Authors: Kathy Bosman
Tags: #fantasy romance, #romance fantasy, #contemporary fantasy romance, #fantasy series romance, #kathy bosman, #lighthearted fantasy romance, #magic antique, #the album series
Book 1 – Ella’s Story
Looking for Love
The Album Book 1 – Ella’s Story
Edited by Zee
Cover Design by
This is a work of fiction.
Names, places, characters, and events are
fictitious in every regard. Any
similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are
purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names,
or named features are assumed to be the property of their
respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no
implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for
review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part,
electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright
2015 KATHY BOSMAN
Zee Monodee, whose editing is top class
and who’s always there to answer questions, give advice and just be
a friend. I couldn’t have done this without you. You also gave me
the courage to take the step into the world of indie
To my family who mean everything to me.
Thank you for bearing with my blanked-out look when you speak to me
while I’m on a writing roll. Thank you to my husband who’s spent
too much money on my writing so far. Thank you to my daughter who
listens to my complaints and ideas.
And a special
thanks to my beta reader, Elsa Winckler.
Ross.” Ella tried to choke back
the tears. “Are you home?” She spoke to his voice mail, crossing
her fingers, hoping he’d call her straight back. “I really need to
speak to you.”
call, she flung her Blackberry against the single, patchwork sofa
of her bachelorette pad and stared at the room. She’d moved in a
couple of weeks ago, thrilled to be independent finally, to be
earning her own money. She’d just obtained a receptionist position
at an optometrist. A great way to start her working career in her
early twenties after a couple of years of Business College.
But it all
meant nothing. Steve had broken it off with her.
her eyes and she blinked them away. Where was Ross when she needed
A knock on her
door made her jump. Her heart beat so fast that her chest hurt.
What if Steve had come to beg for her back?
No, I won’t go
there. I’ve had enough. I don’t want a relationship for a very long
Ella, it’s me.” Ross’s voice echoed through the wooden panels
of the door. “Are you okay?”
frantic. Her heart warmed. Her best friend. He’d arrived.
She flung open
the door. He stared at her, his gaze washing over her, flooding her
with understanding, with acceptance. Without a moment’s hesitation,
she leapt into his arms. He cradled her for a long time, allowed
her to weep, sniffle, sob, not say anything but blubber it all
her toes cramped from standing on tiptoes for so long. “Can you
come in for a while?” she asked him.
Sure. I just came back from work. Was driving when your call
came through. I stopped the car to listen to the message you left
on my voice mail. Came right here.”
Thank you.” She felt awkward, unable to express the depth of
her gratitude toward him. “Can I get you a drink? Something to
Not like she
had much. She’d been too busy setting up home and adapting to
working such long hours. School and college had been a breeze in
Just water for now. It’s so hot outside.”
She hadn’t even noticed the weather. Every ounce of her
concentration had been to keep it together at work and not bring
her personal issues into a new job. Coming home hadn’t provided the
relief she’d needed. Things Steve had given her for her
house-warming party mocked her all over the apartment.
He was my college sweetheart. My coming of age relationship.”
The words tumbled out. Ross reached her in a minute and engulfed
her in another hug. Some of the pain evaporated through the warmth
The water can wait. Come sit,” he said.
He pulled her
to flop down next to him on the couch. The tears had been spent so
she just sat in his arms, drinking in his strength and comfort. Her
head rested in the crook of his neck and a measure of peace took
over her, easing her heart rate and the ache in her chest.
Tell me what happened,” he said after a while.
instinctive timing. He seemed to know when to hug her, when to say
nothing, and when to ask questions. She could trust him a hundred
percent. Well, so far.
She sucked in
a breath. Ross needed to know but she didn’t want to relive the
memories of the past few weeks. But the concern in his gaze and his
patient stance gave her the courage to speak. “You know I told you
we’ve been fighting lately? Well, I really didn’t think he’d break
it off. There wasn’t any sign he wasn’t happy, except for our
disagreements. Well, they had gotten quite heated.”
throbbed, the blood rushed in her ears.
What were the arguments about?”
He wanted more, wanted to move
in here. You can see this place.
can barely fit. And I was so looking forward to
being alone after living with my mom for years. I wanted to learn
to be independent, to survive on my own. Yeah, it sounds silly when
you’re in love, but shouldn’t every young woman feel that way? We
want to know that we can survive without a man, that we’re not
totally helpless on our own.”
