A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Eight.

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Dear Tommy,

First, I love you and think of you often. I keep hoping you will call but maybe I’ve just forgotten how busy a young boy gets. Or maybe you can’t call long distance? You can always call collect, just ask your mother how. I did try to call you on Christmas but there was no answer and no way to leave a message. I can’t understand why your mother wouldn’t have an answering machine. Perhaps I’ll send her one and a calling card.

What have you been up to since my visit? Is third grade a challenge? I don’t know why but I remember it being the first time I ever thought school to be fun. We finally started learning some math that was interesting that year. Do you like math like me? Maybe you like music like your mother. She is an exceptional pianist. I’m sure she’s forgotten to mention that as she’s quite modest. I know she teaches music but I’m not sure if she ever plays for recreation anymore. You should ask her to play something for you some time. Maybe you could even tell her I miss her beautiful voice. You don’t have to.

Anyway, your little brother is teething. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s when an ordinarily angelic baby become an impossible to please demon. And that is saying something with Joey. I think I mentioned he is usually as mellow as you were as a baby so this has been quite the adjustment for both of us. Ah well, this too shall pass. Your sister Kiki is having a blast in Kindergarten. She has a whole tribe of boys and girls she has convinced that she is actually a princess and somehow gets them to bring her things and give her their desserts. But here’s the kicker, son, she kept all of it and had an ‘auction’ on the playground to sell it back to all of them. Then she gave her teacher the money. I asked why and she said, ‘so she can buy us some good snacks for story time. No one likes carrots and crackers.’ HA! As a father I’m torn between pride at her entrepreneurial and management skills and pointing out that the establishment frowns at that sort of ‘business’. Or so the government and my lawyers tell me. I can’t wait to see what sort of scheme your brother dreams up in five years. I actually woke up in a sweat the other day thinking about what sort of shenanigans he could come up with if he’s anything like me.

Ah speak of the devil, he’s up again. I’m beginning to greatly appreciate the sacrifice your mother made raising you with only a part time parent to help. I guess it’s time to hire an au pair. That’s a fancy word for live-in babysitter.

I love you (I know I said that already–can’t be said enough). Hope to hear from you soon.

Your Loving Father,


PS- I put the calling card in with this letter and another business card.

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

NEW BEGINNINGS (A Downey Series flashback)

(A Flash fiction featuring a young Tommy Gates and Kyle Anderson from the Downey Series)

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by Genevieve Dewey

Tommy’s favorite thing to do after school was cut through the park and play Hunt the Bad Guys in the baseball diamond. He’d walk straight to Aunt Claire’s house like he was supposed to, wait for his mother to call and check on him before she left for her other job, then sneak out while Claire watched her soap opera. Mama would freak if she knew he was wandering around alone—Omaha was by far the biggest town they had lived in so far—but the way Tommy saw it, he was only a couple weeks from turning ten. And once you hit the double digits, you were practically an adult.

He always began his game by sneaking behind the man-sized trunks of the cottonwood trees nearby and ambushing the bad guys that were after him and his mom with a gun he’d made out of wood and rubber bands. Then he would run a Coke bottle along the fence and imagine the chink-chink-chink was the sound of prison bars closing. There was weeping and teeth gnashing and the classic ‘I would’ve gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for him!’. The grand finish was pretending the snow-like seeds in the air were confetti celebrating his victory over the bad guys. He was never a cop or anything like that, though, in this game. Just a regular kid. That was why they were throwing the party, because he was a kid hero. And Mama would say, “That’s my little man!” and the kids would have to stop teasing him. In his mind, the bad guys often had the amalgamated faces of the boys who teased him. Ironically, it was the one constant in his life, other than Mama and Uncle Jack. Everywhere they lived, there were always bullies who taunted him about his run down, out-of-date clothes and having no family.

