Curious about my books? Like drama, suspense, or romance?


The Downey Series consists of The Downey Trilogy (First, I Love You; Second of All; and Third Time’s The Charm) as well as the spin-off romances featuring Dom & Kate (The Bird Day Battalion , The V-Day Aversion, and The Good Life).

The Downey Trilogy novels are contemporary drama/suspense with a romance subplot set in Chicago and Omaha. The Dom & Kate stories are contemporary romance set in the Omaha-Lincoln area of Nebraska. It is not necessary to read The Downey Trilogy to understand the Dom & Kate stories OR vice-versa.

FILYversion413   SoACoverVersion513   ThirdTime

[Start reading First, I Love You for FREE here on my website: Chapter One]

birddaycover(Free!)  valentinescover (Free!)  TheGoodLifeDigitalCover

KikibannerHow are the books connected?

For starters, both Detective Tommy Gates and his criminal-mastermind father Mickey Downey from The Downey Trilogy are mentioned in The Bird Day Battalion.

Not only that, but Officer Kyle Anderson (who is in all three Dom & Kate books) is briefly mentioned at the end of First, I Love You and shows up again at the end of Second of All. Tommy Gates also makes an appearance in The Good Life.

The Bird Day Battalion  occurs before First, I Love You chronologically, but The V-Day Aversion occurs the same month Tommy heads to Chicago for his human trafficking task force in The Downey Trilogy. The Good Life is set after the end of Third Time’s The Charm

It’s not just Kyle and Tommy that connect the books; Mary Gates’ best friend Claire Underwood from First, I Love You–Agent Jack Underwood’s wife–is an Anderson by birth. Her brother, Tom Anderson, is Kyle and Katelyn Anderson’s father. When Kyle Anderson refers to his Aunt Claire in the Tommy Flashback, she is literally his Aunt, versus the fictive use of the moniker by Tommy. Claire also makes a cameo in the Mickey & Mary Flashback.

You can read MORE about the characters from the Downey series here:

CHARACTER TIDBITS

MICKEY’S FAMILY TREE

You can read the free supplemental Flash-fictions here:

NEW BEGINNINGS (A Tommy Gates and Kyle Anderson Flashback)

This short scene features a young Tommy Gates and Kyle Anderson and is set shortly before the flashback scene in the first chapter of First, I Love You in which Mickey finds Mary & Tommy.

~~~~~

SPIN THE BOTTLE (A Dominic Valentini and Katelyn Anderson Flashback)

This is a look at the spin the bottle game that Kate references in Bird Day Battalion. Little Tommy Gates makes a brief cameo at the party.

~~~~~

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT KNEES (A Dominic Valentini and Katelyn Anderson Flashback)

This is a short holiday scene between Dom and Kate set the Christmas before they get together in Bird Day Battalion. It is very fluffy and G-rated. Published in A World of Joy Anthology.

~~~~~

HER PRINCE (A Mickey Downey & Mary Gates Flashback)

This scene features a nineteen year old Mary Gates, freshly arrived in New York, talking with her new best friend Claire (Anderson) Underwood about the mysterious new man she started seeing, Michael…something or another.

~~~~~

CONVERSATIONS AT 30,000 FT (A Maeve Downey & Ginny Sommers Missing Scene)

This is a quick missing moment from Second of All set aboard the flight to Dublin that both Maeve and Ginny are on.

~~~~~

SPECIAL DELIVERY  (A Kiki Downey & James Hoffman Missing Scene)

A Kiki Downey & James Hoffman missing love scene from First, I Love You set shortly after they “hook up” for the first time as Kiki puts it. Published in A World of Romance Anthology — (Warning! 18+ For Sexual Material!)

~~~~~

SECOND CHANCES (A Mickey Downey & Mary Gates Flashback)

A flashback to when Mary tells Mickey she is pregnant with Tommy, and Mickey persuades her to be his mistress. — (Warning: 18+ For Language and Brief Sexual Material)

~~~~~

LETTERS FROM MICKEY DOWNEY (Letters Mickey Downey wrote to his loved ones)

These are the letters referenced in The Downey Trilogy that Mickey wrote to his loved ones over the years. In the books, the reader rarely gets to see the contents of these letters so I have begun sharing them as periodic blog posts. Check back as I add more.

