The Unforgettable Ex: Chapter Two

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:TheUnforgettableEx-200x300

“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.

“And?”

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.

“You’re worried.”

“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—”

“Hey, guys!”

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?”

“Ye-ah.”

“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.

Thank you once again for your continued support. I keep writing not just because I love it, but because I have wonderful readers waiting for my stories. It's an honour and a thrill for my books to be read by you guys. I love you to bits.

Always,
Miranda xxx

TheUnwillingExecutive-200x300P.S. By the way, The Unwilling Executive is free for a limited time! If you already have your copy, please share this news with friends who might enjoy this book. Thanks so much!

 

 

The Unintended Fiancé: Chapter Two

Hi! Hope you enjoyed Chapter One of Brad and Erin's story yesterday. Here's what follows:

The Unintended Fiancé: Chapter TwoTheUnintendedFiance-200x300

Erin caught a familiar figure out of the corner of her eye and started typing furiously. If she looked super busy, maybe Kevin wouldn’t stop by her desk.

Darn her professionalism. If she hadn’t said it was “absolutely no big deal” when her boss had asked if it would be a problem if she and Kevin worked together, she wouldn’t have had to suffer working with the man—and have him occupying the desk right next to her little corner of the office.

“Morning, Erin,” Kevin said, setting a store-bought cup of coffee on her desk. “Here you go.”

“Thanks, but you can have it,” she said tersely, not taking her eyes off her computer screen.

“But this is the mocha you like.”

“Kevin,” she said in a low voice, not bothering to hide her irritation. “I already told you to stop getting me coffees or fruits or cakes. People are starting to wonder if there’s something going on between us again.”

Kevin smiled. “Would that be so bad?”

She gaped at him in disbelief. “Are you kidding?” After her lunch with him and Paula two weeks ago, she couldn’t believe his comment.

The first few minutes of that lunch had been pleasant enough, but it had quickly turned to one of the most agonising she’d sat through. Kevin and Paula had started bickering. In front of her.

But that hadn’t been the most uncomfortable part. She’d wanted to zip Kevin’s mouth when he’d brought up Paula’s propensity to overreact, and then said that Erin had never shouted at him like a banshee the way Paula always did.

Paula’s friendliness towards her had cooled very quickly after that. And Erin still wanted to throttle Kevin for bringing her name up while in the middle of an argument with his wife.

“Erin,” Kevin said, placing both his hands on her desk to lean closer to her. “What’s wrong with being friends again?”

“Kevin,” she said with gravity. “We’re not best buddies. Ease up.”

“I can’t help it,” he said, staring into her eyes.

She looked up to the heavens, letting out an exasperated breath. What the hell was this guy up to? “It’s making me very uncomfortable, okay? Please stop this.”

“Okay, but can we talk? Have lunch with me today.”

“What for?” she whispered almost furiously.

“Please,” he said, his eyes darting around the office.

That made her glance around as well, and she caught a few of their officemates looking away. Amy, her closest work friend, raised her eyebrows at her in question.

She sighed. Best to have a talk with Kevin elsewhere, she supposed. She didn’t relish the thought of being the centre of office gossip.

“Fine. Lunch, then. At the food court downstairs.”

“I have another place in mind—”

She shook her head stubbornly. “Food court, Kevin. At twelve.”

“Okay,” he conceded.

*

Erin sat down at a table Kevin had been saving for them in the almost-full food court.

“Looks yummy,” Kevin commented as he checked out the grilled chicken and avocado salad she’d bought. “Start eating while I get mine.”

She did start eating as Kevin went to get his food. Normally she’d wait for her companion to come back, but she was annoyed enough to not want to show him the usual level of consideration.

Kevin didn’t take long. He was back with a burger and smiled at her as he sat back down. “Why are you so short with me, Erin?” he asked softly.

Her brows lifted. “You waltz around the office like we’re more than the best of friends. You’re actions are over the top. Don’t you see that you’re being quite inappropriate? You’re married, and I’m your ex. And you’ve made your wife suspicious of me.”

“Erin,” Kevin said, reaching for her hand.

She instantly pulled it out of his grasp. What the hell was wrong with him? Hadn’t he heard what she’d said?

Kevin sighed. “Haven’t you noticed anything?”

“What?”

He raised his left hand and wiggled his fingers.

She blinked. He wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.

“I moved out of the house last week.”

“I see,” she said coldly. “What’s that got to do with me?”

“I made a mistake, Erin,” he said, trying to reach for her hand again.

She let out an incredulous laugh.

Kevin sat back on his chair, taking a long, deep breath. “I’m going about this the wrong way, am I not?”

“I’m not remotely interested in getting back together with you, Kevin.”

He smiled patiently. “I know you’re still angry at me. What I did to you was hurtful and callous. I let you down. But what I did—marrying Paula and breaking up with you—was a huge mistake. I was so very wrong.”

She gawked at him, sheer disbelief coursing through her. “Surely, you’re not expecting to pick up where we left off?”

“No. I know I have a lot to do to make up for what I’ve done. All I’m asking at this time is the chance to do that.”

She shook her head. “I’m sorry, Kevin. I don’t want another chance.”

“Erin…”

“I saw you in a totally different light after the way you handled your marriage and our break-up. I’m not interested, Kevin. Sorry.”

Kevin nodded his head. “Okay. I’ll wait.”

She frowned. “I said I’m not interested. There’s no point in waiting.”

“I heard what you said. But I know you, Erin. I know how you used to feel about me. That kind of commitment just couldn’t die, even after all this time and what we’ve been through. I know deep inside you still want me—because I still want you.”

Her jaw dropped to the ground.

“You’re very different from Paula,” Kevin continued. “You were loving and supportive. You never yelled when we fought. You didn’t have tantrums. You helped me make good decisions. I want you back, Erin. Let’s work things out.”

She gave him a dirty look. “You’re still married, Kevin. It was only two weeks ago that I had lunch with you and your wife. Shouldn’t you be trying to work things out with Paula rather than propositioning me?”

Kevin exhaled gustily. “Like I said, you’re very different from Paula.”

“So why did you marry her in the first place?”

“It was just the sex. Paula is… wild and passionate and exciting in bed. We had this sizzling sexual chemistry that was undeniable. Unfortunately, she’s too demanding and high maintenance. And when she’s angry, boy, does she blow up. I don’t need that. But you, you’re calm and cool in every situation. You’re always reasonable and rational. With the kind of pressures I need to deal with at work, I realised I need someone like you by my side if I’m to achieve my career dreams.”

Heat crept up Erin’s face. What the hell did he mean by that? That she was boring in bed? That all he’d ever want her for was to advance his career?

“But wouldn’t you miss Paula’s passionate ways in bed?” she said with saccharine sweetness, narrowing her eyes at him.

“Well, better sexual performance can be learned.”

“What do you mean by that?” she asked coldly.

“You have to admit there’s plenty of room for improvement there, Erin. Maybe read some books, or even go to a sex coach—”

“And what makes you think I’d want you back when you never set my body on fire?” she asked, her jaw tight, before standing up and walking away.

What a certified asshole!

She blinked back her tears. Kevin was nothing but an insensitive jerk, but his words had still stung.

Couldn’t he have criticised her in a less humiliating way? As if he hadn’t hurt her enough in the past! And it wasn’t as if he was the hottest man on the planet or an expert lover, either. Far from it. Their sex life had been average because… well, neither of them had bothered putting in a lot of effort on it! It wasn’t just her fault.

Ugh. She still had no idea what had made her stay with that self-centred man for two freaking years.

And there were four more hours to go before she could leave work for the day and stop seeing Kevin’s face.

At least Brad would be at home waiting for her. He should be settling into her apartment right this minute.

Her lips tugged up. She couldn’t wait to see him.

*****

Erin inserted the key into her lock, excited like a little kid opening up a present. It was unexpected, really, this thrill she was feeling. And it made her nervous. Why was she so looking forward to this?

“Erin! Welcome home!”

Her heart skipped. There he was, grinning as he walked to her and kissed her on the cheek.

“Hi! How did the packing go at your house today?” she asked.

