When one man’s death exposes a complex web of lies, three couples discover the true meaning of love, loss and redemption.
Crystal I was the strong one, they said, until two words brought me to my knees. It was a secret I didn't share with anyone. A secret that made me promise I’d never fall in love. I no longer wanted that white picket fence of every woman’s dreams. Until the unthinkable happened. Gabe I thought I had it all with the best medical practice in the state and the woman of my dreams. I wore a smile on my face every single day. I couldn't wait to watch her walk down the aisle and start our forever, except she never did. My runaway bride made me realize love isn't worth it. What happens when your dreams unexpectedly come true? This is the story of unexpected love.
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Crystal “I’m going to the restroom.” I giggle to Dawn, who nods her head at me. Making my way through the crowd of people around the bar, I bend my head to watch my feet. Walking into the dim hallway, I smash into a man who has just come out of the bathroom. His arm automatically flies to wrap around my waist and bring me against him. His smell intoxicates me further, and I giggle as I try not to fall. I put my head back, looking up at him, and my smile gets even bigger. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t watching where I was going.” I look up into his blue eyes, and he smiles down at me. “It’s my fault.” His voice comes out deep. “I should have looked right and left when I walked out of the bathroom.” I throw my head back and laugh. “I get it. Like crossing the street.” He loosens his hold on me, and I step back, finally taking him in. His hair is cut short on the side, the top longer. His t-shirt looks like he is bulging out of it, especially his biceps. Ink decorates both arms to his wrists. His jaw looks chiseled, his nose perfect. I don’t know if it’s the booze talking or not, but this man is fucking perfect. “Are you here for the convention?” I ask him, and he nods. “Are you?” He puts his hands in his back pockets. “No, I’m a nurse over at the hospital,” I tell him as someone walks by me and nudges me with their shoulder, sending me flying into him again. “Sorry.” “You’ve fallen into my lap twice now, and I still don’t know your name.” He smiles at me, holding my arms in his hands. “I’m Jane,” I tell him, hoping he gets the joke. “Jane Doe.” This time, he is the one throwing his head back and laughing. “Well, Jane Doe, I’m John.” He holds out his hand, and I take it in my hand, shaking it. “John Doe.” “I think we’re related somehow.” I smile at him, and this time, his eyes go serious. “I really fucking hope not.” He takes a deep breath. “I have to go to the bathroom,” I say, dropping his hand. “Excuse me.” I look down and then back over my shoulder once I walk away to see him staring at me. “Enjoying the view?” “More than you fucking know.” He smiles, and I push open the bathroom door, whispering, “Holy shit,” the whole time. Gabe I watch Jane Doe walk into the bathroom, thinking this night just got a whole lot better. When we first arrived an hour ago, even with a large crowd I spotted her. My gaze found her right away, and then she moved her hips, and I just couldn’t look away. It was as if fate handed her to me when she smashed into me. I look toward the bar and then back at the bathroom door as I list the pros and cons of staying and leaving in my head. Everything tells me this is a bad idea, but I go with my gut, which brings me back to the women’s bathroom door. I lean against the wall, facing the door, one foot on the wall, and both hands in my pockets. I haven’t done this in forever. I was never a one-night stand kind of guy, but something tells me not to walk away. The door swings open, and there she stands. If I thought she was good looking through the crowds of people in the dim light, then nothing compares to her standing in the fully lit bathroom. Her blond hair falls down her back and her blue eyes shine with mischief. Her neck bare and white gives me the sudden urge to bite her. “You waiting for me?” she asks, walking to me. “I wanted to know if maybe you wanted to grab a drink.” Her citrus smell hits me in the stomach. Fresh and clean. “I was thinking,” I say, tracing my finger down her cheek, “we could maybe go over our family tree.” Her hands go straight to my waist as she leans into me. “Let’s go have that drink.” She winks at me, walking away from me as I follow her to the bar. “What are you having?” She turns to ask me. “Scotch on the rocks,” I yell to the bartender, who then looks at her. “I’ll have the same,” she says. “So.” She leans in, the noise of the bar drowning out her voice. The bartender returns with the two scotches and places them in front of us. “Put it on my tab,” I tell him, and he nods his head. I pick up the glass, holding it in front of me. “To long-lost family.” She picks up her glass. “To living in the moment.” I clink her glass in a toast, then she drinks a sip and looks at me. “Are you married?” I shake my head. “Nope. Single. You?” I ask her. Even though I want to do this, I don’t want to cross that line. “Always single.” She smiles, taking another sip, this time longer. “So, John”—she looks at me, stepping into my space—“there is just one more question that needs answering.” I down the scotch, not even hissing when it burns my throat to my chest and then straight down to my stomach. I place the glass on the bar. “Do you want to go someplace where it’s quiet?” I ask her. She nods and smiles at me. It’s a smile that I’m not sure I ever want to see go away. It’s a smile that lights up her whole face. I don’t know if it’s the booze or not, but I’m not ready for it to be over just yet. “I just have to tell my friends I’m leaving.” She points behind her and goes to tell them something while I close up the tab. A couple of women look over her shoulder, waving their hands at me, and one high-fives her. She shakes her head, laughing, while she walks back to me. “So where to?” she asks me. I grab her hand and walk outside to the building next door. “Well, that wasn’t too far.” I guide her to the elevator and press the button standing next to her. I’m nervous; I haven’t had sex with someone new since Bethany and that feels like forever ago. I start thinking about different moves when the elevator dings, and the doors open. She steps in before me. “What floor?” she asks. “Twenty-seven,” I say, and she presses the button. She leans on the wall while I lean on the other across from her. “I don’t usually do this.” The little minx smiles at me. “A one-night stand or sex?” I smile at her. “Very funny. A one-night stand.” She stands straight and walks over to me. Her hands go straight to my chest, causing my heart to beat faster. “Well, then”—she inches closer, her hands moving to my neck, and my hands going to her waist, pulling her close to me, “let me start then.” She goes on her tippy toes, and something in me takes over. I turn her so she is the one against the wall now. My hand runs over her bare neck, coming up to cup her chin. “I’m the one driving this car,” I tell her right before I hear her breath hitch and my mouth crashes into hers. I taste the scotch on her when her hand touches my cheek, and I angle my head to get more of her. To get all of her. The elevator dings, letting us know we are on our floor. Our lips separate from each other as our chests rise and fall rapidly. I hold out my hand, and she places hers in mine. As soon as our fingers intertwine, I pull her out of the elevator before the doors shut us in. She laughs as she follows me, and I make the mistake of looking over at her, seeing her with her hair going everywhere, the smile on her face, and the twinkle in her eyes. I make sure to remember it all.
When her nose isn't buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she's in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It's a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn't listen to her...