The best part was after Tommy’s victory over the bad guys, his father would come out of hiding—because he wasn’t really dead—and he’d bring with him a whole score of aunts and uncles and cousins and Tommy would have a big boisterous family like Aunt Claire had. Uncle Jack always joked that the Andersons had made an Olympic sport out of having children, so they did their part as Underwoods by not having any. Tommy reckoned he just said that to take Aunt Claire’s mind off the fact she couldn’t have her own kids. But Tommy figured there’d be nothing more fantastic than having a big family because it meant he’d never be alone. There’d always be someone he could count on wherever he went.

He was laying in the browning grass watching the fluffy white clouds glide behind the water tower when he heard the tell-tale crunch of leaves. He grabbed the rubber-band gun and rolled over like soldiers did in the movies. In front of him was a boy a few years older than Tommy in a Catholic school uniform. He had neatly combed brown hair and a big grin.

“Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. Aunt Claire told me to come look for you,” the cheerfully bored-looking boy said. Tommy always figured ‘cheerfully bored’ was the best way to describe that type of person that never seemed to mind having nothing to do. This kid was one of Aunt Claire’s many nephews and nieces that came to visit from time-to-time. Tommy couldn’t remember what his name was… something with a ‘K’.

“I’m Kyle, remember? From the picnic on Sunday?” Kyle said then flopped down on the ground next to Tommy, head on his crossed arms. Tommy stared in stunned silence for a moment then mirrored his body language.

“I’ll just pretend I found you in a bit, if that’s alright with you. I just gotta get away from Motor Mouth for a while.”

“Motor Mouth?” Tommy asked.

“My sister. She never shuts up. And I mean never,” Kyle said. “And she constantly follows me around. It’s the pits having a sister sometimes. And I got three of ’em.”

“What a pain,” Tommy said, but really, he figured it would be neat to have a pesky little sister.

“Saw you playing cops and robbers, but I figured you wouldn’t want me to bug you or anything. I’m going to be a cop when I grow up, I figure. Or a fire fighter.”

“I’m going to play professional hockey,” Tommy said. This was the nicest any kid had been to him in the four months they had lived here and he wondered how long it would last. He hoped this was one of those Anderson kids that lived nearby in Ashland. It really was hard to keep them all straight. It’d be nice to think he could finally have a friend, even if it was just a sometimes friend.


“Yeah, and I’m going to get rich and famous and buy my mom a mansion and a billion servants so she never has to work again.”

Kyle nodded his head a few times on his arms.

“Your mom’s the new choir director at St. Augustine’s, isn’t she? What’s your dad do?”

Tommy pressed his lips together and glared at the letters on the water tower until they merged a bit.

“He died. He was in the military,” Tommy finally said.

He had made that one up on the first day of school. He figured with Offutt Air Force base south of town people would buy it pretty easy. The truth was he had no idea how his dad died or what he had done for a living or even what his name was. Mama refused to talk about him. Tommy figured it had something to do with the bad guys that made them be on the run. He liked to imagine his dad had died a hero protecting them, like somebody in the military would. So that was going to be his story as long as they lived here.

“Oh. Sorry,” Kyle said softly after a minute. “That’s tough.”

Tommy shrugged.

“Kyyyyyyle,” a girlish voice called out.

“Ugh,” Kyle sighed as he got up from the ground. “Well, it was nice while it lasted. C’mon,” he held out a hand to help Tommy up. “Bet your mom’ll be by to pick you up soon anyway.”

“Yeah,” Tommy mumbled.

As they cut across the park towards the Underwood house Tommy felt a shiver cross his body. He stopped and looked over his shoulder. He scanned up and down the park but it was just kids and moms and parked cars. He figured he was just beginning to get as paranoid as Mama was so he shook it off with a laugh and jogged to catch up to Kyle and Motor Mouth. Tommy’s relief at Kyle’s welcoming smile and the idea he might have made a new friend had him on cloud nine all the way home. It also caused him to miss the Rolls Royce that pulled away from the curb and followed them there.

Copyright 2013 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved.


