“Jenna, settle down. My hair is fine and I don’t need makeup.”
“Your hair belongs in the same store as that old lady blouse. The bun is not happening. We have gorgeous dirty-blonde hair with all kinds of natural highlights that human women pay big bucks for and you’re hiding them in a knot. The hair is coming down. And look, no one needs makeup, but trust me, a little mascara and lip gloss are not going to kill you and they’ll work wonders to show off your blue eyes. Which are the same phenomenal blue as mine. You’ll see when I’m done. You, only better.”
Ten minutes later and Tessa’s hair was down and brushed and mascara and lip gloss had been applied. Tessa had even allowed Jenna to tweeze her eyebrows a little. Jenna was impossible to say no to. But as Tessa looked in the mirror, she knew that she looked nice.
“Well?” Jenna asked. “What do you think?”
“I look less whore-y than I thought I would.”
Jenna put her hands on her hips. “That’s a fine compliment for all my hard work. You look beautiful. Well, you always were, but now it’s apparent. Just think what I could do with a few more minutes.”
“This is plenty, thanks.”
“Yeah, I get it. All right, go. Have fun and figure out all this fake fiancée stuff.”
Tessa doubted fun would be part of the evening. She hesitated. “You’ll watch Duncan?”
They both glanced at the bed. The kitten was passed out on his back, his fat stripey belly exposed. Jenna laughed softly. “I don’t think he needs much watching right now.”
“No, I guess not. But half of the pizza is mine when it gets here. I’m going to want it when I get home.”
Jenna crossed her arms. “I’ll do my best but Salvatore’s is one of my downfalls. If there’s less than half left, I can’t be held responsible. Now quit stalling and go.”
Tessa sighed. “Fine.”
“Seriously, have fun. Or at least try to.”
“Sure.” Tessa left her sister and walked out to the living room.
Sebastian was facing the fireplace, one hand on the mantel, as he finished up a phone call. “Yes, that’ll be fine. Thank you.”
He hung up and turned around. His eyes widened. Then narrowed again. “Tessa?”
“Do I look that different?”
“I…yes, a bit, with your hair down.” He smiled and she had a moment of surprise herself.
He was shockingly handsome when he wasn’t frowning. She took an extra breath to get rid of the weird fluttery feeling in her stomach. Something she’d had for lunch must not have agreed with her. “Thanks. I guess.”
He nodded. “You look lovely.”
“My sister did it.” The fluttery thing wasn’t going away and she realized it had nothing to do with the burger she’d had at Mummy’s. Great. It was one thing pretending to be his fiancée, but to actually find him attractive? That was not going to help. “So, coffee?”
“Yes. But first we have a stop to make. I hope you don’t mind.”
“No, that’s fine.”
The stop turned out to be downtown Nocturne Falls. Tessa hadn’t spent much time in town yet as she’d only just arrived the day before. Lunch at the diner had been her only foray and it had been brief since Jenna had to get back to the station after her break. The town was pretty at night with the shops all lit up and twinkle lights in the trees. From the Halloween colors to the cobwebs on the lamp posts and the occasionally crooked-on-purpose building, it was like visiting a theme park.
She watched out the window as he parked in a spot reserved for town employees. “Does it always look like this or is this just left over from an event?”
“No, it’s always like this. Keeps the atmosphere festive, I suppose. It’s more my brother Julian’s department. He’s in charge of theming and characters. And occasionally new businesses.”
She looked at him. “What do you do? I should know that.”
He nodded as he turned the engine off. “I’m the CFO of Nocturne Falls.”
She’d already assumed he had money. Knowing he was also in charge of the town’s money made sense. He seemed like the type to run a tight ship and an even tighter purse. “You must be good with numbers.”
His eyebrows lifted in response. “Better with them than with people.”
He went silent a moment. “I’m a bit of a loner, I guess. People can be so…”
His mouth bent in a half-smile. “Amongst other things, yes.” The remnants of the smile faded and his gaze shifted to the street. “Let’s go see about this ring, shall we?”
“Is that what the stop is about?”
He nodded. “The jeweler is very accommodating.”
Tessa imagined most business owners would feel that way toward the CFO of the town, although Sebastian didn’t seem like the type to throw his weight around. Especially if what Jenna had said about him never leaving his house was true.
They got out of the car (she realized too late that he was coming around to open her door) and she walked with him to a pretty little shop called Illusions. This time, he reached the door ahead of her and opened it. She went in. There were a few people in the store and two women behind the counters waiting on them.
One of them, a stunningly beautiful fae woman, greeted Sebastian, then Tessa, with a smile. “Hello there.”