Between the Lines (Paradise Bay Sweet Romance Book 1)(4)

By: Ella Linden


“Gutters Comics, this is Lauren.”

“Lauren! Hi, um. This is Olivia Marquis. I’m—”

“Jack’s cousin!” Lauren said, her normal quiet, slightly husky voice raised in excitement. “How are you, Livi?”

Olivia laughed. “I’m great. You?”

“Cannot complain. You’re gonna come and work here, right? You better say yes because I need another girl for derby and you’d be perfect for it.”

“I—”

“Do you want full time or part time? We have both available right now.”

“Uh, it depends. How early would I have to work?”

“We need afternoons and evenings, so whether you pick full or part time, that’s when we’d need you.”

“Perfect. That’s what I was hoping for. I think part time, but if you guys need extra help at times, I can work a little more some weeks.”

“Great. When can you come in and talk to Holly? You remember her, right?”

“Yeah, I remember Holly.”

“Yeah, she’s still a bossy pain in the butt,” Lauren said with a laugh, and Olivia heard a female voice in the background.“Holly says hi,” she said.

“Well, tell her I said hi, too.”

Olivia waited as Lauren passed it along. “Okay, so when can you come in?”

“Whenever Holly wants me to. I’m a mess from the driving and getting settled here today, but any time other than that is totally fine.”

“Good.” There was more discussion on the other end of the line, then Lauren came back on. “Tomorrow at like eleven, then? Is that okay?”

“I’ll be there. Thanks a lot for this,” Olivia said, plucking at the quilt a little bit as she talked.

“No, thank you. Seriously. I freaking hate having to interview people, so you just cut the interviews I’m gonna have to do by half. Plus it’s going to be awesome catching up with you.”

“It is!” Olivia said, smiling. “Um. What was that about derby, though?”

Lauren laughed. “See you tomorrow, Livi.” Then she hung up and Olivia was left looking at her phone in confusion. Then she shook her head and headed back downstairs to make a quick dinner and some tea. She was practically dead on her feet after the drive, and if it was still the way she remembered it, she’d sleep like a baby in the quiet, peaceful cottage.





Chapter Two




Olivia woke, snuggled into her blankets, curled up at the edge of the bed the way she usually slept. The walls of the cozy little loft were washed in soft purple-gray pre-dawn light. Usually, she was just getting to bed around this time, but she hadn’t stayed up to work the night before. She’d slept with the window open, and she could hear birds in the trees outside, ducks quacking quietly as they glided on the water.

She realized how she was positioned and rolled over onto her back, spreading her arms and legs out, covering as much of the bed as possible, and then she smiled.

After a while, she pulled herself out of bed, showered, and got to work getting her computer and other art supplies set up. She’d already chosen a bright corner of the main room of the cottage, one that looked out over the lake. There was a small desk there, painted chippy white just like the rest of the furniture, and she pulled a kitchen chair over to it. She’d have to find a better chair later, one that wouldn’t have her back in agony after a few hours working in it, but for now, that would do. Once that was set up, she went to work re-assembling her drawing table, then she moved it across from her desk. She glanced at the wall nearby. She’d have to buy some cork board or something. She did most of her work on the computer, of course, but she still liked to use pen and ink for warm up drawings and to work out how she wanted to handle a panel.

Speaking of which… She plugged in her computer and booted it up so she could check her website and make sure that that morning’s installment of her webcomic, Welcome to Paradise, had posted. Everything looked good, and she was happy to see that several of her regulars had already checked in and commented. She took a few minutes to answer questions or comment back, then she headed into the bathroom to dress and get ready for her meeting with Holly.