“The Book Bin, this is Emma Miller, how can I help you?” I spin around in my office chair while I twirl the phone cord in my finger.

“Emma, it’s Jarrod. Just calling to make sure that everything is on schedule for the Barton book signing today.” Jarrod is Barton Wallace’s personal assistant. We’ve had a million phone calls within the last six months all of them with me persuading Jarrod to get Barton to come to my little shop to support independent book stores. I’ve always backed mom & pop shops, but I had to guilt Jarrod into agreeing to schedule Barton here. I convinced him that the foundations of our great country were based on small businesses and that if it weren’t for people like me and my little shop, our nation would be nothing but characterless strip malls. Then I found out that Jarrod is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and that his grandma, before she passed, had won the state fair’s blue ribbon ten years in a row for her peach cobbler. This was when I really went for it and pulled on Jarrod’s heart strings. A baker myself, I bribed him by promising to bake him a peach cobbler that would be just as good as his grandma’s, if not better. But only if he could get Barton to come to my shop. And I also promised him that I would have at least fifty people here for the event.

“Jarrod, Jarrod, Jarrod,” by now I feel like we’re old friends, “I made you a promise and I’m sticking to it. And besides that, I’ve got a peach cobbler for you that would make your grandma hand over all of her blue ribbons to me.” I learned from my dad the simple lesson on how to get anything from a man, go through his stomach.

Jarrod chuckles, “Hey there now, don’t make Grammy flip in her grave, them be fightin’ words where I’m from! But seriously, Emma. Barton will put that peach cobbler right in my face if there’s not enough people there for his book signing.”

“Don’t you worry about a thing, I got this.” As I soothe Jarrod, I quickly jump on my computer and send e-mail reminders to the Barton Wallace R.S.V.P. list. I’ve got over 65 confirms assuring me the prerequisite and sparing Jarrod from getting a cobbler in the face.

“Emma, Emma, Emma,” Jarrod’s mimicking makes me giggle. “I went out on a limb here for you, it wasn’t easy.”

“You know I appreciate it.” I look at my watch and my stomach churns knowing that I’m only hours away from meeting the man of my dreams, my world, my universe! “I’m hanging up now Jarrod, I’ve got work to do but before I go,” I tease him one last time, “My cobbler has a secret ingredient that’s sure to make your head spin!”

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