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Jennifer Youngblood

Romeo Family Romance Series Audiobooks Bundle

Romeo Family Romance Series Audiobooks Bundle

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📚Read an Excerpt


The guy caught eyes with her. “I’m Noah.”

“I’m Piper.”

He held out his gloved hand. Also, wearing gloves, Piper extended her hand as they shook. “Nice to meet you, Piper.”

Everything seemed to slow like a camera lens coming into focus on the primary subject. “Nice to meet you, Noah.” She couldn’t quite place his accent. Was he from the South? There was only a hint of something, so slight she couldn’t pinpoint the region.

Noah motioned. “This is my nephew Milo and a few of his buddies.”

The fresh young faces gave her mildly interested nods of acknowledgement.

“Hey, can we go and get some ice cream?” Milo asked as all eyes turned to Noah.

“I suppose.” Noah heaved out a dramatic sigh as he reached in his back pocket, removed his wallet, and pulled out a couple of twenty-dollar bills.

“Alright!” Milo boomed as he eagerly grabbed the money. With that, the boys took off.

“Bring me back the change,” Noah called after them.

“We will,” Milo responded in a singsong voice.

Amusement quivered on Piper’s lips. “I doubt you’ll have much left. I imagine those boys can eat a lot.”

“You’re probably right,” he agreed so casually that Piper suspected he didn’t really care about the money.
Noah placed his wallet back into his pocket. “So,” he began with a boyish grin that caused her heart to skip a beat, “tell me about yourself. What do you do when you’re not launching snowballs at rowdy ten- and eleven-year-olds?”

The sparkle in his arresting eyes was infectious, causing a grin to slide over her lips. “Oh, no, snow boy, you don’t get the information fed to you on a silver platter.”

A deep, full-throated laugh rumbled out, indicative of one who lived fully in the moment. What must it be like to be so content with the present? Piper knew she was making assumptions, but that’s the read she got on Noah.

“Snow boy, huh? You know,” he mused, pursing his lips as he studied her.

“What?” she asked, tucking a dark curl behind her ear. She’d let her shoulder-length hair do its thing and go curly today. She would give anything to read his thoughts right now. Did he like what he saw? She certainly did. His gaze was penetrating, exhilarating.

“You throw pretty well … for a girl.” His eyes lit with teasing.

“Ah, a sexist snow boy. I see how you are.” Dark strands of hair were peeking out beneath his beanie. Piper wanted to yank it off to see what he looked like. He was so ruggedly handsome with his even features and strong jawline—the kind of man who commanded attention in any environment. Yet, he was free and easy rather than overbearing … the kind of man whose laces were never tied too tight. She laughed inwardly. Okay, that assessment was premature, especially since she didn’t even know Noah. He would obviously have flaws.

What were those flaws? Did she need to be worried?

Maybe she was setting herself up for failure here, using her mental camera to reshape reality into her version of perfect. Piper shrugged off the nagging thoughts, not wanting to obsess over what the future might or might not hold. She wanted to be more like Cori and just go with the flow, enjoy spending time with this dreamboat.

He pumped his eyebrows. “I’m an equal opportunity snow boy.” His voice took on a husky edge as he leaned closer. “With a distinct appreciation for the opposite sex, especially when she’s as beautiful as you.”

Tingles spiraled down Piper’s spine, bringing with them a rush of heat. Her gaze traced his broad shoulders and lean frame. Dang it, he was attractive! The Southern twang was more pronounced that time. It was sexy. She realized that he was waiting for her response. “Thanks,” she stammered, wondering if he also felt the zings of attraction ping-ponging between them. “How about you? What do you do … when you’re not pummeling an innocent bystander with snowballs?” She glanced at his lips, wondering how he would react if she kissed him right now.

A crooked grin pulled at his lips. “Innocent bystander?” His head dipped as he assessed her. “You crossed the line and left that status the moment you picked up those snowballs.”

She gave him a begrudging smile. “Touché.”

