Home > The Shifter Romances The Writer (Nocturne Falls #6)(14)

The Shifter Romances The Writer (Nocturne Falls #6)(14)
Author: Kristen Painter

They got a table, a booth along the far wall, actually, and settled in.

Roxy looked around. “Okay, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.”

“What were you expecting? Harley-Davidson signs and female servers in hot pants and halter tops?”

She shrugged. “Something like that.” She pointed towards the bar. “And I do see one Harley-Davidson sign.”

Their server, in khaki shorts and a black polo shirt with the Howler’s logo on the chest, arrived with menus. “Afternoon. Hey, Officer Cruz.”

“Hi, Shanna.” Maybe he came here too often for lunch. Might be time to hit Mummy’s up a little more.

Shanna smiled at them. “What can I get y’all to drink?”

“Do you have any sparkling water?” Roxy asked.

“We have the local Nocturne Falls spring water, but that’s not sparkling.” Shanna thought for a moment. “I’ll check at the bar, but we might have Pellegrino, too.”

“That would be perfect, thanks.” Roxy smiled. “With lemon.”

“Got it.” Shanna looked at Alex. “You want your usual sweet tea?”

He nodded, and she left to get their drinks.

Roxy leaned in. “You obviously eat here a lot.”

He lifted one shoulder. “Yeah, maybe too much.”

“No, no. I think it’s a good sign. You must really like the food.” Her brows quirked up in amusement. “And clearly the server really likes you.”

“Shanna? She’s just a kid.” What was she…twenty? Twenty-two, tops.

“A kid with a crush.”

“No way.” Alex glanced over at Shanna, who was at the server station getting their drinks. She caught his eye and grinned. Oh, crap.

“She welcomed you by name, with a big smile, and she remembers your usual drink. Yeah, she likes you.” Roxy held her hands out. “I know what the signs of attraction are. It’s my business to know. It comes with the romance-writing territory.”

“Maybe she does have a crush. But that’s as far as I’m willing to go. I’ve certainly never encouraged it.”

“Hey, I’m not judging. Although she is a little young.”

“Because I’m such an old man.”

“You said it, not me.”

He liked the teasing. Most people treated him with a certain deference because of his job, acting like they had to be serious around him all the time, but not Roxy. She was a refreshing change.

Still smiling, Roxy opened up her menu. “So what’s good here?”

“Pretty much everything.” He looked at his menu, although he didn’t really need to. There were no specials on Saturdays, so he usually got the ribeye sandwich with fries and coleslaw. And sometimes the brownie sundae.

“What are you getting?”

“The steak sandwich with fries.”

She looked up. “You always get that, don’t you?”

He hesitated. “I get it a lot. Why?”

Her smile bordered on knowing, like she’d just figured him out. “Just a guess. But you strike me as a creature of habit. You always give tourists tickets, but not locals. You drink the same thing at lunch every time you’re in here. You go for a run every day after work.”

He sat back and shot her a look. “How do you know I go for a run every day after work?”

She suddenly became very interested in her menu. “You go right by my house. That’s all.”

Had she been watching him? A little thrill zipped through him at the thought that Foxy Roxy had been checking him out. “And you don’t like routine?”

That brought her head up. “I live for routine.”

Shanna came back with their drinks. “Sweet tea for you, Officer Cruz.” Then she put a bottle and a glass of ice in front of Roxy. “And Pellegrino for you. Y’all ready to order?”

Alex looked at Roxy. She nodded. “I’ll have the Caesar salad with grilled chicken. Dressing on the side, hold the croutons. Thanks.”

Alex ordered the steak sandwich. Roxy might be carb-averse, but he wasn’t. He also wasn’t going to give her grief about her order. Her figure was amazing. Whatever she wanted to do to keep it that way was up to her.

As Shanna went to put their orders in, Roxy twisted the top off her bottle of sparkling water. “As I was saying, routine is my thing. Lately, I haven’t had much of one because of the move, but I hope to get back to it soon.”

He crossed his arms on the table top. “What’s your normal day like?”

She twisted the edge of her paper napkin. “Get up, have coffee, do some yoga, shower, eat breakfast while I watch some news, then I’m pretty much in my office all day. Now that I live in a town like this, I might start adding an evening walk.”

Might be nice to walk with her sometimes. “You spend all day in your office writing?”

She nodded. “Writing and also handling all the other stuff it takes to put my books out. Talking to my team about ongoing and upcoming work, scheduling promos, checking in on social media, answering fan mail, proofing audiobooks…there’s so much to do.”

“Your team?” He hadn’t realized being a writer involved so much.

“My team is basically my assistant, Emily, my—”

“You have an assistant? Very impressive.”

“I’ve had a few actually. My last one was excellent, but Marissa quit on me a few months ago without much reason. Anyway, Emily has been a great replacement.”

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