The Good Life

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.

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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…

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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!)

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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!

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


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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*

 

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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!)

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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!

 

Can’t wait for The Good Life to get here? Listen to the Playlist while you wait!


These are the songs I either referenced in the Dom & Kate shorts or The Good Life, or just songs that I listened to while writing the novel. It’s sort of the soundtrack, if you will, for the novel.

Enjoy!!!

The Good Life Playlist:

 

Have you entered to win a paperback copy yet?:

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Silly me! I forgot to tell you V-Day is perma-FREE just in time for The Good Life!


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FREE now at these eBookstores!

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Dominic Valentini is a man with a plan. Katelyn Anderson is a woman with her own plan: avoid whatever Dominic’s got planned.
 
It’s two days from Valentine’s Day, and Katelyn’s sister Kandace wants Kate to help her catch her estranged husband cheating. Katelyn’s just fine with this as it gives her another excuse to avoid Dominic, whose only crime is being Practically Perfect in every way possible. Dominic just wants Katelyn to stand still long enough to give her a Valentine’s Day to remember. The only problem is, Katelyn hates Valentine’s Day.
 
Join Dom & Kate, from The Bird Day Battalion, (also FREE!) as they try to navigate the “And then what?” of a Happy Ever After.

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Please consider rating it on Goodreads:

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Haven’t read Bird Day Battalion?

No worries, grab a FREE copy at all major eBook retailers!

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And just so you know, both the eBook and paperback version of The Good Life  WILL contain both these shorts as well as the new full length novel. Is anyone excited yet for Kyle and Demi’s love story? I hope you will love them as much as you love Dom & Kate!

Missing Tommy&Ginny from The Downey Trilogy? Here’s a peek at Dom&Kate’s wedding in #TheGoodLife


I’ve put up teasers from THE GOOD LIFE on this website before.

Here’s another one I shared the other day on Facebook featuring Ginny and Tommy from The Downey Trilogy:

THE GOOD LIFE

~~~(Copyright 2014 Genevieve Dewey, subject to editing, all rights reserved, etc):~~~

 

“Man, I love weddings,” Ginny Sommers declared breathlessly as she joined them, all but dragging Tommy behind her. “And this is our third in the last six weeks.”

“Third?” Tommy frowned.

“Your parents, then Kiki and James—”

“My dad’s doesn’t count as a wedding so much as a media circus fused with an inter-agency cluster-fuck.”

Ginny shrugged and grinned at both Kyle and Demi, “Anyway. Never gets old, weddings. The awkward social interplay between now connected strangers, the equally awkward ritual of…” she broke off and cocked her head. “Why don’t you two get up and dance?”

“Might be awkward with the plate full of cake between us,” Kyle joked.

Demi choked a bit on the bite in her mouth.

Tommy chuckled. “Talked to the DJ and the groom, and they’re going to do the official ‘aw, wook at da happy couple’ dance they forgot to do, so that means you guys are gonna have to shortly thereafter.”

“Aw, thanks for that,” Kyle responded with an insincere grin.

“Hey, no problem, partner,” Tommy replied with an equal amount of sarcasm. “But it ain’t about you. Rain man here can’t stand it when the rituals aren’t obeyed.”

“Uh!” Ginny smacked him. “I am not that bad.”

“You and Kyle’s sister—Kate—would get along great,” Demi laughed.

“As it happens, I’ve just finished chatting with the bride. We gave each other the standard anthropologist hand shake.”

Tommy laughed, “Which, near as I can tell, is an alcoholic beverage and mentioning Binford, or Boas, or Goodall…”

“…And other people no one’s heard of,” Kyle concurred.

“Everyone knows who Jane Goodall is,” Demi scoffed. “Anyone who actually cares about the environment and not slaughtering animals does anyway. I wouldn’t expect Mr. I Heart Bacon here to understand.”

Tommy snickered.

“I’ve mentioned Demi’s a bunny-hugging twig-eater, haven’t I?” Kyle teased.

Ginny seemed amused by the exchange, but she didn’t respond beyond a quick clink of her glass with Demi’s. Kyle flashed a grin at Demi who opened her mouth, flushed, then quickly turned back to Ginny.

“It’s nice you could get time off to come be Tommy’s date, Agent Sommers,” Demi said, dusting off that ethereal tone.

As usual it gave Kyle the twin desire to shake her and kiss her. He dropped his hand to slide it between her legs. She stopped it with her own and dug her fingernails into his skin. Interestingly, she didn’t move his hand.

“Call me Ginny,” Sommers protested. “And it’s pretty easy actually; I always schedule visits with work, so technically I’m here to consult on a case. What I do on my off time is my business.” She adjusted the special harness she wore to conceal her sidearm with her dress.

“It helps there’s an actual FBI budget line for ‘spying on Tommy Gates’,” Tommy snickered. He dodged the smack she sent his way.

Ginny hesitated and tilted her head shoulder to shoulder with an endearing sort of grimace, “Actually, that’s sort of the truth.”

They looked at each other and laughed. The love in their gazes was easily apparent and almost made Kyle feel like he was intruding witnessing it. He shot a side glance towards Demi. She was watching them with a wistful hint of a smile.

“We prefer to think of it as monitoring known contacts of fugitives on our Most Wanted list,” Ginny continued.

“Details,” Tommy acknowledged with an eyebrow wiggle.

“Only, I am not paid to watch him—”

“She just does it for free,” Tommy interrupted with a snicker.

“On account of the obvious,” she finished with a laugh, grabbing his hand and interlacing their fingers.

“It must be difficult to live so far from each other…” Demi said absently. She was staring at her plate, moving bits of cake crumbs into formations, looking pensive.

“Mmn, we make it work,” Tommy said with a shrug. “It’s not preferable, but she’s worth breaking my strict no-long-distant-relationships rule. And she’s Aunt Claire approved.”

Kyle chuckled. Claire Anderson-Underwood was a sweet and steady woman who didn’t speak much, but she could ferret out a bad match the way a fox could sniff out a hare, and was never shy about sharing her opinion if she felt someone wasn’t worthy of one of her loved ones.

“It’s great Aunt Claire and Uncle Jack could drive over from Chicago,” Kyle acknowledged. “It means the world to Katie.”

“Oh, she gave Ginny the thumbs up way back when I started working on the Bonanno case with Uncle Jack,” Tommy said.

“You know what I learned from meeting Tommy on that case and getting to know his family?” Ginny said ponderously. Her gaze suddenly locked on Demi’s. “I learned that, truly, some lives are meant to connect. They intersect, ebb away, then reconnect again, defying all logic, or practicality. The joy is in accepting it, and in doing so, we figure out why. And then the practicalities just have a way of working themselves out.”

“Yes, she does always speak in riddles like that,” Tommy joked with heavy sarcasm.

–Copyright 2014, Genevieve Dewey.

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Oh, you like being teased? So does Demi. Here’s a megatease from #TheGoodLife


I’ve put up a few excerpts from THE GOOD LIFE on this website and shared a few on Facebook, but I thought I’d make it easier on you to find them all at once. Are you excited for the novel? I hope so! I just love those wacky Andersons and Valentinis and their “absurd codependency with each other” as Demi Valentini puts it…

~~~(Copyright 2014 Genevieve Dewey, subject to editing, all rights reserved, etc):~~~

TEASER ONE:

Kandace hadn’t gone but a quarter mile past the gas station before she screeched to a halt. She put her arm out in front of Kate as the seatbelt locked in place. Kate looked down at the redundant restraint.

