Sunday, May 4, 2014

Finding Our Forever is book 2 of the Forever series

For those who have read 'Beginning with Forever' and are missing Carson and Lillian, this is a special treat for you. I have been diligently writing book2, 'Finding our Forever,' to get it out to you as soon as possible. But in the mean time, I am posting a FREE, unedited chapter of book2 for you to read. Every week in May, I will be posting a new one (total of 4  in all). Thank you for your interest and support in my work!!!

XXXX's Lan LLP

Finding our Forever (Book2 of 3 in the Forever series)

Chapter 1

Wesley Montgomery

Father sent me the company jet yesterday and insisted that I fly back to Boston to see him as soon as possible. Wesley, our family business needs you back in the states immediately. We have an emergency that I can’t handle alone, I recall our phone conversation from last night as I lounge in my leather seat thousands of miles in the air, second guessing what could’ve possibly rattled my father up so unusually. Montgomeries don’t normally fuck up, but when they do, my father, Chandler, never fails to find a way to mend it. Legal or illegal, it doesn’t matter to him as long as the job gets done. His father, my granddad Charles, did it for him and his brother, and now that granddad is gone, he inherited that role. He’s the glue that’s kept Montgomery Medical Corporations together and prosperous. He’s a shrewd business man who’s taught me everything I know. This is why I’m his liaison for the Asian market.
I was sent to live in Hong Kong, off and on, after I graduated from Harvard about nine years ago. I didn’t mind leaving the family to live in a foreign country because of my strained relationship with my mother. Chandler and Mimi Montgomery adopted me as a newborn since they weren’t able to have any biological children of their own. As soon as I was able to say my first word, Mimi, my mother, made sure I knew that I wasn’t a true Montgomery. I attribute her dislike of me to the tight bond that my father and I have. She doesn’t want her husband to share his attention with anyone, not even with his own son. Mimi is the most self-centered person, and I can’t help, but resent her coldness towards me. She picked me out like a handbag, carrying me around like a fashion accessory until she grew tired of the style. Fortunately for me, I had Ms. Polly who’s been my nanny since I was first brought home to the Montgomery’s massive twenty-acre estate. She filled the maternal role with as much love and nurturing as any mother would for a child. In my eyes, she was my mother, not Mimi. From the outside, our family appeared picture perfect, but on the inside, we were more screwed up and dysfunctional than most families. Money can mask everything even the most hideous, my granddad used to tell me.
I’m looking forward to seeing Ms. Polly when I land. She’ll be surprise to see me at my penthouse where she resides and tends to all my affairs while I commute back and forth to Hong Kong. I purposely didn’t announce my visit, knowing that she would fret over my meals and comfort unlike Mimi who could give two shits about me. At sixty-eight, she doesn’t need to worry about a thirty-two year old man even if I have enough stress to age me an extra ten years.
Damn that Carson Bradley for being the source of my aggravation and stress! I barely know anything about him, but I already hate him with a passion. Why couldn’t he just mind his own business and stick to curing cancer. What’s his motivation anyways? Is he trying to stomp out all his competitions? What a greedy son of a bitch! Due to his discovery of cheap additives in the Montgomery NeoMed infant formula, my company has taken a severe nose dive in the stock market. He struck me hard, and I plan on repaying him the favor. Credits to his meddling, I have more lawsuits than clients, coming from every country possible, and I don’t see an end to my hell. In addition to all my woes, I have angry investors riding my ass, demanding compensation for their losses. I hope to god that my company doesn’t go under from one fucking, stupid decision that I made and regret. If it does, I will personally hold Mr. Bradley accountable.