“Good. All my stuff, apart from my clothes and personal items that got brought here, are now either in storage, donated to charity, or chucked in the dump. But it was hectic sorting through what needed to go where!”

She chuckled. “What did you expect? You had it all done in one day.”

“Well, one day was all I had. Anyway, come with me. I want to show you what my sister’s old room now looks like.”

She followed Brad to his new room, and she laughed in delighted surprise. The room looked amazing, with the colour scheme of royal blue making this very much Brad’s domain. Even his clothes were hung or folded in a neat, ordered manner in the wardrobe, which was open for her inspection. Whoever had unpacked for Brad had done a marvellous job.

“What happened to the old bed?” she asked, sitting and bouncing herself on the one that now stood proudly against the main wall, covered in luxurious cotton sheets of high thread count, by the feel. Even the old headboard was gone, replaced by a more masculine wooden panelling.

“This is my own bed,” Brad said, sitting next to her. “I had your old one put in storage along with my other stuff because it just looked too girly for me. You don’t mind, do you?”

“No, of course not. This room looks great. How many people were here to stage this today?” she teased.

“What? You don’t think I did it myself?”

“This has the feminine touch,” she said dryly. “Great as you are with commercial interiors, bedrooms are not your forte.”

Brad chuckled. “The people who packed my stuff also unpacked for me here. Turns out they’re great at decorating too.”

“Well, it looks good. But how come the living room still looks the same? I thought you were gonna bring your bigger TV? I was looking forward to that.”

“It’s going to be delivered this Saturday.”

“What do you mean?”

“I wanted the latest model, so I bought a new one.”

She shook her head. “You and your penchant for the latest and the best, Brad.”

He shrugged. “It’s called supporting the great inventors of new technology.”

She smirked. “Is your super-duper coffee machine now in my kitchen?”

“Yup. Couldn’t leave that behind,” he answered, standing up and pulling her along with him.

“You do know that’s all I want from you.”

Brad laughed, putting an arm around her shoulders and steering her to the kitchen. “The Chinese I ordered should be arriving soon. Do you want a drink before dinner?”

“Apart from Lexie, none of my other previous flatmates ever offered me a drink upon coming home. I’m already starting to like you being here.”

“Good! I’ll even make you coffee after we eat. For now, let’s open a bottle of wine.”

She sat on a bar stool and watched Brad move around her kitchen, getting two crystal glasses and retrieving a bottle from the fridge. He’d clearly already made himself familiar with where things were kept. And, frankly, he looked like he belonged in her apartment.

She bit her lip, stopping herself from smiling too widely. There was that thrill again, running through her body.

Brad turned around and placed the glasses on the breakfast nook.

“I was meaning to talk to you about Elsa, my cleaning lady,” he said as he poured the wine. “You wouldn’t mind if she comes regularly to help us, would you?”

She gave him a mock frown. “And there I was, promising Lexie that I wouldn’t let you get away with not doing your share of housework. I should have known you’d get Elsa to do it for you.”

“What I meant was for her to do everything around here,” Brad said, clinking glasses with her before taking a sip. “I want to keep Elsa employed for the same amount of time that she used to come to my place because I don’t want to lose her. She’s fantastic. So reliable and trustworthy. If she starts working for someone else, I might find it hard to get back the hours she currently works for me. She can come here twice a week to clean and cook. She can also buy our groceries, do our laundry, send items to the dry cleaners, change our bed sheets—those kinds of things.”

“Our?”

“If she’s to work the same hours per week, she’ll need to look after you too. This place is much smaller than my house. As it is, she’d have plenty of time on her hands, but I still won’t mind paying her the usual amount.”

Erin pursed her lips. She didn’t mind housework or cooking, but they weren’t her favourite things to do. The thought of having some help with the cleaning was tempting, especially since it was something she’d considered for herself before. It just seemed like such an indulgence that she’d never acted on it. Well, this was her chance.

“Okay,” she said. “How much will be my share for Elsa’s pay?”

“Nothing,” Brad said. “I don’t expect you to put in for it since I’m the one who insists on getting her to work here.”

She opened her mouth to argue, but Brad pressed a finger to her lips, shaking his head at her.

She sighed. There was no point arguing about these kinds of things with Brad. She might as well give in graciously. “Okay, thank you. But I’ll pay for our groceries then, if that’s the case.”

“Fine,” Brad conceded unenthusiastically.

“So I get to be spoiled while you’re living with me?” she asked, grinning.

“Well, you’re my girlfriend, aren’t you?” Brad said with a cute lopsided smile. “I’ll have you know that I treat my woman like a queen.”

She laughed, warmth spreading within her with unexpected speed.

Brad’s girlfriend.

That had a nice ring to it.

“So how did you go with the moron today?” Brad asked. “Is he still being a pest?”

She made a face. “He said he wants to get back with me. Apparently, he’s separated from his wife.”

Brad’s expression hardened. “You’re not considering it, are you?”

“No, of course not.”

“Good. You can do much better than him.”

“Yeah,” she answered, the memory of Kevin’s words deflating her.

“What?” Brad asked, noticing her changed expression.

She couldn’t help her blush. Should she tell him? It was a bit embarrassing. But his concerned look made her open her mouth. “I think the reason why Kevin cheated on me and got married to someone else was because he thinks I’m boring in bed. He even suggested I should seek help to improve my… um… sexual performance.”

Brad scowled. “He made you think it was your fault? That man is more than an asshole!”

“I know, but I think there’s some truth to what he said,” she said with a grimace.

Brad effortlessly lifted the stool she was sitting on, shifting it so she was fully facing him, before sitting down in front of her. My, he was really strong. She stared at him as her heart pounded hard in her chest. Damn, sometimes Brad affected her in ways that still surprised her.

“Erin, sex is a two-way thing,” Brad said quietly. “If he thinks that you’re lacking in bed, that must mean he’s not good at lighting your fire.”

“Hey, that’s exactly what I said to him!”

Brad grinned. “Way to go. He’s just justifying himself. You shouldn’t give weight to his words.”

She smiled. Brad really was such a sweet friend. “Thanks. I think you’re right.”

“Good. Now I can report to Lexie that I set you straight on something regarding Kevin. She ordered me to make sure the moron doesn’t mess with you.”

She laughed. “Oh, I do miss living with your sister. But I think you’re a good replacement.”

“So did you tell Mr. Moron you’re now living with your boyfriend?” he asked cheekily.

“Oh! I keep forgetting!”

“Well, you should tell him.”

“Are you free tomorrow night to join us for drinks at the pub?”

“I’ll make time. Can’t wait to see the moron’s face. Should be fun.”

She nodded enthusiastically, already looking forward to it. Not the part where she’d show Kevin she was “taken”, but the part where she’d act as Brad’s girlfriend.

***End of Chapter Two***

Hope you enjoyed the first two chapters of The Unintended Fiancé. It was so important to me to finish this book and share it with you. Hope you're as excited about its release as I am.

Thank you again for all your support. It truly means so much.

Love always,
Miranda xxx

The Unintended Fiancé can be pre-ordered from the following stores:

Amazon US | Other Amazon stores | Apple iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

It will be available on Google Play, All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords on October 22nd.

 

 

The Unintended Fiancé: Chapter One

Less than a week to go before the official release date of The Unintended Fiancé! Yes, it will definitely be available on October 22nd and I can't wait to share Brad and Erin's love story with you.

No need to wait for Chapter One, though, because you can read it right now. Here it is!

TheUnintendedFiance-200x300The Unintended Fiancé: Chapter One

Asking the hunkiest guy she knew to share her apartment was the height of bad ideas. At least, that was the message Erin Baker was getting from the you’ve-lost-your-mind stare her best friend Lexie Mead was giving her.

“Relax, Lex. I don’t have a problem with Brad taking over my spare room,” she said, looking around furtively. Not that she had anything to hide, but she’d rather the other guests who were present at the engagement party of their friends Cassie Stephens and Carter Garrett didn’t overhear this particular conversation.

While no one seemed to be drunk on alcohol, the lunchtime chatter was loud and filled with laughter. No doubt people were intoxicated from the combination of gourmet food, the glorious sunny spring day and the awe-inspiring view of Sydney Harbour from the expansive outdoor entertaining deck of the party’s hosts, their buddies Lucas and Jade Renner-Bilton.