“Sorry. Mom reflex,” Kandace said sheepishly as she took her arm back.

“What the what?” was all Kate could say as Kandace actually backed the car up half on the side of the road, and half in her lane.

“What are you doing?” she squeaked in horror. She waved awkwardly at the furious drivers screeching around them, honking their horns and waving obscene gestures.

“Look over there!” Kandace pointed to the other side of the street.

“I see… a gas station?”

“No,” she pointed emphatically, “over,” she gritted with another furious jab in the air, “there!

Katelyn’s eyes scanned the parking lot south of the gas station and finally caught the sight of a long legged, stylish looking woman with luxurious honey-colored hair laughing with a dark-haired, middle-aged man next to a silver and black Bugatti Veyron. The woman turned her head enough for Katelyn to get a full view and finally recognize her.

“Huh. Speak of the devil,” Katelyn whispered. She wondered if the high-end sports car was Isabel’s or belonged to the Italian guy she was flirting with.

“What are the odds?” Kandace whispered back.

“Fairly high,” Kate managed to reply drolly. “We’ve established she’s here for a long visit and Omaha and Lincoln are practically attached at the hip these days. It’s not like we ran across her in York or some place.”

“Actually, York would make more sense. I read an article once in one of Steve’s law journals that said it’s a huge crossroads for truckers and drug traffickers,” Kandace argued, nodding her head up and down, eyes bulging.

Kate’s mouth worked a few dumb-struck times, then she shook her head to clear it.

“Holy spurious conclusion, Batman! How did we correlate Isabel with truckers and drug runners?”

“Katelyn,” Kandace sneered, turning Kate’s head back towards the window, “that is a million dollar car. At the frickin’ Kum and Go. Do I have to spell this out to you?”

Kate moved her eyes left and right, then slowly pried Kandy’s fingers from her jaw.

“I guess you do. First of all, it’s a Phillips 66; there aren’t any Kum and Gos in Lincoln anymore.”

“Oh my God, who freakin’ cares what it’s—”

“And so what, she knows a rich guy,” Katelyn continued with shrug. “Or maybe it’s her who’s rich. Don’t you have to be at least a little bit flush in the pockets to get married at the Heinz chapel? That’s where she and Dom got married, remember?”

“It’s not hers,” Kandace nudged her head towards the window again.

Kate watched the man get in the car on the driver’s side and Isabel on the passenger’s. The man pulled out of the parking lot and headed south on 84th.

“Her third full day in Nebraska and she’s meeting a Mafia kingpin,” Kandace clucked, shaking her head in derision as she pulled out after it.

Katelyn’s laughs filled Kandace’s mom-mobile. She laughed so hard that tears escaped and she actually had to gasp for breath.

“Kandy, that’s so stupid I don’t even know where to begin! First, there are no Mafia kingpins in Nebraska, and second, speaking as someone who is about to marry a man of Italian-American descent, it is extremely offensive that you assume he’s some sort of mobster just because he’s Italian.”

“Excuse me, I did no such thing! I assume he’s a criminal because he has a car that costs more than my wealthy husband’s house—”

“By a few thousand dollars…”

“A few hundred thousand dollars. At a gas station people only go to for Pick 5 tickets and drugs—”

“And gasoline and food.”

“And he’s hanging out with a woman half his age from where all the mobsters live in Pennsylvania.”

“She’s from Pittsburg, not Philly.”

“Same difference!”

“Yes, that’s why they put them right next to each other and named them the same thing,” Kate retorted sarcastically. “Besides, if he was a wealthy drug lord he wouldn’t actually be doing some drug deal at a gas station, you know that, right?”

“Why are you being so difficult?”

“Why are you being so insane?”

Kandace didn’t answer, instead she just kept following the Bugatti when it turned west on Havelock.

“I thought you had to pick up the kids?”

Kandy tapped an icon on the screen on the dash of her car. “Carm? Can you tell Steve I’ll be running late and he’ll have to take the boys to peewee football?”

“Sure thing, Mrs. Cheney.”

Katelyn smacked her forehead for what felt like the twentieth time this afternoon. “You are seriously going to make your lawyer husband take time off to pick up your kids when you’re a stay-at-home mom?”

“I am a business owner now. We share duties.”

“Translation: Steve is back to overindulging your whims and fancies. And you are not currently giving me whiplash and breaking traffic laws for business purposes,” Kate said, white-knuckling the Jesus-handle over her door.

“Carmela would have said something if he had a conflict. And Steve likes pampering me. You should consider letting your man do the same every once in a while or you’ll end up as puckered as Kel.”

“Uuuugh! How is it possible you can be so talented at baking and finances, yet be such a flighty idjit all at the same time? I’m telling you, Kellie was right, and I was worrying for nothing.”

“And I’m telling you she has a hidden agenda!”

“Please stop following them. Please.”

“Nope.”

“If you get us arrested or killed I will seriously hurt you.”

“Exactly how could you hurt me if you’re—”

Katelyn’s phone belted “Ring of Fire” and she gave her sister the ‘talk to the hand’ gesture.

“Hey Dom,” she answered, still gripping the ceiling handle and closing her eyes so she wouldn’t have to watch the traffic.

“Whatsa happenin’ hotstuff,” Dom answered, Sixteen Candles style.

“My sister’s trying to kill me. What’s up with you?” she answered shakily.

Dom’s deep chuckles tickled her ear, “Speaking of Andersons with a death wish, your brother said we could come over to watch the game at his house. That’s three date nights in a row, in case you’re counting. Don’t say I don’t know how to treat my laaaday,” he drawled in a comical deep voice.

Kate laughed at his smug, goofy tone. “Which game?”

“Do you care?”

“No,” she admitted with a little shrug. “It’s not a Monday so it has to be baseball you’re watching and I’m sorry, but baseball is reaaally super boring. You know I only watch it with you for the foot rub you give me.”

“And I only give you the foot rub for the gratitude you display later.”

Kate giggled a little, “Alright. Who all’s coming?”

“Mmn, his partner for starters.”

“Wuuuut? No,” she whined.

Tommy Gates was always so broody and quiet. And if she was going to be forced to watch a sport in which there were no periodic bouts of violence, unlike hockey or football, well, she needed someone to chat with. But getting conversation out of Tommy was like squeezing blood from a turnip. She far preferred the daring, brash extrovert type like Dom. Well, obviously.

“And who else?” she asked, thinking it was odd that Kyle would invite Tommy when he was inviting Dom. The two never hung out together.

“Well, Kyle said Izzy was going to stop by.”

“Isabel?”

“Yeah, so I said, hey, why don’t you invite Tommy? To even things out,” Dom replied in a rush.

“How is that even? Three guys and two women who don’t know each other?”

“I just mean, you know, one of my exes, one of yours… maybe they’d hit it off…” he trailed off.

“I’m pretty sure Tommy’s involved with someone, and surely you would not be so clueless as to compare one chaste date with Tommy with a marriage to Isabel. In which sex was involved.”

There was pointed silence on the other end.

Kate plowed ahead to cement the point. “And did you consider maybe Kyle wanted Isabel to come over to spend time with him alone? Unlike Tommy, Isabel is not currently involved with someone.”

“I doubt that’s it,” Dom continued, tone still infuriatingly oblivious. “I mean, why would he?”

