Authors: E. L. Todd
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Fantasy
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious or used fictitiously. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher or author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.
Copyright © 2013 by E. L. Todd
All Rights Reserved
Book Two of the Alpha Series
“So, she really isn’t leaving?” Alex asked.
He was quiet for a moment. “And you’re okay with that?”
I shrugged. “It’s her life. I can only advise her to do so much. Besides, they are getting married.”
“Are you serious?”
The sadness was obvious in h
is eyes. I felt bad for the guy but at the same time I didn’t. Sadie had been single forever. He shouldn’t have waited until she found a boyfriend to make his move. “I—I didn’t know that.”
“Isn’t it too soon?”
“I thought so too, but Sadie is intent on it. She’s moving in with him and Elisa.”
He looked at me. “Have you talked to her?”
I didn’t like talking about Elisa
“I’m sorry, man.”
“I’m over it.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I was a walking shadow.
“Well, it’s better this way anyway. Did you really want to be a stepdad?”
I loved those kids. They were a pain in the ass but they were adorable. I would do anything to be with Elisa. “No.”
“See?” he said triumphantly.
I ignored him. “Aren’t you glad it didn’t work out with Sadie? She’s a pain in the ass.”
His face fell. “I guess.”
I leaned back in my chair and looked around at the women of the bar. A lot of them were beautiful but I had no interest in them. I felt like I was blind to the world around me. It was like someone squeezed lemon juice in my eye and I couldn’t see anyone but Elisa because my brain had memorized her face perfectly.
“That girl is cute,” Alex said as he stared across the room.
“Eh,” I said without looking.
“Come on. Go over there and ask her out.”
“I don’t want to.”
He stared at me. “Just do it, Jared. Get back on the horse.”
I sighed. “I’m just not in the mood.”
“Get over it and get in the mood.”
“Why don’t you go hit on someone?”
“I will but I have to make sure you’re going first.”
I took another drink of my beer. “Fine.” I looked at the thin blonde. She had long legs, a flat stomach, and a nice chest. “I’ll see you later.”
“Good luck,” Alex said as he held up his beer.
I walked over to the girl who was sitting alone. She stared at me when I approached her. When she smiled at me, I knew she was interested.
“Hey, I’m Jared. I left my keys over here. Have you seen them?”
She looked at the counter. “I’m sorry. No, I haven’t.”
“Okay,” I said with a sigh. “I have a spare in my ap
artment. I’ll just have the super let me in tomorrow.”
She nodded. “
Why can’t you ask him tonight?”
“He’s out for the night. I’ll stay in a motel or something.”
“You don’t have friends in the city?”
“No,” I said sadly. “I just moved her
e and started working on Wall Street. I’m pretty new to this big city.”
Her eyes lit up with interest when she h
eard what I did for a living. It seemed to work on most girls. “Where are you from?”
I smiled. “Cute?”
“Don’t the Dutch live there?”
“Yes, but I’m not Dutch.”
She smiled at me.
“Well, thanks for your help. Have a good night.” I turned away but she spoke to me.
“Yes?” I asked as I came back to her.
“My name is Shelly.”
“Oh? I’m so sorry. Where are my manners? It was very nice to meet you, Shelly.” I turned away again.
“Would you like to buy me a drink?”
I looked at her. “Sure. Of course I would.” I returned to the bar and sat next to her. She turned toward me and smiled at me blatantly. When the bartender came over, she ordered her drink.
“So, how’s Wall Street?” she asked.
“Good. I like it.”
“Where did you go to school?”
She smiled. “So, you’re super smart?”
“I know a few things,” I said humbly.
“Like the Dutch?”
She laughed. “And you’re funny.”
I smiled. I had this girl. I was going to get laid tonight if I wanted to. “So, what do you
do for a living, Shelly?”
“I work as a model for Macy’s.”
I took a drink of my beer. “That isn’t surprising.”
She smiled. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“It was meant as one.”
“Are you in New York permanently?”
“I think so.”
That made her smile wider.
She and I talk
ed for a while. I tried to concentrate on what she was saying but I really wasn’t interested. She was nice and beautiful, but I just didn’t care. I kept thinking about Elisa, and I wondered what she was doing. I remembered our afternoon trip to the park. The kids were loud and playful but they were also really fun. Elisa’s brown hair was so soft. I always wanted to touch it. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. That was the initial reason I was so attracted to her, but after I got to know her, I fell in love with her. She was exceptional. I wish she was ready to move past her husband. I knew she wanted me but she wouldn’t let herself have me. She thought it was disrespectful to her husband. I understood and respected her feelings even though I wasn’t happy about them.