You can read more about The Downey Series HERE.

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Seven.

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Hello Joey!

I do hope you’re settling in well at school, and that you are not having me on about being happy to go. I usually don’t worry about you pretending to be happy about something you are not, unlike your sister, but in this case you can chalk it up to a case of your father having some anxiety about sending you so far. Not to mention so unsupervised. Yes, I realize it is a military school but I can recall being thirteen with a clarity that would frighten you. I’m sure you have trouble imagining me so young. I wish I had had your maturity when I was that age, who knows what might have happened? In any case I would appreciate you using the new phone and computer I bought you for regular facetime. Emails or letters will not be enough. You are a Downey so I know mischief runs heavy in your veins. And the sneaky twinkle in your sister’s eyes has me uneasy as well. I do want to say I would not mind if you showed an interest in taking up letter writing like me and your great grandpa Seamus. It is a forgotten art form. People just dash off texts and emails these days without a care.

 I just scared myself with how old that made me sound. You can stop snickering any time. On another note, I just got off the phone with your brother who was surprisingly friendly. Well, perhaps not friendly, but polite and animated. He’s moved out of that horrid old house he was renting off 48th and found a single apartment closer to downtown. I said that was a good move because the hours he keeps he has no business having to keep up another man’s yard, and let’s be real the other tenants in that house never did their part. He’s thinking he might be making the rank of Detective soon. I’m sure he figured that would just ruin my day, but quite the opposite. I told him if he doesn’t make it, I could get him placed here in Chicago, the Alderman in our district is always carrying on about needing more boys in blue. Tommy laughed quite a bit at that. Who knows at which part? But he thanked me for the call, which was a first. If you were here you’d be able to tell me if I was making too much out of it. This is another reason I will miss you greatly–our talks about Tommy. It’s not the same with your sister. She is too much of a people pleaser, always wanting to fix things that can’t be fixed. You inherited your poppa Big Joe’s skill for listening. Another forgotten art.

I’d better wrap this up, especially since I will be seeing you soon anyway, in fact, maybe before this letter even arrives. See? Your old man can be sneaky too. Possibly you already knew that. (nyuk nyuk nyuk) I’ve a friend in DC I haven’t seen in quite a while and I thought I’d surprise him with a visit and I can pop over and see you while I’m there. You can show me around your dorm and introduce me to your new friends, of which I am sure you already have several. Did your mother tell you that you actually have a cousin on the Bonanno side not too far from there? I’m not sure of the exact connection, you’ll have to check with her.

I love you and don’t forget I’m always keeping an eye on you, so no shenanigans, alright, boyo?

 See you soon!

Your Loving Father,


PS- Keep your grades up and my pilot says he’d be happy to have you along for a ride in the cockpit. Won’t that be a fun bragging right for your friends?

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

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Six. (Warning: angsty and raw)

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The following is a letter referenced in Third Time’s The Charm;

Beneath the tray was a bundle of letters, no envelopes, about an inch thick…


My dearest Mary,

I struggle to write this. I guess I’m not sure if you care. I wonder if they’ll even give it to you. I guess it doesn’t matter because I’m not even sure if I’ll ever send it to you. I just can’t help but wonder if I’d stayed that night, hadn’t walked out, if I could have changed your mind. An hour. That’s the length of time it took me to lose everything that mattered. An HOUR and you were gone. I think they do that on purpose, the Feds. That way they can fill your head with lies and manip manu manipulations. Never noticed how long that word was before.

