The Bookseller's Boyfriend (Copper Point Main Street #1) - Heidi Cullinan Page 0,2

it with every fiber of his being, but Rasul grabbed his keys and wallet—and phone—and headed out the door, ready to do as Elizabeth told him.

The one consolation was that it was nice outside, and while the apartment complex left a lot to be desired, the neighborhood was quaint, charming even. The walk to the post office was tree-lined, and amazingly, some of the leaves had already started to turn. To be expected, he supposed, since he was so far north. The post office itself was a combination of ancient and clumsy modern renovation that amused him. He did have to fight the clerk when he said he wanted to take the envelope with him unsealed.

“They’re real strict about you taking metered postage out of here.” The clerk, a pretty woman in her twenties, regarded Rasul with apology. “You can’t add any weight to it at all, and it has to go out today or it’ll be a mess.”

Rasul had no idea this was a thing. Frowning, he tried to decide what to do. “Do I have to buy different postage, then?”

“It’ll be tricky with the insurance. Sorry.” Tapping a manicured nail against her cheek, she considered the metered envelope between them. Coming to some kind of decision, she leaned forward and spoke in low tones. “Tell you what. You go ahead and take it with you. But you gotta promise you’ll mail it today, and don’t tell anybody else I did it.”

“You’re an angel. Thank you so much.” He picked up the envelope and tucked it into his shoulder bag. “Should I bring it back here to be mailed?”

She waved a hand. “Nah, just take it into any mailbox by five.”

After thanking her again, he headed back to the street to head to the cellular store. Strolling beneath the tree canopy again, he followed his phone’s GPS to the mobile phone retailer on University Avenue. Damn, but that was actually going to be a problem. He could get lost in a paper bag.

He received a few long stares as he meandered. A couple of people seemed to know him on sight, which wasn’t surprising. He’d been in the scandal junket a lot during the year with Adina, and of course there was the news fresh off the presses from last night. Elizabeth hadn’t called him because she’d been trolling his ’gram. He was wearing his “disguise” outfit—sunglasses, hair pulled back in a ponytail, grungy clothes—but since that’s what he kept getting photographed in, it was more advertisement than camouflage.

Man, but he really didn’t want to give out any autographs right now, or field any curious questions. He double-timed it for the cellular store.

The place was busy as he entered, but a manager came from behind the counter, smiling. “Mr. Youssef, this way, please. I already spoke to your agent and have your purchase waiting, and I’ll be mailing her your phone.”

Several people watched him, a few only perking up at his Arabian surname. Rasul did his best to ignore them. “I need to transfer a few numbers before I hand over my other phone, though.”

“She already gave me the numbers she says you’ll need and had me preprogram them. Would you like to check them to verify?”

Goddamn it. Yes, he would, but he knew better than to try. Odds were good she’d ask the manager if he added any. “No, it’s fine. Thanks.”

If the manager caught the annoyance in his tone, he ignored it. “Very good.” He handed a small black object to Rasul. “Here you are.”

A flip phone. An actual flip phone, as if it were 2007. To send a text, he’d have to fumble through the dial pad. Seriously, she couldn’t even let him text? He wanted to toss the phone and storm out.

Instead he opened it, verified the only numbers listed were Elizabeth’s, his parents’, and the dean of Bayview University. He pocketed the device. “Thanks.”

The manager’s smile didn’t dim. “And your envelope for me?”

With a heavy sigh, Rasul passed over the envelope and his smartphone. “The woman at the post office was incredibly insistent this had to go out today with the postage I put on it with no weight added.”

The manager took it. “Thank you. I’ll get this out right away, as is.” He hesitated, and Rasul knew what was coming before the man spoke. “Would it be rude of me to ask for your autograph?”

Oh, but it would have been satisfying to snarl and refuse. Instead Rasul inclined his head and waited as