Chapter One-The Beginning


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Chapter One of Unforgettable

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Chapter One-The Beginning

  1. 1. Somewhere in Statham Island –Dean and Kendra’s Place "Hmmmm," Storm Chace sighed sadly, trying very hard to suppress an avalanche of painful memories. This place - his childhood home, reminded him so much of Emma, his late wife. He wondered again what he was doing back here. When Emma died, he swore he would never come back here and he had not until today. His brother, Dean, asked him to drop by for the weekend and as much as Storm tried to wiggle out of this arrangement he eventually agreed and now, here he was, sitting at the exact same spot which held special memories for him…memories of Emma…memories he was trying so hard to forget.
  2. 2. "I thought I'd find you here," Dean smiled as he sat next to him on the bench. The resemblance between the brothers was uncanny even against the stark contrast of their colouring. Dean, with his fair complexion, took after their mom and Storm, dark and broody, took after their father. Both were tall and solidly built. They had the same blue eyes that made one think of a cool ocean on a hot summer’s day. Storm at thirty-six was two years older than Dean and they were as close as siblings were expected to be. Once upon a time though, before Emma’s death, the Chace brothers were inseparable. But when Storm’s wife died, he locked his heart and threw away the key. As much as Dean had tried to reach him, his older brother remained steadfast in his need for isolation. "The house looks great. You've been taking good care of it," Storm mumbled, for the lack of something better to say. “Mom would be very proud of you. You know how much she loved this place.” He was suddenly bored with the attention he was getting from Dean. He felt lost and cut off from the world. It was hard to believe after two years he was still grieving for Emma.
  3. 3. "Kendra's invited some friends over for a small dinner party, you know...just to celebrate your home coming," Dean announced coolly. He abruptly rose from the bench and propped himself in front of his sibling. He braced himself for a little resistance from his older brother because he knew Storm still felt fragile and he was not ready to meet people and mingle, but Kendra had insisted. "It's been two years, when is he going to start moving on with his life if we don't help him?" She had argued stubbornly when he told her he did not think a dinner party was a good idea.
  4. 4. "Oh? Is that so?” Storm snapped cocking one dark eyebrow, his blue eyes darkening to a stormy blue color. “I'm not in the mood to mingle. And I'm not here to stay. I agreed to a weekend Dean, and that's all you are getting!" He snapped harshly. He really was not in the mood to be entertained. He missed his dark, lonely apartment in the city and his work. Parties and women were not for him, that was Dean's forte.
  5. 5. "Oh? Is that so?” Storm snapped cocking one dark eyebrow, his blue eyes darkening to a stormy blue color. “I'm not in the mood to mingle. And I'm not here to stay. I agreed to a weekend Dean, and that's all you are getting!" He snapped harshly. He really was not in the mood to be entertained. He missed his dark, lonely apartment in the city and his work. Parties and women were not for him, that was Dean's forte.
  6. 6. "Storm, you need to let her go. Emma wouldn't want you wasting your life away like this. Don't you think she'd want you to be happy?" Dean asked, suddenly angry with him, his morose attitude was starting to get to him. "I am happy," Storm retorted adamantly, a dangerous glint in his eyes. "I'm sorry, but you don't look like the picture of happiness to me," his brother answered dryly. "Don't you have some place to be?" He asked irritably after a while of tense silence. Why couldn't Dean leave him be? He just wanted to be alone. Was it too much to ask for?
  7. 7. Somewhere in Downtown-Londoste restaurant "Kendra!" "Victoria!" The two ladies screeched excitedly as they kissed each other on both cheeks. It was their small reunion after six months of being apart. But they talked on the phone every day though. They were meeting for lunch at Londoste and then they would drive to Dean’s house on the beach and Victoria would be spending the weekend with them.
