Book Title: Unlike Any Other and Unsurprisingly Complicated
Author: Claudia Burgoa
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Unlike Any Other
The name AJ Colthurst may not have any meaning to the public eye, but it should, as I’m the daughter of two famous celebrities. Like any superstar, they crave privacy; so much of it, they built a house in the middle of nowhere for us children. As we grew older, we discovered the lies they built as a fort to protect us from the media, ended up causing emotional damage along the way.
I carry a portion of the guilt on my shoulders; the other part I discovered is the separation of my parents. Their unorthodox ways may have driven me bonkers, but knowing they are no longer together is unacceptable.
That’s why I decided to rattle their cage by reminding at least one of my parents of the past and the reason they belong together. They need to remember why their love is so perfect and why they have to fight to keep it alive. Even if it means I have to dredge up some of my own painful memories along the way.
Back in the early eighties, I set myself to succeed in the financial world. The first step had been moving to New York City to become a stockbroker, but things didn’t work out the way I had hoped. Instead, I ended up making movies and by the end of the decade, Gabe Colt had become a famous name. The downside to my career of choice: the paparazzi. In order to protect my family and our privacy, I maintained my family away from the circus. It had been for their own good; a decision we had made before we started our family.
However, those past decisions ended up chasing my entire family away and now I’m trying to put the pieces back together along with my little girl.
The lies between my parents and I came to light and now I’m working on a new life for myself. Along the way, I have my trusty superhero, Mason, to lean on when I have a hard time standing or when my crazy ex-boyfriend continues to feel he has a claim on me.
Porter has trouble understanding that there hasn’t been an ‘us’ for more than three years plus all the issues he had brought upon himself. My father was right, drugs do kill. My other concern is the growing feelings I am having regarding Mason. There’s something between us I want to explore but I keep getting mixed signals. Here, I thought that after telling my parents about my lies and having their full support, things wouldn’t be as complicated as they are.
My parents divorced before I even made my entrance into this world. My father has been obsessed with that love for years while my mother searches for love in all the wrong places. I don’t want a place to call home or a girl I can claim as mine. Except… Ainsley Janine –better known as ‘Nine’—has some special power that makes me question my preferences. The more I try to stay away from her, the more she pulls me closer.
Exploring the possibilities of having something steady in my life isn’t a problem; it’s the long term that worries me. In addition to that, the scumbag she dated years ago keeps popping up everywhere we go. If I could use my license to kill, maybe I can stop worrying about one thing and concentrate on what to do with the green eyed girl who keeps me awake most nights.
Unlike Any Other
“So that’s it; bye, bye to the old, hello Twinkie wife?”
His gaze drops and I take it as a yes.
“Where is the big love, the one that happens once in a lifetime? What happened to it? If you lost it like that, then there’s no hope for the rest of us, Dad.”
No wonder my relationship fell apart like it did. The dreamer in me thought back to my sixteen-year-old self when I thought I had found the great love that could withstand everything. I claimed to have what my parents had … almost three years later reality slapped me, no, reality crushed me.
Gabriel doesn’t speak. He has no comeback or comment to what I say. He makes a one-eighty degree turn and stares out at the blue sea.
I don’t count how long he’s immobilized in front of the window, nor do I move. However, after what feels like hours, he extends his hand and curls his fingers toward me. The moment I’m next to him, he puts his arm around my shoulder and hugs me tight, kissing the top of my head.
I hug my dad for the first time in years and my back relaxes.
“You can stay together in the name of love just for so long, AJ,” his voice has lost all the strength, the shield is down.
My body and soul identify with his, we’re defeated, sad and with only so much energy left to continue.
This is one of the traits we share, putting on a brave front while withering inside.
“Lately, I wonder if what we had justified being together for so long.” I hate those words as he lets them out. “Was it real or a fantasy we built and once reality hit we couldn’t keep it together. It hurts, being apart is painful—I won’t lie.”
Really, it hurts? Because there’s a woman outside—pregnant. I want to yell at him, my teeth grind, but I don’t let my anger get the best of me.
“It was mutual, we came to the conclusion that we wanted different things, our lives were going in different directions, and now I’m trying to build something—a new life?”
