Home > The Shifter Romances The Writer (Nocturne Falls #6)(9)

The Shifter Romances The Writer (Nocturne Falls #6)(9)
Author: Kristen Painter

She left him drinking his beer and went to get paper, returning a few moments later. “Here you go. And here’s my business card with my number on it in case you need me. Not that you’re likely to have any romance-writing emergencies.”

He jotted his number down. “You never know. There’s always my mother.”

“Right. You sure you don’t want a signed book for her? I’m happy to give you one now and on her birthday.”

He slid the notebook back toward her. He had nice handwriting, firm angled strokes that exuded confidence. Sexy handwriting. Which was totally a thing. “Okay. Maybe it’ll distract her from her usual conversations with me about when I’m going to get married and settle down. Thanks again. You have no idea how much this is going to do for my favorite-son status.”

She laughed. “You really feel bad about that ticket now, don’t you?”

He groaned. “You’re not going to let me forget that, are you?”

“Nope. Let me just go grab a book and—”

“On second thought, if I bring that book home, Diego’s going to ask me all kinds of questions about it. And if he finds out who you are, he will definitely tell our mother.” He frowned. “I have to figure out a time to get the book from you when he’s not home. Which is always.”

“Is the station anywhere near the post office? I have to check my P.O. box tomorrow. I could swing by and drop it off. If you’re working on Saturday, that is.”

“I am working. That’s really nice of you. Tell you what, you bring me the book tomorrow, and I’ll buy you lunch at one of the best places in town. I won’t feel so bad about the ticket then.”

That sounded an awful lot like a date. A thought that must have shown on her face because he put his hands up. “Just lunch as friends. To make up for the ticket. Nothing more than that, I swear.”

She nodded. “I really should get back to writing after my errands, but I also want to get to know the town, and I’m having a saltwater fish tank installed in my office in the morning, so the day will probably be a bust writing-wise anyway. Lunch as friends would be great. And I’ll bring you the book.”

“Excellent. Meet me at one at the station, and we’ll walk from there. Cool?”


“Thanks for the beer.” He stood. “I should get back or Diego will be ordering pizza with my credit card.”

“Okay. See you tomorrow. It was nice getting to know you.” She walked him to the door, then watched him through the sidelight a few seconds longer. The man had a powerful, graceful stride that could only be described as feline. And there was something about him that was instantly compelling. Something she couldn’t quite name. Maybe it was knowing what he did for a living.

Maybe it was how nice he’d been to her. And how he hadn’t mocked what she did for a living.

Whatever it was, Alex Cruz was hero-worthy. And based on how lunch went tomorrow, he just might find himself in a book.

When Alex walked in, Diego was standing in front of the fridge with the door open. The puddle around his feet was growing as more hot tub water trickled off him and onto the kitchen floor.

He turned when he heard Alex. “There’s nothing to eat in this house.”

The muscles in Alex’s jaw tightened. Muscles that had just been very relaxed over at Roxy’s. He tried to stay calm. “Hey, you’re getting water on the hardwood. Throw a towel down, will you? And there’s plenty to eat. There’s a tray of Mom’s arroz con pollo in there. I took it out of the freezer this morning. It just needs to go in the oven for forty-five minutes.”

“I’ll starve to death by then.”

Alex brushed past his brother to get the casserole out of the fridge. “You can always go out to eat.”

“You mean buy my own food?” Diego rolled his eyes. “You didn’t buy that. Mom stocks your freezer every time she visits.”

Alex set the oven temp, put the casserole in, and headed back to his bedroom to get his iPod. “I’m going for a run.”

“Cool. You want me to go with you?”


“Hey, where were you?”

“Returning the neighbor’s mail.” He left it at that, hoping Diego would too.

“Was that the chick with the Vette? Dude, she’s hot for an older woman.”

Alex stopped dead in his tracks. “Older? She’s a year younger than you.”

Diego snorted. “Yeah, but women age differently. You know.”

Alex turned to stare his brother down. “No, I don’t know, and if you honestly believe that, you have more growing up to do than I realized.”

Diego’s brows shot up, and he grinned. “Someone likes the new neighbor.”

“As a friend. That’s it.”

Diego shrugged. “In that case, maybe I’ll go next door and ask her out.”

“No, you won’t. Leave her alone.”

“Why? You’re not interested. You just said so.”

“And if I was interested?”

Diego scratched himself. “Then I’d be hands off. You know that, bro. That’s always been our code.”

“In that case, I have a lunch date with her tomorrow.”

Diego’s eyes widened. “For real?”


“You know she’s human, right?”

“I’m aware.”

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