Between the Lines (Paradise Bay Sweet Romance Book 1)(9)

By: Ella Linden

“Wow,” Olivia said, looking at Andrew’s photo again, then back at the shelf. She read over the spines. Two solid shelves were nothing but Andrew’s books.

“He didn’t grow up here, did he?”

“Yeah, he did. Scott and Andrew have been best friends since they were in middle school,” Holly answered. “He’s one of the town’s volunteer firefighters, along with the rest of those guys.”

“I never met him.”

“No, you wouldn’t have. He was a quiet kid. He was a few grades ahead of me, even, and I barely knew him.”

“Hm. Well, he’s an interesting guy,” Olivia said, putting the book back on the shelf.

“That's one word for it,” Holly agreed. “Come on, I’ll show you how to use the register.”

Andrew sat in his office, staring straight ahead at the bare white wall in front of his desk. When he’d first bought this place, he’d had the desk facing the floor-to-ceiling windows at the other end of the room, the ones that looked out over the bay.

He’d spent more time staring out the window than writing, so here he was again, looking at the blank wall.

He was trying to work through it. How did the small-town doctor start figuring out the secret behind the disappearances of eight young men in their rural village? Every idea seemed similar to something he’d written before, or, worse, something someone else had written.

“Oh, come on, you hack,” he muttered to himself. He threw the pen he’d been twirling between his fingers down onto his desk and got up. He paced from one end of the room to the other, not seeing anything, his mind a million miles away.

Until it wasn’t.

Until a flash of pink-streaked hair crossed his mind, along with a sly smile and a smart remark.

He rolled his eyes. Great. Now he was that guy. That forty-something recluse drooling over a girl he’d just met. Pathetic.

He forced his mind away from the sweet little thing at the comic shop and back to the problem at hand. His agent was already on his case about this book. It was going to be late, again. Andrew knew it, and his agent, Shonda, knew it, too.

He was a mess.

“Focus,” he muttered to himself. He kept pacing, glanced at the clock with a grimace, then continued his pacing. He was supposed to meet up with Scott and the others for their weekly get-together at Scott’s brewery. He could cancel. He could tell Scott he was working. It wouldn’t even be a lie.

Except that then Scott, being Scott, would come over to check on him because Scott’s a pain in the ass like that.

Andrew blew out a breath and sat back down. He still had no idea where he was going with this, but at least he could write the scene where the hero and heroine finally get together.

Chapter Three

A few hours later, Andrew was driving through downtown Paradise Bay, heading to Scott’s place. He’d gotten more work done than he’d planned on, though suddenly the book’s heroine had pink-streaked hair.

And big golden-green eyes.

He’d edit that out later.

He couldn’t remember the last time he actually spent even a second thinking about a woman after he’d met her. He’d had a revolving door of women he was seeing when he first started making good money, and the revolving door had just started revolving faster once word spread that Hollywood was involved. He’d spent a few years living it up. Eventually, he’d gotten sick of women who wanted the things he could offer, but weren’t necessarily interested in him. And, to be honest, he got tired of being the kind of guy who could barely remember the name of the woman he was with that night. The whole thing had soured him on the dating game, and he’d gotten used to being alone.

Part of him wanted to reconsider that position after meeting Olivia Marquis.

Don’t be an idiot. That is one headache you definitely don’t need.

Andrew pulled into one of the few spots left on the block near the brewery. Gutters Comics was still open, and he almost entertained the thought of going in to browse for something before getting a hold of himself. He shook his head and pushed open the glass front door of the brewery. He never failed to feel proud of his friends when he walked into this building. The stone floors, exposed brick walls, and solid oak bar and tables were all no-nonsense, classic, and very Scott and Carter. Carter was the farmer, growing the hops, and Scott was the hospitality/business brain. They brewed together, and had a few other guys on staff, too.