The uncertainty in his voice is a gift, a speckle of light that gives me hope. The words… well, they sound like a speech they—my parents agreed on giving us. That’s the way they were while growing up, one parental front. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but my money is on him. Gabriel called it off.
This is unfair. My parents drove me insane with their rules. Their crazy ideas and lies to the outside world. However, they are a match made in heaven. They are like milk and cookies, one can’t go without the other.
“This is wrong.” I shake my head. “You can’t finish a once in a lifetime love story like that,” I weakly claim. “Each time you told the story, it didn’t sound as if you made some sacrifices for us. It sounded as if you did it out of love. Am I wrong? Would you like to revise your story?”
He shakes his head.
“You should. Let’s do a play-by-play,” I suggest. “Maybe you can come clean and clear up all the lies you added to it when you told it as we grew up.”
“They weren’t lies,” he defends himself. “Maybe we skipped a few details… not many. We couldn’t disclose everything to our small children.”
“Once upon a time I thought I found what you did, Dad,” my bottom lip quivers, but I continue, “but everything crumbled, and… now I’m a cynic who doesn’t want to feel or believe. You’re proving me right, love is a shitty thing.”
“It isn’t, I can prove you wrong.”
“I’m all ears, Dad.”
Unlike Any Other© Claudia Burgoa 2015
I come out of the shower and head to my closet. The second shower in the past two hours. Our romantic second date was running. Some watch movies, others go to galleries, and a few repeat the dinner scene. We went for a jog. Well, we jogged and chatted at Washington Park Arboretum. A great experience, as we had a regular Mason-Ainsley interaction: work, my plans for the school, why I quit the substitute gigs.
I check myself in the full-size mirror while combing my hair. Today, I’m not trying to impress anyone, not even myself. A white tank top, a black maxi skirt, and a pair of flat sandals will have to serve its purpose. I pull my hair into a bun. Today’s a cleaning house and running errands kind of day. There’s a shopping list on my phone that MJ sent over; those two swear I’m their executive assistant. Maybe later, I can head to the farmers market for some fresh fruit for their place and mine. But before I do any of those, I head to the kitchen to grab a snack. But before I reach the kitchen, the bell rings. I walk to the kitchen and check the monitor above the refrigerator. One of the front porch cameras shows Mason’s grainy face; the other camera, his broad shoulders covered by a dark t-shirt.
“In a minute,” I say pressing the intercom button.
“Forgot something?” I question as I swing the door open.
His eyes sweep over my body, from head to bottom and all the way back. That cocky grin appears, but I only see it for a few seconds as Mason’s lips take possession of mine. It’s only a quick taste that leaves my mouth needing more. “This kissing you whenever I want is better than any video game I’ve ever played.”
“You’re such a geek, Mason Bradley.” My voice comes out dreamy because we both know that video games are one of his passions, and my kisses trump that. “Not that I mind you kissing me senseless, but you left twenty minutes ago saying ‘thank you for the best second date’ and I assumed you called it a day.”
“Date number two is over.” He lifts his arm, and I notice he’s holding a grocery bag. “We’re on date number three, Nine. Breakfast time!” His excited voice resonates through the walls.
My spine straightens, and I tilt my head as I stare into his gray eyes. “Three dates in less than twenty-four hours? That’s cheating the system.” In fact, part of yesterday’s conversation replays in my head. The exact words were, ‘I’m leaving later tonight for a job.’ “What happened to that mission you had last night?” I cross my arms, my eyes become two slits and my foot taps on the floor.
“I delegated.” He lifts a shoulder slightly then slumps his entire back. Not sure if he’s being casual about it or regretting it. “Maybe I wanted to accelerate the process when you mentioned that five date rule. However, after you stopped obsessing with having the perfect date and loosened up, I got to enjoy parts of you I’ve never had before.” He gives me a peck on the lips. “Including the physical portion of a relationship. Today I want to spend more time with you.”
Surprising, yet expected. For a guy who doesn’t believe, he’s wooing with his own style. Yet I’ve always known he’s sweet.
Unsurprisingly Complicated© Claudia Burgoa 2015
She now lives in Colorado working as a CFO for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, said nerd husband, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.