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Who’d want to be Nikki Lane? Sure, she’s beautiful, but her family isn’t much. She isn’t married either, and supporting her two boys on a minimum wage job has cost her more than one sleepless night.
Tommy Price is everything Nikki isn’t. He lives on James Street, the best street in town. Naturally, his rich, influential family has a suitable woman picked out for him to marry.
Tommy and Nikki’s two diverse worlds literally collide one evening at the discount store where Nikki works, giving both of them a glimpse into a life they never knew existed.
Can the growing attraction between them bridge the vast gulf which separates them, or will their romance end before it even begins?
“Tommy, you told me to remind you that you have to buy a gag gift to take to the party tonight.”
Tommy sighed. “I don’t know what to get. What do you recommend?”
“Beats me. You know I don’t have a sense of humor.”
Tommy gave up. If Mattie didn’t want to help him, nothing would move her, and he knew he had made her angry when he refused to go out with her cousin, Tia. He wouldn’t say so to Mattie, but Tia was too stuck on herself for him to enjoy her company. “I’ll see you Monday, Mattie. Have a good weekend.”
“You too, Tommy. If you change your mind about my cousin, give me a call.”
Mattie went back to her desk, and Tommy donned his coat, and left for the day. It had started to snow harder now, and the weather report called for several inches accumulation. Maybe I could find a gag gift at Super Mart, he thought, and on impulse he wheeled his car into the discount store’s parking lot.
It took a few minutes to find a place to park, for Christmas arrived in a few days, and the last minute shoppers had clearly panicked when they took note of the date. Tommy hurried into Super Mart and immediately spied Bill English
At one time he had hoped to be Bill’s son-in-law. He had fallen deeply in love with Bill’s daughter, Susan, but Susan hadn’t felt the same way about him. She had broken up with him and married another man shortly afterward.
Bill worked at Super Mart so he handed Tommy a sale paper. “Merry Christmas, Tommy.”
“Hi, Bill. Merry Christmas. How are Susan and Kurt?”
“Doing great. You need to think about getting married yourself, Tommy.”
Tommy decided to beat a hasty retreat. Why did everybody want him to get married? “I’d better run, Bill. I’ve got a party to go to.”
He waved to Bill and dashed away, grateful for a quick escape. He wandered down the center aisle of the store, but he didn’t see anything that he thought seemed funny. He spotted a woman wearing the orange coat that identified her as Super Mart staff; maybe she could help him. He tapped her on the shoulder. “Excuse me, ma’am. Could you help me?”
The clerk turned around and Tommy’s breath caught in his throat. He had stumbled across a princess. She had dark, smooth hair, creamy, porcelain skin, indigo blue eyes, full, red lips, and a shape that even the orange coat couldn’t hide. For a moment, he couldn’t remember what he wanted.
“Cat got your tongue?” the young woman cheerfully inquired. “You look familiar. Do I know you?”
“I”¦ don’t know, I mean, I don’t think so,” Tommy floundered, mentally kicking himself for allowing a beautiful woman to reduce him to the level of a gauche freshman.
“Well, what do you want? I’m too busy to just stand here and talk. You aren’t trying to pick me up are you? You’re tall, dark and handsome as they say, but I’ve sworn off men. Every time I get involved with one it turns out bad. Your hair is as black as can be. You don’t dye it, do you?”
“Uh, no, I don’t dye it.”
“You won’t tell me what you want, so I’ll have to guess. You look like you might be an athlete, so I expect you want sporting goods. Follow this red line on the floor, and it’ll take you where you want to go.”
“No,” Tommy replied hastily. “That isn’t it. I want a gag gift.”
“Let me think.”
Tommy waited in silence for a moment or two. “I know just the thing,” she assured him. Follow me.”
She led Tommy to the lingerie department which didn’t please him at all. It embarrassed him to look at underwear with a beautiful woman.
She went down aisle five and selected a box from the shelf. “Here you go. This is a perfect gag gift unless you’re going to a church party. It might be a little over the top for church. Not that I think it’s bad myself, but ministers might. What do you think?”
“I don’t know what it is so it’s hard to have an opinion,” Tommy pointed out.
The girl handed him the box. “It’s a passion meter. You hold the round glass part in your hand, and your body heat causes the red liquid to rise in this little tube. You know; like mercury in a thermometer, but see on the side here? It tells you what kind of lover you are based on how far your body heat makes the liquid rise. Take it out of the box and try it.”
“I don’t need to do that.”
“Oh, you might as well. Don’t you want to know?”
The woman removed the device from the box and handed it to him. “Wrap your hand around the glass bulb.”
Tommy did as she instructed. Suddenly the liquid boiled and shot straight to the top of the glass tube.
“Look at you,” the woman laughed. “You measured red hot super stud.”
Tommy’s face turned a color very similar to the red liquid, and a fit of laughter so intense that she had to hold the shelf for support seized his lovely companion.
“You’re awfully shy, aren’t you? I guess you weren’t trying to pick me up after all. Is there anything more that I can show you?”
“No, but thank you for helping me.” Why did she have to laugh at him? No man wanted a beautiful woman to make fun of him.
“Merry Christmas,” she said and bustled away.