“But you didn’t even think before you made the offer to Brad,” Lexie said. “It was so off the cuff!”

Erin gave Lexie a patient pat on the arm as she glanced at Lexie’s thirty-one-year-old older brother. Even though Brad’s dark brown hair needed a trim, and his gorgeous caramel eyes were hidden behind his dark sunglasses, a one-second look at his face would make even a complete stranger agree that he was blessed with chiselled good looks. And that was without checking out the rest of him, which was undoubtedly hot, even with clothes on.

Bradley Mead was one fine specimen of a man. That was the plain and simple truth, not some declaration born out of infatuation.

“Who better to be my next flatmate than your brother?” she said to Lexie.

“Because I know you still think that Brad is one of the best-looking guys in existence,” Lexie said dryly. “Couple that with the fact that Brad can charm the skirts off women without even trying.”

“Excuse me. You think I’ll let him charm my skirt off me? Brad being gorgeous is a matter of fact, Lex. Put it this way—if I said that Rick is average looking, would you agree with me?”

Lexie looked at her future husband and smiled. “No. My Rick is absolutely hot.”

“And I agree,” Erin said with a laugh. “But me thinking that doesn’t mean I have any designs on Rick.”

“But you used to have a serious crush on Brad,” Lexie argued.

She rolled her eyes. “Geez, Lex. That was eight years ago, when I was a young and naive teenager. I’ve been over him for ages. I can’t believe you’re worrying about this.”

“I just don’t want you and Brad to mess up the friendship you’ve built over the years. Everyone knows what a charmer he can be. That’s why it’s easy for women to fall for him and get their hearts broken even if he doesn’t mean to hurt them. Since no one has ever told him how you used to feel about him, he might not hold back on his flirtatious ways, and you might… you know… have a relapse, or something.”

“Look, I might still be a great admirer of Brad’s male physique, but that’s just like appreciating art in a museum. I’m happy to look but have no desire whatsoever to acquire it. I’m immune to Brad’s charms, Lex, and have been for a long time. Promise.”

Lexie sighed in resignation. “Fine. As long as you know what you’re getting into. And don’t forget that he’s used to having a cleaning lady come in and tidy up his place. He might forget to do his fair share of housework.”

“Don’t worry. I won’t let him get away with it,” she said with a chuckle.

“Hey, guys,” Marilyn Grant, a gorgeous friend who loved hosting charity events, called from the table next to theirs. “Who will you be betting on for our next round of the Captured by Love game?”

“I’m betting on my son,” Lexie and Brad’s mother said. “Underneath that workaholic exterior is a man crying out for his other half. He just doesn’t know it yet.”

Erin joined the others in laughing out loud at Vivian’s declaration.

“How much are you betting, Mum?” Brad asked. “I hope you don’t end up in debt after this, because I’m telling you, I have no intentions of settling down for a few years yet.”

Vivian shook her head in disappointment.

“I think I’ll bet on Gavin,” Erin said, grinning at Carter’s best friend, whom she’d just recently met.

“Wait,” Gavin Redford said, his brow furrowing. “I still don’t fully understand this game. Like Brad, I have no desire to settle down yet.”

“The way it works,” Marilyn explained, “is if you fall in love and renounce the single life before any of the other bachelors in the game, then Erin will win. Those who didn’t bet on you will hand the amount they’ve pledged over to Erin’s selected charity.”

“I see,” Gavin said. “So, Erin, does this mean you’ll be hounding me into proposing to a girl or something?”

Erin laughed. “Marilyn has been known to pressure Simon, who she’s bet on twice before, but I take the let-love-do-it’s-work approach. I might give you a tiny bit of encouragement if I see you interested in someone, but definitely no pressure.”

“Lucky you, Gavin,” Brad muttered, casting a resigned look at his mother.

Gavin chuckled. “Hey, you could help Vivian win, Erin. Since Brad’s moving in with you, you have the perfect opportunity to push him towards a girl—”

“What?” Vivian interrupted, her eyes wide. “Brad is moving in with you, Erin?”

“Yes, Vivian,” Erin answered with a smile. “As you know, he’s been slack in finding a place to live while his new house gets built.”

“Oh, isn’t that wonderful?” Vivian said, clasping her hands in glee.

“Don’t get any funny ideas, Mother,” Brad said. “I’ve decided to share with Erin because her apartment is close to my office. It’s very convenient for me.”

“I’m not thinking anything,” Vivian said with a dismissive flick of her wrist. “I just think it’s wonderful of Erin to allow you to share her home, that’s all.”

Erin smiled wryly at Lexie, who rolled her eyes.

Years ago, when Erin had cried upon learning that Brad had started dating a popular teenage pop star, Vivian had comforted her. Brad’s mother had said that since she was only nineteen, she had plenty of time to find her Mr. Right, and chances were it wouldn’t be Brad.

Well, she was yet to meet The One, but Vivian had been right about one thing. It wouldn’t be Brad. It couldn’t be. Once she’d realised that Brad constantly moved from one girl to the next, her crush for him had dissipated. She preferred guys who valued relationships, not playboys. Now, she saw him as just a very good friend who happened to be extremely attractive.

“Someone’s phone keeps on ringing,” Jade called out from the open French doors, holding up a black handbag.

“Oh, it’s mine,” Erin said, taking the bag from Jade. She fished out the device and groaned as she saw the name flashing on the screen.

Paula.

“Is that Kevin’s wife?” Lexie demanded in a whisper. “Why the hell is your ex-boyfriend’s wife calling you?”

“You won’t believe this,” she said dryly, “but ever since she learned I work for the same company that recently hired Kevin, she wants to be my friend.”

“No,” Lexie said, her eyes rounding.

“Yup,” she said before hitting the answer button to talk to the woman that Kevin had married—before breaking up with Erin.

“Hi, Paula,” she greeted, that surreal feeling creeping up again just like it had last week when Paula had called her out of the blue. Paula had wanted the two of them to be on good terms since Kevin would be starting work as an account manager at JMR Market Research, where Erin was a senior qualitative analyst.

“Hello, Erin,” Paula said, her tone overly friendly. “I plan to have lunch with Kevin tomorrow on his first day at JMR. Do you want to join us so we can meet in person?”

“Uh, sure, that would be nice,” she answered. Frankly, she’d rather not socialise with her ex and his wife. But she could understand Paula’s agenda. The woman wanted to make sure that she didn’t have anything to worry about, and Erin respected the way she was going about it. Besides, what better way to prove to everyone—to Paula and Kevin, especially—that she’d moved on?

“Great! I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”

“See you.”

Erin leaned towards Lexie. “She wants me to join her and Kevin for lunch tomorrow.”

“You know what that means,” Lexie said. “She wants to keep you close so she can keep an eye on you.”

“She shouldn’t be so concerned. Why would I want Kevin back, when he cheated on me with her?”

“Are you really okay working with Kevin, especially since you’ll be on the same team?” Lexie asked worriedly.

“Yes,” she said with conviction. “He means nothing to me anymore. It might feel uncomfortable for the first few days, but he’s not worth getting upset about.”

It was a pity her boss hadn’t realised that the Kevin he’d hired was the same Kevin who’d broken her heart fourteen months ago—the man who hadn’t had the decency to break up with her first before getting married to someone else during his trip to Europe with his buddies.

Apparently, Kevin had met Paula on the very first day he had landed in Spain and had decided to marry her six weeks later, just before he had to return to Australia. Unfortunately, Kevin had only deigned to tell Erin they were over when he’d come back to Sydney, with his new wife in tow.

Anger and hurt bubbled up inside Erin at the memory, but the emotions were only dull. She’d made her peace with Kevin’s actions months ago, after forcing herself to look for the silver lining.

Her relationship with Kevin hadn’t exactly been what she’d hoped for. They’d simply been plodding along, not exactly fighting, but not also sharing anything deep enough that was capable of strengthening their emotional bond. They’d never discussed their future as a couple, and had never felt the motivation to do so.

