Phoenix Reborn

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Book: Read Phoenix Reborn for Free Online
Authors: Carina Wilder
Tags: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
street next to a seemingly shy young woman while the two engaged in conversation. The concept seemed simple enough, yet the director asked for take after take of the same thing; it seemed as though something wasn’t working between the two stars.
    Ashling heard little in the way of instruction, except for the words, “You need to be really into her,” at which point she was convinced that she saw Hawke’s eyes look towards her, and possibly even a wink. Finally he shrugged as if to say, “What can I do?”
    So he wasn’t convincingly excited about his co-star, as he seemed about Ashling herself. Maybe, after all, it wasn’t entirely an act. Maybe he would ask her on a date sometime. Maybe she could even find a way to say yes.
    She walked away after a time, feeling something close to happiness. It was a rare and wonderful emotion, and she hoped it would stick around, at least for a little.

5
    T hat evening around seven, her cell phone rang. This was unusual; it always shocked Ashling to think that anyone used phones as speaking devices anymore. But there it was: a strange number lighting up her screen. For a moment she considered not answering it, allowing it to go to voice mail to check a few minutes later, when her heart had settled. But if it was him, she would never have the courage to call back. She should answer it.
    “Hello?”
    “Ashling.” The voice spoke the name like a statement, full of confidence and certainty.
    “Yes — who’s this?”
    “It’s Hawke. Hawke Turner, I mean. You know, the guy you smashed into near the Observatory. Then he tripped over a chair for you.”
    She managed to keep her chuckle internal. Of course she knew exactly who it was.
    “Oh, hi,” she said, longing for the gift of eloquent speech and cleverness. “What’s up?”
    “Ranach gave me your number. I hope it’s okay that I’m calling.”
    “Well, you do realize that the bulk of humanity no longer uses phones as phones, right? Talking into this thing is like carving pictures onto cave walls.”
    “True. But this is a much more effective way of saying this: listen, I’m wondering if you’d like to do something with me tonight.”
    “Tonight? I…do something?” Yes, she’d pretty well mastered the art of speaking like a cave dweller. “I mean, I’m sort of busy tonight.”
    “Oh, okay. No problem. You’re probably making jewels for the royal family or something.”
    What the hell was she doing, telling him that? She wasn’t busy in the least. She wasn’t even sort of busy. And he was actually asking her out. If she said no, it might mean she’d blown her only chance at a date with him.
    But a yes would mean opening up old wounds, ones that were currently protected under a thin layer of scar tissue. It would mean concealing truths from him. Or worse, having him bring up that night. If he asked her what she’d done to that boy and why, she would have had to answer. And what could she possibly tell him?
    Still, she wanted to say yes. More than anything, in fact. For once, maybe she should just throw caution to the wind. Or at least to a mild breeze.
    “But tomorrow,” she added quickly. “Maybe I could do something tomorrow evening.”
    “Hmm, I’ll have to see. A couple of producer-types are in town tomorrow and I’m supposed to meet them at Fibber’s to discuss a few upcoming scenes.”
    “Ah.”
    Fibber McGee’s was the local watering hole and a frequent meeting place when visitors were coming to Woodland Creek from out of town. It had been years since Ashling had set foot inside its door.
    “But maybe you could join us there?” added Hawke. “Or come afterwards? We’re meeting at six, so you could show up around eight.”
    “That sounds good,” she lied. An evening around strangers who were far more important than she could ever be. That sounded unpleasant at best. “Do you want to text me?” she said. “To confirm the time and place, I mean?”
    “Do I?” he asked. “Hmm, let’s

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