Authors: Elle Casey
Tags: #Fiction, #Humorous, #Sagas, #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Fiction, #Humor, #Romantic Comedy
just one night
A Serial Romance
© 2014 Elle Casey, all rights reserved, worldwide. No part of this ebook may be reproduced, uploaded to the Internet, or copied without author permission. The author respectfully asks that you please support artistic expression and help promote anti-piracy efforts by
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OTHER BOOKS BY ELLE CASEY
NEW ADULT ROMANCE
Shine Not Burn
Don’t Make Me Beautiful
YA PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Duality, Volume I (Melancholia)
Duality, Volume II (Euphoria)
YA URBAN FANTASY
War of the Fae: Book 1, The Changelings - FREE!
War of the Fae: Book 2, Call to Arms
War of the Fae: Book 3, Darkness & Light
War of the Fae: Book 4, New World Order
Clash of the Otherworlds: Book 1, After the Fall
Clash of the Otherworlds: Book 2, Between the Realms
Clash of the Otherworlds: Book 3, Portal Guardians
My Vampire Summer
My Vampire Fall*
Aces High (co-written with Jason Brant)
Apocalypsis: Book 1, Kahayatle
Apocalypsis: Book 2, Warpaint
Apocalypsis: Book 3, Exodus
Apocalypsis: Book 4, Haven
YA ACTION ADVENTURE
To the confident, sexy girl inside all of us.
A note about serial romances…
This book is what’s called a
. Most readers are familiar with full-length novels, novellas, and short stories, but many are not so familiar with serialized fiction. With the advent of self-publishing has come many different innovations, but believe it or not, a serial novel is
one of them. Serials have been around since the seventeenth century! They became especially popular in Britain’s Victorian Era (nineteenth century), “due to a combination of the rise of literacy, technological advances in printing, and improved economics of distribution.”*
The Pickwick Papers
by Charles Dickens may be a serial you’re familiar with.
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Three Musketeers
were also serials, as were
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
The Bonfire of the Vanities,
among many others. Use of this format started to die down when periodicals fell out of favor and were then replaced by the Internet, but thanks to indie authors, it’s coming back! As a reader, I’ve found it a fun way to follow a story that’s always evolving while the anticipation builds between episodes or parts, and in the case of my serials it will be a story that evolves according to reader feedback. Please join the conversation about this book on my website at:
You can read more about serialized fiction
I WANT TO DIE. I want to shrivel up and die a thousand deaths, because just one would not be enough to get rid of all the regret I’m feeing right now. Mia was right. Placing that ad was the dumbest idea I’ve ever had. An entire week has passed and I’m still suffering the fallout.
Racing out of the hotel with one shoe on and my hair in a tangle was the very least of my problems. It’s the stupid broken heart I’m living with now that’s making it hard to breathe. Why did I let this happen? When did my heart decide to get involved? I think it was somewhere between the visit to the dress shop and the amazing orgasm, but I’m not sure.
I stare at the cell phone I just broke into a hundred tiny pieces. It was ringing off the hook with the new weekend arriving, with men calling from far and wide to take advantage of my fabulous offer of one-night stand companionship.
. Why did I ever think that was going to be a good idea? Mia was totally and completely right. I am not one night stand material. I guess I kept the phone and held on this long because I was hoping beyond hope that William would call again. But of course he hasn’t. Our night together was a one-time deal only. I can hardly fault the guy for following the rules, now can I? I’m the one who’s trying to change the game when it’s already over. Stupid, silly, sad me.
I hear someone at the front door and then a key in the lock. I can’t make myself get worried or upset about it, too busy drowning my sorrows in orange juice to care. There’s only one person it can be anyway and she’s mostly harmless.
Mia lets herself into my apartment and walks into the kitchen. She stops in the doorway and stares at the wreckage that used to be my cell. “What the hell happened to that poor phone?” She throws her keys and purse down on the table with a clatter and a thump.
“I killed it.” I take another swig of my juice and burp out the air that went down with it. William Stratford is gone forever. Yes, I know his full name thanks to Claudia the dressmaker, and I’ve already Googled him about a thousand times. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to show up at his doorstep begging for another date and end up like that woman who approached us on the dance floor. Holy stalker alert. I’m pitiful, but I’m not a wreck for God’s sake. Not a total wreck, anyway.
Mia sits across from me and pushes her purse out of the way, staring at my other cell phone still intact and resting by my hand.
“You have two phones?” She leans in and widens her eyes. “Why?”
Slowly lowering my head to the table, I sigh, mumbling into the fake wood. “Don’t ask.”
“Oh, I’m asking. You better believe I’m asking. The only time you overdose on Vitamin C is when you have a man hangover. Tell me what happened.”
