Unexpected Changes Book Four
Published: November 2017
Genre Information: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Length: 52,018 Words
Break up, after break up, has Kevin swearing off relationships, until he shares a passionate one-night stand with a sexy redhead. When fate thrusts them back together, will all his problems be solved, or will it only cause more?
His deepest desire is to have a family, a wife and kids, but after having his heart broken one too many times Kevin decides love is not for him. A hot one-night stand has him reconsidering his philosophy, but when she disappears the following morning Kevin is left with only a note and a lingering memory.
Trying to put the sexy stranger out of her mind, Lillian attempts to focus on other things. As a single mother she has more pressing matters to deal with, like finding a new home for her and her children. Having no luck with previous realtors, Lillian agrees to try out a new agent. Her mind on other things, she’s unprepared when she comes face to face with the man she ran out on only weeks before.
Expecting the client from hell, Kevin is shocked when the woman he’s been fantasizing about comes waltzing into his office with two children in tow. Can they put passion aside in favor of finding Lillian’s small family a home? Will Kevin be able to discover the secrets Lillian carries, secrets that have kept her from finding her dream home?
Lillian woke with a warm body next to hers. She wondered if her prayers had been answered as she held her breath. She glanced over her shoulder at the stranger who had so thoroughly owned her body the night before, and disappointment crashed through her.
Every single first had been difficult. She’d known this one would be as well. As she sank into the mattress, Lillian released that pent-up breath.
That’s when she realized she wasn’t in her room and her head was pounding. She was thankful she hadn’t gotten completely wasted, and only suffered a headache and a little dry mouth.
She glanced at the hotel alarm and noted the time—5:45. By the time they’d fallen asleep, it had been well after two in the morning. That could be another reason for her headache.
Part of her wanted to linger in bed and wake the sexy blond stranger with kisses, but the rational part of her knew she needed to get out. Now. She couldn’t afford to waste time with him, and she didn’t want to spoil the magic of last night with silly things like names and real facts about themselves. Last night had been perfect. Exactly what she needed.
She wouldn’t regret it.
She wouldn’t let anything spoil it.
Careful not to wake him, Lillian slipped out from beneath the covers and tiptoed toward her clothing. Two minutes later she was standing in a wrinkled dress, itching at her bra, and wincing at her high heels. With a hand on the door, she felt a twinge of remorse. She crept over to the desk and penned a quick note. Folding it, she left it on the pillow next to him and slunk out of the room.
Had a lovely time last night.
Once in the hallway, Lillian pulled out her phone to ensure she hadn’t missed any calls. Tucking it into her purse, she headed for the elevator. Three floors up she entered the room she shared with one of the other bridesmaids. The woman, still in her dress from the night before, laid half beneath the covers. Her loud snoring filled the room.
Ignoring her, Lillian went about her business. After changing into a comfortable bra, t-shirt and sweats, she gathered her toiletries and various other items from the room. She’d kept most of her belongings contained in her suitcase, so it didn’t take long for her to pack up. Her make-up was strewn about, but once she collected her eyeshadow palettes and lip glosses, she rolled her bag out the door.
On the elevator ride to the lobby she contemplated calling her mother, but considering the early hour, she didn’t want to wake anyone up. When she arrived at her mother’s house, she’d have a chance to check on Mackenzie and Cole, until then she’d let them be.
At first, she’d relished her night of freedom, but quickly realized how much she missed them. She’d called to wish them goodnight. Their grandparents were obviously keeping them preoccupied. Each of her children mumbled a quick “night, Mom” before leaving the phone with their grandmother in favor of spending time with grandpa.
Her mother had claimed everything was fine, and that she should enjoy herself, but Lillian couldn’t help the overwhelmingly lonely sensation. Sure that she was missing vital moments of her kid’s lives, she’d headed back to the ballroom and seriously considered leaving the reception early.
Then she’d spotted the blond stranger.
He’d been the perfect distraction.
He’d been the first man she’d slept with since the death of her husband.
