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 tried to calm the twirling butterflies in her stomach. She wasn’t sure if it was from excitement at seeing Dominic handle those contraptions like it hadn’t been the first time he’d seen or used one, or simply from the worry they were running on borrowed time. She knew her sister, and there was no way Kandace would remain in that car much longer. When they got to the empty front desk she rang the bell several agitated times.
A petite, yet curvy, woman came out of the office adjacent to the front desk with a huge welcoming smile on her face. She had shoulder length jet black hair pulled back with two sparkly barrettes. It highlighted the shocking pink streak of hair over her right temple and the pearl choker she wore around her neck.
She had on a black, shiny leather skirt and a cashmere pink top that stretched across her well-endowed bosom. On her legs were knee high striped socks and black patent heels. She looked like a Fifties housewife fused with a Goth girl. It should have been too incongruous but the woman pulled it off somehow with an effortlessly sensual flare.
Pinned to her sweater top was a name tag that read “Penny”.
“May I help you?” Penny asked in a Jessica Rabbit voice.
There was silence and Katelyn looked to her left waiting for Dom to speak. He always made reservations or ordered at supper; he never waited for her to take the lead. But Dominic was staring at the woman with a dazed expression.
Katelyn stomped on his foot.
“Hey!” Dom protested and looked over at her.
Kate spared him only a brief annoyed glance.
“We’re looking for a couple that might be staying here,” Katelyn addressed Penny. “The man would have sandy brown hair, be about six feet tall, wearing a business suit, and the woman – girl – would be, oh, about here.”
Katelyn paused and put her hand up to her ear.
“And she would be wearing a completely ridiculously out of season dress,” she finished.
Then she flushed, realizing too late that Penny was as well.
Penny’s black eyebrows rose daintily. She nodded vaguely a few times then slightly tilted her head.
“Listen, I’d love to help you, but I can’t give that sort of information out unless you’re law enforcement or something,” she ended the sentence looking at Dominic.
She slowly licked her lips and winked.
Dominic made some choking sounds and Katelyn gritted her teeth.
“No, we’re not law enforcement. He’s my brother-in-law and she’s…”
A husky, infectious laugh startled Katelyn to a stop.
“I’m just messing with you,” Penny said. “I really couldn’t give you their room number if they were staying here, or I’d get fired, but I could totally tell you they’re in the dining room over there.”
She stopped and looked side to side then leaned forward over the counter, inadvertently giving them a full view of her cleavage.
“And between you and me, I don’t really need this gig. It’s just something to pad the customer base, you know what I mean?”
Katelyn’s mouth dropped open.
“You mean… are you saying you’re… I mean… I’m not judging or…”
The infectious laugh rang out again, surprisingly loud from such a feminine and petite woman.
“No, no, don’t be silly! I’m a relationship counselor.”
Katelyn shared a look with still-silent Dominic.
“Like a marriage counselor?”
“Oh, honey, I don’t restrict myself to monogamous state-sanctioned relationships. There’d be less clientele that way. There’s some seriously messed up people come to a hotel like this,” Penny continued. “I mean, there’s obviously vanilla folk like you—”
“I’m not vanilla! What does that even mean? Whatever it means, I’m not it,” Dom finally interjected, sounding offended.
Penny smiled and winked again.
“Sure, whatever. Don’t get me wrong, there’s all sorts of people come here, regular folk, experiential folk, and weird folk. I’m not talking the normal kind of weird—”
“Isn’t that technically an oxymoron?” Katelyn interjected.
Penny blinked and smiled.
“I like you. You and the boyfriend ever need any helpful advice, you just give me a ring,” Penny said with a deep chuckle.
She took a business card out of her bra.
Katelyn gently took the slightly moist, warm card from Penny and read it.
“Love Aversion Therapy? What’s that?”
“My partner and I specialize in counseling couples towards reaching their full sexual potential with each other. We believe in embracing the power of one’s own sexuality, and that starts with understanding and overcoming one’s aversions, as well as embracing one’s fetishes. Communication and trust are essential to a harmonious relationship.”