I guess I just need you to know I love you and Tommy and that’s a truth I need to make you know. But they won’t let me see you. They won’t tell me where you are. It’s inappropriate, my lawyers advise, in any case. That’s a long word too. Of course it is but you’re not just any witness are you? I know how this game works and ain’t that just the Goddamned joke of it all? For the first time I want to get to someone just because I need you to understand I was working on it. I had a plan and if you’d just waited. just waited a goddamned hour

 I don’t know what the fucking Feds are telling you but I know for sure whatever you have to say it isn’t enough, so why do this thing? Why? What could they have promised you? Tomorrow I’m going to hope seeing me in court will make you see reason. If you were tired of it I mean I know you were but like I said I was working on it and you can’t take my son from me we could have worked something out

 I hope there’s some way tomorrow

I don’t know maybe it’s best Big Joe is so pissed and Theresa just won’t shut the fuck up about getting her own baby and now I’m just alone

you’ll laugh because I just did that thing you can’t stand, lick the end of my pen. As if anyone ever died from that. I miss the way you nag. I miss tucking our boy in bed and I miss every fuckin thing

I should not write letters when I’m drunk. there. I nagged for you 

I love you


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

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Five.

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The following is a letter that was written the February before this flashback in First, I Love You;

She smiled remembering it. Little Joey running all over the hotel lobby getting into things the way restless nine year old boys do. Daddy all tense and silent, staring at ‘that woman’, as mom had always called her. And Tommy–Ha!–Tommy, acting like he had just wandered into the Omaha Hilton because he had nothing better to do. But she could see in his eyes he was just as nervous as she was. Just as curious to finally meet his siblings…

And in Second of All;

“We’re here so you can meet your brother for the first time. You can get an ice cream any other time.”

Joey sent a quick resentment-filled look at Tommy who was teasing a furiously blushing Kiki about some boy-band she liked…


Dear Princess,

I hope you are enjoying Paris! I know I said I wouldn’t “bug you” while you are visiting your mother but I thought it might be nice to get a letter from your old man anyway. It feels strange to be writing to you instead of enjoying your company while I write to others. It’s not only odd in its intended recipient but because my study feels very empty without you. I can feel you rolling your eyes at that, even from across the ocean. Oh well, somehow we will both survive your teen years. You’ll be happy to know your “stinky little brother” has so far kept his promise to stay out of your room. Either that or he is exceptionally talented at not getting caught. Given his parentage, it could go either way. I’m sure you’ll be happy to know he’s still quite jealous you got to go without him. I suggested maybe I could send him to his mother during his own birthday month, but he’s still set on Coney Island.

Speaking of brothers, Tommy will be graduating this May. Since Joey doesn’t want to head to Europe, I thought it would be nice if we could take a trip over to Omaha and see Tommy graduate. Won’t it be nice to meet him in person? Well past time, I think. You’ll find when you get older it’s easy to let time slip away and before you know it your daughter’s wearing lipstick and your oldest son’s graduating high school. You should probably make sure your mother doesn’t see this letter. You know how she gets when people mention Tommy.

I have to run now. Call me when you get this letter so I can hear your sweet voice.

Your loving father,


PS–Remember our deal, you need to be completing your homework. Getting out of school for a month doesn’t mean you can slack off.

PPS–No falling in love with any French boys.

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Four.

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The following is a letter referenced in Third Time’s The Charm;

Beneath the tray was a bundle of letters, no envelopes, about an inch thick. Mary’s hands trembled and she quickly rubbed them against her pant legs to remove her sweat. She sent a brief nervous glance at the doorway and lifted the first letter up.


My dearest Mary,

I would say first, that I love you, except mostly these days I despise you the way a man can hate only that which he once loved more than life. I take joy in that, actually, because today I realized I still have a heart. How could I still hate you this much if I didn’t? The truth is I hate you because I still love you and I would give anything if I could stop. You wanted me in prison for my crimes once, well this is a worse punishment by far. I hope you are happy, wherever you are. No, I hope you are empty. Empty like I am. I hope you ache the way I do. For everything we could have had together.

I decided to stop writing you today. It’s not fair to my children. I held my new son in my arms last night and I made a promise to myself. I will not rest until I find you. It was better to let you run and hide when Big Joe was in charge, but now I’m the man in charge and I will find my son and bring him home to his sister and brother. But until then, I have to stop holding on to the past. I thought writing these letters would help. I know now, nothing will help but to see you in front of me instead of in my memories. I’m only left to wonder, which will win out when I see you again? The love, or the hate?

