Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An Unexpected Love -- FREE EXCERPT

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  Description: Olivia Vandergate’s life is turned upside down when she finds out that she is pregnant. In love with her high school sweetheart she followed him to college. The problem was she grew up and he didn’t. All he wanted to do was go from party to party and reminisce about the good old days of playing ball. She knew it wasn't what her child deserved. She had no choice. Enlisting the help of her father, a prominent man with many connections, he'd know what was best. He set his plan in motion. He arranged a marriage with a more suitable father and husband for her daughter. Avery Wentworth would be the man to marry Olivia, keeping the secret of the child's parentage forever hidden. Daddy's money ensured that. But how is she supposed to marry a man she doesn’t even know? Much less love?


                Chapter One
            As Olivia drove away in her little red convertible the world would have thought her life was perfect. In reality though; nobody ever really knows the full truth of somebody else’s life. She drove away tears running down her checks and her hand on her stomach shielding her unborn baby from the horrible life it would have lived had she stayed. She knew there wasn’t a life for her. They wouldn’t fit into the lifestyle of the former high school football star turned the big time frat boy in college. Where does a baby fit into drunken parties full of beer pong and chaos? She had to get away. She knew she had to leave before Chris ever found out about the baby. He wasn’t father material and she wouldn’t force a child on him.
             “Olivia felt a pang of guilt over the note she’d left him.”
            “Dear Chris,
            I know this will probably come as a shock to you but I don’t love you anymore. I’m sorry to be so blunt about it, but I don’t fit into your busy football life any longer. I’m leaving school for now. I’m not sure what I want to do with my life at the moment.  I’ve thought long and hard about this and I’m sorry if I hurt you. I wish you all the best in life.
            She really didn’t know what she was going to do or where she was going to go, but for starters the best thing for her would be to go home to her father. They would have answers for her.  The road stretched for hours before the familiar security gate came into view. A solitary guard greeted her.
            “Hello Ms. Vandergate. How are you this evening?”
            Olivia knew she must look a mess after crying most of the way, but she didn’t care. Keeping her voice steady, she said. “I’m great. Thanks.”
            The guard allowed her to pass with a wave, and she drove up the long winding drive to the beautiful white Victorian style house with white columns. Her family was what people called “old money”. Her grandfather owned most of the town and, after he died, everything went to her father who ended up buying most of the rest of the town. They were a very prominent family which meant telling her father that she had a scandal wasn’t going to go over very well. He wouldn’t like the fact that his only daughter was pregnant out of wedlock and had no plans to marry the father of the child. This type of news wasn’t exactly the kind of thing that was easy to tell her father.
            As Olivia rubbed her hands on her jeans nervously and then quickly pulled her hair back in a ponytail. She did one last rub of her eyes to make sure they weren’t too badly tear stained before walking into the house.
            “Hello Ms Olivia.” The Butler greeted her.
            “Hello Winford. I’m going to go in and see Daddy.” She walked over and gently knocked on the door of her father’s study.
            She heard a voice on the other end of the door say to come in. As she stood there with trembling hands she slowly turned the knob.
            “Olivia. Darling come on in. I wasn’t expecting you today.”
            “Hi Daddy.” She said trying not to unleash the waterworks but it didn’t work. They came flooding down and she found herself crying uncontrollably.
            Her father hurried to her side and put his arms around her. “What is it? What happened? Are you okay?”
            Olivia wiped away the tears and looked at her father. “Daddy. I’m in trouble. I need your help.”
            They walked over to couch to sit and talk. Olivia sank down into the cool brown leather as memories rushed through her head. She had more talks than she could remember with her father on that very couch.
            David Vandergate was a very understanding man when it came to his only daughter. He would do anything in his powers to help her and Olivia knew that.
            “What is it, Honey? Just tell me and I’ll make it better.”
            Olivia took a deep breath then let it out slowly. “Daddy, you were right about Chris. All he wanted to do was party every night. Other than football of course.”
            David looked at his daughter with a little bit of confusion. “Okay. Hold on. You are this upset because of a fight you had with your boyfriend.  That doesn’t sound like you.”
