Wednesday, April 20, 2016
It Started with You by Melissa Alexander
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Alexandria McNeil has had a killer week. After showing up at her boyfriend’s house, Alex discovers him with another woman. By the end of the day, she returns home to find the police at her condo and her neighbor has been violently murdered. The lead homicide detective working this murder is her long-time crush and best friend’s older brother, Carson Knight. The last thing Alex needs is Carson Knight entering her life and turning it upside down. The last thing Carson wants to deal with is coming face-to-face with Alex and acknowledging his desire for her.
While Carson and his team race to track down a killer, both Alex and Carson have to deal with their feelings before it is too late.
Melissa Alexander grew up in South Carolina. She attended the University of South Carolina and holds a BA in Liberal Arts. She met her husband while in college and after living in Columbia, South Carolina, Chicago, Illinois and London, Ontario. Melissa and her husband, their two children and two dogs finally settled in Atlanta, Georgia.
Melissa has always enjoyed reading and after a co-worker brought over some books for her to read while on maternity leave, she was hooked on romance novels. When Melissa is not busy with her family, she enjoys running, reading and working on her next book.
Melissa loves to hear from her readers.
As we are standing there waiting for the hostess to seat us, Catherine begins looking around. “Holy shit. This can't be happening,” she utters.
I glance over at her sharply. “What?”
“Don’t look, but over there in the corner are Adam and Carson with some girls.”
It takes all my strength not give myself a whiplash and look. I cannot believe it. It has not been twenty-four hours, and he is out with someone else. So much for me being the ‘best one’.
The hostess walks us to our table. Just my luck, we are headed over to the same area where Carson and Adam are sitting. “Do you want me to see if they have another table or we can go some where else?” Catherine asks me.
I shake my head. “No, I will have to get used to seeing him with other women in social settings so it’s fine.”
As we are approaching the table, I see Adam has spotted us and is nudging Carson. I watch as Carson’s head whips up and he makes eye contact with me. I can feel the electricity in the air as our eyes lock onto each other. It is like a massive thunderstorm is about to begin. The hostess stops to seat us at the table directly across from them. I am unable to suppress my groan. I look around the restaurant to see if there are any open tables we can move to, but the place is packed.
I see the grin on Adam’s face. I hope he will not torture me or Carson in front of the two women they are with. “Hi Catherine, Alex. What are you girls doing here?” Adam asks as we are about to sit down.
Catherine glances over at them and makes a face at Carson. “We came to have dinner and drinks since Alex had a rough day,” she replies as she cuts Carson another dirty look.
“Ladies, this is Catherine. Carson’s younger sister and Alex, her best friend. Catherine, Alex, this is Samantha and Kami”, Adam says as he does the introductions. I smile and nod trying to be friendly, but not wanting to intrude. Carson is still staring at me and has yet to say anything.
“OMG, you are Alexandria McNeil. I absolutely adore you and follow your fashion style in the gossip section,” Kami says.
“Thank you,” I reply as I try to sit down.
“Wait a minute, crap. Now I know where I recognize you from Carson!”, Kami squeals. “I saw those pictures of the two of you at the gala. Your dress was amazing, Alexandria. I assumed you two were dating just based on the way you were looking at each other in the photos.”
This is getting very awkward. I look over at Carson and see an unreadable expression on his face. He does not look like he will to try to offer any explanation to his date. “We went as good friends,” I reply hoping we can end the conversation and sit down.
“Wow. I’m on a date with a guy who knows Alexandria McNeil well enough to go to events with her. Amazing!”, Kami says.
I fight the urge to roll my eyes at her. Carson claims to have issues with my age, but this girl has to be four years younger than me. I look at Catherine with a plea of get me out of this. “Ok, it was nice to see you guys. We will let you get back to your date,” Catherine says as she sits down.
“Thank you,” I tell her when I am seated. “I thought I was going to punch her for being so excited to be on a date with Carson.”
“Well, she shouldn’t be too excited about her date because all Carson is doing is staring at you.”
I glance over and make eye contact with Carson. The emotions that fly between our eyes are so intense. I am surprised we have not caused this restaurant to burn down. “I’m going to go use the restroom. I will be back in a minute. Order me a vodka cranberry when the waiter comes for our drink order,” I tell Catherine as I stand up. I need to get some space from Carson.
“Are you ok?” Catherine asks with concern in her voice.
“I’m fine. I need to use the restroom,” I tell her with a relaxed smile. Or what I hope is a relaxed smile.
I go the restroom and I glance in the mirror. I am happy to see while I am a mess inside, I look great on the outside. I just need to keep up the appearance of everything being fine until Carson leaves. As I am walking out the bathroom, someone steps out and grabs my arm. I jump and then recognize Carson.
“Alex, I am so sorry. I had no idea you and Catherine would be here tonight,” he begins.
“Carson, there is nothing for you to apologize for. You made it clear what last night meant to you,” I tell him and try to walk away, but he pulls me further down the hallway.
“No, listen. Adam pulled me into this dinner at the last minute.”
“We are fine,” I tell him again. This is killing me. I believe he wants more from me. For us, but Carson is struggling with making it happen. I want to get past him, but he has me blocked with his arm.
“Alex. I. I don’t actually know what I am trying to say,” he says with a sad laugh.
I look up at him and see him clenching his jaw again. The intensity in his eyes tells me what he wants. I reach up and stroke his cheek. “You know I really like the scruffiness on your face,” I tell him. Carson looks surprised and then he turns into my hand and kisses the palm of my hand like he did last night. I can feel a shiver run through me. It is like a bolt of lightening goes from my hand to my core. I can feel myself begin to get wet from the passion this one little move as elicited. “Carson, what are you doing?” I whisper to him as I gaze into his eyes.