  8. 8. Look at you! You look amazing," Kendra gushed, her blonde head bobbing up and down. To say Kendra Mason was pretty was an understatement. The word did not do her justice. Her hair, the color of sunshine on a cold wintry morning, framed her small pixie like face in soft curls. Her green and widely spaced eyes would have looked odd on any face but hers. Her small mouth seemed to be in a perpetual smile. She looked like a fairy tale princess and it was not hard to see how Dean, one of Statham Island’s rich playboys, had instantly fallen in love with her.
  9. 9. "You too… Suburbia life agrees with you. You look great. Maybe I should move to the suburbs too," Victoria joked pulling her best friend in an affectionate embrace. Victoria Mendez too, was stunning in a dark sultry way. Her mixed parentage added to her exotic looks and mysterious aura. Her huge blue eyes sometimes turned a steely gray depending on her mood. Her hair, an inheritance from her Irish mother, was long and fiery, reminding one of a wild African sunset. Her lips were small but pouty and that made her irresistibly kiss-worthy to the male species. Both ladies were short and petite and they looked far too young for their twenty six-years of life.
  10. 10. Victoria was looking forward to this weekend with her best friend. They saw each other at least four times a year now because both had demanding careers. She was a photo journalist and she was always abroad on some assignment or another. Kendra was a professional party guest but she also ran her own events coordination company. Plus Kendra had moved in with Dean seven months earlier. But now Victoria was taking some time off work to concentrate on opening her art gallery at the heart of Statham Island and this bold move meant she would have more time for her best friend. "How's Dean? Work? Have you guys set the wedding date yet?" Victoria asked excitedly a little while later, after being shown to a corner table with the best view in the house by the restaurant’s hostess. Londoste is located at the heart of Statham Island’s Downtown. It is a “by booking only” elite restaurant servicing the crème de la crème of Statham Island. Victoria did not have to ask how Kendra had secured a booking. She knew Dean Chace, Kendra’s fiancé, had something to do with it. Perks of having a multi-millionaire fiancé, she mused to herself as she appraised her best friend. They had so much to talk about.
  11. 11. She loved the restaurant’s atmosphere. The décor was rich gold and creams and the walls were a deep burgundy color. Art works from famous restaurants in Pleasantview framed the walls and in one small corner of the room a pianist caressed the instrument and produced what Victoria believed to be contemporary jazz. The low lighting added to the intimate feel and for a second Victoria wished she was sitting across the man of her dreams instead of her best friend. "Dean's amazing. I can't believe how lucky I am to be engaged to the most wonderful man in the world," her friend gushed, her green eyes lighting up when she mentioned her fiancé’s name. "Awww---I’m so jealous right now! Why can't I find a catch like Dean? I'm tired dating and meeting all sorts of jerks. I just want to settle down with Mr. Forever, you know!" Victoria moaned, a frustrated sigh rushing from her lips.
  12. 12. "Victoria, don't rush him. The right man will come along and when he does, you'll know it," Kendra told her warmly. Who knew, maybe her friend might just meet Mr. Forever very soon, she smiled as she thought of Storm Chace, Dean's older brother. He and Victoria would make a perfect match. Of course neither Storm nor Victoria knew this, but this weekend was her idea to set them up with each other. Mr. Forever my ass! Victoria thought miserably. She was twenty-six and still single, still going home to a lonely house and a cold bed. She was tired of being alone. And if Mr. Forever was out there, he had better hurry up because she was really getting tired of waiting!
  13. 13. Victoria was looking for Dean and Kendra's directions to his study were vague. She did not believe she was in yet another bathroom. How many bathrooms did this place have? Dean’s two-storey childhood home was massive. Her parent’s small modest three bedroom place back in Belladonna Cove could fit easily in one wing of this mansion and still leave some room. Her best friend had told her the study/den was upstairs but she had forgotten to mention that the house was massive and Victoria might just get lost. She did not know much about architecture but she thought the style and design of the house was traditional with a hint of Spanish or maybe Italian influence. It boasted of six bedrooms all located on the first floor and several bathrooms dispersed all over the house. From what Kendra had told her she knew there was a state of the art home gym, private cinema and an indoor pool somewhere inside this massive place. Behind the house was the vast expanse of the ocean and from here she could hear the sound of waves and sea gulls. The garden was huge and beautifully landscaped with perfectly manicured lawns. Victoria found herself wondering just how much it cost to maintain this place.