She wanted to argue the point, but she couldn’t very well admit that Kyle was supposed to be schmoozing Isabel because she asked him to.

“Besides,” Dom continued, “Kyle said Izzy was originally planning on spending the whole day and evening with her great aunt in Papillion baking for some charity thing, but when she heard we’d be there she insisted she could stop by for the game. I guess she has something she wanted to give me.”

“Reaaally,” Kate drawled. She opened her eyes to look over at a smirking Kandace.

“Papillion?” Kandace mouthed.

“I mean we don’t have to go…” he said, his voice finally seeming to catch a clue something was wrong.

“Nope, it’s fine. Sounds like fun,” she chirped.

“Kaaay,” Dom replied doubtfully.

“Loveyoubye,” she said quickly and tapped ‘end’.

She tossed the phone in a drink hole on the console and met her sister’s grim and smug countenance with narrowed eyes.

She’s going down.”

Kandace laughed and floored the gas pedal.

–Copyright 2014, Genevieve Dewey.

 

TEASER TWO:

Katelyn’s face remained set in a stony, furious glare. Just when he thought it’d last forever, it relaxed a bit into a tired, defeated expression.

She stared at the floor as she released a long heavy sigh. “Why do you love me?” she asked softly.

Dominic studied the top of her head, her wild curls headed in odd directions.

“I honestly can’t think of one thing that isn’t worth loving about you,” he replied with the utmost sincerity.

Her head slowly lifted and she shook it. She looked annoyed, frustrated, and pleased all at once.

He smiled gently. “I mean, even your annoying habits make me want to kiss you or laugh—whether at, or with you—and I’ve seen you at your worst. Even better, you’ve seen me at my worst and we’ve stayed friends through it all. Who cares why I fell in love with you? I just did. Period. Skate, if it were possible to choose who we fall in love with, no one would ever get it done, because we’d all be chasing after this ideal person who doesn’t even exist.”

Katelyn frowned a bit then tilted her head slightly shoulder-to-shoulder as if she was mulling over the idea.

“The fact is, I’ve loved you so long it’s just as ingrained a habit as brushing my teeth,” Dom continued with a shrug. “I have no intention of stopping even if you stopped loving me. Which I would hate. It would totally kill me, but I’d deal… while hating it. Completely. Just putting that out there.”

She released a short, weak laugh. “I’ll just ignore the being compared to teeth brushing and focus on the fact that you’re an amazing man. I’m not trying to be falsely modest here, and I’m not being self-deprecating when I say I honestly don’t understand what a sexy man like you is doing with me. I know I’m not ugly. I’m intelligent, and I’ve a good work ethic. I have a pretty good sense of humor, and I can cook a mean tater-tot casserole—”

“Your tater-tot casserole does bring all the boys to the yard.”

“And I can even see why you would love me,” she continued, laughter in her voice, “but to have fallen in love with me, to be as attracted to me as you obviously are… I’m sorry, it’s just… some days I can’t help but think such an amazing man deserves better, even though I’m pretty awesome myself.”

“You are, yes,” Dom answered, trying not to laugh at her incoherent and contradictory babbling.

“Ugh, honestly, I don’t even know why I’m acting this way. All I know is I’m beginning to annoy myself with it. How stupid is it to feel something when your brain is screaming it’s completely illogical? I wish I could tell you why I’ve been so jealous and insecure lately. It’s like my moods are just all over the damn place. Oh my God!” Kate stopped and clapped a hand over her mouth. Then she cupped her cheeks with her palms, her mouth suspended in a pretty pink ‘oh’.

–Copyright 2014, Genevieve Dewey.

 

TEASER THREE:

“Shit! I’m sorry, I—gah!” Kyle covered his eyes with his hand and started backing up to the door. He had about gotten the door shut when he heard her riotous giggling.

“Would you like to stay and watch?” Demi asked.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, don’t be such a stick in the mud. Everyone does it. I’m sure even a tight-ass like you has done it once or twice.”

“Ok, first, that has got to be the first time in my entire life someone has called me a tight-ass, and second, when and if I spank the monkey is none of your business.”

“Spank the monkey. Nice. A little outdated, but always fun to say.”

He opened his eyes. She had closed her legs but she continued to be unapologetically naked. She trailed one of her painted nails along the base of her stomach and smirked at him. He was starting to get irritated at her lack of embarrassment. Here he was trying to apologize and express common decency, and she was mocking him for it.

“Gee, I’m sorry,” he sneered. “It’s the middle of the day and you’re naked and rubbing one out in your mother’s guest bedroom. If expressing surprise makes me a tight ass, so be it. Exactly what would you have done if I had said yes, I want to watch?”

She rolled on the bed to prop her head on her hand. She looked like a Rafael painting, still-damp hair caressing her hour-glass curves, body adorned only with an enigmatic smile. She moved her free hand to push her chestnut hair back, exposing more to his view and sending a few rivulets of water down to her nipples. It was physically painful to move his eyes back to hers.

“I’ve never really done the voyeur thing before,” she eventually said in a ponderous manner, “but I might like it, who knows? There’s a first time for everything and no one’s expected home for a few hours.”

There was a look in her eye somewhere shy of cynicism but definitely containing that special provocateur’s blend of humor at another’s expense he recognized from his years of interrogating suspects.

“And, as usual, you go trolling for the shock factor,” Kyle sneered.

“No, I said it to be funny. It’s called having a sense of humor. You might get yourself one. I think you’ll find your life easier.”

“Again with you implying I’m repressed with no sense of humor. I don’t even know where to begin with how off-the-mark that is…”

Gee, I’m sorry,” Demetria mimicked him in a taunting manner. “You’re the one walking into my mother’s home and my bedroom without knocking. If joking about it makes me a troll, so be it. Why should I put up with you judging me, but you get a free pass?”

He pinched his nose and took a deep calming breath. He waited until he had turned around to face the door to open his eyes.

“Look, I’m not trying to be a jerk here—”

“And yet, you’re succeeding so admirably,” Demi interrupted.

“I apologize for entering unannounced. I heard—I thought—never mind. If you could turn off the music and get dressed, I need to speak with you about the wedding. I’ll just wait in the kitchen.”

He turned the handle on the door but paused when he heard her voice in his ear and felt her body right behind him.

“Super-secret option B, you get undressed and we have the conversation right here. I have some oils I could use to align your chakras while we chat.”

He shook his head at the door. Why did he even bother to try to reason with this woman? She clearly got her kicks off being outrageous and scandalous, emboldened with an arrogant sense of entitlement that everyone would be too polite to call her bluff.

He turned around abruptly. She smiled in a smug, challenging manner. He returned it with a leer and enjoyed the rapid blink of her eyes and look of confusion that it elicited. He reached up and started unbuttoning his dress shirt.

“Sure. I got a little extra time, and I’ve been told I’m a good multi-tasker. Might as well let you help me loosen up some of this tension from work,” Kyle said.

She started backing up and her face became a marble of emotions: shock, consternation, nervous humor, and trepidation. Her eyes widened to saucer-like proportions as his hands undid his belt. Had no one ever called her on her bullshit before? Maybe it was the swanky music, maybe it was his chubby taking precious blood supply from his brain, but he hadn’t enjoyed calling someone’s bluff this much since the rat squad threatened him with an inquest if he didn’t spy on Tommy’s Mafia connections for them.