She’d come to realise that the only reason she’d been willing to stay with Kevin was because she hadn’t wanted another failed relationship after her past two had crumbled just after the second year anniversaries. Ironically, this particular one ended just after the two-year-mark as well.

Her phone started ringing again. Ugh!

“You’re kidding, right?” Lexie said, spying Kevin’s name on the screen.

“I better see what he wants,” she said, getting up from her seat to go inside the house for more privacy.

“Hello, Kevin,” she said in a distant but polite voice.

“Hi, Erin,” the man said in a too-bright tone. “How are you?”

“Well, thanks. You?”

“Good, thank you.”

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Kevin said.

“You mean to our lunch with your wife?” she asked innocently.

“What lunch?”

Her brows lifted. “You don’t know? Paula just rang to invite me to have lunch with the two of you tomorrow.”

“I didn’t know that,” Kevin said after a pause. “I’m sorry about that, Erin. I’ll talk to her and tell her you’re not—”

“It’s okay, Kevin,” she interrupted. “I don’t want your wife worrying that there’s still something between us.”

“But… it would be so weird.”

“Yes, it would be. But I don’t want her getting suspicious or anything. She’s nice enough to approach this in a friendly manner.”

Kevin sighed. “Fine.”

“Good.”

“Hey, can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“I’m just curious… why haven’t you had a boyfriend since we split up?” Kevin asked.

She huffed in disbelief at his question. “Why do you want to know?”

“I was just wondering. A mutual friend has confirmed you haven’t seriously dated since we broke up.”

“Which friend?” she asked with annoyance. Yes, it was true there hadn’t been anyone special since Kevin. But frankly, she wasn’t in any hurry to get another boyfriend. After her experience with him, she’d decided to be a bit pickier when it came to men.

“I just want to know, Erin.”

“I don’t see why we have to talk about this, Kevin. Anyway, I have to go. I’m at a party.”

“Okay,” Kevin said softly. “I know it’s hard to get over someone you’ve loved for two years. I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye.”

Wha-at?

Erin stared at her phone after Kevin had hung up, her jaw hitting the floor. Had that man just insinuated she wasn’t over him? How rude!

“Everything okay, Erin?”

She glanced up and blinked fast, her irritated mood mellowing from the sight before her.

Brad was standing by the threshold, his muscular form apparent from his slim-fit button-up shirt, his handsome face frowning at her with concern.

Yes, Brad was still the best-looking person she knew. And she’d be seeing him every day for at least seven months after he moved in to her apartment.

She smiled. That would more than make up for having to face Kevin every single working day.

Brad might only be a friend, but he was still her favourite eye candy.

*****

Brad cocked his head to the side, Erin’s pretty smile tempering the surge of protectiveness that had hit him at hearing her mention the name Kevin. After how Kevin had broken Erin’s heart, the man had become a persona non grata in their circle.

“Was that your idiot ex you were talking to?” he asked mildly, an image of Erin’s distraught face from over a year ago, when she’d told them what Kevin had done, playing in his mind.

“Yes,” Erin answered, rolling those beautiful hazel eyes of hers.

“So why is he calling you?”

“He’s starting work at JMR tomorrow.”

“You’re kidding,” he said in disbelief.

“I wish I was.”

“You okay about it?”

Erin shrugged. “I’m not ecstatic that I’ll be working alongside him, but I can handle it. Although I think he thinks I’m still not over him,” she added with a frown.

“Why?”

“Well, he said he knew I hadn’t had a serious relationship after I broke up with him. Then he said it’s hard to get over someone you’ve loved for two years. I’m insulted. What does he take me for? Stupid?” she asked, flicking her lustrous chocolate-coloured hair in annoyance.

“That proves he’s still the biggest idiot,” he said.

“And the last thing I want is for his wife to think that I’m still holding a torch for him,” Erin said. “Do you know that Paula wants to be friends with me?”

“Erin?” Lexie interrupted, walking into the house. “What did he say?”

Erin told her friend.

“How dare he!” Lexie exclaimed. “That Kevin is really so full of himself!”

“I know, right?” Erin said. “What on earth did I ever see in the man that I dated him for two years? I still can’t believe I’d been so blind for that long.”

“If I were you, I’d tell both him and Paula a white lie and say you’re dating someone,” Lexie said. “That should lessen whatever jealousy Paula’s feeling and stop Kevin from being so presumptuous.”

Brad looked on, intrigued by the conversation happening between the women. And with Erin’s face taking on a Eureka! look, it was clear she liked Lexie’s suggestion.

A thought gave him a jolt, making him stand up straighter. And it was the perfect idea. It would serve him and Erin equally.

“I think you’re right, Lex,” Erin was saying. “I’ll tell them I’m going out with someone.”

Lexie nodded sagely.

“If that’s the case,” Brad said, a wide smile forming on his face as his perfect idea took hold. “I have a proposition to make.”

“What?” Erin asked.

“How about we pretend to be going out? I’m looking for a fake girlfriend, so this is great timing.”

The two women widened their eyes at him.

“Why?” Lexie asked.

“I’m after this contract to provide commercial interior design services for a new complex being developed on an old industrial site in western Sydney. It’s a big project, including a residential high-rise and several low-level buildings. But I just found out that James Coyte, the CEO of the corporation that owns the complex, just got married three weeks ago.”

“And why’s that a problem for you?”

“Well, his new wife Valerie happens to be someone I went out with a few times. Unfortunately, when I attended an industry function last week, I bumped into Valerie. I didn’t know then that she just got married. She flirted with me outrageously and I flirted back. And of course, James Coyte saw and gave me the coldest look as he escorted his wife away.”

“You had to flirt back, didn’t you?” Lexie said dryly.

“I was just being friendly. Just three months ago, Valerie was still calling me, wanting to hook up again. Apparently she and James got married after dating for only five weeks. How was I supposed to know she wasn’t single anymore?”

“Oh, Brad,” Lexie said with a shake of her head. “The women you go out with.”

“Hey, I stopped entertaining her calls a long time ago when I figured out she was a gold digger. Obviously, James has no clue what his wife’s really like. But that’s his problem, not mine. My problem is that James might have put my firm out of contention because of a rumour that has started to go around.”

“What rumour?” Erin asked.

“Apparently, there are whispers that I’m still keen on Valerie. I’m not surprised someone’s out to hurt my chances of winning the contract. This business is as cut-throat as anything, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Warren Oliver who started it. He’ll do anything—”

“Wait a minute,” Lexie interrupted. “Warren Oliver, who used to be your biggest rival in school, and is now your fiercest competitor in business, is going for the same contract? What are the odds, huh?” she added sarcastically.

He sniggered. Everyone close to him knew the competition that had been going on between him and Warren for many years. These days, they battled against each other for multimillion-dollar projects instead of the top marks in class and the hottest cheerleaders.

Their rivalry had been friendly and polite in the past. But three years ago, when Warren had won a contract they’d both competed for, their relationship had escalated to enemy level.

Brad’s firm had been the frontrunner for that project, but ultimately hadn’t been awarded the deal because of whispers that his company was having cash flow problems. Brad had no doubt that the false rumours had been started by Warren. No one else had a powerful enough motive to make him lose out on the contract since their respective firms had been the only two that had made the final round of consideration. And it hadn’t been the first time Warren had tried to trip him during a race to get to the finish line first. Unfortunately, he had no concrete evidence to prove his suspicions that the rumours were all Warren’s doing.

“I can’t believe you’re still locking horns with that guy,” Erin said teasingly. “In almost everything.”

“And I’m not letting him win this contract,” he said with determination. This new job was, by far, the most lucrative and prestigious he’d ever gone after. No way he’d hand this one to Warren’s firm. No fucking way.

“So what do you say, Erin?” he asked with a wink. “Would you be my fake girlfriend?”

“What exactly does that position entail?” she asked.

“It means going out with me to dinners and industry functions so relevant people will see us together as a couple. That should stop rumours of me wanting to have an affair with James Coyte’s wife.”

“And will you pick me up at work so Kevin and Paula can see I’m not single anymore?”

“However you want me to act around them, I’d be more than happy to comply.”