  14. 14. "Can I help you?" a sexy, low, male voice startled her and sent goose bumps up her arms. She turned around to see the most amazing looking half naked man she had ever laid eyes on walk into the bathroom and softly close the door behind him. He was a picture of perfection. His virility and raw sexual energy screamed out from every pore of his well built muscular body. She forgot everything as she drank him in. He was way taller than her. His disheveled and slightly long raven hair framed his tanned serious face. He had shockingly blue eyes that made Victoria think of a clear sky on a winter morning. His aquiline nose gave him an air of cool self assurance. He had a wide and generous mouth that made Victoria want to reach up and trail the tip of her tongue on his lips. He looked like a darker version of Dean but while she thought her best friend’s fiancé was cute and adorable, this man was anything but. He was devastatingly gorgeous and it took her all of three minutes to size him up and know he was a big NO NO!
  15. 15. "I...m...I'm sorry. I'm looking for Dean," Victoria stuttered, unable to make up a coherent sentence. Her fingers itched to reach out and trail a path on his wide muscular chest. She did not understand where this sudden urge was coming from, but the longer she stared at him, the more her body wanted to wrap itself around his perfectly formed frame! "He's down the hall," came the clipped the tone. His blue eyes appraised her coolly and a small arrogant smile formed on his lips when she blushed prettily and looked away.
  16. 16. "Oh?" Victoria mumbled stupidly, turning away from the half naked man. She knew she should leave the room, but her feet were stubbornly rooted on the spot. "Is there anything else you’re looking for?" the man-god asked again, a touch of amusement now in his voice. You have no idea, she thought to herself as she imagined all the wicked things she suddenly wanted from him. "No, nothing...” she stammered again and quickly scurried from the room.
  17. 17. She felt the man's eyes piercing her back and instinctively her body stiffened at the knowledge that she was being carefully appraised. She allowed herself to relax only when she reached the hallway. Gosh, that man had had a strange effect on her. She had to tell Kendra! Maybe it was because he was half naked, she told herself. Thoughts of finding Dean were momentarily forgotten as she ran outside to find her friend and tell her about her little encounter. It did not cross her mind that Kendra knew the half naked man and that perhaps he was Dean’s brother.                                                                     ~
  18. 18. "Victoria, it's good to see you again," Charlie Clarke, Kendra's friend from work greeted her warmly when she found them outside in the garden. "It's good to see you too Charlie. I didn't know you were coming over," Victoria answered. "Didn't I tell you? It must have slipped my mind," Kendra piped in, "I'm throwing a small dinner party tonight, you know, for you and...."
  19. 19. But Victoria did not let her finish, she was almost bursting with excitement. "Kendra, you won't believe what just happened now!" she squealed like a school girl. "Sweetie, can we talk about this later? We both have to get ready for dinner," Kendra replied absent mindedly. "This won't take a sec, I need to tell you about this man--------" she tried again, but Kendra was already edging away to get ready for the dinner party. I guess it can wait, Victoria thought and she slowly made her way to the guest room she would be using for the weekend.
  20. 20. "Dean! Do you have any idea how long I've been looking for you? I don't know how many times I must have gotten lost. This place is massive," Victoria smiled up at Dean as she rushed into his arms a little while later when he walked into her room. "You look great! How have you been?" Dean asked squeezing her gently. They both pulled apart as Storm cleared his throat. Victoria blushed slightly as she recognized him. He was fully clothed now, but still devastatingly and dangerously sexy.
  21. 21. "Victoria, this is my brother Storm," Dean introduced them, watching with mild interest as his older brother edged closer to Victoria. He saw the way Storm carefully hooded his eyes to hide the interest suddenly sparked by Victoria. "Oh...I..." Victoria stammered once again, blushing slightly, her tongue suddenly thick and uncooperative. "I know...don't worry. He also leaves me speechless at times," Dean joked.
