Unexpected: A Reverse Harem Love Story (Reverse Harem Story Book 2), page 1
BACK TO REAL LIFE
Other books by Rebecca Royce…
About the Author
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Unexpected (Reverse Harem Story #2)
Copyright @ 2018 by Rebecca Royce
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-947672-56-7
Cover art by Glowing Moon Cover Design
Content Editing: Heather Long
Copy/Proofread Editing: Bookends Editing
Formatting: Ripley Proserpina
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work, in whole or in part, in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
Published by Rebecca Royce
Created with Vellum
Thank you so much for picking up Unexpected (Reverse Harem Story #2.) I am going to assume due to the serial nature of this series that you have read Unconventional (Reverse Harem Story #1) already. If not, what are you waiting for? (I’m kidding… sort of.) But in all seriousness, you shouldn’t read this book if you haven’t read that one. You’re welcome to try. I wouldn’t recommend it. Since I think that most of you will have read the first book, and because I warned you this is written as a serial, I am going to pick right back up and not do a lot of review.
So go grab Unconventional if you haven’t read it and then come right back here afterward. We’ll wait. (I must be in a mood as I write this…) This is the 2nd book out of three so there will be one more, Undeniable. I am putting this here so that no one is surprised that there is still one more part of their story to go. Don’t worry, you will get lots of answered questions in this one.
Thank you so much for your support of this series. Like I said in the last one, most serials are very short books (10-20,000 words, maybe just 1-2 chapters) but this one is comprised of full-length novels. Now, back to Giovanna, Maven, Chance, and Banyan. What happens when the vacation is over?
As I said in the first book, I have made every effort to make sure that all educational and fraternal organizations mentioned in these pages don’t really exist in real life. But in the event I have somehow stepped into a real life organization, please note that everything I am writing about within these pages is fictional. I am in no way representing a real place or real decisions by anyone who may be affiliated with them. I do not mean in any circumstance to infringe on any copyright, intellectual property, or reputation of any real life place.
This is just fiction, y’all.
BACK TO REAL LIFE
When I looked back at the time that led me to this moment—about to give birth to my first child, living in a version of the world I couldn’t have imagined only years earlier—it really came down to fire. Oh sure, it had been because I took a vacation from myself and for a few moments let my guard down enough that three amazing people and I had the chance to get to know each other. But when it came down to it, nothing would be as it was now if hadn’t been because of the fires.
My contractions were starting to get worse. It was beyond time for me to do something. I needed help. I got to my feet, groaning aloud as I did. Okay, everyone had told me this was going to be bad, but it was so much worse than I’d imagined. Not to mention it was just getting started. How much worse was giving birth going to get?
I… The room tilted left. Oh no, that couldn’t be good. I hit my knees.
“Help,” I cried out. They would hear me. There had never been a time since I’d met them that they’d let me down. Not really. Not once I understood all the things I hadn’t grasped yet. Not until the fire…
If there was one thing that always remained constant in the dorms it was the smell. The college population had rejoined me in the dorm for all of a few hours and already the place once again smelled like body odor, too much cologne to cover said body odor, pizza, and burned popcorn.
I hadn’t been back inside my dorm since I’d been forced to leave after someone had set fire to it. They’d since arrested a homeless man for the fires on campus over winter break, but something about his arrest wasn’t sitting right with me. I chewed on my fingernail.
Of course, I wasn’t a police officer. Just a girl with too much time on my hands to think about fiction and make up stories in my head.
“Giovanna,” my friend Michelle squealed, throwing her arms around me. “Is it true you’re getting us into a SPiI party tonight?” She jumped up and down.
I gave her a small hug. The women around me were always hugging each other. I’d had to get used to it over the years, the constant embracing every time we came back together, even if we hadn’t been apart all that long. My parents weren’t really huggy people. They would give me a squeeze on occasion but not just because I’d entered a room.
I blinked. I didn’t suppose it mattered at the moment. “Yes. I made friends with some of the guys over vacation, and they said I could bring friends. We’re going to be on a, um, list or something that will get us through the door.”
I’d never been to a fraternity party, and if Maven Stone, Chance Montgomery, and Banyan Iburgess hadn’t become the most important people in my life, I wouldn’t be looking to go to one now. They wanted me to come, so I’d be there.
Even if I felt like my turtleneck might be choking me just thinking about it.
I pulled at the material. This was all in my head. I wanted to see the guys. And with all of us back at school, the party was how it would have to happen.