~~~~~

 

It’s September! Here’s a new Letter From Mickey for my Downey Trilogy fans:


FILYversion413   SoACoverVersion513   ThirdTimePreReveal

~~~

Dear Joey,

Your last letter gave me quite the laugh! The cheek of you! Alright then, if you want me to trust you with my jet you’re going to have to tell me what the message is hidden within this tale:

Back when Finn was still the adventuring sort and fond of women and drink — well, more so than he was at the time of this tale, in any case — he came across a young scamp. This boy said he’d take care of Finn’s horse in exchange for a few coins. Now, Finn had already spent the coin he had on the aforementioned activities, but he knew the horse was in need of care.

So, he says to the lad, “Tis true the horse needs attending but I’ve a more pressing matter that’ll earn you double the coin… if you’re interested.”

The boy’s eyes lit up at the opportunity,  for he was hungrier than a louse on a bald man, and at least three times more clever than hungry. “Oh, tell me, please,” the boy pleaded.

“Take the horse down the lane, past old man McIntyre’s, then take a right turn by the old oak and another by the raspberry thicket. There you’ll see a farm of some size. Knock on the door and say you’re delivering a message from Finnegan.”

“And what’s the message, sir?” the boy asked.

“That is the message, lad.”

The boy furrowed his brows, but agreed to take the horse. When he arrived at the place, he was greeted by an old hag rather fearsome in visage.

“Oh, ho, so Finnegan’s finally been gotten the better of, eh?” the old woman asked.

The boy opened his mouth to say something, but she waggled a wizened finger at him, “And don’t be thinkin’ I’ll be paying a thief who got the better of another thief, boyo!” Then she grabbed the horse’s reins and pulled him inside.

Realizing he had been had, the boy shouted, “Wait! I found the horse and I was just returning it. I don’t know this Finnegan. I was only hoping for a bit of bread and a place to stay. Perhaps if I clean the stall, I could rest with the horse for the night?”

The old woman paused and contemplated the offer. The boy did look rather peckish and he reminded her of her son at that age. “Alright, lad. I’ll have Moira bring you some bread and goat’s milk. Ye’ll be off at morning’s light.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he assured her.

And come the morning, her stalls shined as if they’d been built yesterday. And they were just as empty. When she returned to the kitchen, Moira asked her why she was smiling so.

“Why, because I’ve finally gotten rid of all my son’s stolen horses without having to answer any questions! What a good boy, my Finnegan is.”

 

I love you, Joey. Do try and be good in as much as that’s possible for any Downey.

Your loving father, Mickey.

Read the rest of the letters here: Letters From Mickey Downey

MythBehaving Book Tours #BookBlast: SIMON by V.A. Dold


simonblogtourbanner

Welcome to the Official Blog Tour for Simon by V.A. Dold! This bestselling author is heating up the Paranormal scene!

simon cover sm

touraoutthebooka

Simon

NOTE: Complete novel. No cliffhanger. Dual POV. Rated 18+ for language and strong sexual content.

Four years of honorably serving his country has left Simon, Cade’s younger brother, damaged and trapped in wolf form. Little did he know the only person with the ability to heal him completely would be found at home. Literally. Now that he’s found her, he is desperate to claim her.

Rose is a beautiful, voluptuous woman with limited experience with men. Although she’s confident, she still has reservations. Never having a family of her own, her fear of abandonment has her fleeing romantic relationships, and doubting herself.

Travis is insane. A deadly loose cannon that a secret organization hired to destroy the Le Beau family by denying them their mates. Permanently.

Simon’s dream will be lost forever unless he is able to maintain human form.

Rose needs unconditional love and a mate to create the family she’s always wanted.

Travis’s all-consuming drive is to take Rose for himself.

Will Simon ever be whole again, able to claim his mate, giving Rose the love and family she so desperately craves? Or will Travis destroy them both?

You can buy Simon: Le Beau Brothers: New Orleans Shifters (Le Beau Series Book 2) at Amazon.

 Read on for about V.A. Dold’s Paranormal series!

Continue reading

Fluffy, frisky, angsty!


No, they’re not Snow White’s naughty dwarfs, just missing scenes!

If you’re new here and you’d like a no-commitment taste of my books, or maybe you’re just bored, below are links to the free supplemental scenes from my novels. Some are fluffy, some frisky, well, you get the idea…

(And FYI: In between writing on my super angsty work-in-progress, and real life, I am working on another Downey/Anderson outtake set the Christmas AFTER all the books!)

