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Love in the Checkout Line

Love in the Checkout Line

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Love in the Checkout Line

4.5/5 (13 Bewertungen)
85 Seiten
1 Stunde
Sep 22, 2020


Tessa’s life as a college student and grocery clerk at Publix is hard and mind-numbingly boring all at once. Living in the small home she shares with her disabled dad isn’t making it any easier for her to live a life of her own, either. Tessa knows it’s time for her to get out into the world, but between school, work, and caring for a sick parent, she can’t seem to find time for fun or friends, let alone a boyfriend.

Jeremy is the new guy at work, always cracking jokes and trying to make Tessa smile. He’s funny and charming, but he uses his jovial personality to cover up a dark secret. The truth is that Jeremy isn’t working as a bag boy to pay the bills; in fact, he’ll never have to worry about paying for a thing in his life. As the son of Publix CEO Ramona Gleeson, it’s Jeremy’s job to infiltrate the business at the employee level and report back to the board of directors in the name of saving the company.

When Tessa and Jeremy strike up an unlikely friendship on the job, she uncovers his secret and has a hard time coming to grips with who he really is. Tessa’s disdain for the wealthy almost drives a wedge between them, and their friendship threatens to dissolve over a matter as cold and hard as cash. With Tessa’s help, Jeremy soon realizes that their fellow Publix workers are overworked and underpaid and makes it his new mission to help his CEO mom find a change of heart. In this secret billionaire love story, friends become lovers as Tessa and Jeremy find that the one thing you can’t put a price on is love.

Sep 22, 2020

Über den Autor

Wendy Dalrymple crafts highly consumable, short and sweet romances inspired by everyday people. When she’s not writing happily-ever-afters, you can find her camping with her family, painting (bad) wall art, and trying to grow as many pineapples as possible. Keep up with Wendy at!

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Love in the Checkout Line - Wendy Dalrymple

Chapter One

Tessa Thornton pursed her lips as she began to bag the groceries that were steadily building up at her register. Again. She was starting to lose patience with her distracted bagger at that moment, despite the fact that it was his first day on the job. Tessa worked hard and she expected those around her to work hard, too, and this new guy just didn’t seem to get it. Even though he was kind of cute in an annoying sort of way, she still had a job to do, and his constant joking and talking were only slowing her down.

Count Chocula! Oh man, these are the best! Jeremy said, admiring the cereal box. He turned the package toward her, displaying the cartoon vampire. Ever had these?

Yeah, she sighed, as their customer finished unloading her groceries.

These must be for you, little man, Jeremy said to the sleepy-eyed three-year-old sitting in the cart. The little boy gripped the handle of the steering wheel on the car-shaped buggy and smiled at him shyly. You ready for Halloween? he asked the little boy, now bagging even slower than before. Despite the fact that Tessa’s register was now completely jammed with groceries, her ears perked up. Halloween was her favorite holiday. It was also kind of adorable to watch her imposing looking coworker suddenly turn into a little kid over a box of chocolate cereal.

Connor is going to be Spider-Man for Halloween. Aren’t you, Connor? the customer said, hastily shoving her debit card in the reader.

Tessa completed the transaction and handed the customer her receipt as Jeremy finally finished bagging the large order. Despite her initial annoyance at his lackadaisical work ethic, Tessa found herself smiling as the trainee bagger continued to charm the little boy with superhero talk as he worked. After finally packing up all the grocery bags, Jeremy helped the customer and her little boy out to her car with the overflowing cart, leaving Tessa to fend for herself again.

Maybe he’s not so lazy after all, she mused to herself. At least he helped the customer out to her car.

Ma’am, are you open?

Tessa shook her head, her train of thought lost to the new guy and his oddly upbeat temperament.

Yeah, sorry. Come on through, she said, waving the customer into her line.

The enthusiasm from her new coworker and trainee was exhausting and endearing all at once. In truth, maybe she was a little jealous that she didn’t have the same dedication and energy for her job anymore. Tessa continued to pass groceries over the scanner one by one and mused about how she had been excited about working her cashier shifts at Publix, and about school and about life in general, once upon a time. As Tessa bagged up the next customer’s canned green beans, frozen meals for one, and case of diet soda, her mind drifted back to her enthusiastic new coworker, and she began to wonder if she would ever feel excited about anything again.

Tessa Thornton’s life was scheduled down to the last minute, but then again, it had to be. Monday through Thursday, Tessa rose at six a.m. to check on her father, feed their stray outdoor cat and get everything ready for the day. After all of her chores were done, she would make herself a protein shake to-go, slip into her sneakers and jeans, and run out the door by quarter to eight in order to make it on time for her first class of the day at St. Petersburg College. After several hours at school, Tessa would head home to check on her dad, change into her uniform, and head to Publix, where she would work her cashier shift from three to ten p.m., sometimes even later. After checking on her dad once more when she got home, Tessa would fall into bed and start everything all over again the following day.

Tessa hadn’t minded her hectic work and college schedule at first. It had been just her and her dad since middle school, and over time, staying busy had become a coping mechanism of hers. The neverending shifts at work and school kept her occupied, but they also left little in the way of time for friends and dating. When her high school boyfriend left for college, they’d tried long-distance dating and quickly learned it wouldn’t work. After that, Tessa had a few dates here and there with guys from school or people she met online, but nothing ever went further than a few hookups. Connecting with people was hard, and the energy and enthusiasm it took for her to make any kind of relationship last simply wasn’t there. So it was no surprise that one early October day, when her front end manager announced that she would be in charge of training a new bagger, Tessa found herself feeling less than thrilled about the task.

His name is Jeremy. He’ll be bagging for the first week, and then we’ll get him on a register after that, her manager, Janice, said.

Tessa had just clocked in and retrieved her cashier’s till from the back office. The news that she was training someone was an unwelcome addition to her already overloaded schedule, and meant that she was going to have an official tagalong at work for at least the next two weeks. It was extra work without the extra pay, and certainly more of a mental drain than she felt capable of dealing with at the moment. It was only 3:01 p.m. and she already wanted to go home.

Okay, but can you put me on register ten? Traffic just seems to move smoother at the far end, Tessa said, forcing a smile. Even though the idea of training someone on top of everything else she had to deal with that day stressed her out, Tessa still wanted to please her favorite manager. It wasn’t like she could say no anyway.

Sure thing, sweetie, Janice said, her eyes crinkling at the corners. How’s your dad?

Tessa shrugged. Same as always. Still watching too much cable news all day.

Hmph, Janice snorted through her nose. Yeah, I have a few uncles that are like that. Okay, I’ll send Jeremy over to you when he gets here around four.


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