Carson Bradley

Lily is finally sleeping after I convinced her to take another painkiller before we boarded the jet. Sitting by her side watching her sleep, I fight back my own tears. She’s had enough suffering these past few days that I just want to do everything in my power to shield her from anymore. I called Owen last night and had him remove all the baby furniture and anything else that could remind Lil of our unborn baby. I don’t want anything to trigger memories of her miscarriage. She’s cried plenty and doesn’t need to shed anymore tears if I can help it. When I welcomed her into my world, I only had the purest intention of offering her all my love and making her the happiest woman in the world because that’s what she’s done for me. But instead of giving her the happy movie ending she deserves, I’ve showered her with tears and heartache. There has to be a way for me to make it up to her. I have to or I don’t deserve her love.
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After I spoke to Owen, I reached out to my parents to share my anguish with them. My pain was too much to be caged up. It needed to be liberated. They’ve experienced one tragic loss with me already and had been my source of strength then, so I’m relying on them to help me overcome this one as well. My mother was especially affected, urging me to get to the bottom of this so-called accident that has ended her future grandbaby’s life. She wept as hard as Lil did, insisting that I do all I can to support Lil through this delicate time. She assured me that her welcoming arms will be waiting for me when I see her.
Ever since my mother’s heated confrontation with Bianca, she’s convinced Bianca is as wicked as the devil himself. She hinted that I shouldn’t overlook Bianca as a suspect. I agreed of course, but can Bianca be that heinous? She might be selfish, spoiled and conniving, but attempted murder seems extreme to me. However, I’m not ruling anything out, especially after her picture scam which I haven’t forgotten. Owen requested Luke to investigate the possibility of her involvement as soon as he flew back to Boston late last night. After Lil mentioned that she recognized Sasha, I asked Owen to have Luke trail her everywhere. I want to know what dirty jobs Bianca is having Sasha do for her. If I find out that Bianca was entangled in that accident, I swear I’ll see to it myself that she’ll never see the light of day again. So help me god.
 “Carson, are we there yet?” Lil asks as she looks up into my bloodshot eyes, grabbing my immediate attention. It saddens me even more to see her empty expression. I miss her beautiful smile. Her sadness is all I can see in her dull brown eyes. Who can I blame, but myself?
“Almost, Angel. We have about twenty more minutes before we land. Can I get you anything?” I reply cautiously, hoping not to spark new tears. I stroke her face gently with the back of my hand, savoring the silkiness of her skin.
“I want to call my mom as soon as I can. I don’t want her to worry about me.” Her tone is composed as she shifts her body away from me. God, this is going to kill me if she continues to distance herself. I want to hold her, feel her against my body, but she’s doing all she can to keep me from touching her. I know I can’t push her during this fragile period, but how can I help her get through this if she won’t let me in.
“No problem, Angel, you can call your mom as soon as we land,” I assure her and briefly stall before continuing. I guarantee that she’ll be upset with me as soon as I give her my stipulations. “But, you can’t divulge our location, and she can’t tell anyone you’ve contacted her.” She glares at me in response. If looks could kill, I’d be lying dead on the bed from flaming glares lodged in my chest. “I’m sorry, Lil, but it’s for your safety,” I attempt to convince her as I avoid her furious and lethal stare.
“How am I supposed to tell her that bullcrap? She’ll blow a blood vessel from being so angry with me,” she crossly retorts while huffing heavily.
“We’ll figure something out,” I attempt to placate her heat, but fail miserably to diminish it and her doubts. Reaching for her hands, I plead, “Lil, please believe me when I tell you that I love you and that I’ll do anything to make you happy again.” She looks at me and nods her head—finally, a glimpse of hope.
“How long will I have to be your prisoner?” she smarts off, wiping my sliver of hope away.
“Lil, you’re not my prisoner, you’re my fiancĂ©e. I’m keeping you safe with me, not holding you against your will,” I reply, praying my temper will not shadow my patience. “I know your world is beyond complicated because of me, and I hate myself for it. I wish I can undo it all, but I can’t.” My frustration is clearly obvious in my voice. “I promise I’ll spend the rest of my life, if I have to, to make it up to you, Angel,” I pour my soul out to her, pleading.