~~~

NEW BEGINNINGS (A Tommy Gates and Kyle Anderson Flashback)

This short scene features a young Tommy Gates and Kyle Anderson and is set shortly before the flashback scene in the first chapter of First, I Love You in which Mickey finds Mary & Tommy. Rated G.

~~~~~

SPIN THE BOTTLE (A Dominic Valentini and Katelyn Anderson Flashback)

This is a look at the spin the bottle game that Kate references in Bird Day Battalion. Little Tommy Gates makes a brief cameo at the party. Rated PG.

~~~~~

THE GOOD LIFE PROLOGUE (A Dominic Valentini and Kyle Anderson Flashback)

This is a wedding jitters scene between Dom and Kyle set before Dom’s wedding to Isabel Alesio, about three years before Dom and Kate get together in Bird Day Battalion. It’s not technically a missing scene, but I’m including it here anyway. Rated PG.

~~~~~

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT KNEES (A Dominic Valentini and Katelyn Anderson Flashback)

This is a short holiday scene between Dom and Kate set the Christmas before they get together in Bird Day Battalion. Published in A World of Joy Anthology. Rated G.

~~~~~

HER PRINCE (A Mickey Downey & Mary Gates Flashback)

This scene features a nineteen year old Mary Gates, freshly arrived in New York, talking with her new best friend Claire (Anderson) Underwood about the mysterious new man she started seeing, Michael…something or another. Rated PG.

~~~~~

CONVERSATIONS AT 30,000 FT (A Maeve Downey & Ginny Sommers Missing Scene)

This is a quick missing moment from Second of All set aboard the flight to Dublin that both Maeve and Ginny are on. Rated PG.

~~~~~

SPECIAL DELIVERY  (A Kiki Downey & James Hoffman Missing Scene)

A Kiki Downey & James Hoffman missing love scene from First, I Love You set shortly after they “hook up” for the first time as Kiki puts it. Published in A World of Romance Anthology – Rated R, For Sexual Material.

~~~~~

SECOND CHANCES (A Mickey Downey & Mary Gates Flashback)

A flashback to when Mary tells Mickey she is pregnant with Tommy, and Mickey persuades her to be his mistress. – Rated R, For Language and Sexual Material.

~~~~~

LETTERS FROM MICKEY DOWNEY (Letters Mickey Downey wrote to his loved ones)

