Home > His Unexpected Lover (The Thorpe Brothers #2)

His Unexpected Lover (The Thorpe Brothers #2)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - The Thorpe Brothers #2 - His Unexpected Lover

His Unexpected Lover (The Thorpe Brothers #2)
Elizabeth Lennox

romance

 

Chapter 1

“I can’t do this,” she whispered to herself. “I thought I could, but it’s simply too painful.”

Kiera’s shoulders slumped and she tried to find the answers within the depths of her martini. Unfortunately, the liquid only mocked her, small circles forming on the top and quickly dissipating as if to say, “You never should have come here.”

Or maybe the glass was only telling her that a heavy-footed person was walking by.

She held her head up with her forehead, trying to figure out what to do. She’d only been at her new job for a less than a week and already she loved it. The people were fun, hard-working, extremely smart…that all added up to an ideal workplace where she was challenged to excel and stand out, but what was even better, she respected her peers. Instinctively, she knew that The Thorpe Group encouraged competition but, unlike other law firms, didn’t condone the backstabbing and win-or-get-out pressure on cases. Oh, they won cases! Clients came to The Thorpe Group for legal advice from all over the country, all over the world even, because they knew that The Thorpe Group would deliver. The difference was that their success was due to a brilliant legal team versus barely ethical legal tactics.

There were other law firms out there with a similar reputation, although none as glamorous as The Thorpe Group. Gaining a few years at this firm on her resume would set her up perfectly for success wherever she wanted to go as a next step.

No, the work and the workers weren’t the problem.

Even the location was great. Chicago was a fabulous city with excellent museums, a thriving art community, tons of shopping and a wide range of people with which to interact.

Nope, all of her issues were personal. She’d foolishly convinced herself that she would be able to deal with this problem but, after only a few days, she knew that the issue was bigger than she could handle.

Axel Thorpe.

She’d seen the gorgeous, huge male in the hallway earlier today. And that one sighting, just the short glimpse of the man as he walked into a conference room, was why she was here, trying to drown her problems in a martini.

Unfortunately, she realized after ordering the potent cocktail that she didn’t like martinis.

She also didn’t like her body’s reaction to seeing Axel Thorpe again. She’d almost embarrassed herself when she’d seen him. Thankfully, she didn’t think he’d seen her trip. Nor had any of her co-workers, which was at least something. She’d had to catch herself by grabbing onto a chair, which probably looked ridiculous, but mercifully, she hadn’t fallen on the floor. She might have passed off the accident as just a fluke, but she’d almost fallen over the conference room table. Not something most people trip over because of its size and obvious placement in the room. But then again, most people hadn’t just seen the love of their life after so many years.

Kiera sighed and took another sip of her martini. Maybe she just needed to plow through the drink. Keep forcing it down. Hopefully, the alcohol would keep her mind from replaying the scene. She would eventually feel nothing. Maybe that was the way she should handle Axel too. Just keep running into him until her body was numb from the reaction.

Perhaps today’s sighting and the humiliating aftermath was just a fluke. Maybe if she just went up and spoke to him, greeted him and asked him how his day was going, she wouldn’t be so flustered when she accidentally saw him. Sort of like taking an allergy shot every week to build up one’s immune system.

She sighed and took another sip of her martini, her face squinching up ridiculously as she tried to swallow the foul stuff. And she had to acknowledge the stupidity of her idea. Being around him six years ago hadn’t diminished his appeal or the impact he’d had on her when she was in college. Every time she’d seen him, she’d been floored. Just like today. Her knees went weak, she had trouble breathing, her whole body started shaking and she was unable to speak coherently.

Maybe it was just an allergy!

She almost giggled to herself and looked down at her drink. Was she reaching the giggle stage after only a few sips of the martini?

She pulled a file folder out of her leather bag, intending to get some work done. She wouldn’t think about Axel. She would simply push him from her mind every time he entered. And if she saw him in the hallways at work? Well, she’d known that would happen when she’d accepted the position at The Thorpe Group. The man was one of the co-owners, for goodness sake. She would have been a fool to think she’d never see him.

But after so many years, she’d hoped that she was over him.

She shook her head with derision. Did one ever get over someone like Axel? He really was one in a million. She remembered the first time she’d seen him, laughing in a bar just like this one. She’d been a sophomore at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and he’d been clerking for a Supreme Court justice.

He’d been magnificent, she thought with a smile. So tall, so handsome and one could just see the charm and charisma oozing from the man’s smile...

Six Years Earlier….

“This place is too crowded,” Kiera pointed out, peering through the windows of the upscale bar in Georgetown. “Why don’t we go back to our usual hangout?”

Debbie just grabbed Kiera’s hand and pulled her deeper into the crowd, obviously eager to be here for some reason. “Because Brian will be there,” Debbie replied, referring to her ex-boyfriend, almost yelling over the noise of the bar. “And I really don’t want to run into him again. He’s still angry about our breakup last week.”

She quickly shifted out of the way of someone who almost spilled beer on her. “This place is a bit rowdier than the places we usually hang out,” Kiera cautioned.

Debbie looked around and smiled. “It’s nice! I like trying out new places and meeting new people.”

Except that Debbie had invited all of their old friends here so they probably wouldn’t meet anyone they didn’t already know. “I’m not sure I’m feeling all that adventurous tonight, Debbie,” Kiera cautioned. It wasn’t so much that she wasn’t into trying new things, but she preferred less crowded conditions. This bar was wall to wall people.

“Just pretend for one night,” Debbie laughed back, pulling Kiera up to the bar and ordered two beers.

Kiera shook her head, but followed her friend, not sure this was such a good idea. “Fine,” she agreed and tried to hide the weird feeling that had come over her suddenly. Midterms had just finished, and she had a bit of breathing room before her next paper was due, so it wouldn’t be a bad thing to relax for a few hours. “We’re not staying late.”

Was she being too cautious? Probably, she told herself as she slipped between a couple that was heavy into a debate on the latest political wranglings. It was hard to avoid those kinds of discussions in a Georgetown bar. Not only were they mere miles from the heart of the federal buildings where real estate was so expensive, the area was teeming with history. The streets were mostly cobblestones from the colonial period and even a small townhouse would cost well over one million dollars. The cobblestones were ballast from the rum trade, but the political debates were due to the proximity of the federal government. She suspected that many of the people here were either international studies students, political science majors, or were interning for a senator or representative.

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