Exclusive Excerpt from Redeem
by Christina Lee
My gaze locked on the lone figure in the corner booth. Michael had his laptop open and his cell to his ear, speaking to someone. He stayed. I had no idea why he was here, and I tried to pretend it wasn’t because of me.
Because if it was…what the hell did it mean? Was he hoping to hook up again?
I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it.
With a dry towel slung over my shoulder, I began wiping up tables for the new customers in line.
When I neared his booth, I noticed he was no longer on the phone. Instead, his eyes were fixed on the newspaper he’d folded in thirds in order to work on the daily crossword puzzle. A smile tugged at my lips. “You need me to do the heavy lifting again?”
His eyebrows rose to his hairline as he tore his gaze away from the newspaper. An instant later, awareness dawned, and he barked out a laugh that lit up his entire face.
“Not today, smartass.”
I stepped closer and noticed that indeed, he didn’t have any empty spaces left on the puzzle. “Decided you needed a different setting?”
“Something like that,” he replied, glancing briefly at his computer before pressing the top down. “Been working so many hours at the office that the same four walls were getting to me.”
“I hear you,” I said, glancing around the coffee shop, the familiar brick walls and wooden beams not always so welcoming or soothing as the week dragged on.
“That why you’re busing tables?” He motioned to the rag in my hand. “Does it help to keep moving?”
“Yeah, it does,” I replied, my pulse throbbing that he’d actually noticed. “But I like to keep the place clean too.”
My jaw ticked as I remembered the story Elijah had shared with me about West finding a job as a busboy after he left Michael. Michael certainly hadn’t been too kind about the news.
“I suppose you think it’s beneath a manager to bus tables?” I asked with an eye roll.
“No way,” he said, shaking his head, his shoulders sagging. “Not anymore.”