These are the letters referenced in The Downey Trilogy that Mickey wrote to his loved ones over the years. In the books, the reader rarely gets to see the contents of these letters so I have begun sharing them as periodic blog posts. Check back as I add more. Rated PG-13.

~~~~~

Like Romantic Comedy? Try Bird Day Battalion, a #FREE short romance!


Yeah, so this is just a plain old, straight-forward self-promotion post. Just so’s y’know.

whoknows

But hey, who doesn’t like a FREE romantic comedy short enough to read on a break from life’s madness? Fans of my Dom & Kate series often compare it to Janet Evanovich, so if you like the Stephanie Plum series, give this little eBook a try and see if you’ll like my writing as well.

You can grab a FREE copy at these official eBook retailers!

If you have read it, I hope you’ll share your love of Dom & Kate with a friend…

  thCA82U60G thCACNXHNIthCA2WYIQ9 thCAHYUWN0 thCALCVTPI

FYI: You can get more Dom & Kate in The V-Day Aversion, a Valentine’s romance OR you can follow their love story all the way into Demi and Kyle’s Happy Ever After in The Good Life! (Contains both shorts as well as the full length novel The Good Life, all in one book! That’s 490 pages of romantic comedy with a uniquely Nebraskan flair!)

birddaycover   valentinescover  TheGoodLifeDigitalCover

Have you already read the whole Dom & Kate series?

I hope you’ll vote for The Good Life on Genevieve Dewey's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) Listopia!

Random Author Ramble: Taking liberties, shoutouts, and being too “clever”


What started this meander was thinking about research put into fictional books. It’s true there are some great fiction novels that practically exude “this author researched the heck outta this” and then there are others that exude “aw, come on, that would never happen, what is this, Sci Fi?”.

My own personal style? I’m somewhere in between. As some of you know I love, looooove, love things having to do with American gangsters–usually old school gangsters of the Luciano and Capone sort. I also love the rich history of the FBI and other crime-fighting branches of the US Government. Everyone and their dog knows by now that I love the history of Chicago and the history of Nebraska (the two of which have quite a long history of being connected). My family’s from Chicago, I’ve heard tons of interesting stories. I grew up in Nebraska (for the most part) so I’ve an inherent knowledge of that unique whatever that makes up a Nebraskan.

Does that mean I am 100% accurate all the time in my books? Of course not. And, I will confess, intentionally not. Why? Because I’m telling a story, a fictional story. I took some liberties. Quite a few liberties, as only the purists will know. *waves* Sometimes this is to protect the truth, but most of the time it’s because I think that’s our right as authors, in essence, to say, “Yeah, but what IF it were to happen this way?” So, some things are made up and some things are shout-outs. Some things would never happen (particularly with regard to some of my law enforcement characters), and others are as accurate as I can make it. As a reader, I have always enjoyed sorting out what is an actual place, person or thing, versus what the author just made up. So when I write, I write as that type of reader.

For instance, in The Good Life there’s Castle Corner. Which does not exist. Nor does Anderson Adventures. Yet I have shout-outs to all sorts of places that do exist like The Cornhusker, and Karma nightclub, Lo Sole Mio, Runza, Valentino’s, Mahoney State Park, Roncalli Catholic, and yeesh, many, many more Nebraska things. And while Ashland absolutely does exist (I love that town!), I didn’t even bother to try to be accurate in any shape or form. It’s alternate universe Ashland and Gretna, where the Anderson and Valentini families run amuck. Well, not amuck, but dispense shenanigans on the regular. So, when I write, I’m saying have fun on your scavenger hunt of hidden meanings and clues, but don’t take it so seriously!

Unfortunately, I have discovered there are some readers who find that confusing. For instance, just today I was asked about this passage at the end of The Good Life:

“Mmm, I dunno, I usually go for the scruffy nerf-herders instead of peace-keepers,” she pushed him up and tapped the St. Christopher medal around his neck.
“But I sense the force is strong with you… Get it? Because you’re on the force…” She dissolved into snorts on her way to the door.