Until We Meet Again,


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

#TantalizingTuesday: An Excerpt From Third Time’s The Charm |#ASMSG|

Here is an excerpt from the forthcoming Third Time’s The Charm (subject to final editing, etc)


“Would you like some, Mary girl?” he asked with an eyebrow wiggle, a devilish smirk, and a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

“Michael!” She worried the sternness of her tone was contradicted by the weak nervous laughter that bubbled around it.

“Is that all you can say?” he asked. He took a lighter out of the pencil drawer and lit the pipe. He got up and started walking over to her.

“Michael, what if Tommy or James found that and—oh!” Mary let out when he yanked her by the hand back towards the chair.

He scooped her up and plopped her on his lap as he sat, pipe still in his mouth. She laughed out right this time and cupped his scratchy face in her hands. Fifty-six years old and still spry as a randy old goat, Mary thought fondly. She kissed him on his forehead and he swiveled the chair back and forth, holding her close.

“What on earth has gotten into you lately?” she voiced the question everyone had been asking themselves. “You’re a thousand different moods in one body these days.”

She smoothed the front of his track suit. She far preferred him in his suit and tie—what woman wouldn’t?—but he still looked amazingly fit. Tired…worried…but fit. She looked up into his face again. He was watching her closely but still said nothing. He reached up and took the pipe out of his mouth and smiled a slow contented sort of smile. The smoke whispered around them both. She wrinkled her nose at the herby musty scent. It wasn’t sweet like the tobacco.

“Michael, smoking something illegal to take the edge off quitting something that is legal is probably not a better move,” Mary said, but she smiled as she said it. They both knew she didn’t really care. On the spectrum of laws Mickey Downey had broken over the years, this was pretty low on the totem pole.

“And I’m pretty sure they work the opposite anyway,” she continued. Mary hoped that was a little bit stern. It sounded weak to her ears.

“Or do they?” she wondered out loud. Way to be indecisive, you ninny, she thought.

He stuck the pipe back in his mouth with a chuckle and his free hand played in her russet curls.

“Why don’t you wear your hair long anymore?” Michael finally responded.

“Mmnn, I don’t know,” she said as his large palm teased at her neck.

It made goose bumps rise on her flesh and a shivery feeling snake through her stomach. She sighed and leaned into him. It was an amazingly domestic and normal feeling, sitting on his lap. As if all those years apart had never happened. She wanted to get lost in the moment, at least until his mood shifted again.

His head nuzzled hers. “I haven’t been entirely truthful with you,” he said, so softly she felt it more than heard it. She smiled weakly.

“And this should surprise me?” she answered. She could feel his silent chuckles underneath her bottom.

“Why did you come?” he asked. She shook her head at the rapid topic change again.

“Do you want me to leave?” she parried with another question.

“Mmmn,” he hummed and scooted her closer to him. His pipe was in his hand and his mouth moved to her forehead. He kissed it gingerly and haphazardly, as if he didn’t even realize he was doing it. “How long can you stay with us this time?”

“Can and will are two different words. Are you asking if I’ll stay?”

“Ahh, was I? Seems the second question would be superfluous with an answer to the first.”

“And which was the first, why I came, or what might make me stay?”

“Would your answer change if you knew my mother was going to be staying with us for the weekend?”

“I suppose that depends. Who is ‘us’?”

His deep chuckles moved her whole body and he pressed his lips against her forehead in one long kiss.

“We could do this all night,” he finally said against her skin. “It was always one of my favorite things.”

She smiled. Talk about falling into old patterns… she thought to herself. Maybe Kiki was right, maybe she needed to make the first move.

“I recall your favorite thing to do required no clothes. Maybe—” she squeaked as he squished her in another bone crushing hug. He dropped the pipe on the table and she had the vague thought of chastising him for potentially starting a fire a nanosecond before his hand bunched in her hair and his mouth was on hers.