Bonus Prologue Scene: Gabe and Brooke’s Wedding
Kevin inhaled the poison as he sucked on the smoke he’d bummed from Gabe’s dad. He tried hard not to think about his personal weakness, instead choosing to focus on the burn that filled his lungs.
He should be allowed one moment of indulgence, after all he’d gone over a year without a cigarette, but he knew if Nick caught him he’d probably end up doing extra reps on Monday, but right now, the way he was feeling, he didn’t give a damn. Nothing was going to make him give up this smoke.
He hated feeling sorry for himself, but lately he just couldn’t shake it off.
Having spent most of his life as the underdog, he’d never seen the value in his own life. He merely bobbed along in the river, rarely choosing to swim. Over a year ago he’d come to the realization that if he didn’t make a change he’d simply continue to float. He’d never accomplish anything, never reach his goals. He’d never have the things he really wanted. Things like companionship, passion. Love.
One by one his friends had found their perfect partners. Nick had married Amelia last year, and now they were having a baby. Ed had found Emma. A few months ago they’d been married by a simple ceremony at town hall, with barnyard reception hosted at his parent’s horse farm. Now Gabe was marrying Kevin’s high school sweetheart.
He wasn’t bitter.
He took another drag.
They had everything he’d ever wanted. And he was happy for them, he really was, but he wouldn’t deny that jealousy was a bitch.
“What the hell are you doing out here?”
Turning around Kevin almost winced when he saw Brooke in her white strapless wedding gown, the warmth from the ballroom casting an angelic glow around her.
“I thought brides were everything virginal and sweet. The perfect embodiment of femininity,” he teased.
“Should you really be cursing?”
Coming to stand with him at the patio railing she snorted. “Should you really be smoking?”
“Don’t you have people to greet? Or flowers to throw? Or a groom to kiss?” Kevin countered before putting the cigarette to his lips again.
Despite the fact that they’d dated in high school, he and Brooke had stayed close, but Kevin hadn’t relished the idea of standing up with her. He was thankful that she’d asked Emma to be her maid of honor. Brooke wasn’t a girly girl, and didn’t have many female friends, but she and Emma had bonded right away.
Brooke bumped him with her bare shoulder and playfully asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Don’t lie to me. Something’s bothering you. I’m your friend. Tell me.”
Outside the log building where the reception was being held was a wide green field, at the end of which stood the little wooden chapel where Gabe and Brooke had exchanged vows. Beyond that was a black ravine, filled with twisting tree limbs, evergreen pine needles and dead leaves. Across the field and into the ravine lightening bugs helped to add charm to the darkness.
So many weddings. Ed and Emma had tied the knot two months ago. In three weeks he’d be at another one. He didn’t know why he’d agreed to accompany his cousin after her boyfriend dumped her.
Oh right, the free meal.
Kevin pasted a smile on his face and turned to Brooke. “You’re the bride. I’m assuming this will be a one-time thing for you.” She beamed. “So I want you to go enjoy it.”
“I promise I’m fine.”
She looked pointedly at the cigarette hanging between his fingers.
“Just one I swear. Don’t tell on me or Nick will put me through the ringer on Monday.”
She made the sign of an X over her heart. “But you promise me you’ll come back in soon?”
“Promise.” To help get her moving Kevin hugged her, and even gave her cheek a light peck. “Congratulations.”
He watched her disappear into the heated dance room.
Enjoying the last of his smoke Kevin watched the fireflies twirl about. The clouds moved across the moon. Laughter mixed with the music as the sound carried outside, polluting the still night with its joy.
If he didn’t get back in there soon he was sure Brooke would send one of the guys to come get him. As he snuffed out the cigarette he heard the music stop so the DJ could announce the garter toss.
Doing his best to choke down his negativity Kevin left the serenity of the outdoors to join the crush of bachelors gathering for the ritual. Despite how he loathed self-pity he couldn’t stop the hollowness inside him. It ate at him.
He wonder if he’d ever standout from the crowd.