Crave drama, suspense, and romance? Take your auditory senses on a wild ride with the Romeo Family Romance Series Audiobooks Bundle! With 11 audiobooks at your disposal, you'll be swept away by the captivating stories full of adventure and emotion. Experience the thrilling mystery and promise of romance with each turn of the page. Get ready for an exciting journey!


She reached for her phone on the nightstand to check the time. Her stomach clutched. Ten a.m. What the freak?! Zoe couldn’t remember the last time she’d slept this late.

Were the kids okay? Had they come in and tried to wake her? Daddy must think she was a total louse. Crap! She stood, her body feeling slightly shaky as she wheeled herself into motion. 

She heard a cry from outside. She went to the window and peered out through the panes at the muted gray of the overcast day. At least it was no longer raining.

Zoe saw movement, heard another scream. Milo’s scream! Her heart missed a beat as her eyes processed what she was seeing—Milo was on a runaway horse, holding onto the horn of the saddle for dear life. 

Zoe’s feet seemed to have a mind of their own as she ran out of the room and down the stairs to get to him. She threw open the front door and flew across the porch, hardly noticing the cold, wet wood against her bare feet until a sharp stab of pain shot through the ball of her foot. She doubled over, realizing she’d gotten a splinter.

“Pull on the reins,” she heard Daddy yell. “Show ‘em who’s boss.”

Tears sprang to Zoe’s eyes as she held up her foot for inspection. The splinter was wedged deep into her flesh. No time to worry about that now. Shivers of pain rattled through her as she hobbled down the steps and across the freshly mowed wet grass, which clung like matted eyelashes to her feet.

By the time Zoe got to the far edge of the yard, Milo managed to get the horse turned around and was now coming back. Instinct took over as Zoe ran out into the dirt road, which went alongside the house and led to the stables.

“Get out of the way!” she heard Daddy yell.

Too late, Zoe realized she was on a collision course with the horse, which had no intention of stopping. She saw the terror in Milo’s eyes as her body froze, her hands instinctively going up for protection as she braced for the impact.

Then, she saw a flash of movement out of the corner of her eye as she was knocked out of the way the instant before the horse went barreling by. 

She felt the blunt force of her back hitting the ground as her mind tried to wrestle with what was happening. A heavy weight pressed on Zoe’s chest, and then she heard Daddy’s voice. “Whoa! I got ya. You’re alright.”

A heady relief rushed over Zoe. Milo was okay. Now her, on the other hand … She took an assessment. Her back was pressed flat to the ground, wet gooey mud seeping into her clothes, skin, and hair.

Then, the synapses of her brain fired enough to truly realize what was happening.

Her eyes bugged as she looked up and found herself starting into two very blue, very recognizable eyes that had become the fabric of her dreams.

“Briggs?” she gasped. It registered in her brain that he’d saved her from getting mowed over by the horse.

He crooked a smile, the edges of his eyes crinkling. “Hey Z.”

Audiobooks in this bundle:

One Perfect Day

An aspiring photographer, elusive stranger who comes to town, and the painful choice that could wreck her career.

One Way Home

The Romeo Family Romance series continues with Zoe Romeo Stevens, Noah’s older sister. Plenty of twists and turns in his fast-paced romance about family ties and the yearnings the heart wants most.

One Little Switch

He needs an act for his tour. She needs a fresh start. One little switch will change everything....

One Tiny Lie

The one tiny lie that brought him into her life might be the very thing that rips them apart.

One Big Mistake

A former Navy SEAL, the woman he loves, and the one big mistake that threatens to destroy everything.

One Southern Cowboy

Sometimes you have to forget all that you learn how to love again.

One Singing Bachelorette

One country music singer desperate to make it big. Twenty contestants vying for the affection of one bachelor. No one actually falls in love on a TV reality they?

One Fake Fiancé

He dreams of owning a ranch. She needs a fiancé pronto. Can the cowboy and the debutante find common ground? Or will their shot at happily-ever-after get stomped to smithereens before it even has a chance to begin?

