By: Tiffany Reisz

Beatriz shoved the envelope into her purse and headed out to her cab. She threw her stuff in the backseat and directed the driver to take her to the airport. Once they were on their way she pulled the envelope out of her purse. Maybe she could flip through the book on the plane ride upstate. She’d get the reading and the reviewing over with as soon as possible so she could relax and enjoy all the pre-wedding partying with her sister, Claudia, and Henry, her fiancé. This wouldn’t be a problem. Not a problem at all.

With one tear she ripped the envelope open and pulled out the book.

THE MANUAL it read in big gold type on a black cover. She flipped it over to the back and read the cover blurb.

A Sex Position Manual for Generation Y. If you read it, you will come…

Sex position manual? Beatriz nearly groaned aloud. There was only one way to review a sex position manual and that was by having sex with someone. And here she was on her way to a wedding with no date, no boyfriend, and no time to go back to her apartment and get another book. Which meant only one thing.

Once she got to Essex, she would have to find someone to sleep with.

“Fuck,” she breathed.

“Fuck what?” the cabdriver repeated, a smile on her face.

“No,” Beatriz said. “Fuck who.”

That was the question.

Chapter Two

Ben arrived at the Essex Hotel just in time to keep Henry from drinking himself into a stupor at the bar. The groom-to-be had two empty beer bottles and one full shot glass in front of him. Henry reached for the shot and Ben covered it with his hand.

“Hey, whoa,” Henry said. “No shot-blocking.”

“I’m here to save you from yourself.” Ben slapped him on the back as he removed the shot glass from Henry’s vicinity. “Friends don’t let friends drink and wed.”

Henry groaned and leaned back in his bar stool before seemingly discovering there was no back to a bar stool. Ben grabbed his shoulder to steady him.

“Thank you.” Henry lifted his empty beer bottle in a salute. “Sit. Talk. Keep me from drinking. Drinking more, I mean.”

“Why are you drinking anyway?” Ben took the stool next to him. A pretty bartender, chocolate skin and ebony eyes, gave him a broad smile and an “I’ll be right there” wink as she poured a glass of wine for another customer. “Aren’t you happy? Big day coming up? Marriage? Kids? The dream all men dream of?”

Henry glared at Ben and Ben only laughed.

“I hate you,” Henry said. “And I hate you for the following three reasons. Number one—you’ve been here two minutes and the bartender is already flirting with you.”

“I can’t help that I’m prettier than you.”

“Number two.” Henry held up two fingers and feigned shoving them in Ben’s eyes. “I love Claudia. I can’t wait to marry her. But if she ever makes me have a wedding again, I’m going to divorce her. Well, just her family. She can stay.”

“Future mother-in-law driving you batshit?” Ben asked.

“Yes. Very batshit. But the wedding planner’s worse. Wants me to ask my own brother to step down as best man. Something about height symmetry.”

“Next time you get married…don’t.”

Henry tapped his forehead. “Genius, you are.”

“Thank you. I think I get smarter with every breakup.”

“You must be Einstein by now. Are you going to date and dump the bartender this week? She’s giving you the eyes.” Henry looked at the bartender and back at Ben.

“She does have nice eyes,” Ben agreed and then put all thoughts of beautiful bartenders out of his mind. “But no. After Katie, I swore off women for a year. I just need a break.”

“No women for a year? You?” Henry scoffed. “I give it two days.”

“It’s already been two months. And what’s the third reason?” Ben asked.

“The what?”

“The third reason you hate me, you half-drunk asshole.”

“Oh. Because you took my drink away, you not-drunk asshole.”

“Mine,” Ben said and downed the shot. He didn’t drink much, not anymore. Unavoidable adulthood had forced him to do terrible, awful things like drink less, eat better and work out more often. He’d never felt younger, healthier or more energetic since he started acting his age. How depressing. “If it makes you feel any better, man, I hate you, too.”

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