Authors: Shane Morgan
Book Two in the Finding Trilogy
© 2015 Shane Morgan.
reserved. Please do not partake in the illegal distribution of this book or
portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
a work of fiction. Names and incidents are a product of the author’s
imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons,
living or dead, events, or locals is entirely coincidental.
Image © Shutterstock, Inc.
Books by this Author
Amber (coming soon)
Love is an irresistible desire to be
to other people.
Not to me.
I believed in Tyler.
So who the hell was in his bed if I was
standing in the doorway?
I stayed there, frozen, slack-mouthed.
They carried on in their moment of heat.
Tyler had his eyes closed, moaning, calling her ‘baby’ while he gripped her
waist. Her long, tousled blonde hair danced on her back as she bounced on top
This couldn’t be real. It had to be a
A whimper escaped me. I yelled, “You
Tyler opened his eyes. His face paled,
the obvious signs of pleasure disappearing. “Shit! Bristol!” He pushed her off
and sprang from the bed, putting on his shorts. “Baby, it’s not what it looks
Outraged, I threw the small box with the
expensive Movado watch to the floor. “So that’s why you couldn’t spend your
birthday with me. You must think I’m stupid. You’re cheating on me!”
Tears threatened to fall, but I refused
to cry and appear even more pathetic to them.
I glanced at the large-breasted
bombshell still lying on my side of the bed.
I clenched my fists
when she pulled the white sheets over her naked petite body and rested her head
on the pillow. There was a brazen look on her face as she watched our drama
“I-I can explain,” Tyler stammered,
using his best puppy dog impression. He stepped around his gift and touched my
?” My palm connected with
his jaw. “How can you explain
?” I pointed to the bimbo waiting to
finish what they’d started.
Tyler rubbed his cheek. “I’m sorry,” he
said, in a sincere tone. “It just…happened. I made a mistake.”
“Bullshit!” I lifted my hand to smack
him again, but halted at the sound of her cocky giggle.
His playmate swept her hair to the side
and eased up on her elbows, growing impatient. “Is she leaving or what?”
“You bitch!” I made to dash at her.
Tyler grabbed me. He reeked of what must
be her perfume and sweat. “Babe, no… Please listen.” Then he said over his
shoulder to her, “Jen, you have to go.”
“Don’t bother! Let go of me you cheating
slime!” I struggled in his arms and elbowed him in the chest. He released me.
Hurt and humiliated, I stormed out of
his room, heading for the front door. Tyler hurried after me, begging.
“Bristol, wait! Please babe. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen.”
He reached for my arm.
“But it did!” I shrieked, trying to
compose myself and failing. In a strangled whisper, I told him, “We are
As I turned to leave he grabbed at me again.
In one swift move, I spun and slapped him hard across the jaw. It stung more
than the first, so much that my hand shook, and Tyler reeled back from the
On the brink of tears, I rushed out the
door and bustled down the stairs. Tyler wasn’t chasing after me and I didn’t
care. I needed to get away.
Running out the exit, I jumped in my car
and sped away from his apartment. Damn him for betraying me.
for the pain spreading throughout my chest. I tried so hard to make things work
between us, to accommodate him, be more giving, more loving. We’d been together
a little over a year, and we’d been doing okay—or so I’d thought.
He’d thrown everything I’d done for him
and for us right back in my face.
What a frigging waste!
I was wrong. Tyler didn’t love me the
way I loved him. I wished I could revoke everything I’d given him, including my
Unable to hold back any longer, my tears
broke free, making it hard to see while driving. My heart ached. How foolish of
me to think Tyler was different.
When I made it to my apartment, I all
but crawled across the huge lot from my car toward the building. I bumped into
someone as I walked up the entrance but didn’t even lift my head when I mumbled
“sorry.” My voice came out low, and I wondered if the person had heard.
“It’s okay,” he said kindly as he
touched my elbow in a gentle way, the intense scent of his cologne burning my
Ignoring the odd gesture, I continued
through the main doors and climbed the stairs. Reaching my apartment, I darted
to my room and collapsed on the bed crying. I cried and cried until my sobs
turned into hiccups.
Pain turned to anger when I glimpsed the
photos of me and Tyler displayed on my dresser and nightstand. I sat up and
wiped away my tears. I had to do something.
Marching into the kitchen, I grabbed a
pair of scissors, and then strolled back to my room.
