Authors: M.B Feeney,et al L.J. Harris
From the Heart
A Valentine’s Day Anthology
A collection of romantic short stories
brought to you by:
M.B. Feeney and L.J. Harris
A Roll of the Dice leads to . . . fun between Thomas McDonald and Maisie Lewis as they embark on the next stage of their relationship.
ill they see it through, or will nerves get the better of them?
When Logan Bryce met Ella Graham, she became his whole world. Logan thought they would spend the rest of their life together. But when Ella gets sick, Logan has to face the possibility of losing the love of his life.
As he sits by Ella’s bedside and prays for her to live, he thinks back over their life together, and how they got to where they are today.
All Logan has left now is hope and a dream that maybe miracles do happen.
All I wanted was for him to notice me, but he didn’t even know that I existed … well, not really.
To him, I was always just Emmy.
Emmy the freshman.
Emmy, his best friend’s little sister.
He never paid me any real attention. At least, he didn’t until the day I decided to become somebody else.
After years of feeling unhappy and alone, Aria dreams of spreading her wings and flying away. Playing second fiddle to her husband’s career was never her idea of a fulfilling life, but she’s too lost in her sea of self-pity to make a change.
That is, until she meets Dexter Fray. After pursuing his dreams and becoming part of one the world’s hottest boy bands, he’s lost himself in the process. He’s lonely and miserable, but so smothered by fame and fortune he can’t make that change either.
When the pair meet one starry night on a rooftop, they find a kindred lost soul staring back at them in the darkness. A connection is made and their lives start to change, whether they wanted it to or not, and Aria wonders if perhaps Dexter might be the key to helping her find herself again.
If only it could be quite so easy…
It was supposed to be the happiest day of Eden’s life. Graduation day, followed by one final summer with no responsibilities.
When an unexpected pregnancy scuppers her plans, Eden has to break the news to her commitment-phobic boyfriend, Declan. With big decisions to make and Declan pushing her away, Eden’s world crashes around her as she faces not only the prospect of single motherhood, but the knowledge that she may have lost the man she’d waited so long to be with.
In a bid to stop her life spiralling out of control, Eden has to make some tough choices, but will Declan step up and ease the burden, or will Eden be left – literally – holding the baby?
At 25 Carly was fed up. She was single and the ugly duckling of her group. A night out turns into a disaster and opens her eyes. Giving her the courage to make that change and to be the woman she’s always hidden inside. Andy a personal trainer seeing the woman she really is gives her the push she needs to grab life with both hands and finally be happy and love herself.
Fun loving Kat and her bezzie Benny, know how to have a good time. But, it’s not always been fun and games in Kat’s life. Circumstances left her with nothing and so far, her time on this planet has been a rough ride. Orphaned after losing both parents and abandoned by her last living relative–her sister. Kat depends on her two closest friends, without whom, she’d probably be sleeping rough on the streets with a bottle of rum in her hands.
One cold and dreary night, she meets Connor Reeves. He arrives in Jersey to visit his elderly uncle. That’s when her life changes… but it’s not all plain sailing.
This ebook and the short stories herein are licenced for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please destroy it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright held 2016 © by each individual author, and they have each retained the copyrights of their story.
Many of these stories depict explicit sexual relationships between consenting adults and therefore are not suitable for those under the age of 18.
Cover art by Beverly Hollowed
Cover photograph courtesy of dollarphotoclub.com
Produced by JA Heron and Susan Scott
Formatted by Laura Morgan
A Short Story
M. B. Feeney
L. J. Harris
Copyright © 2016 M.B. Feeney and L. J. Harris
All rights reserved.
L. J. Harris
The right of
L. J. Harris
to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her under the Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000.
License Notes: This novel is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This print may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced, copied, scanned, stored in a retrieval system, recorded or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Thank you to our wonderful beta, Kaye for all your help with getting this story to flow, and making sure we had all the American terms down pat. And to our wonderful pre-readers, Lucy (your comments made us smile) and Tammy (who also made us some beautiful teasers). We couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you.
Thanks also to our readers, old and new for donating to this most worthy cause. We hope you enjoy!
This short story is dedicated to everyone - we all had a ‘first time
Roll of the Dice
Driving from our home in Exeter, California to Tempe, Arizona to get settled in my dorm at ASU was the most exciting nine hours of my life. It was also the most boring. Mom couldn’t get the day off work at the community college where she taught ceramics, thanks to a faculty meeting, so it was just Dad and me.
While we had a lot in common, Dad wasn’t much of a conversationalist, especially when he was driving. The station wagon was long gone, having up and died one Sunday morning about three months earlier. It had been replaced by a smaller car that had been mine, but I wouldn’t need it in Arizona. The stereo was since broken, so silence was the order of the day. I’d left my cell phone cable at home and would have to buy one when I arrived at my destination, so I couldn’t play music through that either. In the end, I sat with one of the textbooks I’d bought propped on my lap, bare feet up on the dash in front of me, soaking in the technicalities of photography from the pages.
Saying goodbye to Dad once we’d hauled my stuff into my dorm room was hard. We were close and had done so much together, but it was time for me to start my new adventure without him. Our hug goodbye was long and tight, with Dad mumbling into the hair on top of my head. I couldn’t work out what he was saying, but I didn’t need to know—I was too centered on how
was feeling and how much
was going to miss him. Being left alone in my room set off the fear that I wouldn’t make friends or fit in.
Then I met Catherine McDonald.
