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Misunderstood: Inspired by the Neighbor from Hell Series (A Neighbor from Hell YA Book 1), Page 1

R. L. Mathewson




  Misunderstood

  A Neighbor from Hell YA Novel

  Part One of the Five-Book Series

  by

  R.L. Mathewson

  This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations and events described in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

  Misunderstood © Rerum Industries, Inc. 2019. All rights reserved.

  http://www.rlmathewson.com

  Edited by R.L. Mathewson and Melissa Ryan

  Special help from: Casey Leigh, Jennelyn Carrion, Shane Mathewson, and Kayley Mathewson

  Cover design by Jan Meredith

  eBook ISBN- 9780998601779

  This book is dedicated to everyone who was willing to take a chance on me throughout the years and who has stuck by my side ever since.

  Thank you.

  And of course, to my children who will always be my inspiration, my little buddies and my reason for sleeping with one eye open every night.

  A special thank you to, Laura Rose and Stephanie Bernal

  Glossary

  Title Page

  Bradford Family Tree

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Epilogue

  Neighbor from Hell Cheat Sheet

  Other Books by R.L. Mathewson

  Follow Me

  About the Author

  Bradford Family Tree

  Timothy and Regan Bradford’s children are:

  1. Jared, married Megan, their son is Jason Bradford, (m. Haley) father of Cole, Elizabeth, Joshua, and Hunter

  2. Sarah, passed away. Her son is Trevor who married Zoe, and fathered, Jonathan, Sebastian, Mathew, and Jessica.

  3. Ethan, married Mary, and their children are, Duncan (m. Necie), Danny (m. Jodi), Lucifer (m. Rebecca), Kenzie (m. Roger), Arik, Garrett, Reese (m. Kasey, child Mikey, two sets of twin boys), Darrin (m. Marybeth, triplet girls), and Aidan (m. Melanie, one son)

  4. Mark married Jessie, sons are Reed (m. Joey) and Matt.

  5. Ryan, married Amanda, their children are, Eric and Theo.

  6. Shane, married Caylee, son is Devin (m. Charlie) children are Abbi and Dustin.

  7. Thomas, married Heather, daughter is Nikki.

  The James Family

  (Cousins to the Bradfords)

  Raised by Wes and Beth Bradford:

  David James, divorced, raised children by himself, Rory (m. Connor, two children), Bryce, Johnny, Craig, Brian, and Sean.

  Prologue

  Monday

  “I can do this,” Jamie told herself as she adjusted the heavy brown paper bag in her arms and slowly exhaled. That was followed by another, “I can do this,” with a firm nod since the weird looks that the small group waiting for the elevator doors to close was sending her wasn’t exactly helping.

  As an older man in a pinstriped suit stepped into the elevator, Jamie nodded once again, opened her mouth to tell herself the same lie that she’d been telling herself since she decided to do this and–

  Decided that she could use a few more minutes to convince herself that this was a good idea. With that in mind, she murmured an, “Excuse me,” as she headed toward the front of the elevator and nearly cried when the elevator doors began to close. Before she could panic, okay, so panic more than she already was, a large tan hand suddenly appeared, stopping the elevator doors from closing and giving her a chance to rethink this plan since it probably wasn’t going to end well.

  Once she was off the elevator, she pressed her back against the wall, slowly exhaled and wondered why the incredibly handsome man in the expensively tailored suit that had saved her from making the biggest mistake of her life was watching her. Clearing her throat, Jamie pushed away from the wall, adjusted the bag in her arms, and murmured, “I’m fine.”

  “And you look it,” he said, nodding as he reached over and pressed the elevator call button.

  “I am,” Jamie said, nodding like an idiot and for some reason added, “I’m here to interview someone.”

  “Who’s that?” the man with the bluest eyes that she’d ever seen, asked, sounding bored as he checked his watch.

  “Sebastian Bradford,” Jamie said, absently noting the curious look he was sending her as she stood there wondering how she was going to pull this off.

  “I thought he didn’t do interviews,” he said, sounding thoughtful.

  “I was kind of hoping that was just a rumor,” she murmured, feeling her shoulders slump in defeat.

  Maybe she should try something else? Jamie wondered as the elevator in front of them opened its doors only to close a few seconds later with the two of them still standing there. At her questioning look, he said, “I got trapped in that elevator for five hours once,” with a shrug.

  Nodding, because she wasn’t sure how to respond to that, Jamie went back to trying to figure out how she was going to do this. Besides begging that is, since she was fully prepared to do that just to get her foot in the door and if that didn’t work…

  “I’m curious about something,” he said, reaching over to press the call button again.

  “What’s that?” Jamie asked even as she debated making a tactical retreat.

  “Why you’re here to interview a man that you don’t know anything about,” he said, sending her another questioning look.

