Authors: Danielle Allen
Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance, #Fiction, #Forever Love, #Adult, #Bachelor, #Single Woman, #Sensual, #Hearts Desire, #Multicultural & Interracial, #Romantic Comedy, #Duet, #Book Two, #Reality TV, #Dating Show, #Fantasy Romance, #Entertainment, #Reality Couple
Copyright © 2016 by Danielle Allen
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be copied, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, pirating, or by an information storage and retrieval system - except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or - without permission in writing from the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Editor/Proofreader: Editing by C. Marie/Shawna Gavas
Cover Design: Cover Me Darling (www.covermedarling.com)
Cover Photo Credit: Marisa Shor
Formatting: CP Smith
The perfect couple.
The enchanted fairy tale.
The concept of ‘happily ever after’ on reality TV is beautiful, but it’s complete B.S.
I mean, I get the appeal.
is the most watched reality TV dating show because it sells the idea that two people “randomly” handpicked by producers will fall in love and ride off into the sunset. We are expected to believe that after having a group of women embarrass themselves for the affection of a man on national television, the bachelor and the chosen one fall in love and they live happily ever after.
Let’s be honest.
are really about fantasy romance and must-see entertainment—not happily ever afters. That’s why the creators and producers don’t show what happens after the exotic getaways, lavish lifestyles, and over-the-top proposals. Even though reality TV relationships never last, they want us to buy into the fairy tale.
Truth is… when the cameras stop rolling, the number one killer of reality TV couples is real life.
And life just got REAL.
To my readers—thank you.
Thank you for reading my novels.
Thank you for enjoying my stories.
Thank you for connecting with my characters.
Thank you for your reviews.
Thank you for your emails.
Thank you for your messages of love and support.
Thank you for getting it—both literally and figuratively.
To my readers—thank you.
You have changed my life.
I just want to start by saying that I’m so proud of you. You are on your first tour. That is such a big deal and I could not be more proud of you as an artist, of you as a business man, and of you as my boyfriend. And even though I’m proud and happy and wouldn’t let you turn down this opportunity even if you wanted to, please know that I miss you like crazy. This is the longest time we’ve been apart since I left the show and to think that I have to suffer through two more months of this is driving me crazy. Again, I know you had to go. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. But I just want you to understand how much you are missed and how incredible you are.
We had an unconventional start to our relationship. When we met, you were dating eleven other women concurrently, but still, something happened. A light turned on within me. I had a hunch the first time I read your lyrics that you were different. But the moment that we met and spent time together in the garden, I knew you were different. And now, here we are.
This is real love, true love, everlasting love. And I know you feel the same. I just got your gift in the mail (THANK YOU!) and as sexy as that lingerie is, my favorite things were the poem and the letter about the life we’re building together. Both touched my heart so deeply because the last nineteen months have been the best time of my life. I couldn’t go another minute without putting my feelings for you on paper.
I have so much work to do and this case is kicking my ass, but I was unable to continue without writing my feelings down. I am overwhelmed and consumed by my need for you. I love you with everything in me and I trust you completely. I trust you with my heart and soul. I trust you with my life. Most importantly, I trust that we can and will conquer it all, rise above everything, get through anything as long as we have each other.
In response to the promises you made to me, please know that I promise to love you, adore you, cherish you, support you, romance you, encourage you, guide you, and protect you. I promise to do all I can to keep this relationship growing, thriving, and evolving. Being with you means more to me than I think you realize. You are an amazing man. You are
amazing man. And I loved you yesterday, I love you today, and I will love you for the rest of my life. God has blessed me with you and I am forever thankful for that. You have my complete love and devotion and you have my heart. To put it simply Julian: you are my everything.
Love you always…now and forever,
The sun blazed my path as I cruised down the highway with the windows down. It was December in Los Angeles and it felt like spring. I moved my body to the thumping beat of Beyoncé’s latest hit as I accelerated my speed on my forty-minute commute from downtown.
It’s Friday. Julian is home. I’m off of work early. He doesn’t have anything to work on. I don’t have anything to work on. We won’t leave the house all weekend.
I squealed internally.
Today is a good day and this weekend is going to be epic.
The music faded away as the shrill tone of my phone ringing through my speakers announced an incoming call.
“I won the case,” I yelled in lieu of a greeting as I rolled up the windows. “I won the case!” I took a sharp right turn and my black Dodge Challenger eased around the corner, hugging the curb as I entered the Brentwood area of L.A.
