“Are you cooking for Thanksgiving or are we going out?” I asked her as I cleaned the table.

“We women are all going to cook a nice big dinner. You know your grandma always cooks for Thanksgiving.”

“I can’t wait to go skiing. I haven’t skied in a couple of years,” I smiled.

“Julia, you do know that you and Jake won’t be able to share a room, right?”

“Yes, Mom. I know that.”

“Okay. I’m just making sure because when your dad says something to you about it, I don’t want you to get mad.”

“Don’t worry. I already knew that.” I smiled.

We cleaned up the rest of the dishes, and I headed upstairs to Collin’s room.

We left for Aspen the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. My dad wanted us to have a full day of skiing on Wednesday. Everybody arranged their schedule so they could fly with us. We boarded our plane and Jake was in awe.

“Pretty cool, huh?” I smiled.

“Yeah. I’ve never been on a private plane before. This is amazing.”

Mason and Landon boarded the plane and I ran up to them and gave them a hug and kiss.

“How’s my princess doing?” Uncle Mason asked.

“I’m fine.”

“You’re more than fine. You’re glowing and it must have something to do with that handsome man standing next to you.” He smiled.

“How are you, Jake?” Landon asked as they shook hands.

After we took off, Jake and I unbuckled our seat belts and sat down on the couch. We weren’t there long before my dad stole him away from me. Uncle Denny walked over and sat down next to me.

“How are you, Julia?” he asked.

“I’m good, Uncle Denny. How are you?”

“No complaints. You and Jake remind me of your mom and dad. Except Jake isn’t a stubborn ass like your father.” He smiled.

I laughed as I put my hand on his arm. “No, he’s not.”

“I heard that, Denny.” My dad smiled as he walked over with Jake.

“It’s nothing you haven’t already heard, son.”

My dad sighed. “Come on; I want to show you something in the back, old man.”

We finally arrived in Aspen. My dad spared no expense renting the eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom chalet. We walked in and the beauty of it overtook me. I heard my mom gasp when she walked through the door.

“Oh, Connor. This is amazing,” she said to him.

“I knew you’d love it, baby. It’s all for you.” He smiled.

“You wait until I get you into the bedroom tonight.” She growled.

Jake looked at me and laughed.

“Oh my God, Mom! There are people within hearing distance!”

My mom looked at me and winked. I gave her a half smile and then grabbed Jake’s hand.

“Come on, Jake; let’s go find our room,” I said.

I knew it would only be a matter of seconds before my dad stopped us.

“Excuse me, Julia. Come back here right now,” he said.

“What is it, Daddy?” I innocently asked.

“You and Hailey will be sharing a room and Jake and Collin will share a room.”

I put on my pout face. “That’s not fair, Dad. Why do you and mom get to have all the fun?”

The expression on my dad’s face was priceless and I would have given anything to have taken a picture of it. “Julia Rose!” he exclaimed.

“Let them share a room, Connor. It’s not like they aren’t doing it,” Denny said as he walked by and winked at me.

“Absolutely not!”

“Sorry, Julia, I tried. The old man probably won’t let you share a room together even if you were married.

“Denny!” my dad exclaimed.

“Calm down, Connor, and go have a scotch.”

Jake and I started laughing. I gave my dad a kiss on the cheek and told him I was kidding and that I knew we weren’t sharing a room. I made him feel better by telling him that the thought never entered my mind because I was looking forward to some girl time with Hailey. He actually bought my story. The reality was that Collin, Hailey, Jake, and I had already worked out our sleeping arrangements. After we got settled, Jake asked me if I wanted to go for a walk. When we stepped outside the door, the lightly falling snow had created a fresh blanket on the ground. It was the perfect night for a walk with the person you love.

“I’m glad I’m here with you,” Jake said as he tightened his grip around me.

“Me too. I wouldn’t have made it through the holiday without you.”

“I think you would have survived.” He winked.

“Would you have?”

“Of course I would’ve. I would’ve just found someone else to replace you for a few days.”

Jake knew he was in trouble when he said that because he let go of me and started running.

“Jake Michael Jensen! Get back here because I’m going to hurt you!” I yelled.

As he ran through the snow, I chased him. I stopped long enough to make a snowball and I threw it at the back of his head. He stopped, turned around, and proceeded to chase me.

“That’s it, Miss Black. Now you’re going to get it.” As I tried to run through the snow, I felt a snowball hit my back. I reached down and grabbed as much snow as I could and threw it back at Jake. He caught up with me and tackled me to the ground, turning me on my back and hovering over me.

“You know I was only kidding about finding someone else, right?”


He brushed his cold lips against mine and instantly, not only lips, but my entire body started to heat up.

