Welcome to Starlight Hills! Mountain views, small town charm, and one little bake shop, where romance is always on the menu.
Lacey Andrews is focused on her city life and her CPA career. The last thing she wants is a relationship and up to now she’s managed to dodge her mother’s increasingly desperate attempts at matchmaking. But it’s Thanksgiving, and for Lacey that means family, the magic of walking through crisp fall leaves, and the Bitty Bake Shop’s pumpkin pies. So she’s heading back to Starlight Hills for the holiday. Only this year, she suspects coming home alone might be a big mistake.
Kane O'Brien learned the hard way that being chivalrous only ends in betrayal and pain. He’s been an outsider in Starlight Hills since the Andrews family turned the town against him twelve years ago. While he's done his best to rebuild his life and his auto repair shop, he’s never quite outrun his turbulent past. Now he no longer believes in family traditions or holiday celebrations.
But a chance encounter in the Itty Bitty Bake Shop, a shared pumpkin pie, and one crazy proposal could make this the holiday that changes everything.
She slipped off her shoes and crossed her arms over her chest. "Let's start with your word choices, shall we?"
"Words? I think words should be the least of your problems. Between your doting parents and Prince Charming down there, calling you cupcake isn't going to get that trio off your back."
"But it's demeaning and insulting."
"By the look of this room, I'd think you'd invite a nickname like cupcake, cookie, or snickerdoodle. So get used to it. I agreed to your little charade, but I'm not pretending to be someone I'm not. Cupcake works for me."
She plopped down on the bed, her feet dangling off the edge and a pout on her face as she clearly contemplated whether the ruse was worth enduring the cupcake moniker for the weekend. The truth was he could think of a hundred other words to describe her, like bossy, infuriating, beautiful, or just plain sexy.
He ran his fingers through his hair and walked to the window to clear his head. He caught a glimpse of Graystone Lake beyond the trees in the distance, and took a deep breath, expecting the soothing effects to wash over him. Unfortunately, her floral perfume filled the air, keeping his thoughts focused on Lacey.
Get a grip, man. You're the paid entertainment for the weekend.
From the corner of his eye he saw her sit up, hands clenched in her lap. "I think you came off a little too familiar and possessive down there. It was embarrassing."
He turned away from the window to stare at her, not even bothering to hide his disbelief. "If you expect them to believe our engagement, I don't think we went far enough."
Wasn't that just like a woman, having second thoughts at showtime?
She stared back. Dumbfounded.
He had no plans of wasting his time. He could easily go pick up his pie and spend the holiday weekend watching football and eating leftover Chinese food. He had nothing to lose, so he continued. "Listen up, Lacey. You're either all in or I'm out. I'm not here to get dicked around and made a fool out of just to get you out of a date with stuffy Simon. You want my advice? A few little demonstrations of affection on your part is all you need for him to get a clue and take a hike. Not a few half-assed kisses, either. I mean some real down and dirty French kisses."
The terrified expression on her face was priceless.
She stammered a few incoherent words, which only fueled him.
"Kisses with your whole body in the game, grinding hips, and exploring hands. Act like you want me and maybe they'll believe it."
Maybe he'd believe it, too, but he refused to go there. Even in his own private thoughts.
"I don't think that was part of the proposal. Maybe I dragged you out here for nothing. And seriously, a display like that would be downright disrespectful. That was never my intent!"
"You really didn't think this through, did you?"
She shook her head, and he rolled his eyes. The real problem was not that she hadn't thought this through, but that he had.
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