It all started the summer of 1999 when we met and fell in love…
Happy Monday!!! I LOVE Victoria to pieces, make sure to check this out!! #ReleaseBlitz #LuckyInLove #VictoriaMonroe LUCKY, in love by Victoria Monroe…Release Blitz: Lucky, In Love
Five, four, three, two, one—Happy New—
Instead of listening to Auld Lang Syne echo through the streets of mid-town Manhattan, while the eagerly awaiting sea of humanity erupts with hopeful joy, I sit in silence alone in my condo. The remote control falls from my hand onto the empty cushion next to me, as my head rests heavily against the back of the sofa. I can’t watch millions of complete strangers’ sweet nostalgia dissolve while they embrace their ambitious ideas for the new beginning that just presented itself. Something about this time of year leaves me feeling bitter. Maybe it’s because it’s always the same me in a new year.
My phone display continually casts a white glow on the ceiling from where it lays on my glass coffee table. Without looking, I know it’s best wishes for the new year. Probably messages from my sisters and Laken, Emerson, and maybe even the guys, too. They’re all together tonight at a big party at Gage and Laken’s new house. I declined. Just like I declined the invitation to the country club’s New Year’s Eve bash. Historically, I never miss NYE at the club; it’s a great time and the party always continues with whomever I bring home with me. Last year was especially exciting. I couldn’t decide who was the better kisser—the brunette or the redhead—so I brought both of them home. The self-images each of the pretty ladies had of themselves made this bullshit ego I exude seem like nothing at all. But that’s the beauty of the club. We’re all the same kind of people… at least that’s how I make it appear anyway. I thought for sure 2017 would be a fantastic year based on the way I brought it in, and it was. It was a damn good year for everyone around me—engagements, weddings, babies, new homes—I watched amazing things happen for amazing people. I watched.
2017 left me changed—softened by the people who had welcomed me into their lives and made me a friend. People who forced me to realize I was a person who could be so much more than who I had become. The past year also left me hardened toward the people—who in one way or another—shaped me into the cynical son of a bitch I’ve been for most of my adult life. I know the actions of others aren’t really credible excuses for where I am in life. No, I’ve made my own choices that have been—at some point—exactly what I wanted.
Yes, I’ve made my choices and now I live with the consequences. For the second time in my life, I loved someone and I let them go. I convinced myself it was for her own good. I would only cause her pain. I was successful. I’m sure she’s not hurting—not because of me anyway—she never knew how I felt. I’m the one who’s hurting. I live with the idea of what could have been. While everyone looks ahead, especially now on New Year’s Day—all I think about is what or rather who I’ve left behind.
© 2018 Victoria Monroe
Love breaks our hearts and complicates everything, and still—we love. Despite every plan we derive against it—love finds us and we’re powerless to stop its splendor, or its torment.
I’ve grown up hearing the expression, it always happens to the good ones. An innocent, resilient child doesn’t understand that statement. What always happens to the good ones? I’m a good one, aren’t I? Although I didn’t quite understand the meaning in those words, I never forgot the expression. The child in me who always heard those words, could never have fathomed the truth they hold… it’s something that life had to teach me. But, as I’m becoming older I realize the sadness of that truth, it does always happen to the good ones.
There were two amazing people who spent their lives living to raise their six beautiful children, three of whom have physical disabilities. They were philanthropists who helped disabled people get what they needed from medical equipment, to a home they could call there own that suited their needs. They were friends. It didn’t matter if you knew them five minutes, five years, or a lifetime. You were their friend. They’d do anything for anyone. They were in love, after thirty years of marriage they were completely head over heels in love.
But, you’ve heard that expression, right? You know, it always happens to the good ones. It was just a short ride before dinner… they were only going to be gone a few minutes… all they had to do was look at house that might be perfect for a disabled person who wants to live independently and needs help getting a place… a short ride on the bike… all the kids were at the house… dinner is almost ready… we’ll be right back.
It was about six o’clock in the evening… a sport utility vehicle hit them head on.
She died at 7:24 pm. He died at 7:30 pm.