Lexie sighed loudly, her disapproval apparent. “Why don’t the two of you just find yourselves real dates instead of getting into this fake relationship thing with each other?”

“You know my workaholism doesn’t go well with real dates, sis,” he quipped. With past girlfriends having accused him of being married to his company, he’d learned to stay away from relationships.

“You know what, Brad? You have a deal,” Erin said, holding her hand out for a shake.

“Deal,” he said with a wide smile, grasping her hand and squeezing it.

Excellent. Erin was the best fake girlfriend he could hope for. Truth be told, she was absolutely freaking gorgeous. Not only that, she was caring and sweet, and she could hold intelligent conversations with anyone. She’d be great when they had to hobnob with potential clients.

Pity this was a no-sex arrangement. If there was anyone among his friends that he’d love to take to his bed, it was Erin. But he cared too much about their friendship to mess around with her. Plus, he truly didn’t have any interest in being in a romantic relationship with anyone.

His firm was growing at a phenomenal rate and he wasn’t ready to take his foot off the accelerator. While he’d achieved so much in the last few years, including winning industry awards and prestigious contracts, he was still far from his loftier goal: taking Mead Commercial and Corporate Designs worldwide—and doing it before Warren Oliver’s firm did.

He simply didn’t have time for a relationship. He’d decided long ago to not be in one until… well, he didn’t know when. One thing was for sure, it wouldn’t be in the foreseeable future. Having a casual shag whenever he wanted one suited him far better than dealing with a partner who’d ask for more than he could give. And Erin most definitely wasn’t a casual-shag type of person.

Yes, that was a real pity.

***End of Chapter One***

Hope you enjoyed that. I'll share Chapter Two with you tomorrow.

The Unintended Fiancé can be pre-ordered from the following stores:

Amazon US | Other Amazon stores | Apple iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

It will be available on Google Play, All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords on October 22nd.

That's all for today. More tomorrow 🙂

Much love,
Miranda xxx

 

 

 

The Undercover Playboy: Chapter One

One week to go!

Have you marked the 14th of July yet? That's when The Undercover Playboy is released. So excited to share Carter and Cassie's love story with you. I have a good feeling you'd love it 🙂

But for today, here's Chapter One. Enjoy!

TheUndercoverPlayboy-1200x1800

The Undercover Playboy Chapter One

Cassie Stephens startled herself with the gushy breath she let out. Had she just swooned?

She hid her smile as she continued to watch the sexy Carter Garrett make his way towards a spotlighted section in the backyard of their newly engaged friends, Rick Donnelly and Lexie Mead. The dark-haired, blue-eyed hunk joined three other handsome men already standing there, snickering as they patted Carter on the back in a gesture of faux commiseration.

“I knew I wasn’t just imagining it before,” a teasing voice said beside Cassie.

She peeled her gaze off Carter to turn to Natasha Garrett, Carter’s younger sister and her flatmate of eight months.

“You are totally checking him out,” Natasha whispered as she slid onto the seat next to Cassie, which Carter had vacated.

Cassie shrugged nonchalantly even as she blushed. “What’s wrong with that? I’m not the only one.” She looked around to see if the other females at Lexie’s birthday party were indeed looking at Carter. She instantly spotted at least three single women openly gazing at him with admiring eyes. She frowned, not liking that her point had been proven.

But she couldn’t blame them. Apart from his crazy-good looks, Carter exuded authority and masculinity that made any red-blooded female stare. And right now, with Carter deciding to take off his leather jacket, it was easy to make out the muscular chest underneath the navy-blue shirt that hugged his torso. Who wouldn’t want to check him out?

Cassie was surprised, though, that Carter was feeling hot enough to strip off a layer of clothing. It was late autumn in Sydney, the temperature mild but slightly below average. Even though there were several patio heaters strategically scattered around the vast garden to make the place nice and comfortable for everyone, it was still a cool evening for just a shirt.

Was he nervous? She smiled, enjoying the thought that Mr. Confident could be rattled from standing in front of more than fifty people to parade himself with the other bachelors. She’d have to tease him about this later.

“You like him,” Natasha said, her tone betraying the fact that she was pleased with this development.

“I never said I didn’t.”

“But you keep on insisting you’re not interested in him.”

“Liking him and being interested in him are two different things, Tash. Your brother might be one hell of a looker but I have no intention whatsoever of going out with him.”

“Why not? The two of you get along so well. Whenever Carter joins us for dinner, he spends more time chatting with you than he does with me.”

She chuckled. “I’m sure it’s so I won’t mind that he freeloads dinner whenever he comes around.”

A snicker made Cassie turn to her other side, and she noticed that everyone else sitting with them at one of the elegantly decked-out dining tables was looking at her and Natasha. Her three best friends—Lexie, Jade Tully and Erin Baker—along with Rick and Lucas Renner-Bilton—Jade’s fiancé—were smiling widely, not hiding the fact that they were listening in on their conversation.

“Well, I’ve never seen you show interest in a man so obviously before, Cass,” said Jade.

“What?” she whispered in shock.

“Yes, I’ve noticed how flirtatious you’ve been lately,” Lexie said from across the table, winking at her.

Her jaw dropped. “I have never! And definitely not in public. If you noticed anything, it’s just me being friendly with Carter, that’s all.”

“Oh, Cass,” Erin said with a shake of her head. “I don’t know why you’re lying to yourself.”

She opened her mouth to utter another protest when the voice of the gorgeous Marilyn Grant came through the wireless speakers. Everyone hushed to listen intently to one of Rick’s long-time friends.

“Do we seriously have only four bachelors in the running for this round?” Marilyn asked, squinting her eyes at the guests, who were sitting and watching the proceedings, trying to spot an eligible man who hadn’t joined her on the makeshift stage.

“Remember that two of the guys are overseas and one’s in Melbourne,” Rick called out.

Marilyn nodded. “Well, we can’t include them if they’re not here. So, everyone, here are the contestants for this round’s Captured by Love betting game. At some point during the night,” she said, holding up a sheet of paper, “please write your name here, plus the name of the bachelor you think will come off the singles market next, and the amount you’re willing to bet. Whoever correctly chooses the next guy to fall in love and renounce his single status will be the winner, and the losers will have to hand over their money to the winner’s favourite charity. If we have more than one winner, the amount will be split equally among the selected charities.”

Whistles and applause came from the guests.

“Two of these guys are here for the third time,” Marilyn continued, grinning at the four men beside her.

Simon Alexander and Tristan Grant raised their arms in the air in a triumphant gesture.

Simon leaned towards Marilyn to speak through the mic. “Girls, I’m still happily single,” he said in a low, sexy voice. “And I’d love your phone numbers.”

Marilyn pushed him away playfully. “Ladies, don’t be fooled by this playboy talk from Simon,” she said. “He’s really looking for his soulmate.”

Simon laughed out loud, throwing his head back.

Marilyn sighed. “Admittedly, I’ve already lost twice because I picked Simon. Maybe I’ll bet on my cousin this time around.” She stood next to Tristan and swept her hand in front of him with flourish. “Ladies, may I say that Tristan is a great catch? Sure, he can be aggravating sometimes, but deep inside he’s fiercely loyal. You’ll be doing my auntie a favour if you ensnare him. She’s dying to have her son finally settle down.”

The audience laughed while Tristan rolled his eyes, shaking his head in bemusement.

“And we also have two new bachelors joining this round,” Marilyn said. “Most of you already know Brad.”

Lexie’s older brother bowed theatrically as the audience clapped.

“So, Brad, can you tell our friends why they should bet on you?”

Brad snorted. “Well, I can tell them they shouldn’t. Settling down isn’t on my to-do list yet.”

“Hey!” Vivian, Brad’s mother, called out. “Shouldn’t the older sibling get married first? Since Rick proposed to Lexie tonight…”

“Mum,” Brad said with a chuckle. “The four of us up here intend to stay single for a while. Where would the fun be in this game otherwise?”

Vivian frowned. “How can anyone give money to charity if none of you settle down?”

Brad shrugged. “Well, don’t look at me.”

Marilyn exhaled loudly through the mic. “Carter, maybe you’re our best hope. Do you want to say something to the punters?”