Catherine, or Cate as she preferred to be called, was my college assigned roommate. From the moment she walked into the room, talking nonstop about the parties she’d be going to and guys she’d meet, I sensed she was a force to be reckoned with. Unsure what I could contribute to the conversation, I opted to keep my mouth shut as we unpacked our boxes and added our own touches to the drab room around us. She didn’t seem to notice how quiet I was, at least not until we’d finished.
“So, all booked in for orientation?” she asked, and I nodded. “You don’t talk much, do you?” Cate flopped onto her bed.
“Bit overwhelmed is all,” I hedged, focusing my attention on pinning a poster to the dull beige wall above my bed.
“Well, you’ll need to get with the program if you wanna keep up. It won’t do you any good trying to be quiet either. Not while I’m around.”
She was right. From that moment on, Cate made sure I was included in every social event she was invited to, and my circle of friends grew. It wasn’t long before she’d ingratiated herself into my life as my best friend, and I hadn’t even noticed her doing it.
Spring semester flew by, Cate and I spending the break at her parents’ summer house on the shores of Lake Isabella. Cate’s folks were real nice too, welcoming me as if I were a member of the family. I had no experience dealing with people who had a lot of money, and had made plenty of assumptions that turned out to be wrong. Where I thought they’d be snooty and look down on a kid like me . . . a scholarship kid from a middle-class family, not once did they make me feel any less of a person. Cate showed off some of my photographs and ceramics from my online portfolio while we were there, and her mom even commissioned a vase from me.
The only person I didn’t meet that summer was Cate’s younger brother, Thomas, as he was visiting family in Europe. All I knew about him was that he was super smart and a year younger than me, having turned twenty in April. There were a few pictures of him dotted around the house, but it was tough to tell what he looked like. None of them were all that recent, or showed him looking directly at the camera. Cate told me Thomas would be joining us at ASU in the fall, and I’d get to meet him soon enough.
Being back at school was a relief. It was great seeing Mom and Dad, and driving up to Sequoia with them, taking my camera as always, but I enjoyed the routine of classes, homework, and knowing where I needed to be and when. Spending time with Cate’s family had made me realize that. I guess having money makes you more able to waste time—apart from her dad who spent most of the day in his office even when on vacation.
I’d been back in the dorm for less than three hours when Cate barged in, cell glued to her ear.
“Get dressed. We’re going to a party tonight.” She wore a mischievous smile as she continued to speak into her cell.
“But we just got back, and I haven’t done my laundry,” I whined. All I wanted to do was slip into something old and comfortable, then curl up with a good book for the night. But once Cate got an idea in her head, arguing with her was a waste of time. Letting out a long sigh, I shuffled over to the closet and began to rummage through my clothes.
“Crap!” I heard the soft thump of her phone landing on my bed, and turned to see what was wrong.
“What’s the matter?” My question encouraged her to launch into a convoluted tale involving her brother and needing a fake ID for him so he could come to the party with us at a bar just off campus. Thomas had just arrived at his dorm over at SEMTE, and she wanted his first day at ASU to be a memorable one. Cate was in her second year of a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, and loved what she did with a passion. But her brother? Since the first day we met, she’d never stopped bragging about how smart he was, and how one day he’d end up working for NASA as the most brilliant aeronautical engineer ever.
“What about that guy Marissa got hers from? She said his name was Eli someone?” I suggested, referring to one of the girls who roomed down the hall from us.
“Oh, Maisie, what would I do without you? Let me go get his number. And you? Be ready to leave in thirty.” Blowing me a kiss, she grabbed her cell and ran out of the room, leaving me to pick through what was left in my drawers for a shirt that didn’t look like it had been attacked by feral animals.
We’d been at the bar for about an hour before Cate’s phone chimed with a text notification. ID guy had finally shown up and was waiting in a cafe across the street. Cate made a quick call to Thomas where she gave him directions, then informed me she’d be back with her brother in a little while. It was a common occurrence for Cate to disappear for long periods of time whenever we went out, so I ordered myself a drink and found somewhere to sit.
Thirty minutes later, Cate appeared by my side, flanked by two guys I didn’t recognize. Guy number one, who introduced himself as Eli Jones, was tall as a mountain with a shock of red hair and green eyes. He had innocence about him, with his baby face and dimples. That wasn’t what I expected someone who provided fake ID’s to look like. When I mentioned that fact, he threw his head back and laughed.
“How do think I’ve been able to keep providing such an exemplary service for three years running? There isn’t a faculty member on campus who’d expect it of someone like me.”
With a flutter of her heavily mascaraed lashes, Cate wound her arm around Eli’s bicep and giggled. Well, that was a side to her I hadn’t yet seen . . .
A muttered, “Jesus,” courtesy of the man I assumed to be Thomas, judging by the similarities in his face to Cate’s, then caught my attention. His trip to Europe must’ve worked wonders, because the man standing before me, face lit up as he spoke to his sister, looked nothing like the young, gangly boy from the family photos I’d seen.
With thick, blond hair, lightly tanned skin and an angular jaw covered by a hint of golden stubble, Thomas was a combination of cute and handsome that totally worked. He wasn’t overly tall, and, while slender his body appeared well defined if the tight black button down and slim-fitting jeans he wore were anything to go by.
Sipping my drink to hide my newfound fascination with my best friend’s brother, I couldn’t tear my eyes away as he and Cate talked to Eli, but when he directed his intense blue gaze at me, a wicked smile gracing his lips, heat began to flood my face.
“You must be Maisie. Cate’s told me all about you.”