Bayou Born (Fleur de Lis Series)

Bayou Born (Fleur de Lis Series) by Linda Joyce

Book: Bayou Born (Fleur de Lis Series) by Linda Joyce Read Free Book Online
Authors: Linda Joyce
Tags: Contemporary
family. Their ways weren’t an easy concept to understand—a large extended one steeped in old traditions in a modern live-for-the-moment world where everything was expendable or replaceable rather than treasured like antiques.
    “Part?”
    “What did you do before you came to teach at the college?” she asked.
    “I can take a hint. Family is off limits?”
    “I thought the purpose of this get-to-know-you lunch was a professional one. I take it, you’ve seen my resume. I’d like to steer the conversation in the direction of LCC. That’s the nickname for the college, right?”
    The corners of James’ mouth curled. He winked. “Yes. Questions are an occupational hazard of mine, Miss Lind.”
    His wink was an arrow to her gut. Tingles danced in her veins, the same as when he’d held her hand while they’d danced last night.
    What was happening to her? Better yet, what was wrong with her? He showed no signs of experiencing any odd sensations. He’d flirted at bit, but only a bit. The quivering in her gut made her want to run. She’d left Fleur de Lis in search of simple. Independence. No relationship tangles. Nor complicated emotions that made her squirm. That wasn’t what she signed up for. Where did she go to unsubscribe?
    Picking up her fork, she stabbed at the lettuce on the plate. Before the next stab, James tapped her hand with a single finger, and that mere contact sent a quiver up her arm.
    “What would you like to know about your new job or the college?”
    She raised her eyes to gaze at him. From across the table, he appeared totally at ease in his own skin while she twitched with panic in hers. She hadn’t had a date with a man, not that this was exactly a date, since before her engagement. The only man she’d dined with, other than the ones in her family for the last eighteen months, had been Steven. “Tell me everything.”
    James wasn’t flirting with her, just trying to put her at ease, right? She must have somehow misconstrued the signals. Dr. Brown had described him well—a mixture of ambition and easy charm. His kind of charm put her on edge.
    Steven had shown great talent at turning it off and on, making his moods sometimes unpredictable. “Slick as owl spit” was how Grandpa Lind described him. She didn’t know James well, but instinct assured her that he wasn’t at all like Steven.
    Which made him dangerous to her heart.
    James was exactly the kind of man she intended to avoid. She needed carefree and casual, but did her heart have a different mission? “Tell me about the expectations you had when you started teaching and how those have changed. What about the difference between theory and reality in the classroom?”
    She focused on her meal while James shared his teaching experiences.
    The second she finished her last bite of salad, the waitress arrived to clear away plates as if she’d been hovering behind them, watching and listening. Sara Nell offered James a grin that looked like a half-grimace, and then glared at her when James wasn’t watching as though she were the enemy before slapping dessert menus on the table.
    Branna perused the pie list, but her desire had waned. She would have preferred lunch without a side dish of “waitress attitude.”
    “All the pies are made here. What. Can. I. Get. You?” Sara Nell asked, hiking the attitude quotient higher.
    “They have a little elf-grandmother in the back who works her magic with pies,” James said. “Ladies first.”
    Sara Nell stood beside the table, shifting her weight from side to side, poised with pencil and pad.
    “I’ll have sweet potato pecan, please,” Branna answered, then closed her menu and slid it to the edge of the table without making eye contact with the waitress.
    “Excellent choice. I’ll try the lemon. If I share a bit of mine, will you share?” James said with a wink.
    It made her breath catch.
    “Fine. SPP and lemon.” Sara Nell left in a huff. Branna expected to see a puff of smoke. Or at

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