JJ is delighted to be sharing PART TWO of Choc Lit‘s round-robin romance today.
Mother’s Day Story
Part Two by Laura E. James.
Seven Choc Lit authors have contributed to give you one exciting story. Each author has to continue the tale left by the previous author. They have no idea where the story will take them! Not an easy task but makes good reading for us all. Read Part One by Alison May on Chick Lit Reviews and News now!
The black-glassed building loomed ahead, an ogre dwarfing the surrounding shops and offices. ‘A miracle of modern architecture’, the tabloids said. ‘Innovative design for the imaginative person.’ There was even a large, brass plaque celebrating its personality, embedded in the marble floor of the entrance.
Innovative, my foot. To Kelly’s keen eye, it was the ugly hybrid of several London landmarks. The owner of Grande Architectural Designs had stolen the finest features from the most exquisite and iconic city properties, slapped them together with his unsympathetic, uninspired hands, and constructed a monster. He’d then convinced the world his creation was unique and deserving of unending admiration. Somehow, he’d convinced the world he too was as deserving.
Kelly swept her hair away from her eyes. When she first worked for Damien Grande, he was deserving, and she’d fallen for him. Big time. She blamed it on his soft, chocolate-drop eyes, and his messy, dark curls that she was compelled to tease. And the fact he remembered his mother’s birthday, would send flowers to staff on sick leave, and drop everything in an instant if his sister needed help with her baby girl. He was a decent boss. He was a kind and funny friend. And he was a caring lover.
That was two years ago. She and Damien had changed dramatically since then. She was a mother. Responsible. Celibate. He was a grade A idiot with high self-esteem issues.
She couldn’t pinpoint the moment he’d mutated into the arrogant, sexist gorilla she’d grown to loathe, but before money, before success, before world domination, he was a gentle man with an angelic soul. She’d have given him anything. She gave him everything.
Yet to convince herself she was doing the right thing, her heart switched from a trot to a canter as the door to the Grande carbuncle glided to her left.
She’d struggled with the idea of returning to work. It wasn’t a deep-rooted desire for change, or something she felt she needed to do; it wasn’t that she had to escape the house, or have time away from Lucas. It was a financial decision. Fulfilled as she was by motherhood, and she was, love didn’t feed or clothe her boy. Money did. In this case, Damien Grande’s money.
Thank goodness she didn’t have to face him. Thank goodness the company hadn’t guaranteed a return to her previous placement, and thank goodness there was a job-share on offer. Three full days a week in the company of that supercilious man would end in murder. Or worse.
She crossed the threshold and sighed at the collective sound of high heels clacking across the white and grey veins of the ornate floor. It was strangely comforting.
So far, so good.
‘Kelly? Mr Grande said to expect you.’
Kelly turned in the direction of the recognisable, warm, rich tones of Ade, the company’s chief security officer. Well over six foot, dressed smartly in his fitted battleship-grey suit, and presenting Kelly with his best Cheshire Cat grin, he opened his arms and invited her in to one of his all-enveloping, enormous, strong, bear hugs.
‘Come on,’ he coaxed. ‘It won’t be as good as those baby cuddles, but I know you can’t resist.’
Instantly at ease, Kelly smiled. ‘You’ve a reputation to uphold.’
‘Yes I have. And you’re destroying it. Get over here now.’
Laughing, she threw herself into his arms and went with the moment, surprised at how solid his chest was. And he smelled of woody cologne. It evoked memories of another life. Another time. She’d forgotten what it was to be held by a man.
‘So, is motherhood as overwhelming as they say?’ He released Kelly from his grip and cocked his head. ‘I’ve heard there’s no love like it.’
‘I’ve heard that too.’
Kelly’s stomach crashed to the floor. She didn’t need to turn to see who’d spoken. She didn’t need to face Damien to reply. ‘It’s a love like no other,’ she said, fighting to subdue her emotions. ‘A pure, intense connection. It’s honest. It’s real.’
That pulled her up. Now she had to see if he was mocking her. Slowly, and cautiously, she moved away from Ade, raised her gaze, and dared to look at Damien.
Laura is married and has two children. She lives in Dorset, but spent her formative years in Watford, a brief train ride away from the bright lights of London. Here she indulged her love of live music, and, following a spectacular Stevie Nicks gig, decided to take up singing, a passion that scored her second place in a national competition.
Laura is a graduate of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, a member of her local writing group, Off The Cuff, and an editor of the popular Romaniacs blog.
Laura was runner-up twice in the Choc Lit Short Story competitions. Her story Bitter Sweet is to be released in the forthcoming Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Anthology to be published in 2014.
Truth or Dare? is Laura’s debut novel.
Kate Blair’s sick of unrequited love. She’s quietly waited for Mickey for the past six years and finding a compass-carved heart, with their initials scratched through the middle, only strengthens her resolve: no more Mickey and no more playing it safe.
It’s time to take a chance on real love and Declan O’Brien’s the perfect risk. He’s handsome, kind and crazy about her so it’s not long before all thoughts of Mickey come few and far between.
But old habits die-hard. Kate may have started to forget … but has Mickey?
Follow the rest of the story daily!
Read Part Three by Henriette Gyland on Laura’s Little Book Blog (26th March)
Read Part Four by Berni Stevens on Cosmochicklitan (27th March)
Read Part Five by Beverley Eikli on Chick Lit Uncovered (28th March)
Read Part Six by Amanda James on Love of a Good Book (29th March)
And finally, read Part Seven by Margaret James on One More Page (30th March – Mother’s Day!)