“That’s wonderful, Zoe! I’m so proud of you!” The pride in my mother’s voice made my heart swell. “I’ve been impressed with your work ethic and your dedication to this case for the last three months. I know you are really proving yourself over at Parker, Lee & Associates.”
Impressing Elise Jordan, my mother, was always a good feeling, but any time I could impress Elise Jordan, attorney extraordinaire, I felt like I was on a career high.
I grinned as I pulled up to Julian’s neighborhood, slowing as I approached the gate. “Thanks, Mom. I appreciate all your guidance through the process. I couldn’t have done it without you. Hold on for one second please.”
Turning toward the security officer in the booth, I flashed him a smile.
“Hi!” I greeted the muscular man with the gruff expression as I held up my pass.
He glanced at me before his eyes swept the car. Pulling out his clipboard, it appeared he was searching for my name.
“That’s Zoe Jordan,” Officer Mike offered as he rounded the booth. “She’s a resident. Her name is listed under Julian Winters on the second page.”
I hope my mom didn’t hear that.
Officer Mike explained to the new guy that after a few weeks, he would start to remember all the faces of the residents as the wrought iron gate opened.
“Okay, I’m back, Mom.”
Waving goodbye, I entered the small, elite neighborhood, tucked away in an unassuming part of West Los Angeles that housed only twenty homes. I made my way down the paved road.
“Resident, huh?” my mom inquired. I could hear the amusement in her voice.
I laughed heartily. “I was hoping you didn’t hear that because it’s not what you think!”
“Well when we fly out for Christmas in three weeks, I’ll be the judge of that!”
I laughed again as I continued down the winding road.
Julian and I had spent almost every night together since becoming an item. We generally alternated between his place and mine, but when he’d go out of town, I tended to stay at his to housesit and because I missed him. I had a full wardrobe at both locations so it wasn’t even a matter of packing a bag or anything. It felt like I lived at both places, but no discussion of moving in with one another had ever occurred. It just sort of organically happened since we didn’t want to be apart.
“You know, you and Julian have been together for almost two years now. It’s not a bad idea to live with one another to make sure it’s a good fit.”
“It’s not that we are opposed to living together.” I cleared my throat. “But he just got home from his two-month tour yesterday morning and my case has had me so busy, we haven’t talked about it. The lease to my apartment is up early next year so I’m sure we’ll talk about it soon. We have time. He’s taken the rest of December off and I put in for vacation so we will be spending lots of quality time together this month.”
“He doesn’t go back on tour for a while though, right?”
I sighed, thinking about him being gone for another stretch of time. “He’s touring again in March, April, and May.”
“Well, I know you missed each other terribly so enjoy your time together. Once you talk to him, let’s finalize Christmas plans, okay? It’s only a few weeks away!”
“I know. Time is flying.” I slowed to a stop outside of the gate blocking Julian’s driveway. His wasn’t the only house with a gate, but it was the only one with musical notes adorning the spokes. “As soon as he’s settled, I will discuss details with him. But Mom, he’s already said he wants everyone to stay at his place. I think you should probably cancel your hotel reservations.”
“You know I hate to impose. It’s from Christmas Eve until January second. That’s too long! Nine days.”
“It’s not an imposition. You are family. We are spending Christmas together as a family. It’ll be good times.”
She was quiet for a minute. “Speaking of family…”
Here we go with the marriage and family talk…again.
“Mom.” I cut her off in a respectful warning. “I expect it from Grandma and Nana. I expect it from Julian’s parents and especially his grandmother. I would even expect it from Dad. But you? Et tu, Brute?”
It was my mom’s turn to laugh hysterically. “Okay, calm down Shakespeare. What I was going to say is that I know you have hit a stride in your career and you are focused on knocking it out of the park. With this case and the attention the partners at the firm are surely going to give you for this win, I don’t want you to ever forget what’s important. You are my daughter in every sense of the word and I know how a win just feeds that need to do it again, to work harder and get even better. Just make sure you aren’t putting other important things on the backburner.”
I smiled because I knew she was right. Even though I was excited to spend the weekend with Julian, I was also excited to get back to work on Monday and bask in the glory of the unlikely win.
Especially since I was given the case with the expectation that I was going to lose.
“Family. Friends. Julian. Sleep. Food. I know what’s important. Next time I get a case, I’m just going to do a better job of not letting the stress of work affect me. I lost seven pounds and my eating has been ridiculous.”