  Licking her lips nervously, she said, “I know that he doesn’t give interviews and that he’s partial to baked goods,” making his lips twitch.

  “I see,” he murmured as his attention shifted to the large brown paper bag in her arms. “And you’re hoping that a bribe will be enough to get your foot in the door?”

  “No, I was counting on begging to do that. The baked goods will hopefully help him overlook the fact that I’m in way over my head on this one,” Jamie said, nodding solemnly.

  “Still doesn’t answer my question,” he pointed out as the elevator doors to their left opened.

  “The editor for a magazine that I’m hoping will give me a chance made an announcement this morning that they’d give a junior writing position to anyone that lands an interview with Sebastian Bradford,” Jamie explained even as she couldn’t help but wonder if she was already too late.

  “Well, that explains a few things,” he murmured, reaching over to stop the elevator doors from clos
ing as he glanced over his shoulder.

  Frowning, Jamie looked back and–

  “Damn it,” she mumbled sadly when she saw the long line of people carrying white bakery boxes and bags waiting to get through security.

  “You might want to get in,” he said as several people tried to duck past security and…

  She found herself quickly getting into the elevator and pressing the call button for the twentieth floor as she prayed that the doors closed faster when the first wave of rabid hopefuls broke out into a run. Before any of them could make their way onto the elevator, the man who’d taken pity on her was pressing the “close doors” button and saving them both from being trampled to death.

  “Thank you,” Jamie said, sighing with relief as she leaned back against the cool metal elevator walls as the doors slid closed.

  “You’re very welcome,” he murmured, joining her by the back wall. “Why didn’t you Google him?”

  “Didn’t have enough time,” she admitted. “I planned on doing that in the waiting room.”

  “What would you have done if he threw you out?” he asked, sounding curious as he gestured toward the heavy bag in her arms. “What’s in the bag?”

  “Donuts, pastries, and just in case those didn’t work, about a dozen egg sandwiches. I’m not really sure what I would have done if he had me thrown out,” Jamie said, absently noting that three of the fingers and the back of his left hand were paler than his right hand.

  “Just got the cast off. Broke my arm and a few fingers playing touch football at a family barbecue,” he said, answering her unspoken question.

  “Oh,” Jamie mumbled, unable to help but frown even as she had to wonder how he managed to break his arm playing a contactless sport.

  “What’s so special about this magazine?” he asked as they watched the numbers above the elevator door light up as they slowly made their way to the twentieth floor.

  “It’s my last chance,” she found herself admitting.

  “That sounds ominous,” he murmured absently as he reached over and plucked the bag out of her arms.

  “Thank you,” she said, unable to help but wince as the blood rushed back to her fingers. “I want to be a writer,” she found herself admitting.

  “And you think this is the only way to make that happen?” he asked, sounding curious as he shifted the bag to one arm.

  “No, but I need a way to pay my bills and I was hoping to be able to do something that I loved to make that happen,” Jamie admitted even as she couldn’t help but wonder if she was wasting her time.

  Maybe she wasn’t meant to be a writer.

  Maybe she should–

  “Is that what you were planning on telling him to get the interview?” he asked, breaking into the depressing thoughts that kept her up most nights.

  “I honestly don’t know what I’m going to say to him. I haven’t thought that far ahead yet,” Jamie admitted, struggling to take her next breath as she watched the light go out for floor nineteen, seconds before number twenty was suddenly illuminated and she thought that she was going to be sick.

  “Fair enough,” he murmured as the elevator doors slid open and she suddenly found herself being herded out of the elevator and toward an imposing woman sitting behind a large oak desk and–

  Jamie found herself looking at the most amazing picture that she’d ever seen hanging on the wall behind the woman that really didn’t look happy to see her. She’d probably seen thousands of landscape photos in her life, but she’d never seen one quite like this one. The details were…

  Enough to make her momentarily forget that she really couldn’t go through with this.

  “No, wait! I can’t do this. This was a mistake,” Jamie said in a rush as he guided her over to the desk when all she wanted to do was turn around and make a run for it.

  “You’ll be fine,” he said, lying to her because they both knew no such thing!

  “I really won’t though,” she mumbled hollowly only to whimper when they reached the desk and–

  “Good morning, Amy. I’m going to need you to cancel my conference call with Beijing this morning and see if you can reschedule the meeting with the Paris office this afternoon,” the man that wouldn’t let her run away, said.

  “That shouldn’t be a problem, Mr. Bradford,” Amy said with a warm smile as she handed him a stack of messages while Jamie stood there, trying to make sense out of what was happening.

