Title: Lessons of the Past
Author: Chloe Maxx
Release Date: Nov 9, 2015
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They say karma is a bitch.
And I'd agree--I had lived it.
I had an affair with a married man...who also happened to be my professor. I couldn't stop it, couldn't control it. The only problem was that, I, of course, wanted more, and he couldn't give it to me.
Life moved on, I thought I'd moved on, but karma came back and destroyed it all.
My husband fell in love with his secretary, and I was left trying to figure out if love was even real.
I wanted to believe it was. I was almost positive I never stopped loving the one man I couldn't have. But...what if I could have him? What if he wasn't as off-limits as I had thought?
Yes, karma is definitely a bitch. A vengeful bitch.
A month ago, I was happily married...well, I was married. Caleb and I had what everyone wanted on the outside: good jobs, a beautiful home, even a cute little dog named Buster. But on the inside, we were just existing together, not actually living and enjoying life as a couple.
When I walked in on Caleb fucking his secretary on his desk, I couldn’t really be angry. It had apparently been going on for six months and I had been none the wiser. I guess that’s what happens when you say “I love you” and you aren’t actually in love, if love even exists.
I had once thought I was in love with someone, but maybe it was just lust. I had been ready to give him every little part of me, but he couldn’t reciprocate. He had been married during our relationship and never intended to divorce his wife. I should have guarded my heart better, never acted on my feelings for him, but I had. I hadn’t thought, just felt, and it left me shattered.
That’s why karma was such a bitch.
You fuck someone’s husband and someone will eventually fuck yours. Or, at least, that was my case.
Trudging into work, I gripped my coffee in one hand and typed out an email with the other, using my phone. Work usually started as soon as I woke up and followed me home each night. It worked well for me, during my marriage, and now, during my separation. I loved the fact that I was always busy.
Setting my coffee down on my desk, I rolled my eyes and smiled as I heard, “Alex!”
I took a deep breath and walked into my boss’s office. “Yes, Mr. Bradford?”
He greeted me with a warm, genuine smile. “As you know, I have a meeting all morning. Around ten, could you go down to Raymond and Raymond on the twelfth floor and pick up some documents for me? I told them to be expecting you. I hope that’s okay since it’s of a personal nature.”
“That’s fine. Anything you need before the meeting? Coffee?” I asked. Mr. Bradford was a good guy, and easy to work for considering most of the executives were complete assholes. He had allowed me extra time off while I was visiting with my lawyer about my impending divorce and seemed to actually care about me as a person.
“Coffee would be great. Thank you.”
I nodded and exited his office. “Alex! You have to come with us this weekend,”
Jessica yelled from her cubicle. “You’re one of us now.” She grinned.
I smiled back. “Nothing is final, so not yet,” I said, stopping in front of her. As was their ritual, Jessica and a few other single girls from the office went out every Friday night for drinks, but the thought of clubbing sounded awful. Jessica had been asking me for the last two weeks to come with them—since she found out about my divorce—but all I wanted to do was eat popcorn and ice cream while watching Netflix.
“Is the asshole making it difficult?”
Jessica and I had been friends for a couple years, so I didn’t mind elaborating on my divorce. “No, not really. He feels bad about the situation.” I sighed. “He still cares about me, and I still care about him, but I’m really not that upset. He loves her, and I think that’s great that she makes him happy. Obviously, I couldn’t do that.”
Jessica nodded. “I’m sorry. I’m sure it still hurts.”
I sighed. “Yeah, it still does.” But it wasn’t necessarily Caleb and the divorce. Or his affair. I couldn’t exactly blame him for falling for someone who would actually love him back. I was more upset about the mess I’d made out of my life. It hurt so much when I actually thought about where I was, and where I thought I should be. At twenty-six, I was getting divorced and living with my sister—it wasn’t what I had planned for my life at all.
“Jessica!” boomed from the office behind her. She rolled her eyes and stood. “Well, you’re still coming this weekend. It’s just drinks and some innocent flirting.”
I nodded, but it was more so Jessica would stop asking, and headed toward the breakroom as she went into her boss’s office. Pushing the door open, I found Mason Smith leaning against the counter, sipping coffee.
His eyes lifted to meet mine. “Morning, Alex. How are you?”
“Good, thanks. You?” I asked, walking toward the coffee pot. Mason was a very attractive man with dark green eyes and light brown hair that always looked like he had just crawled out of bed.
“I can’t complain. I mean, I’m standing here talking to you.” He smirked.
I couldn’t help the small giggle that bubbled out. “That’s slick. Does that usually work with the ladies?” Mason wasn’t a whore by any means, but I was positive he didn’t spend many nights alone.
“Sometimes. Did it work now?”
Shaking my head and pouring the coffee, I replied, “No. Sorry. But it could just be my current mood.”
“Yeah, I heard. I’m sorry.”
I paused, setting the carafe down. I hated knowing my marital problems were now office gossip. It was one thing for me to tell my friends, but it was another for every single co-worker to know.
“That’s okay.” I hurried and filled the mug, placing the pot back in place.
Mason stepped closer and pushed a piece of hair behind my ear. “For what it’s worth, he’s really stupid. Anyone who would do that to you isn’t worth keeping anyway.”
I nodded, picked up the mug, and exited the breakroom, almost running.
After delivering Mr. Bradford’s coffee, I sat down in my chair and got busy. I checked my voicemail first, then began going through the paperwork sitting on my desk.
I finished off my java, then looked at my watch. It was nine fifty-five. After saving all my work and logging off my computer, I strolled to the elevator, lost in thought, and went down to the twelfth floor where Raymond and Raymond was located.
I walked up to the receptionist’s desk and greeted the older lady. “Hi, Holly. Mr. Bradford asked me to pick up some paperwork for him.”
“Hi, Alex,” she greeted, knowing me for the last couple years, and because Raymond and Raymond was handling my divorce. “Let me go grab it. Just a minute.”
“No problem,” I answered. I backed up to a chair and sank down with a sigh. I was so tired and drained, I felt like I could nap for two days straight if I was given the opportunity.
“Here you go, Alex,” Holly announced as she walked back to her desk.
“Thanks,” I said, taking the sealed envelope. “You wouldn’t happen to know if Mr. Crawford has a date for me or anything?” I questioned, regarding my divorce.
She smiled sweetly. “I can certainly call back to his office and ask.”
“Thanks. That would be great.”
She picked up her phone and connected to Mr. Crawford. After a minute, she set the phone back in its place. “He doesn’t, I’m sorry.”
“That’s okay.” I got up. “I better get back to work. Have a great day.”
“You, too,” she said as I let the door swing shut behind me.
Pressing the down button on the outside panel for the elevator, I heard, “Alexandria? Is that you?” The voice was familiar, raspy. I froze as my heart stopped, then accelerated. The open floor plan suddenly felt too small, claustrophobic, the walls caving in.
Slowly, I turned, coming face to face with the man I thought I had once loved. The man who ripped my heart out and walked all over it.
“Oh my God,” he said, coming closer, and I took a step back. He still looked sexy as hell, maybe a little older, tired. “How are you?”
My body began to tremble and my sex clenched a little. “I’m great.” I hated that my body was reacting to his closeness. I needed to get away from him. Fast. The elevator arrived and the doors slid open. “I have to go, but it was great seeing you,” I said, stepping inside and turning to face him. He was so damn sexy.
Chloe Maxx was born and raised in rural Oklahoma. She now resides in a small town not far from where she grew up with her husband and two boys. She loves being outdoors, the salty smell of the ocean, relaxing ocean waves, caffeine, and reading any book that has a little romance.
Lessons of the Past is Chloe’s debut erotic romance.