“What about Isabel? I thought you two had plans again tonight…” Demetria trailed off, her chin rising in an obvious effort to regain her composure.

“Hey, why don’t I call her and ask her to join us? I mean, you’re all about free love and all that, aren’t you? First time for everything, right?” Kyle mocked.

“I suggested we talk! I never said—” Demi cut off with a flush and a suspicious glare.

She stopped backing up and reached out to pull his belt free of his pants. His gaze never left hers. He tried not to respond any more than he already had when her hand found its way inside his pants.

–Copyright 2014, Genevieve Dewey.

 

TEASER FOUR:

As soon as Demetria heard their car doors slam, she locked the door, poured herself a glass of wine, and tapped Isabel’s icon on her phone contacts.

“Yeah.”

“Oh, sweet baby Jesus, I just did the most fucked up, stupid thing I have done since I dared Janice Pickering to go down on me.”

“Well, that’s a helluva start to a phone conversation,” Isabel replied. “I like it.”

“Oh my Gooood,” Demi wailed.

“We’ve covered the supplications to a deity you no longer worship. Can I get a clue here? Buy a vowel or something?”

“I just had sex with Kyle.”

Silence. Then, “Like…. Kyle Anderson? The guy who is very unsubtly dating me just to placate his sister? That Kyle Anderson?”

“Ugh. Do you hate me?”

“No. Nooooo. Nope,” Isabel replied. “But I am going to need details.”

“Haha! I love you.”

Isabel sighed, “If only that were true.”

“Iz…”

“No, come on, tell me. How’d this happen?”

“I was just… sort of… and then he came in, and we argued, and then…”

“Suddenly your vagina fell on his penis?”

Demi sighed, “Yeah, it was almost that weird and bizarre.”

“Hmmn.”

She could picture Isabel tilting her head shoulder-to-shoulder. “Well, he is pretty good looking,” Izzy continued, “and he’s got that very mid-western, ‘I got this handled, ma’am’ solid, dependable sort of guy thing going on. Not as hot as Dominic, but still, definitely high on the Tingly List for Girls.”

“But… since when have I ever gone after the solid, dependable guy? He’s a cop, for Pete’s sake!”

“Yeahhhh, I knew that already.”

“Omigod, and I had sex with him while he’s dating you and before you have. I mean… before you have, right?”

Demi’s ear filled with Isabel’s loud, exasperated sigh. “Shortcake,” she said, using the nickname she’d given her in college, “sex between Kyle and me was never ever to the ever-never going to happen.”

–Copyright 2014, Genevieve Dewey.

 

TEASER FIVE:

“Demi…”

“Mmnn,” was all she could manage. Soporific didn’t seem strong enough to describe the delicious sense of repletion she was feeling.

“So you’ll stay?”

The only answer she could give was a long, slow exhale. She opened her eyes as his words caught up to her. “What?”

His gaze dipped a little to stare at her chest. “You agreed to give us a try…”

“I know. I know I did, but…”

“Demi. Just a few more days so we can start to get to know each other all over again as adults. You can pretend I’m a stranger. If that’s what you need,” Kyle’s silver-grey eyes were soft and earnest.

Her heart clutched a little. “Kyle, I…”

“Hi, I’m Kyle,” he plowed over her. “I have three sisters and a brother. I’m a detective. I like hockey and football and boiling my brats in Guinness before I grill them. You own a tourist shop, you’re an even bigger Star Wars fan than I am, you don’t eat meat or drink dark beer. Which is fine, more bratwurst for me anyway. You can have the sauerkraut.”

She choked a little laugh out, “That’d be a stranger who’s been stalking me.”

“Admit it. Just admit it, please. You want me as much as I want you.”

“Wanting you isn’t the problem, Kyle,” she said. Her stomach felt like it was inside her heart right now. She pushed herself off his lap and straightened her dress.

–Copyright 2014, Genevieve Dewey.

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That one post in which Gen answers @laDEEda51’s questions about The Writing Process


So, my friend Deidre at The Red Velvet Chair  asked me to be a stopping point on a blog hop about The Writing Process. I told her I am the chainmail killer. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually tagged forward on one of these things. She was all, ‘pssh, don’t care, whateves’. So I agreed to answer the questions, on the off-chance you were curious as to the answers. It totally wasn’t hard and I’m not sure why I was whining in the first place (story of my life).

Gen’s Writing:

1. What are you working on?

I am currently writing The Good Life, a full length Dom & Kate novel. It features the characters in my popular free short romance The Bird Day Battalion  set in Nebraska. Even though Dom and Kate’s love story is still a major part of the plot, as it centers around their wedding (Ooops! Spoiler! LOL), the main romance is between Kate’s twin brother Kyle and Dom’s sister Demetria. It’s a funny, quirky romance with a strong emphasis on the bonds of family and friendship, a recurrent theme in all my writing. Fans of Bad Penny and Caroline in the V-Day Aversion (Dom&Kate#2) will be happy to know they both make an appearance.

2. How does your work differ from others?

Hmmn, that’s a tough one I guess in that we all write differently. All my stories are told 3rd person, in that manner in which the prose is narrated by the character, thus prone to vernacular. Also, Bird Day Battalion is the only book I’ve written in which there is only one point of view (Kate’s). All my other books have at least two points of view. First, I Love You  has six, (seven if you count the epilogue!) Some like that sort of “head-hopping”, others don’t, however it is not the same sort of head-hopping you would find in a Nora Roberts novel in which you are privy to the thoughts and feelings of more than one character in the same scene, omniscient style. In my books when it is Kate’s point of view, for instance, it is constrained to her and what she knows and feels like in Harry Potter. I also make it a point to include sex scenes from both the female and male point of view which is not always found in romance or family dramas, it’s usually one or the other.

3. Why do you write what you do?

Well…I don’t know. I write what I love, I guess. Family dynamics, love and loyalty, romance, cops and mobsters. I wrote  The Downey Trilogy set mostly in Chicago because I love that city; it is where my family is from. Likewise, I set Bird Day in Nebraska because that is where I was born and raised (mostly).

4. How does your writing process work?

I let ideas and scenes mull around in my head for a while before I write them down. Usually I type them up without writing them on paper, but sometimes I simply have to get them out and then if I am not near my computer, I’ll write them down on whatever I have nearby. I don’t usually write in sequence, or rather I do, but will leave out entire blocks if a later scene is just vivid in my head. Then I go back and bridge to it. I’ll write a scene, flesh it out, then rewrite it a bit, then edit, then edit, then edit. It’s a very circular or ebb and flow process. I try not to force myself to write if the mood is not with me. On those days I edit or proofread or block chapters out (meaning I write down who is in each chapter and what happens, so I can make sure it flows, and there are no major anachronisms or gaps). Oftentimes in the course of doing that, I will end up writing anyway. If all else fails, I strap my inner Hemingway on and fix myself some whiskey. ;p

Thank you, Dee! *smooches*

Dom and Kate fans, thanks for making V-Day a chart topper too!


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The month of February, V-Day Aversion has been FREE at all eBookstores!
(It goes back to $.99 March 1st)

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And Bird Day Battalion is always FREE!

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The V-Day Aversion has charted decently well in the paid short romance category at Apple, but not since its initial release last year have I seen it in the top ten short romance at Amazon. Of course, that’s only on the free chart this month, which matters to some, but not to me. Why? Because I’m happy new people are reading it! And I’m happy because it means YOU have been spreading the word! I do so love it when people fall in love with Dom & Kate enough to recommend it to their friends. That’s the best kind of endorsement there is!

