Release Date: July 8, 2013

Publisher: Random House Loveswept

Series: The Burnside Series; A Lakefield Novella

Length: 120 pp.

ISBN: ebook 9780345548740

The Story Guy

A soulful and sexy tale of courage, sacrifice, and love.

I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only.

Carrie West is happy with her life . . . isn’t she? But when she sees this provocative online ad, the thirtysomething librarian can’t help but be tempted. After all, the photo of the anonymous poster is far too attractive to ignore. And when Wednesday finally arrives, it brings a first kiss that’s hotter than any she’s ever imagined. Brian Newburgh is an attorney, but there’s more to his life . . . that he won’t share with Carrie. Determined to have more than just Wednesdays, Carrie embarks on a quest to learn Brian’s story, certain that he will be worth the cost. But is she ready to gamble her heart on a man who just might be The One . . . even though she has no idea how their love story will end?

Named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal

In just over 100 pages, debut author Mary Ann Rivers gives us a powerful love story.

USA Today

A beautiful and affecting contemporary romance.

Library Journal

I just finished it and as I’m sitting here jotting down thoughts for the A review, I’m crying and smiling.

—Dear Author

If you too have been wanting more unbaggaged heroines, then Carrie . . . is the woman you’ve been waiting for.

—Heroes and Heartbreakers

For all the seriousness this book is so damn sexy. There is kissing on a bench and phone sex and real sex. It’s really hot. And parts made me giggle too.

—Smexy Books

There was great character development and it was a lovely story to read. This was Mary Ann Rivers’ debut novel and I can’t wait to see what else she writes next.

—The Book Vixen

A sparkling gem of sweet emotion!

New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips

A beautiful love story full of sly wit, slow kisses, and heart-punching truths. I can’t recommend Mary Ann Rivers highly enough.

—Ruthie Knox, USA Today bestselling author of Along Came Trouble

In The Story Guy, Mary Ann Rivers writes a compelling story about finding love in the unlikeliest places. I was hooked from the first page.

—Elise Sax, author of An Affair to Dismember

The plot of The Story Guy allows—demands—a slow physical build-up with delicious anticipation, making it an incredibly sexy read. The love scenes are fresh and exciting and intensely emotional. This was an intensely emotional read all around, for me. It probably won’t make every reader burst into tears, but it has a lot to offer anyone. 5 stars.

—Karen Knows Best

The photo doesn’t hide anything about what he looks like, but it tells the viewer almost nothing about him. If he weren’t hugging himself so tightly, I would think he was modeling menswear in a Sunday circular. Blandly handsome.

Except the knuckles of his long fingers are white from the grip on his elbow. The stubble on his sharp jaw is a little too dark and long for a business meeting.

I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only. I won’t touch you below the shoulders. You can touch me anywhere. No dating, no hookups. I will meet with you for as long as you meet me, so if you miss a Wednesday we part as strangers. No picture necessary, we can settle details via IM. Reply back with “Wednesdays Only” in the subject line.

I read the ad multiple times and the flush doesn’t go away from my cheeks. I look at his picture for so long, I hear my neighbor’s shower squeal to life. Kissing only. Celebration Park is right behind my library’s campus. When the weather is nice, like it has been, I take my lunch there to eat.

You can touch me anywhere. I shudder, and goose bumps break over my hot neck. I click on the picture and my browser opens it in its own window, nearly as big as my screen. He’s in his thirties, likely near my age. With the picture so large, I can see that he has glasses hooked over his pocket and that his ring finger doesn’t seem to have a trace of a wedding band. His forearms are beautiful, the hair very dark against his pale skin.

I move back over to the ad.

He must have dozens of replies.

My Wednesdays are long; they start an hour early for a meeting with my staff in Teen Collections and end an hour late to accommodate a tutoring program. What if right in the middle of that long Wednesday I sat with this man in the park, kissing and touching him like a living fantasy?

If I didn’t like it, if I didn’t like him, if he turned out to be crazy, or awful, or a bad kisser, or a creep, I would just miss a single Wednesday and he would be gone. Part as strangers. Celebration Park is bustling at lunch hour with downtown traffic, particularly during this mild, dry fall. We wouldn’t really be alone.

I flip back over to his picture. I wish he were looking into the camera so I could see his eyes. Was he uncomfortable with the person he was grinning at, was that why he held himself so close? Or was it this meeting he was at? Why kissing? Maybe he was with someone and that part of his relationship had fallen away—I have a friend who complains that her husband never really makes out with her anymore and she misses it.

I don’t realize I’ve clicked the email link until the box pops up. MetroLink assigns each post an anonymous email address that forwards to the poster’s actual email, but posters can see the sender’s real email address. I hesitate. My address is librariansdeweyitbetter@villagemail. It’s clichéd, in addition to being immature, but setting up another account is not conducive to the impulsive nature of this email.

The idea that his in-box is likely clotted with replies actually helps. What’s one more he won’t answer? As I start typing the subject line, I suddenly realize I could always just sort of stalk Celebration Park some Wednesday until I saw him in person, get a better sense of the man who wants to spend a lunch hour every week kissing a stranger.

Of course, maybe it isn’t just Wednesdays. I have the sudden fanciful notion that maybe on Mondays he meets a stranger to just chat. Tuesdays, he meets another for hand-holding, then Wednesday he meets one for kissing, and so on, until Saturday. Saturdays he meets a woman for fucking only, completing the entire mating dance with six different women with an excruciatingly prolonged bout of foreplay. Sundays, of course, are his day of rest.

I can’t stop giggling, and try sounding out a dirty version of the “Monday’s Child” poem, until I realize that Wednesday’s child is “full of woe.”

I finish the email, only trembling a little.

To: 100474@metrolink.com

From: librariansdeweyitbetter@villagemail.com

Subject: Wednesdays Only

I’m certain you’ve filled the position, but it’s late (or very early) and I’m intrigued despite the judgment I should possess staring into the second half of my third decade.

My IM handle is “lieberries” on villagemail.

When I send it, my breath comes out in a whoosh and my heart is pounding in my ears. I don’t really expect him to answer, but I open my villagemail account anyway and turn my laptop’s volume up so I can hear the IM chime. I can’t quite work out why I answered him.

The Story Guy is available wherever ebooks are sold.