Home > Imagine With Me (With Me in Seattle #15)

Imagine With Me (With Me in Seattle #15)
Author: Kristen Proby

 Prologue

~Lexi~

I don’t know why in the ever-loving hell I came here. Luke Williams, the producer working on the movie adaptation of my novel, invited me to come along, and he and his wife, Natalie, are lovely and welcoming…

But I’m a stranger here. This is a family gathering, celebrating Archer and Elena’s engagement, two people I never met before today.

I should have declined the invitation and stayed in, bingeing Yellowstone and eating the macaroons I made earlier.

When I’m nervous, I bake. And I’ve been a nervous wreck for days.

I don’t love traveling.

I don’t love working with others, so this whole author gig is perfect for me.

Plus, I’m painfully shy.

So when Luke invited me to come and meet some of his family, I immediately said no. And then he flashed that ridiculous smile of his, and before I knew it, I agreed to come.

At least I’ll be able to meet Shawn O’Callaghan, the man I’ll be working with over the next few weeks. Shawn is the screenwriter on the project, and I’ll be collaborating with him to make sure the script stays true to the novel.

I probably could have done this job remotely, but Luke thought working in person would be quicker and more efficient. So, he flew me from Minneapolis to Seattle, and I rented a condo in downtown Seattle.

And now, I’m standing in the O’Callaghan Museum of Glass, surrounded by some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen in my life, wondering how on earth I managed to get here.

“Champagne?” a waiter asks, holding out a tray.

“Thank you.” I take a flute and sip the bubbly, hoping it bolsters my confidence.

I see Luke standing with several men off to the side of the room and walk his way. I catch his eye as I approach, and he smiles.

“This is perfect timing,” he says. “Shawn, I’d like to introduce you to N—”

“Lexi Perry,” I interrupt. I’d rather be introduced by my real name, not my pen name.

Shawn O’Callaghan is tall with dark hair and shrewd green eyes. His big hand holds a whiskey, his long fingers wrapped around the glass as those eyes take me in from head to toe.

I see interest reflected back at me. He’s a handsome man, and his reputation is one of intelligence and stoicism.

I’ve been looking forward to meeting him.

“I asked Ms. Perry to come to town on business, and thought it was rude of me to leave her alone in the city this evening,” Luke continues. “So, I invited her here. After checking with our hosts, of course.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Archer, the groom, says with a nod. “Welcome.”

“Congratulations,” I reply and shake his hand. “I was hesitant to crash the party, but Natalie and Luke assured me it would be okay. And I have to say, your family is incredibly welcoming.”

“We always have room for more,” Archer assures me. “What do you do, Lexi?”

“I’m a writer.”

Archer lifts a brow and turns to the man next to him. “Oh? Shawn’s also a writer. What do you write?”

“Novels,” I say and turn to the screenwriter, but he holds up a hand, stopping me.

“I’m not here to entertain any new projects tonight,” Shawn says, immediately cutting me off.

He thinks I’m trying to network with him? To get him to read something I’ve written and further my career?

Well, screw him.

My face goes from friendly to cold in a heartbeat. Luke sighs.

This is a fantastic way to start this working relationship.

“That’s convenient,” I say, ice dripping from every damn word. “I’m not here to pitch a project to you, Mr. O’Callaghan. I know who you are, but it’s not terribly important to me. I do fine all on my own. Have a good night, gentlemen.”

I give a curt nod and turn away, my heels clicking on the hardwood floor as I make a hasty retreat.

I want to get out of here.

The audacity! What a jerk. I was already nervous about being here. Now, I get the disappointment of knowing I have to work with a conceited ass who’s clearly completely full of himself.

“Lexi.”

I don’t turn around.

“Lexi.”

A hand lightly latches on to my elbow, and I turn to find Shawn staring down at me, his mouth set in a grim line.

“I owe you an apology. I didn’t know you were Nora, the author I’ll be working with over the next few weeks.”

“If you’d known, you would have been polite?”