I can totally understand, based on the dialogue, where the reader might ask, oh, is a St. Christopher medal for law enforcement? And no, I have had to answer a number of times already, that is St. Michael, the patron saint of law enforcement. St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers. I was trying to be clever that Kyle was Demi’s home port, so to speak, after her travels away from Nebraska. But, as my inbox would suggest, I was too “clever”, meaning not clever at all. Haha! Ah well, I’m sure there were plenty of you who didn’t pay it any mind. Just like I’m pretty sure by now my friends connected to the Omaha Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have learned to just “go with it” and have a chuckle at their fictional counterparts. I’m just telling a story here, people!

What was my point?

As usual, I have no real point except to admit that I enjoy when people discover/recognize my nods to history and real places and people that, yes, I did, on purpose, flirt with the “that would never happen” and I was trying to be clever with hidden meanings. I’ll just have to hope my readers forgive me when I fail miserably, haha!

What about you, as a reader or author, how accurate do you like your stories to be?

 

 

 

Have you read the Dom and Kate teenage #Flashback “Spin The Bottle”?


birddaycover   valentinescover  TheGoodLifeDigitalCover

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a little young love — erm, confusion — to read on your next break. It’s a flashback to that game of Spin the Bottle that Katelyn mentions in Bird Day Battalion and it’s your first glimpse of a teenage Demi Valentini (not to mention Tommy Gates from First, I Love You). No Kyle Anderson in sight though, that was back when Dom & Kyle “hated each other’s guts”. What a difference adulthood makes, eh? *wink*

 

Teen_Love_by_TheBestCabinBoy

Spin The Bottle

(A Dominic Valentini and Katelyn Anderson flashback, feat. Demetria Valentini)

by Genevieve Dewey

Fourteen years ago

“Hey, Motor Mouth!”

Katelyn continued walking, her arms pumping, hands balled, and her eyes squinted in a fine line. This was the second week in a row that Dominic had followed her home from school. True, they lived next to each other, but he always took a separate route there (usually to avoid her brother Kyle). But lately Kyle had taken to staying after school with Kandace, who was always in trouble for something or another.

So really, there was no reason in the last two weeks for Dom to follow Kate and her—hopefully—boyfriend Humphrey. The whole way he would mock poor Humphrey’s name—he couldn’t help his name, could he?—until Humphrey had refused to walk with her anymore.

She figured Dom would stop following her then, but no, here he was. At least next year he’d be off at Roncalli Catholic high school. It’d be hard to follow her home when he attended school in Omaha. She grimaced at the realization that the year after that she’d be attending Roncalli as well, and knowing their mothers, they’d probably have to carpool together.

Ugh.

“Come onnnnn, Skate…”

Katelyn swiveled on her heel and placed her fists on her hips.

“I…Told…You…To…STOP calling me that!”

Dominic ran a hand through his floppy curls—the only almost fifteen year old boy she knew who could have curls and still seem cool—then he grinned. His polo shirt was askew, as usual, and the rest of his school clothes looked like he’d probably just done something fun and terribly against the rules (for which he’d be forgiven–he was just a Valentini boy being a Valentini, after all). He took a few more lazy strides to catch up and mimicked her hands-on-hip stance. She complemented her glare with a pathetic sneer–pathetic because she sort of wanted to laugh at his superman pose. Dom had that effect on her, and it was one of the many things she hated about him. It was not natural or normal for a person to dislike another person the amount she disliked her obnoxious neighbor and yet he always knew how to get a laugh or smile out of her.

“Ok, I’ll stop calling you Motor Mouth. It’s your stupid brother’s nickname anyway,” he drawled.

“Kyle is not stupid! And I meant Ska—”

“I was just wonderin’ if you wanted to come to my birthday party Friday night?” he interrupted in a lightning fast jumble.

She raised her eyebrows.

“I always come to your birthday parties, remember? And you come to mine. Because our moms are BFFs and we have no choice in the matter,” Katelyn replied, her nose in the air, and an impatient foot tapping. “And I thought it was on Saturday at two?”

He gave a carefree shrug and a lopsided grin but his eyes were on her front. She looked down at herself. Did she have a ketchup stain or something?

“No, I mean, my sister—you know how she just got her license? Well, she said she’d drive me and a few friends to Omaha this Friday night to watch hockey for my birthday. She’s going to just drop us off at the rink and go meet up with her friends, and she promised not to tell Mom because she’s cool like that. So I’m calling that my real party. Kandace is going. Demi said we can hang out at her friend Grace’s afterward.”

