Authors: Layne Harper
By: Layne Harper
Infinity. is a work of fiction. Names, Characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any real people, organizations or events are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved
Copyright © 2014 by Layne Harper
This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or recording without express consent of the author Layne Harper.
ISBN: 978-0-9960854-0-3 (ebook)
Cover Design: Michelle Preast
Edited by: Lauren McKellar
Infinity Series Reading Order
Falling Into Infinity
From Now Until Infinity
Aiden’s Broken Heart (Infinity Series Short Story)
The World: According to Rachael
Oh my! I feel like a celebrity who has just won an award. I’m going to forget to thank someone. So before I even begin, let me apologize to whomever I’m ignoring.
First of all, I need to thank my husband for his support. Wow! The man cooks (hot dogs and barbacoa), cleans, and can teach spelling words like a professional. He tolerates my lack of sleeping, doesn’t complain when I beg for just five more minutes of peace in my office, and has the ability to calm me down when I’m freaking out about something inconsequential.
To you, my kids. The greatest honor of my life is being your mom. Seriously. I’m not sure what I did to deserve you, but I’m sure glad I did it. One day, when you’re adults, I’ll share these books with you. I hope you’ll see that relationships are never a fifty/fifty deal. They’re one hundred percent from both of you all the time. Sometimes, you’ll have to give more than your partner. It’s okay. Because if they’re the right person for you, they’ll return the favor the next time. Also, I hope you learn from Charlie and Colin that falling in love is the easy part. It’s the staying together and making it work through the years that takes the commitment to do whatever is necessary. I love you with all of my heart.
To my beta readers, there aren’t adequate words. You take what I think is good and make it so much better by challenging me. I love your snarky comments and eye rolls. I especially love your praise. You girls are the absolute best. Thank you for reading the same story three and four times and still contributing ways to make it better. I owe you much more than a few sentences at the beginning of the book. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Finally, to the bloggers who’ve shared Colin and Charlie with their followers. Oh my gosh! I owe you all dessert first and an expensive bottle of wine. You took my bucket list item to publish their story and turned it into a career. Wow! There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel overwhelmed by your generosity. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
One last thing before I go… A year ago, I stood before my bathroom mirror and took inventory of my life. I acknowledged that I was a mom, wife, volunteer, and friend. I spent all day, every day, being something to everyone else, but asked the question, “What do I do for me?” The answer was nothing. My dream has always been to share my stories with you. I decided to hit publish on my first book. You connected with my characters and fell in love with them, faults and all, as much as I have. Thank you for supporting me. I now add author to the list of adjectives that describes who I am. That’s really cool and all because of you.
Once upon a time, there was a girl with a dream. One day, she dared to speak the dream out loud, and her husband overheard. Since that moment, he’s stood by her side, and hasn’t let her quit – even when the going got tough. This book is for him…
“Dammit, Brad. We’re going to be late.” I throw my head back against the tan leather headrest and look up through the glass of the moon roof in complete frustration.
“What would you like me to do? Even I don’t have the power to part the sea of cars in front of us,” Brad replies while he tap, tap, taps, his thumbs on the black leather steering wheel. My fingernails dig into my palms as I try to keep my temper under control. This’s one of the habits that he’s picked up driving the freeways of Dallas.
Leaning forward, I fumble through the radio stations, hoping for a traffic report. I’ve already checked Google Maps, which indicates that we should be going fifty miles per hour. Not so much. A turtle just lapped us.
Brad’s driving is maddening, but there was no point in taking two cars so I’m stuck. Colin left in Big Bertha, his awesomely horrible truck that’s painted Dallas Cowboy colors, two hours ago. However, I’ve quit complaining about Bertha. She earned Colin an endorsement deal with Ford. And he’s fully clothed in the commercials. Score one for me.
Stuck in the car with Brad and his annoying habit. Stuck in traffic on one of the most important days of my life. Stuck behind a semi-truck so I can’t even see why we’re stuck.
I pull out my phone and text my oldest sister Chelsea.
Are you there yet?
Been here for 20
Stuck in traffic. We’ll be there shortly. Freaking out. Don’t want to miss the party
How are you feeling?
Fine. Anxious. Nervous we’re going to miss it.
K. Be careful
I had been so stubborn last night and refused to stay at the hotel. Colin, or should I say, Jenny, has had the hotel rooms booked since December. If I’m honest with myself, and really admit it, I was feeling needy. Colin’s schedule has been so crazy this season that we’ve been more like nomadic roommates than lovers. Last night was the first time in almost two weeks that we were both in our house.
In our bedroom.
I chose to walk through the living room and into the kitchen nude, because I could. It was liberating.
You would have thought that we would’ve had a house full of people, but luckily Jenny, Colin’s best assistant in the world, booked enough rooms so everyone could stay at the hotel. Chelsea is on a long-term assignment for work in downtown Dallas, so she just decided to stay at her apartment.
Finally, we inch by a fender bender that’s been moved to the shoulder of the freeway.
Seriously, all of that traffic for nothing.
“Floor it, Jeeves!” I instruct Brad as my knee bounces up and down.
Even though he’s looking ahead, I can see him roll his eyes out of my peripheral vision. “Colin will kick my sorry behind if I let something happen to you. No. I’ll drive the speed limit, thank you very much Doctor Collins.”