Be kind. Do good things. It doesn’t matter what color we are, what religion, what our goals are… if we only have one thread in common, that’s enough. If we can all be kind, this world will be better because we were here, just like it’s better because they were here.
You see, it happens to everyone… it’s just the good ones who leave an impact.
I know this guy isn’t my biggest fan. Not by a long shot.
“Ashe?” I knock twice on his open office door at Scott Construction.
“Hey, Killian. What’s up?” He looks at me expectantly from where he’s studying blue prints rolled across his workspace and gestures to the chairs on the other side of his desk.
“Not too much. How’re you?”
“Good, Killian. Great, actually. I couldn’t be better, well, I’d be better if I were in the company of the beauty down the hall, no offense.” Ashe smirks and I can see the happiness in his eyes as he thinks of Emerson.
“None taken. That’s great, good for you.”
After a pause, Ashe gestures with his hands, “Well, it was awesome talking to you, bud. Thanks for—”
“I’m into Brinley.” I cut Ashe off and just say it aloud.
“Excuse me?” Ashe appears bewildered, I think, to say the least.
I sit with my head in my hands and my elbows on my knees, “Oh fuck, Ashe, she drives me crazy. It was one thing being business partners with her, now I’m her, her, her fucking boss.” I hear Ashe move his chair, then navigate through his office before he latches the door closed. He sits back down and I lift my head to look at him.
“You’re fucked, man.” Ashe preaches matter-of-fact like its gospel truth. It is.
“Tell me what I don’t already know.”
“Look, Killian, I’ve been there, it’s tough.” Ashe finally shows the signs of empathy I hoped I’d see in him. Coming here to talk to him isn’t easy to do, but despite everything, he’s the one person who can understand.
“How did you do it?” I need a lifeline. I need to figure this shit out, everyday gets more and more difficult.
“Amazingly fucking well, as always,” Ashe responds with a devilish, prideful grin. After a moment, I realize the disconnect in our conversation.
“Not sex, Ashe. Em, your relationship, work… how did you keep it from getting weird?”
“Who said it didn’t get weird? Christ, man, I wanted to fucking devour her for months, since day one when I first laid eyes on her. I used to bring her coffee every chance I could and ask her about her thoughts on global fucking warming just to talk to her. I tried like hell to work her out of my system…the gym, women, drinking, anything I could think of to get her out from under my skin. I tried to convince her and myself that since we worked together a personal relationship was unacceptable. Then one day, she shows up at my door looking so good…fuck, man, I swear, I could have cried, she looked so beautiful. I knew right then and there; I was fucking ruined. One touch, one taste. I was gone. I didn’t even know then, but I was so fucking in love with her, there was no coming back. Then she left for several months. We had a falling out when she wasn’t even here. She came back as I was trying to move on…that’s when I learned about the babies, well, baby, my sweetness was daddy’s surprise.” Ashe’s eyes light up when he mentions his babies, especially Cashen, who was a surprise twin to her expected brother, Leif. “It was a fucking mess. I avoided the office, I couldn’t stand to be near her without being able to touch her. One day, it just hit me. I accepted the fact that she was it for me, and no matter how much she tried to shut me out, I was it for her. I decided to fight for us. That was it. Gage and Laken may have helped wake me up. I don’t want to go dishing too much credit to pretty boy and my sister—his soon-to-be bride—though.” Ashe smiles and he can’t hide the love and respect he holds for his family.
I’m kidding myself. I don’t stand a chance at winning the affection of a woman like Brinley. It’ll be Laken all over again, only our working relationship will prevent us from forming a close friendship. It’ll be too weird. I can’t effectively fulfill my objective judgement if I’m biased. Maybe Ashe couldn’t get Emerson out from under his skin because she’s meant to be there. Perhaps Laken couldn’t take me seriously because her heart has always been the heart in Gage. They’re all meant to be. It’s obvious. They couldn’t fight what’s written on their hearts. What they share has always been there. I don’t have that problem, not at all. The only thing I’ve always had—the only thing I will ever have—is the cold, empty pit inside me.