A small but noticeable smile sidles across her face and what a beautiful sight it is for me. “Please don’t hate yourself, honey,” she consoles me. Leaning into her lips, I kiss them for the first time since yesterday. Please don’t pull away from me, Lil. God, I miss the sweet taste and feel of them. Her lips part for my tongue to enter and stroke hers. The kiss is intense, full of broken sentiments, waiting to escape. I can sense that she misses me just as much. I cherish our intimacy because this is the closest I’ve been allowed to be near her since the miscarriage. Her eyes seal tight to shut me out and then opens after she stows her brittle emotions. Again, sadness glazes over her dark pupils, dulling its vibrant gleam and making me feel defeated. She exhales, “I need more time, be patient with me,” and intertwines our fingers. Bringing her left hand to my lips, I reassure my commitment to her with a kiss. Another stunning smile spreads across her face, and it melts my heart, like the warmth you get from a brilliant summer sun.
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Captain Franco lands the jet at a private tarmac for Bradley Pharmaceutical Corporation. I peek out the window to see Owen waiting by a black limousine with a driver. He surveys the area several times before giving me the all clear hand signal to lead Lil down the steps towards him. “Mr. Bradley. Miss Ly,” he politely greets us with a nod of his head and a concerned expression. Lil waves ‘hello’ while shivering from the freezing wind.
I rush her into the limo to shut the cold out and then openly address Owen, who’s sitting in the front with the driver. Lil threatened that if I don’t keep her completely informed, I’ll have to deal with her wrath. Since I’m already treading on thin ice, I decide to accept her terms for now. “Owen, any news on our missing researchers?” I inquire. Owen shakes his head while giving me a subtle are you sure look through the rear mirror. “Miss Ly knows everything,” I verify. “Go ahead and give us both the update.”
“Mr. Carter thinks they may have found the homing tattoos and disabled them. The signals are loss. The only thing that we can confirm is they’re in Massachusetts somewhere,” Owen informs. “But don’t worry, I already have a team of five highly decorated ex-Navy SEALs who can track any target down. They will meet us at Steward Laboratory tomorrow morning for a quick briefing and then head out to find your missing researchers.” Lil turns to me, staring with shock and disbelief. She’s shaking her head with wide owl eyes, probably thinking, What the hell did I get myself into? I can only imagine how overwhelming this is all for her. Her mouth drops opened like she wants to say something, but she’s too stunned to speak, I’m guessing. I drape my arms around her shoulders and squeeze them gently to reassure her that I won’t let anything happen to her.
“Well done, Owen. Assembling a team together this quickly under such short notice is very impressive. Will Luke be meeting us at the penthouse? I want him with Miss Ly at all times. She’s never to be out of his sight.” The tone of my voice sounds more desperate than I want it to project. This isn’t a good time for me to lose my poise. Immediately, my overbearing demand causes her body to stiffen against mine. I’m definitely not helping my situation any with this attitude. I need to fix the damage quickly. Tilting her chin up with my index finger so our eyes are locked, I attempt to ease her concerns, “I promise it’s only temporary, Angel,” but she doesn’t buy my bullshit. Her doubts are obvious in her roaming brown eyes.
“You already promised me that once before,” she snips and folds her arms across her chest while trying to avoid looking at Owen through the rear mirror. I’m almost positive that he’s feeling like an unwanted third wheel right about now. Yes, it’s a terrible position for him to be in, but I’m glad he’s here to absorb some of Lily’s percolating heat. I know she wouldn’t be this calm if he isn’t trapped here between us.
“Lil, I understand why you’re upset, but like I said, it’s only cautionary, Angel. Please give me some time to sort this all out,” I practically beg as I attempt to hold her hand.
“Carson, do I really have a choice?” she replies bluntly and then glares out to the window on her side. For once, I’m at a loss for words. She’s absolutely right. She doesn’t have a choice—not in this matter.

Owen rotates his head to face the window on his side, avoiding any awkward eye contact via the rear mirror. I’m guessing he’s probably in shock, witnessing me yield to a woman. This is a first for me, but I don’t care if he sees my weak, vulnerable side. It doesn’t matter what I have to do to make Lily happy again.