Standing in the space I’d shared with
Tyler on occasion, I peered around and reflected on the sweet memories. On our
moments. The souvenirs he’d bring back from his travels for me. The jewelry box
he gave me for our first Valentine’s Day. His clothes. His pillow.
I wanted it gone. Every. Single. Piece.
A single red rose
lay outside my door, so unexpected after a breakup. I snatched it up by the
petals to avoid pricking my fingers.
. The least Tyler could have
done was remove the thorns.
What an ass
. He probably stole it from
someone’s garden. It wouldn’t surprise me since he was such a cheapskate.
I stepped back into my apartment and
tossed the rose into the trash on top of everything my sleazy ex had left at my
place. After cutting up photos and ripping his shirts, my rage had settled
down, and I’d crumbled to my bedroom floor nearly lifeless.
In that moment, I’d stored my feelings
for Tyler in an imaginary box and locked them away for good. I would never
forgive him for hurting me.
Closing the lid on the bin, I headed out
to buy coffee and a donut before work. The little seaside café near my
apartment wasn’t too busy. I loved the place. It had a warm and friendly
atmosphere with charming French decor that always made me feel calmed.
While waiting at a table for my order, I
called Tyler. He needed to get it in his thick skull that we were done.
“Hello,” he croaked.
“You think you’re going to weasel your
cheating ass back into my life with a cheap rose?” I snapped into the phone,
keeping my voice low enough so no one could hear me.
“What…” Tyler groaned, sounding half
I rolled my eyes. “Don’t play dumb. I
found the rose you left at my door.”
The line went quiet for a second, and
then he said, “No idea what you’re talking about, babe.”
“You expect me to believe that?” I
hissed. “And don’t call me babe.”
, I don’t—”
“Shut up and listen,” I cut him off.
“When I said we’re done, I meant it. There’s no way in hell I’ll forgive, much
less forget, so don’t go leaving me flowers again. O-V-E-R, got it?”
He didn’t say a word, just sighed.
Irritated, I disconnected the call. My order was ready anyway. After retrieving
it, I sat back at the circular birch wood table and listened to my voicemail
while drinking my coffee. I’d turned my phone off after what had happened that
. I sighed and
slouched in the chair, pissed at myself for making so much effort.
“You’re alive,” a feisty voice said. I
looked up and saw Amber approaching. She was wearing a striped top over
distressed jeans, her long raven hair pulled back in a neat ponytail.
She took off her shades and placed them
on the table as she sat. I dropped my phone in my purse.
“Did you follow me from the apartment?”
I joked before drinking some more coffee.
She scoffed and folded her arms. “I knew
you’d be here for your Monday morning fix. Anyway, I’ve been calling you for
two days, Bristol, and you wouldn’t even answer your door. If it weren’t for
your landlord I’d have called the cops.”
“Okay, okay.” I wiggled my fingers and
feigned a smile. “See? I’m alive. Relax.”
Amber dipped her head and peered up at
me, her piercing shades of dark green and golden brown taking in my demeanor.
“Is that all you have to say? What happened? As your best friend I deserve to
know why you became a hermit over the weekend.”
“Dad was right.” My voice was a near
whisper. “Tyler… He’s a jerk.”
Leaning forward, she wrinkled her brows
and asked, “What happened, honey?”
I swallowed hard before answering. “I
wanted to surprise him for his birthday. When I showed up at his apartment on
Friday evening, I saw that someone else had beaten me to it.”
Her jaw dropped.
“She was naked on top of him.”
“That douchebag!” she yelped. Heads
turned our way. “Let’s go key his stupid car. You know how much he loves it.”
“Shh.” I patted the air with my hands,
motioning for her to calm down. “Forget Tyler. I’m moving on with my life.”
?” Amber blinked in surprise.
“The Bristol I know wouldn’t just walk away. She’d teach him a lesson.”
I managed a titter. “I guess I’ve
realized that he’s not worth it.”
She reached her hand across the table
and clasped mine. “You guys dated for over a year, so I know it hurts. No need
to pretend. Talk to me, I’m here for you.”
“It’s not a big deal. Besides, nothing
keeps me down for long.”
Amber could tell I was faking. We’d
grown up together. She knew me inside out.
Shaking her head, she eased back and
picked up her shades, fixing them on her smooth makeup-free face. “Fine, keep
up the act. Are you working today?”
“Yeah,” I replied in a dry tone, not
enthusiastic about going to work feeling crappy.
