Home > The Shifter Romances The Writer (Nocturne Falls #6)(4)

The Shifter Romances The Writer (Nocturne Falls #6)(4)
Author: Kristen Painter

Actually, it wasn’t just the house. It was her new life here in this new town. The freedom of being on her own was life-changing. Invigorating. Joyous. The move and the process of getting settled in her new house had pretty much derailed her writing productivity, but she was also rediscovering who she was, and taking some time off was good for the soul.

So was life without Thomas hovering over her, trying to control her every action and constantly telling her what she was doing wrong. He’d emailed her again this morning with some nonsense about how she was ruining both their lives with this divorce. She hit delete almost instantly. And with great satisfaction.

Living without that kind of negative weight was a revelation. Maybe this was how prisoners felt after being released. But just thinking about him amped up the stress of the divorce to a new level.

If only he would sign those papers and let her get on with her fresh start.

And today, the last piece in the puzzle of that new life had arrived. Her late father’s ’69 Corvette convertible. She’d inherited the cherry-red machine years ago when he’d passed and had kept it in storage ever since. For a multitude of reasons, she’d hidden the car from Thomas. It had been tough to pull off, but she’d done it.

At one time, she feared she’d have to sell the car and use the money to escape her marriage, but then her paranormal romance series had taken off and she’d been able to save up the necessary funds to get a good attorney.

Now she could finally drive the car and enjoy it. She knew that’s what her dad would have wanted, although he would have understood, and approved, if she’d sold it to be rid of Thomas. This was the better outcome, though. By far.

Her dad had taken on the role of both parents after her mother’s hospitalization and subsequent death, so having this car felt like having him with her again. Today was a good day.

She paid the long-haul driver and turned to look at the car. There was no question it needed to be serviced, but all those times she’d snuck away to the storage unit to start the car and occasionally take it for a short drive had paid off by keeping it in running order.

At long last the day had come for her to take it for a real drive. Blow the carbon out, as her dad used to say. Seemed fitting that it was happening as part of her new life. And on Monday, when she went to the DMV to get her new Georgia license, she’d get new plates for the car too. Maybe vintage plates, if they did those.

She went inside, tied a scarf over her dark curls, popped on her biggest shades and grabbed her purse. Then she went back outside, put the top down and climbed in. The engine purred to life with a deep rumble that vibrated right through her.

There was no way not to smile. The day was gorgeous, thanks to the perfect weather and the car was a thing of beauty. A sleek machine that scared her just a little but mostly filled her with exhilaration and joyful memories of her father and the times they’d gone for rides together. She patted the dash. “This is for you, Daddy.”

And just what she needed to relieve the stress of this divorce. Thomas was about to be the furthest thing from her mind. At least for a little while.

She was shifting into reverse when a male voice called out to her.

“Sweet ride.”

She glanced over. A handsome man, her neighbor, stood in the side yard. He looked to be about her age, well built and obviously very proud of that fact based on the tight T-shirt he wore. She’d seen him a couple times, but they’d never spoken. Something about him, maybe his cocky smile, maybe his overly confident posture, said loud and clear that he was not her type. But she could imagine him very easily on the cover of one of her books. And he was probably a very nice guy despite her first impression of him. And since he was her neighbor there was no point getting off on the wrong foot. She smiled. “Thanks.”


“Yep.” The wind blew past her, and he seemed to…sniff it. If he’d been one of her paranormal romance heroes, that wouldn’t have been weird at all. But he wasn’t. So it was.

His grin took on a feral edge. “My favorite year.”

Or maybe not so nice a guy. Her smile faded.

He jerked his thumb toward the house behind him. “That’s my ’69 Camaro. Rebuilt it myself.”

She shot a quick glance at the black muscle car sitting in the driveway and nodded tentatively. “How nice.” But she was done talking cars. All she wanted to do was drive. “Have a good day.”

She looked behind her, backed out and took off down the street. If that was her neighbor, they were not going to be getting together for BBQ’s. Guys like that found out what she did for a living and instantly thought she was an easy target. Like she was looking to do some up close and personal research.

Uh, no.

And unless he was a vampire or a werewolf, he really had nothing to offer her. She laughed at that thought. If vampires and werewolves actually existed, that would be something. They’d probably be nothing like the heroes in her books. In fact, they’d probably have all the same issues real men had, like working full time, paying bills and doing yardwork. That would kill the fantasy pretty fast. Except for the yardwork part if they were half naked and sweaty and ripped…

She glanced in the rearview mirror. Whatever that guy thought, she wasn’t about to start getting chummy with her neighbor. That was a fast way to make things awkward. No, thank you. All she wanted was to be left alone, live her life and write the books that made her readers happy and her new single life possible.

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