And I hope that means you are getting excited for The Good Life!

In case you were unaware, you can also read some free flashbacks here on the website:

New Beginnings (A Kyle Anderson & Tommy Gates Flashback) Rated G

Spin The Bottle (A Kate Anderson & Dom Valentini Flashback) Rated PG

All I Want for Christmas… (A Kate Anderson & Dom Valentini Flashback) Rated G

And today I made a little tiny kinship chart (It’s the Anthropologist in me, LOL! Kate would understand.) to maybe help some sort out who’s who to whom… and whatnot. You’ll probably need to click on it to read it better.

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And you can learn more about how the Andersons are connected to the Downey Trilogy here:

More About The Downeys

Happy reading!

Gen

Another excerpt from #TheGoodLife (Dom and Kate #3)


In case you missed the excerpt last night on Facebook, here is another scene from the Dom & Kate novel, The Good Life.

On a side note, I know many of you are anxious for this novel, and I apologize for the slow-going nature. “Real life” responsibilities have an annoying way of interfering. I am still working on it, and hoping that I will catch up to where I wanted to be soon.

Thank you for your patience.

~~~

An excerpt from THE GOOD LIFE (subject to editing, all rights reserved, etc):

 

 

“Change of plans,” Kandace began.

Katelyn groaned. “Kandy, even with me being worried, I’m pretty sure whatever you’re going to say is a bad idea.”

“Forget about the cake, I’ve pretty much had it picked out for you since you announced the engagement,” Kandace plowed over her. “We are going to go on the offensive.”

“No, no we are not…” Kate’s heart plummeted. When would she learn? One went to Kandace for shopping and baking advice, not relationship advice.

“Caroline? Hold my calls,” Kandace said into the intercom.

There was silence for a few beats as Kandace grabbed her coat and purse then, “Sure thing,” Caroline’s voice finally responded, barely concealed laughter in her voice.

“Kandace, this is a bad idea,” Katelyn argued as Kandy dragged her out of the building.

“You don’t even know what the idea is yet.”

“I don’t need to. Besides I should get back to Lincoln and help Becky finish digitizing the new archives.”

“Perfect! We were headed to Lincoln anyway.”

“We—we were?” Katelyn’s heart started racing at the determined, slightly maniacal look in her sister’s eyes.

“You and I are going to Open Harvest.”

“Open—why? How is organic produce going to help us? Is this for the wedding?”

Kandace frowned intensely as she weaved through I-80 traffic westward, but she didn’t reply. They were past the Gretna outlet mall before Kandy finally responded.

“Phase one of my plan is we’re going to get some things to bribe her with. Then, while she’s distracted with that, we’ll research her weaknesses. By the time I’m done, Isabel will love you so much she’ll be more likely to try and steal you away from Dom rather than the other way around.”

“What? How?” Katelyn smacked her head at the absurdity.

“Well, you heard Kellie! Demetria and Isabel are apparently friends. And since hippies stick together, that means she must be one of those urban-apologists. You know, completely unaware of where their food comes from, but determined to judge us mid-westerners about it just the same.  And how does one disarm a wanna-be-tree-hugger? Toss hard-to-find vegetables and hemp products at them. And if that doesn’t work, gift them with homemade herbal tinctures and salves that cause them uncontrolled itching.”

Katelyn snorted. “Truly you have a dizzying intellect,” she drawled.

“Nice. Princess Bride,” Kandace acknowledged with a grin, then continued in her Vizzini voice, “but never go in against an Anderson when marriage is on the line!”

“Ok, first flaw in your ‘logic’, for lack of a better word; Demetria is not a hippie. Liking non-GMO products has nothing to do with a social movement of the 1960s. And to assume that Isabel is a hippie by association is too ridiculous to even be addressed. And for Exhibit C, I present Dominic Valentini, who would never in a trillion years marry a hippie or urban apologist. From what I hear she’s a pediatrician who volunteers at women’s shelters. With mad cooking skills and a Master Gardener certificate.”

Kandace had her lip curled in disgust. “This is worse than I thought. She’s either a Stepford wife or a great con-artist,” she paused, tilted her head, and put up one finger in the air, “but the most salient point in our favor is Dom still left her for you.”

“Ooo, a big girl word. And used correctly even,” Kate mocked.

Kandace smacked Katelyn’s leg. “It was the word of the day on the Trophy Wife App on my iPhone,” she admitted.

The sisters met each other’s gaze and laughed in unison.

Kate grabbed Kandy’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “You’re the best, you know that?” her voice choked with emotion, “the way you always have my back…”

Kandace gave her a flummoxed side-eye. “Are you getting… weepy on me?”

Kate sighed and looked out the window. It had to be the stress of everything making her so emotional all of a sudden. She wished the wedding could just be done and over with already.

She frowned as Kandace took the Waverly exit without warning. “Thought you said we’re going to Open Harvest?”

“We’ll loop around on the south side. Gotta pick up the critters from school first.”

“How’re you and Steve doing?” Katelyn asked.

“Better than ever,” Kandy replied with a cheesy grin. “Proof you should never give up fighting for your man.”

Katelyn snorted and laughed heartily. “Kandy, I love you, but you have easily got to be the most un-self-aware person I know. If it weren’t for Kellie and Kyle, or me and Dom for that matter, you’d still be squatting at my house.”

“And if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t be with Dom.”

“Uh, noooo,” Katelyn argued, “he told me he was going to go for it with me anyway.”

Kandace dramatically rolled her eyes and took the 84th street exit towards the south end of Lincoln. She hadn’t gone but a quarter mile past the gas station before she screeched to a halt. She put her arm out in front of Kate as the seatbelt locked in place. Kate looked down at the redundant restraint.

“Sorry. Mom reflex,” Kandace said sheepishly as she took her arm back.

“What the what?” was all Kate could say as Kandace actually backed the car up half on the side of the road, and half in her lane.

“What are you doing?” she squeaked in horror. She waved awkwardly at the furious drivers screeching around them, honking their horns and waving obscene gestures.

“Look over there!” Kandace pointed to the other side of the street.

“I see… a gas station?”

“No,” she pointed emphatically, “over,” she gritted with another furious jab in the air, “there!

Katelyn’s eyes scanned the parking lot south of the gas station and finally caught the sight of a long legged, stylish looking woman with luxurious honey-colored hair laughing with a dark-haired, middle-aged man next to a silver and black Bugatti Veyron. The woman turned her head enough for Katelyn to get a full view and finally recognize her.

“Huh. Speak of the devil,” Katelyn whispered. She wondered if the high-end sports car was Isabel’s or belonged to the Italian guy she was flirting with.

“What are the odds?” Kandace whispered back.

“Fairly high,” Kate managed to reply drolly. “We’ve established she’s here for a long visit and Omaha and Lincoln are practically attached at the hip these days. It’s not like we ran across her in York or some place.”

“Actually, York would make more sense. I read an article once in one of Steve’s law journals that said it’s a huge crossroads for truckers and drug traffickers,” Kandace argued, nodding her head up and down, eyes bulging.

Kate’s mouth worked a few dumb-struck times, then she shook her head to clear it.

“Holy spurious conclusion, Batman! How did we correlate Isabel with truckers and drug runners?”