  22. 22. "Nice to meet you Victoria," Storm murmured, his voice low and so sexy. Was he doing the voice thing on purpose? Or is that the way he talks? Victoria wondered. "It’s nice to meet you too Storm," she managed to whisper. She could not say she had heard so much about him now could she, because she had not. Up until now, she had always thought Dean was the only child. "We'll, let you get ready. See you in a little while Victoria," Storm murmured politely, leaving the room, with Dean trailing behind him.
  23. 23. Victoria, all dressed up and almost ready for the party, stood staring outside her bedroom window. She did not understand why Storm Chace made her stutter so much. He was not the first half naked man she had ever seen and he certainly would not be the last. But, on the other hand, she had never felt this way before. She could not even explain how she felt. Well...he ...he took her breath away. Yes, she felt breathless every time his blue eyed gaze settled on her. There was something in his eyes that scared and drew her in all at the same time. Suddenly this weekend did not seem like such a good idea now. Maybe she should leave first thing tomorrow morning...She could lie and say she got called in at work. No, she was being silly. There was nothing between her and Storm. She just met the guy, so how can he possibly make her feel breathless?
  24. 24. "Victoria huh?" Storm started to say, but then changed his mind. He did not understand the sudden quickening of his heart when he had taken Victoria’s hand in a firm handshake. He had felt a jolt of electricity spark through him and a bewildered look had crossed his eyes as he had tried to understand what it meant. He had looked into her blue eyes and felt breathless. She was beautiful beyond words but something about Victoria screamed NO at him. He did not want any complications. Storm knew complicated dynamite when he saw one and Victoria was exactly that. Dean, saw the flicker of interest in his brother's eyes but did not say anything. "So, she's Kendra's best friend?" Storm asked again, trying not to sound too keen. "Since kindergarten," his younger brother informed him coolly. He would have told him more about Victoria but then Kendra called them and told them dinner was ready.
  25. 25. Throughout dinner Kendra and Dean watched in horror as what they had hoped would be a great evening quickly turned to a disaster. Victoria and Storm seemed to have nothing to say to each other. Fair enough Victoria was trying to make conversation, but all Storm did was listen and smile politely. He did not share anything about his life voluntarily and whatever he did say was dredged out of him by Victoria’s sheer persistence.
  26. 26. "So what do you do for a living Storm?" Victoria murmured as she tried once again to say something that might engage him, but he was really proving to be a difficult customer. "This and that," Storm answered vaguely. He knew he was acting like an ass, and he wanted to be nice to her but for some reason he just could not. Not tonight. Suddenly, as he looked at his brother and his fiancé he realized what this weekend was. It was a set up! He wondered if Victoria was in on it too. She must be, otherwise why would she go out of her way to be so utterly charming especially when he was being so impossible?
  27. 27. Feeling slightly irritable and rebellious, Storm turned to the blonde on his left and asked her to dance. Dean, Kendra and Victoria could only look on in silent horror as the night went from worse, to downright worse. Kendra had not planned this. Storm and Victoria were supposed to meet, fall madly in love, make passionate love and live happily ever after, but Storm seemed to be in a strange mood. He was not rude, he was just not receptive.
  28. 28. Victoria kept stealing glances at him and the blonde as they slow danced. Why did she even care? It was not like she liked Storm or anything. But his disinterest hurt. She had tried throughout dinner to chat to him, get to know him and all he did was close up and go for the blonde. Well, this dinner party sucked! Suddenly she wished she was back at her apartment, in her cold bed. She would take her cold bed any day over this disaster of a dinner party.
