I got back from my book tour on May 16 and only had one day at home before I drove to Des Moines to stay with Derek for the weekend and schmooze with some of his clients for dinner and drinks both Friday and Saturday night.
On Saturday night, I sat in downtown Des Moines at the lovely Cosmopolitan Lounge, stirring my very apropos Cosmo drink and nodding on cue to the stylish, dripping-with-expensive jewelry, and very young wife of Derek’s client, Mr. Middle-Aged Moneybags. I listened to her describe how she had lived enough to fill ten novels with her exploits in the fast-paced world of the rich and famous.
“You should do it. You should write a novel,” I urged her.
“Oh, I couldn’t!” she huffed, with a self-conscious hand over her mouth, floored by the thought. “But if you ever run out of ideas, I would be happy to share.”
“I’ll definitely keep that in mind—can’t have too many good ideas,” I said as I reached for my black clutch, which was vibrating on the oversized leather chair beside me. I pulled out my cell phone and opened the face to read a text message. It was from Dave.
“That little black dress is killer!”
In shock, I looked up and around the room, finally finding him seated at the bar halfway between me and the stage at the far end. He was relaxed, seated on a bar stool, drink in hand. He raised his glass to me in salute and grinned.
Oh, I had missed Mr. Cameron. I had not seen him in Fremont before I left to come to Des Moines for the weekend.
“Would you please excuse me?” I said absently to the table in general, and then I scooted my chair out and on my little black stiletto heels, made my way across the room.
Dave watched me approach and then with a roll of his eyes requested, “Would you go back and do that one more time? I want to be sure to commit that strut to memory for future use,” he sighed, breathlessly.
“What on earth are you doing in Des Moines? And how did you just happen to be in the same bar? Are you stalking me?”
“I knew Max Eubank was playing here, and my date lives downtown at the Plaza within walking distance.”
“She’s in the restroom. We met through one of those online dating sites. Pretty pathetic, I know.”
“Hmmm,” I murmured. I was a little shocked by the entire situation, seeing Dave Cameron in a great dark-blue dress shirt and tie, nice gray trousers, and something other than work boots. He was just amazing. I couldn’t even think of any eloquent adjectives fitting enough to describe his sexy hotness, and I was a freakin’ writer!
“Hey, you clean up nice, buddy,” I said.
He shrugged, straightened his tie, and gave me his famous one-liner, “I have my moments.”
Just then, a very pretty and much younger woman, blonde and stylishly dressed in a designer outfit, arrived and I moved to provide her access to her seat next to my employee.
Dave rose from his bar stool and stood briefly until she seated herself. She swiveled her stool slightly, reaching to touch Dave’s thigh to steady herself while she crossed her shapely legs and joined our conversation.
“Sharon Johnson. Torie Mills,” he said, and we shook hands while he took a sip of his drink.
“Very nice to meet you, Sharon—Dave, I must get back to Derek, but I’ll be able to help with the house part of next week.”
Dave nodded with a warm smile as the lights dimmed, and Max Eubank started strumming “I Won’t Make You Feel Romantic”.
I returned to my table, but I couldn’t help but catch myself watching as Dave and his date leaned close to each other and shared quiet conversation. Dave had his arm around the back of her chair, appearing to share a very warm and intimate connection as they listened to the singer and his acoustic guitar. Me? Oh, I listened to Derek drone on and on, stroking his client’s ego like a two-bit car salesman and expecting me to do the same for the guy’s gold-digging trophy wife.