He stroked her
head. “I’m sure you’re pretty tough. I know you’d do magically on
could be so kind. Suppose romantic relationships mess up logical
Thanks. I felt like I was pushing him away physically all the
time. It’s not exactly healthy, I suppose. Yet, I do love him,
well, I did. Now I hate him.” She fisted the sofa, imagining his
face there, then looked away. She could never hate anyone, knew
she’d take the hurt inwards.
so sincere that she blinked back tears.
It’s not your fault. I just need
to get over the shock. Maybe once it’s worn off, I’ll be
I don’t know if the pain ever goes away. Remember how I felt
after you know who? It still hurts when I think about
away from his embrace and looked into his eyes. She could see the
hurt lingering in the depths. Her heart squeezed for him, for the
fact that he’d kept it all inside and that he’d also suffered. “But
that was at least two years ago. I thought… You said it was good
that you broke up eventually.”
I’m not denying that. But hey, it still hurts. The memory of
the breakup always brings a bitter taste in my mouth.”
We’re so similar, it’s scary.”
He stroked her
cheek. “It’s nice.”
Close up, he
really had the best face in the world—a face that brought her the
He bent toward
her until his lips touched hers, only a brush. She jerked back.
happened? Did I give him the impression I…?
Ella, I…” He moved forward again as though she hadn’t just
Ross, please.” She stopped him on the chest with her palm,
closing her eyes to block out the sight of his mouth close to her.
“Leave the kissing out of it. We’re friends. We’ve never had
I can’t see why not.”
Do you have feelings for me?” She opened her eyes as the ache
in her chest expanded again. She didn’t know how she would handle
it if he did.
I don’t know. I care about you. You just looked kissable. I
wasn’t thinking. I’m sorry.”
Okay, you scared me there. The last thing I want is another
boyfriend. I’ve had my fill of relationships for a century.” She
rolled her eyes. Although her tone came out light-hearted, the fear
he’d want more had paralysed her for a second. She could have lost
everything—except her besties and new job—in one week.
“I can relate to that.”
I seem to keep on attracting the wrong guys, or rather ones
who don’t understand me.”
He patted her
on the knee, once again his normal, kind self. “One day, you’ll
Yeah, one day. But not today. For now, I’m concentrating on
building a life for myself. We’re still friends, right?” She’d hate
to lose her precious friendship because of an attempted
Of course. We’ll always be friends. My partner in crime.” He
knocked his knuckles against her fist in a fun gesture. Phew, he
didn’t seem at all offended at her pushing him away romantically.
Truly a saint, he was.
He opened up
his arms and she rested back into them. After reaching for the
remote, he switched on her TV, about the only appliance she did
have. They watched some shows, the comfortable friendship and
commenting on the characters’ actions adding to her sense of ease.
She began to breathe normally again. Maybe, just maybe, she would
get over Steve, after all.
watched a romance, her mind wondered to the potential kiss between
Ross and her. She shuddered. Only last week, she’d read her daily
fix from the psychology magazine. It had touted the dangers of a
woman building a romantic relationship with a man she looked up to
as a kind of father figure. Many women who’d had absent fathers or
troubled relationships with their fathers, especially as teens—Ella
fit that mould perfectly—found a man they looked up to as a father
figure. Usually a dependable, kind male figure in their life. She
hated admitting that Ross took on that role. He’d been with her
since high school, held her hand in the difficult times, soothed
her heartbreaks, exactly like a good father should do. He’d been
there when she’d hated her mother and wanted to run away to her dad
in Durban. Every rant about her parents’ divorce had been piled
onto his listening ears. And he’d shared his own heartaches.
Argh, she could never kiss him.
It would be dysfunctional. They’d be messed for life. She’d destroy
him. They would ruin a good friendship forever if they went down
the romance route. Her friendship with Ross and her three best
girly friends were the foundation of her existence. She wasn’t
about to risk losing his portion for the taste of his lips, no
matter how curious she was at how the kiss would have felt.
Nah, no way. No way,
pause button on the cable TV, she sat up and looked pointedly at
her guy friend. “This is the deal.”
He nodded, his
eyes wide, a small smile gracing his mouth.