  This was Sebastian Bradford? Jamie thought numbly as she looked at him, really looked at him, taking in his meticulously combed short black hair, the thin scar just above his right eyebrow, the way that his eyes lit up with amusement, and the way that he filled out his suit to perfection and swallowed hard, because she’d honestly been expecting a portly old man who would take pity on her and

  Oh, God…

  “Would you like me to have breakfast sent up?” Amy asked, already reaching for the phone to do just that when the man that Jamie was here to beg for an interview shook his head.

  “No need. My eight o’clock brought breakfast this morning,” he said, grabbing Jamie by the arm and led her toward the large imposing, ornate double doors.

  “Is there anything that you need this morning, Mr. Bradford?” Amy asked, not really looking all that concerned that her boss was manhandling someone.

  “Tell security that no one gets in without an appointment and hold my calls, please,” Sebastian said as he released his hold on Jamie to open one of the large doors before grabbing her arm again and pulling her inside before she had a chance to make a run for it.

  “Umm, maybe we should talk about this?” Jamie said, trying to wrap her mind around what was happening.

  “You’re interviewing me,” the man that she probably should have asked his name sooner, said, shrugging as he dropped the bag filled with baked goods on the coffee table to her left before heading toward a mini-bar to grab two bottles of orange juice while Jamie stood there, taking in the large, expensively decorated office that she’d been dragged into and found herself once again nodding like an idiot for no apparent reason.

  “Okay,” she mumbled weakly as he handed her a bottle of juice and gestured for her to sit down.

  “Where should we start?” the man who never gave interviews, asked as he sat down on a large, brown leather couch across from her.

  “Okay,” Jamie found herself mumbling again as she sat down and tried to figure out what she was supposed to do since she hadn’t actually expected to get this far.

  Lips twitching, the incredibly handsome man that she’d shared an elevator with helped himself to a lemon Danish from the bag as he said, “Why don’t we start from the beginning?”

  And since that sounded like a really good idea, Jamie found herself nodding like an idiot and once again, mumbling, “Okay.”

  Chapter 1

  Twenty Years Earlier…

  “Yeah, I’m not doing it,” Sebastian said as he stared down at his mother’s latest attempt to…

  Well, he wasn’t exactly sure what it was supposed to be, but he knew that he didn’t want to put the gray-greenish, crumbling, oozing substance in his mouth. But the problem was that he’d been dared by his brothers, who were both standing next to him, pointing flashlights on the gooey mess as they took turns poking it with a spoon because none of them wanted to touch it with their bare hands.

  “Then you forfeit,” Jonathan, his brother and the reason that they were all down here, said with a satisfied sigh as he reached over and plucked the iPad that their mother let Sebastian borrow, out of his hands.

  “Wait. I want a turn!” Mathew said loudly, earning a glare, which was the only warning that he was going to get if he got them in trouble.

  “You weren’t in on this,” Jonathan pointed out.

  “It was implied!” Mathew hissed as he pushed the sleeves of his Scooby-Doo pajamas up, slowly exhaled, picked up the spoon and dug in and right before they had a chance to see if their little brother would survive, th
ey heard it.

  The sound of a door opening.

  “Go!” Sebastian mouthed to his brother as they both slapped their hands over their little brother’s mouth, grabbed an arm and pulled him toward the back stairs.

  “The brownies!” Jonathan whispered, making him frown until he remembered the gray mess they’d left on the counter.

  Knowing just how badly this would end if their parents caught them out of bed, Sebastian released his hold on his little brother and mouthed, “Go!” before making his way back to the mess that he never would have guessed was brownies, slapped the foil on top of the pan, carried it back to the fridge, and slid it back onto the bottom shelf next to the brown mush that his mother had claimed was macaroni and cheese. As soon as he was done, Sebastian clicked the flashlight off and headed back toward the stairs.

  In seconds, he was racing up the stairs, down the hallway, and sneaking into his room where he plucked the iPad out of his brother’s hands before climbing out their bedroom window with a satisfied sigh.

  “Oh, come on!” Jonathan, who just happened to be afraid of heights, hissed while he blindly reached out as Sebastian crouched down on the small roof outside their bedroom window.

  “Oh, is this what you wanted?” Sebastian asked innocently as he held up their mother’s iPad just out of reach of his brother’s mad grab.

  “It’s my turn,” Jonathan said with a murderous glare as he leaned out the window another inch, but sadly, that just wasn’t going to do it.

  “You’re right,” Sebastian said, nodding solemnly even as he shifted on the roof so that he could glance at their sister’s window to make sure that they hadn’t woken her up.

  “So, you’re going to give it to me?” Jonathan asked, making Sebastian shake his head with a disappointed sigh, because really, his brother of all people should know better.

  “I would. I really would but then, how would you learn?” Sebastian asked, returning his attention back to the iPad in his hands and pulled up Radcliffe Academy’s homepage, curious about the classes they were offering this fall.

  “You could have just said no,” Jonathan said with a resigned sigh as he returned to the safety of their room.