“Good because Julian’s worried too. She
kept calling me to ask if I’d spoken to you. She gets anxious, remember?”
Grabbing my coffee and the paper bag
with my chocolate glazed donut, I rose from the chair and got my purse. “Yeah.
She still gets edgy. You know, sometimes she zones out. But who can blame her?
Jules was sucked into a murder mystery involving her dad and his lawyer, and
was almost thrown off a cliff by a lunatic. I suggested therapy but she doesn’t
think that’s necessary. She says being with her family and Seven will help her
move on from what happened last summer.”
Sighing, Amber stood and curved her arm
around mine as we started out of the café. “The anniversary of her father’s
death is coming up. I wonder how she’ll deal with it.”
“Humph,” I muttered. “We just have to
A smile stretched her lips, showing off
her adorable dimples. Amber led me down the pavement toward her blue sedan. As
we approached, a light spring breeze swooshed by, carrying the salty smell of
Amber moved around the hood of her car
to the driver’s side. Before hopping in, she glanced at me and said, “Let’s
hang out later. We’ll have a few drinks, take your mind off you-know-who.”
I considered for a moment. Liquor might
quicken the process of erasing Tyler from my system. “Sure. I’ll call you after
She drove off, and I trekked back to the
parking lot at my apartment to get my car.
Ten minutes later, I pulled into my slot
at Vanderson Publishing. My phone rang just as I ascended the concrete steps of
the back entrance. Mom’s number flashed on the screen.
Sucking in a deep breath, I exhaled
slowly and answered the phone while continuing inside the brownstone building.
“Hello, Mother.” I tried to sound nonchalant even though I knew I was in for it.
“I can’t believe you!” she fired at me.
“Do you have any idea how embarrassed I was on Saturday because you and Tyler
bailed on me?”
“Oh, geez, what’s the crisis now?” I
stopped walking and leaned against the wall. With the thick glass door to the
lobby closed, I couldn’t hear anyone inside the office and they wouldn’t hear
me on the phone.
Mom hissed. “Don’t smart mouth me,
Bristol. I made plans with Victoria Hammond and her daughter, remember? I
couldn’t give them a reason why
daughter was too busy to spend an
evening with me.”
“Mom.” I massaged my temple. “There was
no way Tyler and I would have made it to dinner, much less to any future events
as a couple.”
She asked, “What do you mean?”
“We broke up,” I admitted.
“What? Why?” She sounded shocked.
“He cheated on me, so I dumped him.”
“Why?” Mom asked again, this time
I wrinkled my forehead. “What do you
? Are you seriously asking me
I broke up with him?
Mom, the reason is obvious. He’s a—”
“You shouldn’t have,” she scolded me.
“He was a nice guy; he was going places.”
Furious, I pushed off the wall. “I can’t
believe this. Are you saying I should overlook what he did and keep seeing
She made a sarcastic sound before
speaking again. “Well, he does come from a good family and he’s mentioned that
he has plans for you.”
Of course she’d consider status over my
I retorted, “Well, that’s too bad. It’s
. I’m not taking him back, so don’t waste your breath and
please ignore his calls.”
“I most certainly will not!” Mom
countered, aghast. “Tyler will always be welcome. As far as I know, maybe you
weren’t taking good care of him, hence why he went out and did that.”
That hurt like a
bitch-slap—not that I’d ever been slapped
I ended the call and turned off my
phone. My mom was a trip, and I didn’t need her nonsense now.
Julian strolled up to me the second I
marched into the busy office. Worry filled her pale blue eyes as she regarded
my appearance. “Amber told me what happened,” she said. “I’m so sorry,
She wrapped me in a tight embrace. It
felt good; I needed that. “Why didn’t you call us?” she asked as she released
“I just want to forget him. He’s not
worth moping over,” I replied.
Understanding, a sincere smile curled
her lips. Julian and I had become so close since I’d started interning at the
company last fall. It was as if I’d known her for as long as I’d known Amber. I
could see right through Julian as well.
Every so often her features twisted with
anxiety, like she was remembering her ordeal from the previous summer. Still, I
was glad she’d stayed in Rhode Island in spite of what had transpired.
“Anyway, what’s the latest here?” I
asked, trying to change the subject.
I indicated for us to go over to my
workspace on the left side of the office. A stack of papers awaited me on my
desk with a note from Gina, the event coordinator I was assigned to. My
workload had increased dramatically since I’d reminded her that my internship
was ending in a few weeks.