“Katelyn,” Kandace sneered, turning Kate’s head back towards the window, “that is a million dollar car. At the frickin’ Kum and Go. Do I have to spell this out to you?”

Kate moved her eyes left and right, then slowly pried Kandy’s fingers from her jaw.

“I guess you do. First of all, it’s a Phillips 66; there aren’t any Kum and Gos in Lincoln anymore.”

“Oh my God, who freakin’ cares what it’s—”

“And so what, she knows a rich guy,” Katelyn continued with shrug. “Or maybe it’s her who’s rich. Don’t you have to be at least a little bit flush in the pockets to get married at the Heinz chapel? That’s where she and Dom got married, remember?”

“It’s not hers,” Kandace nudged her head towards the window again. Kate watched the man get in the car on the driver’s side and Isabel on the passenger’s. The man pulled out of the parking lot and headed south on 84th.

“Her second day in Nebraska and she’s meeting a Mafia king pin,” Kandace clucked, shaking her head in derision as she pulled out after it.

Katelyn’s laughs filled Kandace’s mom-mobile. She laughed so hard that tears escaped and she actually had to gasp for breath.

“Kandy, that’s so stupid I don’t even know where to begin! First, there are no Mafia kingpins in Nebraska, and second, speaking as someone who is about to marry a man of Italian-American descent, it is extremely offensive that you assume he’s some sort of mobster just because he’s Italian.”

“Excuse me, I did no such thing! I assume he’s a criminal because he has a car that costs more than my wealthy husband’s house—”

“By a few thousand dollars…”

“A few hundred thousand dollars. At a gas station people only go to for Pick 5 tickets and drugs—”

“And gasoline and food.”

“And he’s hanging out with a woman half his age from where all the mobsters live in Pennsylvania.”

“She’s from Pittsburg, not Philly.”

“Same difference!”

“Yes, that’s why they put them right next to each other and named them the same thing,” Kate retorted sarcastically. “Besides, if he was a wealthy drug lord he wouldn’t actually be doing some drug deal at a gas station, you know that, right?”

“Why are you being so difficult?”

“Why are you being so insane?”

Kandace didn’t answer, instead she just kept following the Bugatti when it turned west on Havelock.

“I thought you had to pick up the kids?”

Kandy tapped an icon on the screen on the dash of her car. “Carm? Can you tell Steve I’ll be running late and he’ll have to take the boys to peewee football?”

“Sure thing, Mrs. Cheney.”

Katelyn smacked her forehead for what felt like the twentieth time this afternoon. “You are seriously going to make your lawyer husband take time off to pick up your kids when you’re a stay-at-home mom?”

“I am a business owner now. We share duties.”

“Translation: Steve is back to overindulging your whims and fancies. And you are not currently giving me whiplash and breaking traffic laws for business purposes,” Kate said, white-knuckling the Jesus-handle over her door.

“Carmela would have said something if he had a conflict. And Steve likes pampering me. You should consider letting your man do the same every once in a while or you’ll end up as puckered as Kel.”

“Uuuugh! How is it possible you can be so talented at baking and finances, yet be such a flighty idjit all at the same time? I’m telling you, Kellie was right, and I was worrying for nothing.”

“And I’m telling you she has a hidden agenda!”

“Please stop following them. Please.”

“Nope.”

“If you get us arrested or killed I will seriously hurt you.”

“Exactly how could you hurt me if you’re—”

Katelyn’s phone belted “Ring of Fire” and she gave her sister the ‘talk to the hand’ gesture.

“Hey Dom,” she answered, still gripping the ceiling handle and closing her eyes so she wouldn’t have to watch the traffic.

“Whatsa happenin’ hotstuff,” Dom answered, Sixteen Candles style.

“My sister’s trying to kill me. What’s up with you?” she answered shakily.

Dom’s deep chuckles tickled her ear. “Speaking of Andersons with a death wish, your brother has invited us over to watch the game. That’s three date nights in a row, in case you’re counting. Don’t say I don’t know how to treat my laaaday,” he drawled in a comedical deep voice.

Kate laughed at his smug, yet goofy tone. “Which game?”

“Do you care?”

“No,” she admitted with a little shrug. “Who all’s coming?”

“Mmn, his partner for starters.”

“Wuuuut? No,” she whined. Tommy Gates was always so broody and quiet. Getting conversation out of him was like squeezing blood from a turnip. She far preferred the daring, brash extrovert type like Dom. Well, obviously.

“And who else?” she asked, thinking it was odd that Kyle would invite Tommy when he was inviting Dom. The two never hung out together.

“Well, Kyle said Izzy was going to stop by.”

“Isabel?”

“Yeah, so I said, hey why don’t you invite Tommy? To even things out,” Dom replied in a rush.

“How is that even? Three guys and two women who don’t know each other?”

“I just mean, you know, one of my exes, one of yours… maybe they’d hit it off…” he trailed off.

“I’m pretty sure Tommy’s involved with someone, and surely you would not be so clueless as to compare one chaste date with Tommy with a marriage to Isabel. In which sex was involved.”

There was pointed silence on the other end.

Kate plowed ahead to cement the point. “And did you consider maybe Kyle wanted Isabel to come over to spend time with him alone? Unlike Tommy, Isabel is not currently involved with someone.”

“I doubt that’s it,” Dom continued, tone still infuriatingly oblivious. “I mean, why would he?”

She wanted to argue the point, but she couldn’t very well admit that Kyle was supposed to be schmoozing Isabel because she asked him to.

“Besides,” Dom continued, “when Kyle first asked her, she said she’d be spending the whole day with her great aunt in Papillion baking for some charity thing, but when she heard I’d be there she insisted she could make time for the game. I guess she has something she wanted to give me.”

“Reaaally,” Kate drawled.

She opened her eyes to look over at a smirking Kandace. “Papillion?” Kandace mouthed.

“I mean we don’t have to go…” he said, his voice finally seeming to catch a clue something was wrong.

“Nope, it’s fine. Sounds like fun,” she chirped.

“Kaaay,” Dom replied doubtfully.

“Loveyoubye,” she said quickly and tapped ‘end’.

She tossed the phone in a drink hole on the console and met her sister’s grim and smug countenance with narrowed eyes.

She’s going down.”

Kandace laughed and floored the gas pedal.

–“The Good Life”, Copyright 2014 by Genevieve Dewey.

Have you read the Dom and Kate Christmas flashback?


The following is a short holiday scene featuring Dominic Valentini and Katelyn Anderson, and is set the Christmas before they get together in Bird Day Battalion. It is G-rated and fluffy.

birddaycover (Free!)   valentinescover ($.99!)

Originally published in A World of Joy by Grey Mouse Publishing.

aworldofjoy

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Knees

by Genevieve Dewey

Dominic Valentini dropped his Steelers bag next to the front door inside his parents’ house. He sucked in a deep breath, coughed a bit at the overwhelming scent of Christmas potpourri, then locked the door behind him. If he was lucky, he’d be able to catch a few hours of sleep on the couch before anyone woke up and wondered what he was doing in Nebraska instead of Pennsylvania.

After all, big shot pro-football players fly their parents over to see them; they don’t slink home with their tail between their legs… even if they were legs with blown-out knees. One season as a fourth round draft pick and he was already on injured reserve. That was demoralizing on its own, but Dom suspected being on reserve was a mere courtesy on his way to ‘released from contract’.

He grimaced, thinking about how he was going to break the news to his parents:

Hey, Mom, Dad, won’t be getting you that fancy mansion I promised. I’m soon-to-be unemployed and I filed for divorce. Merry Christmas!

Dom wrinkled his nose as he stretched out on the couch. He cupped the back of his head and crossed his ankles.

