Bayou Born (Fleur de Lis Series)

Bayou Born (Fleur de Lis Series) by Linda Joyce Page B

Book: Bayou Born (Fleur de Lis Series) by Linda Joyce Read Free Book Online
Authors: Linda Joyce
Tags: Contemporary
hit the important highlights.”
    She saw mischief in his eyes. “Okay, sure...soon.”
    “Wait here a moment. I have an idea.”
    She stood outside the café as he walked down the street. Confused, she watched him go. Then her cell phone vibrated in her purse. She didn’t recognize the number, but it was a local area code. “Hello?”
    “Miss Lind, I was wondering if you’d like to go on a non-date?”
    “James?” Half way down the block, she could see him, but he had his back to her.
    “How about around seven-thirty this evening? A drive through the country to learn your way around and maybe a late-night drink? I know a place with a live band on Saturday nights. You’ll experience local color. We’ll do this for the LCC team.”
    “I’m not sure...that’s such a good idea.” He had walked away to call her?
    “What if I promise, you’ll be home before midnight? After all, I don’t want to witness any shape shifting. I don’t know if I’ll ever look at pumpkin the same again, knowing you change at midnight.”
    “Dr. Newbern, I want to keep things professional.” Was he afraid she’d say, no?
    “Good. Then I won’t pick you up. We’re two colleagues getting to know each other better. Sort of a professional-bonding night. Where would you like to meet for a non-date?”
    A non-date? She could handle that, right? She ignored the shouting voice in her head that told her to Run! Run away . Far away, from this man. The jitterbug dancing in her stomach threw a one-two punch to her head, which caused her heart to skip a beat.
    James Newbern was not what she had anticipated in any way, shape or form.
    “Why not?” she said. “You name the place.” After all, she came to Lakeview for adventure.

Chapter 10
    The tall wood-framed etched glass doors created an elegant entrance to the bar at the only hotel in town.
    “Wow. The newspaper said this had a five-star rating.” Branna stared at the beautifully crafted doors.
    She’d read about the hotel’s restaurant and bar in a local survey. That seemed like a reliable recommendation. After all, options weren’t endless in Lakeview. Five miles west near the interstate, a handful of cut-rate motels for one-night-only tourists flashed No Occupancy signs on Saturday nights. None of them served food or adult-only beverages.
    She spotted the Historic Register plaque on the brick wall beside the tall doors. The lodging establishment had remained locally owned since its opening. She had researched the place after James suggested meeting there, wanting to know what to expect, since she shied away from surprises. The building had antique character, and Lakeview folks might consider the 1900’s construction ancient; however, Bayou Petite had signed its city charter almost a hundred years earlier than when Lakeview called itself a town.
    James had made it clear their outing tonight fell under the heading of “colleagues bonding.” It wasn’t a date, and she wouldn’t allow anyone to accuse her of not being a team player. A drive in the country would better acquaint her with Lakeview. The sooner she learned her way around, the more it would feel like home. She couldn’t admit it to anyone, not even her cousin Biloxi, that she missed Fleur de Lis, the chaos of her large family, and Greta’s cooking. She pulled the door handle to the hotel, grunting softly under its heaviness, and wondered if Dr. Brown had urged James to be more sociable to make up for his less-than-hospitable past.
    Arriving early allowed her time to take in the surroundings and to nurse a drink before a drive into the countryside. The information on the hotel’s website boasted a full-bar menu. Having one cocktail and a protein-laden appetizer would ensure that when she drove home in a few hours there would be little, if any, trace of alcohol in her blood. Just in case she was pulled over, though, that had never happened before. She always took every precaution. The world might end if she fell

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