Hope you enjoyed Chapter One of The Unforgettable Ex. Today is Chapter Two day! Without further ado, here it is.
The Unforgettable Ex: Chapter Two:
“Natasha, I have Leo on the phone for you.”
“Could you take a message, please?” Natasha asked their receptionist as she continued to frown at her computer screen.
“Okay. He did say to let you know that he’s left several messages in your voicemail, and that he’s on his way here now.”
She sighed, checking her watch. “I guess I should talk to him. Put him through.”
“Sure. Here he is.”
“Hi, Leo,” she greeted.
“Hey, gorgeous. I’m five minutes away from your office.”
“Um, okay,” she said, resigning herself to working on the weekend to finish a task that had to be ready by Monday. Having already cancelled two dates with Leo in the past week, she didn’t want to do it again to him today.
“Sounds like you’re not quite ready to go?”
“I’m not done with what I’m doing, but I can finish it over the weekend.”
“Work on the weekend! Why don’t I wait for you at reception until you finish what you have to do?”
“Oh, I don’t really want you to do that. I could take a while.”
“Well, how about you see where you’re at by the time I get there, then we’ll play it by ear? I really don’t mind waiting.”
“Okay,” she said gratefully.
“Good. See you soon.”
She smiled wryly as she hung up. Leo was so sweet and caring, and she was annoyed at herself for her inability to feel something deeper for the man. She did like him a lot as a person, but she just didn’t feel enough sexual attraction to even want to sleep with him. Sure, sex wasn’t everything in a relationship, but when she constantly found herself thinking up new excuses so they wouldn’t end up in bed, wasn’t it time to cut him loose and set him free?
It was so frustrating. Since she and Gavin had split up, she’d only slept with one guy. The sex had been so lacklustre, even though the guy had done everything he could to excite her. She’d had the same lack of interest with all the guys she’d dated since then that she simply couldn’t be bothered taking it further. So what was the point in getting naked with Leo when she couldn’t get wet enough for him no matter how much they both tried?
But she really wanted to fall for Leo. On paper, he was everything she wanted in a man. Except that her heart and body simply refused to cooperate. She wasn’t blaming him, because it was her fault for comparing him—and her previous dates—to Gavin, who could get her hot and moist with just a look, even when she was covered from head to toe.
So what else could she do to move on once and for all from the man who didn’t want her? “Argh!”
“Tash? You okay?”
“Carter!” She got up from her chair to greet her brother with a kiss.
“Mum and Dad working you too hard, Miss Operations Manager?”
She let out a laugh. “To the contrary, Mum wants me to make sure I don’t miss my date with Leo tonight. How are you?”
“Busy. Mum’s been complaining that she hasn’t seen me and Cassie in a month. Cassie’s on her way here too,” Carter said, settling on one of her visitor’s chairs.
“Hey, don’t forget that there’s a job you have to complete by the end of next week.”
“Uh, do you think you can allocate another electrician to finish that? I don’t need to go undercover in that place anymore. The case has been solved.”
She looked at her brother sternly, shaking her head at him. “Mum and Dad are very lax in letting you use our company as your cover for police work. And it’s not fair when you leave actual electrical projects unfinished. You have to go back there and complete the job in your own time, Carter. All our staff are busy and there’s no one we can allocate to it at the last minute.”
“You know it’s not often I leave a project unfinished. But okay, I’ll work on it a few nights next week to finish it off.”
“Thank you. And while we’re on the topic, have you thought about giving up your police job and stop pretending you’re just an electrician working for this company? You own a quarter of the shares, so shouldn’t you put on that fourth director’s cap already?”
“The time will come, sis,” Carter said half-dismissively. “Anyway, apart from me not doing my job to your satisfaction, what’s your other problem?”
“Other problem?” she asked with a frown.
“You looked frustrated when I got here.”
“Oh, I wanted to finish this proposal for a big project before Leo arrives, but it looks like I won’t be able to,” she said convincingly, gesturing to her computer.
