A Love So Sweet

By: Addison Cole

“Yup. Savannah called. Treat, enjoy your time with her. She misses you, and I’d venture a guess that you could use a little extended family time, too.”

He could say that again. Anything to keep his mind off Max.

Chapter Two

MAX ARMSTRONG DONNED her most comfortable jeans and her usual festival T-shirt on opening day. Chaz Crew, her boss and founder of the Indie Film Festival, had created so much buzz over the past few years that they were expecting more than forty thousand attendees. The festival grounds covered one hundred acres a few blocks from Main Street and boasted five new theaters. Also on the grounds were restaurants, gift shops, and a high-class hotel. Hotels in neighboring towns were booked a full year in advance of the festival.

Whether there were twenty thousand or fifty thousand attendees, Max was ready. She was nothing if not supremely organized. She’d been handling the festival sponsors and logistics for almost eight years, and there was nothing that could throw her off her game.

The afternoon films ran without a hitch, and so far, the celebrity speakers had made their appearances without any wardrobe malfunctions—a trick of the trade for gaining media exposure. Max ran a tight ship, and she was quick to nix any wayward thoughts celebs might conjure up.

Max spoke into her earpiece as she drove across the festival grounds. “Heading to the rear gate now. I’ll check on Dean.”

The ruckus between the celeb’s entourage and the media was creating a tornado of confusion. Photographers surrounded Connor Dean’s limousine and the two accompanying SUVs. She should have known this might happen. Dean was a local actor turned millionaire whose reputation had exploded since they’d booked him ten months earlier. She’d been wrong to think the Hulk-like security guards could manage a little drama. As she neared the scene, she rolled down her window and surveyed the ensuing chaos. Shouts and threats were tossed around like candy to children, and no one was making any headway. What on earth is that woman doing with her body halfway out of the sunroof on that limo? And what is she shouting? Legal jargon?

Max parked right in front of the first SUV, threw open her door, and stepped from the car, hoping to create a long enough pause to get the crowd’s attention. When that didn’t work, she moved to Plan B, and climbed onto the roof of her car. She raised her hands in the air, and with a quick flip of a switch on the control panel on her belt, she turned on the intercom mounted above the gate.

TREAT PULLED UP to the rear gate behind a mass of media surrounding a number of cars. He rolled down his window and was met with too many shouts to decipher. It was obvious no one was going anywhere anytime soon. He pulled into the parking lot outside the fence and decided he’d run in, say hello to Savannah, and tell her he’d catch up with her later at their father’s ranch. The last thing he needed was to deal with this type of headache.

He heard his sister’s voice and swiftly scanned the crowd. If anyone was giving her a hard time, he’d set them straight. Savannah was standing with her body out of the limousine’s sunroof, shouting who knew what as the media hollered questions at Connor through the slightly open tinted limousine window.

Treat leaned against the entrance to the gate, crossed one foot over the other, and watched his little sister in action. Her long auburn hair looked like fire against her serious more-green-than-hazel eyes. She’d inherited their mother’s spitfire personality and was the only one to have their mother’s coloring, while he and his brothers took after their dark-haired father.

Savannah’s gaze shifted in his direction, and her scowl morphed into an excited smile as she hoisted herself through the sunroof like she climbed mountains for a living.

Treat pushed away from the fence and headed toward his sister in full protective mode. She might be tough, but those media animals pushing their way forward could easily injure her. He plowed through the crowd. His six-foot-six frame naturally commanded more space, and the sea of paparazzi parted for him. He gently persuaded the few that remained in his path with a domineering stare—a stare he hadn’t needed to rely upon since Savannah was a teenager, when he and his brothers had spent countless hours keeping horny boys away from their precious sister.

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