Authors: Lane Hart
Crazy in Love
A Lovestruck Novella
By Lane Hart
This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue were created from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual people or events is coincidental.
The author acknowledges the copyrighted and trademarked status of various products within this work of fiction.
© 2016 Editor's Choice Publishing
All Rights Reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator” at the address below.
Editor’s Choice Publishing
P.O. Box 10024
Greensboro, NC 27404
Edited by Angela Snyder
Cover by Marianne Nowicki
Table of Contents
“Shit! I told you we needed to bring the umbrella,” my best friend Josie bitches as we both scurry into the nearest festival tent.
“It wasn’t even cloudy when we left!” I argue, trying to sop up the water dripping from my soggy face. I’m not the typical girl who shies away from walking outside in the rain. Unlike Josie, you’ll never see me wearing makeup or fixing my hair, so I usually don’t mind getting caught up in nature’s showers, but the heavy downpour we just escaped was even too much for me to endure.
Josie and I both turn our heads when a woman’s raspy voice greets us. I couldn’t have created a more stereotypical psychic than the red-headed one seated at a small, round table. And, wow, I freaking love her authentic-looking burgundy dress with a bustier and black laces. As soon as I see the crystal ball, I practically clap my hands in excitement. So what if I’m into horoscopes and tarot card readings? It’s not like I take it all seriously.
Most of the time.
“Hi,” Josie replies hesitantly. Oh jeez, she’s gonna open her mouth and insult this poor woman in 3…2…
“I’m Madam Tess. Care for a free spiritual reading?” the psychic asks.
“Heck yes,” I say quickly to stop Josie’s insult before taking a seat on the empty stool across from Madam Tess. After tossing my damp, stick straight hair over my shoulder, I’m ready to hear my future. Just for fun, of course.
“Your hands, my dear,” the woman says, so I give her both of my palms facing up. I’ve seen a psychic a time or two, but it’s not like I practice witchcraft or anything.
“Ah, you have a bright and generous aura,” Madam Tess says, her eyes staring down at my hands. “Pure of spirit.”
I smile at those positive characteristics, wondering if she’ll tell Josie she has a stick up her ass. God, that would be hilarious. If I had known a psychic was gonna be here, I would’ve set something up with her beforehand. My humor quickly fades though when Madam Tess digs a little deeper.
“Losing a loved one suddenly when you were young has made you too cautious with your heart.”
Just like always, the thought of my dad causes the invisible boa constrictor around my chest to nearly squeeze the life out of me. When I was eleven, my father died suddenly of a heart attack. He was only forty, just starting the best years of his life, and I still miss him so much it hurts every single day. Even worse, my mom fell apart after we lost him.
“You will find true love soon, just as you turn a new corner in your life,” Madam Tess tells me, and my ears perk up. Isn’t that what all women want? To find their true love and be whisked away into a happily ever after with Prince Charming? The current prince in my dreams just so happens to make suspenders look hot, and he’s so out of my league that he falls one hundred percent on the never-gonna-fucking-happen list. Even if he knew I existed, a relationship with him would be forbidden; and, unfortunately, I have always been a rule follower right down to the T.
Realizing Madam Tess is done with my reading, I give her a quick “Thank you,” before standing up on shaky legs. So what if I can’t have the hottest man alive. I’m gonna find my true love soon, and that’s good enough for me.
One week later…
“So, how’s it going? Ready for exams? Drank the potion yet?” Josie asks when she strolls into my apartment, trying to act all nonchalant before flopping down into my Papasan chair.
It’s gonna be so much fun to fuck with her.
“Ah, it’s going good,” I tell her, drawing it out. “There’s a week of class to go before exams, and what do you mean, have I drank the potion?”
“I mean, you’re gonna drink it, right?” she asks.
“Didn’t you say you don’t believe in that ‘mumbo jumbo’?” I ask, tossing my hair over my shoulder.
“Um, well, I didn’t, but now Lawson and I are together, and it’s…perfect, and he thinks it’s better to be safe than sorry, you know?” She’s rambling, which tells me that she’s freaking out. Good.
“Huh,” I mutter with a shrug of my shoulders, and then I just stare at her, waiting.
“So, you gonna drink it?” she asks in a huff.
“Can’t. I lost it,” I lie, hopefully convincingly. I’m a horrible liar.
“You lost it!” Josie exclaims, jumping to her feet. “How did you lose it?”
“I dunno. It may have accidentally got put in the glass recycle bin last week.”
“No, no, no! This can’t be happening! Not after everything we’ve been through this week. We’ve got to find it!” She is so far gone, it’s not even funny. Well, okay, it is a little funny. “Or find Madam Tess. She probably has more, right?” Josie asks, her face so hopeful that I wish I had a camera to take a picture so I can remind her how desperate she, little miss pessimist non-believer, was at this moment.
Jerking her phone out of the back pocket of her jeans, her fingers fly over the buttons frantically. “No results! Zero. How the fuck is that possible?” Josie exclaims at a pitch so high I’m surprised my glass candle holders don’t break.