            As she scratched her head and tried to find the right words, she started to fill him in on the whole story. “I wish that was all Daddy. I thought things were going to be different. I knew how he was in high school but I thought now that he was an adult that things would change. Well I learned fast that things didn’t change. He is still acting like a child with no care about the future. He has no plan at all if he doesn’t get drafted into the NFL. I have more to think about than just me now. I have my child to think about.” She sat there for a minute waiting for her father to understand what she just told him.
            “Your child? Olivia, what are  you saying?”
            “I’m pregnant Daddy.”
            David got up and started pacing back and forth in his study. He ran his hand through his smoky gray hair looking for the words. “Does he know about the baby?”
            Olivia began to cry. “No! I couldn’t tell him. He is no kind of father. What would we do? Show up on weekends with our baby to his frat party?”
            David walked to his daughter and put his arm around her. “Okay good. I’ll fix this. You tell nobody that you are pregnant until I say. Don’t worry. I will take care of everything. You go get some rest and we will talk tomorrow.” He kissed his daughter on the forehead before leading her out of the study.
            Olivia walked out of the study mentally exhausted. She knew her father would know what to do. She walked up the stairs to her bedroom to get some clothes before going to take a long hot bath. She stood in the middle of the room looking around. Her father had kept it exactly the way she left it. Her Bon Jovi poster was on the wall right where she left it. She smiled as she thought about the huge crush she had on him. Not unlike most girls her age, her nights were filled with dream after dream of marrying him. She walked over and picked up her pom poms from her cheerleading days thinking of how things were much easier back then. She dropped them back down on the dresser and her hand landed on her stomach. How was she supposed to raise a child when she wasn’t much more than one herself?
            She gathered her clothes and went to the bathroom and started the hot water. She poured her favorite scent of bubble bath into the water. As she sank down in the hot water she wished her mother was still alive to talk to. Her father was wonderful but at times a daughter likes to talk to her mother. Sometimes a mom’s shoulder to cry on is what she needed.
            Olivia stayed in the water until it turned cold then got out and wrapped herself in her big white fluffy robe. She was completely worn out and fell asleep the minute her head hit the pillow.   

Chapter Two
            The next morning Olivia woke early, got up and dressed before going down to meet her father. It had been a long restless night but she had managed to get a few hours’ sleep. Thought of Chris ran through her head. She had left him with not much of an explanation. She couldn’t help but feel as if she took the coward’s way out. She glanced in the mirror at the bags under her eyes and tried to cover them with make-up the best she could. She ran the brush through her long brown hair before pulling it back in a hair tie. Well this is as good as it’s going to get. She thought but knew that wasn’t going to be acceptable. She grabbed her make-up bag and got to work on making herself presentable before going downstairs.
            When she got to the bottom of the stairs she heard voices coming from the study. She glanced around looking for any signs of who might be there. Her father hadn’t mentioned having company first thing. She walked over to the study door and heard her name. Who is in there? She wondered. Why are they talking about me? She asked herself. Curiosity got the best of her. She lightly tapped on the door
            “Come on in, Honey.” David said to his daughter.
            “Good morning Daddy.” She said as she glanced over to the couch where an attractive young man she was guessing was about twenty-five was sitting. He was dressed in dark suit pants and a white button up shirt. She could see the outline of his muscles through the shirt. He looked as if he stayed in shape and she could tell he was definitely a businessman based on the way he kept his dark brown hair neat and trim.    
Olivia smiled at the man and said. “ Hello. I’m Olivia. David’s daughter.”
            “Yes I know.” Was all he said with nothing more than a slight glance in her direction.
            “David walked over to Olivia. Honey this is Avery Wentworth.”
            Olivia could tell that she had interrupted something important. “I’m sorry if I interrupted. I’ll leave the two of you alone.”
            “No don’t leave. This concerns you.” David said.
            “What do you mean?”
            “Avery is the solution to your problem. He has agreed to marry you and raise your baby as his own. Nobody will be the wiser.”
            Olivia’s head was spinning. She looked from Avery to her father and back to Avery. What was going on? “What?”