Carter good-naturedly took the mic Marilyn offered him. “Well, all I can say is that I’m honoured to have been invited to this party and meet you wonderful people. Oh, and that I was really enjoying myself until Cassie there practically forced me to walk up here and offer myself up as a pawn for this game,” he said with mock displeasure, narrowing his eyes at Cassie.

Cassie grinned at him and gave him two thumbs up.

“She said she’s not betting on me, though,” Carter said, his lips twisting. “And you guys should follow her lead and pick someone else.”

“Honestly,” Marilyn said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “I don’t believe any of you with your I’m-happy-being-single posturing. Rick and Lucas said the same thing, and look at them now.”

Everyone turned their heads towards Cassie’s table, where the two men in question were sitting next to their fiancées. Rick and Lucas grinned at each other, then Rick turned to Lexie, grabbing her face and kissing her passionately on lips. Not to be outdone, Lucas did the same to Jade.

The crowd cheered.

A vision popped into Cassie’s head as she watched her engaged friends smooch in front of everybody. Her gaze involuntarily went back to Carter… then travelled to his crotch.

She blushed, quickly looking away. Damn it. What the hell was wrong with her?

If anyone had asked her last month if she had a thing for Carter, the answer would have been no. Sure, she found him attractive. Incredibly so. But she wasn’t looking for a relationship. She was too busy studying for her MBA, wanting to finish it with flying colours. To add to that, she was going for several job interviews so she could leave the dead-end role she hated. Her main priority was to get her career on the right track first. She’d already wasted four years with a company that zapped her energy and humour for a salary less than what she knew she deserved. A relationship would distract her from her goals.

But distracted was exactly how she’d been since she had that dream. It had been so vivid that she could still remember every single moment in her head. More frustratingly, she instantly got hot and bothered every time those memories came, unbidden.

She shifted in her seat as certain scenes played in her mind. Of course, she had no idea if the bottom half of Carter’s body really was as magnificent in real life as it had been in her dream. Her breath caught as she recalled wrapping her hand around his hardness and—

Stop it, Cassandra!

She crossed her legs, feeling the tingling sensation she now constantly suffered whenever she remembered that dream—which was too damned often for her liking! These days she was always craving. For Carter. Which wasn’t good.

He wasn’t boyfriend material. Every time Natasha quizzed him about his dating life, he always mentioned a different woman.

But then again… Hadn’t Cassie herself said she wasn’t into anything serious at this point? So what would be the problem if she and Carter hooked up?

The problem is you’ve lost your mind!

She shook her head, annoyed at herself. She shouldn’t forget that she needed to focus on her MBA studies first. She’d already got her CPA designation two years ago, but she still wanted to enhance her qualifications. First and foremost, though, she wanted to find a better job so she could say goodbye to her hellish current boss once and for all. She was already twenty-six. She wanted to settle into a good role with a good company now, not later.

But…

Wouldn’t having something casual with Carter help with getting him out of her system so she could concentrate on her studies?

Oh, for heaven’s sake, Cassie! Shut up already! Why would Carter want you?

That last thought hit her hard, and she took a sharp breath. Why indeed would someone like Carter be interested in her? She was the quiet type who hated stereotypical girly things like clothes shopping. If it weren’t for her best friends, who constantly helped her with her wardrobe, she’d always be wearing the same black dress at parties. And if it weren’t for contact lenses, she’d be wearing the thickest glasses among anyone she knew.

No, someone like Carter went for supermodel-looking women—those who were born to be the centre of attention at parties because of their bubbly personalities and fashion sense. Why wouldn’t he? He was a gorgeous, outgoing person himself.

Heck, she really should be grateful for that dream. At least she’d got to see Carter in all his naked glory—even if it was just in her head.

*****

Carter smiled wryly as he watched the other guests cheer and laugh as Rick and Lucas kissed their fiancées. Here was a group of friends and family who enjoyed each other’s company, letting their hair down and revelling in the celebrations.

It had been a long time since he’d been to a real, fun party like this where he’d felt free to relax and be himself—well, up to a certain extent. With his job as an undercover detective, it wasn’t always possible to fully open up just because he wanted to.

Melancholy hit him. He missed times like this. He couldn’t even remember the last time he’d been to a gathering where people knew who he really was. In the last couple of years, most of the parties he’d attended had involved him rubbing shoulders with characters he’d only pretended to be friends with so he could get what he needed in order to catch criminals.

Fortunately, he had the time to attend Lexie’s birthday party tonight. He usually didn’t accept invitations like this when he was in the middle of a case, but he’d become good friends with Rick. The two of them had bonded after he’d saved Rick from a gun-wielding perp. Then their friendship grew from Rick providing information that eventually helped catch a whole gang of criminals.

And then there was Cassie, his sister’s flatmate.

He glanced at the brown-haired, brown-eyed woman who, incredibly, had no idea how beautiful she was. Tonight, she was shining. She had on a new red dress that she’d said Jade had helped her pick. And she had matching high heels on, which made her shapely legs look even sexier.

He knew, though, that she’d prefer to be wearing flats. And from the way she constantly blinked, she’d also be hoping she had on her comfortable black-rimmed eyeglasses rather than her contacts. She was pretty without her glasses, but frankly, he preferred her with them on. They made her look attractively studious. He had a thing for brainy women.

He chuckled mirthlessly. If he could, he’d ask Cassie out. Unfortunately, that was out of the question. All he could allow at this point in time was the light flirtation they exchanged regularly—the kind that wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.

Marilyn turned to him and the other three guys and he pulled himself out of his musing.

“See? I bet that one of you would soon end up like those two,” Marilyn said, gesturing to Lucas and Rick.

“Can I ask one of the bachelors a question?” Katrina, one of the single ladies, called out.

“Sure,” Marilyn answered.

“Carter, I’m so glad that you’re here with us tonight,” Katrina said with a sultry smile. “I’m curious… how old are you, and what do you do for a living?”

“Ooh, Katrina’s taking a special interest in Carter,” Marilyn said in a teasing voice, then handed the mic to Carter.

He took it, hiding a sigh. “I’m thirty, Katrina, and I’m an electrician. Currently, I also do part-time work as a personal trainer for a friend’s fitness company,” he answered, flashing a smile. He hoped it covered up his unease with his answer.

Out of everyone in this party, only his sister and Rick knew that he was an undercover detective. And there were several people in this group that he hated lying to, including Cassie. They’d considered him a friend and welcomed him with open arms. Unfortunately, the cases he worked on called for discretion and secrecy. And lies.

He usually stayed undercover for a lengthy period of time. Twice already, his life and those of others had been jeopardised because he’d bumped into acquaintances who’d recognised him and inadvertently blown his cover. Similar situations had to be avoided as much as possible.

But expecting each and every single person who knew him to immediately pick up that he was undercover and play along with it was near impossible. The best way was to tell people that what he did for a living was his undercover role. Only family and close friends knew the truth.

His “part-time” work changed whenever he worked on a different case. But being an electrician was the constant answer he gave. Fortunately, he really was qualified as one. His parents owned one of the most successful electrical services company in Australia.

“So do you see clients in a gym? And do you work with them one-on-one?” Katrina pressed.

“Yes. And sometimes I see clients at their homes,” he answered. “The personal trainer gig is only temporary until the guy I’m filling in for comes back from an overseas holiday.”

Katrina smiled cutely at him, but didn’t have any more questions to ask.

He breathed a sigh of relief as Marilyn gave the okay for the four of them to return to their tables. He saw Natasha return to her original seat next to Erin, giving him back the place beside Cassie.

He hid a snicker, knowing what his sister was up to. His mum and Natasha had been conspiring for a while now to find him a date. They believed that a steady girlfriend was one more person of influence who could convince him to take extra care while working on his cases. From Natasha’s recent actions, it was obvious that Cassie was her selected candidate.

“Mum would be happy to know that you’re one of four men racing to be the first to fall into a relationship,” Natasha said as he sat back down.

“Sure,” he said sarcastically.

“Watch out for Katrina,” Rick said, leaning across the table. “She’ll be beating a path to your door in no time.”

“Yeah. She can be pretty intense,” Lucas said conspiratorially. “And I think Vicky’s also eyeing you.”

