He’s not Jack. I nod and take my headphones from his hands. “I know.”
I meet his intense gray gaze with mine and smile reassuringly. “I know, Ty.”
“Good.” He cups my face and kisses me hard, then stands and kisses the top of my head. “I have to go to work. Are you going to be okay here?”
“Yeah, thanks for the coffee. I’m just gonna work too.” Hammering and men yelling can be heard from the back of the house. “Or try, anyway.”
“Good luck.” He kisses me once more and heads for the door. “I’ll pick you up at six for the pumpkin patch.”
I wave him off and dive back into the story, the music playing in my ears, which I’m not used to, but it’s better than the ruckus coming from my pool house.
Just as I begin to get lost in the rhythm of writing, there’s a tap on my shoulder. I jump and spin, pulling the headphones off my head and yelping in surprise.
“Sorry, Lo, didn’t mean to scare you,” Dave, the head of the crew, mutters. “But I’ve been calling your name, and you didn’t hear me.”
“I’m sorry, Dave. What’s up?”
“Can you follow me?” He leads me out of the office toward the pool.
The whole room is a complete mess. Sawdust and tools are everywhere. Thank God Michael covered the pool, or this would ruin my filtration system.
I prop my hands on my hips. “Why does it look like the whole wall has been torn down?”
“Because it has.” Dave grimaces. “It was all rotten, Lo. Could be from the moisture of the pool, but the wood was bad. I don’t know who your dad had install this, but they did a shitty job.” He points to the pile of lumber that has been torn out and tossed on the lawn behind the house.
“So you have to rebuild it?” I ask with wide eyes.
“How long will this take?”
“It’s not big, so just a few days. I’ll have the guys work through the weekend.” He shrugs and grins. “It’s better to find it now, rather than have it collapse under the weight of the snow this winter.”
“True.” I’m still in shock that my pool house doesn’t have a freaking wall.
“We’ll work here until about three today, and then I’ll let the guys go while I go order more supplies and we’ll start early tomorrow morning.”
“Okay, sounds good. Thanks, Dave.”
He waves, and I stomp back to my office, resigned that I’ll have to live with this noise through the weekend.
Glancing at the clock, I see it’s already midmorning, so the early rush at Drips & Sips will be gone, and I should be able to find a quiet corner to hole up in with my computer. I close my laptop and throw it, along with the power cord and some notes, into my old computer bag and set out for the little coffee shop.
Just as I suspected, the café is quiet. I can wear my headphones here as easily as I can at home, and since I’m tucked away, I shouldn’t be bothered much.
Or that’s the plan, anyway.
And it works fine for the first few hours. Half of the coffee sitting at my elbow goes cold because I completely forget it’s there as I get absorbed in the story. I’m finally to the climax of the book, the part where we don’t know if the hero and the heroine will be able to make it through with their relationship intact.
It’s all dramatic.
Suddenly, I feel eyes on me and a shadow falls across my keyboard.
“Hey.” Jill grins and waves, holding two fresh coffees. “Can I join you?”
“Sure.” I shrug, save my file, and close the laptop. “It’s time for a break.”
“Are you”—she glances around and then whispers, “writing?”
I nod and gratefully accept the coffee she hands me. “Thanks for the coffee.”
“You look like you’ve been here awhile.”
I check the time on my phone and am surprised to see it’s already early in the afternoon. “I guess I have. Time flies when the story is hot.”
Jill laughs. “And your stories are hot.”
“Thank you.” I blush as I take a sip of my coffee, still surprised that I confided in Jill and Cara last week. “What are you up to?”
“I have a few hours between house showings, so I thought I’d pop in for some coffee. Just tell me if I’m interrupting.”
“You’re fine. I really needed a break. I got quite a lot done since I’ve been here.”
“Why are you here?” She sips her coffee.
“The construction crew is at my place repairing the pool house, and they’re noisy and distracting. I couldn’t concentrate.”
“But you can concentrate here?” Jill raises a brow and looks about the café at the waitresses clinking cups and working the loud espresso machine.
“I used to come here all the time to write when I was with Jack. I had to hide it from him, so this worked. The espresso machine is much better than hammering and buzz saws.”
Jill laughs and nods. “I can see that.”
“So we’re all going to the pumpkin patch tonight?”
“Yes! I’m excited. But don’t make me go through the haunted house. I’ll pee myself.”
“Oh, don’t be a wimp. It’ll be fun.”
“I’m happy with my wimp status. I don’t think Cara will go for it either.”
“What about the corn maze?” I ask.
“I have a horrible sense of direction, but I’m up for that.” Jill sips her coffee, finishing it, then leans back in her chair and watches me for a long moment. “So, you’re in love with my brother.”
“Huh?” Did she just say that?
“You heard me.”
“I don’t know that I’m in love with him.” I slowly shake my head back and forth.
“Why not? What’s wrong with him?”
“There’s nothing wrong with him.” I laugh, knowing that there is no way to win this conversation. “We’re still learning each other.”
“Ty’s a good guy.” Jill traces the sleeve on her coffee cup. “He’s had some tough breaks, but haven’t we all?”
“Have you seen him in the courtroom?”
“Oh, girl, you should see him when he gets riled up. He’s all stern and hard and quite the force to be reckoned with.”