Home > The Shifter Romances The Writer (Nocturne Falls #6)(13)

The Shifter Romances The Writer (Nocturne Falls #6)(13)
Author: Kristen Painter

She stopped at the front desk, where a perky older woman greeted her with a big, “Hi there! What can I help you with?”

“Hi. I’m Roxy. I’m here to meet Officer Cruz.”

The woman’s eyes lit up. “Oh, is that so? Officer Cruz, huh? He’s a handsome one, isn’t he? And such a good cook. Did you know that about him? He’s really—”

“Birdie, I already have a mother trying to marry me off.” Alex walked up to the counter. “I don’t need you doing it too.” He smiled at Roxy. “Hi.”

She smiled back. “Hi.”

Birdie made a face. “I was just extolling your virtues to this nice young woman. Who you haven’t introduced me to yet.”

Alex laughed. “Birdie, this is my neighbor, Roxy St. James.”

Birdie’s eyes went wide. “Not the Roxy St. James? I heard you were moving into town, but I didn’t know you were here already. Well, aren’t we lucky?”

Roxy knew the woman was being friendly, but the thought that people knew she’d moved here was a little unsettling. Maybe Birdie knew Delaney and that’s who she’d heard from. “Um, yes, that’s me. You must be friends with Delaney. Is that how you heard?”

“I know Delaney well enough, but I know Pandora too, and that’s who sold you your house, right? Plus, Willa over at the jewelry store is a huge fan of your books. She got me reading them.” Birdie fanned herself. “That Wolfgang Blackborne is so hot.”

Roxy swallowed. This was so…unexpected.

Birdie seemed to pick up on Roxy’s unease. She reached out and patted Roxy’s arm. “Honey, it’s not like the whole town knows, but you’ve got fans here. We won’t bother you or show up at your door, I swear. This might be a tourist town, but it’s also a small town, and we’re real protective of the citizens who live here. We know what being pestered can be like. I promise, we’re not a bunch of crazies either. Well, Martha Vines is a little woo-woo, but you get one of those in every crowd.”

Roxy still felt a little side-swiped. “Well, that’s good. The protective part.”

Alex took her arm. “Birdie, we’re going out for lunch.” Then he guided Roxy out the front door and onto the sidewalk. “Are you okay? You look like you just got hit by a small truck. Birdie has that effect on people, but she’s mostly harmless.”

She exhaled slowly. “I’m fine. Just didn’t anticipate that sort of reception, I guess. I knew Delaney wasn’t keeping my move a secret or anything, but…I don’t know. That was so unexpected.”

“You must be used to some of that, right? Fans, I mean.”

“Sure. But usually it’s at a reader convention or a signing. Some kind of event where I expect it. Not in the town I live in. And really, authors are hardly ever recognized unless they’re super famous like Anne Rice or JK Rowling.”

“So you didn’t even get that sort of reaction where you lived in New Jersey?”

She snorted. “No. My ex thought my career choice was ridiculous. I may have had fans among our crowd up there, but mostly my books were the punchline to every other joke.”

“Sounds like your ex was intimidated by you and your success.”

She looked up at Alex. “You think so?”

He nodded. “I do. You look really nice, by the way.”

She smiled. “Thank you.” He looked outstanding. The uniform suited him, especially the way it hugged his biceps and left no questions about how trim and fit the rest of him was. But before her mind went too far down that rabbit hole, she changed the subject. “Where are we going for lunch?”

Alex pointed up ahead. “One of my favorite places. Howler’s.”

Alex had already reminded himself three times that lunch with Roxy was just his way of repaying her for the speeding ticket. But she looked so pretty and smelled so good, forgetting that this wasn’t a date became way too easy.

It would have helped if she wasn’t his type, but the petite, curvy brunette was exactly the sort of woman that wound him up. Well, petite, curvy, brunette supernatural women. Too bad Roxy was human. He would have been all over her, otherwise.

In a respectful manner, of course.

“Howler’s?” Roxy scrunched up her face. “I’ve seen that place. Isn’t that a biker bar?”

“No.” He snorted. “It’s a little divey, but that’s part of its charm.”

“Dive bars have charm?”

“This one does. And pretty great food, too.”

Her mouth curved in a cute little semi-smile. “It better be, or this will not count as making up for that ticket.”

He laughed. “Noted. Hey, how are your fish?”

“No fish yet. Just the tank. But it’s going to be awesome. You’ll have to come over and see it when it’s done.”

“Yeah, that would be great. I love fish.” What feline shifter didn’t? “Do you have any other pets?”

“Nope. I was thinking about getting a dog, though. It would give me a good reason to get outside more.”

He frowned. Dogs were not his thing.

She made a face. “You don’t like dogs?”

“They’re okay.”

“Don’t you have a K-9 unit?”

“Not in Nocturne Falls.” Between the vampires, werewolves and other supernaturals on staff, dogs were unnecessary. “Here we are. Howler’s.”

   
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