One Silent Night

A woman searching for healing, a man desperate for a second chance, and the web of deceit that could destroy them both.

One Kick Wonder

Life rarely goes according to plan. Sometimes the unexpected is even better than we could have ever imagined…

One More Chance

The one you’ve been waiting for…Knox and Birdie’s story, the stunning conclusion of the Romeo Family Romance series.

🔥Also available in ebooks

Read the First Chapter

📚Chapter 1 of One Perfect Day

A stab of uncertainty ran through Piper as she searched her brain. “No, that can’t be right. I double-checked the item numbers of the prints before I ordered them.”

Hot prickles rained down on her. She’d been so meticulous. Had Deidre given her the wrong information?

She began sifting through the papers on the reception desk where she was sitting, searching for the sticky note where Deidre had written down the item numbers.

“Well, obviously you didn’t, or you wouldn’t have shipped the wrong ones.” Deidre threw her hands in the air, leveling a hard glare. “This is a disaster! Mac and Angie Wilbrook’s anniversary party is tomorrow night. Mac was planning to present Angie with the prints.”

She rubbed her forehead, barking out a brittle laugh as she paced back and forth in front of the desk. She stopped in her tracks, balling her fists. “I can’t believe this is happening, now, when we’re in the middle of getting ready for Nolan’s reception! Do you know how much clout Mac Wilbrook has in this town?” Her voice went shrill. “Do you?”

Piper flinched, drawing back. “Mac seems like a reasonable person. I’m sure he’ll understand that we made a mistake.”

Fire shot from Deidre’s eyes. “You made a mistake!” Her head swung back and forth. “How could you be so irresponsible?”

Piper’s chest squeezed. “Can we call the distributor and have them overnight the right prints?” Piper felt like a condemned prisoner at the gallows, and her executioner was her diva boss. Piper winced at the crimson filling Deidre’s fine-boned face. She looked like an overripe tomato about to burst.

“Sure!” Deidre spat. “The other ones only took … what? Three weeks to get there?”

“I’ll call Mac and explain the situation.” Piper continued searching through the items on the desk, looking for that blasted sticky note, which would hopefully get her off the hot-seat.

“You bet you will!” Deidre asserted.

Piper bristled. She hated it when Deidre went on her rants, something that was becoming more frequent. “Everyone makes mistakes,” Piper said, fighting to keep her voice even.

Six months ago, when Piper first started working at The Landin Fine Art Gallery, she’d considered it a huge blessing to be able to learn from the celebrated owner, Deidre Landin, who was well-connected in the art world. Deidre had been impressed with Piper’s photographs, saying that she saw loads of potential.

Deidre assured Piper that if she worked hard and proved herself that Deidre would help Piper get discovered. Deidre had allowed Piper to put a couple of her photographs in the gallery, but they were hanging on a rack in the back, getting hardly any attention. The only thing that kept Piper holding on was Deidre’s assurance that she would hold a reception after the first of the year, introducing Piper’s photographs.

“I expected more from you.” Disgust coated Deidre’s voice.

Piper felt a burst of adrenaline when she found the note stuck against the back of a catalogue. “Here it is! The note you left me.” She held up the pink square of evidence. “Let me just check these numbers against the ones in the order.”

Placing the note beside her keyboard, she began typing. Swift feelings of exultation ran through her. “Here are the prints I ordered. They match the item numbers you wrote down.” It was all Piper could do to keep her expression impassive. She turned the screen so that Deidre could see it.

A furrow dented the strip of skin in between Deidre’s sculpted brows. “That can’t be right. Let me see that note,” she said brusquely.

Piper handed it to her, her insides swelling with victory. Would Deidre actually admit that she was wrong? Probably not, but at least she would realize that Piper wasn’t to blame for the mishap.

Deidre pointed. “Ah, ha! Here’s the problem. I wrote down Summer Sunrise, prints I & II. The ones you ordered are called Daybreak.”