“And then the pie was everywhere,” she said with a laugh.
I started laughing because she started laughing. I had no idea what she said but I just played along.
She placed her hand on mine. “Since you don’t have anywhere to stay tonight, do you want to stay at my place?” Her fingers glided across my knuckles.
I said nothing for a moment. I didn’t want to sleep around because of Elisa, but since she wasn’t going to be with me, I knew I should move on. Maybe if I slept with someone, it might push me forward. “That would be wonderful,” I said with a smile. “That’s very generous of you.”
I paid the bill then we left the bar, heading up the street until a cab pulled over. She placed her hand on my thigh and squeezed then she moved her hand over my crotch, massaging me. I started to get hard at her ministrations. I was definitely going to score with this girl.
When we reached her apartment building, I paid the cab driver then we climbed out and walked into the building. When we were in the elevator, she leaned into me and I wrapped my arm around her waist. The doors opened and we walked to her room. I felt my heart pounding.
I wasn’t ready for this. All I could think about was Elisa. Would it hurt her if she knew I slept with someone? I th
ought it would. She didn’t want me but I couldn’t do this. The girl stuck her key in the door then opened it. I didn’t step through. I stayed outside the door. Guilt flooded through me when I considered sleeping with that girl. I was in love with someone else. I couldn’t do it. “I’m sorry,” I said as I turned around.
The last thing I saw was her shocked expression before I walked down the hallway toward the elevator. I took the stairway to the left then headed down to the street. Instead of taking a cab, I walked back to my apartment building, thinking about Elisa the whole way. I just ha
d to get over her before I started dating and sleeping with other women. I wasn’t sure how possible that would be. My sister was moving in with Ethan and they were getting married. I had a feeling I would be seeing a lot more of Elisa.
“So, what did you do last night?” Sadie asked from across the table. We were
eating breakfast together like we usually did on the weekend.
“Did you go out with Alex?”
“We went to a bar.”
“Did you meet anyone?”
I was quiet for a moment.
“No one worth remembering.”
She caught my saddened expression. “I’m sorry, Jared.”
“It’s okay. It’s not your fault.”
“Do you want me to talk to her?”
“That’s the last thing I want. Leave it alone, Sadie. She made her decision and I respect it.”
“Maybe she would change her mind if you chased her.”
I shook my head. “This isn’t a bad breakup she’s recovering from. She’s a widow—
. I’m not just going to manipulate her into being with me. It doesn’t work like that. She has to come to me.”
“But what if she never does?”
“That’s her decision to make, Sadie.”
took a drink of her coffee. “What if Ethan talked to her?”
“I just hate seeing you like this.”
“I’ll get over it,” I said as I ate my waffles. “Let’s discuss something else.”
“Well, I need to start packing.”
“You’re not going to fit all your stuff in his townhouse.”
She sighed. “I know.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Sell my furniture.”
“All of it?”
I wanted to tell her that this relationship was moving too fast but I knew she wouldn’t listen to me. She was never logical when it came to Ethan. I liked Ethan a lot. I admit I was wrong about him before and I knew he had changed, but I still thought th
ey were moving too quick.
“I know you aren’t comfortable with this and you think I should change my mind.”
I was quiet for a moment. “It’s your life, Sadie.”
“I’m happy, Jared, and I know that I’m not making a mistake.”
“Then you don’t need my approval.”
“Yes, I do. You’re my brother.”
I sighed. “It is too fast, Sadie. I have a bowl of fruit that’s been in my refrigerator longer than you and Ethan have been together.”
“Ethan and I are different.”
“You’re just hung up on him because he’s the first pretty boy to give you the eye,” I snapped.
She glared at me. “I love Ethan for who he is, not just for his looks.”
“I’m sorry. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I won’t,” she said gently. “And even if it doesn’t work out, I still wouldn’t change any of this. I want to be with him for as long as I can even if it doesn’t last.”
I stared at her smile and knew she meant what she said. She really was in love with that guy. Nothing I said would change anything so I knew I should just be supportive. “Then I’m happy for you.”
“Truly,” I said. “But if you don’t see me around his place, it’s not because of you.”