Carter sighed as he turned to Cassie. “Your fault for telling me to go up there.”

“Why is it my fault? You’re the hot one,” Cassie replied, before her eyes widened. “I mean… you know… ’cause you’re the… uh… personal trainer,” she said weakly, blushing furiously.

He smothered his grin. It hadn’t escaped his attention that even though Cassie flirted with him in private, she was shy about it in public. She wasn’t the type to openly go after a man.

It was a shame that Cassie seemed intent on not dating while she focused on her career and studies. Not that it mattered to him, because he couldn’t date her anyway. In fact, he couldn’t date anyone. He was supposed to be a loser playboy so he could catch that heartless bitch who’d shot his best friend Gavin Redford, and had Gavin fighting for his life.

***End of Chapter One***

Chapter Two's coming tomorrow!

You can pre-order The Undercover Playboy right now from the following stores:

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Links to Google Play, All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords will be available on July 14th.

And to celebrate the upcoming release of The Undercover Playboy, The Unwilling Executive is on sale for a limited time!

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Much love,
Miranda xxx

 

The Unyielding Bachelor: Chapter Two

Hi again! Hope you enjoyed Chapter One of The Unyielding Bachelor. Without further ado, here's Chapter Two 😉

TheUnyieldingBachelor-200x300The Unyielding Bachelor: Chapter Two

“Ow,” Lexie said under her breath as she gingerly walked towards the elevators.

“You okay?” Rick asked, clasping her arm in assistance.

“My feet are killing me,” she said with a rueful laugh. “I should have sat out that dancing marathon game. These heels weren’t right for it.”

“Mine are killing me, too,” Jade said, her steps as short and slow as Lexie’s as she hung on to Lucas.

“I’ll make sure Drew’s already waiting for us at the front,” Lucas said, fishing his phone from his jacket pocket to call his driver.

“Thanks, Lucas,” Lexie said, grateful for the thought and the fact that she and Rick were getting a lift with the couple.

In the past, she hadn’t taken full advantage of the time she’d spent with Rick whilst in the company of their friends. When surrounded with other people, she’d toned down her flirting, not wanting to appear as desperate as some of his admirers.

Right now was a case in point. Rick still had his hand on her arm, ensuring she had some support while she tried to walk with dignity. But what was she doing with this unexpected benefit from her aching feet? Nothing.

Well, that was about to change.

“Ow,” she said again—deliberately—and clung to him.

“Not far to go now,” Rick soothed.

That was a shame, because she was now hugging his arm. She only had to rest her head on his shoulder and they would look as sweet as Jade and Lucas.

“It’s funny how women’s shoes are so expensive, yet can be so uncomfortable,” Rick said.

“The things we do for fashion,” she murmured, wondering if Rick was minding the way she was grasping his bicep.

“And how do you know how much women’s shoes cost, bro?” Lucas teased.

“Try having a fifteen-year-old sister who’s starting to want to dress up like a grown-up,” he said dryly. “I tell Shelley she’s too young for high fashion and she tells me I’m too stodgy.”

“You sound more like a dad than a brother,” Lexie said with a chuckle.

“I do, don’t I?” he murmured. He had been both a brother and father to Shelley ever since their dad passed away three years ago.

“Have you seen her much lately?”

“Last time I saw her was almost a month ago,” Rick said wryly. “Funny how she used to be my shadow when she was younger. Not anymore.”

They made it to the hotel entrance, where the limo was already waiting for them. Drew opened the back door and Jade walked in first. Lucas stood aside so Lexie could follow but she pretended not to notice his gesture. She continued to hold on to Rick’s arm and patiently waited until Lucas took the hint and got in the car.

She could feel herself blushing. She was being obvious. But so what?

She rolled her eyes at herself. What happened to the promise she’d made not to chase after a man or fight over one ever again? Since finding out that the ex-boyfriend she’d set out to win back had been cheating on her for so long, that had been her motto.

But, no. She didn’t think she was softening her stance with Rick. This was a different situation. Besides, simply letting him know how she felt wasn’t exactly chasing after him.

She climbed into the limo and was grateful to see that Lucas and Jade were already cuddling inside. That meant she was definitely sitting next to Rick.

“I’m so tired,” Jade said, yawning.

“Well, you’ve had a bit to drink,” Lucas murmured, kissing her forehead.

“Hey, maybe Drew can take you guys home first,” Rick said to the couple as he settled himself next to Lexie. “Your place is closest from here.”

“Good idea,” Lucas said, then gave instructions to his driver.

Lexie cheered silently. She’d be alone with Rick at the back of the car for at least fifteen minutes.

*

“Lex.”

Lexie smiled as she felt Rick’s lips against her hair.

“Lexie.”

“Hm,” she said, keeping her eyes closed to savour the moment. It was nice hearing him say her name so softly. She shifted so she could snuggle against him even more, snaking her arm around his waist.

Rick chuckled. “Maybe I should carry you inside. I don’t think we can stay in here. Drew has to go home.”

The fog of sleep lifted and she bolted upright, reddening as she realised how she’d practically wrapped herself around Rick as she snoozed.

“Sorry,” she said, glancing at Jade’s and Lucas’s empty seats. “Have they gone?”

“Yes. You slept through the goodbyes.”

“Oh.” Great. She’d wasted her alone time with him.

Drew opened the door from the outside and she didn’t have a choice but to get out. To her delight, Rick followed.

“I’ll walk you to your door,” he said.

“I thought I heard you say you’ll carry me,” she teased.

Next thing she knew, he was sweeping her off her feet and into his arms. She let out a high-pitched shriek, clinging to his neck in surprise.

“Never let it be said that I disappoint a damsel with distressed feet,” he said with a grin as he strode towards her apartment building.

She giggled, suddenly shy and speechless. She tried to think of something funny or sexy to say, but all that ran through her head was how Rick must be hearing how hard and fast her heart was hammering in her chest. Gosh, she wasn’t expecting this.

With a sigh, she rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes.

“You’re not falling asleep on me, are you?”

Was he kidding? Fall asleep when she was in his arms? “No,” she answered. “Just enjoying the ride.”

He chuckled. “Well, we need your key,” he said as he stopped by the main door of the building.

She waited for him to put her down. But he didn’t.

“Key, Lexie,” he said, staring at her expectantly.

“Oh.” She hid her grin as she fumbled with her purse while still hanging on to his neck. “Here it is.”

Rick angled her so she could insert the key in the lock. Together, they managed to open the heavy front door with Rick still carrying her.

“You don’t have lifts,” he observed, looking around the foyer for the elevators.

“No. There’s only three floors in the building.”

“What floor are you on?”

“Second. So I guess you’ll have to put me down now.”

With a sigh, he did.

Holding on to him for support, she unstrapped her stilettos and dangled them in her hand. “See? Next best thing for distressed feet,” she said with a grin.

Rick chuckled. “Well, I guess you don’t need me anymore, so I better go. See you tomorrow night for dinner at my place,” he said. Then he waved and started to walk away.

She stared at his back in hurt disappointment. That was it? There was nothing more to carrying her than being a gentleman who was helping a friend with aching feet?

“Rick,” she called out.

He looked back just as he was about to open the door.

“You can’t go without getting your thanks.”

Rick raised his brows.

With as much sexiness as she could muster, she sashayed to him and slung her arms around his neck. “Thank you,” she whispered, then kissed him on the lips. Lingeringly.

Her heart was galloping, but at the same time there was calmness about her. He had to know. No more being coy about it.

She ended the kiss and watched his face for his reaction. His eyes were wide, his breathing shallow.

“Wow,” he said. “You’re very welcome.”

She smiled, staring into his eyes.

Rick cleared his throat and stepped out of her embrace. “Well, goodnight, Lexie,” he said in a too-loud-and-cheerful-for-the-moment tone. “That was a great way to end the day. Bring your appetite tomorrow night.” Then he left.

What?

She exhaled her chagrin. There was no way anyone could have mistaken that kiss for a friendly gesture.

She waited to see if Rick would at least turn back and wave. But no. He got into the car and closed the door without a backward glance.

Ouch.

