Happy Monday!!! It’s the day before that LAST Santini book releases. Sure, we will see more of the whole Santini Clan because we still have two Semper Fi books coming up next year. But still, this is the last official Santini Release.
So, today starts the week long contest and every day there are the same prizes, but there is a NEW contest each day. So, you need to come back each day and enter the contest so you can get as many chances to win.
Remember, A Santini Christmas releases tomorrow, but you can get it on preorder at ARE and Kindle. I am loading it to Barnes and Noble today in hopes that it will be available by tomorrow morning.
They said nothing to each other as they walked out of the bar and into the night. It might be close to Christmas, but Jacksonville wasn’t exactly a wintery place. They’d had a bit of a December heat wave of sorts, leaving the air heavier with humidity. The balmy night air refreshed her, at least enough to walk the few steps it took to get to her apartment.
“The answer is no.”
He said nothing as they kept walking a few more steps; the only sound was their feet against the gravel.
Finally, he said, “I didn’t ask anything. Yet.”
She sighed. “I know Thelma means well and I’ve heard her mention the Santinis a time or two. Still, I don’t date. I don’t have time for it.”
Joey sensed more than saw his nod, and then he said, “Doesn’t mean I can’t at least try.”
Lord, a stubborn one. She really didn’t need that right now. She was so close to getting enough money to make the commute back and forth to Greenville. Being distracted by Papa wasn’t a good thing. It was better that she let him know exactly where they stood. When they reached the steps that led to her apartment, she stopped. Turning to face him, she looked him directly in the eye.
“I don’t date. I don’t have time.”
He rocked back on his heels as he studied her. She wondered how much he could see of her feelings in the dim streetlight. As a woman with good reason to be wary of men, she realized she didn’t feel any of her usual anxiety with him. She was relaxed. Well, as relaxed as she could feel with ten thousand butterflies fluttering in her stomach.
That was enough to worry her.
“What makes you think I want to date you?”
His face was completely void of all expression. She snorted, then started laughing. He joined in and the ball of worry that had been building in her stomach loosened.
“Then why did you walk me to my apartment? It’s not like I haven’t done it every night.”
He cocked his head to one side. She didn’t like the way he studied her. It was as if she were some kind of puzzle he wanted to assemble. Joey knew from experience a man like him would not be happy with the end product.
“This isn’t the safest part of Jacksonville to walk around at night by yourself.”
She sighed. “Don’t worry, Santini. I can take care of myself.”
“I bet you can.”
Joey rolled her eyes. “And don’t use that patronizing tone men use with women.”
“I was not using a patronizing tone.”
“Believe me, I know how the handle things if it gets tough.”
Again, he was quiet, then he leaned forward and brushed his thumb over her bottom lip. She couldn’t fight the shiver that stole through her, or the heat it left behind.
“Some day maybe you’ll believe me that you don’t always need to deal with the tough times alone.” Then he dropped his hand. “Go on up the stairs so I can tell Thelma you made it upstairs okay.”
She couldn’t really come up with a response to that, so she turned and did as he suggested. Unlocking the door, she looked down at Santini.
“You can go now.”
It was dark but she could see him smile, and knew those damned dimples were flashing at her. “As soon as you lock the door, I’ll be on my way.”
She didn’t even respond to that. She slipped through the door then shut it behind her.
“Goodnight, Joey,” he said, just loud enough to allow his voice to drift up to her. She didn’t respond. She couldn’t. She thought for sure he had planned on making a play for her, even if he just tried to kiss her. But he didn’t.
And now she wanted to know why—and that bothered her more than anything else.
She pushed away from the door and was about to go jump in the shower when she heard the whistling. And of course, it was The Halls of Montezuma. She rolled her eyes and chuckled to herself.