Read The One That Got Away Online

Authors: S J Crabb

Tags: #love story, #romance adult fiction, #romance and mystery, #new adult romance, #triangle relationships, #spies and espionage, #romance adult erotica contemporary, #trilogy book 1, #department store romance

The One That Got Away




The One That Got Away

By S J Crabb






Also By S J Crabb

The Diary Of Madison

Premier Deception

A Matter Of Trust
(Part 2 of The Hardcastle Saga)

(Part 3 of The Hardcastle Saga

(The Devil's Daughter)

(The Devil's Son)

Falcondell Part Two

(The Devil's Son)


Copyrighted Material

Copyright S J Crabb 2016

S J Crabb has asserted her rights under the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the
Author of this work.

This book is a work of fiction and except in the case
of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or
dead, is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission of
the author, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for
review purposes only.

This book contains Adult content and is not suitable
for ages under 18.





Chapter Two
Chapter Four
Chapter Six
Chapter Eight
Chapter Ten
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty Two
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty Four
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty Six
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty Eight
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty Two
Note From The
More books from the
A Matter Of


The room is packed and a loud buzz of
conversation fills the normally serene area.and I can almost taste
the fear and worry.

Looking over I can see Nathan deep in
conversation with his friend Billy. The memory of earlier this
morning is still fresh in my mind as we woke up beside each other
in his flat. I feel the excitement growing in me again as I
remember the feel of his touch and once again can’t believe that he
asked me to marry him.

As if he can
hear my thoughts he looks over at me and smiles his sexy smile.
Smiling back at him I bask in the warm glow of happiness that I
feel knowing that I have found my soul mate at last.

Suddenly my assistant April appears before
me, her face etched with worry. “Bella, have you heard anything
yet?” she says in a hushed tone. Looking at her anxious face I am
brought back to reality. We all heard this morning that our store
has been bought out by another company. We don’t know any more than
that and have been summoned to the Boardroom for an announcement
before the store opens at 9.30am.

I have been a buyer at Kinghams for the last
five years; starting as an assistant buyer in housewares and
working my way up to manage the buying department; overseeing the
purchasing of housewares and gifts. I love my job and am feeling
anxious as to what the future may now hold.

The happiness that I am feeling after
Nathan’s proposal will have to be put on hold as there is a more
pressing matter to deal with first, namely whether or not we still
have jobs. I try to smile at April reassuringly but feel that I am
failing miserably.

Once again I look over at Nathan and wonder
how he can look so relaxed? However this is typical of him. He is
always so laid back and easy going. It is what I love most about
him. We started dating seven months ago after several months of
flirting over the computer. Nathan is the IT manager and is thought
of as quite a catch. There are many other employees who would give
everything to be his girlfriend and I still can’t quite believe
that he chose me. It was after a particularly stressful time with
my computer software that we got quite close and discovered that we
had a lot in common. I think that it broke the hearts of several of
the other ladies in the store as he is absolutely gorgeous, both in
looks and personality. Suddenly I am shaken out of my thoughts as
Bob Monroe; the current chairman of Kinghams comes out of the
Boardroom. I notice that he looks extremely grave; his expression
is set and is not giving anything away .and my heart sinks. This
doesn’t look good. He calls us all into the Boardroom and I can see
that the large table that usually dominates the room has given way
to rows upon rows of chairs.

In silence we all file in and take a seat. I
notice the other department managers and their assistants looking
every bit as anxious as I do and I can’t seem to quell the rising
feeling of impending disaster.

Once we are all seated Bob addresses the
room. “Thank you all for coming. I am sure that you have all heard
the news that Kinghams has been bought out by the Hardcastle
group.” There is a general buzz of conversation around the room as
this is actually the first time that we have heard who the
purchaser is.

Hardcastles have about seven stores around
the South of England and are relatively new to the retail scene.
The owners have been steadily buying up independent family run
stores over the last two years and it would appear that Kinghams is
the next one on their hit list. Bob continues.

No doubt you
are all wondering how it will affect you all. This I am afraid I
cannot answer .and I am sorry to say that for now it is business as
usual, but over the next few months changes will be brought in to
bring us in line with their other stores. I haven’t been told how
this will affect the management of this store but I have a meeting
with the new owner scheduled in for today, so as soon as I know
anything I will let you know.”

As I watch him speak I notice that he looks
tired. This can’t be easy for him as this store has been in his
family for generations and I feel a surge of sympathy for Bob. He
is a decent man who has devoted his entirenlife to this store. I
can only hope that he was paid a good price for it and can now
retire comfortably.

