Authors: Deborah Bladon
Tags: #new adult romance, #new adult romance with sex, #contemporary romance novel, #contemporary romance with sex, #contemporary romance series, #new adult romance series
Exposed - Part Two
The Exposed Series, Volume 2
Published by Deborah Bladon, 2014.
First Original Edition, April 2014
Copyright © 2014 by Deborah Bladon
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is entirely coincidental. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and situations either are the product of the author's imagination or are used factiously.
All rights reserved.
No parts of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written consent from the author.
Also by Deborah Bladon
Obsessed: Part Two
Obsessed: Part Three
re you ever going to tell me what happened in New York?" Alexa throws a piece of popcorn in the air before expertly scooping it into her mouth with her tongue.
"Nothing happened," I lie. "How many times do I have to tell you that?" I know I sound impatient, but I don't care. I've been back from Manhattan for two days now and Alexa hasn't let up at all. Suggesting we watch a movie was my lame attempt at getting her to shut up for an hour and a half. Obviously, the plan backfired.
"Sadie." She turns on the couch so she's facing me directly. "You're a horrible liar. Tell me."
I press pause on the remote even though I have absolutely no idea what the movie is about. I only vaguely remember Alexa making some comment when it first started about her, Channing Tatum and a nude beach.
"I'm not dropping this." She puts the bowl of popcorn down on the table. "You came back without anything for your mom and you lost your credit card. That sounds nothing like you, Sadie. Nothing." She enunciates each syllable of the last word, pulling it tightly across her tongue.
"I lost my bearings." I reach to pick up a wayward piece of popcorn off the hardwood floor. "I couldn't find the jewelry store and I misplaced my credit card. End of story."
"Bullshit." She grabs my hand and squeezes it. "You were crying when you came by my place. I'm sorry I had a date. I should have just cancelled and stayed to listen to you."
I stare down at her hand wondering if I should just confess to her that Hunter's dead girlfriend is my heart donor. Or maybe I can skip that part and just tell her that Hunter lied about being in San Francisco. Who am I kidding? If I start telling her what happened, she's going to start asking questions that I don't know the answers to.
"I was just tired." I know it sounds pathetic and she's not going to buy it so I segue into her favorite topic. "How was that date?"
"Shitty." She picks the popcorn back up and rests the bowl in her lap. "He was an F and by F I don't mean a good fuck. I mean a flop as in..." She holds up her index finger and lets it fall over. "He had no wind in his tiny sail if you get my drift."
The disgusted expression on her face pulls a giggle out of me. I wish I was more like her. She's so direct and unyielding. She knows what she wants. If she would have been in my shoes in that jewelry store in Manhattan, everyone in the vicinity would have been in her line of fire. She would have demanded answers and got them. All I did when Ivy announced that I had Coral's heart was race out the door and into a taxi. I can't even remember going to the train station or the entire ride home.
"I get your drift." I smile hoping she'll keep ranting about her less-than-stellar date.
"He's not like your boyfriend." She munches on more of the popcorn. "How come you're not hanging out with him tonight?"
I thought I had avoided all the land mines that she was throwing in my path but I was wrong. How the hell am I supposed to answer her question? I can't exactly tell her that the only reason Hunter was sleeping with me was because he knew I had Coral's heart inside of me. It's so twisted.
"That's over." I try to sound nonchalant but it comes out more pathetic than anything.
"What?" A piece of popcorn flies from her mouth and lands in her lap. "Since when?"
"It just wasn't going to work." I shrug. No shit, Sadie. How was it supposed to work? I knew that he'd never want me for me. I should have listened to my heart. Or Coral's heart. Whoever the fuck my heart belongs to.
"Stop with the bullshit already." She slams the bowl onto the table so hard pieces of popcorn scatter everywhere. "I'm your best friend. Spit it out."
"There's nothing to spit out." I drop to my knees to pick up the mess. "It was a short term thing. It's over now."
"Right." Sarcasm laces the word. "That's why he's called three times in the last hour and you've ignored every call."
I shake my head. I didn't think she'd notice any of the calls since my phone was set to vibrate. I want to tell her what happened. I need to tell someone but it's too raw. I can't.
"Just tell me what happened." She's on her knees too now, her eyes imploring me to tell her the truth.
"Nothing." I spit back. "Please just drop it already."
"Fine." I can hear the anger in her voice but I don't care. Right now all I want is for her to leave. I can't deal with her questions. I can't even deal with my own questions.
"Can we hang out another night?" I stand and pull up the waistband of my sweatpants. "I'm wiped. I need to sleep."
She pulls herself to her feet and arches her brow. "I'm not letting this go. You're a wreck. We'll talk about it tomorrow."
I don't respond. I can't. I don't know how to form the words to tell anyone that the man I'm crazy about, the man who gave me more pleasure than anyone ever has only wanted me because his dead girlfriend's heart is beating in my chest.
hat do you know about my heart donor?" The question is blunt and it's ripe with emotion but I try to pepper that with a smile.
My mother doesn't flinch. "Not much. Why?"
I stare at her reflection in the oversized mirror watching her painstakingly apply her make up. "I'm curious."