“Already tried looking her up in the computer lab at school,” I reply coolly, which is the truth. I rarely use a computer, but I did search for the woman because I have a few questions for her about what she said regarding the potion:
“Once you or your friend drinks the potion, you’ll have seven days to find and unite with your soulmate.”
“Huh?” I asked in confusion. “Unite? Like, get married in a week?”
“No, not obtain a piece of paper. How does one physically unite two minds, bodies, and souls?”
“Sex?” I inquired hesitantly, to which Josie snorted when Madam Tess nodded in confirmation before continuing her warning.
“Furthermore, by drinking the potion, you’re causing a disturbance in the natural order of things, making events occur sooner rather than later. Therefore, sacrifices must be made to put you on the correct path and resume the balance…No one will die,” Madam Tess laughed at my stricken expression. “But there may be some suffering or…inconveniences that are required for the sudden shift in time order to take place…It’s different for each person. Which brings me to the third and final warning,” she said seriously. “The potion in this bottle will never run dry unless it goes unused.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Josie snorted.
“Once you drink your one sip, you cannot drink anymore. But every seven days from that time it must be ingested by someone else, and so on,” Madam Tess explained. “The potion will continue to replenish itself as long as it is consumed by a different person every seven days. If not, it will begin to diminish. And once the last drop is lost, so will be all the love it created.”
“Oh no,” I muttered sadly, unable to imagine how hard it would be to get so close to a happily ever after and having it fall apart. “But how do you know when you’ve found the one? Your soulmate?” I asked.
“Easy,” Madam Tess answered with a knowing smile. “Because after a perfect pair of souls are united, they’re unable to see anyone else.”
“What are we gonna do?” Josie asks, bringing me back to the present. The poor girl is chewing on her fingernails for goodness’ sake. “I can’t lose him, Reagan! I can’t!”
When Josie’s blue eyes start to water, I finally cave. I’m such an evil friend.
“Aw, Josie. Don’t worry,” I tell her, getting to my feet and practically skipping into my kitchen where I extract the glass bottle full of blue liquid. As soon as my fingertips touch it, it turns to purple, my favorite color.
When I walk back into the living room and show it to Josie, she nearly shits kittens.
“Oh, thank fuck,” she shouts, wrapping her arms around my neck. “I should slap you for lying to me!” she yells before pushing me away with a shove. Really, though, I should feel bad about deceiving her, but proving my point was so worth it.
“I just wanted you to admit that you believed in it,” I tell her.
“Oh my God, yes. I believe, okay? Now will you drink it for fuck’s sake?” she begs.
“Fine. But you’re gonna owe me lunch after I toss my cookies,” I say, pointing a finger at her in warning.
“Yes, sure, whatever you want!” she promises. Man, where’s my camera when I need it? Never did I think I would see the day that cynical Josie would be begging me to drink a love potion. Me, on the other hand, well, I’ve been waiting all freaking week to take a sip of this baby.
I pull the stopper out of the bottle with a satisfying
and then tip it up to my lips to start chugging. While I’m busy drinking, Josie jogs to the kitchen and comes back holding my tall, white trash can. Good thinking. She’s such a good friend, and I should be ashamed for pulling her leg.
Once I swallow, the strong, sweet flavor of pineapple is left behind on my tongue. “Yum,” I murmur before putting the stopper back in place.
“Yum?” Josie asks. “Yum? Are you kidding? That shit tasted like the rotten eggs you hide at Easter and don’t find until the summer!”
I lick my lips again to be sure. “What? No,” I reply. “It tastes like pineapples.”
“You gonna barf or not?” she asks, holding out the trash bin for me. I look at it a second as I wait for the upchuck reflexes to kick in. Not feeling any, I say, “Nah, I’m good.”
“Stomach not doing flips?” she asks with a creased brow.
I rub my palm over my stomach to make sure. “Nope, just hungry. Wanna grab some lunch?” I ask, gently placing the glass potion bottle down on top of the coffee table. “I could really go for a roasted corn fiesta bowl from that Hawaiian joint down the street.” The one with pineapple.
“Ah, sure, but can we make it quick? I think Lawson’s waiting on me at the garage,” Josie says before her cheeks redden I assume at some dirty thought.
“Ugh,” I grumble when I round up my hobo purse that matches my long, rust-colored dress and toss in my keys. “You’re already one of
ditching everyone and everything else to be together.”
“No, we’re not!” Josie responds indignantly. “It’s just really new and great and…don’t you have your soulmate to go find?”
“Yeah, you have a date with Mr. Perfect, and I have a date with destiny,” I say with an eye roll, downplaying the cartwheels I’m mentally doing.
“Well, watch out, because that shit is liable to spank you in the ass when you least expect it,” Josie warns.
“Don’t worry,” I assure her when we step out onto the sidewalk and I lock up the apartment door. “I’m ready for anything.”
“Ha! We’ll see about that,” she responds with a snort. “You’re gonna make me walk half a mile in my stilettos, aren’t you?” Josie whines as our shoes clomp down the cement.