Was Deidre seriously going there? Piper’s words rushed out. “That’s because the item numbers you wrote down were for the Daybreak prints.”

Deidre drew herself up, giving Piper a scathing look. “You should have caught the discrepancy.”

Piper’s spine stiffened. “And you should’ve gotten the titles correct, so as to avoid confusion.” The air gathered tension as the two women eyed one another like gladiators about to face off. Yes, Piper wanted this opportunity, but she was tired of cowing to Deidre.
Something hard and impenetrable flashed in Deidre’s eyes, evidence of one who’d been bred to get her way.

“I beg your pardon. Are you questioning me?”

Think of the long term … your goals! “No.” Piper swallowed the tightness in her throat. “I’m only saying that I can see how I could’ve made the mistake.”

Deidre’s hand went to her hip, a snarky smile twisting over her lips. “So, you’re admitting that this is your mistake.”

An invisible noose tightened around Piper’s neck as she clutched her throat. “I acknowledge that I should have noticed the discrepancy between the titles and the item numbers. However, if you had gotten the titles correct to begin with—”

Deidre held up her hand. “It doesn’t matter whose mistake this is. What matters is that we solve the problem.”

Piper had to fight the urge to laugh out loud. Cruella De Vil was changing her tune now that she realized she was partly to blame for the mix-up.

“In the future, I expect you to come to me if you have any questions about an order, especially one so important.” She gave Piper a steely look. “Is that understood?”

A scene flashed through Piper’s mind—her springing to her feet and slapping that superior look off Deidre Landin’s face.

“Is that understood?” Deidre asked again.

“Yes,” was all Piper said. The urge to tell Deidre off was so strong that Piper could scarcely contain it. Think of your photography, the voice in her head screamed.

Before coming to work for Deidre, Piper had spent two long years trying to get a foothold into the art world. The fact that she had two of her photographs in one of the most prestigious galleries in Park City, Utah was huge. Never mind that the photos were buried in the back. Come the first of the year, Piper’s work would be featured in this very gallery. Deidre had to know that if she didn’t make good on her word then Piper would quit. And, Deidre didn’t want that to happen. Piper worked her butt off, turning herself inside out to meet Deidre’s often unreasonable demands.

“Call Mac Wilbrook. Apologize profusely. Tell him that we’ll order the right prints and have them shipped right away. If he wants to keep the ones he has, we’ll sell them to him at a sixty percent discount. Then, call a florist and have a bouquet of roses sent to the Wilbrooks, congratulating them on their anniversary.”

Piper nodded, jotting down the instructions.

Deidre glanced around the empty gallery. “Where’s Scotty?” The gallery had only been open twenty minutes and there hadn’t yet been any customers.

“In the back, taking care of the new shipment that arrived this morning.”

Deidre brightened. “The Rutledge Collection?”

“Yes, I believe so.”

“At least one thing has gone right this morning. Make sure to get all of the inventory logged into the system. We won’t put any of it out until after Nolan’s reception. How are things going with that?” Her words came out in short thrusts as she enunciated every word. “I don’t have to tell you how important this is. We can’t afford any more mistakes.”

Piper raised her eyebrow. “Got it,” she snipped, “so long as my instructions are clear.” It gave her a slight feeling of vindication when she saw the hardening of Deidre’s eyes.

Piper’s dad was always saying that, You teach people how to treat you. It was good that Deidre realized that Piper was frustrated. She was dang frustrated, as a matter of fact! Yes, she wanted the opportunity that Deidre could give her, but she didn’t want to be the woman’s doormat.

“Did you contact the caterer?” Deidre snipped.

“Yes.” Several times. “They’ve assured me that everything is set.”

Sheesh. It was only Tuesday and Deidre was already obsessing over the details for the reception taking place this Friday, the day before Christmas Eve. Piper let out a long sigh. It was bound to be a long week.