Brad’s Range Rover - compliments of Colin - was part of his negotiations for moving to Dallas. I told Colin that Brad was just being a brat, and he’d move here without a car thrown in to sweeten the pot. Colin insisted on buying Brad the car. I know it’s because he wants me riding in what he believes is the safest car on the road, and not my cute, little two-seater Mercedes. There are times that I fight him, and there are times that I just let Colin be Colin. Brad getting a new car was one of those times.
Brad uses the steering wheel radio controls to change the music. “Let’s listen to some Fall Out Boy, shall we?”
“I don’t care,” I reply, trying to stay calm.
The clock on the dashboard is mocking me. As I watch the red numbers change, I want to scream, “I get it. I know that I’m freaking late!”
Finally, Brad takes the exit for downtown Dallas. I want to kiss him in a very platonic, thank you way.
“Alright, missy. I’m going to drop you off in the parking garage of the hotel. Carter and Miguel should be waiting for you. I’ll see you up in the room.”
Sure enough, I see my two gigantic, no-necked bodyguards waiting for me. Carter smiles bashfully and waves at Brad as we pull up to the garage elevators. Carter is still one of the most gorgeous men I’ve seen. He looks like he’s been carved out of dark chocolate.
Brad and Carter are an interesting couple. Physically, they couldn’t be more different, yet they have so many similar interests. I love how cute they are together.
Miguel gives me a courtesy nod. I’ve made it my life’s goal to loosen him up a bit. I’ve tried getting him drunk. He doesn’t drink. I’ve tried forcing Miguel to watch a funny movie with me. He never relaxed. I’ve decided to table my efforts until after this is over. I bet I can get Colin to help me think of a way to make him laugh.
Carter moves around to Brad’s trunk and unloads my bags. It’s not a lot, but God forbid that I might carry something heavier than my purse. Carter’s the pack mule, and Miguel flanks me on my right side. I’m quickly whisked into the hotel’s service elevator and taken to the third floor.
I’m not sure if they’re attempting to keep me hidden, or if they’re actually concerned for my safety. I’ve really quit caring. As Colin would say, “I’ve added it to my list of stuff that I don’t give a fuck about.” Apparently, security is now a part of my life. At least, I’m comfortable with these guys.
We quickly walk down the beige-striped hotel hallway with green-fern-print carpet. I’ve always wondered if there’s a hotel-decorating store, maybe Hotels ‘R Us, where they sell crazy hotel hallway carpet. I’ve never been into a carpet store and seen the wild prints on a display sample. Now, I’m super curious. I make a mental note to Google hotel carpet when I have a free moment.
Miguel stops in front of a door that’s about midway down the hall. He knocks twice and then slides his key-card into the lock. When the green light shines he opens the door, allowing me to enter first.
There they are: my girls! I squeal with excitement. Janis is the first to greet me. She throws her arms around my neck, and gives me a big kiss on my cheek. “You look gorgeous, Caroline. You’re simply glowing.”
Giggling because I do feel beautiful, and now that we’re here I also feel more relaxed. “Thanks. You’re too kind. Where’s Clay and company?”
“They’re two rooms over. You know Colin rented out the whole floor,” she says with an exaggerated headshake. Janis South is an exotic beauty. How the woman has had four kids and looks this good is beyond me. She has her coal-black hair pulled back in a simple bun with two gold chopsticks crisscrossed through the center. I’m not even sure that she wears makeup. She doesn’t need to. Janis has got to be in her late thirties or early forties, but she still looks like she could rock a high-fashion runway. On top of her beauty, she’s one of the nicest people I know. Her friendship became precious to me as she helped mentor me through the perils of living with one of the most famous athletes on the planet. I’ve learned that there aren’t too many of us in this elite club. Janis could write a best-selling tell-all on what it’s like to live with one of the world’s most famous men. Her marriage to Clay is a great example of making it work.
“Hey, Miss Marley,” I say. She runs to me and throws her arms around my thighs. That child may wind up better looking than her mother. With her large brown eyes and killer smile, Colin and Clay are going to have to scare some sense into the boys who want to date her.
“Auntie Charlie, my daddy says that I have to go easy on Uncle Colin because he’s gettin’ old.” Kids kill me. Just when you think you know what’s going to come out of their mouths, you get something like that.
Janis flashes Marley a look, and Marley gets the picture. She gives me another squeeze and then skips off to rejoin her tea party on one of the full-sized beds with her Just Like Me American Girl Doll. That really does look just like her. Marley could care less about today’s festivities.
Carter steps past me and places my bags on the other full-sized bed in the room. Jenny darts over to his side and begins unpacking their contents. We’ve developed a comfortable truce. We both agree that we adore Colin and will protect him above all else, but our relationship has not always been that simple. Colin’s fortyish, multi-colored-haired assistant can be a bit to take in. No one will argue that Jenny’s a master at her job. The woman knows when to drip honey and when to spew vinegar to achieve her goals. She doesn’t mince words, and missed the whole southern etiquette class.
Soon after I moved in with Colin, it became apparent that Jenny needed an office somewhere other than our home. She was used to being in charge of all aspects of Colin’s life. I was willing to let her run his professional life and keep his work calendar, but our private life was ours. That meant that if Colin and I wanted to sleep in until ten o’clock, I didn’t want Jenny sitting at my kitchen table when I strolled in to fix a cup of coffee. It also irritated me that Jenny knew my house and my man’s life better than I did.