“…Her name is Renée. I told her I’ve seen her coming to watch the sunset for a very long time. I asked her why she watches each sunset from that spot. She said, ‘There was a man who came into my life, many years ago. I was a young woman then, like you are now. He and I, were… We made love only once. We were here, right on this beach. Back then, privacy was easier to come by. We were on the beach and we made love with the setting sun watching us, but keeping our secret. He was moving to Europe the next day. He told me he loved me. I almost said those words back to him, almost. He asked me to come with him, maybe not the next day, but he wanted me to go. I almost followed him. I went to the airport to see him again; he didn’t know I was there. In those days, you could go anywhere in the airport without a ticket or without someone checking your bag. In the end, I was too scared to talk to him again and so I watched him, unbeknownst to him. He almost didn’t go. At the last minute, he handed over his ticket. I almost stopped him. If one of those things would have been different. If one of those things would have been more than just, almost… And so, honey, I come here each day and sit to watch the setting sun because in those moments, I can almost feel him again, I can almost see him again, I can almost hear him again. Almost. As soon as the sun is gone, the warmth fades away into a chill and it’s back to my truth. We didn’t make it. Almost doesn’t count.’
“I asked her, why she returns each day if it causes her pain? She replied, ‘Because when I close my eyes, I relive the moments we shared. They come alive. For just a time, it’s us again, together. In those moments, we’re together.’ Her smile turned into a frown and she closed her eyes. We exchanged a few more words before I left her to watch the sunset.”
Learn the whole story in Falling Forever… xoxo
A Holding on Forever Valentine’s Day
February 14, 2017
Part One—Early in the Morning…
The alarm clock sounds more like a thumping bass drum next to the bed and less like an annoying beep. Turning it off, I slide my arm back underneath the warm shelter of the plush duvet, nestling into my soft, thick pillows, quickly slipping back into a deep sleep.
When I booked this slope side suite at the ski resort, I knew my feet would never be strapped in skis the entire weekend. The sight of her body, barely drizzled in seductive red lace, writhing against the stark white sheets, is the perfect wrapping to the only Valentine’s Day present I need. Laken. She curls her sexy finger, in a come-hither sort of way. I stretch out next to her on the bed and she leans over me, her hot breath dancing across my skin as she presses her plump lips softly to my cheek and whispers, “Baby… Gage… Come on… Gage…” Finally, as I turn my head to search for her sweet mouth… “GAGE! COME ON! You’re going to be late.”
Her panicked exclamation temporarily hides her sultry tone, and it startles me. “What?!” I sit up quickly, realizing the room is lighter than it should be for six o’clock in the morning. Laken is obviously showered, dressed and perfectly styled looking delectable, in a snug fitting pencil skirt and sexy red blouse with black leather boots which cover her knees. “Damn baby, you look incredible,” I compliment her as I begin to wipe sleep from my face and slide my fingers through my hair in an effort to tame the effects of the pillow. “I never heard the alarm, what time is it?”
“You did hear it. You turned it off,” Laken scolds. “You’re going to be late. It’s five after seven.”
“What? Damnit! I have a meeting at eight-thirty.”
I know. Get moving. I’ll fix you coffee and leave it on the island with some fruit. I’m going to the shop early. After all, it’s Valentine’s Day and there will undoubtedly be swarms of last-minute-ladies seeking the perfect sexy outfit and lingerie for their romantic evenings.
“Baby, I’m sorry our romantic weekend at the resort didn’t happen and I feel so badly we can’t spend any time together today.”
“It’s alright. There are two extremely wonderful, amazing, perfect reasons why we didn’t go.” Laken smiles brightly and her eyes shine.
“I know,” I assure her as I stand and wrap my arms around her on my way into the bathroom. “But I’m haunted by not spending the past two days whispering sweet nothings in your ear while I make love to every inch of this gorgeous body. I was even dreaming about it just now.”
“Well, dream boy, time is ticking. You need to get moving… I’ll see you tonight after your dinner meeting.” Lake kisses me quickly on the lips before I step into the shower.
