Page 12 of The Shy Bride

Besides, it wasn’t completely out of the norm for her to get the occasional door-to-door salesman, despite her No Solicitors sign right above the doorbell.

She felt no compunction about ignoring visitors who paid no attention to her clearly stated wishes. And she definitely did not want to talk to a reporter, no matter how much her manager Bob, might wish otherwise. She was feeling a lot calmer today than she might have expected, but Neo’s company the night before had helped settle her in a way even her father had been unable to do after a performance.


She’d felt safe when he was there and had trusted him to do his best to right the media mess.

The doorbell rang again, but her friends and business acquaintances knew to call first, so she continued to pay it no heed.

Then the phone rang.

She sighed with frustration, but got up. This piece was never going to gel with this kind of interruption. She grabbed the phone and answered it. “Hello?”

“Miss Baker?”

“Yes.” What was Neo’s PA doing calling her? Oh, right. “You’re calling for the piano recommendation.”

“Actually, no.”

“No?” Disappointment filled her. “Does Mr. Stamos need to cancel his lesson for next week as well?” she asked.

Had he decided to stop them all together? She wouldn’t blame him after yesterday.

“No.”

“Oh.” Maybe she should just wait until the other woman came to the point. Guessing games got annoying when they didn’t bear immediate fruit. And she didn’t like the answers her own brain was supplying so far.

So, Cass waited in silence for the PA to do just that.

The other woman cleared her throat. “Mr. Stamos asked me to schedule a locksmith to come out and fix the handle on your front door and add an additional lock to a set of French doors on your upper floor. The locksmith is there, but apparently your doorbell is not working properly.”

“It’s working just fine.”

“The locksmith rang it. Twice.”

“I do not answer my door when I am not expecting company.” Cass did not make any further explanation. She’d learned a long time ago that trying to explain her idiosyncrasies only made matters worse.

Particularly with people like the cold-fish personal assistant employed by Neo Stamos.

“If you do not answer your door, the locksmith cannot fix the door handle problem.”

“What problem is that exactly?” She hadn’t noticed any trouble with her door handle sticking, though she was willing to entertain the possibility Neo had spotted something she missed when he had been there.

“Mr. Stamos left instructions for it to be replaced by a self-locking model.”

“Mr. Stamos left instructions with you about my door?” she asked, stunned. “Without informing me?”

She knew he didn’t like her practice of leaving the door on the latch when she was expecting company. It was part of her mental preparation for visitors—reminding herself she needed to be open to other people, at least in some limited capacity.

He complained about it every week, but did he really expect her to replace the handle because of it? Surely he realized she wasn’t going to leave the door unlocked right now. Not with the paparazzi entirely too interested in her and Neo’s association.

“I really can’t speak to whether or not he informed you. I only know my instructions.”

“You expect me to allow a perfect stranger into my home to replace my door handle, on your boss’s say-so. When I did not request, much less authorize this upgrade?” She used the word for lack of something better, though Cass wasn’t convinced it was any such thing.

The personal assistant’s silence said that was exactly what she expected.

She’d thought Neo understood. At least a little. Apparently she’d been wrong. “No.”

“No? But Mr. Stamos—”

Cass felt no compunction in interrupting the officious woman. “Please call your locksmith and cancel the order. Right now.”

“I can’t possibly. Mr. Stamos—”

“Does not own this property. And, I, the owner,” she added, her anxiety creeping through, “have no intention of replacing my perfectly functioning door handle.”

“Mr. Stamos will not be happy about this,” the PA warned ominously.

“I’m sure Mr. Stamos has many other things of much more importance for him to concern himself with.”

“No doubt, but he left instructions.”

One thing that could be said for Neo, he engendered loyalty and commitment to follow through from his employees.

“He should have run those instructions by me,” Cass said with little sympathy. She wasn’t one of Neo’s employees. And if he had done so, she could have assured him she wouldn’t be leaving the door unlocked for the foreseeable future.

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