I can’t find the energy to lift my head and look at her so I keep talking into the formica. “I’m a terrible person. A ho of the highest order. Just let me die alone and single.”
“Hey, I’m single. Single doesn’t have to suck.” She leans over and shakes me by the shoulder.
I have no comment for that. I want to believe it’s true but it doesn’t feel like it is. I do lift my head, though, and stare at her listlessly. My hair hangs limply around my face. I’ve taken the last three days off to work from home, but I haven’t actually gotten anything accomplished. I haven’t showered, I haven’t changed out of my fuzzy robe, I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet today and it’s already six o’clock and time for dinner.
“Please tell me,” Mia says, sounding more rushed than concerned. “I have to go to this work thingy and I need you to go with me. Chop, chop. Let’s fix this thing and move on.”
“I’m not going anywhere, and there’s nothing to fix. I’m going to stay here until my liver stops functioning, and then I’m going to slide into a blissful, peaceful, uneventful death.”
Mia stands and comes over to my chair, hauling me up by the armpits. “
… Man, you’re heavy.” She pauses once I’m on my feet to exaggerate her breathlessness, because apparently I don’t feel crappy enough as it is. I can now become even more bummed worrying about how much weight I’ve managed to gain in six days.
“You can’t kill yourself with orange juice, freak,” she says. “Go get in the shower. You smell of funk.”
I slap at her hand weakly. “Lemme go.” I stand up straighter, tricking her into thinking I’m going to do as she says. I’m just looking for my window of escape.
“I’ll be right here waiting. Twenty minutes and we’re outties."
Yeah right. As if.
I go down the short hall and take a sharp right into my bedroom and my bed, burrowing under my covers and pulling them up over my head. Maybe if I lie really still, Mia won’t see me and she’ll go away. I sink into the blissful darkness, the silence, the abyss that is my love life.
. Mia’s right. I do smell of funk.
The bed moves a minute later as she sits on the edge of it. “I wondered why I wasn’t hearing the water running.” She yanks the covers back and gets under them with me, closing them back up once she’s settled. I can feel and smell her breath on my face.
Too close, Mia.”
She ignores me. “Tell me what happened. Was it Hank?”
“No, it wasn’t Hank.” My throat closes up. I did actually consider calling him last night, which makes me physically ill. How low do I have to sink before I’m in
place? Very low. That’s me. The lo-ho. “It’s me, okay?” I say, trying to get her to leave it alone. “It’s not anyone but me.”
“What does that even mean?”
“It means I’m an idiot and I hate myself.”
“That’s a lie. It’s two lies, actually.”
Time for my confession. I really don’t like admitting this. “I didn’t listen to you.”
“Okay, maybe it’s just one lie. I’ll give you the idiot thing. What did you do?”
“I don’t want to tell you.”
She sighs, blowing the stink of Cheetoes all over my face. I hold my breath to keep from hurling.
“You did that ad thingy, didn’t you?” she asks.
I will not cry … I will not cry… “Maybe,” I say like a total wiener.
“Goddammit, Jennifer. What were you thinking?”
Anger rises up and makes me throw the covers back … anger and her breath. “I was thinking that I just wanted to have some fun!”
“You and Cyndi Lauper?”
I start girl-slapping at her face, but she’s too quick for me. She’s got her slap-o-matic going and I quickly lose ground. Grabbing the covers and suffocating us both is my only hope for survival. It’s once again dark and Cheetoey.
We both settle in and catch our breath.
“So what happened with the ad? Did you get butt raped by a tattooed biker from South Dakota named Brutus?”
I laugh, a bitter kind of thing. “No. Not at all.”
“Oh.” She pauses to consider my answer. “Did you get stood up? Because you shouldn’t let that get you down. You can intimidate guys sometimes, you know that. It’s all that hooterage, I think. Maybe he saw you and your busty self and took off, scared out of his wits.”
“No, I didn’t get stood up, okay? And could you not talk about my hooters right now?” It makes me think about how much William seemed to like them, and the sadness runs deeper. How could I have been so stupid? It was supposed to be for only one night. I knew that going in. Why am I still thinking about him? I’m afraid I’m one of those losers with zero confidence. I think I need therapy.
She reaches up and pats my face, possibly trying to soothe me. “Tell me what happened, sweetie pie. I can make you feel better, I promise.”
“Mia, when you say that and we’re in bed together, it’s a little creepy.” I can’t help but laugh just a tiny bit.
She sticks her finger up my nose, I think accidentally. “Shut up, you know I’m no muff diver.”
I throw the covers off our faces again so I can breathe. “God in heaven, your breath is
. Were you eating Cheetoes again?”