“What I have been dying to do all day since I woke up and saw you sitting there naked in your bed.” Carson begins to lower his head towards mine. My body is screaming in anticipation of his kiss. “Alexandria”, he breathes out as his lips make contact with mine. My world explodes in this moment. The passion is flowing between us becomes frenzied. I can feel him pushing me up against the wall as his tongue begins its quest of my mouth. I can hear myself moaning into his mouth as his hands begin to move restlessly over my body. I grab Carson by his shirt and pull his body closer to mine. I feel the evidence of his hard arousal against my stomach. Once I again I wish I was taller so I could feel that hardness against my center.
I am aware of his hands slipping under my shirt and moving up towards my breasts. “I want you so bad Alexandria,” he groans out against my ear has he nips at my earlobe.
Just then a flash a goes off which startles the heck out of the both of us. “What the hell?” Carson utters as we both look over. I see a photographer standing there with a huge smile on his face as he realizes what he just caught on camera.
“I thought I recognized the two of you when you each headed back here. This will make a great story in The Post, considering he is here with someone else,” the photographer says with glee as he turns around and walks off.
“Oh my god. What were we thinking? You are here with a date and I am making out with you,” I groan while I frantically push Carson’s hands from underneath my shirt. “Plus, it will create a scandal for my family if that story is printed,” I continue. I can feel myself getting panicked.
“Alex, calm down. I will take care of it,” Carson says gently.
“How can you tell me to calm down?” I hiss at him. “We will be in every gossip section in this city. All because I find you too damn attractive and can’t think straight when I am near you!”
“You think I’m too damn attractive?”
I look up at him and he is smiling like an idiot. “This is what you’re worried about? My world may come crashing down on me, and you are smiling because I said I find you attractive. What the hell is wrong with you? Are you drunk?” I demand.
“Little one, I will take care of this for the both of us. I am sorry for what just happened. I should not have kissed you and let it get out of control so quickly,” he replies. “Go back to your table and enjoy your dinner with Catherine.” Just as he is about to walk away from me, he turns back and kisses me one last time on the lips and walks away.
I walk back to our table and ask the waiter for our check even though Catherine and I have only ordered a drink. “Let’s go eat somewhere else or sit at the bar,” I tell Catherine as I take a huge sip of my drink. “I can’t sit here with them so close to us.”
Catherine gives me a funny look. “What?” I ask her.
She smiles at me and glances over at Carson, who is returning to his seat. “Your lipstick is a little smeared. I also find that highly suspect since Carson followed you to the bathroom,” she replies with a smirk. I groan and turn red.
I glance over at Carson and Adam and see they are whispering back and forth to each other. I watch as Adam gets up and makes a phone call away from the table. “So, spill the beans Alex. What just happened?” Catherine prods.
I sigh out loud, “Your brother followed me and things got a little out of hand between the two of us. A photographer took a picture of us making out.”
At that moment the waiter returns but without our check. “Ms. McNeill, someone has picked up your check,” he tells us. “Who?” Catherine asks. “The gentlemen at the table across from you paid for your drinks,” he says with a smile.
“Of course he did,” I say rolling my eyes.
Catherine and I grab our purses and walk over to sit at the bar. “This is better,” I tell her now that I cannot see Carson and we are enjoying our drinks. “I’m sorry that my brother is a pain in the ass.”
“It’s not your fault. He says one thing but then does another. I feel like a slut since I just made out with someone who is on a date with another woman. I honestly would have let the entire thing get way out of hand if the photographer had not distracted us.”
I feel a tug on my hair and glance behind me to see Adam standing there smiling at us. “Why did you guys move over here?” he asks trying to sound innocent.
“You know why,” I tell him.
“Adam, why the hell did you bring Carson out on a double date? Don’t you realize that I am trying to set him and Alex up?” Catherine demands.
“Calm down Catherine. I did it because I want Carson to become conscious of the fact he is head over heels for Alex,” Adam says with a smile. “We are on the same team. Based off how he came back from the bathroom, I can see you worked him up nicely.”
“Thanks guys, except Carson does not want to be on any team so please leave me out of it,” I tell them.
“Alex, I came over here to let you know that I have taken care of the photographer,” Adam states.
“What, how?” I ask him amazed.
“The editor at The Post owes me a favor, and I called it in. Also, your dad may have to give them an exclusive in exchange for not printing such a ‘juicy story’,” Adams says laughing.
“Thank you. I don’t know how I can ever repay you.”
“For starters, keep making out with Carson. You guys are good for each other,” he says as he walks back to their table.
Catherine and I order some tapas and have another drink. We are beginning to enjoy the evening, and as usual men are coming to flirt with us. I am sitting there listening to a guy give Catherine the lamest pick up line when Carson and Adam and their dates walk over to say bye.
“Alexandria, it was awesome meeting you,” Kami gushes.
“Nice to meet the both of you,” I reply to both girls. I notice Kami is trying to hold one of Carson’s hands but he moves his hands to his pockets to discourage her. I glance up at him and give him a look.
“Alex, have a good night with Catherine. Try to not stay out all night,” Carson says as he leans over to kiss my cheek. Before he pulls away from me he whispers, “I am sorry about tonight little one. I never meant for any of this to happen.”
“It’s ok,” I tell him as he pulls away. “I will see you guys around,” I tell the both of them. In reality, I am not sure when I will see either of them again and my heart breaks a little at the thought.