(3 book romance bundle).., p.23
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       (3 Book Romance Bundle) "The Cowboy's Love" & "Sex with the Billionaire" & "Loving the White Billionaire", p.23

           Julie Allen, Carla Davis, & Monica Brooks

  Chapter One

  “Remember the first time we came here?”

  “I do,” I said as I looked around at the dark field. There was a large oak tree off in the distance, I could just make it out among the large man-made lake that some of its branches shadowed.

  “Remember our first kiss?”

  “Yes, of course Ethan! What is this about?” I asked impatiently.

  Today was just a normal ordinary day. I got up, got dressed in my usual attire as an accountant, and later came back to my apartment.

  I hadn’t planned anything besides heating up the leftovers that I had from last night, having a long conversation with my boyfriend via Skype, and eventually turning in for the night after a relaxing bubble bath.

  So when I got a knock on my door at a quarter to seven, I was definitely not expecting Ethan to be standing there with roses in hand, and an invite to walk down memory lane.

  “Be patient my love, just wait,” He assured as we continued to walk towards the tree.

  “Okay, I’ll be patient.”

  “Good. Remember what I told you that first day under the Oak tree, you know, the night of our first date?” he asked as his arm wrapped snugly around my waist.

  “Like it was yesterday,” I said closing my eyes momentarily as my mind went back to those words.

  “I love you like I’ve never loved anyone before,” he whispered softly in my ear in the present just as he had in the past.

  “I can’t believe that I found you at such a young age,” I said truthfully as we were now standing under the branches.

  “Me neither, baby,” he said through that beautiful smile that I’d grown to love.

  We stood there, just gazing into each other’s eyes as the water from the lake lapped at the man-made shore. The grass was plush like carpet under the soles of our feet, and the soft breeze helped in the creation of goose bumps rising on my long brown arms. He reached his dark chocolate hand up to run it through my loose black curls as they tickled my shoulder blades.

  His full lips held a smile that lit up his deep brown eyes. His chiseled jaw was lightly dusted with facial hair; something that he knew heightened his sex appeal.

  “I could get lost in those honey brown eyes.” he told me before leaning in to gently kiss my forehead.

  My eyes shut tight at the warmth of his kiss, and my heart continued to pound deep in my chest. God I loved this man so much. He was my everything, my world, my…

  “Ethan?” I asked abruptly as he loosened his fingers from my locks and began to kneel. I was taken by surprise, so much so, that I couldn’t believe what was going on around me.

  As if on cue, a thousand little lights began to make their presence known among the branches of the tree, and after getting a closer look, I could see that they were soft white Christmas lights.

  When I looked back down to Ethan, I gasped. In his hand, was a little black box that he opened to reveal a small but stunning diamond ring.

  “Marry me, Jaida, so that we can add this memory to our very own special place.”

  “Ethan…” I said through the tears that were welling up behind my eyes.

  “Jaida…Jaida! Ms. Jaida!”

  I hadn’t realized that I’d drifted off into la-la land when my boss walked in through the door. I immediately straightened my posture and organized my desk in the appropriate manner as she walked further into my office.

  Folding my hands neatly in front of me, I looked up and into the eyes of Mrs. Gallagher. She was a tall woman with hair the color of the warm sunset. Her eyes were as vivid blue as the sapphire necklace that I never saw her without.

  She was a thick woman, and dressed herself to accentuate her curves in the most professional way. I smiled as she pulled out a chair in front of my desk to sit, and waited patiently as she sifted through a crisp manila folder. She was making me extremely nervous.

  First she catches me daydreaming, next she’s firing me a week and three days before my wedding. I really needed to get a grip, I swear Ethan’s pre-wedding jitters are contagious; he’d been pretty jumpy lately. But most men were right before the wedding; it’s what I expected.

  “Daydreaming again Ms. Jaida?” Mrs. Gallagher asked interrupting my thoughts yet again.

  “I’m so sorry, I just have a lot on my mind lately; I’m ok, anyway, did you need something?” I asked as I forced myself to relax a little.

  “You can relax all the way now, I’m not in here to fire you,” she reassured, laughing slightly as she saw my noticeable change in posture.

  “Oh, thank goodness,” I breathed.

  “Am I really that much of a hard ass?” Mrs. Gallagher asked she finally found the paper she had been rifling through that folder for.

  “Of course not! No, I just-I’m so distracted and I really did not want that to reflect on my work here at the firm…”

  Mrs. Gallagher dismissed my worries with a wave of her hand.

  “Relax; I know how stressful planning a wedding around work can be. That is exactly why I am giving you this to sign and date,” she said handing the sheet to me.

  I noticed immediately that it was my pay stub. I was a little confused; I didn’t get paid until Tuesday, though it was Monday, it was still unexpected. I began to fold it and put it away in my desk like I normally did, when I heard Mrs. Gallagher pointedly clear her throat.

  When I looked up at her, I noticed an almost complacent grin on her small red lips. Looking back down at my pay stub, I noticed that my vacation time that I had put in for had been approved. Not only that, but an extra week had been added on, fully paid, and starting…

  “This week? But it’s only nine in the morning and I have so much to do today…”

  “I’ll see you in two weeks Ms. Peterson,” Mrs. Gallagher said as she stood up and extended her hand.

  “Thank you so much, I really appreciate this,” I said as I took her hand in a friendly shake.

  “You deserve it,” she said with a nod, and with that, she was out of the room. Cleaning up my desk and shutting down my computer didn’t take long. With a glance at my surroundings to make sure that I hadn’t left anything behind, I turned around and made my way to open, and then lock my office door behind me.

  My evening went normal as per usual, save for the fact that my fiancé didn’t last for too long on Skype. I tried to see him earlier today with lunch in hand, but he was too busy with a patient. It didn’t bothered me too much; he was very busy with his new medical career. At thirty-two, Ethan had graduated from medical school, and started working immediately after.

  He’d already been offered a job at one of the best hospitals in the state of California; and was making a good living. I, on the other hand, hadn’t gotten the ball rolling as well. I barely made it through school, and finding a job was tough. Luckily for me, I happened to know one of the women who worked in the firm I currently work for. She put in a good word for me with Mrs. Gallagher.

  Ethan didn’t live too far from here, but he did live far enough away from me to spend at least one hour in traffic to get to me. And even though that is a lot of time spent back and forth in a car, it’s my preference. I’m old-fashioned in that sense. Though I’m not a virgin, I did want some things traditional.

  The moment we get back from our honeymoon, I will be moving out of my little nest to live in his palace. Looking around at the plush beige furniture, the vivid yellows and purples of my flowers and the modernized style of my apartment, I began to feel a pang of sadness. This place was all my own, and in a matter of a little under a month, I would no longer call this place my home.

  I took a deep breath and sank deeper into the comfort of my couch. The sound of the alarm going off on my phone gave my heart false hope when I noticed that it wasn’t a call from my Ethan. I wondered what he was up to; he seemed like he had a lot of things to do. I hoped that it wasn’t going to keep him up too late.

  There was no use worrying myself over it too much. Taking a deep breath as I soak
ed in a few extra seconds on the couch, I reached over and switched off the light before proceeding down the hall to bed.

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