  29. 29. "Let's take this party upstairs, shall we," the blonde smiled up at Storm suggestively. He did not even know her name, but what she was offering sounded ten times better than being here with his scheming brother and his equally scheming fiancé. He hated being set up and tomorrow he and Dean had lot to talk about. "Sure," he whispered flirtatiously, for Victoria’s benefit across the room. Now that would teach her a lesson, he thought smugly. Who did she think she was, playing along with his brother and Kendra’s scheme to help him get over Emma? He let the blonde guide him out of the room. He could feel three pairs of eyes staring after them disapprovingly but he did not care. That would teach them to stop meddling in his life. Too bad for Victoria, if she had hoped she would score with him tonight she was in for a big surprise.
  30. 30. "Are you okay?" Dean asked after Storm and his lady friend left the room. He saw the bewildered look on Victoria's face. "Sure. Why wouldn't I be?" Victoria replied carelessly, trying to hide her hurt. "Well Storm---" he started to say but she cut in. "I don't want to talk about Storm. I need some air. I'll be outside if anyone needs me," Victoria mumbled, pushing past her best friend and her fiancé.
  31. 31. Somewhere, upstairs, inside that massive house Storm was doing Lord knows what to that blonde woman and she, Victoria, was strangely jealous. It did not make sense to her. She did not know the man. Yesterday this time, she was not even aware of his existence and now, all she could think about was him. Tomorrow, she would leave. She could not stay. For some reason Storm disliked her and she just could not spend her entire weekend feeling miserable.                                                                      ~
  32. 32. Saturday morning came too soon for her after a night spent tossing and turning and imagining all sorts of wicked things Storm had got up to with the blonde. Without wanting to, in her mind, she went the previous night’s dinner party, Storm's cold attitude towards her and her own irrational behavior every time Storm said something to her. She felt mortified all over again as she remembered how she had stuttered like a school girl. Well today would be different. I will not let Storm and his attitude ruin my day, she told herself as she slipped out of bed and padded softly to her wardrobe to change into a swimsuit. She felt like a nice refreshing morning swim in the ocean or maybe she would just go and sunbathe by the pool while catching up on some sketches for her gallery; the options were endless in this massive house!
  33. 33. Storm almost choked on his blueberry pancakes when Victoria made her grand entrance in her bikini. "Morning," Victoria murmured politely as she dropped in the chair next to him. "Do you always have breakfast in a bikini when visiting strange houses?" Storm asked coldly. It was not that she looked horrible in the bikini, in fact she looked amazing and he found himself staring at her over and over again, without meaning to. Had she no shame coming on to him like that?
  34. 34. "I'm sorry. I thought it was still too early and I'd be the only one awake. I'll go change if that will make you feel better," Victoria answered, nibbling slowly on her pancakes. "It's not like you are showing something I've never seen before," Storm snapped at her, surprising them both.
  35. 35. "Excuse me? Did I do something to upset you?" She challenged him boldly, irritated by his nasty attitude towards her. "What makes you think that?" he shot back coldly, his dark eye brows knitting into a stormy frown. He was not used to being challenged. "I get the feeling you don't like me. I'm not sure what I did, but I think we should talk about it," Victoria answered, a challenging look in her blue eyes. "Lady, of course I don't like you. I don't even know you!" Storm hissed dangerously, his blue eyes darkening with inexplicable fury. He knew he was rude, but he could not stop himself, it was like some evil, crazy spirit had taken over him.
  36. 36. "You know what, I don't need this. I've lost my appetite," Victoria snapped. She pushed her plate away and rose from the table. Storm stood up too and did something that surprised them both.
  37. 37. Ever so gently, he pulled her into his arms and looked into her eyes for what seemed like eternity to Victoria. For a second she was scared and breathless. Without warning, Storm lowered his dark head and claimed her mouth in a fiercely possessive kiss. He pulled her tighter in his embrace, all the while pressing her soft body against his. She felt tiny and fragile in his arms and he realized how long it had been since he had felt this way.
  38. 38. He knew he should stop kissing her because if he did not then something life changing might just happen. His brain screamed at him to stop, but his arms and his lips would not let her go. She felt so perfect and right in his arms, like she was meant for him. Victoria, resisted, only for a second and only because she could not believe it was really happening. In that instant, he knew why he had been so hell bent on disliking her. The chemistry between them was undeniable and so potent. It did not make sense, he had just met her but he had never needed someone as much as he needed her now. Silently he took her hand and they made their way to his bedroom.
