Her Christmas Pregnancy Surprise
A festive reunion…
…with an unexpected gift!
When Pepper Kane’s home and bakery are burned down in the weeks before Christmas, billionaire CEO Simon Ross—the man she spent one unforgettable night with—comes to the rescue! Pepper knows this playboy doesn’t do relationships, but staying with him in his penthouse and caring for an abandoned puppy, their spark is rekindled… And then comes a festive surprise that shocks them both: she’s carrying his baby!
HEAT LEVEL: closed door love scene
“Overall, I found this heartwarming story a fast and end entertaining read. I normally find novels about billionaires a little unbelievable but that wasn’t the case in this book.” Peaceful Pastime
“Get in the Christmas spirit with Jennifer Faye’s Her Christmas Pregnancy Surprise! It’s a fun story full of delicious treats, complicated romance, and an adorable rescued puppy.” Hallie Reads
“Love the abandoned puppy in the story. The author has a distinctive flair to her writing that makes it a pleasure to read. . . . If you love a good romance this book is for you. . . . This is strictly a light-hearted romance that you will enjoy reading curled up in a blanket with a cup of hot tea on a snowy day.” For Him and My Family
Read an Excerpt
October… Ross Tower, New York City
Was this really happening?
An invitation to one of the most exclusive parties in New York City. It didn’t get much better than this.
Okay, it wasn’t quite an invitation. Still, she was here among the crème de la crème of New York society—actresses, models, politicians, and the list went on. How she got here shouldn’t matter, right?
And, okay, she just happened to be one of the waitstaff. Not an actual guest. But still, this wasn’t just any party. This was Simon Ross’s party at the top of the tower. She stifled a squeal of delight as she considered pinching herself just to make sure this was real.
Pepper M. Kane resisted the urge, but barely. After all, she had landed—correction, her bakery had landed—this prime opportunity, and she wasn’t going to do anything to ruin it or her reputation. If she could make a good impression here, the connections and possibilities were endless.
By the end of the party, she’d handed out countless business cards. Her cheeks were sore from smiling so much. And her feet ached from the heels she’d decided to wear instead of her usual flats. She couldn’t wait to get home, curl up on the couch and put on an old black-and-white movie from her ever-growing collection.
There were still a few lingering guests, not to mention the host—the very sexy host. Her gaze moved across the spacious conference hall. There stood the man himself. More than six feet of tall dark sexy goodness.
She clearly remembered their first meeting this past summer. It had been very early one morning when Simon had strolled into the Polka Dotted Bakery. It had been just like any other day when her life started to change. There had been no lightning strikes and no earthquakes, but his entrance into her life had caused ripples through her heart.
At the time, she’d thought he was just another customer. Well, not just any customer—he’d been the only customer at that early hour. Even the sun hadn’t risen yet.
Pepper remembered quite clearly that particular morning. She’d been working the front counter when he’d stepped up to the glass display case to peruse the baked goods, from croissants to donuts to cookies and everything else in between. He’d chatted with her about her selection of donuts. And then he’d ordered two coffees, plus two cherry turnovers. After he paid for them, he’d handed her the second coffee and the extra turnover. No one had ever done something like that for her before. She was truly touched.
He had a billion-dollar smile that could melt the frosting right off Pepper’s triple-chocolate cupcakes. And he had these dreamy espresso brown eyes that she could stare into the entire day. With his short-styled hair and designer suit, he could easily grace the cover of any magazine or romance book.
The longer she talked to him, the more she’d noticed that he had something weighing on his mind. Pain flared in his eyes. It touched her, and though they were strangers, with her staff handling things in the kitchen, she’d invited him to sit and drink his coffee with her.
He hadn’t said much at first, but as one thing led to another, their conversation deepened. And then he’d revealed that he’d just received news that a childhood friend had died. Pepper never thought anything good would come from losing her mother and grandmother, but she was able to draw upon that experience to give some sort of comfort to Simon. It was as though that morning they’d formed a bond—a bond forged in loss and wrapped in hope.