“Oh,” she said awkwardly.

That was possibly the longest thing Dom had said to her since she broke her arm after taking his dare to pop a wheelie on his skateboard. He had written her a horrible poem, horrible even for a nine year old. He called it ‘Ode to Skate’ and recited it to her after she got back from the hospital and his mother made him come over to apologize. It was really bad yet really funny. Which was basically Dom in a nutshell. But ever since he’d hit puberty he had been more prone to witty one-liners and snarky set-downs and avoiding her… until the last few weeks.

She frowned. How come Kandace hadn’t told her anything about this party? What good was it having a sister so close in age if she was going to keep stuff from her? Apparently she was just good for borrowing clothes. Katelyn shifted her feet and narrowed her eyes again. She wouldn’t put it past Dom to be playing some sort of prank on her.

“Won’t Demetria have to check in? I can’t imagine your parents will let her have the car the whole night.”

“Naw, you know how it is. Mom and Dad pretty much let her do whatever she wants.” His voice held resentment.

She shook her head. He resented how his sister had so much freedom, but speaking as the often overlooked kid in the large Anderson clan, she would love to have the amount of focused attention Ramona and Vincent Valentini lavished on Dominic. The newly budding feminist in her also felt bad that Demi was overlooked not because she was one of many like Kate was, but because of the Valentini crime of not having a penis. In fact, newcomers to the community often went months before learning the Valentinis had a daughter that was how much they forgot to mention her while they extolled Dom’s virtues to all that would stand still.

“Well… still… I don’t want to break any rules…” Katelyn began to say.

Dominic rolled his eyes and snorted.

“We’re not,” he drawled condescendingly. “We have permission to go into Omaha with Demi. We are actually going to watch hockey. I thought you liked hockey?”

“I do! I just don’t want to get into trouble, that’s all. We’re going to be in high school soon. Stuff like that goes on your permanent record.”

“Stuff like what? What record?” he asked, looking confused.

She noticed his eyes had made their way back to her front only lower this time. She was starting to feel self-conscious. She crossed her arms and his gaze rose to hers again.

“You know, your college resume? If you want to get the best scholarships to the best schools you have to have a flawless record.”

His mouth dropped slightly and his brow furrowed.

“I was actually thinking about studying my practice National Merit Exams this Friday,” she continued. “And you probably don’t want someone a year behind you tagging along anyway.”

His confused expression cleared up.

“Naw, that’s alright. Like I said, your sister’s coming and everyone knows you two hang out a lot. And that new kid Andrew is coming. He’s in your grade. Just no inviting Kyle, ok?”

“’Kay…” she replied softly. Her eyes were starting to hurt from keeping them narrowed for so long. She sighed. “Why are you being so nice to me?”

“What’d’you mean? I’m always nice to you. We’re friends.”

It was her turn to drop her mouth in confusion. Friends? They hadn’t been friends since grade school. Friendly neighbors, yes. Constantly forced into celebrating holidays and birthdays together by their mothers, yes. But the way she saw it, that made them more like… like… distant family or prisoners in the same jail or something.

“Anyway,” he paused with a huge grin and tapped her shoulder with his fist. “Rumor is we’re gonna play Spin the Bottle at Grace’s after the game, so better practice your pucker, Skate.”

He laughed and sauntered off down the block. She stared at his back for a full minute.

He had to be kidding, right?

Only… not.

All through the Lancers game he kept bending forward from two spaces over and making kissing faces, sending the boys next to him into gales of laughter.

Jerk, she thought. He had obviously just invited her to be entertainment for his friends.

She nudged Kandace in front of her. Kandy turned around, looked between them and threw an ice cube from her drink at Dom.

“Quit it, moron!”

The boys started laughing even harder until the people behind them said,

“Shut it, dumbasses!”

Their equally scathing reply was lost in the dun dun dun dun of the hockey organ and the surge of the crowd as the Lancers almost scored. The boys completely forgot about her and started dissecting the play and the ice and the wobble in the puck and blah, blah, blah.

