Taunting Callum - Kristen Proby



Two Years Ago

Maybe taking goodies over to the royal family this morning was a stupid move. I mean, I got accosted by security for my efforts and was completely embarrassed. What was I thinking? They’re royalty. They don’t need my pastries to make them feel better. They probably have people to make baked goods for them.

But they just went through a horrible scare, with search and rescue being called in and everything, and I know how that feels. Intimately. Luckily for them, their outcome was very different from mine, but I know how exhausting it is. And the last thing you want to think about the next day is food.

And damn it, Cunningham Falls is a small community. A tight-knit one. And we take care of each other here. At least, that’s what I’ve learned in the short time I’ve been here. And I like it.

So, I took them a basket full of freshly baked pastries and plenty of coffee to get them all through the morning. Once I got past the guys in suits, I was in and out of there. No need to dawdle and make it even more embarrassing than it already was.

I didn’t anticipate one of the prince’s running after me to introduce himself.

I also didn’t figure he’d be hotter in person than he is on TV and in magazines, but holy Christ on a cracker, Callum is sexier than sin. And he asked me to dinner.

I shake my head as I pull the portafilter out of the espresso machine and get to work giving it a good cleaning.

The offer was flattering. And more than surprising. But come on, he’s a freaking prince. And I’m a small-town girl with enough emotional baggage to fill the cargo hold of a cruise ship.

There’s no future in that.

Not that he insinuated in any way, shape, or form that he wanted a future. But still.

I’m totally overthinking this.

Maybe he was just being kind and grateful because I brought food.

I nod and move on to emptying a dishwasher full of coffee mugs.

Yes, that’s it. He was being nice.

And I’ve been overthinking it all day. I mixed up people’s drinks, forgot one altogether, and my head has been in the clouds.

As the new owner of Drips & Sips in Cunningham Falls, Montana, I’m a professional. I need to remember what my priorities are and keep my mind on the task at hand.

And that is running this amazing business, not wondering about the flirtations of a member of the royal family.

“Get it together, Aspen,” I mutter just as the bell on the door dings behind me, signaling that someone is walking in. “Sorry, we’re closed for the day.”

I turn and stop short.

Callum Wakefield, Prince Callum Wakefield, is standing in my café.

“Yes, I was banking on that,” he says with a wink and flips the lock on the door before turning back to me. “How was your day?”

“Uh, busy,” I reply and frown in confusion at the tall, sexy man as he walks closer. He’s in jeans and a green, short-sleeve, button-down shirt. He’s tanned, and his square jawline has the slightest hint of scruff.

His brown eyes, full of humor and mischief, are on me as I soak him in.

“What can I do for you?” I ask and set my wet rag aside. I want to fiddle with my hair—I know I look horrible after a long day of work—but I don’t.

“You can go to dinner with me,” he says with a half-smile.

I laugh. I can’t help myself. Am I being punked? Since when does royalty ask Aspen Calhoun out on a date?

“Is something about that funny?” he asks.

“Hilarious,” I confirm. “What can I really do for you? I just cleaned the espresso machine, but I can make you something if you like.”

“I believe I’m speaking English,” he says and leans on my counter. “I’d like to have dinner with you.”

I narrow my eyes. “No, thank you.”

He tilts his head to the side. “Drinks?”

“I’d rather not.”

“I’ll buy you some coffee, then.”

I laugh again. “I get all the coffee I want for free.”

He nods, watching me with those intense brown eyes. “Well, why don’t I just hang out here while you close up?”

“Where’s your security?” I ask as I turn and continue putting mugs away. “Don’t you go everywhere with them in tow?”

“Waiting outside,” he replies, walking up beside me. “Why are you here alone?”

“Because I like being alone,” I reply honestly. “There’s no need to pay staff to stay late. Besides, I kind of like