            David knew that it would be a shock to her but it was the only way. He wasn’t going to let a deadbeat dad into his family. Chris was not going to be a part of the Vandergate family. “I have taken care of everything. This will be an arranged marriage. You will both be well taken care of. I’ll get you set up in a big house that is gated with full security. Nobody will come in unless it’s announced first.”
            “But how is this supposed to work? This doesn’t make sense.” Olivia walked across the room to the mini bar and grabbed a bottle of water and started sipping at it. “Simple.” Her father said. “We are going to plan the biggest wedding you have ever seen. A month later we will announce the pregnancy and then when you go into labor we will announce that you had the baby early. Nobody will be the wiser. There is no time to waste though. Things must move quickly before you start showing.”
            Olivia had no idea what was going on but she knew that her father knew best. He seemed to have it all worked out. She would marry a complete stranger in order to give her child the life it deserved. “Whatever you think is best Daddy.” She then turned to Avery. “And you are okay with all of this?”
            Avery smiled. “Yes. Your father and I have talked in depth about it and have worked out a really good life for us all.”
            “Okay then. Now what?” She looked at her father for answers.
            “First thing is I show the two of you to your new house. Then you move in and start getting to know each other and feeling comfortable around each other. All while planning the wedding of the century. We will be taking a lot of photos for the newspapers so that the town will get used to seeing the two of you together. There are a few charity events coming up that you will attend together and get lots of photos for. I’ll have a schedule created for you to go by.”
            Everything was happening so fast that Olivia didn’t really know what to say. She knew this was the best thing for her and her child but she didn’t really understand what Avery could be running from. Why would he give up his entire life to pretend to love her? It didn’t make sense to her.
“Okay just wait a minute. Hold on.” Olivia felt like she was in some alter universe. “And you are good with all of this?” She asked Avery. She was pacing back and forth now. She ran her hands through her hair. “This is crazy.”
Avery walked over to her. “Just calm down and think about this. This really is the best solution for everyone involved.”
            Olivia had no idea what was going on but she knew she really didn’t have much of a choice. She almost whispered. “Okay.”
            Avery stood up and walked over to Olivia. “Your father has given me the keys to our new house and the directions. Would you like to go see it now?
            “Yes of course.” Olivia turned to her father and kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll talk to you later Daddy.”
            Olivia and Avery walked to his black full size four wheel drive Chevy truck that was sitting outside in the drive. The ride over to their new house was pretty quiet. Olivia sat there staring out the window trying not to cry. She thought about everything that had happened over the past couple of days. My life is a mess. She thought to herself.
            They drove up to a long driveway as her father said it was preceded by a gate with a security guard. They pulled up and the guard immediately opened the gate for them. As Avery drove through he gave the guard a quick wave of his hand. The long paved driveway was lined with beautiful pink and white dog wood trees.  They stopped in front of a big two story house that was an eggshell white with a wraparound porch.
            Olivia got out of the truck and walked over to the front door of her new house and waited for Avery to come and unlock the door. When the door was unlocked she walked in and looked around she could see that her father thought of everything. It was fully furnished. She walked into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator and cabinets to find them fully stocked. She could literally step right into a new life with ease. All she needed was to get her clothes and things from her father’s house. She walked up the stairs to explore the rest of the house stopping in front of the master bedroom not wanting to go in.
            Avery walked up behind her. “It’s okay I’ll take the spare room at the end of the hall.”
            Olivia let out a big breath that she hadn’t even realized she was holding. She walked into the room and took a quick look around. It was perfect. Her father had thought of everything.
            Olivia walked down the hall to find Avery. She wasn’t sure exactly what to say to him. It was strange living with a man that she didn’t even know and planning a life with him. She stopped at the door. “Would you like some lunch. I can make us something and then maybe we can talk a little bit.”
            “Sure.” Avery said.
            Olivia went to the kitchen to see what her options were. She thought maybe something fast and easy. She got out the turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo and started making a sandwich. Then it dawned on her that she didn’t know what Avery liked on his sandwiches. Maybe he didn’t like mayo. She stood there at the counter holding the knife and looking at the jar of mayo.
            Avery walked in and smiled. He knew exactly what she was thinking. “Mayo is fine.”
            Olivia let out a little laugh. “I guess it’s going to take me a while to get to know you.”