And so for the past five months, Simon had been stopping by the bakery at least once a week early in the morning for two large black coffees and two cherry turnovers. Pepper looked forward to those mornings as they chatted about current events, the bakery or whatever was on their minds. She had made a new friend—a good friend.
And then out of the blue, he’d offered her the opportunity to cater for the Ross Toys expansion party. At first, he’d caught her off guard, as they hadn’t exchanged last names. But when she found out he was Simon Ross of Ross Toys she was left speechless. For Pepper, it was a crowning achievement. Ross Toys was one of the biggest businesses in the country.
Today Mr. Ross, as she insisted on calling him at the party, was the host and she was the baker. Today they were not coffee mates or friends. They each had a job to do—expectations to be met. The announcement of a new chain of stores had been made to the world—Ross Pet Playground. Speeches had been made. Thank-you’s had been issued. And predictions were bandied about while Pepper and her staff kept the trays on the buffet table filled.
Pepper had just returned from helping her staff load the empty trays into the delivery van. With both employees and the carts, the van was full. She’d sent her staff back to the bakery to unload and then head home. She’d driven separately, but before leaving, she had to finish cleaning up.
She rushed in the back door and came to an abrupt halt. There stood Simon Ross not more than ten feet from her. He wasn’t just another New York City businessman. He had been voted the city’s sexiest bachelor, as well as Business Person of the Year, in addition to being CEO and founder of Ross Toys. He was quite a package for some lucky lady.
At the moment, he was deep in conversation with another man in a similar dark suit and tie. Before she could discreetly make it past the men, Simon’s gaze met hers. It was only for the briefest of moments, but it was long enough for her heart to start racing. Heat rushed to her face. What was wrong with her? Why couldn’t she treat him like any other client?
A mocking voice inside her head said it was because he wasn’t like any other client. He’d started off as her friend. And then there was the part about him being smoking hot. She didn’t know a man could look that good in a suit.
She moved to the buffet tables, finding them still covered with fine white table linens and a cake platter. She lifted the end of a long white linen—
“Would you like a hand?”
She didn’t have to turn around to know that deep, smooth voice belonged to none other than Simon. Her stomach shivered with nerves. She glanced over her shoulder as he moved next to her. “Thanks. But I’ve got this. Don’t you have to tell your guests good-night?”
“I’m sorry.” That hadn’t come out like she’d intended. “I didn’t mean to sound dismissive. I just don’t want to take you away from your guests.”
“They’ve all gone now.” A smile returned to his very handsome face, making her heart beat faster. “So tell me, what needs to be done?”
Pepper could fold the cloth herself. She’d done it countless times in the past, but she’d been hoping all evening to have a little of his time.
“You could help me fold the tablecloth.”
He moved to the other end of the table and lifted the corners of the cloth. They approached each other. Her gaze caught and held his. Her pulse raced and her knees felt as though they’d turned to gelatin. With concerted effort, she kept putting one foot in front of the other. All the while, she wondered if he could hear the pounding of her heart.
And when they brought the material together, their fingers brushed. A jolt of awareness had her gaze dipping to his mouth—his very kissable mouth. The tip of her tongue moistened her lips.
For the longest second of her life, neither of them pulled away. In fact, it was as if time had slowed down. A rush of energy pulsated through her body.
This was ridiculous. It wasn’t like this wealthy, extremely handsome, very eligible CEO would be interested in her. She was just a baker with a polka-dotted apron and her hair pulled up. And she was his friend. Nothing more. Just someone to occasionally start the day with over a cup of hot coffee—even if those were the days she most looked forward to.
She moved her hands to lift the fold. “Mr. Ross, I think you had a very successful event.”
He arched a brow. “Since when do you call me anything but Simon?”
She glanced around to make sure no one overheard them. “It’s different here. Someone might overhear.”
“And that would be a problem?”
He was right. She was getting too worked up about protocol and appearances. Still, she couldn’t resist glancing around again just to make sure no one was watching or listening to them. Satisfied they had some privacy, she began to relax.
“Congratulations on the new store chain.” She took the tablecloth from him, in order to make the final folds. “Your guests all seemed excited about the plan.”
“Thanks. It won’t be long now. The first store opens just before Christmas.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
He shrugged. “Sure.”