Once again he addresses the group; his voice
anxious mirroring the expression on his face. “I would take
questions but I am afraid that I have no answers to give, so please
can I ask you to carry on as normal. I appreciate that this will be
difficult and can assure you that I will try to resolve the
situation for you all as soon as possible.”

He takes a deep breath, “Right then, we have
a store to open. Off you go now and try to carry on as normal.”

We all stand up and head back to our
departments. My heart feels heavy and I know that it will be a
difficult time ahead for us all. I think back to what I know about
the other take-over's. The word on the grapevine was that they have
their own management team that oversee the running of the group
from their headquarters in Guildford. The other stores lost their
management teams, some of whom came to Kinghams. I look over at
Karen, the buyer for fashion. She was one of them and has not long
joined us from Brownlow’s of Wimbledon. My heart goes out to her as
I notice the tears in her eyes.

Nathan makes his way over to me and throws me
a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry baby, we’ll be ok.” I smile weakly
at him. “I hope so as we may have to postpone our plans if we lose
our jobs.” He puts his arm around my shoulders and pulls me against
him. “We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it. Come on le'ts go
out for lunch and try to cheer ourselves up; after all it’s not
every day you get engaged is it?”

Looking into his eyes I once again can’t
believe how lucky I am.and I smile back at him happily, “Yes, let’s
not think about all of this, let's just enjoy our engagement. Shall
I see you at 1pm for lunch? I’ll meet you at the staff entrance.”
“It’s a date,” he says, once again throwing me that sexy look that
makes me go weak at the knees every time.

We head off in different directions back to
our relevant offices. As I wait for the lift my thoughts turn to
the meetings that I have set up throughout the day. They are mainly
with reps from the various companies that we deal with and I hope
that I can concentrate what with all that is going on at the

Just then the lift arrives and as the doors
open I notice that there is only one occupant who makes his way
out. He looks familiar to me and as our eyes meet I feel a jolt of
recognition pass between us. I am transported back in time and am
suddenly a teenager again, as standing before me is Ben Hardcastle,
my one time crush, who was forever thought of afterwards as - The
one that got away.



We both look at each other in shock. Time
seems to stand still and propels us back to our youth. Ben appears
to recover first and a slow smile spreads across his face. Leaning
towards me he kisses me on the cheek. “Well, Well, Bella Brown. Who
would have thought that we would meet again? Now what was it I used
to call you?” He looks at me with amusement and I feel myself
flushing with embarrassment.

I would
rather not remind you,” I say, accompanied by a nervous laugh. The
last thing I want is for him to start calling me that

He raises his eyes, his expression teasing
me. I want to punch him on the arm like I used to but feel
completely at a loss as how to behave. However before we can speak
further Bob approaches with his hand outstretched. “Ben, good to
see you. I hope that the journey was ok?” Ben turns towards him and
takes his hand shaking it warmly. “Thanks Bob, it’s good to see you
again.” They both look at me firmly rooted to the spot and I flush
as I realise that I should be heading back to work.

Luckily the
lift is still available so seizing my chance I smile weakly at them
both. “Sorry, I must be getting back. It’s been great to see you
again Ben.” Before he can answer the lift doors close and I lean
back against the wall, my head spinning in confusion.

Ben Hardcastle, who would have thought that
it would be the same Hardcastle from my youth?

My past comes
rushing back to the present as though the lift is a time machine
bringing past and present together. Back then we worked together at
Cunningham’s, the local supermarket. We were part of a crowd of
students that worked there every Saturday. Ben and I worked
together in the warehouse, re stocking the shelves and sorting out
the deliveries. We used to have a laugh, trying to make the best of
a mundane job. After work a group of us used to hang out, as
friends and we had the world at our feet, full of hopes and dreams
for the future. One by one our friends either paired up or met
other boyfriends and girlfriends. Ben and I never did and were just
content to hang out as friends.

Towards the
end of our time there I began to see him in a new light. I found to
my surprise that I was attracted to him .and as I had never thought
of him in that way before it came as somewhat of a

However even though we got on well he never
seemed to regard me as anything more than just someone to tease. He
never had a girlfriend and that was how it stayed, that is until
the night of the party.

As the lift carries on towards my floor I
remember the party. We had all finished school and had jobs lined
up to go to. It was our last day at Cunningham’s and Barbara Norman
was having a party that night - a sort of farewell party. I was
going with my friend Julie and we turned up quite late at about

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