“It’s a beautiful day,” I point out. “And it’s only three blocks away. No point in wasting gas.”
“Fine,” she grumbles in agreement.
I don’t take her grumpiness personally. She’s recently found the man of her dreams and fallen madly in love with him. I haven’t met Lawson yet, but he’s apparently “the one” and she would rather spend all of her time with him.
A week ago today, Josie drank the love potion. And as soon as she swallowed a sip, she had to pull her car over and toss her cookies on the side of the road, which resulted in her losing her entire car door. Lawson just so happened to be the mechanic Josie met a few days later; and, as they say, the rest is history. Now it’s my turn, or at least I hope I’m as lucky as she was with finding love so quickly.
Based on what Madam Tess told us, I have one week from today to find my soulmate, sleep with him and get someone else to drink the potion. That shouldn’t be a problem. I’m ready, really I am. Since I’ve been at Madison University, I’ve been focused on getting perfect grades instead of on engaging in hookups. With graduation in sight, I’m ready to take that next step and finally have sex with a man. Not just any man, but the one I’ll spend the rest of my life with.
“So, who’s the next love potion victim?” I ask Josie, thinking about where the small glass bottle will go at the end of the week.
“Ooh, good question,” Josie replies, tapping a finger to her lip as we follow the sidewalk past the university to the Bamboo Grille in one of the campus food courts. Now I’m seriously craving pineapple. So weird.
“I’m guessing Clarissa, Becca or Mallory would give the potion a go,” Josie eventually answers. “Especially if it works for you too.”
“What do you mean ‘if’?” I ask. “It’s gotta work.”
I’m a twenty-four-year-old virgin. Since I figured out what sex is, getting naked with a guy and letting him put his wanker
me, I’ve been saving myself for the man I’m gonna marry. That’s just too intimate an act to go around and do with random people. Even though I’m self-conscious about my body, I’m really freaking tired of waiting. Batteries are so bad for the environment that I don’t even own a vibrator. It’s very likely that I’ll give myself carpel tunnel if I don’t find the man of my dreams soon.
“All I’m saying is that Lawson and I could’ve been a fluke,” Josie explains, causing me to scoff.
“A fluke?” I repeat. “So five minutes ago when you were freaking out because you thought the potion was gone, that was all because you think meeting Lawson was a
“Ah, well, I just mean that you may or may not have the same results,” she says.
I huff out a sigh, and we walk in silence the rest of the way. The small food court we’re heading toward not only has a Hawaiian grill but also has a Mexican restaurant, a burger joint, and Japanese food, catering to the various tastes of the college kids and businessmen and women working in the area.
“Where are you gonna eat?” I ask Josie as we stand in the center of all the delicious smells.
“Mexican for sure,” she says with a smile, walking off to the door on our right.
“Okay, I’ll grab my salad and come to you,” I tell her since her hot order will probably take longer to make than my cold salad.
“Sounds good,” she calls over her shoulder.
I order my roasted corn fiesta bowl. And after I grab my bottle of water from the fridge, I balance my meal on a tray and use my back to open up the door to go find Josie.
Unfortunately, the door to the Mexican restaurant is pull open only, so I balance my tray on the flat of my palm while I try to grab the handle with my free hand.
“Let me help you with that,” a deep voice says over my shoulder.
Holy shit, this is it!
I think to myself as a muscular forearm reaches in front of me to open the door. My soulmate! Wow, that was fast!
When I turn my head to look at the man who will hopefully be ravaging me in a few days, if not hours, it’s sadly…disappointing. He’s old, as in Sean Connery’s age, white hair and all. That wouldn’t really be a problem if there was an instant attraction, which there’s definitely not. Dammit.
“Thank you,” I say, smiling politely at the chivalrous man.
“Sure,” he replies before waving to an appropriately aged woman sitting at a table and joining her. That’s probably his wife.
Oh no, what if my soulmate is already married to the wrong woman? See, this is why I need to find Madam Tess, to ask her how all of this works.
Not finding Josie in line at the front register, I turn to walk around the corner of the restaurant to see if she’s saving a table for us in the back. Still distracted by thoughts of married soulmates, I run smack dab into a hard object. My tray slams against my sternum before bouncing off and into the victim of my collision. Lettuce, pineapple, corn, tomatoes and black beans go flying like colorful confetti. Woohoo! It’s a celebration of my clumsiness.
“Shit, sorry, Reagan,” the unfortunate, food covered patron says.
It takes me several seconds of my face flaming in embarrassment, my eyes lowered as I reach out to try and salvage my lunch before I realize this isn’t just some stranger I just showered with my salad. The man in a food splattered white dress shirt and navy blue suspenders knows my name.
When I get the courage to glance up, my breath catches in my throat at the sight of not only the most attractive man alive but the one who just so happens to be my digital media professor. He teaches the one challenging course which currently stands between my Master's Degree and me.
“Oh my God. I’m so, so sorry, Professor Daughton,” I apologize in a rush, my mouth hanging open as I watch the delicious fiesta salad drip down the front of his wrinkle-free dress shirt.