He winces. “Again, I apologize. It’s been a shit day, and I was trying to avoid work talk. Not my finest moment.”

“No.” I glance down at the elbow he’s still holding hostage. He lets go. “It wasn’t. Have a good evening, Mr. O’Callaghan. I’ll see you on Monday.”

“Lexi—”

But I don’t turn back. I know I’ll have cooled down by the time I see Shawn again. I won’t be embarrassed. My feet won’t be killing me.

For now, I want to hide.

I’m so far out of my comfort zone, I couldn’t find it with a map.

Chapter 1

~Lexi~

I’m not a people person. I don’t mind people watching, but I’m much more comfortable alone in my home office.

Hanging out with the characters in my head is significantly more enjoyable than being around other humans, particularly strangers.

The engagement party Saturday night drained me completely. I spent all day yesterday in my Air BNB, watching television. Too many energies in one space drain me.

I’m better off alone.

I won’t be alone for weeks.

Every time that thought occurs to me, my stomach tightens, and I feel a panic attack rising, pacing just on the edge of my peripheral vision.

My agent—and Luke Williams himself, the owner of Williams Films—talked me into this. I didn’t want to agree to the film rights being sold to the production company at all. The thought of someone else, a stranger no less, writing the script didn’t sit well with me. The alternative, the scenario I’m currently living in, doesn’t appeal either. But Luke is a convincing man, and the money he paid for the rights was too good to pass up.

I’d suggested that the screenwriter and I work together virtually, but Luke balked at the idea and insisted that working together in person would produce the best product.

So, here I am, caution thrown to the proverbial wind, ready to make a beeline for the airport.

“Ms. Perry?” a security guard asks as I walk into the building in downtown Seattle where Williams Films is based.

“Yes.”

“Good morning, ma’am, I’m Reggie. I just need your driver’s license, and I can issue you a badge for the duration of your stay.”

“Oh.” I fumble in my bag for my wallet. “Of course. I guess I didn’t expect security to be so tight. Not that it’s a bad thing, or that I would do anything you’d need to worry about—”

I feel my face flush as the nice man towering over me at at least six-foot-five, smiles and accepts my license.

“No problem, Lexi. It’s just a formality so we know who’s supposed to be here and who isn’t.” He taps some keys and then passes the plastic card back to me. “There we go. Just clip this to your shirt whenever you’re here, and you’re good to go.”

“Thank you,” I mumble, fumbling to affix the visitor ID to my top. “I think I’m on the tenth floor?”

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll show you the way.”

“Oh, you don’t have to—”

“Mr. Williams asked me to escort you. Some of the spaces upstairs are a maze, so this is just easier.”

I nod in resignation and follow the big man to the elevator. We’re both quiet in the climb to the tenth floor, but when the doors open, the noise that hits us is startling.

“Oh,” I say in surprise.

“It’s a lively bunch,” Reggie says. “Not stuffy at all.”

“I see that.”

There are no cubicles, but large desks are scattered throughout the massive, open space. Two men throw a football back and forth. A woman sits on the floor on a yoga mat, her laptop resting in front of her.

“What do I smell?”

Reggie laughs. “Well, there’s a full gourmet kitchen in the back there, open to the rest of the space. A chef will be here all day, ready to make anything you might want for a snack or lunch. Complimentary, of course.”

“I’ve never worked anywhere like this.”

“None of us have, Lexi. Luke started this production house about five years ago, I guess. In that time, he took it from his home office to what you see here.”

“I know he’s well respected in Hollywood.”

“He is. And manages it all from Seattle. We’re casual here. Luke believes that creativity comes from feeling free to express yourself.”

I see that several pairs of eyes have turned my way. They look me up and down speculatively.

I don’t like being watched.

“Please tell me I don’t have to work out here,” I murmur.

“No, ma’am. Luke assigned you and Shawn to the conference room. This way.”

Reggie leads me down a hall to a room with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the bullpen.

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