UNEXPECTED LOVE by Kristin Mayer is releasing May 17th!!!
“How did this happen?” I asked the blank walls of my apartment. I collapsed on my sofa, still in shock from my encounter at the coffee shop. On a whim, I had walked by Rex after work and wanted to give it a try. It was like fate had taken me there and then played a cruel joke on me. All week long, I’d wondered what had happened to Mister Mystery on the dating app. Now I knew. He was out of my league.
In the same category I’d put Lucian Black. Hell, he was Lucian Black. And he had to be worth millions—maybe more. My head was a mess. And he had a child, according to the pictures I’d found when I searched him online while walking through Central Park before coming home.
Words like “powerful mogul” and “strictly private” were common in the articles I’d found when I’d finally stopped at a bench to sit down. That seemed at odds with what I knew about Mister Mystery.
The articles had confirmed that he was divorced.
His ex-wife seemed to be something of a problem.
My head spun more. Part of me wished Lucian had tried to stop me from leaving. But he hadn’t. At least I knew… at least I knew. The conference calls and drab functions from my conversations with Mister Mystery made sense.
But a child. He had a child.
It was like déjà vu from my marriage to Braden, although logically I knew it wasn’t the same. But finding out like that was… jarring, to say the least.
Mister Mystery had never brought up a child. Not that he’d had to, of course. In fact, it made sense that he hadn’t. Children were precious and needed to be protected. But the news had shocked me. The entire situation shocked me.
I got a pint of ice cream and slipped on my fuzzy slippers before dropping onto the couch and staring at the wall. My phone vibrated. When I saw the name mister mystery flash across the screen, my heart stopped.
Mister_Mystery: And now that you’ve had time to think about what happened, what are your thoughts?
I took a big bite of the cookie dough ice cream and stared at the text. Another message came through. Mister Mystery could tell I had seen the message.
Mister_Mystery: I understand if you never want to talk to me again. I should have asked you to stay earlier so we could talk more. I haven’t handled this well.
I took another big bite.
Mister_Mystery: Have a good night, Addilyn.
It was odd to see him use my real name and not Aurora. I set the pint of ice cream aside so I could reply.
Me: I’m still in shock and I shouldn’t have searched your name online. It’s very… overwhelming.
Mister_Mystery: I’m just a guy, Addilyn.
Me: A guy with a lot of… exposure.
Mister_Mystery: That’s true at times. But my life is also very private.
Things felt awkward between us. Before, it had been easygoing. I was afraid our time was drawing to an end. I wasn’t in the right head space to make any type of decision. But I couldn’t get him out of my head, either. And was there really a decision to make? My heart beat a little faster now that I had a name and a face to go with the person I had gotten to know over the last month.
Mister_Mystery: Night, Addilyn. Sweet dreams.
Me: Night. Sweet dreams to you, too.
I closed out the app, unsure what to make of it all. I’m just a guy, Addilyn. What was that about? Had Lucian wanted to continue our conversation? Or was he just being nice? From the beginning, Lucian had been clear he wasn’t looking for any kind of relationship.
Minutes turned to hours as I sat on my couch and got lost in another old movie. My mind drifted to Lucian. His lean, muscular body, his dark hair, those enigmatic eyes. At nearly six in the morning, I had only nodded off every now and again for a few minutes each time. I brought out my phone.
Me: Did you sleep?
Me: I mean how’d you sleep?
Me: I mean good morning.
I groaned and threw back my head. Way to be smooth. Lucian saw the messages almost immediately.
Mister_Mystery: Good morning. I didn’t really sleep last night. You?
Me: Me either. Were you working?
Mister_Mystery: No. You?
Mister_Mystery: I think we both have a lot to say. Why don’t we meet?
I bit my lip. Yeah, I needed to talk to him a little more. At least for closure.
Me: When? Where?
Mister_Mystery: I’m north of Central Park.
Me: I’m west of Central Park.
Mister_Mystery: How about an hour? Meet me in Central Park at the hot chocolate stand near the carousel?
I knew the place well. It would be busy as the city had just opened the carousel for a special occasion. I wondered if Lucian picked that place specifically to make me feel comfortable.
Me: I’ll be there. See you soon.
Mister_Mystery: Until then.
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