The words were all so clinical, but said with Penny’s husky phone-sex voice, it sounded incredibly naughty. This woman could probably read the phone book and make it sound sexy. Katelyn looked over to see Dom had that slightly parted mouth look again. Only now, he also had a light frown between his brows like he was concentrating hard on a math problem.
Katelyn gritted her teeth in irritation at his continued unhelpfulness and tugged on their still clasped hands. It seemed to snap him out of his fascination with the uniqueness of Penny.
Dom smiled at Kate, dropped her hand and raised his arm to her shoulder in an embrace then hitched her closer.
“Thank you, Penny,” he said with a calm, business-like voice. “While we’re here, we could actually use some help on another matter. Every year, her sister and brother-in-law stay here to celebrate Valentine’s Day and their anniversary. She said that she stayed in room 169.”
“Ah, yes, the Lover’s Lash Room, recently renamed The Red Room,” Penny interrupted. “It’s our entry level BDSM room. It’s for people who just want to spice things up a bit but don’t actually know what they’re doing.”
Penny stopped again, sighed, and looked side to side.
“Don’t tell the regular manager I said that. I’m
supposed to hype it up that we have it, what with the whole Fifty—”
“Don’t say it!” Dominic interrupted. “You will only invoke a long rant.”
Penny blinked and she looked like she wasn’t sure if she wanted to laugh or not.
“Well, with the popularity of this rhymes-with-Schmitty-Schmades thing,” Penny continued, “We’ve been asked to hype it, but it’s a total joke. I mean, if you were to actually use the restraints you’d have to be, like, six feet long. Not to mention, they’re fur lined which sort of misses the point,” Penny stopped again and rolled her eyes.
“And the complimentary toys we get from Dr. John’s are like… amateur hour,” she sang out in a playful way then started snorting in laughter.
Even that seemed endearing and oddly sensual at the same time.
“Well,” Katelyn cleared her throat and tried to bite the smile off her lips. “Between you and me, I’m a little tired of hearing about Fifty this and Fifty that, but I understand people like what they like.”
She turned to Dominic and raised her eyebrow.
“See? No rant.”
His lip twitched a little in humor.
Penny chuckled and raised her hand for a knuckle bump. Katelyn gave a short laugh as her knuckles met Penny’s.
“But, on the other hand, it has been good for my aversion therapy business and I’m always happy to hear couples are keeping things fresh and exciting. So, there’s that,” Penny said cheerfully with a shrug.
“Umm,” Dom cleared his throat. “Not to be picky, but, I don’t think Aversion Therapy means what you think it means.”
Penny raised one eyebrow and sent him a cold look.
“You telling me how to run my business?”
“So… the room’s always been like that?” Katelyn interjected.
“Mmnhmn. Well, it used to be less red, and mostly just bondage-themed with a heavy Star Wars emphasis. But, it’s always been designed for honeymoons with a little extra spice as long as I’ve worked here, which is five years this June,” Penny replied.
Katelyn and Dominic shared a look.
“And what’s the chance that is where the man we mentioned is staying?”
Penny moved her lips in a sort of upside down smile and her eyes twinkled, but she said nothing. Then her gaze shifted to something behind them.
Katelyn turned around and saw Kandace trying to sneak off towards the rooms.
“Kandace Marie! You stop right there!” Katelyn shouted and Dominic groaned.
They could hear Penny chuckling behind the desk.
Kandace sauntered over to them, twisting her long brown hair in front of her.
“I’ve waited long enough. I am not going to sit in that car like some child—”
“Here’s a thought: stop acting like one,” Dom said.
Katelyn gave him a quick swat on his abs. He didn’t even seem to notice.
“Kandace, he’s not there. No one was in that room when we checked just now,” Katelyn said.
She figured it was probably best to leave out the part where Penny indicated Steve was in the dining area only fifteen feet away.
Kandace let out a wail and gripped the top of her head.
“How could he do this? How could he hurt me this way?”
“Do what? Who hurt you?” Steve demanded.
Everyone turned as he walked briskly across the lobby. He grabbed Kandace by forearms, his face a picture of concern.
“You!” Kandace gasped.
Dominic grabbed Katelyn’s hand and yanked her back before she could interfere. She sent him an irritated look.
