Read Online Books/Novels:
Unexpected Heat – An Enemies to Lovers Romance
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
My new neighbor is looking for a nanny. Cool. But what starts with accidental encounters in the bathroom, ends with passionate nights in his bedroom – and now we’re in a fake-marriage!
|Books by Author:|
I love my studio, and right now, it’s super tidy with everything on my desk arranged neatly and the easels standing side by side. My gaze falls on my three work-in-progress portraits, and I know they’ll soon go to the trash can. They look terrible.
A heaviness comes over my body.
How long will it last, this inability to work? The last time I turned out a good piece was almost a year ago. Thankfully, I’ve been prolific over the last couple of years, taking in portrait jobs that have earned me a nice nest egg. Money is not an issue.
It is the growing hole in my chest where my heart should be and the feeling of restlessness that can only be relieved by my work. And yet, I can’t paint. What if my ability to paint never comes back? Panic spreads in my chest.
Painting is the one thing that has always belonged to me, that kept me sane no matter what was going on in the rest of my life. Clay took with him my self-esteem and my ability to love again. But worse than those things, is that since the day he left, I haven’t painted. It’s as if my hands have forgotten how to move the paintbrush across the canvas, and my brain can’t fathom what is expected of it.
The doorbell rings. The sudden noise jolts me out of my thoughts. A rare intrusion. I tick off all possibilities. There is only one person who would come to my house without calling first. The one person I never want to see again. The cause of my painter’s block.
I leave my studio on the second story and sprint down the stairs. I peer through the keyhole. Clay’s dark eyes stare back as if he can see me. With a sigh, I fling the door open.
“What do you want?” I say with no pretense of politeness. We are beyond that now. With the divorce final, there’s nothing to bind us together anymore.
“Is that any way to greet your husband?” he says and leans on the door frame.
Anger coils itself around my insides. I inhale deeply. I cannot show him how angry he still makes me. “Ex-husband,” I point out, my tone casual.
He has bags around his eyes. Once, that would have made my heart squeeze and brought out my protective feelings. Now, I observe him impartially. As one would a stranger.
I take in his bushy eyebrows, long hair that falls to his shoulders, and I can’t believe that I once found Clay hot. He’s wearing a leather jacket even though the weather is too warm. He peruses me too, his eyes lingering on my chest. He always loved my big boobs. I fight the temptation to cross my hands across my chest to protect myself from his stare. He frowns as he takes in my flared shorts. Clay hated when I wore shorts or spaghetti tops. He insisted I cover up even when I wasn’t going to leave the house.
I can’t tell you how liberating it has been to stay in my shorts all day without someone breathing down my neck. I flash him a smile of triumph. A genuine one. He shifts his weight from one foot to the other.
“I just came by to check on you,” he says, and I stare at him in amazement.
“We’re divorced, Clay. You don’t get to check on me,” I say, imitating his voice.
He adopts a hurt look. I don’t care. I just want him gone.
“Where’s Terry?” I ask him.
“I’m done with Terry.” A crease forms across his forehead. “I told you that in one of the messages I sent you. You didn’t read them, did you?” He narrows his eyes.
“You’re right; I didn’t.” My phone has been flashing with messages from him all week. I delete them without even taking a peek.
“I can’t fucking stand it there,” Clay says. “I want to come back home, Mila. Those children don’t give you a moment of peace with all their screaming and shouting.”
His words are like a sword to my chest, and for a second, I can’t speak. “That’s why you left, remember? You wanted children.”
He had thrown it at me as he’d packed his clothes. He wanted a real woman. One who could give him a family. Never mind that we had never discussed children.
I had known there was something the matter with me. In all the years that Clay and I had been married, I had never used contraceptives. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had hoped for a surprise pregnancy, but when that didn’t happen, I let it go. We were happy and didn’t need children to complete us. That’s what I’d foolishly thought. Then Clay dropped the bomb. He was leaving.
“How’s your painting going?” he asks with a smile that does not reach his eyes.