Molly, my roommate and best friend, rose from her bed. Our dorm room always felt different when Molly was actually in it. Most days I spent my time there alone. She was beautiful in an understated way. In New York City, I’d seen all types of people, but it had seemed like a large portion of them were very interested in fashion.
My roommate wasn’t. She was a different type of beautiful—unassuming and gorgeous in the way she seemed to light up a room. Girl next door was how I’d describe her if I was writing her in a book.
“Well, I can’t go. R.J. would have a fit. The DKI boys would have a fit if I did. I’m lettered to their house.”
For a person who had chosen not to go Greek, she cared more about what went on in her boyfriend’s frat house than any other
“But,” Molly grinned, “I’m seriously glad you had such a good break, Giovanna, and that you are now doing things like partying. We will all meet up afterward. You girls go to SPiI and then come over to DKI and meet me. How does that sound?”
The four other women in the room all nodded and squealed their excitement. Other than Molly and myself, it was Michelle, Felicia, Jessica, and Ella. They were really bright, interesting people whom I’d met through Molly during freshman year. Michelle, Felicia, and Ella were all pre-med, and Jessica wanted to teach music. She played at least three instruments that I knew about. They never seemed to mind that I didn’t say much and never excluded me when they went out.
This was the first time I’d been able to provide the entertainment for the night. I picked up my phone and quickly texted Banyan their names. I glanced up at Molly. “You don’t want to come?”
“Nah.” She shook her head. “But you’re all coming to DKI afterward.” She pointed her finger at all of us. “Or I’m going to be seriously pissed.”
Molly used to talk about wanting to be a marine biologist. I didn’t know if she still wanted that or not. It had been a long time since we’d talked about anything but R.J.
I didn’t think I’d be going to DKI after I saw the guys at SPiI. With as many people as I suspected were going to be in the fraternity house tonight, I wasn’t going to be doing anything but coming back to my bed and sleeping for hours.
“So they took you to New York?” Ella leaned forward. “And what did you do? Did you hook up with any of them?”
I picked up my bottled water and took a long pull in order to give myself a moment. “We toured around the city. They took me to a club. Of course I didn’t hook up with them.”
It didn’t sit well with me to deny what had happened, but we’d all agreed to not discuss it. If they were going to live up to their end of the bargain, so would I.
Molly rolled her eyes. “Not like she’d tell us if she did. When does Giovanna tell anyone anything about herself?”
“I…” I didn’t think that was exactly fair of her. What was I supposed to talk about? It wasn’t as if I didn’t answer questions. Why had she…
I never got to finish that thought because our RA Elizabeth popped her head in the room and grinned. “Ladies, I’m going to need you all for a few minutes in the hallway to talk about what happened over break and some new safety precautions they’ve implemented on campus. It’ll take ten minutes.”
The girls headed out into the hallway, but I grabbed Molly’s arm. “Are you mad at me?”
She shook her head rapidly. “Why would you think that?”
“Because you just said something a little passive aggressive and I’m concerned.”
Molly pulled me into a hug. “I’m sorry. R.J.’s being an asshole, and I clearly took it out on you. I… I just don’t know. Ever since he didn’t show up on Christmas Eve I feel like he’s preoccupied with something he’s not telling me about. I’m sorry. Forgive me? I know it’s hard for you to talk about yourself.”
That hadn’t been exactly what I’d been hoping for, but I supposed it was the truth. R.J. dominated her life, and in lieu of any existence of her own, she focused entirely on him. I didn’t know if that was a symptom of co-dependence or just a relationship. I hated psychology.
Hated it with a passion.
My phone buzzed, and while Elizabeth chatted about well-lit pathways and watching out for the homeless population, I picked it up and stared at it, hoping I wasn’t being rude.
Gotcha all down. Miss me?
Banyan was so funny. Sweet, too. And insecure. I doubted most people ever got to see that last part of him. He was very rich, and the majority of those who encountered him would simply see his private jets and bottomless credit limit.
I do. A lot. Big hall meeting on the new security stuff. I’m thinking what I want to do right now is wander around in SoHo and look at art with you through the store windows.
We’d done that a lot in the days between New Year’s and returning here. We’d even gotten Chance and Maven, who were not art aficionados, to do it with us. As long as we’d promised them lunch afterward or a stop at some comic book store one of them liked. Chance really wanted me to get into manga, and I’d started to love Death Note. It was great stuff.