The day is busy. It’s been one thing after another and I’m not surprised to see it’s already past noon. I sent a message to Austen, the office manager, almost an hour ago, to set up a phone call with Robert O’Donnell as soon as possible. He’s the CEO of the natural gas company, in Indiana, we’re building the new plant for in Pittsburgh. Damn, why does he have to be traveling today?
“Excuse me, Gage,” Austen speaks through the intercom, “I have Mr. O’Donnell on the line, I’ll connect you now.”
“Thanks, Austen.” I take a deep breath before pressing the button next to the blinking red light. “Good afternoon, Gage Scott. Yes, hello, Robert. I hope you and your family are doing well. Yes, they are, Robert, thank you. Everyone is great! It was a hectic weekend, but everything turned out perfect. Robert, the reason I called was to discuss our meeting this evening. I’m afraid I need to cancel, sir. I apologize for the inconvenience but I have another extremely pressing matter that requires my direct attention and it cannot be put off. I’m willing to make any other arrangements necessary. Perhaps I can travel to Indianapolis later this week and meet you at your office? Oh, I didn’t realize. It’s a good thing you never got out. Well, I suppose this was a ‘perfect storm’ so to speak. Alright, Robert, next week it is. I’ll have Austen coordinate with your office to set it up. Thank you. You too, goodbye.”
Just when I feel as though a thousand pounds has been lifted from my shoulders, a whole new wave of stress washes over me.
“Austen, I need to see you in my office right away.”
“Hey, baby!” Hearing her sultry, breathy voice on the phone still gets me every time. Every. Damn. Time. It’s different from when we’re together, I can see her, touch her, taste her. But over the phone, her seductive voice makes my heart thump and my blood rush. I ache to see her.
“Hey, gorgeous, how’s your day going?”
“My feet are killing me.” She breathes and it sounds almost like a hum as her voice fades from the phone. She has no idea how her sexy little moans drive me wild.
“When do you think you’ll get out of there today?” I ask; but, I know it will be later than she’d like. The time on my computer monitor reads three o’clock. I know her biggest rush still lies ahead of her—from women who come to the shop after work.
“I don’t know. We were crazy from about eleven this morning until now. I wonder how many more people need to shop?” She’s turned up the drama in her voice; it makes me smile.
“Hopefully it won’t be too bad, baby. I’m sorry to say, but I really need to go, Laken. I’m swamped here.”
“Don’t be sorry, I know you’re busy, I just wanted to check in… I haven’t seen you since you were naked in our shower this morning.” I can hear the wickedness in her tone and can see her eyebrow arching in the most seductive way. “You’ve left me with naughty thoughts all day,” she confesses.
“Mmmh, baby, don’t do this to me at work. I’ll see you tonight and we’ll spark up a little romance on this Valentine’s Day.”
“I love you, Gage,” there’s a smile in her voice.
“I love you too, baby, bye.”
Part Two—Early in the Evening…
Rainne sits at the desk, balancing the sales numbers with her glasses perched near the tip of her nose. “Well, Laken, this is the best Valentine’s Week sales we’ve had in three years. We’re up twenty percent compared to last year and that was a fantastic year. It’s crazy!”
“It is,” I offer, from the sofa where I’m stretched out. “I couldn’t be happier; well, maybe I could, if I were in my bed. I’m beat.” I hear Rainne giggle as she agrees that she feels the same way. “Do you and Ryan have any plans for tonight?”
“Nothing crazy, just a quiet evening at home. We went out for a romantic dinner last night at Spring House Vineyard. Ryan reserved a secluded table in the wine cellar, it was incredible.” Her disclosure is enough to make me open my eyes and look in her direction.
“That’s awesome, Rainne.” I smile at her and she blushes. “That husband of yours is a class act,” I add with a wink, before turning my head and closing my eyes again.
“What about you, plans tonight?” She asks while locking up the safe.
“No, Gage has a late dinner meeting.” Enthusiasm is clearly absent from my tone.
“That sucks,” Rainne states matter of factly. This lover’s holiday kind of fizzles when it’s not on a weekend.