“You do work—” Carter paused, fishing out his vibrating phone from his pocket. “Hey, Dave,” he said.
As Carter spoke quietly to his partner detective, Natasha went back to her task, an ear tuned in to her brother’s conversation. As usual, Carter spoke cryptically and didn’t give her any clues as to what he and David might be working on.
“Heard from Gavin?” Carter murmured on the phone. “He hasn’t returned my calls either. Hope he hasn’t done anything without telling us.”
Her fingers froze over the keyboard, her gaze flying to Carter’s face. Was Gavin working with the cops on a case? The last time he’d been involved with some police work, someone had shot him and he’d almost died.
“I’ll try him again later,” Carter said with a sigh, then said goodbye to David.
“Is Gavin okay?” she blurted out.
“I’m sure he is. He’s probably somewhere without phone coverage.”
“Are you guys working on something dangerous?”
“No more dangerous than usual.”
“He’s my friend too, you know,” she said with a huff.
She glared at Carter. “I’m not asking for details of your cases, just some assurance that he’s not in any serious bind.”
“Gavin knows what he’s doing,” Carter answered, his brows furrowing.
“No more than usual.”
“Do you know how annoying you are when you answer like that?”
Carter stared at her for a long moment. “He’ll be fine, Tash. Don’t worry,” he said softly.
She rolled her eyes.
“You’re on edge,” Carter countered.
“I’m fine. Just thinking I’ll call it a day now and finish this over the weekend. Leo will be—”
Speak of the devil.
“Hey, Leo. How’s it going?” Carter said, shaking hands with the man.
“Great, especially since I’m celebrating my three-month anniversary with this beautiful sister of yours,” Leo said, going to Natasha and giving her a kiss on the cheek.
Natasha quickly erased the dismay that appeared on her face. Three-month anniversary? Geez, that hadn’t even occurred to her.
“Where are you taking her?” Carter asked.
“It’s a surprise,” Leo answered casually, although his suppressed excitement was evident.
“Well, I better go to the ladies’ and touch up my makeup,” Natasha said, grabbing her bag and walking out of her office.
Gosh, she so needed to get her thoughts in order. She and Leo were obviously not on the same page in this relationship. He wanted to celebrate a third-month anniversary when she couldn’t even make up her mind if they were truly together. And she hated making people feel bad, especially those who didn’t deserve it—like Leo.
“What are you gonna do?” she muttered to herself.
No inspired thoughts came.
Sighing, she pulled out her phone and dialled Marilyn’s number. As an unattached woman, Marilyn might have some pearls of wisdom to impart to her in regards to her conundrum.
“Hey, Tash,” Marilyn answered.
“Hi, I need your advice.”
“Sure. What’s wrong?”
Natasha paused as she observed a staff member enter the ladies’ restroom.
“Hang on a minute,” she whispered to Marilyn, spying the corridor leading to a locked archives room and heading there. A few months ago, she’d seen Carter come out of this room. Apparently, Carter had needed somewhere private to discuss a super sensitive police matter with David, and the archives room had been perfect for it. Well, she was going to do a Carter and use it now.
She let herself in and closed the door before responding to Marilyn. “Leo’s taking me out for a special three-month anniversary dinner.”
“Ooh, could he be our next Captured by Love winner?” Marilyn teased.
“How could he be when I still want to keep this relationship platonic?”
“Really? You haven’t slept with him yet?”
“No. It’s not that I’m against it. I just don’t feel sexually attracted to him and I’m feeling guilty that I’m leading him on. But at the same time, I’m thinking that I haven’t given myself enough time yet. I’m so torn!”
“Is he putting pressure on you to have sex with him?”
“No. He’s being very patient. Although I know he’ll try to seduce me again tonight and I’ll disappoint him again.”