“I understand,” she said sadly. “You’ll move on eventually.”
d she was right but I really doubted it. I had a beautiful woman who wanted me to stay at her place the night before but I said no. I was either madly in love or I was gay.
“So you want to help me pack?”
“Do you want to help clean my bathroom?”
She rolled her eyes. “Those aren’t even comparable. I don’t think you’ve cleaned your bathroom once since you moved in.”
“And you would be right.”
“So, you’ll help?”
“Isn’t that your fiancé’s job?”
“Just because I’m
getting married doesn’t mean our relationship will ever change, Jared. I’ll still need you.”
I said nothing. That was another fear that I had, that Ethan would take her away. It was going to happen one day but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
“Come on. Let’s go.”
tossed some cash on the table and we left the restaurant. When we walked inside her apartment, I sighed. “You haven’t packed anything.”
Koku ran to me and started to paw at my legs.
“Hey, man,” I said as I picked him up. “You must be excited to move. Now you’ll have two little kids to play with you.”
I scratched his head. “Good boy.” I put him down. “Well, since you aren’t bringing any furniture, I guess it won’t be so bad. And they probably have all the kitchen supplies.”
“Yeah, that’s true.”
I moved to the couch and sat down, turning on the television. “I’ll be here if you need me.”
She rolled her eyes. “Thanks for all the help.”
“Hey, I’ll move your boxes and junk for you, but I’m not going to go through your clothes.”
There was a knock on the door and I suspected who it was.
Sadie opened it and a small squeal escaped her lips when she saw Ethan. “Hey.”
He grabbed her and dipped her to the floor, kissing her deeply.
I assumed he didn’t know I was
there. “This isn’t the roaring twenties.”
He finished his kiss then helped her to a stand. “Sorry, that’s how I greet my fiancé
“In your time machine,” I added.
Ethan grabbed her hand and led her to the living room. “What’s going on?”
“Sadie asked me to help her pack,” I answered.
Ethan looked at her. “Do you hate your brother?”
“Of course not,” she said indignantly.
“Then why would you submit him to this torture?” Ethan asked.
“What happened to the swe
et man that just swept me off my feet?’ she asked.
Ethan smiled. “He’s on break.” He looked at me. “Thanks for helping her but I can take care of it. Don’t worry about it.”
“Phew, that’s a relief,” I said.
Ethan laughed. “You’re welcome.”
He looked at me. “So how have you been?”
“Fine,” I lied.
Sadie looked at me with a pitiful expression. I stared her down, making sure she didn’t say anything.
Ethan didn’t catch the look. “Sadie told me you’ve been depressed about Elisa. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out.”
“It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”
Sadie turned to him and opened her humongous mouth. “Ethan, he’s in love with her. Could you talk to her?”
I glared at her. “Don’t listen to her, Ethan.”
Ethan looked at me. “So you mean that? You weren’t just saying that?”
I took a deep breath. “This is how my night went last night. I met this beautiful girl, we had a few drinks, she invited me to her place, and before I could walk inside, I had this huge weight of guilt. Since I couldn’t do it, I just left. I didn’t kiss her. I didn’t even touch her. I—I’m stuck.”
Ethan stared at me for a long time. “So you are totally hung up on her?”
“I wish I wasn’t,” I said quietly.
“Let me talk to her,” Ethan offered.
“Absolutely not,” I snapped. “Just leave her alone. She clearly isn’t ready and you can’t force her to do anything. Just let it be.”
Ethan sighed. “I’m afraid if I never push her
, she’ll be alone forever.”
“And that’s her decision to make,” I said.
Sadie looked at me. “You’ve never felt this way toward anyone before. Don’t just give up, Jared.”
“No,” I said. “She’s a widow. Everything is complicated. I don’t want to bother her, scare her, or manipulate her. Please leave her alone.”
Ethan sighed. “I’m going to say something.”
“What did I just say?” I snapped.
“I won’t pressure her or make her feel uncomfortable. I know how to talk to my own sister, okay?”
I didn’t say anything.
“Come with me,” Ethan said.
“I’ll talk to her, and if she is ready to talk to you, I want you to be waiting.”
“Yeah,” he answered. “If you really love her as much as you say
you do, then I think we should try. I know Elisa has feelings for you. She’s just scared. Maybe a little nudge is all she needs.”
“I don’t want to
push her,” I said.
“I won’t,” Ethan said firmly. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Are you ready?”
“We’re doing this now?”
“Love can’t wait,” Ethan said as he stood. “Let’s go.”