For a limited time I am going to post The V-Day Aversion (Dom & Kate #2), chapter by chapter every Saturday. If you haven’t read Bird Day Battalion (Dom & Kate #1), grab a free copy in any digital format at these retailers:
The V-Day Aversion
by Genevieve Dewey
Copyright 2013 by Genevieve Dewey. All Rights Reserved.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
Katelyn put the brochure back on the rack by the front door of her sister Kellie’s office and tried to stifle another irritated sigh.
“Sorry, Katie,” Kellie said breathlessly as she entered the office. “I just got a new assistant last week and it’s crazy this time of year, everyone wanting to go on romantic cruises. You know how it is.”
No, actually, I don’t, Katelyn thought.
She would rather poke her own eye out with a dull spoon than be stuck on a large boat with thousands of strangers, and no escape route, or way home, or…
“I’ve got you penciled in for fifteen minutes but I’m sorry, that’s all I can spare today. So if you could just briefly outline what this is about?” Kellie tempered her bossy tone with a quick smile and a pat on Katelyn’s back.
“I was thinking we could pool our resources and send Kandace and Steve on a trip together. You’d know the best package being a travel salesman.”
Kellie looked taken aback. She walked around her desk and sat down before answering.
“It’s salesperson, Katelyn, and I’m actually an event planner, not a—”
“I know. Point is—”
“And I own Anderson Adventures – a highly successful travel and event organizing business, I might add – which technically makes my title CEO and—”
“Kellie, can we just, please, focus here?”
Kellie raised her eyebrows and clasped her hands in front of her on the desk. She had on her Bitch-in-Heels face, but Katelyn could recognize a little twinkle in her eyes. She took that as license to continue.
Katelyn sat in the little chair in front of Kellie’s desk and mirrored Kellie’s body-language.
“I think if they could just get away from the kids and the routine of their everyday lives they might, you know, be able to recapture what they had and reconcile.”
“And I think it’s best if we both just butt out and mind our own business. Kandy is a big girl and she can make her own decisions. If she wants a divorce then—”
“But she doesn’t! I know she doesn’t! It was all his idea.”
Kellie raised her eyebrows so high they almost disappeared under her platinum bangs.
“It was his idea she should cheat?”
“That was just… she over-reacted because instead of reassuring her he wasn’t cheating, he suggested counseling, and a trial separation—”
“And instead of doing that, she just files for divorce because he stayed at his parents for an extra week.”
“Over Thanksgiving! Who does that?”
“Someone who’s trying to give his wife space to think about what separation means.”
“The point is, she only did it after she filed for divorce and because she thought he already had someone on the side, and he did nothing to reassure her. What’s once compared to many times?”
Kellie scoffed and sat back in her chair.
“Mature adults don’t cheat just because they think, maybe, possibly, the other person did first,” she said, looking at Katelyn like she’d lost her mind.
“She just got insecure, that’s all,” Katelyn defended, even though she secretly agreed. “He should have stayed and reassured her, instead of ‘giving her space’. Everyone knows Kandace and ‘space to think’ is a bad combination. Especially after he just got done calling her flighty and irresponsible and reminded her she would need a job if she left him.”
“Everyone calls Kandace flighty because she picks a new career every year,” Kellie responded.
She clasped her hands on her chair handles and swiveling it back and forth lazily. Her facial expression was somewhere between completely unconcerned and mildly amused.
“Where is your sisterly solidarity, Kellie Ann!?” Katelyn spit out.
Kellie heaved a long sigh and leaned forward again in her chair. She looked at her watch pointedly. Kate pursed her lips and continued to glare. Kellie’s eyes softened a bit and her lip hitched a little like she knew just how much she was pressing her little sister’s buttons. She chuckled and reached her hands forward to grab Katelyn’s hands.
“Tell me something, baby sister. This sudden desire to help Kandace patch things up with her husband wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact she just moved in with you, would it?” Kellie asked.
Katelyn flushed and squirmed.
“How do you know about that? It just happened yesterday.”
That woman was a menace to society, thought Katelyn.
“What would you do, if she insisted on staying with you and Andrew?” Katelyn asked, going for the best defense is an offense approach.
“Helping her helps both of us – all of us. As a family,” she ended weakly.
Kellie raised her eyebrows again and her eyes sparkled in humor.