“Nah, it’s fine. Gage said we’ll romance up Valentine’s Day when he gets home. I don’t need a ‘day,’ I just need Gage. And I have that, every day.” Rainne agrees and throws my coat at me. I guess it’s time to go home. Finally.
As I shut the door from the garage into the house, I realize it’s not as dark as it normally is. “Oh, shit!” The words fall from my lips as I realize the fireplace is on. I rush through the kitchen to the living room, hating myself for forgetting to turn it off this morning and for Gage being too rushed to notice it was burning. I come to the entry way and stop dead in my tracks.
“Hey, gorgeous.” Gage raises his champagne glass to me with a nod and a wink.
“Wha— What are— When did— How—” My eyes sting with tears. “The flowers. There’re so many.” Gage sits his glass down on the small round linen covered table which is positioned in front of our fire place. He saunters toward me in low-slung, washed-out, ripped jeans and a black, v-neck t-shirt. His long dark hair is still damp from a shower.
My bag slips from my shoulder as he approaches, slipping his fingers into my hair as he cups my face before closing his mouth over mine. Our kiss simmers with heat and passion but quickly becomes intense as the urgency we feel heightens. Gage drags his lips from mine while kneading my scalp with his fingers.
“No questions now. Go freshen up, dinner will be here in twenty minutes.”
“Where’s your car?” I ask quickly walking toward the stairs.
“Next door. This wouldn’t have been such a surprise if you saw my car, right? Now, go!”
After a quick soak, I take Gage’s lead and dress comfortably, wearing a soft, black, off the shoulder sweatshirt tunic. I softly pad barefoot down the stairs stopping half way when the aroma of roses and the sight of the man sitting among them catch my senses.
There are vases of roses on every piece of furniture, littering the floor and trailing up the stairs. The table looks stunning with flickering tapers, flowers, white and red linens, crystal stemware and silver cloches covering the china.
“I thought you had a meeting,” I call out, getting Gage’s attention as I continue into the living room. “Please don’t stand,” I command as I arrive at the table. He doesn’t listen and pulls out my chair. The consummate gentleman.
“Well,” he pours my champagne, “there was a conflict of interest on my calendar. One item—was my meeting with O’Donnell. The second—and most important—was one that could not be rescheduled and required my undivided attention.” Gage sits down and reaches his goblet toward the center of the table, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Laken.”
“To us,” while our crystal glasses sing in agreement, I feel the bubbly dance down my throat before continuing, “you canceled your meeting to be home with me tonight?”
“Yes. Laken, it’s our first Valentine’s Day together. I’m a big believer in everyday being Valentine’s Day. But I also have a lot of missed Valentine’s Days to make up for. You deserve every bit of romance that can fit into every single day, and I’ll spend my life giving it to you.”
Sometimes there just aren’t words. This is one of them. I’m completely in love with and swept away by this beautiful man. We continue with light conversation while we enjoy our five-star cuisine: balsamic glazed salmon, quinoa with Kalamata olives, kale and feta cheese and grilled asparagus. My taste buds are in euphoria.
“There’s another piece to the story,” Gage adds. “O’Donnell never even traveled here and was going to cancel on me anyway… I didn’t know and canceled on him first. Turns out they got pounded with a winter storm and he couldn’t even get out of Indianapolis.”
“I’m thrilled the events played out like this. I just don’t understand how you were able to pull this off. You didn’t have it planned, did you?”
“No!” Gage laughs and tells me that he left the office early this afternoon after he confirmed that Spring House could accommodate a dinner delivery and set-up. Then he visited every florist and grocery store to get as many flowers as he could. I’m mesmerized by his thoughtfulness and sincerity. I know I’m the most important thing in his life and he doesn’t let me forget it.
After clearing the dishes, we nestle on the sofa, sipping champagne. “Thank you. Thank you for all of this.” I mean every single word from the bottom of my heart.
“You’re welcome, baby, but the night isn’t over.” Gage smiles and I grin wickedly. He points to the table and only then do I notice the tiny black velvet box.
“Gage,” I whisper in awe, “you didn’t need to get me anything, what you’ve done is amazing.” Gage picks up the box, faces me and takes my left hand in his moving his thumb over the ring he put on my finger several months earlier.
