The Things We Lost

Novel Excerpt
The Things We Lost
By Maggie Giles

Now

The following day, I help a drunken Arabella into her bed after another liquid lunch, one at which I’m glad I didn’t drink much. I’d tried voicing my concern about her drinking at lunch, but she brushed it off as stress. Now, I’m certain it’s more than a calming tactic.

The lunch was a chance to discuss the upcoming wedding that is only a couple of weeks away. Despite being maid of honour, I have been given very little information about it all. Arabella keeps every detail locked up tight. She’s always loved her secrets.

When she’s tucked into bed, I go over to her office, ready to dive into my most recent project, an upcoming post on the social scene in our city, the very scene Arabella is a major part of. I was writing a lot for a local blog¾something unchanged from my memories. Writing had always been my career of choice. My main goal was to publish a novel, or multiple novels. That hasn’t panned out yet.

I’m in the office only a few minutes before Jack walks in and interrupts my work. Arabella’s fiancé looks different than when I last saw him. Now he resembles the man from the articles I researched the previous week, suave and handsome. He isn’t the relaxed, just off work guy he was when he picked us up from the mall. Now he’s all business, looking as if he’s come from a serious meeting.

His expensive pinstriped suit is flawless, and it looks as if he just put it on. His styled hair is slicked back, and a large gold watch is prominent on his wrist. He reminds me of the rich gangsters from those classic films my mom used to watch. Sleazy and about to do something criminal.

Still, my stomach flips at the sight of his angular jaw and straight nose, sending the same strange feeling through me as he had at the mall. His eyes are dark and brooding, peering right into my own as his lips part slightly.

“There you are.” Jack closes the door behind him and flicks the lock. Then he’s across the room in a few short steps, approaching me like a lion ready to pounce. “You’ve been avoiding me.”

Before I have a chance to respond, he catches me in his arms and presses his lips against mine as his hands slide down my waist and pull me toward him. For a moment, I freeze, unsure how to react. This is wrong, but the pressure of his lips and the way his tongue seeks entry feels familiar, as if I’ve been here before.

When my mind clears, I bite down on his lip, and he pulls away.

“Ouch.” His wicked smile doesn’t fade as he wipes away the blood, still eyeing me like a boy would his favourite toy.

“A little feisty today?” His fingers grip my ass. “Well, if you’d called that wouldn’t have been a problem.” He leans in to kiss me again, but I avoid it this time, slipping out of his hold and move across the room.

“What are you doing?” I demand, finally finding my voice.

His eyebrows fold together, confusion gracing his handsome face. “I was going to fuck you, until you started this.”

“Are you serious?” I glance to the locked door. “Arabella’s in the other room.”

“That hasn’t bothered you before.” His confused expression melts into exasperation. “What are you playing at Maddie? You’re the one who started all this after the blackmail.”

Blackmail? I frown. Am I sleeping with my supposed best friend’s fiancé because of something he has over me? Or her? Either way, I am such a hypocrite.

“I don’t think we should do this.” No, we definitely shouldn’t do this, at least that’s what my brain screams. My body feels different, hot with the thought of Jack’s fit frame. I’m dizzy with conflicting feelings. Reject his advances, give into them. Push him away. Pull him closer.

Jack shakes his head and moves toward me again. He doesn’t care what I think.

“I’ve missed you.” His hands grab my waist, and he bends down, nuzzling my neck, trailing kisses across my collarbone. I shudder under his touch, my body betraying my mind’s logic.

“Jack.” I mean to protest, but his name comes out as a low moan.

His kisses dip lower between my breasts. His hands hook onto my thighs, lifting me against him and pushing me against the wall—this time my body takes control and returns his passionate kiss. My nails dig into his shoulders as his lips crush mine.

Stop! Stop!  But my body doesn’t listen to my screaming mind. It pushes back, craving Jack’s touch.

Then a voice stops everything.

“Jack?”

I tilt my head back breaking our contact. It’s Arabella, and she’s close by.

“Jack?” We hear her calling again, this time the sound is closer.

I untangle myself from his arms and straighten my skirt. Quickly I run my hands through my hair to calm it, and move back to the desk.

“Go.” I wave toward the door.

He moves to it, but glances back before he leaves. “We’re not finished here.” Then he grins and is gone. As I fall into the desk chair, I’m reminded of the last affair I had with Jayson in another life. The guilt. The desire. The disgust. The want. Conflicting feelings making my mind spin with confusion. My stomach twists as I reach up and touch my lips, because while the guilt tells me I’m a terrible person for apparently sleeping with my best friend’s fiancé, part of me is excited by it.

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