Book 2 – The Lost Series

Copyright 2015 Liz Lovelock All Rights Reserved

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to real events, real people, and real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places and incidents are products of the Author’s imagination and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, organisations or places is entirely coincidental.

All rights are reserved. This book is intended for the purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system, without the express written permission of the Author. All songs, song titles and lyrics contained in this book are the property of the respective songwriters and copyright holders.

Cover design by Cover to Cover Designs

Formatting by Swish Design & Editing

Editing by Swish Design & Editing

Proofread by KMS Freelance Editing

Cover Image Copyright 2015

Dedication To my 3 amazing sisters, Melanie, Stephanie and Rachel. I couldn’t ask for better sisters, you are my best friends. ~ A Sisters Bond Lasts Forever~

A Note for the Reader This book has been written using UK English and contains euphemisms and slang words that form part of the Australian spoken word, which is the basis of this book’s writing style. Please remember that the words are not misspelled, they are slang terms and are part of the everyday, Australian lifestyle. This book has been written using UK English. If you would like further explanation, or to discuss the translation or meaning of a particular word, please do not hesitate to contact the author – contact details have been provided, for your convenience, at the end of this book. I hope you enjoy a look into the Australian way of life.

Acknowledgements I have so many people to thank, but I will try making it short yet sweet. Firstly, I would love to thank my readers who have stuck by me, pushing and encouraging me to keep going with Melodi and Corban’s story. Falling pregnant and having baby number three arrive into the Lovelock homestead, threw me a curveball and writing became hard, but I’m so glad you all didn’t give up on me. It’s here now and I really hope you love it like I do. I love you all! Thank you to Kaylene at Swish Design & Editing for the hard work put into helping make The Missing One perfect and my words magical. For the wonderful formatting, and for your reassurance in my work. Thank you to KMS Freelance Editing for proofreading and offering great advice where needed. To Kari at Cover to Cover Designs for another amazing cover and all the effort put into it. Thank you to all the blogs that have helped me in my journey, and especially to the ladies at Give Me Books for running my release, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. You’re all amazing! A special thanks to Linda and Melissa for assisting me with contacting blogs and helping me manage things while I was MIA with baby Finn. I can’t thank you enough. Thank you to my beta girls Kristine from Glass Paper Ink Book Blog, Felicia Tatum, Belinda O’Brien, Cheryl, Karen Harper, TBird, and KE Osborn. I appreciate every single piece of advice offered. You have no idea how much I value your opinions. You’re wonderful friends who help and inspire me to be better and improve myself and believe in my writing. To the girls in my Luscious Ladies group, thank you for always being there to support me and when I need to have a vent about something. I wanted to keep this short and sweet, but I need to mention the following ladies who were there for me when I wanted to give it all up. (I blame the pregnancy hormones.) Felicia Tatum, TL Smith, KE Osborn, Stephanie Smith, Emma Fitzgerald, Lauren McKellar, Allyson Sinclair, Belinda O’Brien, Lila Rose, and Jemma Brown. All of you supported and cheered me through a hard time while not only writing this book but by being wonderful friends to lend an ear when I needed it. I love you all and appreciate every single bit of support you have shown and advice you have given, it has meant the world to me. To my husband Mark and my three beautiful monsters, Amelia, Cale, and Finn. I love you all to the moon and back. I couldn’t have done this without you all. You’re my world.