Nah, better to lead with worse news.

The loss of a football career was nothing compared to the fact that Dominic would be the first person in his branch of the Valentini family to ever get a divorce. To a Valentini, the ‘D’ word was way worse than unemployment, back taxes, and a proctology exam combined.

“Yay, go me,” Dom whispered at the ceiling.

He never should have married Isabel. She deserved better than a husband who was still hung up on his childhood crush. Even more ridiculous was the knowledge he and said unrequited love, Katelyn Anderson, had never been more than friends. Who left their wife for a friend and neighbor they had never actually been in a romantic relationship with? Especially one who seemed determinedly oblivious to his feelings?

Tap, tap, tap.

Dom crooked his head to look out the living room window. He could see movement, but the rainbow lights reflecting from the Christmas tree made it hard to distinguish what had made the noise. He looked around the room for a security bat then stopped and chuckled. What would be the point? This was Small Town, America. More than half this town never locked their doors, yet still left the living room drapes open so everyone could see their tree.

He got up from the couch and winced as his knees briefly buckled. He yanked the door open dramatically, expecting to shoo off some bored kids.

Except it was Katelyn Anderson, frozen mid-knock.

“Hey,” she whispered, her breath caressing her face in the frigid air.

She smiled and rubbed her hands together. “Can I come in?”

When he continued to gape at her, she poked him on the chest, and nudged her head towards the house.

“Uh, what are—I mean, yeah,” Dom replied and tugged her inside. “What are you doing here?”

“Saw you pull up and wondered why no one knew you were coming home for the holidays. Or is this a Christmas present for your folks? I mean, of course, it must be, no one in their right mind takes a flight in the middle of the night unless they want to surprise someone or there’s an emergency. Wait,” Katelyn paused.

Her eyebrows contracted and she suddenly grabbed his arms, “There’s not an emergency is there?”

He couldn’t help but grin; he’d missed her tendency to babble.

Her worried frown deepened.

“Naw,” Dom finally said and shrugged. “You were right the first time.”

“Was I?” Kate asked in a concerned tone.

When he didn’t answer, she tilted her head and narrowed her eyes.

He sighed and walked back over to the couch. Knowing someone your entire life had its drawbacks; they tended to know when you were lying.

“Not that I mind visits from pretty women at three in the morning, but I could ask you the same question; what were you doing spying on the neighborhood in the middle of the night at your mother’s house?” Dom deflected.

“You haven’t heard?” Kate asked, her eyes suddenly alight with enthusiasm. “I bought the house from my parents after they retired! I’m moving back.”

“Huh. There’s a lot of that going around,” he mumbled, enjoying the flush that excitement brought to her cheeks.

She raised her eyebrows and pressed her lips together. Then she walked over to the couch, sat next to him, and rested her head against his shoulder.

“Spill,” she coaxed.

Just rip the bandaid off, Valentini, so she can be disappointed in you, too…

“I’m getting a divorce,” he replied, trying to sound cheerful about it.

She took a deep breath then patted his leg.

“I’m sorry…” she said with a long sigh. “I’ve been a terrible friend, so focused on my Thesis and school… I’ve barely kept in touch. I didn’t even know you were having marital problems.”

“We weren’t really,” he answered honestly.

It was the truth. He and Isabel got along great, but it was a hollow sort of rapport. He had never felt so empty in his life than when he was living his perfect life with her. There was no reason for it, except his heart seemed stubbornly addicted to the girl-next-door with wild curly hair and an unnatural fondness for libraries.

“I don’t think you came home just because of that,” Kate prodded. “Does this have to do with the game last month? You looked pretty hurt when they took you off the field. Are your knees starting to feel better? I thought for sure you’d play in the last game but…”

“Nope, that’s the joy of being injured reserve on top of special teams.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means… there’s a very good chance I’ll be released from contract.”

“Oh, Dom… I’m so sorry. To have it end over a stupid torn ACL,” Katelyn replied.

Her tone was certainly more genuine than her expression of sympathy regarding his divorce.

She rubbed his knee.

His brain jammed and his heart clutched. The rest of him tried desperately to remember she had friend-zoned him ages ago.

“I didn’t realize you watched my games, or knew what an ACL is—”

Katelyn pulled away, raised her hand, and smacked him on the forehead.

“Ok, a), I’m an anthropologist; if I don’t know human anatomy, I need a new career. And, b), I watch and record every single game of yours including the pre-season clips and the highlights on ESPN. That’s what people do when they’re proud of their loved ones.”

She looked genuinely astonished and affronted that he could doubt her devotion.

Loved ones? How am I supposed to kill these feelings when she said stuff like that?

“All I want for Christmas is my two front knees,” he sang, in an effort to cover his sudden confusion.

“As opposed to your two back knees?” she countered sarcastically with an eye roll. “It’d be more like your middle knees, anyway. And please don’t try to sing again. You seriously stink at it.”

“Ok, a),” Dom mimicked her, “Why you gotta be such a know it all? And b), you seriously stink at football, yet you insist we play in the back yard every major holiday.”

She scooted on the couch until she was fully facing him.

“That’s for your sake!”

“My sake? You think I enjoy playing with amateurs who sulk when they lose?”

“Maybe if the winner didn’t enjoy rubbing it in…” she said with a glare.

She crossed her arms and pursed her lips, eyes so narrowed her lashes joined at the edges.

He chuckled. It was hard to take Kate seriously when she got upset. She looked like a freshly toweled kitten, more prone to eliciting a desire for kisses than ire.

He loved getting her riled up.

“I guess playing with amateurs is something I’ll have to get used to now,” he conceded with a rueful smile.

Her face cleared. She tilted her head again and clicked her teeth in a sympathetic manner.

“Forget professional football. You have a degree in Physical Education, and a great family, and my huge family by extension. Not to mention, selfishly, I’d be glad if you chose to move back here. I’ve missed you… crazy lots.”

Kate’s voice broke a bit at the end and Dom’s heart started galloping in response. He’d no idea she felt that way, even as just a friend. In truth, it was his fault they’d lost touch in the last few years. She thought it was her myopic tendency for studying, but he had made a concerted effort to create distance out of self-preservation.

“I’ve missed you too, Skate,” he confessed.

“Ugh, that dumb nickname…” she responded.

She pushed her unruly hair behind her ears and rolled her eyes. Then she slapped him on his thigh in an impatient manner.

“Pittsburg and Isabel didn’t deserve you anyway. If you move back here, you could consider it a public service. You’ll be raising the Good Men per capita of Nebraska. It’s our slogan and all.”

“Huh,” he managed to say around the growing lump in his throat. “And here I thought it was ‘The Good Life’.”

“Same difference,” she said with a cheeky grin and a quick shrug.

He looked down at her hand still resting on his knee. She snatched her hand back with a quick, soft huff, like an unformed laugh. He looked back up. Her cheeks had flooded red but she didn’t drop his gaze.