“I want everything to be perfect for Nolan.” Deidre’s voice went soft and gooey the way it always did when she spoke of Nolan Vant.

Piper fought the urge to roll her eyes. “I’m sure it will be.”

“It had better be,” Deidre snapped.

The reception was for Nolan Vant, the elusive photographer whose fame and fortune spanned the globe. Eighty percent of all sales at the gallery came from Nolan Vant’s photographs. Nolan was Deidre’s boyfriend. She’d been raving about him for weeks. It would be nice to finally meet the man. Of course, Piper doubted that the real man could live up to the lofty picture Deidre had painted of him.

He certainly wasn’t much to look at. The only photo Piper had seen of Vant was taken when he was out on location. It was a side-shot, obviously a candid. Vant was wearing sunglasses and had a rather obnoxious-looking beard. Not the sort of man Piper would have pictured with glamour girl Deidre Landin. Then again, Vant’s tremendous success could make up for any lacking physical traits.

When putting together the promotional materials for the reception, Piper asked Deidre if there was a better photo of Vant they could use. Deidre had laughed, saying that Nolan hated publicity and preferred to remain behind the camera. “I had to twist Nolan’s arm to even get him to agree to this reception,” Deidre said. “It’s the first time in who knows how long that Nolan has made a public appearance, and it’s happening right here in our humble gallery.”

There was nothing humble about Deidre or her gallery. Deidre came from old money. Her dad had helped her start the gallery. Deidre’s problem was that she was pampered and spoiled. Everything had come too easily for her. Piper’s gaze flickered over Deidre. As usual, she was the picture of perfection … like she’d just stepped out of a fashion magazine. Her long, platinum hair that gleamed like water was owed to expensive hair products and the adept hand of a highly sought-after stylist who knew how to do highlights. Deidre was dressed in a winter white coat and matching pants, a Prada bag slung over her arm. She removed her sunglasses from her head.

“Here’s your mail.” Piper handed her a stack of envelopes.

Deidre glanced down, sifting through the envelopes in her hands. “I’m working a few hours in the office before heading to the airport to pick up Nolan.”

That was great news! Hopefully, Deidre would be so preoccupied with her boyfriend that she would stay out of Piper’s hair. Piper kept her voice casual as she asked, “Nolan’s coming in today? I assumed that he’d get here on Thursday.”

Deidre’s expression softened. “He’s coming in early so we can spend time together.”

“Will you be bringing him by the gallery today?”

“Nope, I plan to keep Nolan all to myself the next few days.”

Piper bit back a smile. “Have fun.”

“I will,” Deidre sang as she strolled to the back, her heels clopping with every step.

This time, Piper gave herself the pleasure of rolling her eyes. Deidre was a piece of work! Nothing like the kind, considerate boss she’d appeared to be when Piper first took the job.

The bell over the door rang, signaling the arrival of a man and woman—the first customers of the day. Piper stood, a professional smile curving her lips. “Good morning,” she said warmly. “Are you looking for anything in particular?”

“Just browsing,” the woman said with a hint of dismissal. Piper got it. People wanted to look around without being hounded by a sales associate. “If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask,” she said cordially.

“Thanks,” the man replied, his expression a touch apologetic as if to make up for the terseness of his wife.

A little before noon, Scotty emerged from the back. “The cases are all unpacked,” he announced, stepping up to the reception desk and handing Piper the packing slips.

Aside from Deidre, Piper and Scotty were the only full-time employees at the gallery. Another woman, Gail Finley, worked part-time to help fill in when needed.

“So,” Scotty began, his dark eyes sparkling with mischief. “It sounds like the witch was on her broom this morning.”

Piper made a face as she glanced furtively toward the back area where Deidre’s office was located. She leaned forward, lowering her voice. “Did you hear her? She accused me of mixing up an order, when the bulk of it was her fault.” Anger rushed back with a vengeance, souring her mouth.

He shook his head. “Sounds about right. Did I hear correctly? Is she leaving soon?”

