Authors: Ra'Chael Ohara
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College
Discovering Love Series Book 3
Copyright © 2015 by Ra’chael Ohara.
All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: February 2016
Limitless Publishing, LLC
Kailua, HI 96734
Formatting: Limitless Publishing
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
You can live a thousand lives
as long as you keep reading!
I love you!
Table of Contents
You know that part at the end of every fairytale where the prince swoops in and saves the princess right in the nick of time, whether he’s saving her from the evil stepmom or the evil octopus lady under the sea? Just when you think all hope is lost, in comes the hero to fight the evil. Then he grabs the princess and whisks her away for a happily ever after. That’s always been my favorite part.
Since I could remember, reading has always been something special to me. As a child, I would read those parts at the ends of the fairytales over and over. Then I would do what I always did. I’d close the book, close my eyes, and hope with all my little might that my prince would rescue me and whisk me away for our happily ever after.
As I got older, of course, the books changed and started featuring more…adult scenes and princes, but my wishing routine didn’t change. I would still close that book, close my eyes, and wish for my prince to come and rescue me.
Unlike the princesses in my books, I didn’t have an evil stepmom or even an octopus lady. I have a mom and dad, but I also felt like I had no identity. My father, Rich Taylor, is an extremely strict pastor. I wasn’t allowed to wear jeans or cut my hair. I attended youth group five nights a week, and if I dared look at a boy, I would pay in the worst way.
My father believed women and children should be seen, not heard. Men were on a pedestal and women should cater to them. It was the way of life for our household. Unlike my mother, who seemed to be okay with our way of life, from the time I was old enough to know the way I was being raised wasn’t the norm in every household, I hated it. I wanted nothing more than to leave.
At twelve years old, I read a book about a young woman who went on an adventure of self-acceptance and ended up in a small town in Ireland. From that book on, I fell in love. I read book after book about the beautiful country and knew it was where I belonged.
I started saving every penny I could make. Each day, I woke up with one goal—to make it to the next day without landing on my father’s bad side. It was a lonely childhood. I was not allowed friends, but knowing there was an end in sight made the loneliness easier to deal with. Through it all, I never gave up hope I would find my prince.
Finally, after years of living a life I despised, I turned eighteen. I wasn’t naïve enough to think my parents would just let me go, so, on the night of my birthday, I wrote them a goodbye letter, packed my bags, grabbed my goldfish, Bubbles, and climbed out of my window.
I moved to Ireland to start a new life, a life that was my own, one I could be proud of, but I got so much more than I thought I wanted.
This princess went on an epic adventure of finding herself and love. My prince didn’t wear white and fight with a sword. He wore torn jeans, Henley’s, and had an iPhone, but he protected me and loved me better than any fictional book character could.
But there was an evil force, one who was anonymous, yet still stronger than any other force in one of my books. Unlike the fairytales, my happily ever after wasn’t guaranteed.
My name is Caroline Taylor. Sit back, relax, and let me tell you the story of how I found my dark prince.
No Adventure Here
I love the smell of books. In a world where everything has gone electronic, I’m proud to admit I have stayed true to the old fashioned way. I even went as far as buying a small building with the money I made from working as an assistant in a realty office and opening a little library.
I’ve lived in Ireland for five years now and not once have I regretted my decision to leave my home in England to live here; not even when I eventually got the nerve to call home and talk to my parents and they told me I was a sinner before letting me know they were disowning me. I still don’t regret it.
I came here for an adventure but quickly learned that you can take the girl out of the oppressed household, but you can’t take the oppression out of the girl.
I’m what people would call an introvert. Don’t get me wrong. I tried to be spontaneous and meet new people. I even started dating a guy named Chris, but I quickly learned most guys only want one thing, and once they get it, they disappear. I wish I had learned that before I slept with him.
I was crushed when Chris slept with me and left. I haven’t thought about dating since. I’ve convinced myself those heroes I read about in my books, the ones I fantasized would come sweep me off my feet, didn’t exist in real life.
There’s a small part deep inside of me that still holds on to the hope one day I’ll find real love. I’m a romantic at heart, through and through. I guess I’ve just given up hope on it happening anytime soon.
Over the years, I’ve become dependent on routine. Each day is the same. Monday through Thursday, I wake up at eight in the morning and go for my jog. I come home, get ready for work, dressing in the same style of clothing every single day—a high-waisted pencil skirt with a nice blouse—then go to work.
At five in the afternoon, sharp, I lock the doors to the library, straighten everything up, and head home. I eat dinner, watch trashy TV, go to bed at eight to read, and eventually fall asleep.