Ahh, how he kissed. It was like nothing else. He put everything in him into those kisses. The same energy he had put into becoming a billionaire, into rising through the ranks of the mob, into raising his children. Her tongue furiously dueled with his and her arms made their way to his neck. She moved to try and straddle him but his arm was in a vice grip around her and his hand in her hair showed no give. Her lips began to hurt under the onslaught of his, but she made no moves to stop him. Her insides felt like they were melting and her only cognizant thought was marked amazement that he could still make her feel such overwhelming passion.

She panted against his mouth as he let her loose just enough to hiss against her mouth,

“Believe it or not, the thing I loved most was your mind,” he said. “Just sitting with you and our boy and talking.” His hand still held her hair, though not painfully.

Her eyes searched his for answers to this mood shift. They were glimmering with hunger and frustration. Why was he upset again? She thought hazily. One minute they were talking, the next kissing, and now he was moody again. He closed his eyes and kissed her one more time, just a regular, ordinary and gentle kiss. Then he slowly moved her off his lap. She stood up shakily.

“I don’t think I can do this,” Michael said.

–Copyright 2013, Genevieve Dewey. All Rights Reserved.

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part 3.

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The following is a (partially coded) letter sent shortly before this event referenced in Second of All;

Maeve had turned in the doorway, still ignoring Mary, and said to a sticky faced Tommy, ‘until we meet again, grandson’. When Mary asked Michael about it later he had said that he simply wanted his mother to meet them ‘just in case’. All further prying was met with stony silence until finally, ‘Family’s family, Mary girl. You never know when you might need them.’ And subject closed.


Dear Ma,

Dublin? I’m to believe you spent a week in Dublin just for grins and giggles? Pull the other one. I say this with love in my heart but what’s a woman of your age thinking? I seem to recall you once saying you’d eat gruel and potatoes for a month before you’d ever spend more than a passing moment there. If you’re needing something to do you might consider visiting your children. Has Rosa told you she’ll be working uptown after she graduates? That’s two of your children situated fine, in case you’re counting. Not that I’m fishing for compliments, I’d never bother to be so modest. Ha!

Truth be told, I wouldn’t mind another visit if you’ve a yen to hop the pond. Recently I’ve been listening to some songs that have me a wee down in the mouth. Makes me think of the bonds of family and days gone buy. Speaking of, I’ve a project I’d like to show you. It’s my best creation yet and near to my heart. It would bring me great pleasure to know you’d seen it. And though I know you hate morbid talk, I would be comforted knowing it had a safe home should mine crumble. After all, the weather in New York is as capricious as ever.

As for those cigars you saw on Arthur, I’ve purchased three; one for your next visit, one for a rainy day, and the other for posterity. For myself, I prefer the Cubans. And, yes, I do believe you are correct, too much Italian food does give one heartburn. Next time I’ll wash it down with some whisky.

All My Love,


An excerpt from Second of All (Downey #2) #ASMSG |

I posted this pic yesterday on Facebook. I’m super obsessed with it, it’s so very romantic and so VERY Mickey & Mary. I stumbled across it on a random Google search (it appears to be from http://www.daveandcharlotte.com/ Lifestyle Photographers). It makes me all kinds of #leSigh and reminds me of this scene…


[WARNING! Spoilers for those who haven’t finished First, I Love You]


Oh, the sweet, painful pleasure of anticipation!

Mary closed her eyes and rested her forehead against the foggy cool glass of the greenhouse. As she let out a weary breath she felt strong arms enclose around her and the comforting scratch of a beard against her neck seconds before warm lips pressed onto her collar bone. She leaned back against him and felt both comfort and bittersweet pain.