When Jake broke our kiss, we gazed into each other’s eyes. “I’m going to make you my wife someday, Julia, and I’ll love you forever. I promise you.”

“I love you, and I promise you forever.” I smiled.

“Let’s get back to the chalet. It’s cold out here,” Jake said as he helped me up.

“Do you promise to warm me up?” I asked.

“I would if your dad wasn’t there.” He laughed.

“Well, we’re going to have to sneak then, because I need you to heat me up!”

“I love the sound of that,” he growled as he kissed me.

It was Thanksgiving Day and everyone, except the men, got up early to start preparing dinner. It was a lot of fun with everyone there, helping out. As the day progressed, the men drank, laughed, and watched football. When dinner was ready, my mom called my dad into the kitchen to carve the turkey. The funny part was that she told him exactly how to carve it.

“Connor, start over here and go this way,” she said.

“Baby, I know how to carve a turkey.”

“But, if you go this way, it’s easier and you get bigger slices.”

“Ellery, I love you, but I got this,” he said.

“Hey, Mom, I need you over here to help me with this, please. I can’t get this out of the oven.”

My mom walked over and took the sweet potato casserole out of the oven. I walked over to my dad and put my arm around him as I took a piece of turkey from the plate. He looked over at me and winked.

“Thanks, Princess, for rescuing me.”

“Any time, Dad.” I smiled.

We all took our places at the table and had the best Thanksgiving dinner ever. I was thankful for everybody that joined us and helped us celebrate. Every person here was a part of my family. It was an amazing weekend spent with close family and friends, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Chapter 15

Four years later…

I stormed into the penthouse, sobbing, as I threw my purse on the ground. I ran into the living room where my parents were sitting on the couch.

“Jake and I broke up, and I don’t ever want to see him again!” I cried.

“What?! No, you can’t break up!” my dad exclaimed.

My mom got up from the couch and hugged me. I was crying so hard that I could barely breathe.

“Calm down, sweetheart, and tell me what happened.”

“He ... he ... he ... cheated on me!”

“Princess, Jake would never do that to you,” my dad said.

“He did, Daddy. Do you think I would be standing here like this if he didn’t?”

I continued to sob into my mom’s arms as she tried her hardest to console me. My dad walked over, took me from my mom, and led me over to the couch as he pulled me into him and held me tightly. “You need to tell us exactly what happened, baby,” he said as he kissed my head.

“He was in the shower and his phone rang and it was a strange number, so I answered and it was a woman. She asked if Jake was there and I said he was in the shower. She asked who I was so I told her that I was his sister. She said to tell him that she has everything he needs and that she can’t wait to see him again and, when she does, he’s going to be so happy. So I checked his recent calls and they have been calling each other back and forth for about a month. Oh my God, Daddy. What am I going to do?!” I sobbed hysterically.

My dad didn’t say a word. He just sat there and let me cry until I couldn’t cry anymore. My phone was in my pocket and it kept ringing. I pulled it out and Jake’s picture kept flashing. I raised my hand, and as I went to throw my phone, my dad grabbed my hand and stopped me.

“No, Julia. Don’t break your phone,” he said as he took it from me, turned it off, and set it on the table.

I continued to cry as my mom sat down next to me and hugged me along with my dad. Neither one of them said a word. They just were there to console me and help me through it. About an hour later, the elevator doors opened and Jake came walking into the living room.

“Julia, baby, please.”

I lifted my head from my dad’s chest. “Get the f**k out of my house!” I screamed. “I don’t ever want to see you again.”

“Princess, please let Jake explain,” my dad said as he looked at me.

“Daddy, why are you taking his side? Oh my God, I can’t believe this!” I said as I quickly got up.

I looked at Jake, who was standing there with tears in his eyes. “Julia, please. I have a good explanation.”

“Save it, Jake. We’re done, finished, over!” I yelled as I walked past him.

He grabbed my arm and pulled me back. He shoved a small box in my hand, then held my hand tightly. “This is the reason Clarisse called.”

I gulped as my already racing heart picked up its pace and I slowly opened my hand, revealing the blue velvet box. I looked at Jake with my mascara-stained eyes.

“This isn’t exactly how I planned to do it, but you’ve given me no choice.” He smiled as he took the box from my hand, opened it, and pulled out the most beautiful diamond ring that I’d ever seen. He got down on one knee.

“Julia, from the moment Mozart found you on the beach, I was captivated by your beauty. Then, when you invited me to sit down, and we started talking, I was already falling in love with you. You stole my heart faster than I could feel it beating. Now that I’ve graduated college and you’re almost finished, I felt this was the best time to do this. I’ve already asked your dad for your hand in marriage, and I’m hoping you’ll say yes. I love you so much. You’re my entire universe, and I can’t see myself living in this world without you. Julia Rose Black, will you marry me?”