Sidequest for Love - Page 39

What he said sparked a memory of me sitting at the table in the sushi restaurant across from Afric. I’d been so incredibly annoyed by her, yet she had my undivided attention all the same. I dismissed the thought. Afric and I were nothing like Callum and Leanne. They were soulmates; while we were … Well, I wasn’t entirely sure what we were, but I certainly didn’t think we were soulmates.

“The only way to know if this internet girl is the one for you is to meet her in person. If she doesn’t like the real you, then she’s not worth another second of your time.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” I said, even though I just couldn’t imagine actually meeting Annabelle. And though I’d told Callum about her, she wasn’t the woman who had thrown all my current thoughts and feelings into disarray.

“You sure you don’t want me to set you up with someone here?” Callum asked. “Give your hand a night off. The poor bastard must be run ragged.”

At this, I laughed. “He’s definitely run ragged, but no, I don’t think a one-night stand will help in what’s troubling me.”

Callum patted me on the shoulder. “Let’s finish these pints and get our arses back to the hotel then because I’m absolutely knackered.”



“Tell me again why we’re going to a book club when we could be out doing, oh, say absolutely anything else?” Billy asked as we rode the bus to the library where Neil’s sister worked.

“Because I promised Neil we’d go to fill out the numbers. His sister organised the book club, and she’s worried no one’s going to turn up.”

“Oh, even better. So, we could be the only two people there, and I haven’t even read the book.”

“I gave you a rundown of the story, didn’t I?”

Billy might not have read the book, but I had. Every couple of months, I did a weeklong gaming detox where I spent zero time online and only read paperback novels. I always knew when I needed to take a break from the internet because there’d be this pit of anxiety in my belly and my thoughts would constantly race. It was a clear sign I needed a hiatus. Since streaming was my job, I factored the detox weeks in as time off. Most of my followers were understanding about it.

“Yes, but I’m not sure I can discuss a book I haven’t read. Maybe I should just sit there and keep my mouth shut.”

I laughed loudly. “You keeping your mouth shut. Now that’s something I haven’t witnessed before, and I’ve known you since you emerged from the womb.”

“For your information, Mam says I was a very quiet baby.”

“Maybe you were, but I don’t remember it.”

“She said I slept all the time, and it was a chore to wake me up even for food.”

“Now that I can imagine. You sleep twelve hours a night.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. I sleep the requisite eleven and a half just like everyone else,” he joked.

“You have the sleep schedule of a newborn puppy,” I said just as the bus approached our stop. We hopped off and made the short walk to the library, an old red brick building with a blue-painted door. It was very quaint. I hadn’t seen any pictures of Rosie, but I’d just been imagining a female version of Neil. It might’ve been a bad idea because now I was in danger of developing a minor crush on Neil’s sister, too.

I mean, if Neil appeared in front of me now wearing a sexy librarian get-up, aka, pencil skirt, heels, tight blouse, and glasses hanging off the tip of his nose, I’d still fancy him.

Maybe I’d fancy him more …

“What are you thinking about? You’ve gone all quiet,” Billy prodded.

“Nothing. Come on, let’s go inside.”

I linked my arm through his, and we stepped into the main lobby area of the library. It was after hours, but there were a good few people about. I hoped that meant Rosie’s book club had attracted more attendees than she expected. I was surprised that I cared about Neil’s sister’s feelings since we hadn’t even met yet. Perhaps it was because he cared about her, and I cared about him, so if she was happy, then that meant he’d be happy, too.

I cared about his happiness.

How odd.

On instinct, I pulled out my phone and shot off a quick message.

Afric: Just arrived at the library. Happy to report a bunch of people have shown up.

His response was immediate.

Neil: That’s a relief. Rosie really wants this to be a success. Thanks for letting me know. And thanks for going along. It means a lot.

Afric: As I said, I’ve nothing else on. How did everything go last night?

I was more than a little eager to hear how Neil’s night on the town had panned out.

Neil: Exactly as I predicted.

Tags: L.H. Cosway Romance
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