He was plainly and simply not interested.

She took one long, deep breath to compose herself before she turned around and trudged up the stairs. When she opened the door to her apartment, a sleepy Erin Baker was walking out of the bathroom.

“Hi, Erin,” she said glumly to her other best friend and flatmate.

“What’s wrong?” Erin asked in a drowsy voice.

She smiled sadly. “Nothing.”

Erin frowned. “Nothing? When you and Jade called earlier to say that we’re all celebrating their engagement at Rick’s house tomorrow night, you sounded super excited. So what—or who—burst your bubble?”

She plopped on the sofa. “The same man. Rick.”

“What happened?” Erin asked, sitting next to her.

“You know how I’ve decided to be more overt with my feelings for him?”

Erin nodded, now seemingly wide awake.

“Well, I kissed him downstairs. And now I don’t have to wonder anymore. He’s not interested in me.”

“Oh, Lex,” Erin said with sympathy, putting a hand on her arm. “Did he push you away?” she asked softly.

“No.”

“He didn’t kiss you back?”

Lexie’s brows furrowed. “Actually, he did. There was even some tongue there.”

“So he did kiss you back and he didn’t pull away?”

She nodded. “But when I ended the kiss, he just said goodnight as if the kiss meant nothing.”

“He didn’t say anything else?”

“Well, he did say ‘wow’ and that I was very welcome—because I thanked him first before I kissed him.”

“He said ‘wow’?” Erin asked, her brows lifting.

“Yeah.”

“So he did enjoy the kiss.”

“I guess. But like I said, after that, he brushed it off.”

“Hm. Maybe because it’s late and he’s tired and you surprised him?”

She stared at Erin. “You think? But that’s how he always reacts every time I flirt with him. I thought before that I just haven’t done enough to make him notice that I like him. But this kiss was different. It definitely wasn’t friendly.”

Erin sighed. “I don’t know then, Lex. Sorry.”

“But do you think kissing me back and saying ‘wow’ could be something?” she asked, wanting to hang on to whatever possibility was left. “Plus, he carried me to the door.”

“Carried you?”

She told Erin the whole story.

“Geez, it’s hard to tell, Lex. But if you’re game, why don’t you keep persisting with your flirtation plans? Who knows what might develop from there?”

She chewed her bottom lip, worried and uncertain.

“Alexia, I know what you’re thinking,” Erin said with soft censure. “But you’ve gotta be a little more flexible with this no-chasing-after-a-man thing. I think you’re backing away too early. Why don’t you see how he interacts with you tomorrow night and go on from there?”

“Okay,” she said, marshalling her courage again. “I guess I could just have surprised him tonight. Tomorrow might be different.”

“I’ll be watching his reaction, too,” Erin said.

She nodded, eager and apprehensive for what was to come.

*****

“Hey, gorgeous!”

“Hi, Rick,” Lexie said with a bright smile, preparing to tiptoe and kiss him as close to his lips as she dared with people watching.

But she wasn’t fast enough. Rick had already leaned down to plant a peck on her cheek. A very light, almost-nothing peck.

Well, what should she make of that?

With a sinking feeling, she watched as Rick gave her friends smacking kisses and warm hugs.

“Shelley’s in the kitchen. She’s excited to see you guys,” Rick said, walking towards the back of his impressive house and motioning for everyone to follow.

Erin pulled her so they lagged behind.

“He is most definitely different with you,” Erin whispered.

“What did I tell you?” she asked dryly.

“That’s a good thing, I think.”

She frowned at Erin. “How can kissing the air instead of my cheek be a good thing when everyone else got something more enthusiastic? If that wasn’t a clear hint that he’s not interested, I don’t know what is.”

“But I also saw the way he looked at you.”

Her heart jumped. “How did he look at me?”

“It’s hard to explain, but there was something in his eyes.”

“What something?”

“Something different.”

“That doesn’t help, Erin.”

“Well, there was… tenderness, I think. Or warmth. I don’t know. He might have been distant with his kiss, but his eyes gave me the opposite impression. To be honest, I’ve noticed him look at you differently before. I just didn’t want to bring it up because I’m not sure what it meant.”

“Really?”

“Hey, didn’t Jade say that Rick could have a good reason to stay single?” Erin said. “What if he’s interested in you but just can’t act on it?”

She frowned. “So how can I find out if that’s the case? And what’s stopping him?”

“We’ll work on finding out,” Erin said with determination.

She smiled at her friend, giving her a quick thank-you hug. Even though Erin was still getting over her recent breakup with a guy she’d been with for a couple of years, Erin had remained upbeat about love. She was an incurable romantic.

“All our guests are here, Shel,” they heard Rick say as they entered a large kitchen fit for a serious chef.

“Hi, guys!” said a pretty blonde girl who ran to them with exuberance. “I’m so glad to be feeding all of you tonight.” She gave each of them a massive bear hug, with a shriek of congratulations for the engaged couple.

Lexie grinned, returning Shelley’s greeting with a tight embrace. She loved Rick’s sister. She wasn’t a brat at all, even though Rick had that nickname for her. Shelley was warm and open, with a delightful sense of humour. Tonight, she was wearing an apron that said I’m my brother’s boss.

“Nice apron, Shel,” Lucas commented.

“Well, it’s true in some ways,” Shelley said with a grin.

“Having it printed on your favourite piece of clothing doesn’t make it true, brat,” Rick said, patting his sister on the shoulder.

“I’m so excited, Shelley,” Jade said. “And we’d all love to help.”

“Yes, we’re here to get our hands dirty,” Lexie added. “Tell us what you want us to do.”

“Well, since this is an engagement dinner for Jade and Lucas, maybe the two of them can just sit and watch. I do need extra help or we won’t be eating for another couple of hours because Rick is sooo slooow with everything.”

“Gee, thanks, sis,” Rick said sarcastically. “Glad to know my efforts are appreciated.”

“Why don’t you just pour your guests some drinks?” Shelley asked him with an unapologetic but sweet smile, then proceeded to give instructions to Lexie, Erin and Cassie.

The three women happily did what Shelley had assigned to them, leaving the girl to focus on preparing some special sauces for her dishes.

Lexie was reminded why Shelley impressed her. The girl was a pro in the kitchen. At this rate, they’d be having dinner in no time. She couldn’t wait. She was starving.

But busy as she was, she made sure she took the time to give Rick provocative looks. She even gave him flirty nudges whenever the opportunity presented itself. She wanted him to know that kissing him last night wasn’t meant to be a one-off thing.

He didn’t respond in kind, though, which was a bit of a downer. But she wasn’t going to let his lack of enthusiasm get to her. For all she knew, Rick was just feeling self-conscious in front of their friends. That was a possibility, right?

“By the way, Rick,” Shelley said, looking up from her task after quietly concentrating on it for long minutes. “I was talking to Aileen earlier today. She said she might pass by here tonight to drop something off.”

Lexie noticed how Rick’s head jerked towards Shelley.

“Didn’t you tell her we’re busy tonight?” Rick asked, glaring.

“Yeah. But she said she won’t be staying long. She just wants to hand me something.”

“What?”

Shelley shrugged just as the doorbell rang. “That’s probably her,” she said.

Lexie stared surreptitiously at Rick as he walked out of the kitchen. He was clearly uncomfortable with the arrival of this Aileen woman. Why? And who was she?

“Who’s Aileen, Shel?” Lexie asked casually.

“His girlfriend. I mean his ex-girlfriend,” Shelley answered, looking very pleased, like things were going the way she’d planned. It wasn’t hard to guess the girl’s intentions.

Gloom swiftly descended onto Lexie. But this wasn’t the time and place to wallow in the reasons for Rick’s ex being here, so she tried to push it away.

“Hi, everyone!”

Lexie looked up and saw a brunette standing by the threshold.

“Aileen!” Shelley cried delightedly.

Lexie’s heart sank. Aileen was absolutely stunning.

###End of Chapter Two###

That's it for now. You can enjoy the rest of the story when it comes out on the 19th of May 🙂

Can't wait for release day! Until then, take care.

Much love,
Miranda xxx

You can pre-order your copy of The Unyielding Bachelor from:

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