“What are you reading, handsome?”
AJ looked up to see a stunning redhead with smooth, alabaster skin; bright, blue eyes; and perfectly bee-stung pink lips grinning at him. There was a dusting of freckles on her bare shoulders that added to her attractiveness. Her hair was a heavy, wavy curtain draped over one shoulder, clearly meant to entice. If there was no Samara, he would’ve been.
Returning her smile, AJ showed her the cover of the book, and she appeared to nod in approval. “Do you like it so far?”
“I’ve not been displeased.”
The redhead’s smile widened and she held out a hand. “Noelle.”
AJ used the index finger of his left hand as a bookmark and shook Noelle’s hand with his right. “AJ.”
“A strong grip,” Noelle said, her blue eyes looking at their joined hands briefly before meeting his gaze again. “Nice.”
AJ smiled again and eased his hand from hers. “Thanks.”
It was odd not to have the desire to flirt. He felt decidedly out of his element. Flirting had been as second nature as breathing to him before he had met Samara. Now, all he wanted to be was left alone with the book Samara had insisted he read. He knew the woman was interested in him, but AJ didn’t know how to tell her he wasn’t—he’d never had to do such a thing before.
“Leaving or going?” Noelle asked.
He blinked at the text in confusion before turning his green eyes to her. “Sorry?”
“Home. Leaving or going? Although I hear a faint accent, so I’m assuming leaving . . .”
He smiled genuinely as an image of Samara appeared in his mind. “Going. Definitely going.”