October 15, 2013 01:00 PM

In author Helen Fielding’s third Bridget Jones novel, Mad About the Boy (out Tuesday, Oct. 15), Bridget is older, a mother of two, a widow (R.I.P. Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy) – and none the wiser.

Still obsessed with her weight, alcohol consumption and nicotine habit, she also has new preoccupations: how many Twitter followers she has, and how to get back in the dating game.

In true hapless Bridget fashion, she manages to do just fine in this chapter.

Date with Toy Boy

“What would you like to drink?”
“White wine, please,” I said sheepishly, instinctively reaching for the phone.
“Very good. And I’m going to have to confiscate this until you’ve settled down.”
He took my phone, put it in his pocket and summoned the waitress, all in one easy movement.
“Is that so you can murder me?” I said, eyeing his pocket with a mixture of arousal and alarm, thinking that if I needed to summon Tom or Talitha I would have to wrestle him to the ground and lunge at it.
“No, I don’t need the phone to murder you. I just don’t want it being tweeted live to the breathless Twitterati.”
As he turned his head I guzzled the spectacle of the fine lines to his profile: straight nose, cheekbones, brows. His eyes were hazel and twinkly. He was so young. His skin was peachy, this teeth white, his hair thick and shiny, slightly too long to be fashionable, brushing his collar. And his lips had that fine white line outlining them that only young people have.
“I like your glasses,” he said as he handed me the wine.
“Thank you,” I said smoothly. (They’re progressive glasses so I can see out of them normally and also read. My idea in wearing them was that he wouldn’t notice I was so old that I needed reading glasses.)
“Can I take them off?” he said, in a way that made me think he meant clothes.
“OK,” I said. He took them off and put them on the bar, brushing my hand slightly, looking at me.
“You’re much prettier than your [Twitter] photo.”
“Roxster, my photo is of an egg,” I said, slurping at the wine, remembering too late that I was supposed to sit back and let him look at me stroking the stem of the wine glass arousingly.
“I know.”
“Weren’t you worried I might turn out to be a sixteen-stone cross-dresser?”
“Yes. I’ve got eight of my mates planted in the bar to protect me.”
“That’s spooky,” I said, “I’ve got a parade of hit men lined up in all the windows across the street in case you try to murder me and then eat me.”
[After we were seated at a table] I realized I didn’t have my glasses any more.
I looked at the blurry letters, panicking. Roxster didn’t notice. He seemed completely overexcited by the food. “Mmm. Mmm. What are you going to have, Jonesey?”
I stared at him like a rabbit caught in headlights.
“Everything all right?”
“I’ve lost my glasses,” I mumbled sheepishly.
“We must have left them on the bar,” he said, getting up. Marvelling at his impressive young physique, I watched him go to where we had been standing, look around, and ask the barman.
“They’re not there,” he said, coming back, looking concerned. “Are they expensive ones?”
“No, no, it’s fine, I lied.” (They were expensive ones. And I really liked them.)
“Would you like me to read the menu to you? I could cut up your food for you as well if you like.” He started laughing. “Have to watch out for your teeth.”
“Roxster, this is a very undesirable line of teasing.”
“I know, I know, I’m sorry.”
After he’d read me the menu, I tried to remember the Dating Rules, rubbing my finger delicately up and down the stem of the wine glass, but there didn’t seem to be any point, as Roxster already had my knee between his strapping young thighs. Realized, even in the midst of excitement, was DETERMINED to find the glasses. Is so easy to let something like that go out of sexual distraction and embarrassment and they were really, really nice glasses.
“I’m just going to look under the bar stool,” I said, when we’d ordered.
“But your knees!”
We both ended up crawling about under the stools. A pair of very young girls, who were sitting where we had been, were very snotty about it. Suddenly felt myself dying with embarrassment at being on a date with a toy boy and forcing him to look under young girls’ legs for my reading glasses.
“There aren’t any glasses, OK?” said one of the girls, staring at me rudely. Roxster rolled his eyes then dived under her knees again, saying. “Just while I’m down here ” and began groping around on the floor. The girls were unamused. Roxster reared up triumphantly, brandishing the glasses.
“Found them,” he said and put them on my nose. “There you are, darling.”
He kissed me pointedly on the lips, gave the girls a look, and led me back to the table while I tried to recover my composure.
Conversation seemed to flow quite effortlessly. His real name is Roxby McDuff and he does work for the eco-charity, met Talitha on the show, and jumped across from Talitha’s Twitter to my Twitter.
“So you just, like, follow cougars?”
“I don’t like that expression,” he said.
“It implies the hunter, rather than the hunted.”
My discombobulation must have been obvious, because he added softly, “I like older women. They know what they’re doing a bit more. Have a bit more to say for themselves. How about you? What are you doing out with a younger man off Twitter?”
“I’m just trying to widen my circle,” I said airily.
Roxster looked straight at me, without blinking. “I can certainly help you with that.”

RELATED: How Helen Fielding Told Colin Firth He Died

Text excerpted from Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding. Copyright 2013 by Helen Fielding. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Join People.com for a live chat with author Helen Fielding Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. ET.

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