This is Love by Natasha Madison
From the best selling series, Something So comes the spin-off series This is…
Never fall in love.
That was my motto, and I was sticking to it.
Having my heart broken once was enough, and I never wanted to do it again.
He was supposed to be a one-night stand, the only thing I do.
One rule shouldn’t be so hard to follow, but then I went back for seconds, then thirds.
After that, I lost count of the number of times I lost myself in his arms.
When I wasn’t paying attention, my guard slipped.
They call me Private Mark for a reason—my whole life is a secret.
For two years, we danced around each other until I got her right where I wanted her … under me.
Now that I had her, I wasn’t letting her go. I thought we were on the same page.
I thought we were building something great.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
I had no idea that while I was falling in love, she was trying to convince herself we were temporary.
She thought I’d walk away.
She was wrong.
Now it’s time to convince her she wants us too and to show her that the crazy, wild thing we have … This Is Love.
Excerpt This is Love (This is #3) by Natasha Madison
This Is Love – Chapter One
Walking into the restaurant, I spot Karrie sitting in the corner with her head down as she types something on her phone. “Bonjour,” I say, leaning over and kissing her cheeks when she looks up. Her hair’s tied up in a ponytail, and she’s wearing a white shirt with a black blazer. I look down at my sleeveless white silk button-down tucked into an olive-colored pleated long dress that falls to my mid-thigh. I accessorized with gold bracelets on my wrists, and my open-toe nude Louboutins match the camel Hermes purse I’m carrying.
Karrie is the closest person to me in the world, and I tell her everything. When we met in high school, we bonded over guys and trust funds, and from the first day, we were attached at the hip. Karrie’s father owns the biggest communications company in the world along with a bunch of other things, including the hockey team New York Stingers.
“I just got here. The kids were all over the place,” she says, mentioning her four children. After she graduated at the top of her class in public relations, her father hired her to be someone’s chaperone. Well, little did she know he would turn out to be the love of her life. I mean, it was love at first sight for him, and he hasn’t let her go, not even for a second. With just the way he looks at her, it’s clear he loves her with everything he has. It’s a look I have never been on the receiving end of, but I’ve made my peace with that.
“How are my favorite kids?” I ask her as I lay the white linen napkin across my lap. My family resides in Paris, and although I visit a couple of times a year, I consider America my home. It’s where my life is, and it’s where my home is now.
“They are fit to be tied.” Karrie starts talking. “It’s almost back to school, and I can’t freaking wait.” She stops talking when the waiter comes over and tells us the special. We nod at him, and he walks away. “The back-to-school shopping is done, courtesy of Auntie Zara’s Closet.” She mentions one of Matthew’s younger twin sisters who is a professional shopper and now owns one of the most sought-after closets. If something is going on and you need a one-of-a-kind dress, she’ll find it for you. “The only thing I have left to do is get them dressed and drive them to school.”
“You really are the best mom ever,” I say, grabbing the glass of water and taking a sip. “I honestly don’t know how you do it.”
“If you dated the same man for more than two dates, this could be you,” she tells me, smirking as I grimace.
“You aren’t helping your case,” I tell her. “When was the last time you slept for longer than four hours?” She doesn’t say anything. “That, right there, is why. I sleep eight straight hours.”
“I hate you,” Karrie hisses. I laugh, and we talk about everything and nothing. We talk every single day, sometimes more than once, and we still find things to discuss.
“We are having a pool party at my house next weekend,” Karrie says. “Matthew is throwing an end-of-summer, welcome-back-to-work barbecue,” she says, and I sit up and wink at her.
“Does this mean fresh meat will be there?” I ask her, and she just shakes her head. “I’m single and ready to mingle.”
“We know.” She laughs, and for the first time in a long time, I think back to that fateful day I have locked away tight. The minute I close my eyes, I see it all over again, and just like that, I close the box back.
“Anyway, what do I have to work with?” I ask her, and she just shrugs.
“Regular people, I guess,” she says, and I don’t say anything. “Oh,” she says between chews. “There is a new dad. Well, single dad.”
“Abort mission,” I say, pointing at her with my fork. “I am all about having sex with a daddy, but I am not going to be a stepmother.”
She throws her head back and laughs. “Only you would think about having sex with the father before even asking why he’s divorced.”
“It’s like you don’t even know me.” I roll my eyes, and she laughs. “Anyway, is Zoe going?” I ask about Matthew’s other twin sister. She’s the last single one left of the girls. His other sister Allison eloped with his enemy, but now they are two peas in a pod.
“She is coming. I think she is going to come down on Saturday,” Karrie says, and I take out my phone and text Zoe right away.
Me: Me, You, Train, Wine.
It doesn’t take her long to reply.
Zoe: Me, You, Car Service, Wine……
I smile and answer her back.
Me: So much better than train. It’s a date.
“Okay, I’m riding with Zoe,” I tell her. “In other news, I really, really need to have sex.”
She looks up at me. “Like now?”
I shake my head. “Not like now,” I say and then look around, seeing no one who really piques my interest. “I mean soon. Like tonight or tomorrow.”
“So, go out and get it,” Karrie says, drinking a sip of water. “What is with you lately?”
I look at her and lean back in my chair. “I have no idea. I think it’s the changing of the seasons. I spent the weekend in the Hamptons this year.”