He deliberately turned his head and studied the Christmas tree; cheerful yet lonely with just a few presents underneath. There was something different in her eyes, and paired with her affectionate words, it gave him the stirrings of hope. Hope was something he hadn’t allowed himself in years. And if he was being honest, he hadn’t made it clear since they were teenagers that he wanted to be more than friends. Now that he thought about it, maybe moving back to Nebraska wouldn’t be about hitting bottom. Maybe it could be about new beginnings.

He looked back at her and grinned, not one of his we’ve-known-each-other-for-years friendly grins, but one of his how-you-doin’ grins. It always made the ones who were interested flustered, and the ones who weren’t, at least snort in good humor. He had never actually tried it on Kate.

Her flush deepened and she sprang up from the couch. She rubbed her hands on her legs and laughed slightly. Then she looked around the room in an absentminded manner.

Huh… how about that, he thought.

“I better get back next door before we get the local tongues wagging,” Kate said breathlessly. “You coming over for Christmas dinner?”

His grin got wider and he nodded.

Her brows contracted briefly. “Why are you smiling at me like that?”

He just shrugged, saying nothing. He was enjoying her discomfort. She looked not just flustered, but confused, and confused was something he could work with.

Yeah, there just might be reason to hope, after all…

He walked her to the door and indulged himself with an extra-long hug. Then he relaxed on the couch again and let his mind mull over Katelyn’s tell-tale flush. Maybe she didn’t think of him as boyfriend material yet, but there was definite potential to change her mind.

“So you’re moving back home, huh?”

Dominic rolled over so quickly he fell off the couch.

“Fmpblllltsh!” The carpet muffled his curse; a good thing since his father didn’t tolerate cursing in his home.

“Haaaah,” Dom finished his moan of pain as he rolled over. “Hey, Dad. What, uh, what makes you say that?”

“Well, that’s what the little Anderson girl was saying.”

“Yeah, Dad, she hasn’t been ‘little’ in quite some time,” Dom countered.

“Ok, youngest of the gaggle. Whatever,” Vincent Valentini waved a dismissive hand. “Guess if there’s gonna be all this yakkin’, might as well start the day.”

He walked towards the kitchen, flipped the light on, and started brewing coffee. Dom limped after him.

“Hey, son, what a nice surprise. Good to see you,” Dom muttered under his breath.

As soon as he sat at the kitchen table, he said a little louder, “I haven’t actually decided to move back. Exactly how much did you hear?”

“Enough to offer my congratulations.”

“Con—what?”

“I’m glad you finally saw the light. Would have preferred it to be before the wedding, but, hey, better late than never, eh?”

Vincent turned around and popped Dom on the shoulder.

“So… you’re ok with it?” Dom wondered.

“I’m ok wit’ it,” Vincent said gruffly.

He handed Dom a coffee mug.

“I was thinking you and Mom were going to freak out about the divorce…”

“Oh, your nonna’s gonna freak, sure, but me and your mother? Nah. You know what’s disappointin’, son? Watching you let your dreams slip away.”

“What do you mean? I was playing for the Steelers! Most college players don’t even make it to the Draft. I didn’t choose to have a knee injury—”

“Don’t be dense,” Vincent interrupted. “I don’t care about that. I’m talking about that girl who just left. The one you’re never able to keep your eyes off of. I don’t understand why you’re content to moon after her like a martyr instead of just puttin’ a ring on it already.”

“Put a ring…” Dom paused, pinching his nose.

He took a deep breath, reminding himself his father was from a very different generation.

“Dad, Kate and I are friends. Even if I were to—”

“No, here’s what you do,” Vincent interrupted again. “You take this week to start laying the ground work with her and then you get your affairs in order, and move back home. It’s not defeat if it’s something you want anyway.”

“Dad, I don’t even have a job lined up…”

Vincent clapped Dominic on the shoulder and chuckled.

“Son, the world’s full of signs if you’re just open to them. This is a sign it’s time to move back home and go for it with her, I’m telling you.”

Dom opened his mouth, but his reply was cut short by the sound of his mother’s voice.

“Vinnie? Who are you talking to?” Ramona shouted from down the hall. “Turn the oven on, would ya? I have to get started on the casserole I told Bridgette we’d bring for Christmas dinner.”

Vincent and Dominic shared a grimace and got to work. Valentini-Anderson joint holiday dinners were a tradition of chaos, overeating, bickering and insanity—insanity because they all kept doing it year after year despite the first three components. Everyone by this point knew never to stand in the way of Ramona Valentini and Bridgette Anderson’s deeply competitive friendship.

Dom managed to make it through his mother’s fussing and nagging in the morning, and the crazy Christmas dinner next door, all on zero hours of sleep. Feeling punchy and mellow, Dominic ducked the rest of the guests and waited by Kate’s back door for her to try sneaking out as she did every year.

“Going somewhere?” he asked, grinning at her guilty flush.

“Just to my office to take advantage of no one being there and fight through this stupor. I swear our mothers always feed us like they’re going to eat us later.”

“Yeah, nothing says ‘tis the season’ like gluttony,” he agreed.

He grabbed a football from a box in the mud room, tossed it up briefly, then tucked it under his arm. He stepped so close she had to tilt her head up to keep his gaze.

“Wanna help me burn off those calories instead?” he asked with a suggestive tone.

She flushed and blinked. Then her eyes dropped to the football and she laughed.

“Dom, honestly… you’re such a flirt. A girl might accidentally take you seriously,” she replied with a finger waggle.

Dropping her satchel, she snatched the ball out of his arms, and walked out the door.

He shook his head at her back. It was looking like getting out of the friend zone was going to be harder than getting into the end zone.

She stopped abruptly and pivoted back around. “Are you sure? Are your knees up to it?”

“If not, you can always nurse me back to health…” he bantered.

She snorted and rolled her eyes before heading out into the yard.

As soon as he shut the door, his phone buzzed. He fished it out and saw a text from his old high school coach:

Hey Dom, heard from Mrs. D you were back in town. Can you come over later? Have a job opp. next fall here at the school I wanted to float by you. Before you say no, just hear me out, OK? Dave

Dom raised his eyes to look out across the yard at Kate, squinting from the glare of the snow reflecting the sun.

The world’s full of signs… he heard his father’s voice whisper.

It would take him time to sell his place, but if he played it right, he could be here for the start of the school year. Then he could begin his campaign to win the Girl Next Door’s heart.

“Ready for the sweet taste of defeat, Valentini?” Kate asked. She had an adorable and not at all intimidating sneer on her face.

He shook his head with a chuckle. “My first order of business when I move back will be teaching you how to talk smack properly.”

Her face lit up. “So you’re coming back for sure?”

“For sure,” he answered softly.

“Eee!” she squealed, tackling him.

He deliberately let their bodies hit the ground, hugging her tight and enjoying the feel of her pressed against him.

“Best Christmas ever!” Katelyn continued breathlessly.

Snow speckled on her hair like tinsel in the bright sunshine. Her cheeks had a rosy glow against her porcelain skin.

He smiled and tucked her hair behind her ears.

Sweet taste of defeat, indeed.

“Merry Christmas, Skate,” Dominic said. “You realize, of course, even without my two front knees, I’m going to kick your—”

He broke off as her delighted laughter filled the yard.

No, the ‘Best Christmas Ever’ is yet to come, babe. I promise, he thought with a grin.

–Copyright 2013, Genevieve Dewey.

~~You can read a flashback to teenage Dom & Kate here on my website: Spin The Bottle. (Rated PG)~~