Peaches in Winter * Sweet Romance

 

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What does author Jake Watterson need with a secretary? Nothing, that’s what!

But when beautiful Betty Ann, who can’t type, talks too much and cooks like an angel enters his life, Jake begins to wonder how he ever did without her.

Betty wanted nothing more than to be a secretary, to forget the past and a fiancé who jilted her. But sexual harassment from her old boss left her jobless, and a new job with grumpy Jake Watterson is the second chance she needs.

Betty thinks Jake could never see her as anything but a secretary—and not even a very good one. Jake believes he’s too damaged and could never be good enough for the beautiful farm girl who’s entered his world, talking about life on the peach farm and baking him the most delicious things.

Somehow, being near each other seems to thaw the winter in both their lives. Will they ever both see with their hearts the love they hold for each other? Like peaches growing in winter, it seems impossible.

Jake’s friend and publisher gets into the mix when he sees how beautiful Betty is and decides to start flirting with her, to Betty’s shy consternation and Jake’s jealous irritation.

Then Betty’s fiancé who jilted her shows up on her doorstep, hat in hand…

A sweet romance novella

Excerpt:

The doorbell rang.

Jake jumped up and dashed for the door, before he caught himself.

What are you doing, Jake Watterson? He slowed his walk to a stroll, tugged at his shirt and straightened his shoulders. Honestly. Rushing to the door like an eager date. Next thing you know, you’ll start looking forward to seeing her! He straightened his tie, irritated with himself.

“Come in.” He yanked the door open with a glare.

Today she wore a decrepit red coat and once again had a big smile on her face.

The jacket he’d loaned her last night was draped over one arm. And she held a bouquet of flowers.

Daisies, by the look of them.

Jake drew back, swallowing and trying to keep the surprise off his face. What did she think this was, a date? What was it about this girl that could make his life so surreal and make him instantly uneasy?

“Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Watterson. Did I startle you?” She held the flowers up, apologetically. “I brought these to remind you of spring. It’s coming soon!”

She stepped into his home, wearing the same dress she’d worn yesterday underneath an unbelievably ratty barn coat. The arms were too short, and it had been patched with an almost-matching red fabric near the hem.

She handed him back his borrowed jacket with an apologetic smile, slipped her coat off, and hung it on a hook. She was right. It was horrible. “I’ve been meaning to buy a new one,” she said. “I’ll be able to afford it soon.” She headed again to the kitchen, carrying the daisies, and talking.

“I can’t wait for spring. This morning I woke up; I honestly thought I could smell the peach trees blossoming out my window. I guess I must be homesick. I surely do miss Ma and Pa, and Grandpa, and my brother Sam.

“You really ought to see a peach orchard in spring, Mr. Watterson. I guess it sounds rude to say so, but I think you just haven’t lived until you’ve seen one. It looks like all the trees are going to a wedding and dressed up all fancy for it. And then there’s the wonderful smell—”

The steady stream of words continued to issue from her mouth.

She just can’t stop talking, can she? He watched her in wonder. Once again, he found himself following her into his kitchen.

He stood by her side as she filled another glass jar with water and the daisies. The activity didn’t slow her flow of reminiscences. She talked on, describing the farm, talking about peaches, and discussing what her family was probably doing at just this moment.

He listened to her, amazed and appalled. As far as he could tell, she didn’t stop for breath. He listened, trying to catch it, but he couldn’t.

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