Katelyn sighed. She liked hockey, but not that much. She mostly liked it when the players got into a fight and the Zamboni guy shot hotdogs. And to think, she could be home reviewing her P-SAT words with a nice pint of Ben & Jerry’s…

It didn’t get any better once they arrived at Grace’s on the west edge of town. It was practically her bedtime yet everyone was jazzed like it was mid-afternoon. Katelyn stifled a yawn and jumped a bit in guilt when she felt Dom’s hand on her back pushing her through the door to Grace’s large family playroom. She looked at him, expecting a snide remark but he just flushed a bit and dropped his hand like she had cooties.

There were four people sitting in a circle around a Ouija board. Each of them had a bowl of popcorn and M&Ms in front of them.

“Hey! We started without you guys! Come pull up a patch of carpet,” a girl with jet black hair a few years older said.

“I’m Grace,” she continued nodding at Katelyn then pointed at the others in the circle. “This is Tommy, and Cam, and Mindy.”

Dom waved and pointed to Kate and Kandy.

“This is Katelyn and Kandace, they’re my neighbors. And you guys already met Hayden, Andrew and Jaxson.”

“Me and Kandy’ve met Tommy before,” Katelyn said with a smile for her aunt’s best friend’s son.

Tommy gave her a quick, shy smile then looked back down at the floor.

Grace nodded. “I’m technically babysitting him, but me and Tommy have agreed that’s bananas since he’s practically twelve. Easy money for me, right, Tommy?”

He laughed so softly at the ground it almost sounded like a sigh.

“You staying, Demi?” Grace asked.

“Sure,” Demi said in a bored mumble then flopped down next to Grace.

She was still going through her Emo phase, which was not quite Goth, more like Goth-Lite. All of the black wardrobe and morose demeanor, none of the Morrissey and facial piercings.

“Ouija boards are dumb,” Hayden said. “Thought we were going to play Spin the Bottle?”

Dom nudged him. Grace and Demi looked at each other, eyebrows raised.

“I don’t care if we play Spin the Bottle,” Cam replied, looking amused.

He grinned at Grace, causing her cheeks to flush. She brushed her long hair behind her ears.

“I think Ouija boards are fun!” Katelyn interjected. “And we all just met each other. It’d be a little weird to play a kissing game.”

“What’s the matter, Skate, you chicken?” Dom asked with a huge grin.

His posse started making chicken sounds. She raised her eyebrows and pressed her lips together.

Boys were soooo predictable.

She felt Kandy’s hand on her elbow.

“That’s the point, baby sister,” Kandy hissed in her ear, “to get to know each other?”

Dom and his friends started arguing about who was spinning first. Once everyone sat in a cramped circle, Katelyn prayed under her breath that the bottle wouldn’t rest on her. But fate was not on her side, because the instant Dom had a turn, the bottle spun right to her. If she didn’t know any better, she’d think he did it on purpose.

Kandace pushed Katelyn towards the door and everyone started laughing again.

“Go on. Two minutes,” Kandace said loud enough for everyone to hear, then leaned closer to whisper in Kate’s ear. “Just remember not to hold your breath.”

“What?” Kate whispered back, but Dom yanked her hand and shut the door.

The closet was dark and cramped, as closets were supposed to be, and Kate thought whoever invented the game of Spin the Bottle had to be a man because no girl would find it even remotely romantic. Dom’s hands fumbled on her until he found her face. When she could feel his breath on her face she leaned forward and to the side to give him a quick peck on the cheek.

“There. We can go back out when the timer goes off and you can say we kissed.”

He was silent but his face never moved away from hers.

“Dom?” she whispered.

She sucked her breath in as she felt his lips brush hers softly. It tickled with a prickly rush that made her want to rub her lips to make the odd sensation go away. But she never got the chance; his lips met hers again only firmer. The tingle went away, replaced with wetness and pressure.

It… didn’t feel bad at all, but, it still felt… weird. Especially weird because it was her first kiss and she had never figured she would have her first kiss with the same boy who had potty trained with her.

She felt his tongue prod her mouth and she pushed him back.

“Dom!” she whispered as forcefully as she could.

“What?” he whispered back.

“What was that?”

“It’s called French kissing…”

“I know what it is, Dominic!” she retorted in a stern voice. “We’re not actually making out, were just supposed to pretend to!”

He was silent again. Then…

“We… we are?”

“Well, duh, Dom! We’re friends, like you said. Or were you just saying that and now you’re going to make fun of me with your friends?”

