Unexpected by Faith Sullivan
September 11, 2001.
A day that forever changes the destiny of college overachiever, Michelle Rhodes.
Shattered, confused and alone, no one understands the trauma consuming her until she meets Connor Donnelly.
A native New Yorker, he believes he can aid in getting her life back on track. But what if he's even more broken inside?
Offering her a chance at a fresh start, Connor convinces Michelle to move in with him. Hiring her to waitress at his bar, their mutual attraction only complicates matters.
As more details surrounding Connor's past emerge, Michelle uncovers the full magnitude of the loss he's trying to hide. Refusing to let her feelings for him hinder his recovery, she makes a decision that winds up hurting them both.
By sacrificing her heart, Michelle thinks she is helping Connor come to terms with his grief. Little does she know, Connor is gambling everything for the sake of having a future with her.
What happens is truly unexpected.
Connor's point-of-view for chapter five of Unexpected by Faith Sullivan
Why the hell am I doing this again? Oh yeah, because I'm trying to play the hero—definitely not a role I'm used to. Danny would… Hold up. I am not going down that road again, not tonight.
It's bad enough that I'm freezing my ass off. I wish this chick would get here already. I wonder if she's even coming. Either way, I'd rather be on the porch swing instead of watching a bunch of kids from the suburbs try to party. As the owner of a bar, I'm not a fan of witnessing future alcoholics in the making.
I check my watch. It's after nine. I'll give her ten more minutes and then I'm out of here. I'll find some local dive to ring in the New Year with a crowd of drunks my own age. I'll have to tell my brother, Sal, that I'm leaving. I don't want him to think I jumped off a bridge or anything. He invited me to tag along with him, but I don't need him to be my babysitter. Besides I haven't had thoughts like that for quite a while.
Yeah, getting out of the city for the holidays sure helped. The change of scenery cleared my head for the time being. I don't feel that constant sense of dread weighing me down. I can breathe a bit easier. It's just too damn quiet. I miss the noise, the grit, the commotion. I'm not at ease in a place where the loudest sound is the muffled ruckus going on inside this house.
Was this trip a total waste of time? I guess I'll find out soon enough. Sal's friend, Tony, told me all about his ex and how he thought it'd be good for me to meet her. Apparently, she was alone on 9/11 and it really messed her up. She dropped out of school and everything. I'm just sick of hearing about how many lives were ruined that day. The only reason I said yes to Tony's request is because Danny would've wanted me to—simple as that.
I'm no good at counseling other people. Hell, I'm a mess myself. But if this girl is anywhere as hot as her picture, I have no problem offering her a job at my pub. She'd be a welcome distraction from my current state of misery. I could sure use a pretty face to help keep my demons at bay. I need something to take my mind off my current situation and Michelle Rhodes might be just the one I'm looking for. Especially since she sounds about as screwed up as I am.
But I bet she's not looking to move back to New York City anytime soon. It's going to take some convincing, but I'm up for the challenge. I certainly have the upper hand. I know everything about her, and she knows nothing about me. It's not a fair fight, not by a long shot. But I have to be careful not to come on too strong and freak her out. I'll have to play it cool and see how she responds to me. To her, I'm just some random guy, but I intend to change all that.
My heart starts to race when I catch the figure of a girl walking down the sidewalk. Her hair is up, but I'm almost certain it's Michelle. Man, I'm nervous, and I never get nervous when it comes to making a move on a girl. She approaches the house and steps lightly onto the porch. She doesn't even see me lurking in the shadows. I need to speak up, or I'm going to lose her to the party. Her finger is hovering over the doorbell. It's now or never.
"Having second thoughts?" I ask and she jumps.
I use her confusion to my advantage. Nonchalantly, I light a cigarette in order to diffuse the tension. She's staring at me now, but I don't return her gaze. I keep my eyes trained forward. I'm afraid to look at her. It's like she's come to life before me. She's not just some bedazzled girl in a prom dress on Tony's arm. She's here in the flesh. Even in the dim light, I can tell she's freakin' gorgeous. Probably the type who's used to getting what she wants when it comes to guys.
She surprises me by walking over and joining me on the swing. That's a bold move. I take another drag and let the silence linger between us for a bit longer. She's sizing me up. I'm game, sweetheart. Give me your best shot.
"Is that weed?" she inquires, and I can't help but laugh. The girl's got balls. I'll give her that. She may have fled from New York, but she had enough guts to try to live there by herself before the attack. There's still some trace of that inner toughness coming through. Even if she's broken, she's not a lost cause and that gives me reason to hope.
I turn to look at her. God, she's beautiful. Whatever crazy circumstances have brought us together, I'm beyond grateful. She's the first good thing to happen to me in what seems like forever and I'm bound and determined to make the most of the opportunity.
She sighs before shifting her eyes to meet mine. There's no going back now. Whether she realizes it or not, I'm completely captivated by her. There's no way she's walking away from me. I'll pursue her to the ends of the earth if I have to. She's returning to New York with me—end of story. It's my ultimate mission from this point on. I'm not taking no for an answer.
I lean forward and stomp out the cigarette with my boot, giving myself a moment before plunging ahead. I'm about to make the declaration of a lifetime. I've never felt so vulnerable but I'm determined for this to end well. It has to. I need her more than anything.
Before I can give it another thought, I say exactly what's on my mind. "Michelle, I think it's time you came back to New York with me."
About the Author
I really hate talking about myself. My goal is to have the shortest author bio imaginable. I would much rather have a conversation with my readers.
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