Just One Night. Part 3

By: Elle Casey

DEDICATION





To the confident, sexy girl inside all of us.





A note about serial romances…





This book is what’s called a serial romance. Most readers are familiar with full-length novels, novellas, and short stories, but many are not so familiar with serialized fiction. With the advent of self-publishing has come many different innovations, but believe it or not, a serial novel is not one of them. Serials have been around since the seventeenth century! They became especially popular in Britain’s Victorian Era (nineteenth century), “due to a combination of the rise of literacy, technological advances in printing, and improved economics of distribution.”* The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens may be a serial you’re familiar with. The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers were also serials, as were Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, among many others. Use of this format started to die down when periodicals fell out of favor and were then replaced by the Internet, but thanks to indie authors, it’s coming back! As a reader, I’ve found it a fun way to follow a story that’s always evolving while the anticipation builds between episodes or parts, and in the case of my serials it will be a story that evolves according to reader feedback. Please join the conversation about this book on my website at: http://www.ellecasey.com/just-one-night.





You can read more about serialized fiction on Wikipedia.





*[Law, Graham (2000). Serializing Fiction in the Victorian Press. New York & Hampshire, UK: Palgrave. p. 34. ISBN 0-312-23574-7. Retrieved October 23, 2011.]





Part 3





CHAPTER ONE

Jennifer





I HAVE CUCUMBERS ON MY eyes and something pastey-gooey on my face. An epic failure of an evening at least scored me something: lunch and a spa day courtesy of Mia and her boss. Thank you, guilt. I should probably use you to my advantage more often.

“Do you feel better yet?” Mia asks. “I know you were stressed, so don’t try and say you weren’t.” She’s referring to our quick getaway from the club last night and my ensuing silence.

“I wasn’t stressed, you were.”

“No, I was just pissed. I still don’t understand why William got in that fight. He ruined the night for everyone.”

“I told you, I have no idea.” Play stupid. That’s it, Jennifer. You can do this.

“How can a guy you’re hanging out with suddenly start beating a guy’s ass and you have no idea how it started? That makes zero sense, even when you’re British.”

She’s not going to let this go until I talk, and to be honest, I know I’ll probably feel better if I do talk about it, but I’m worried that Mia will go ballistic on me. I know she means it with love, but still … this is the one and only spa day I’ll probably get this year. Any more perks from her boss and she’s going to be obliged to blow him, and I can’t be responsible for that.

She hits me with her hand against my arm, so I lift up a cucumber and peer around the room. No one is in here but us lying side-by-side on two massage tables. The room has some sort of eucalyptus essential oil scent blowing around, and white and purple orchids are crowded in the corners along with some fern-type plants. Music of birds chirping and waterfalls runs in the background. I can almost believe a baboon is about to jump out from under my table. The ridiculousness of it hits me; I’m naked in the jungle with vegetables on my eyes while Mia gives me the third degree. How is this supposed to be relaxing again?

“Tell me,” she says. “I promise to keep my mouth shut.”

“That’s a lie.” I give up on relaxing and just settle for the idea of this being better than drowning my sorrows in orange juice in my tiny apartment while I Google William Stratford and fantasize about running away to Greece.

“Okay, I promise to not be negative.”

“That’s a lie too.” I put my cucumber back over my eye and lie down, forcing the stress to leave my body. I can do this. It’s totally mind over matter.

“Hey, come on … I’m not negative all the time.”

“You are about William.” Why do I feel protective of him and our non-relationship? Ridiculous. I need therapy. I wonder if I can do it online somehow. I have all kinds of things planned for work next week, and I don’t have time to visit a therapist’s couch anytime soon.

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