Chapter One

Melodi Was last night a dream? Did it actually happen? The broken wrist…yep that happened. Being told I’m gonna be a mum…of twins! Yep, that happened as well. A new kind of joy pumps through my veins. A flash of Corban’s face after seeing the little peanuts on the screen enters my mind, his eyes lit up with new purpose and meaning. He’s going to be a great dad. My heart clenches with the thought of what else happened last night. This can’t be real. I must have passed out before I got home and Corban put me to bed. Please let it be that. Yes, that had to be a dream. It felt like one of those dreams that are so real it caused physical pain, to stab through my heart, with the visual of her standing there. What would I do if she was here? Laying here with my eyes closed I think through it all piece by piece. I’m not sure where my thoughts are right now and this frustrates me. Suddenly there’s movement near my arm making me bolt upright. My head’s a little dizzy from moving so quickly as my eyes fly open scanning my surroundings. I blink a few times to try and clear my blurry eyes and fuzzy head. Sucking in a hard breath that quickly fills my lungs, I turn to look beside me, and a peaceful, sleeping little angel is there. A girl. Who does she belong to? Am I still dreaming? She has wavy black hair that falls just past her shoulders. Her pale skin instantly reminds me of Abby’s. I forcefully tear my eyes away from the sleeping angel to the much larger body beside her. Abby… The air in my lungs evaporates, as I clutch at my racing heart that threatens to explode from my chest. Yep, last night really happened. Why is she here? I think the bigger question is how is she here? For the past three years, she let me and our parents believe she was dead. Did she even think about how we would feel? I’m sure she had a good reason for doing so, but three years without a word… She could have contacted me somehow; written me a letter or a quick two-second phone call just to quell our fears. The seed of anger begins to grow within me like a poisonous weed spreading through a garden of roses. It’s only been one night, and I’m not sure I can handle this. I have my own issues at the moment. Did she or Blake even think about the effect this might have on me, or Mum and Dad, or even anyone else around us? Taking a moment to have a good hard look at her, I see she’s the same. The only difference is she’s let her hair grow out like mine, and it’s close to the same length now. She never really liked the natural red colour she was born with; she always died it black or some outrageous colour like purple or blue. It could have been her acting out, which was something she liked to do for a little while, but it worried Mum and Dad something chronic. Then came along the foul furry spider, Jacob. He crawled his way into her life and sucked the happiness and soul right out of her, leaving an empty shell in its wake. I wonder what she’s like now. Will I look at her and see my sister from three years ago, or will she be different? I’m sure she has changed, but how? She begins to stir, slightly mumbling to herself. She always did mumble in her sleep. The thought brings a small smile to my face, allowing my anger to dissipate a fraction. A part of me just can’t face her at the moment. I feel nervous seeing her again and I’m not sure what I would even say to her right now. I quickly pull myself together, taking a moment to assess the possibility of passing out again, before I begin my silent exit. I stand at the door and glance back at my sister and that little girl. I’m met with her beautiful emerald eyes staring into mine. She startles and attempts to wake a restful Abby. I immediately stop her whispering, “Hey beautiful, it’s okay, don’t disturb Mummy.” She looks at me and turns to her mum assessing what she should do. I help her make her mind up. “You hungry?” My tone is soft, so as to not disturb Abby, and gentle so I don’t alarm the green-eyed princess who’s looking at me in confusion. She nods her head before a big smile plants itself across her face. “Do you want to come help me make some pancakes?” Her eyes light up like twinkling stars as she quickly nods and scrambles about trying to escape the sheets she’s tucked tightly under. I hold out my hand and she takes it willingly. As our hands link, it’s like I’m home. I’m complete again. This little girl is another piece I was missing even though I never knew she existed. Abby is alive! She has this beautiful girl who she’s cared for and nurtured. I have Corban, who makes me feel wonderful. Each time I think about him my heart does a little dance and