“Laken, when I proposed, I didn’t think about it for more than the moment in which I decided that I had to. I knew there was no one else for me but you. It was a coincidence that when I went to see my mother, she chose that moment to pass this ring—this family heirloom—to me. I was honored to give it to you and I’m thrilled that you love it. One day, I hope, we’ll have a son or daughter to pass it on to. A tradition they’ll carry on with their children, and their children’s children…” Gage slides the ring from my finger, holding it up between us. “This ring was here before us and it will be here long after us. And it will hold the story and love of the forever hearts who have shared it.” I watch as he carefully sets the ring on the table. He smiles and softly kisses my lips. “This,” he places the box in my hand, “is yours.”
Part Three—Late in the Evening…
I wait with bated breath, as she begins to open the box, noticing the slight tremble in her hands.
“Gage,” escapes her lips before she covers her lips with her fingers.
“Do you like it?” I ask, feeling almost silly waiting to hear what she thinks of the brilliant, round stone set on a thin, platinum band of diamonds. She lifts her eyes, shiny with happiness, to mine while nodding her head. I take the ring from the box before taking her hand back in mine and sliding the ring onto her finger. “I’m yours, Laken. Forever. I can’t wait to walk down the aisle with you.” She leaps across the short distance between us, wrapping herself around me.
“I can’t wait either,” she mumbles with her face buried in my neck. She relaxes her grasp on me and kisses me softly on my lips. “Autumn can’t get here soon enough.”
“I know, it’ll come quickly though.” I put the heirloom into the box and place it on the table. “We’ll be building our house of dreams during the spring and summer.” I settle back onto the sofa as Laken snuggles against me.
“Yes! Then after we say ‘I do,’ we can get started on making that son or daughter.” Laken says as she nibbles on my neck playfully.
“Baby, we can at least practice—now,” I whisper as she drives me crazy biting at my neck.
“Oh!” She moves away from me and I miss her touch immediately. “I have something for you, too! It’s upstairs. Let’s just turn off the lights, I don’t think we’ll be coming back down.” We make our way upstairs and Lake instructs me to sit on the bed. She turns on the soft rope lighting in the tray ceiling and stands just in front of me at my knees.
“What’s my present?” I ask and hope like hell she’ll be taking my jeans off, they’re more than a little uncomfortable since she was licking and biting my neck. She looks so sexy with her shoulder bare and glowing skin. I’ve wanted to be inside her since I woke up. She reaches for the hem of her long sweatshirt pulling it over her head. My blood rushes and it feels like fire burning in my veins. “Fuck, you bought them!” She backs away sashaying her sweet ass in these ultra-sexy panties that tie onto her luscious body.
“Yes, I did. My sinfully sexy fiancé saw them and said he’d like me to offer him my body wrapped only in these panties. And I thought, I can certainly oblige. Only I didn’t have anything to wear with them, but he came through and found the perfect accessory.”
Laken holds up her hand waving her fingers around. She looks at her ring and smiles sweetly before her smile becomes something different—an invitation. I stand up and watch her as she moves to the other side of the bed. She’s wearing the red lace and silk panties, her ring and nothing else. She crawls onto the bed—slowly stretching and twisting—until she’s on her back. She arches and her skin washes with goose bumps.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, baby,” she whispers in her seductive, breathy voice.
I remove my t-shirt and drop my zipper, and I’m naked in five seconds. Lake spreads her thighs and I kneel between them, pulling one red tie with my teeth, then the other, before tugging the fabric from under her. I worship every spot of her body with my mouth. I lick, kiss, bite, suck and touch—everywhere. Her body is the catalyst for my pleasure. The frenzy inside me builds while I watch her riding me. She’s facing away from me and her ass drives me wild. I urge her forward onto her hands and knees, powerfully pumping into her from behind until we both fall gloriously over the edge—once again—in blinding passion. As we lay sated and sleepy and tangled together, it’s impossible to tell where she stops and I begin. I’m in her and she’s in me and we have forever in our hearts.
© 2017 Victoria Monroe