Home > The Shifter Romances The Writer (Nocturne Falls #6)(15)

The Shifter Romances The Writer (Nocturne Falls #6)(15)
Author: Kristen Painter

“So who else is on your team?”

She ticked them off on her fingers. “My editor, my cover designer, my formatter, my foreign rights agent, all those people. Then Em handles my street team, giveaways, keeping the social media active when I can’t, travel arrangements when I have a conference or a book tour coming up, all sorts of stuff.”

“Wow. Your job sounds more complicated than mine. I had no idea.”

She laughed. “You see why I don’t leave the house? I don’t have time.”

“I get it. But you have to have some kind of life outside of work.”

“I suppose.” Her smile went a little dreamy. “But I love what I do. I love the stories I tell, the characters I create, the worlds I build…all of it. And I love making my readers happy. I guess sometimes that means I spend too much time doing it.”

“They say if you love your work, you’ll never—”

“Well, if it isn’t my big brother and Little Red Corvette.” Diego slid into the seat beside Alex. “Hello, Roxy.” He stuck his hand out. “We haven’t formally met. I’m Diego. You and I have a lot in common.”

Alex bit back a snarl. “Diego—”

“How do you figure that?” Roxy stared at him but didn’t extend her hand.

He gestured suddenly to cover the fact that he’d been left hanging. “We’re both very good-looking, we both like fast rides on big engines, and have I mentioned we’re both very good-looking?”

He grinned like he’d just delivered the smoothest line ever. Alex repressed a groan.

Roxy’s eyes narrowed for a moment, then she shook her head. “That’s so sad. All of it, really. Just so sad.”

Confusion filled Diego’s eyes. “What’s sad?”

Alex had a feeling this was going to be interesting.

Roxy took a drink of her fancy water before she spoke. “First of all, it’s sad that you think that kind of bro nonsense would appeal to any woman with a brain in her head. And secondly, it’s sad that you don’t respect your brother enough not to interrupt him while he’s on a date.”

Diego gaped at her, silent.

Her mouth pursed with disdain. “Is there some pressing news that brought you here?”

“No, I just—”

“Then if you’ll excuse us, we’re having lunch.”

Alex snorted.

Diego slid out of the booth and stood by the table, looking totally confused.

Alex felt the tiniest bit sorry for him. His little brother had been seriously outclassed. “Why did you come by?”

“I, uh…” Diego looked up. “I have a job interview to tend bar.”

“Good for you. That explains why you’re wearing my shirt and tie. Is the interview with Bridget?”

Diego nodded.

Alex had never seen him this subdued. “Please don’t flake on her. Her brother is my boss. Got it?”

“Got it. I better go.” Diego shuffled off.

Alex raised his brows. “Wow.”

“I’m sorry.” Roxy bit her lip. “I shouldn’t have said anything. It wasn’t my place. I don’t know what got into me.”

“It wasn’t a what, it was a who. Diego. And I’m the one who should be apologizing for him. You were fine.” He laughed softly. “Pretty brilliant, actually.”

“You’re not mad?”

“No.” He lifted his sweet tea to her. “You have a real way with words, Miss St. James. But I guess that shouldn’t surprise me, considering what you do.”

She smiled, a little self-consciously, but then picked up her water and clinked it against his glass. “Thanks.”

Their food arrived and they ate. The conversation turned to Roxy asking him all kinds of questions about how things worked in the sheriff’s department. He figured she was using him for research, but at the same time, he’d never known someone so interested in what he did. It was really nice.

Hell, everything about her was really nice.

Except for the part where she was absolutely, positively human.

Shanna came back to clear their plates. “How about some dessert for you two? The peach cobbler is plenty big enough for sharing.”

Sharing a dessert was definitely date territory.

Roxy shook her head. “Thank you, but I’d better not. Alex, go for it if you want. Don’t let me stop you.”

“No, I’m good. Just the check, Shanna.” When she left, he looked at Roxy. “So? Did this make up for the ticket?”

She smiled and started to nod slowly. “Yes.”

“Really? Even with Diego’s interruption? You’re generous. I like that.”

She laughed, then said, “Oh! I almost forgot. She dug into her big purse and pulled out a book and a pen. “For your mom. What’s her name?”

“Carmen. Thanks.”

“You bet.” She opened the book, scrawled something across the title page, then added her signature underneath. She closed it and slid it toward him. “There you go.”

He picked it up. “You have no idea how happy this is going to make her. I might owe you another lunch.”

Her cheeks went the slightest bit pink. Was she blushing? “I might take you up on that. Hey, I totally forgot to ask you. Does someone in the neighborhood have a big black cat?”

A warning bell started ringing in his head, then he realized she couldn’t possibly know what he really was. “Probably. Why?”

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