Friday night is different. Instead of going straight home, I walk down the street to a small pub. I sit at the bar and talk to Violet, a forty-year-old bartender who hates men but has six kids, while I eat my fish and chips. Next to Bubbles, she’s the closest thing I have to a friend.
My weekends are only different because I don’t work. I spend more time reading, finding things to fix inside my small one-bedroom house, or planting flowers outside. Though I know they’d be disappointed I’m not going to church, I live a life my parents have no right to be ashamed of.
Other than cutting my hair, my appearance is the same. My straight blonde hair hangs just above my shoulders. I have my mother’s green eyes and fair skin. I’m short and petite. The only thing my parents could be ashamed of is my obsession with high heels and the minimal makeup I wear.
I’m interrupted from straightening a book shelf when I hear, “I’ll see you Monday, Caroline.”
I turn and smile when I see an eleven-year-old girl holding a high stack of books. Annie has been a loyal customer since the first day I opened the doors of the library.
She reminds me of me when I was her age. When I first met her, she was so quiet and timid. When she did talk, it was so soft-spoken I couldn’t understand her.
It took about a week to get her to open up to me, but since then she hasn’t stopped talking. She comes in around three times a week after she gets out of school and we spend almost the entire hour she’s here talking about all the different books she’s read, until her dad comes to pick her up.
“I’ll see you Monday, Annie. Have a good weekend.”
I walk her to the door and wave to her father before locking up for the day. It takes only ten minutes to clean up. I head out as soon as I finish.
Much like every other day this spring, it’s sprinkling when I step outside. I put up my umbrella and make my short walk down the road to the pub.
“Hey, girl!” Violet says the moment I walk in.
“Hey,” I reply. I sit in front of her on one of the bar stools.
“I had Connell throw your regular on the grill. It should be up shortly.” She winks before making her way to clean off some tables.
I check out the almost empty pub while I wait for my food. Much like every Friday when I come in, the place is almost vacant. “Not very busy tonight,” I muse.
“That’s because it’s five o’clock on a Friday. You want busy, come in after nine.”
“I don’t want busy,” I rush to inform her. That’s the last thing I want.
“Sweetheart, how are you ever going to get those cobwebs knocked off your undercarriage if you don’t go out, have fun, and meet new people?”
I’m sure I’m blushing beet red. “I’m not interested in that right now.”
“Oh honey, you’re interested. You’re just scared. One day the right guy will come along and when he does, he won’t give you the chance to be scared any longer.”
I know the likelihood of what Violet predicts isn’t high, but I can’t help the spark of hope it ignites in me. I’m comfortable with my life, but I can’t deny there’s a huge part of me who wants to give adventure a shot.
I want to try all the things other people my age have tried. I’m twenty-three and still have never taken a sip of alcohol. I’m lonely, but I’m petrified of the past repeating itself.
“Hey! Why are you so concerned with me getting a man? I thought you hate men.”
“Six kids, darling. That’s proof enough of how much I don’t hate men. Besides, we’re not talking about me, Caroline. We’re talking about you,” she reminds me through narrowed eyes.
Connell chooses this brilliant moment to bring my food from the back. “Actually, we are not talking because I’m eating.” Then I look at Connell. “This looks delicious. Thank you, Connell.”
Connell leans across the bar. “You know, if you’re looking for a date, I’d be happy—"
“She needs someone adventurous, Connell,” Violet interrupts. I laugh because he asks me out every time I come into the pub. “You’re about as adventurous as my ninety-year-old grandma.”
“Hey! I can be adventurous!” Connell says with mock offense.
“Yeah, yeah! Get back to work.”
Two hours later, I close my cabbie’s door and walk up the short stone path to my front door. Next to my library, my house is the one possession I’m proudest of.
When I first moved here, I was stuck in a dingy apartment with no heat or air. I only lasted there for six months. Any longer and I would have gone mad.
First, I fell in love with this neighborhood. Every house is so cookie cutter. All the neighbors smile and wave. Then I saw this house and knew I wanted it.
As soon as I clear my front door, I take off my heels—which are killing my feet, but I still refuse to wear anything else—and carry them to the shelf I built in my closet.
“Hi, Bubbles.” I greet my fish by tapping on the side of her cage. I realize it’s strange to be so attached to a fish, but I’ve had her for seven years. She’s the fish that refuses to die, thankfully, and the only one I had to talk to when I was living at home. Well, she’s the only one I have to talk to even now.
After feeding and talking to Bubbles, I change into my pajamas, grab my book, and climb into bed.
Eventually, after replaying the conversation with Violet and thinking about how badly I want the right guy to come along, I fall asleep.