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  • Paige H. Perry

Meet Derrick! (Sneak Peek into Book 3 of the Hartman & Malone Series)


Anna hoisted the cake into her arms and headed off toward the conference room. One chair was facing away from her when she entered. When it didn’t turn after she sat the cake down on the table, she shook her head and rolled her eyes.


“Is there ever going to come a day when I get here before you?” she asked the back of the chair with a chuckle.


The chair swung around, and a foreign face smiled back at her. Anna narrowed her eyes at the man and his smile widened, his green eyes twinkling. He ran a hand through his disheveled blonde hair and winked at her.


“You are not Joe.”


“Honey, I’ll be whoever you want me to be.”


“Ugh,” she said. “Who are you and what are you doing in Joe’s chair?”


“Derrick,” a voice suddenly said behind her. “That’s Derrick.”


Anna turned around and raised an eyebrow at the dark headed man leaning against the doorframe. “Derrick?”


The smile on the man’s face grew until his amusement made its way up into his blue eyes.


“You have a Claire. I have a Derrick.”


Anna turned back to look at Derrick who grinned at her, causing her frown to deepen.


“Joe, why has it taken you six months to introduce me to your best friend?”


Joe laughed. “I just figured we got enough of your best friend that we didn’t need to add mine to the mix.”


Anna flipped her gaze back his direction, gave him a playful glare, and swatted his arm.


“Are you not going to introduce her to me?” Derrick asked, turning Anna’s attention back to him.


Joe laughed. “This is Anna.”


“Ahh, the famous Anna Banana.”


“Absolutely not,” Anna said.


Derrick laughed, leaned back in the chair, and gave her another glance before sending a wry look Joe’s direction. “You’re right, Joe. She is pretty.”


Joe rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Stop it, Derrick. Her boyfriend would eat you for lunch.”


“Hmm,” Derrick said. “Is the best friend as pretty as this one? Does she have a boyfriend?”


Anna shook her head, groaned, and turned to look at Joe again. “Please tell me this isn’t going to become a thing. He is leaving soon, right?”


Derrick stood up and walked around the table, eyeing Anna’s box. Anna glared at him and pulled it closer to herself to protect it.


“Derrick lives in Chicago,” Joe said. “He only gets to come home for the holidays and a few business trips here and there. And he’s just messing with you. Do you really think I’d be friends with a guy who treats women like that?”


“All right,” Derrick said. “Enough of this. I’m dying to know what’s in that box.”


When he reached for it, Anna swatted his hand away and shooed him back around the table. “Stop that! Joe, make him stop!”


Joe laughed when she jerked the box further away from Derrick. “Behave, Derrick.

What’s in the box, Anna?”


“It’s a cake,” Anna said, still glaring at Derrick and blocking his view of the box. “And if the two of you will behave for five seconds, I will open it and cut us some pieces.”


“It is way too early for cake,” Derrick said with a laugh.


“It’s never too early for cake,” Anna and Joe said in unison.

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