            Avery picked up the sandwich and walked to the table to sit. “Yes and I really know nothing about you either. When your father called me last night I admit it did take me a bit by surprise.”
            Olivia poured them both a glass of ice tea, sat it down on the table, and then grabbed her sandwich. She sat down across from Avery. “Why are you doing this? Why are you going to marry a complete stranger and raise a child that isn’t yours? I get it that my father is probably paying you a lot of money but why do it?”
            Avery knew that was a good question and deserved an answer. He wasn’t sure he wanted to share his whole life story with her just yet but he did owe her the short version. “Well I don’t really have any family. My parents both died in an accident when I was younger I was raised by my grandmother, but she’s very ill. She needs constant care, so I put her in a facility that can do what I can’t. I visit as much as I can. We were very close but she doesn’t remember much anymore. I’ve worked for your father for the past five years. It’s a good fit. I have no family. He has offered me enough money where I’m set for life and I get a wife and child. I’m not stupid. I know it will take time for us to get to know each other and form a bond but who knows it may turn into actual love one day if we are open to it and give it a chance. Arranged marriages have been going on for an eternity so it’s not like we are doing something completely unheard of.”
            Olivia hadn’t thought about it that way yet. She did find it odd at first but it could work. It’s not the craziest idea she had ever heard of.
            Avery snapped Olivia out of her thoughts. “What about you? What’s your story? Where is the father of your child?”
            Olivia was almost teary eyed when she looked at Avery. “Oh you know the story. High school sweethearts. He was the star football quarter back. We had dated all through high school and went to the same college. The only thing is; he decided not to grow up. Every night was the same thing. Party at the frat house, talk about the old high school days, plan the next party. It never changed. Chris and all of his good buddies enrolled in the bare minimum available classes and hoped that their dreams of playing pro football would come true with no backup plan in place.  The day I found out I was pregnant I went to tell Chris and I found him passed out drunk from the party before. So I wrote a Dear John letter and ran home to my father. I knew I couldn’t raise a child like that. A child needs a life and what could Chris offer our child when his dreams of pro ball didn’t work out. He had no idea what he wanted to be when he grew up.”  She couldn’t help but cry. It seemed that it was all she did anymore. Crying made her angry. “I’m not going to do this.” She said as she picked up the napkin and wiped the tears away. “I’m not going to sit here feeling sorry for myself.”
            Olivia hoped he didn’t feel sorry for her, but that sounded pretty pathetic to even her own ears.
            Olivia started cleaning up the lunch mess. As she put the turkey away she glanced up at Avery. “I’m going to go to my father’s and pack up some of my things and sit down with him and figure out how he wants us to  handle everything.”
            “What do you mean?” Avery asked a bit confused.
            “Well I just left Chris last night. I really don’t think the town is going to believe that today I’ve already moved on and suddenly fell in love with you and moved in together. I’m sure my father will have an idea. So do you want to go with me?”
            “Sure. Let’s go.”
            Olivia’s mind was swirling with thoughts and ideas as she sat in the truck. She had a few ideas that might work. She wanted to run them by her father. She barely noticed the music playing in the background. One of her favorite country songs was playing. Olivia laughed a little. “You know when I was in high school I thought country was horrible. I was rock and roll all the way. Give me some Bon Jovi , Poison, Def Leppard any day. I loved the hair bands as they were called. Look at me now. Now all I listen to is country music.”
            Avery laughed. “That’s a good thing. You have crossed over to the good side. The country side.”
            When they got to her father’s house they walked right to the study where she knew he would be.
            David got up and greeted his daughter. “How was the house?”
            “It was great Daddy. I love it. We even had a sandwich before coming back over.”
            “That’s great. What’s up though? I can tell when you have something on your mind.” He said with a smile.
            Olivia walked over to the couch with Avery following behind. She sat down and began to fidget with her sweater. “Well Daddy. I left Chris last night. I don’t think it will be believable for Avery and me to go to town holding hands and start this big show of affection. How will people believe that I broke up with Chris last night and then today I have a new man?”
            David poured himself a drink and slowly sipped it as he pondered the question. “Okay that is a good question. What did you have in mind?”

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