“If you like animals enough to start up a chain of pet stores, why don’t you own one?”
Simon didn’t want to think about the past and how he’d wanted a puppy so badly. Yet the door to the past had been cracked open and now the memories slithered through, filling his mind.
He remembered the little black puppy he’d fallen in love with. The neighbor’s dog had given birth. And his best friend, Clay, had offered him a puppy. He’d snuck it home, not wanting anyone to know—if they didn’t know, they couldn’t ruin this for him.
Except two days later, his father found out and there’d been a high price to pay. Simon absently rubbed his right arm. He slammed the door on the memories. He wasn’t going to open up about his horrific past, not even for the amazing woman standing next to him.
“It’s not a chain of pet stores. It’s a toy store for pets.”
“There’s a difference?”
He nodded. “We won’t be selling food and basics. We’ll tailor our supplies to keeping the consumers’ four-footed friends entertained.” A frown came over his face. “As for me not owning a pet, it’s the way I like it.”
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to overstep.”
He cleared his throat. “I think we both had a successful evening. Are all of your business cards gone?”
“Almost.” She pulled a dozen or so out of her pocket.
“I predict you’re going to be very busy in the near future.”
“I hope so.”
“Trust me. I see a brilliant future for you.” He smiled at her.
Her stomach dipped. No one had a right to have such a sexy smile. What were they talking about? It took her a second, but then she got her mind back on track.
Her gaze met his and held, much, much longer than was necessary. Her heart started to beat faster. “I… I want to thank you for hiring me—for hiring the bakery—my bakery.”
Oh, why am I tripping all over my words? It’s not like this is a date or anything.
He smiled. “There’s no need to thank me. I wanted the best. And you are the best.”
Pepper felt as though her feet had just left the floor. He thought she was the best? Her lips pulled up into a big, broad smile as her heart continued its erratic tap-tap-tap-tap. It was like it was beating some Morse code signal or something.
“Yes, there is. It means a lot that you think enough of my baked goods to want me to serve a party.”
He continued to stare deeply into her eyes. “Of course, I think your food is amazing. But I didn’t hire you.”
“You didn’t?” She studied him, not sure what to think.
He shook his head again. “I have staff that take care of things like that.”
“Of course you do,” she mumbled under her breath. The blaze of heat singed her cheeks as she glanced away. What made her think he would be bothered hiring a caterer?
“Not that I wouldn’t have hired you.” His gaze met hers yet again. “It appears I’m not the only one to think you have the best bakery in the city.”
Once again the heat flamed in her cheeks. She glanced up. “Thank you. I should be going.” When he didn’t make any move to leave, she said, “I’m sure you have other plans.”
She wanted to ask if he had a girlfriend, but it was absolutely none of her business. And she didn’t want him thinking she was hitting on him—that would be the end of their easy friendship. Besides, a friendship was as much as she was willing to offer anyone. The thought of caring for someone—of losing another person in her life—scared her.
“For once, I don’t have plans.”
And so he lingered while she placed the tablecloth in a box with some other items. “You must always be so busy. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to run a company this size. I know that my little bakery keeps me busy from morning until night.” She was running out of things to say, but he still didn’t make any movement to leave.
“Usually, I spend my evenings in the office.”
“So you like to stay on top of everything?”
He nodded. “I do.” He started helping her pick up things. “Just like you do by being here for the party.”
Heat rushed to her cheeks. He was referring to the fact that she was here in person instead of sending someone from her staff. “The truth is I like to handle these events.”
He arched a dark brow. “You like to make connections and expand your business. And your staff can’t do that as well as you do. I totally understand. You and I, we aren’t so different. If you ever want to discuss your business model or plans, let me know.”
Pepper couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Simon Ross, the Simon Ross, was offering to help her with her business. Like he didn’t already have his hands full with a Fortune 500 company that kept rising in people’s estimations. If anyone could help her, it would be him. She’d love to hear what he had to say.
“Thank you,” she said, carefully placing a stray cake server in the box. “I’d really appreciate it. Right now, I could take all of the help I can get.”
“Do you have any plans for tonight?”