"That was a lifetime ago, Sadie." She purses her lips together as she applies a generous coating of mascara to her false eyelashes. Her beauty is fading and it's obvious that she believes that with more make up no one will be the wiser.
"Not to me," I counter. "I've been thinking about my donor a lot lately."
"You should focus on the here and now. School's starting again soon." It's her usual comeback. Anytime I ask about anything other than her, she throws school back at me.
"Not for another six weeks." I spit back.
"How's work?" she casually tosses the question into the air.
"Fine, Mother." I sigh. "Tell me what you know about my donor."
She locks eyes with me in the mirror and I swear I hear her curse softly. Her refusal to talk about my heart has always been a sticking point with us but I'm not letting her slink out of the room without a full confession about what she knows.
"Tell me." I repeat this time with a slight hint of anger edging the words.
"It was a girl." She spins around in her chair to face me. "A teenager. She died in a car accident."
The words feel like an assault. She knew this all along and never shared it with me. "What was her name?"
"That I don't know." She twirls a tube of lipstick between her fingers. "All I know is she was a little older than you and was in a horrible wreck. A bunch of kids were in a car and she was thrown through the windshield when it crashed."
"How do you know that?"
"Daddy heard two nurses talking about it that night." The way she turns the chair back around signals she wants the conversation to be over.
"And you never bothered to find out who she was?" I shoot her a pleading look. I can't understand why she didn't pursue it.
"Why would I have done that?" She traces the bright crimson lipstick around her mouth, blotting her lips with a tissue.
"I lived because she died." I almost scream the words at her. "Didn't you want to talk to her parents at least?"
"What would I have said?" She tightens her gaze so she's glaring at me. "Thank you for letting my daughter live? I'm sorry yours died?"
I close my eyes. She was a daughter. Coral was someone's daughter. She was Hunter's girlfriend and people loved her. The Pandora's Box that Hunter opened was in my hands now. I needed answers and there was only one person who could give them to me.
suck in a deep breath as I catch a glimpse of him through the window of the restaurant. I can do this. I just have to avoid his eyes directly and I can't look at his face; at his gorgeous, beautiful face. I glance down at my phone. I don't want to be staring at him as he approaches the table. I have to temper my emotions. I need to stop thinking about what we did in his bed.
"Sadie," he whispers as he sits across from me. "I'm so glad you texted me."
I dart my eyes up and my breath hitches. He's so handsome. He hasn't shaved in a couple of days. The grey suit he's wearing fits him perfectly. It's no wonder several women's heads turned when he sat down.
"I brought this." He places the small white bag from the jewelry shop on the table between us. "Your credit card is inside with the earrings."
I nod. It was thoughtful but it's a small gesture. What about the fact that he forgot to mention that I was his dead girlfriend's heart recipient? "Thank you," I say as I rummage through my body for any slight spark of strength that might be there. Why did I think I could do this? How am I supposed to get through this conversation?
"You must have a lot of questions." His voice is deep, rich and tender. "Are you sure you want to talk about this here? We can go back to my place."
My body trembles at the mention of his place. That's where I gave myself to him. That's where I let go and felt safe. I can't go back there to discuss this. "Here is fine." I don't offer anything more. I don't want to be alone with him. I can't right now.
"It's a nice restaurant. I've never been." He scans the room before his eyes settle back on my face. "Are you hungry?"
The casualness of the question irks me. How can I be hungry when I feel so utterly disconnected from my own body? How am I supposed to deal with the fact that I slept with the boyfriend of my heart donor? How do you want a sandwich when you have to process all of that? "Sure," I lie.
"Where do you want me to start?" he asks quietly.
"When did you know I was her recipient?" I can't bring myself to say Coral's name.
"Seven years ago." He exhales audibly. "When you sent the letter to her family. I..." he stops speaking when a waitress appears next to him.
"What can I get you?" She doesn't acknowledge my presence. Her gaze is locked on Hunter. I can't blame her. I sit in silence staring at the seductive way she leans in closer to him to tell him the daily lunch specials. Her breasts are practically tickling his nose.
"Sadie, what would you like?" He shifts back in his chair.
"A salad," I say without thought.
"I'll have the same." He doesn't move his eyes from my face. "Bring two sparkling waters too."
"What kind of salad?" She's leaning into him again. "There's garden, crab, a strawberry chicken, cobb..."
"The first one," I interrupt.
She shoots me an angered look before she pulls her chest across Hunter's shoulder when she reaches for our unopened menus. "I'll be right back," she literally whispers into his ear.
I watch her walk away, a slight wiggle in her hips. So many women must come on to him. Why did I think he actually wanted me? Why was I such an idiot?
"Where was I?" He sounds anxious.
"You were telling me that you knew about the letter I sent." I bite back the urge to raise my voice. "He let me go on about the letter in our post love making embrace. He already knew about it.
"You signed the letter with your full name," he says hoarsely.
He shifts slightly as the waitress places two glasses of sparkling water on the table. "I've known your name since then."
"Why did you come looking for me now?" I spit out. I can't believe he's known about me for so long. I'm painstakingly aware that the waitress is hovering near our table, listening to our conversation.
"I didn't." He rests his forearms on the table before clasping his hands together. "I always wondered about you but I didn't seek you out."