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Page 27 of Just Desserts (Holland Springs 4)

If, if, if.

She took a savage bite out of her defenseless sandwich, rolling her head side to side to ease the tension in her neck.

Her phone vibrated, and her heart leapt into her throat.

“Jules,” she murmured as she picked it up.

I’m on my way. Be there –S

She frowned. Of course it was him and not Jules. Just her luck. Zoe must have given him her cell phone number. According to the card that had come with the huge flower bouquet he’d sent her, he’d been in New York City, conducting business.

Thanks for the heads up, Your Lordship. ~D

After replying to Sebastian, she sent a quick text to Jules. I already suck at this. One text and I’ve gone all harpy on him.

Jules: Everyone gets a mulligan. Try again. Remember—if you agree, then all your bills are gone.

“Stupid insurance bills,” she muttered, but Jules was right. Sebastian Romanov was a gift from Heaven. Or at least his money was.

“Stupid what?”

Her eyes snapped open, mortified to find her ex, Glen, and his new girlfriend, Nina, staring at her with twin expressions of look-at-the- single-and-talking-to-herself-crazy woman.

“Nothing.” She set her lunch to the side and took a drink of water, before standing and brushing off her skirt. “How are y’all doing?”

A little dog with beady eyes stuck his head out of Nina’s purse and Daisy stifled a scream.

“Don’t scare Jelly Belly,” Nina admonished, stroking the brown rat on the head.

“Sorry I wasn’t expecting that—it, er, him?”

Jelly Belly growled at Daisy.

Nina frowned. “She’s a girl. Can’t you see the diamond collar?”

“Oh, yeah. Sorry. Where’s Cici?”

Glen wouldn’t meet her eyes. “She’s, um…now don’t get mad.”

“What did you do with my dog?”

“I gave her to my mother.”

Daisy’s mouth dropped open. “You what?”

Nina patted Daisy’s arm. “Jelly-Belly and Cici couldn’t get along, so Glen thought his mother would love the company, since she’s all by herself.”

I’m all by myself, Daisy wanted to shout, but didn’t. Pride made her keep that thought to herself. Instead, she jerked away from Nina and fixed her eyes on Glen. “How could you do something like that, without talking to me first?”

Glen gave her a tight smile. “Well, you’re welcome to go over to there and take Cici from her.”

“Oh right. You want me to take some little old lady’s dog from her and say what?” Daisy threw her hands in the air. There was no way she could go to Glen’s mother and take Cici away. Cici loved that woman more than Daisy and Glen combined, and she was by herself. Her son only visited her on Sundays, after church, so he could get some home cooking.

Still, it hurt.

Tears pricked at the back of her eyes and her throat grew tight. “God, you’re an ass.”

“Now Glen, I thought you said Daisy was fine with us giving Cici to your momma,” Nina said and Daisy blinked, tears thankfully staying at bay.

“Glen says lots of things,” Daisy said before Glen could lie to the poor woman even more.

Nina shook her head, her brow furrowing. “Now Daisy, that’s hardly productive. Maybe we can all get together for dinner one night and work it out.”

“I don’t think that’s such a great idea, sweetie,” Glen said.

“Yeah, I agree with Glen.”

Instead of looking disappointed, Nina smiled. “That’s a step in the right direction, you two. Maybe one day we can all be friends and do something together again. Glen really misses your friendship, sugar.”

Eyes widening, Daisy took a step back, wishing for someone to come save her. She should just save herself and leave, but she had a feeling they would follow her inside. “Soooo, what brings you out here today?”

Glen and Nina looked at each other and grinned, then back at Daisy. Nina’s arm shot out and punched her. Well, not punched her, but the woman came pretty darn close as she wiggled her fingers at Daisy.

“We’re engaged!”

“Engaged?” Daisy’s gaze slid from the ginormous diamond ring to Glen’s face. His brown eyes crinkled as he smiled at her. This was almost too surreal.

Glen was supposed to have married her. Glen supposedly couldn’t afford to get married for at least five more years. Seems like Glen had lied about a lot, more than she ever suspected.

And finding out hurt more than she ever expected.

Unable to take his smile, she forced her attention to the woman beside him.

Nina nodded, taking the dog out of her purse and kissing it on the head. “Jelly Belly will be the flower girl.”

“You’ll be the best, most precious flower girl ever,” Nina added in high-pitched baby voice.

“Don’t look so shocked.” Glen wrapped an arm around Nina. “We couldn’t wait to share the news with you.”

“You two walked down here just to tell me, your ex-girlfriend, that y’all are engaged?” Of all the nerve. Who did that?

“Don’t pout, Lazy-Daisy,” Glen said with a laugh and she ground her teeth together. “We want to hire you to cater our wedding reception—June twelfth, by the way. So mark your calendar.”

Oh, she wanted to mark something all right.

“I told my Nina-Bina that if Holland Springs only caterer was good enough for a Hollywood movie star, then she was perfect for us,” he added.

Was that ass-backward compliment supposed to make her jump up and down for joy? Did it really matter? This was more business for her. Money was money, even from name-rhyming used-to-be boyfriends who had promised forever, especially since she hadn’t agreed to Sebastian’s offer.

Swallowing her pride, she said, “I’ll be—”

“Darling, I cannot allow you to over-extend yourself like that,” Sebastian said as joined the threesome. “Sorry for my tardiness, love, but my meeting with the Prime Minister—never mind—boring business stuff that shouldn’t have too much of an effect on the American economy.” He gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Full disclosure—I planned a holiday in France, at the Chateau le Camarguais, for us.”

“It was to be a surprise,” he added. “Forgive me?”

Her draw dropped open and somehow she managed to close it. Then she realized everyone was looking at her, awaiting her response. “Sure,” she croaked, and then cleared her throat.

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