“Ohhh, I see,” Mary whispered. “This was all part of the dream. I wanted it to be that we would find you and I dreamed this. Finding the room, Kiki finding the answer, finding a way you could come to me… but I should have known…”

“Should have known what?” Michael’s gravelly voice purred in her ear and his whiskers tickled a shiver from her.

Mary tried to turn and look at him but his arms tightened around her.

“On the other hand… could it really be that simple?” she whispered again.

She could feel him chuckling.

“Mary girl, life is as simple as we let it be.”

Her eyes filled with tears. She wished with one part of her soul this weren’t real and with the other that it was, but wasn’t it just another goodbye either way?

“I don’t think I can do it,” Mary said, leaning her head into his. “I think you were right. You were right back in April and in the letter. I can’t leave them, if that’s why you’re back, to take me away with you now that you’ve got that money. I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry.”

“Did I ask that, Mary?” Michael asked, still chuckling. Mary frowned. That wasn’t the response she would have thought even a dream Michael would give. She tried again to turn around.

“Why won’t you let me turn around?”

“Safer that way. I have to go and have a chat with our son. When the Fed gets back, you can’t give a description.”

“I would lie.”

“And I’m done asking you to.”

Mary frowned some more.

“But you’ll ask Tommy to?”



Michael’s teeth lightly nipped her neck and she gasped. His hands dipped then moved up the length of her in a sort of reverse hug and caress.

“All in good time, Mary. Close your eyes,” Michael whispered in her ear.

Mary could feel him come around her while not breaking his embrace, then his lips were on hers and she sank into the contradictory sinful heaven of his kiss…

Second of All (The Downey Trilogy, #2) © 2013 Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved


A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Two.

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The following is a letter referenced in First, I Love You;

“Does he like to play Princesses?” Kiki asked. Daddy didn’t answer, just chuckled as he picked up his pen and wrote:

Dear Tommy, First, I love you. I hope you enjoyed the present I sent—’

“Daddy, guess what! I read the word love!” Kiki said, proud of herself.

“Very good, sweetheart, very good,” he seemed to choke out the words like something was stuck in his throat. Then he kissed her head and continued to write.


Dear Tommy,

First, I love you. I hope you enjoyed the present I sent–I’m not sure what a boy your age is ‘in to’ these days but I gathered from your Transformer PJs that you might like those. If you already have this car, let me know, and I will get you one you don’t. And, of course, Happy Birthday! Turning ten is a pretty big deal, it’s not every day a young man busts into the double digits! Do you remember how much you liked playing cars in the living room? We must have lost a few dozen Matchbox cars down that large vent. When you were just a wee tyke you refused to walk over it and you would stand there, stubborn as a mule, until your mother would lift you over. If I was there you would insist I do it because I always remembered to make the airplane sounds. Mothers sometimes don’t understand the importance of these things. Speaking of your mother, I am not sure if she told you that you have a little sister, she’s 5 1/2 and about to attend Kindergarten. Her name is Katherine but we call her Kiki. I’ve included a picture, she’s eager to meet you. You’ll have to indulge her if she asks you to play Princesses, little girls are sometimes pushy like that. But I promise to take you out for an extra large ice cream afterward! And never fear, you also have a brand new brother, he was born just this last May and his name is Giovanni, but we call him Joe. He reminds me a lot of you as a baby. You were always such a good baby, hardly ever cried. Kiki cried all the time but is now quiet as a bug in a rug. And it seems like you will be the only one of my children to have the Downey green eyes. Ah well, who can predict these things?

I’m sure this is a lot to take in, so I will end my letter here and say once again that I love you and I miss you. I don’t know what it is your mother may have told you, but I want you to know you can call me whenever you like, or write if you are so inclined. I meant what I said last week that I will always be here for you no matter what, day or night, whatever you need. And you don’t need to worry, I will not make you move, I gave you my word. You can ask your mother, I always keep my promises.

Your loving father,


PS–I’ve also included my business card which has my personal lines written on the back. You may call any of the numbers, everyone has instructions to put your call through to me at once.