Kandace was looking at Steve in shock. Her gaze shifted to the young blond standing just behind him and her face twisted in fury. She yanked free of his hands.
“And her!” she said, pointing at the girl.
Katelyn started wringing her hands in trepidation, since Dominic had locked his arms around her waist to prevent her from moving. This was the second time in a week she was genuinely concerned about the possibility of her sister facing assault charges.
“You mean Caroline?” Penny asked in a deeply entertained voice.
Katelyn turned her head to gawp at her. Penny was leaning on the desk again with her arms crossed, looking like she was watching her favorite soap opera.
“Who?” Kate wondered.
“Caroline, Kellie’s new assistant,” Penny replied in a nonchalant manner.
The little blond waved perkily at Penny who crooked a finger at her.
“Kandace,” Steve said slowly. “You were supposed to call me. I mean, I was going to call you, and explain everything, but Kellie said I had to wait because there was some sort of complication—”
“The complication meaning your mistress!” Kandace shrieked.
Both Katelyn and Penny winced. Several people turned around. She could hear Dominic heave another irritated breath.
Caroline looked very concerned, but not at all guilty.
“This is my fault,” Caroline said calmly.
“You bet your ass it’s your fault!” Kandace said.
Katelyn could practically feel Dominic’s impatience with the whole situation behind her. Caroline put up her hands in a calming manner and sent a quick look at the main doors.
“If you’ll just be patient, I can explain, and it’ll all make sense. You just got here earlier than you were supposed to and so we weren’t ready for your surprise.”
“Mmnn, I would just like the record to show, I called that,” Dom said, his voice tickling in Katelyn’s ear.
“Doesn’t explain the strawberries,” Katelyn stage whispered back to him.
“What strawberries? What is going on? Steve, how could you take her to our spot?” Kandace asked.
“Kandy, I wasn’t taking her here to sleep with her if that’s what you’re implying. We’re here because we needed to lure you here, so they could lure them here, and then we could go away,” Steve replied with a head nudge towards Katelyn and Dominic.
“Who here? What now?” Dom asked.
“You here,” they heard Kellie’s voice call out accompanied by the clack of her heels on the floor.
Katelyn and Kandace stopped staring at each other in confusion and looked at the entrance. A very exasperated looking Kellie was standing there with a very amused looking Kyle right behind her.
“Sup, Valentini,” Kyle said.
“You lost, Officer Anderson?” Dominic replied. “Omaha’s that way.”
He nudged his head eastward. His tone had lost some of his arrogant smugness and sounded just as confused as Katelyn felt.
Kellie continued the rest of the way into the lobby and dropped an envelope in front of Penny, then turned back around. Kandace was looking at Steve with her head tilted forward and deep suspicion on her face.
Kellie put her hands on her hips and pointed at each of them in turn as if she were a teacher taking them all to task for various infractions.
“Caroline, you were supposed to make sure that Dom and Kate were still at supper when Penny made that call to Kandy so she would come alone.”
“I tried to call Kate! She turned off her phone, so then I called Steve—” Caroline stopped as Kellie gave her an impatient wave.
Kellie pointed at Steve.
“You were supposed to head off Kandace before they got here—”
“She didn’t show up until just now!” Steve said.
Kellie ignored him and turned to Katelyn and Dominic.
“And you two were supposed to stay on your date like any normal couple does on Valentine’s Day so Kyle and I could surprise you with your hotel vacation.”
“I don’t understand,” Kandace said softly. “If the room wasn’t for Caroline, and it wasn’t for me, why was there a reservation for Steve?”
“It was supposed to be for us, Kandy, but the plan changed at the last minute. Kellie’s assistant called and asked if I would mind giving up the room in exchange for a trip to Key West,” Steve answered.
“Key West?” she squeaked.
“Just like you wanted for our honeymoon, only we’ve never had a chance to go with my schedule and the kids, and then we were having problems, so when Kellie proposed the switch, I jumped at the chance. Only, trouble was, last week you weren’t returning my calls. Then you moved in with Katelyn, and please, I’ve known you long enough to know there is no such thing as a private phone call in the Anderson household.”
“Steve – you – you did that… for me?” Kandace asked, eyes filling with tears.
