The hand on my shoulder makes me shriek – I whirl around and see Jake, who’s dripping water all over the floor. He’s barefoot, wearing camouflage shorts and no shirt, and he’s holding a gun. “You scared me – what’s that gun for?”
His eyes are dark gray and intense, boring into me. “You kept paging – I thought something was wrong.”
“You’re getting the floors wet,” I point out and the three of them stare at me.
“So there’s no trouble here, then?” Nick asks.
They look at each other and shrug. Jake mutters under his breath and I tell them, “I called because I need you to hand this stuff out.”
“What the hell is this?” Nick looks at the bookmarks as if he’s never seen one in his life.
“Bookmarks – for all of your books. Jake’s is out tomorrow and –“
“Wait a minute.” Jake holds up his hand, stares between me and the bookmark. “Why the fuck am I sharing a bookmark with these two?”
Those two are smirking at him. Suddenly, handing out the bookmarks won’t be such a problem, I heard Chris saying.
“Sorry – printing costs and everything. Besides, you’re a trilogy. Like, all for one and one for all,” I say to placate him, but it’s not working.
“I think I should get my own bookmark,” Nick says.
“Hey, your book owes me,” I tell Nick, a little too loudly and he takes a step back and holds up his hands like he’s surrendering. But there’s just enough of a smirk on his face for me to know he was difficult during the writing of his book on purpose.
“And mine is kind of like the crowning glory,” Chris says, those different color eyes giving him that crazy look, as usual. Except I know it’s not just a look.
“Dude, you don’t even have a review yet. And your cover’s pink,” Nick points out and Jake snorts.
“The entire cover’s not pink,” Chris says and Jake and Nick just look at him. “You couldn’t tell them not to use pink?” he asks me.
“Look, I tried. You’re all a lot of trouble and I’m exhausted.”
“She’s moved on. To Zane.” Jake rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “I’ll bet he gets his own bookmarks.”
“Look, just go to bookstores, walk around and give these out. Talk up the books. Make sure people by them.” I pause. “I mean, I know you all have powers of…um, persuasion. You know, because most of my readers are women.”
For a few moments there’s talk of all the persuading they’ve done, enough to make my cheeks redden. And that’s when the three women appear – Isabelle, Kaylee and Jamie.
“Uh-oh,” Nick says in a low voice.
“They didn’t hear anything,” Jake mutters.
“Hey baby,” Chris says to Jamie, who tells him, “We heard everything.”
“We were talking about like, you know, before you,” Jake says with a roll of his eyes.
“I just asked them to pass out bookmarks,” I tell the women with an innocent shrug and walk away. Because hey, my work here is done.