  39. 39. Upstairs, in his room, he laid her gently on his king-sized bed and kissed her again, more urgently and more feverishly this time. He could not bear to pull away from her. Victoria knew she should leave but she could not move. She wanted him, needed him in a way that was new to her. This was madness and wrong. But how could it be wrong when it felt so good?
  40. 40. Suddenly he pulled away from her and looked into her eyes; he wanted to make sure he was not crossing the line. He waited for her objection, but it never came. Gently, wordlessly, they peeled off each other’s clothes and made love. Storm was surprised by the ferocity of his passion for her. She gave herself to him so abundantly, so freely and so completely with naked lust and passion and something else Storm was too afraid to acknowledge and it brought tears to his eyes. They were both awed at the amount of pleasure their bodies gave and received in turn. He made love to her over and over again and each time it felt like a whole new experience. He could not get enough of her and each time she welcomed him and they drove each other to new heights of passion.
  41. 41. For a long time after they made love Victoria lay awake in Storm's arms with tears in her eyes. Making love with him was the most beautiful experience she had ever had. She did not know what she should do. Should she sneak out quietly? Or should she lie silently next to him. She had never done this before...made love to a total stranger, no matter how gorgeous he was. Gosh, she was mortified. She lay, thinking, for a very long time.
  42. 42. She woke up, startled. A sad sigh escaped her lips as she reached for Storm only to clutch an empty space. He was gone. What had she expected? They had just had meaningless sex. She was disgusted with herself for having acted the way she had. But she did not regret one moment spent in his arms. It was crazy, but she knew, like she had known when she first met him the day before, when he was half naked in his bathroom, that she was in love with him. "What have you done? She asked the empty room. She had to go downstairs and find him. Why? What would she say? She did not know, but she had to find him.
  43. 43. "Storm? What's going on?" Dean asked surprised to see his brother getting ready to leave. "I need to head back, there's some problem at the office," Storm answered, distracted by the call he had just taken on his cell phone. "Right now? Can't it wait? Storm, you promised you'd stay the weekend," his brother reminded him. "I know. I'm sorry. But I have to go. Listen; can you give Victoria a message for me?" Storm asked uncertainly. There was so much he wanted to say to her... "Wha------Victoria? Sure, what's the message?"
  44. 44. "Tell her I'll call her," was all Storm said, giving his brother a quick hug. "You'll call her? Why? Guess, it's none of my business. I'll tell her anyway," Dean told him, patting him on the back. Dean watched his brother pull out of the driveway. His leaving was sudden. An emergency at the office? Yeah right! And what was this thing with calling Victoria? When did they get so chummy chummy?
  45. 45. "What do you mean he's gone? It's only Saturday. Wasn't he supposed to be staying for the weekend?" Victoria asked, her voice sounding shrill. She was on the verge of breaking down in tears. She came downstairs to find Storm only to be informed by Dean that he left. "He said there was some crisis at the office and he had to go. But he said he'll call you," Dean delivered his brother’s message gently. He did not know why, but he felt like he said something wrong. A crisis at the office? Please...Who was Storm kidding? He did not even have the guts to say good bye to her face. Well, if he wanted to treat her like a one night stand that was fine with her, Victoria thought bitterly. No, it was not fine with her. She so wanted to tell him she was in love with him and being with him was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to her, and now he was gone. She did not care that Dean was watching her pitifully as she sobbed violently in her hands.
  46. 46. "Did I say something wrong? Victoria what is it? Talk to me," Dean begged. Between her and his brother, he did not know who confused him more. Victoria could only shake her head. She had never been this mortified. Was she that horrible in bed? Is that why Storm felt the need to sneak out on her like that? She decided, right there and there, she was leaving. "I'm going home. I can't stay here. I'm sorry," she mumbled and made a dash upstairs to get her things.