Steve nodded solemnly. The blond assistant came and stood next to Kellie who had a self-satisfied smirk on her lips.
Kandace rushed forward and gripped the front of Steve’s dress shirt like a life raft.
“Steve, I’m so sorry about everything,” she said in a babbling rush. “I know I’ve been acting stupid and I’ve thought a lot about what you said and what the marriage counselor said and I miss the kids like crazy and I miss you like crazy. I promise I’m going to work harder. I put in five job applications today—”
“You don’t have to look for a job. I was just trying to make you happy. You were always going on about wanting to get out of the house, and I just figured if you really looked for a career, and not just what you thought people wanted you to be… Well, I just wanted you to decide what to be, and go be it. Even if it means you want to go do it without me,” Steve ended gently.
Kandace made a choked sound and shook her head. Tears streamed down her face.
“I don’t want to be without you. What I wanted was more time with you. Don’t you remember how it was in the beginning? I know having kids means more responsibility, and I promise I’m ready to settle down and be responsible, but I never thought it would mean we’d lose each other.”
“Um, maybe we should leave these two al—” Katelyn started to say.
“Shhh,” Kellie hissed.
Steve had looped his arms behind Kandace loosely and Kandace had her hands on his arms.
“We haven’t lost each other. Not yet,” he answered. “It’s going to take some work, I know. We both have things we need to work on. But I meant what I said at the counselor’s office. I’m willing to put everything behind us and start over. What about… what’s his name?” Steve asked with a grim, pained look about his mouth.
Kandace seemed to deflate like a balloon.
“There was no other guy. Brian was just a friend I met at the gym. I’m not even sure he likes women in that way. I literally just spent the night at his place. I just implied we might’ve gotten together because I thought you had been cheating on me, and I wanted to make you jealous so you knew what it felt like.”
Everyone stared at Kandace in horror. Even Penny looked dismayed. Katelyn saw her reach inside her bra for another business card.
“You made everyone think you cheated—” Katelyn started.
“Shhh,” Kellie hissed again.
Katelyn leaned back against Dom’s chest and he tightened his arms around her front. She could feel his chest moving in silent humor. She didn’t know what was so funny; in her opinion it was utterly outrageous what Kandace had done.
“Can you ever forgive me?” Kandace squeaked in a soft plea.
Steve frowned. He looked torn between vexation and relief.
“I’m sorry you had so little faith and trust in me. I know I travel a lot. But it’s just meetings, long flights, skyping in hotel rooms with committee members, lather, rinse, repeat. Hell, I wouldn’t have time to cheat even if I wanted to, Kandy.”
“I’m so sorry,” Kandace whispered.
Steve expelled a long breath and they stared at each other.
Kyle slapped his hands together and startled everyone.
“Welp, that’s settled then. No one cheated. Steve and Kandy still love each other. And everyone here is going to need a lot of therapy. Can we get on to the main course?”
Kellie snickered and Dominic finally let Katelyn go. Dom walked towards Kyle, and Kate walked towards Kellie. Steve and Kandace still seemed lost in each other’s eyes.
Penny grinned. Katelyn narrowed her eyes in suspicion at both Penny and Kellie.
“Main course?” Dom asked Kyle.
“The reason we lured you here,” Kellie answered with a brisk tone. “Let’s leave the love birds to their reconciliation. My assistant has their flight and bags and so forth. Penny would you like to lead the way to Kate and Dom’s room?”
Penny popped out from behind the counter like a bunny rabbit and hooked her arm in Kellie’s arm.
“Just hold up a second! Didn’t I just two second ago suggest we leave them alone and she shushed me?” Katelyn asked Dom.
“Yep,” he answered.
“Oh, get over it,” Kyle said with a poke. “Let’s go, love birds 2.0. I haven’t been putting up with Kellie’s bossiness all week to not get my pay off. It took a lot of work just getting you two on a date, much less here for your Valentine’s Day surprise.”
“Urrrgghh, noooo,” Katelyn wailed as Kyle tugged her by the arm towards room 169.
“Urrrrggh, yes,” Kyle replied.
–Copyright 2013, Genevieve Dewey.
Come back for the smexy conclusion… CHRISTMAS EVE!!