I really couldn’t listen to Elizabeth as she spoke. It was awful, but the one thing I’d really been unable to think about in the hours I’d been back was the night the basement had been on fire. I’d been okay, but what had started to feel like a blur in New York was rapidly becoming more real since being back.
I’d so like to be there with you. I’m getting the same lecture, only it’s Maven giving it to all of us. If he uses the word fire extinguisher one more time, I’m going to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine on him.
I forced myself not to laugh, but couldn’t help my grin. Really? They have Maven doing it?
He’s in charge of our house. He has to do it. Now he’s talking about… wait for it… reporting suspicious people. Maven may have a future in public speaking. He’s taking great pauses. It’s important. Pause. To Report. Pause.
Banyan texted much faster than I did, but he was almost always on the phone if he wasn’t otherwise occupied. I sent back a smiley face and tried to listen to Elizabeth. I wasn’t the only one checked out and looking at screens, which made me feel even ruder for not listening.
My phone buzzed silently in my pocket, and I tried to ignore it. Until it buzzed again and then again.
What was he doing? Elizabeth was answering questions now so maybe it was slightly less rude to not be focused. I pulled the phone back out.
Chance is pissed because you’re texting with me and not him. He’s totally rolling his eyes at me and staring at my screen, which is just bad taste.
Chance had then texted. I’m not rolling my eyes at him. He’s laughing at himself. Hi, by the way. You doing okay?
Uh-oh. Banyan responded. Maven just caught us. I think he might try to take away our phones. He’s so not taking my phone.
Watching their exchange made it even harder not being there with them. It was so easy to be around them. I didn’t have to worry about what I was doing or saying. I’d come to finally feel like it was okay to simply be me in their presence.
I chewed on my lip. The messages had stopped. Had Maven actually taken their phones? I supposed I would find out later. What time did people go to fraternity parties anyway?
It turned out that things really got going in the houses sometime after ten o’clock. I had no idea what to wear. After Molly vanished to go meet R.J., I spent some time eating ramen noodles and staring at my closet. I had a whole drawer full of new underwear. Chance liked to buy it for me and think of me in it. I’d start every day by telling him what I had on, and it would keep him sort of perpetually thinking about me naked. I really, really liked that.
I’d put on the black lacy ones, but since he wasn’t around for me to drop that piece of information, it wasn’t quite the titillation putting it on. I could text it to him. Maybe. What were the rules now that we were back? We hadn’t talked about this.
I watched girls in the hallway leaving for their evenings out and decided to emulate their clothing attire. A black pair of pants and a tank top with a black sweater because it was cold. It looked like no one wore coats. Maybe that was because they had nowhere to put them once they got in the frat houses.
These were questions I might never have answered.
I didn’t have the boots everyone else was wearing and decided my sneakers would have to do. Did I look ridiculous? I couldn’t decide, and soon my friends were there. They talked my ears off while we walked toward the fraternities.
“I never did this my freshman year. I was so afraid of Greek Row,” Felicia told me, taking my arm. “And then last year my job on the weekends really screwed with my social life. But I am back, b
Her parents had hit a rough spot and she’d had to work. Her father had made his fortune back through good trading decisions, and her job was no longer required. A thought dawned on me. I liked that place where she had found employment—a used clothing store. They sold high end, already worn but in great condition clothing.
“Do you think they might hire me?” I interrupted what she was saying. “I need a job.”
Until my parents remembered to fill my bank account, I was living on fumes. I could eat on my college meal plan just fine, but anything I wanted to do other than that had to be on hold. I might be spoiled, but I liked going to the dollar movies and my reading habits were expensive.
“Oh.” She nodded. “I bet they would. The owners are these really cool sisters. Anyway, yes. I’ll call them and put in a good word. But your weekends are going to be messed with. The store is open until eight. I’d come home so tired I’d just collapse. That might screw up this new thing you have with whichever one of those SPiI brothers you’re really doing it with and not telling me about.”
I wished I could say, I hadn’t had to choose and that for brief moments in time I’d been blissfully happy. So much so, in fact, that I’d known how sad I would be when it was over while I was living it. If I couldn’t say that to Molly, I couldn’t say it to Felicia.
I’d never get to say it. I’d be one of those sad heroines in my books that always remembered some brief time in their life when they were happy and used it to make some statement to a young girl who came over to learn how to sew. The only problem, of course, was that I had no idea how to sew.
REBECCA ROYCE SERIES:
Other author's books:
- MicahLove Beyond ExpectationsUnexpectedSaving ThemLast AscensionOut of Place MateEndlessAlpha's Strength
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