brings a smile to my face. And now we’re going to be parents! We truly have been blessed in more ways than one. I silently close the door behind us. Turning around to face the lounge room, my eyes seek out the two male forms spread across my couch. I don’t want to wake them, so I lead the little princess to the kitchen. “Okay, you gonna be my little chef?” I ask excitedly. She eagerly nods and responds, “Yes,” as she runs around to the table and quickly drags a chair over to place it beside the island. I race to help her before she makes too much noise and does damage to the floorboards. Once in place, she climbs up ready to be my little helper. I gather all the required ingredients, measuring and then placing them into the bowl. She assists, then happily takes care of the mixing. “So what’s your name?” I guess I should find out, but regardless she’ll still be a little princess to me. In a sweet angelic voice she replies, “Katie. You know, you spell it like, K-A-T-I-E.” She’s super proud of her spelling effort. I’m so excited for her that I do a little cheer and she joins in clapping and laughing. It takes a moment such as this to give me a glimmer of my future, a moment like this with my own children. Corban and I together cheering our two little ones on with whatever new thing they do. It makes my heart swell with happiness. “That’s a pretty name, Katie. You’re such a great little speller too. Did Mummy teach you that?” She keeps mixing, her brow furrowed in full concentration on what’s in the bowl and she replies, “Yes, she’s the bestest Mummy.” She giggles wiping her hair away from her face and smears some batter across her cheek. I grin at her cuteness as I take a cloth and wipe away the batter. She’s such a bright little girl. “Who are you?” she asks, looking up at me with her green eyes shining brightly. I completely forgot that she wouldn’t know me. I’m a little taken aback because I’m not sure if I should ask her to call me Aunty Mel or just Mel. I open my mouth to reply when I hear that familiar voice. One I thought I never would hear again, not in this lifetime anyway. One voice I’d know anywhere even though it’s been missing from my life for the last three years. “This is your Aunty Mel, sweetie. She is Mummy’s sister.” Abby smiles reassuring her in a way only a mother can do. My eyes meet Abby’s for the second time. The worry in them crushes me, her voice is familiar yet she sounds like a stranger because I haven’t heard it in such a long time. I honestly don’t know what to say. I’m at a loss for words. As I go to speak, so does she, but a sharp knock at the door stops us both. Her confused look mirrors mine. She immediately runs over grabbing Katie from her chair. Blake comes racing in from the lounge room, quickly followed by Corban, who’s at my side in an instant. His arm wraps around me pulling me into his side. A wave of security spreads through me. I know he’d do anything for me, and by the looks of things Blake would throw himself in front of a bus for Abby. I see admiration in his eyes as he ushers them both back into the bedroom and then comes back to answer the door. I stay grounded to my spot as my adrenaline spikes and fear washes over me like a cold shower. Blake thanks whoever is at the door and steps back in with not one, but two arrangements of flowers. My stomach ties itself into a million knots. There’s my usual arrangement of roses that comes daily, only now there are eight brightly coloured roses and the remaining twenty-two are dead and withered. Jacob must be trying to get to me. Sending me these bouquets daily as if counting down to something, but what? Now there are two different bunches and I’m at a loss as to what he’s getting at with them. Why is he doing this to me? What did I ever do to him? I hardly knew the guy, and I never gave him the time of day. He didn’t sit well with me because he made me feel uneasy. It’s as though something gnaws away within me when someone isn’t what or who they seem. Then there’s a new one, it looks like a nice bunch. Taking a closer look I see a sea of coloured carnations and I immediately know who they’re for. Abby was never a lover of carnations. He’s taunting her now that he knows she’s here. Did he know all along that she wasn’t dead? I look up meeting the gaze of Blake. He has a hard look on his face that’s unreadable. I step out of Corban’s grip and head toward the bunch of carnations. I notice a card and grab it. Opening it, I read the card and my stomach drops while my heart clicks into overdrive. I drop it and glance up, seeing the fear in Abby’s eyes as she watches me closely, waiting for my reaction.