“Look, Katie, I do think that Kandy realizes she made a mistake and wants to patch things up, but just doesn’t know how. But I also think it’s really not our place to interfere, even as her sisters. Sisters are just supposed to be there for each other, not micromanage each other’s lives.”
“This coming from the biggest micromanager out there!” Katelyn couldn’t stop herself from saying.
Then she sighed in defeat.
“Sorry, Kellie, that was mean. It’s just… it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow and I figured it would be the perfect time to play a little cupid.”
Kellie laughed and stood up. She went over and opened the door in a very unsubtle ‘time to go’ way.
“I’m sorry to kick you out, Katelyn, but my assistant will be back any minute and we have a big project to discuss.”
As Katelyn made her way to the door, Kellie continued, “Does this mean you’ve gotten over your aversion to Valentine’s Day? Me, personally, I think it’s fun watching Andrew try to surprise me every year. He never does, but he tries, bless him.”
“I didn’t think you listened when I said that. It seems like nobody in this family takes me seriously about V-Day. But I’m willing to take one for the team because it’s Kandy’s favorite holiday and their anniversary this weekend.”
“Good to know,” Kellie said mysteriously.
She smiled gently and she suddenly appeared more like the girl Katelyn used to play Barbies with, rather than the battle-axe she had become.
“And I always listen to you, Katie-belle. I just don’t always agree.”
Katelyn smiled and walked over to hug Kellie. When Kellie pulled back, she grabbed a brochure from the huge rack against the wall and handed it to Katelyn.
“Here. If you won’t take my advice and butt out, this is the hotel they stayed at on their honeymoon. It’s a theme hotel in Lincoln. Each room has—”
“Yes, like the middle ages, or space adventure—”
“Oh, I remember her talking about that! She went on about it for weeks!”
“Probably to cover her disappointment they didn’t actually leave the state for their honeymoon, or at least stay at a casino across the river—”
“But she doesn’t even like gambling.”
“Do you have a pathological need to interrupt or is it just rudeness?” Kellie asked in her bossy, older sister tone.
Katelyn rolled her eyes and walked through the door, sending her sister a prune face over her shoulder.
Kellie laughed a bit and continued, “Anyway, you might just accidently-on-purpose lose that in front of her to remind her of the good times.”
“Let’s just hope it doesn’t remind her of the bad times,” Katelyn mumbled.
“Hmmn,” was all Kellie said in response.
She poked her head out the door and addressed the secretary in the lobby.
“Next time my sister visits, don’t make her wait fifteen minutes before calling me, understood?”
Then she shut the door smartly.
Katelyn gave the secretary a superior look and thought, well, maybe Kellie had a little sisterly solidarity left in her.
Just as she made it to her SUV, her phone rang with Dominic’s ring tone. She sang a few bars of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire before answering it.
“Thought we were meeting for lunch?” Dom asked without even saying hello. “It’s a good thing I took the day off, or I’d have to be back in class by now.”
She slapped her hand to her forehead.
“I’m sorry, Dom! I was downtown visiting Kellie and—”
“You used that excuse yesterday, babe. Might want to dust off a new one, or several.”
“What? I mean, I know, I’m sorry. But, I have to get on 180 just now and you know how I hate inner city traffic. I’ll call you back as soon as I get home,” Katelyn said in a rush and hung up before he could reply.
She swallowed the guilt again and started her car. As Katelyn made her way to the west edge of town she tried not to think about the fact she’d just given him more ammo for the ‘flighty’ comment yesterday. It wasn’t like she didn’t want to live with Dominic, it was just that she loved that little home. And now he wanted to use Valentine’s Day to ask her to give it up? It was like he was ignoring everything she had ever said about hating it!
Ok, true, maybe she didn’t actually hate it as much as she said. It was more in the realm of general apathy. And it was also true it might have been a little overkill to say he couldn’t get her anything at all, but she had hoped he would take it as a hint to drop the idea of them going out. Then it would give her a little more time to work up the courage to tell him she had no intention of moving.
She frowned. That seemed even a little convoluted to herself.
But, even so, she was reasonably certain she had a right to be annoyed that he was showing such disregard for her feelings about the holiday and her home. Everything was always on his terms and his turf. He had just assumed she would move in with him without even discussing it with her. She ignored the little Kandy-sounding voice in her head that said, ‘duh because you’ve been avoiding him‘, and told herself it was perfectly natural to want to put off an unpleasant confrontation with the man she loved.
