Angela never ceased to amaze him. Within five seconds, she had unloaded her oversize purse onto the table, raised a finger in the air to notify the first waitress who came into her peripheral vision—because Angela had yet to take her eyes off her phone—that she'd "like a chef salad with half ranch, half French, one egg, no croutons, dried cranberries if you have them, and just water please, but could you get a clean glass? This one looks dirty. Thank you."
Then as quickly as she sat down, she scooted out of her chair. "Sorry, babe. Gotta take this." And with her phone pressed against one ear and a finger pressed into the other, she made a hasty retreat out the door, a soft ding announcing her departure.
"Um, was she talking to me?" A freckle-faced girl with tufts of red hair arching her head like a frazzled rainbow stood next to his table. "It's my first job. I mean, my first day. I mean—" She swallowed and the pink blotches on her cheeks turned red. "All I heard was chef salad."
The bell dinged again, and the young waitress sent a nervous glance toward the door but exhaled when a different woman entered. Henry, however, felt his entire breath lodge inside his throat.
"Did she want an egg and no croutons? Or was it one crouton and no eggs?"
"Goldie Hawn," Henry murmured.
"Excuse me?" the waitress said.
Henry couldn't stop himself from staring at the young woman at the door. Ever since he watched the movie Overboard years ago as a kid, he'd always had a giant crush on Goldie Hawn. And shoot if this woman wasn't the spitting image of her. Except for the eyes. Somehow this woman's dark eyes were even more beautiful than Goldie's blues. "Um...sure. That sounds fine."
"The egg or the croutons?"
"Oh. Ah—" He watched the Goldie Hawn look-alike make her way past him and about dropped his glass of water when she met his gaze. Up close, her big brown eyes were even more of a knockout.
"Yes." He snapped his gaze back to the waitress. "Both. The usual. Whatever you normally put on it will be fine. And I'll take a burger." He handed back the menus, then chugged several gulps of water.
"So you'll never believe this," Angela said, dropping back into her seat with a flourish. "Marsha Derby fired her daughter's wedding photographer. Apparently due to some sort of hush-hush scandal. Nobody's talking. But now she wants us to take on the contract. Can you believe it? Marsha Derby. I'm telling you, honey, this has been the craziest day of my life."
She picked up her water glass, frowned into it, then set it back on the table. "I need to get together with Chad to start planning the shots. The wedding is less than two months away. It's going to be at their villa in California. Their villa. We do this right, we will never have to worry about clients again. Oh, my word. We have so much to do to get ready. I'll bet Chad is freaking right now."
Angela took a breath and searched the diner. "Where is that waitress? I hope she didn't screw up my order. I might have to get it to go. You understand, right? This is just such a huge break for us. Wow, okay. I'm sorry. Enough for two seconds about me, right? What's going on with you? How was your day? Is your knee back to normal yet?"
Her phone pinged and she let out a gasp. "I told you Chad would be going crazy." She showed the message to Henry. A GIF of Will Ferrell from the movie Elf.
"Funny," Henry said with a polite smile. "Look, if you need to go, I get it. Sounds like you have a lot to get ready for."
"No, no, no." Angela made a display of dropping her phone into her purse. "I'm all ears.
Tell me what's going on with you. I feel like it's been forever since we've talked."
Probably because it had been. "Well, let's see," Henry said, rolling the saltshaker between his hands. "Not much. A lady's going to be staying at my house this summer, I guess."
Angela straightened. "A lady? Staying at your house? What exactly does that mean?" Henry shrugged. "Just that. She was supposed to stay at Kat's place for the summer while Kat was away, but a pipe burst and now they found mold and—"
"Is she pretty?"
"I don't know. Haven't met her yet. She's a widow who used to be a nurse but now does volunteer work and likes to travel, apparently. She's here to help out with Sharon's crisis house for the summer. Anyway, Kat dumped her on me, and I couldn't really say no. She sounds...old." He shrugged again.
"What's her name?"
This excerpt ends on page 15 of the paperback edition.