 

Chapter Two

Abby I already know who those wretched flowers are from before Melodi opens the card. By the pale look on her face, it tells me everything I need to know. He knows I hate carnations. I remember the first time he brought me flowers; that’s when everything turned upside down. I heard the door close as he arrived home. I’d come here after work to surprise him with a nice dinner as it was our three month anniversary. Jacob was the sweetest man I’d met. He treated me like a princess; always spoiling me and making me feel loved in every way. We hadn’t been together in an intimate way, but he was very patient with me and I couldn’t have been happier. I believed he was something special. As I continued cutting up the vegetables for our roast his strong arms wrapped around my waist. He kissed along my neck, causing goosebumps to rise all over my heated skin. It brought a smile to my lips and a giggle escaped my mouth. He spun me around to face him. His lips sought out mine as he attacked them, devouring me, savouring my taste. His kiss was hard and it left me lightheaded. “What was that for?” I asked as I ran my fingers through his short messy black hair. He looked bothered about something. “I need you, Abby. When can you be all mine?” Whoa! That was a deep question. “I got you something today.” He turned around and grabbed a bunch of flowers off the table. It was a rainbow of carnations mixed with baby’s breath. I couldn’t say that they were my favourite flower, but his gesture was sweet. A sweet smile swept across my face. “Thank you, babe, they’re beautiful.” I reached out to take them from him, but he pulled them toward himself fast, as though he was snatching them back so I couldn’t touch them. “You don’t like them?” He spat the words at me in disgust. A small bit of spittle hit my face and I fought the urge to swipe it away, so I went for subtle. “What…I…no, I like them,” I stammered. I was thrown by his aggression. It was like he had flicked a switch. Did I give off some sort of vibe he wasn’t happy about? His hand reached my upper arm and he gripped it tight, enough to make me yelp in pain. It didn’t deter him; his grip only got tighter. His short nails dug deep into my skin causing my eyes to water and shed a few tears. “You don’t look happy with the flowers I picked out especially for you!” Anger flared in his eyes frightening me. Alarm bells rung loud and clear in my ears, a warning to watch what I said next. I sucked up my ball of nerves followed by the fear lurching in the pit of my stomach putting a fake smile on my face. I placed my hand over his trying to un-claw him from my arm. Once his hand finally loosened, I stepped in closer to him. “Baby, I love them so much, they’re beautiful.” My voice was sweet as I could manage under the circumstances. Each word was forced like trying to stick a square block through a round hole. A grin spreads across his face as he wrapped his arms around me, pulling me into his hard chest. My own pounding heart brimmed with fear because I was sure there would be bruises the following day from his vice grip. I had to keep Melodi from seeing them as she already had concerns regarding Jacob. Was I seeing a new side to him or was this just him? I was so naïve. If only I’d listened to those alarm bells that had rung so clearly that day, then my life may have turned out so much differently. But would I have met Blake? I look around the room and everyone’s eyes are glued on me. A feeling of apprehension washes over me and I wish now I’d stayed away. I look into my sister’s eyes, the eyes I’ve dreamed about seeing for so long. They’re saddened, scared and filling with liquid that threatens to erupt at any second. She clings to Corban, who stands strongly by her side, his arm wrapped around her while gently rubbing and soothing her. I look over my shoulder at Katie and see her eyes are glued to the television. Walking over to the flowers, I pick up the card, scanning over every word. Hello beautiful, I’m thinking of you and that pretty daughter of ours. I’m sure she would love to meet her daddy. Don’t think of running again, I’m always watching. J x Anger burns through me, as I vigorously rip that pathetic card to shreds, tossing it straight into the trash. My hands shake uncontrollably as my chest vibrates. I’m angry, yet equally as frightened. Is that even possible? Right now my emotions are all over the place like paint splashed carelessly across a canvas. I sense Blake behind me, his aura is calming. He’s always been my rock, even back during those hard times. I feel the bile rising in my throat. I make it to the sink before bringing up the remains of dinner from last night.