She was still endlessly repeating this in her head (and almost had herself convinced it was true) when she pulled into her driveway.
“Just because he’s used to having it his way in every other aspect of his life doesn’t mean he can push me into this decision,” Katelyn mumbled to herself as she fished her house keys out from her purse.
“That’s cute, two and a half decades of knowing each other and I never noticed you talk to yourself,” a voice said from the corner of her front porch.
Katelyn dropped her keys and jumped.
She clutched the front of her sweater.
“You scared the piss out of me!”
She glared at him then narrowed her eyes even more at the sight of him looking perfect and dashing as always.
How did he do that?
Every day he pulled off some irresistible combination of dangerous, disheveled, and delicious. She knew for a fact he just got up in the morning, took a shower, sprayed some man-stink on, and that was that. She had to spend an hour getting ready, and still her hair always frizzed out and looked like she had done nothing to it.
“Not my problem you’re so unobservant you didn’t notice the guy sitting on your front porch,” Dom replied.
He waggled his eyebrows and got up from the porch swing. She turned around and picked up her keys to unlock the door while he continued speaking.
“First, you leave me hanging last night for supper—”
“We never had formal plans, and something came up, and—”
“Then you don’t even throw me a bone and come over after the game—” Dom continued.
“Oh, please, you only invited me over so I could help you clean up after my brother and brother-in-law—”
“Now you stand me up for lunch—”
“I told you I honestly lost track of time,” she said and turned back around.
He was lounging against the railing on the porch by the steps with his hands in his pockets.
She sighed. He was like sin in a man-shaped package. And her sister wondered why she was avoiding him? A nun would have no willpower around Dominic Valentini in full flirt mode.
“And I haven’t gotten any nookie since practically New Years…” Dom continued in a soft purr.
“Oh, what a load of bull! It was last week, ok, maybe the week before that, but I had my period, and that totally doesn’t count—”
“I got blue balls, babe, it’s not pretty. Maybe you could put on that sexy nurse outfit you wore on Halloween and tend to my—”
“Oh, for God’s sake, Dominic! And who says nookie any more, I mean, really?” Katelyn spit out and crossed her arms, but she couldn’t help laughing a bit.
He had always been able to get her out of a bad mood even when they had just been friends. Now that they were dating, he had even more ways to cajole a laugh out of her.
Why am I avoiding him again? She wondered. Oh, yeah, the house.
She frowned at him. He stopped lounging against the railing and sauntered over to her, all the while grinning and clearly unfazed by her menacing look.
Oh man, not on the front porch, Katelyn thought as she recognized the mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
She backed up until she hit the door, fumbling behind her for the handle.
Mrs. Dickerson was going to have a field day with this, her panicked mind continued a beat before he squished her against the door.
It seems like he’s always squishing me against something, she thought in irritation. Then Kandy’s voice in her head mocked, probably because he knows you secretly love it.
“I’m starting to think you’re avoiding me, Skate,” Dom whispered against her lips.
He had one hand flat against the door above her head and the other against the door next to her waist. The entirety of him was pressing against her.
The entirety of her was now gooey and fuzzy headed.
“Are you avoiding me, babe?” Dominic asked while trailing his lips, without actually kissing her, along the edge of her jaw.
“Ahhhh… ummm… Why… um, whhhhy would I be avoiding you?” she managed to get out feebly.
His lips moved to her neck and his hips ground against hers.
“Dom-Dominic… there’s… there’s people out here!” She squeaked out the last word as his tongue licked the lobe of her ear just the way she liked it.
Dom’s head lifted and he raised his eyebrows. His hand above her head lifted from the door and looped behind her, scooping her flush up against him as he stepped back. His other hand turned the door knob, opened the door, and twirled her out of the way of it opening – all in one swift move.
“Exactly why we should take this inside,” Dom said with a grin. “Great idea, Skate.”
Then he let go of her abruptly and walked right into her home like he owned it.
Katelyn gritted her teeth and glared at his back. It was a good thing she was so madly in love with him, or she might actually hate him for the way he always seemed to get his way.
–Copyright 2013, Genevieve Dewey.
CHAPTER FOUR will be posted 11/30/13 at 9am Chicago time.