“You do that every year,” she points out.
“I know, but this year, I didn’t even suck one dick.” I lift my hands. “Not one blow job. Not even a hand job.” I shake my head. “Every year, you know I go there, and it’s usually a buffet of men.”
She closes her eyes and shakes her head. “Yes, I’m aware. Remember when you made a spin card game, and it would tell you what color hair the guy you had to have sex with that night had?”
I smile, thinking back. “Those were some good times. Now all I do is sit on the couch and read.”
“There is nothing wrong with relaxing,” Karrie says.
“I complained my neighbors were loud.” I lean in and hiss whisper, “Me.”
“I mean, you are hitting close to thirty-two,” Karrie says, and I glare.
“Yes, Dirty Thirty. I need to be dirty for my thirties,” I tell her.
“That isn’t how it goes,” she counters, trying not to laugh.
“Why are we best friends again?” I ask her, and she throws her head back and laughs.
“The list is very short. I think number one is I named a kid after you,” Karrie says, and I nod my head. All her kids are named after the most important people in their lives. Their first child is named Cooper Douglas after Matthew’s stepfather and Karrie’s father. The second child is names Frances after Karrie’s mother who passed away, and then obviously, the perfect child is Vivienne. Although, truth be told, she really is the perfect one—great in school and never in trouble. It’s like my namesake is dwindling. Chase is the last one and he has to be the cutest little thing ever.
“That could be it. I do love those kids,” I tell her and grab my own glass of water to take a drink.
“I will remember that when they wake you up on Sunday,” Karrie says. I dread the sound of feet when the girls run down the hall to wake me up. Cooper not so much anymore; he’s too cool for that.
“Anyway, I have to get out of this funk,” I tell her, and for the rest of the meal, we make plans for the weekend. When I hug her goodbye five hours later and start my walk back to my apartment, I do it slowly. New York is the perfect place to people watch.
When I finally get home and walk into the cool apartment, I slip off my heels and make my way to the kitchen. Grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge, I realize I don’t have much in there besides fruit and a couple of prepared meals that I have ordered in.
When I enter my office, my feet sink in the plush white carpet I had put in the room. I turn on the lights just a touch and walk over to the white desk in the middle of the room. Putting down the water bottle next to the vase of pink roses, I turn on the computer. As I wait for the computer to boot up, I sit in the white plush chair and look out the window. The mirrored hutch catches the reflection of the sun, and I look at the picture frames that I placed on the top. Most of them include Karrie, and the picture of us from high school when both of us dressed up for an NSYNC concert is my most treasured one. The other frames are of me with the kids taken in the hospital as soon as they were born. The whole room is my private area, and no one really comes in here except the cleaning lady and Karrie. Grabbing my agenda, I look at my schedule and see that I have an article due for the magazine tomorrow and a blog post to do by next week.
What started off as a pastime has snowballed into my career. After the whole heartbreaking episode, I knew I was never going to fall in love again, so I became a serial dater. It was also at a time when blogging was just coming out into the world, so I started my very own little blog. Not thinking anything of it, I called it Life of a Serial Dater. At the beginning, I would just journal my dates, even if it included sex, and slowly but surely, my following built to over three million people. It was then that the magazine called me and asked if I would like to do a “Dear Serial Dater” article once a month. Readers would mail in their questions or opinions, and I would select a few to post and answer. I was shocked by how big it became, and now I also do an online part to the article every week.
No one besides Karrie knows what I do. They just think I’m living off my family’s money, and I work for them by taking care of their websites. I open my emails and start getting my article ready.
How much sex is too much?
I read my first email.
My boyfriend and I started dating and have only been intimate twice in four months. I want to have sex more. Should I ask for it or just be happy with what I have?
Signed, Sexually Frustrated.
I shake my head. “You aren’t the only one sexually frustrated, my sister,” I say but then get into serial dater mode.
Dear Sexually Frustrated,
There is nothing wrong with asking for more sex. In fact, it’s a healthy thing. I mean, would he rather you ask him for sex, or you go out and get it on the side? You have two choices here. One: ask him for more sex and hope that he agrees. Two: get really familiar with the closest sex shop as you will be visiting them for new toys every two to three months. In case you chose number two, here are my list of top vibrators that keep me company on a cold night …
I answer five more questions and then start my blog post while I’m on a roll. The sun has long set, so I turn on the salt lamp in the office for a soft glow. I also pick up my laptop and walk to the gray velvet chaise I have in the corner.
Another Summer Recap
It’s time to pack up the sunscreen, put on the shutters, and drain the hot tub. Summer weekends in the Hamptons are almost over. I can’t believe how the time has passed. It feels like just yesterday I was packing my bikini and a box of condoms. Although this summer has been tamer than the others, I’ll still miss rushing out of town at just the right time to avoid the dreaded traffic. But all that traffic brought in all the man candy I could want, and did I ever sample.
Now it’s time to cover up my naughty bits. Until next year, Hampton!
I attach pictures of the beach, one of my legs in the hot tub, and one of me by myself because I somehow became a hermit. I shut down the laptop and put it on the side table, then get up, stretching. “Fall, I am ready for you,” I say to the universe, not knowing that I was, in fact, not even close to ready.