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Camino Winds (Camino Island, #2) by John Grisham Read Online (FREE)

Bruce smiled and replied, “Indeed. I work from early to late, and at noon I have to get out of the store. That’s my excuse. I usually nap off the lunch midafternoon.”

Mercer had been coy about her new friend. She had made it clear that she was seeing someone and that he would have all of her attention. Bruce respected that and was truly pleased she had found a steady, and not a bad-looking one. Thomas appeared to be in his late twenties, a few years younger than Mercer.

 

Bruce began chipping away. He said, “She tells me you’re a writer too.”

Thomas smiled and said, “Yes, and quite unpublished. I’m one of her MFA students.”

Bruce chuckled at this and said, “Ah, I see. Sleeping with the professor. That’ll get you high marks.”

“Come on, Bruce,” Mercer said, but she was smiling.

“What’s your background?” Bruce asked.

Thomas said, “Degree in American lit from Grinnell. Three years as a staff writer for The Atlantic. Freelance stuff for a couple of online magazines. About three dozen short stories and two dreadful novels, all fittingly unpublished. I’m hanging around Ole Miss doing the MFA thing and trying to figure out the future. For the past two months I’ve been carrying her luggage and having a grand time.”

Mercer added, “Bodyguard, chauffeur, publicist, personal assistant. And he’s a beautiful writer.”

“I’d like to see some of your stuff,” Bruce said.

Mercer looked at Thomas and said, “I told you. Bruce is always eager to help.”

Thomas said, “Deal. When I have something worth reading I’ll let you know.”

Mercer knew that before dinner Bruce would dig online and find every story Thomas had written for The Atlantic and every other publication and would have a fairly firm opinion about his talents.

The crab salads arrived and Bruce poured more champagne. He noticed that his two guests were, so far, light drinkers. It was a habit he couldn’t shake. At every lunch and dinner table, and at every bar, Bruce noticed. Most of the female writers he entertained hit the booze lightly. Most of the males were hard drinkers. A few were in recovery, and for those Bruce stuck strictly to iced tea.

 

He looked at Mercer and said, “And your next novel?”

“Come on, Bruce. I’m living the moment and writing nothing these days. We have two more weeks here before classes start and I’m determined not to write a single word.”

“Smart, but don’t wait too long. That two-book contract will get heavier as the days go by. And you can’t wait three years before the next novel.”

“Okay, okay,” she said. “But can I have just a few days off?”

“One week, that’s all. Look, dinner will be a blast tonight. Are you up for it?”

“Of course. All the gang?”

“They wouldn’t miss it. Noelle is in Europe and she sends her regards, but everybody else is quite eager to see you. They’ve all read the book and love it.”