“Yes,” Piper whispered conspiratorially, “to pick up Nolan Vant from the airport.”

Scotty clucked his tongue as he shook his head. “Poor, miserable chap. I wouldn’t wish that wazzock on a snake.”

A giggle rose in Piper’s throat as she put her hand to her mouth to stifle it. “Wazzock. That’s a new one.”

“It means idiot.”

“You’re terrible,” she said appraisingly, feeling vindicated that she wasn’t the only one who had a hard time with Deidre.

Scotty flashed a cheeky grin that revealed deep dimples as he began singing along to the tune of Jingle Bells playing in the background, “The witch is gone, the witch is gone, the witch is gone all day. Oh, what fun we’ll have today, as long as the witch stays gone.”

“Shh,” she hissed. “She’s not gone yet.”

From England, Scotty was a combination of handsome and cute in a Hugh Jackman meets Adam Sandler sort of way, but there were no sparks. In Piper’s eyes, he was just a friend.

“So, love, after the witch is gone, maybe we should swing by the chocolate shop, and then grab lunch.”

Piper was amused. “You mean swing by and grab Cori, and then we can get lunch?” It was cute to see the color that stained Scotty’s cheeks. Yep, just as she suspected, Scotty had a thing for Piper’s roommate and best friend Cori who worked at the chocolate and gift shop a few doors down.

Piper threw Scotty a perceptive look. “You know, you could just ask Cori on a date.”

Scotty laughed, his face turning redder. “I’m working my way around to it.” He winked. “Just give me time.” He cleared his throat. “Don’t say a word to her about my … err … intentions.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Piper made a zipping motion over her lips. Cori and Scotty would make a great couple. Cori needed to find a guy who was down-to-earth as opposed to her normal pretty-boy, model types. “Word to the wise. You’d better act fast before another guy steps into the picture.” Cori had recently split up with her boyfriend. With her vivid red hair, lively green eyes, and bubbly personality, Cori had a string of guys wanting to go out with her.

Scotty’s eyes widened. “Yikes! I thought she’d at least wait a few days before finding a replacement for …”

“Axle,” Piper supplied.

His eyes rounded. “Axle? What was he? The starring character in an action movie?”

She laughed. “Oh, no. Axle’s too pretty to be an action star. He’s more of the runway model type.” She pursed her lips, posing.

He straightened to his full height, pushing out his chest. “Cori needs a real man … not some glass ornament type who can’t move for fear of getting broken.”

“I hear ya. Just don’t let any grass grow under your feet.” She pumped her fist. “I’m pulling for you, man.”

“Good to know,” he said with a cheeky grin.

The speaker clicked. The music was replaced by Deidre’s voice. “I got Nolan’s flight information and am surprising him at the airport.”

“You go get him, girl,” a woman said.
Deidre’s throaty laughter bounced around the cavernous space. “I can’t wait to get Nolan all to myself. No more camera crews or people around. Just me and him.”

Piper and Scotty looked at one another, fighting laughter. The music for the gallery was controlled from Deidre’s office. She must have hit something and was unaware that her phone conversation had overtaken the music and was being broadcast to the entire gallery.

Scotty sat down on the edge of the desk, propping his leg up as he folded his arms over his chest. “No wonder the poor chap travels the world taking photos. It’s to escape her clutches.” He jutted a thumb toward Deidre’s office.

Piper sniggered. “Probably.”

“You’ve got this,” the other woman purred in a cultured tone that reeked of wealth. “Maybe Nolan’s coming into town to propose.”

Pleased laughter rumbled in Deidre’s throat. “You never know,” she said coyly.

The woman’s voice shot up several octaves. “Girl, you’ve been holding out on me. You’ll be the toast of the town. A gallery owner joining forces with Nolan Vant. You’ll be unstoppable.”

“That’s the plan,” Deidre trilled. “Darling, I need to let you go. I’ve gotta get to the airport.”

“Have fun,” the woman chirped. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t.”