“I… no, I mean… yeah we’re… I mean no, I’m not going to…” he trailed off.

His hands left her arms and they felt cold from where his sweaty palms had been.

“Time!” yelled voices from the other side of the door.

Kate popped up and almost tripped over Dominic in her haste to get to the door. She breathed a huge sigh of relief after she opened the door. He stood up and rubbed his hands on his jeans. He looked pale and distracted.

“Are you alright?” she asked.

He looked up from the floor and flashed a quick grin, though he still seemed preoccupied. He shrugged.

“Sure. Think I just ate one too many hotdogs at the arena.”

He brushed by her and gave two thumbs up to Andrew. The boys guffawed—even little Tommy!—making Katelyn flush with embarrassment. She shot them all a furious frown and deliberately sat as far from Dominic as she could.

Kandace tilted her head and looked between them then shared a quick look with Demi who rolled her eyes dramatically.

“I’m not playing anymore,” Katelyn said.

Her comment was greeted with a mixture of laughter and jeers.

“Hey, don’t make fun of her! She just doesn’t want to tarnish the memory of me,” Dom said with a smirk and traded high-fives with his posse.

“Or you were just that bad,” Kandy teased.

“Ooohh, ouch,” Grace laughed.

Dom glared at her, but his grin slipped and he shot a quick look at Katelyn. Kate began to feel bad; it was his birthday after all…

“I’m sorry. I’m just not comfortable kissing strangers. Dom’s a friend so he doesn’t count,” Katelyn said with her chin in the air.

“Ouch,” Grace said again.

Katelyn couldn’t figure out why. Or why Dom was starting to look mad.

“I have to have the car back by midnight, so if we could wrap this up?” Demi half drawled, half whispered. She looked like she could just waste away from ennui. Katelyn had to give her credit, whenever Demi was in a new phase she went whole hog with the part.

The rest of the evening was fairly uneventful, but when Kate got in bed that night she thought about Dom and how, in retrospect, it was a really nice thing to invite her. She vowed to thank him properly the next day at the family birthday party. The only problem with that was, Dom pretty much avoided her the entire time.

And come Monday, he didn’t follow her home. She was both disappointed and relieved. When he continued to avoid her for the next few weeks, she began to think he hadn’t meant it about being friends or she had hurt his feelings. On the third week, instead of reviewing SAT words at lunch with her friend Tracy, she wandered over to the cubbie holes where the boys hung out.

“Hi, Dominic,” Kate greeted shyly.

All the boys stared at her with dull eyes. Dom smiled a bit but he looked wary.

“Whatsup?”

“Oh, I was just saying hi.”

The boys started snickering. Katelyn flushed.

“Ok,” Dom said, eyebrows raised.

“Ok,” she replied.

Dom nodded, eyebrows rising even farther. Her flush deepened.

“Actually, I was just wondering if you were going to my track meet on Thursday?” Kate threw out, hoping to salvage her pride.

Dom shrugged, but his face went back to normal and he sat up a bit.

“If football practice is over, I could maybe stop by,” he said.

His friends all went back to looking bored, except the new kid Andrew.

“Are you two going together?” Andrew asked.

“Nah,” Hayden answered for Dom without looking up from his sketch pad. “Dom’s dating Cindy Mancini, where you been?”

Dom nodded, but he looked at his shoes.

Katelyn’s flush began to feel like the worst sunburn she had ever had. She had been worrying about hurting his feelings and the truth was he was just busy with his new girlfriend. She smiled brightly showing as much teeth as she could without looking like a horse.

“Yeah, we’re just neighbors and friends, right, Dom?” Katelyn replied.

“Right,” Dominic concurred without looking up.

He seemed bored again as he started unfastening and fastening the Velcro on his sneakers. She thought he maybe even looked a bit sad, but figured she was imagining things, because on Thursday—and every practice after, even at Roncalli—he showed up at track practice and cheered the loudest.

–  © 2013 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved.

Read how Dom and Kate finally get together for FREE in The Bird Day Battalion, or follow their love story all the way into Demi and Kyle’s Happy Ever After in The Good Life! (contains both shorts Bird Day Battalion and V-Day Aversion as well as the full length novel The Good Life, all in one book!)

birddaycover   valentinescover  TheGoodLifeDigitalCover

Have you already read The Good Life?

I hope you’ll vote for it on Genevieve Dewey's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) Listopia!