Chapter Three

Watching my sister sick with fear shoots panic through me. I race over and rub small circles over her back, trying to soothe the flood of emotions that are running through her veins like poison. I lean over to talk to her, to see if she’s okay, and that’s when it hits me- the waft of stomach bile. I quickly step away doubling over, coughing and violently dry retching. I clutch my chest as I take long deep breaths of fresh, clean air, in an attempt to settle that feeling of wanting to be physically ill myself. My whole body trembles. I don’t do vomit well, but I’ve always been able to comfort those who need me when they’re sick. Abby recovers, washing her face and composing herself. Blake takes my place beside her, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and pulling her securely into him. My stomach settles, but I think that’s only the start of the morning sickness to come. Oh, how fun. Blake turns to Abby. “Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it.” His words are strong and full of meaning. Corban’s arms wrap around my waist to rest on my belly. “Are you all right?” His breath tickles my neck as he places a feather light kiss on my skin. I close my eyes as I’m comforted by this sensual moment. Turning in his arms, I look up into his metallic blue eyes that brew with concern. “I’m good. I guess I better get used to feeling miserable and sick, and now I have another worry.” I give him a weak smile since he knows what I’m referring to. “I’ll be here to look after you, and if you’re not up for working, then I’m sure your boss will give you time off,” he chuckles, kissing my forehead and making my chest tingle with love and adoration. I glance back over my shoulder and notice that Abby and Blake have left the kitchen. I step out of Corban’s arms and go searching for them. They’re in the living area with the television on for Katie, sitting on the lounge and talking quietly with each other. Before I can stop myself, I ask, “So what’s going to happen now?” Their words fall silent as they both look at me. “Corban’s going to give us a safe place where I can hide Abby and Katie,” Blake says. “I think it would be best if you went and stayed with Corban—” “Wait! What?” I cut him off. “So I’m not going to see Abby anymore? You’re taking her away from me again?” I plead. The mere thought of not having her around sends me into a spiral. I only just got her back, and now she has to go away once more. “It’s okay, Mel. It’ll only be for a short time,” Abby assures me. “Can I contact you?” “You can contact her through me,” Blake replies. “Jacob will be watching you. Especially now as he has full knowledge that Abby really is still alive. If we can get her out without him noticing, then he’ll watch you very carefully to see if you go to her.” I see where he’s coming from, but still I can’t help that I want to be close to my sister. All this time I have mourned for her, I have wished to see her just one more time. We have so much that we need to talk about, a small part of me wants to yell, kick, and scream at her and tell her how stupid she is for leaving. Another part of me wants to hold her close to touch her, smell her, and now they’re going to rip her and Katie away from me once more. I want to get to know my niece and hold her close for all the years I’ve missed out on. My heart begins to crack like it will break all over again. Before fear fills me at that thought, knowing the pig knows where she is. I sigh, “Okay, as long as I can still contact her or you.” I glance at Abby, who’s sitting there quietly looking between Blake and me. “I’ll need at least a day or two, to secure a place safe enough for her,” Corban says. “I’ve just recently signed a deal on some apartments not too far from here, so we can use one of them for the time being.” Blake nods in agreement. I walk around and sit down on the couch, exhaustion setting in all of a sudden. “Katie, did you wanna come and help me finish the pancakes?” I ask gently. She turns eagerly nodding her head. Jumping up, she races over to me, taking my hand, pulling me up and dragging me along behind her back to the kitchen. I catch Abby’s face as Katie pulls me out of the room, a bright smile crosses it. I can only hope that bringing her out of hiding was a smart idea. I don’t want to lose her all over again. Where will this little one, clasping my hand, end up? A new determination settles within me. I will not allow any harm to come to this little princess or her mother. I really hope that Blake is good at his job. Katie and I continue to cook our pancakes. It’s quite a challenge with a broken wrist, but Katie’s a huge help. As fast as we’re cooking them, they’re walking off the plate. Katie’s tiny, but she can put a decent helping of food away in that little tummy of hers. She prepares plates of food for Abby, Blake, Corban and myself. For a little girl her age, she’s very bright. I’m so happy that she can be a part of my life, and I really look forward to getting to know her better. After breakfast, we settle in for a quiet day. We sit watching a movie that Katie has picked. I can’t say I am actually paying attention because my mind is preoccupied, focusing on this continuous nauseating feeling that sits in the pit of my stomach. A sharp knock followed by loud arguing voices booms outside the closed door, startling all of us. Blake jumps into action, ushering Abby and collecting Katie off the floor. He wraps her securely in his arms and they go straight to my room, quickly shutting the door behind them. Corban goes to see what all the arguing is about. My heart pumps with nerves. As he gets closer to the door, I recognise the voices. Corban opens the door to an argument between Flick and Athena, with Rachel trying to shut them both up. “What’s going on?” Corban’s tone hard, catching the girls off guard. They stop and turn toward him. Flick sees me first, barging past Corban and actually pushing him aside. She engulfs me in her arms, crushing the air from of my lungs. “Oh, thank goodness you’re all right! You had me so worried,” her words spewing from her mouth with excessive speed. “You’re squishing me,” I manage to breathe out. She quickly releases me. Looking me up and down before noticing my wrist in a cast, and her hand flies to her mouth. “Oh Mel, are you okay?” “Yeah, I’m good. What was going on out there?” My eyes dart between the three of them. Rachel and Athena stand there looking ashamed and say nothing, but Flick is quick to answer. “I don’t know why this one is here,” she stabs her finger towards Athena, anger evident in her face. “How did she know that you had injured yourself?” I hear the disdain in her voice. She genuinely dislikes Athena. I can’t say I’m a huge fan either, but I’m playing nice for Corban’s sake. She is his sister after all. “I didn’t know she’d injured herself. I was coming over to see if she wanted to go out for lunch!” she yells back at Flick. The tension in the air is swirling around the room like a violent tornado. “Girls, just stop it. You’re both carrying on silly,” I say, wearily rubbing my eyes in frustration. I don’t need this crap right now. “Thanks for the offer, Athena, but today is not a good day. I’m not feeling very well, and Flick, you just need to calm down,” I snap at them both. They’re carrying on like eight-year-old girls. My neighbours probably think we are all crazy. Both girls look embarrassed, their faces hang in shame. “Is there anything you need, Mel?” Rachel asks quietly, her face full of concern. “No, thanks. I’m right. I’d just like a quiet day at home, with Corban. Last night actually took it out of me.” If only they knew the entire events of last night, they’d probably think I was crazy, but the proof is standing quietly in the other room. I hope they take the hint and go, or at least Athena does. A feeling of unease settles within me when it comes to her. I really want to give her the benefit of the doubt, but this anxiousness won’t recede. It’s like something gnawing away at me. As if reading my mind, Athena comes over and gives me a small awkward hug. “If you need anything, please let me know. I’m happy to help.” She gives a smile which seems to be fake and turns to leave, giving Flick an evil glare which Flick returns. After she’s gone, I release a breath of relief. I would like the girls to meet Abby and Katie since I know I can trust them. “Girls, come sit down. We have a few things to tell you. Just give me a minute; I want to grab something from my room.” I turn, walking away. I’m sure Corban will get them settled. In the bedroom, I walk in to see Abby on the bed and Katie playing on the floor while Blake sits on the side holding Abby’s hand. My heart swells seeing that things haven’t changed between them in three years. I wish she’d told me about them back then. I really like Blake, he’s her safety net just like Corban is for me. I really hope I can talk to her before she has to leave again.

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