“Don’t worry,” Deidre sang. “Ciao.” There was a click as she ended the call.

Scotty held up a finger. “Ah ha. The truth comes out. Nolan Vant’s exclusive deal is up for renewal the first of next month. If Deidre can trap him into marriage, she really will be unstoppable.”

Piper’s eyes widened. “Do you really think Deidre would stoop so low as to marry a man just to sell his art?”

He shrugged. “It’s Deidre we’re talking about. Who knows how low she’ll stoop?”

“Maybe you’re right,” Piper said with a shrug. Deidre was power hungry, but she seemed crazy about Nolan Vant. It was hard to say what Deidre’s motivations were.

A couple seconds later, Deidre strolled into the gallery area and up to the reception desk. She turned to Scotty. “How did it go with the new shipment? Were there any damaged items?”

“Nope. All good.”

“How did the conversation go with Mac Wilbrook?” Deidre asked, homing in on Piper.

“Surprisingly well. He was gracious. He does want the prints he already has and is grateful for the discount.”

“Good.” Deidre punched out the words like she was checking off a list. “Did you order the roses?”

“Yes.” Sheesh. Hadn’t Piper repeatedly proven that she was capable?

“Get the inventory done,” Deidre ordered.

Piper nodded.

“Well, I’m off,” Deidre said brightly. She walked a couple steps before stopping and tilting her head. “What happened to the music?”

Amusement flashed over Scotty’s features as he looked at Piper who was trying to keep a straight face.

“I’m sure it’s just a glitch. I’ll look into it,” Scotty said smoothly.

“See that you do. It’s much too quiet in here.” Deidre shuddered. “Customers will hate it.”

“Yes, the silence would be a travesty,” Scotty said dryly as he looked at Piper.

Deidre’s eyes narrowed like she was trying to decide if Scotty was making fun of her. “Fix it,” Deidre commanded as she turned on her heel and marched out, her shoes clacking.

Scotty folded his arms as he sighed. “Remind me why I keep working here.”

“Same reason as me,” Piper quipped, “because Deidre promised us that she’ll feature our work.”

He cocked his head. “Do you think she’ll follow through?”

Piper shrugged. “Time will tell. She promised me the first of the year.”

“She promised me spring.” Scotty pulled a face as he held up his hands. “The real question is—can I keep from wringing her scrawny neck before then?”

“At the rate she’s going, I’m not sure,” Piper laughed.

Scotty put his hands together. “Well, let’s go to lunch.”

“As tempting as that is, one of us should stay here. Why don’t you just bring me something back?” A teasing smile tugged at her lips. “Maybe some chocolate?”

A broad grin split Scotty’s face. “I like the way you think, love. I’ll throw a sandwich into the mix too.”

Piper wrinkled her nose. “You know what? On second thought. I’ll just go and grab lunch … after you get back. It’ll do me some good to get out of this place for an hour.”

“Amen,” Scotty boomed. He pumped his eyebrows.

“Wish me luck at the chocolate shop.”

Piper waved a hand. “Ah, you don’t need luck. Just throw a few of those sexy loves into the conversation. With your accent, you’ll have her eating out of the palm of your hand.”

“I can only hope.” He went a few steps, then stopped.

“The music.”

“Yep, better fix that. ‘Customers will hate it,’” she said, mimicking Deidre.

He saluted and went that direction.

Piper’s stomach rumbled. She touched it before turning her attention to the packing slips. Her hunger would have to wait until Scotty returned. In the meantime, she’d log in the inventory.

When the music came back on, Piper found herself humming along to the Christmas song playing. She was excited about Christmas and was looking forward to spending time with her family. Also, she was excited to get a break from Deidre.

Piper could only hope that Nolan Vant would keep her preoccupied so that Piper and Scotty could have a little room to breathe.

Would Deidre make good on her promise and feature Piper’s photography, or was working for Deidre and putting up with her crap a colossal waste of time and energy?

Only time would tell.

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