Would he regret his decision?
“Don’t give me that look. You started a bidding war.”
The churning and agitation he felt evaporated as she lifted her hand. He picked up the contract and got lost in the words on the pages.
The arrival of their food pulled Nick from reading. He was starving. His anxious nerves made it hard to eat once he talked with Olivia a few days ago.
Olivia bowed her head to pray, and he waited to hear her whisper Amen.
“So what’s the catch?”
Her fork was suspended in mid-air with a piece of melon on the end. Her eyes darted not making contact with his. He was hopeful, but he didn’t expect the next phase of his plan to happen without resistance.
“There’s good news and bad news. Which do you want first?” She straightened in her chair, her back stiff. Business Olivia was ready.
“Take it from the top and leave nothing out.” He grabbed the napkin roll. The utensils tumbled into his free hand, he placed them on the table and spread his napkin across his lap.
Olivia explained the details of his one-of-a-kind deal. He listened as he inhaled his omelet.
“Your proposal started a bidding war and the best deal, by a long shot is with HST Flix.”
Nick whistled, lowering his fork with an unsteady hand. HST Flix streamed and produced original horror, suspense and thriller films. “But I’m pitching a book.”
“Good news: They want to buy the exclusive film rights.”
“Film rights, what about the book?”
“The publisher, Tall Tale Opus, and the studio are offering a revolutionary joint deal.” She leaned closer to the table. “The contract is for Secrets—the book and movie—with the first right of refusal for Confidential.”
“What?” He pushed his plate forward unable to take another bite. Nick couldn’t stop the questions tumbling around in his head. “Why Secrets when we’re shopping Confidential?”
“They want to start with book one to create an audience for book two and three.”
“Book three?” He hadn’t considered writing a third book. Staying alive after the world reads his book consumed him.
“I had to bait them.” She winked and resumed eating.
His body tensed. I had to bait them. That was his plan too. He doubted whether he had enough content for more than one project.
“I figured it took you three years to write the first book. So, with research and interviews, I believe requesting a few years to write is reasonable.”
“Three years? You must be crazy. It would take five easily, eight on the high end.” He leaned back in his chair, arms crossed, his notorious friend time rearing its head. “So what’s the bad news?”
Olivia used the napkin to wipe the corners of her mouth before tossing it beside her plate. “They want Confidential, editor-approved in nine months.”
“Nine months!” The man at the table next to them shot daggers in their direction. Nick didn’t care. “Are you crazy? Do you know how much work that will require?”
“Hey, you asked for this deal, and I’m giving it to you.” Her silver eyes flashed like lightning as she thrust her finger in his direction.
“How many figures are we talking?” He leaned back. It all hinged on the paycheck.
“Seven guaranteed with points on the movie and five once you sign the contract.”