“Well, I’ve never had your problem because I don’t see the point of going out with men I’m not sexually attracted to. That’s why I’ve been dateless for a while now,” Marilyn said with a sigh. “But you must like him enough to go out with him for three months, right?”
“You don’t sound so sure.”
“Well, he’s a nice guy and he’s good-looking. And I really want to be attracted to him.”
“You want to be, but you just said you’re actually not. Why are you trying to force yourself?”
She was silent for a long moment. Leo, like the previous guys she’d dated, was a means to keep her feelings for Gavin at bay. Clearly that strategy hadn’t been working.
“You know,” she answered, “I’ve fooled myself into thinking that if I tried hard enough, I would eventually fall for him. But it’s just not happening. And then again, there’s Leo being persistent and patient, and here I am wanting to give up on him. I kinda feel guilty about that.”
“If you’ve given it your best shot, I don’t think Leo could accuse you of not giving him a chance. Love, or even just plain sexual chemistry, can’t be forced.”
“I guess,” she said with a sigh. “You know, maybe it is time I tell him it’s over. He’s already too emotionally invested in me and I don’t want him to fall further when I know I won’t get to where he is.”
“Yes. I’m with you on that. So why you were trying so hard to fall for him?”
“It’s a long story that I’ll have to tell you in person.”
“Aw, I’m gonna have to wait?”
She chuckled. “How about we have dinner soon? I have to go and prepare myself for this break-up. I have a feeling Leo won’t give in without a fight. He’s so determined to make us work.”
“Good luck, and let me know how it goes.”
“I will. Bye.” She hung up and looked for something to sit on. She should at least be ready with a couple of break-up lines before she faced Leo again, especially since the man had planned something special for tonight. Gosh, she didn’t want to be cruel, but surely it would be more cruel to continue leading him on.
She found a step stool behind a row of filing shelves and sat on it, mulling on a few let-him-down-gently words.
The door clicked open, making her sit up straight.
“Hell, Gav, I’ve been worried about you. Where have you been?” Carter said, his voice booming in the enclosed space.
She remained where she was, ducking to make sure Carter couldn’t see her. Since he was talking to Gavin, she sure wanted to eavesdrop.
“Next time, could you let me know what you’re up to? I know how desperate you are to get Biggs, but you need someone to watch your back if you’re going to attempt something like that again.”
She scowled. What the hell had Gavin been up to? She was going to wring his neck if he got himself shot again by some criminal he shouldn’t be following. He wasn’t with the police anymore. He should be leaving things like that to the authorities. At least Carter had a team of cops to back him up during dangerous situations.
“Make sure you let me know next time,” Carter was saying. “Anyway, do you want to have dinner with me, Cassie and my parents tonight? … Oh, of course. I can’t believe I forgot about that. Keep me updated, okay? … Ah, no, she has a date with Leo.”
Natasha cringed at Carter’s disclosure. But so what? Gavin wouldn’t care, anyway.
She sniffed silently.
“Hey, cheer up. I honestly don’t think their relationship will last,” Carter said.
Her brows rose and she cocked her head to listen more intently to her brother’s side of the conversation.
“I think Leo’s more into her than she’s into him,” Carter continued. “I could read it in her face that she wasn’t keen on celebrating their third-month anniversary tonight… Yeah, third-month anniversary… I don’t know. Leo said it was a surprise… I’m serious, Gav. I don’t think she’s all that keen on Leo… I just don’t want you to get depressed when there’s a possibility that things could be resolved soon… Okay. Talk to you tomorrow.”
Natasha’s heart galloped in her chest as Carter left the room, her mouth hanging open. Did that conversation mean what she thought it did?
No. How could it, when Gavin had a new girlfriend that he was close to introducing to everyone?
Argh, she was more confused than ever.
***END OF CHAPTER TWO***
Hope the first two chapters of The Unforgettable Ex have whetted your appetite for more of Gavin and Natasha 🙂 . The book's official release date is February 26th and I'll send you the store links on that day.
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