviva, can we get ice cream? I’m hungry.”